Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl 2012 is a Social Media Event

I’ve been writing about the role of social media in the Super Bowl for several years. It has included interesting tie-ins with advertising, mostly a lot of contests which have seemed to work for customer engagement even if they’ve produced some less-than-stellar ads (aren’t most of them anyway?).  (See 2011 pre, post, 2010 pre 1, pre 2, post) But this year is different.

Social media has become an integral part of the event. I’ve heard, for example, that players will be able to tweet from the sidelines. They can’t bring their mobiles, but there will be a computer for their use on the sideline. Hope they remember their passwords!

But there are some significant additions to the lineup that should work. The two things that seem most significant are:

• Live streaming of the event. Ad CPMs are high for this audience but a few major advertisers seem to be taking the plunge, although Chevrolet has let it be known that they are advertising on the stream and are working to integrate all their advertising through activities like this promoted Tweet. As many as 300 thousand viewers have watched streamed NFL games this season, so the size of the final audience will be interesting.

• The integrated use of social media by the host committee in Indianapolis. This is their “Get Connected” page. Take a look at the home page also. Its style is rather frenetic, but it makes the point they want the visitor to have an excellent game experience. According to Lisa Arthur writing in the Forbes blog the activities of the host committee include:
  o Integration of on- and off-line experiences. The home page offers event info. If you can’t be there, you might enjoy the live web cams.
  o A social media control center where they can listen to fan chatter and respond in real time. They say on the Twitter page that they are open from 9 a.m. to midnight. With almost 21 thousand Twitter followers and over 15 thousand Facebook likes as of Tuesday morning, they could be quite busy!
  o Collaborated with the NFL on a single mobile app for the event
  o Reached out to influential Indiana bloggers to promote the event activities (there’s plenty to do, and residents can enjoy it without shelling out for a game ticket) and build the social network in advance of game day.

Brad Carlson is vice president of marketing for the host committee. He says:

All of this has evolved into a robust ‘real-time’ network helping us react to trends in fan sentiment, and make adjustments to our plans on the fly. . .This will be the most connected Super Bowl in history. We’re breaking new ground, and laying the benchmarks for the future. . We want the fans to win.

All this reminded me that the London Olympics has already issued social media guidelines for participants. Some coverage describes it as restrictive. I’ve read it, and I’d say they are reminding about standard intellectual property issues and reminding the young participants to play nicely and respect the Olympic brand. Wonder if that' is the reasoning behind not allowing mobiles on the SB sidelines; reduce the likelihood of unfortunate ‘in the heat of the moment’ posts.

So, overall, I’d agree that SuperBowl XLVI is setting new precedent for social media integration into a live event that other events will learn from and emulate.

Article first published as Super Bowl XLVI is a Social Media Event on Technorati.

New on Wednesday - More on the Social Media Command Center

Friday, January 20, 2012

SoLoMo - Implications for Marketers

SoLoMo is a term that has gained great currency since John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers coined it a year or so ago. The importance of the phenomenon was confirmed during the holiday season of 2011 by soaring m-commerce sales. In the U.S. alone, sales from mobile devices were expected to be over $10 billion in 2011, and the U.S. has been a laggard in the space.

The most startling statistic of all, however, is the fact that sales of smartphones exceeded those of pcs for the first time in the 4th quarter of 2010. The prediction has been around for awhile, but now it has been matched by the reality, and marketers must adjust their strategies accordingly. Much has been written about mobile strategies, but I think a lot of it misses a key issue.

First, the players, all of whom are well known, even if some are mere corporate infants. This infographic from Social Commerce Today positions them in the space.

Here’s my take, with the often-overlooked issue and implications for marketers. Devices are the facilitators but search, especially local search, is the fundamental driver. Whether people are looking for a present for Mom, finding where their friends are or locating a place to have Indian for lunch search dominates, and a lot of it is local these days. The fact that search ties it all together is a strategic marketing issue of great importance.

The other key marketing issue is the emergence of small local retailers as equal participants. Looking at the infographic above you see that all the players offer affordable marketing opportunities to small local businesses. Some of them are designed to cater to that market. Small businesses have to learn to take advantage of the opportunities and large enterprises will increasingly find ways to incorporate them into brand strategies. In this space the “level playing field” of the Internet has finally arrived, and its importance cannot be overstated.

How are marketers dealing with the challenges? A survey by Silverpop suggests that many marketers have a long way to go before they successfully integrate communications channels, including email. For additional data about which channels marketers are using and how, download the study here.

Marketers have a lot to learn as they deal with these strategic issues. How do we do this without harassing customers each and every time they are close to one of our stores? How do we do it with a level of privacy that is known and acceptable to our customers? And what about “deal fatigue?” It comes back to the fundamental SMM question: How do we play nicely in the social space and still accomplish our brand goals?

All questions that need serious thought, but the outlines of the space in which we are playing are becoming clearer. It’s called SoLoMo!

Article first published as SoLoMo--Implications for Marketers on Technorati.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creating a Google+ Brand Page--Even if You Aren't a Brand

Google suggests that you can create a brand page for a product, brand or even a project. That’s true, but it’s not as easy as it sounds, and I wanted to share a few things I learned in the process of setting up a page for the new edition of our Internet marketing textbook.

Google has a blog post with a chirpy little video about how useful the brand pages are. It includes an early-stages list of brand pages, most of which are global brands in spite of the fact that the video is for a local bike marketer. Looking at some good pages is useful, but it’s definitely not all you need to know.

The good news is that the set-up is easy. If you look at the initial page, you see the business categories, which should fit any need. I selected product or brand, which seemed fine. However, at that point, I had already made a mistake.

I had been following the advice of early users so I carefully signed out of all my Google accounts and set up a new one. I simply couldn’t disassociate my name and post on the new page as administrator. I just kept being Mary Lou, not what I wanted. So I closed the new Google account and tried another tack.

I used the personal website I’ve had for quite some time, following Google’s instructions to verify that I owned it. That was easy. However, I had never set up email services on that site and I had to have an email address to set up the page. For two frustrating days I tried everything, following the hosting services instructions to set it up and Google’s to verify. Nothing worked. Then I called the hosting service and found that free email services were no longer available in spite of what my account management page said. When I purchased the service for one email box—voilá, it all worked fine!

That may be overstating it a bit. When you sign out of all Google accounts—as all the advice correctly recommends—and go to the Google + page for business, you find the first thing you have to do is to sign in with a valid Google account. You don’t want to sign in with a personal account; that associates your personal profile with the brand page and you don’t want that. I could sign in with my (verified) website address, but I still had to fill out a profile as a person, not as a business. Then I got the Create a Page icon on the right bar and could actually set up the brand page.

I created the page, wrote a profile that explained it was for people who’ve adopted our book for classroom teaching, and wrote a post. All was working fine, but at this point you’ve got various accounts and email addresses floating around, so be sure to bookmark the page so you can get to it easily. You’ll probably want to activate multiple accounts sign-in, which makes it convenient to switch from your personal account to your “business” account.

But you still need to be careful when you post. You have a personal profile/page that is linked (inextricably, I think) to your business profile/page. If you post when +your name is showing it goes onto your personal page. In order to get it on your business page (+your business account) you have to hit the blue Manage this page bar when you first enter the page. Then you’ll see +your business account in the upper left bar and you’re good to go.

Things you need to keep in mind:

1. This is probably easier if you have a Google Places local business account. Try working through that instead of the Product or Brand tab I used and see if it’s easier.
2. Even if you use a Google Places account sign in, it seems that G+ wants to associate all brand pages with a person, so you may still have the issues of multiple profiles.
3. Moving back and forth on a single page seems impossible. In other words, if I’d like to post part of the time as +your name and some of the time for really official stuff as +your business account, you just can’t do it. I had the same issue on a Facebook page for which I was an administrator, so this one is easy for me to believe.
4. And perhaps the most important of all: you can’t add people on a brand page; you have to invite them and only if they choose to add your brand page to their circle will you be able to see them.

You can see the current version of the book’s G+ page—and if you are an Internet marketing instructor, please add us to your circle!

Article first posted as Creating a Google+ Brand Page Even if You're Not a Brand on Technorati.