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Yesterday, my friend and colleague Barbara shared a TED video on her Facebook feed. The talk was filmed in Long Beach, CA on Feb. 27 and featured alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer – former lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the duo The Dresden Dolls. Mashable reported last Friday that her talk, “The Art of Asking”, was the most memorable moment of the 2013 TED conference. As she talks about her experience with crowdfunding and the music industry, she says something that should be profoundly instructive to professional fundraisers: “For the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you.”
Please, watch and share!
P.S. On social media as a tool, she says: “The perfect tools aren’t going to help us if we can’t face each other and give and receive fearlessly. But more important, to ask without shame.”
By now you’ve read about the amazing tweet from Oreo during the infamous Super Bowl blackout. Within moments of the power going out in the Superdome, Oreo tweeted the above picture saying “Power Out. No Problem”. Digital marketing agency 360i definitely showed us all what it means to be nimble, creative and engaging. Brilliant.
By contrast, there is Poland Spring. As Media Post’s Marketing Daily reported, during the live, televised GOP response to the State of the Union, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) stopped in mid-sentence to reach awkwardly for a bottle of Poland Spring. Unlike Oreo’s rapid response, any mention of their moment in the spotlight didn’t appear on the company’s social media until the next day. In fact, it unfortunately highlighted that their Twitter accounts had been inactive since January 2011. Awkward.
There are any number of lessons to be learned from both of these recent events in the Twitterverse. The most obvious one is “carpe diem” – if you’re going to be successful in social media, you have to be ready and able to seize the day. If you’re only logging in to Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., once a week you could actually be diminishing your brand. Silence isn’t neutral.But an unexpected lesson comes from a closer analysis of the famous Oreo tweet.
Bryan Boettger, Chief Creative Officer of digital engagement agency The Buddy Group, wrote a great counterpoint to all of the Oreo accolades for the Social Media Insider. In “Everyone’s Dunking the Wrong Oreo” he points out that a closer analysis of the post-tweet activity shows that much of the Twitter traffic it generated was from ad industry pundits, professionals and news outlets…not the general consumer. He doesn’t take anything away from 360i’s creativity and I’m guessing he’d probably have encouraged Poland Spring to ramp up its game.
But ultimately, Bryan’s article and these two stories have reminded me that the social media landscape grows more crowded and complex every day. Success depends not just on creating relevant content, it increasingly requires attention to analytics and strategy must take center stage.
Last weekend the Bronx Zoo announced it had lost one of its Egyptian cobras. On Monday, it showed up on Twitter!
As of this morning the fake AWOL snake, @BronxZoosCobra, has 187,160 followers. Using playful, pithy tweets (and the hashtag #snakeonthetown), this as yet unverified Twitter account is sharing its entertaining adventures around the Big Apple:
Of course, the real missing cobra is believed to be hiding out in the Bronx Zoo’s Reptile House (currently closed to the public). Until it is found, its alter ego is certainly creating buzz for the Bronx Zoo – which, by the way, is the only Twitter account that the cobra is following…hmmm.
And talk about word of mouth! The initial buzz was so successful, another zoo animal doppelganger appeared on Twitter this week. “Butti”, the Indian Star tortoise who disappeared from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, has shown up on the social media site on Wednesday. One of Butti’s first tweets: “@bronxzoocobra broke out a few days ago, it took time to get my shell phone to work”.
So what can we learn from the instant success of a snake on the town:
- If you’re not currently on Twitter…get there! Join the conversation.
- Tell a story - but keep it short and sweet. Twitter’s limited character length and hashtags cultivate the kind of specificity that appeals to our shrinking attention span. We don’t all have 10 minutes to read a blog, but we do have a few seconds for 140 characters – we’ll get to the blog later (if it’s relevant and interesting).
- Know why you’re doing it! – Social media can easily be a distraction if we don’t remember to keep it tied to your core strategy.
Who knows if @bronxzoocobra is cleverly executed marketing scheme or a creative Twitterer with time on his/her hands. Either way, don’t doubt its value. Think of the ad impressions alone generated for the Bronx Zoo this week.
Happy tweeting. (follow me on @jasperrycom)
March 22, 2011 in Brand Communications, Marketing, Philanthropy, Social Media | Tags: campaign, Kalamazoo, Medical School, Michigan, Operation Historic Moment, Social Media, Twitter, Western Michigan University, WMU | 4 comments
In recent weeks, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI launched a social media campaign to build buzz around this morning’s announcement of an anonymous $100 million gift to the university’s new medical school.
Under the theme “Operation Historic Moment”, the university promised ‘news of historic proportions that would even have national implications’ – and they used several social media tools to create buzz:
- a Twitter account was established (@OperationHM)
- a countdown clock was created online (www.operationhistoricmoment.com)
- a large display was set up on March 4 draped in a black cloth in the lobby of the university’s Bernhard Center
- an advertisement was placed on the electronic billboard off U.S. 131 on WMU’s Business, Technology and Research Park
I’m not certain what the university hoped to generate with the campaign, but by many measures it was only marginally effective. It did appear to generate a few local news stories. The campaign appears to have helped WMU capture a few thousand email addresses. And it certainly had several local civic leaders paying attention.
I also noticed that the campaign’s Twitter account had only 130 followers at the time of this morning’s announcement, many of whom were WMU marketing students or local media. The campaign website, which was supposed to convert to a live feed of the announcement, seemed to have failed. In fact, the campaign website redirected people to a page that looked like an announcement from the Catholic Archbishop of Detroit (not a great endorsement for www.michiganliveevents.com). WOOD-TV8 fortunately offered a live news feed of the announcement.
There are plenty of examples of bungled campaigns or lackluster social media efforts; mistakes happen – and companies and organizations that do make them often get better. They learn from their early missteps – to go on to social media successes.
I’m not certain of WMU’s strategy for this campaign, so I can only guess at what lessons they will learn from this effort. If I were a major donor to the school I would certainly be excited by this morning’s announcement, but fairly disappointed with this campaign. I’ll be interested to see if and how WMU talks about the glitches in this morning’s announcement. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: they should review their results carefully and make the indicated adjustments before their next ‘big’ announcement!
Most of you know I’m a major Starbucks geek, so you shouldn’t be surprised that I pay close attention to the company’s marketing and branding efforts. In a recent interview, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz talked about the company’s growing use of social media. Here’s a video excerpt and a link to the article.
This morning Advertising Age reports that Pizza Hut will run national advertising that’s purely about branding. By making their staff the focus of their new brand-focused advertising, they are attempting to personalize their company for consumers who already know the difference between Pizza Hut’s products and that offered by category leader, Domino’s.
It is also interesting to note that of the employees chosen to be featured, four girls and four guys were selected, half of them age 20 or under – definitely a target audience for the company. It is worth noting that the television ads will be supported by a social-media blitz during which a different employee will be featured each week, through YouTube videos, and dialogue on Pizza Hut’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Check out the article here.