Five simple guidelines for social engagement

iStock_000010779625XSmall.jpgI have talked about the importance of developing and implementing social media policies within organizations previously on this blog. These policies not only protect the company, but go a long way to educating its employees on what the implications and ramifications are of engaging in social channels.

I've seen a number of instances where seemingly harmless information is posted on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and that person was not aware of the connectivity of the medium. Soon, people find out what they said and share it. In an age when the "delete" button means nothing (everything is stored forever in most cases even if you do delete) it's crucial to have informed employees.

In college, I had a professor who suggested that when making a tough decision that we look in the mirror and see if we believe what we're saying. Here are the five guidelines that I think are the core of social engagement when you are working within a company. They are my mirror test.

Five guidelines/questions before posting:


  1. Assume your Mom reads/sees everything that you post
  2. Assume your boss reads/sees everything that you post
  3. Assume your biggest client reads/sees everything that you post
  4. Assume your biggest competitor reads/sees everything that you post
  5. Assume your children will read/see everything that you post

I run through these filters myself when I post things as a final checklist. If something doesn't pass, then it's out the window.

What guidelines would you add to the list? How do you make content decisions?

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Search + social media, the evolving landscape

Screen shot 2009-12-10 at 11.31.30 AM.pngYou have undoubtedly heard about Google and Bing announcing partnerships with Twitter/Facebook/et. al. to include real time social media results into their search indexes. However, even if you did hear about it, I think few people have seen what it looks like in Google's environment, so I recorded this short video for the search term "Copenhagen". Have a look. (Bing takes a slightly different, segmented approach.)

Key Takeaways:


  • These results are pulled into the first page of Google, there are substantial reputation issues to consider
  • These updates are not listed like other webpages/fan pages/primary Twitter accounts, they are in a separate area on the page (fairly contained...for now)
  • The searcher will see what is hot at that point in time
  • It seems like this would be very susceptible to fraud and Tweet bombing, would love to get your opinion on that

What does this mean for you and your brand(s)? How are you preparing/sharing and engaging around this? One of the keys to social media gaining the traction it has is its uncanny way of tapping into the power of search and this is taking that to the next level.

Let me know what you think.

[UPDATE 12/11]: It seems that Yahoo has also added in-line Tweets to search results. This model pulls in three recent (not sure the exact algorithm here) Tweets to the bottom of the result page. Screenshot below.

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Can Google's weight give momentum to QR codes?

I was reading through a post today on the Ad Age Digital Next blog by my colleague Allison Mooney and wanted to share it with you. The post is on Google's support of QR code technology through a program called Favorite Places.

In short, Google is tapping into their local search data to find the top local establishments. They then send them a sticker for their door which has a QR code printed on it and takes the person to that business' listing on Google. It's an interesting way to tie live search data to a physical location and then back to search again.

The trick here, as noted by Allison, is that the QR reader software is an add-on to devices. There are some free versions around, but many people will have to pay for it, not to mention the level of education that needs to happen around this to make it successful.

Here is a quick video overview that Google produced to explain the program:

(Does anyone else find it weird that they used the iPhone throughout the video and not a Google Android device? Oh well.)

If you're interested, here is more information on QR codes from a previous post I did.

So what does this mean? Not much at this point. It's great to have a giant like Google throw their weight into it, but there is a lot of education that needs to happen first. If and when device manufacturers start installing a reader standard on all handsets (Nokia does on some handsets) we can talk more about it as a solid marketing option.

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Want better digital strategy, ban seven dirty words

Picture 12.pngIf you love strategic planning as much as I do then I am sure that one of your biggest pet peeves is when people jump to tactics straight away in a planning meeting. Despite your most desperate attempts to steer things back on course, and define what the overall strategy looks like, you die a little when someone blurts out "Let's set up a YouTube channel and Tweet about it!".

How do you get around this? Here is what I have started doing in my initial planning sessions and it seems to be working well so far. I've banned what I consider the seven dirty words of digital strategy. They are:


  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. MySpace
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Flickr
  7. Ning

Why are they so bad? Because it allows people to jump to a tactic without thinking about brand essence, audience, voice, etc. It also takes attention away from a more integrated digital approach (email, loyalty programs, SEM, etc.). The pure hype behind these seven words has turned mass media and corporate boardrooms on their heads trying to figure out how to best leverage them.

So, the next time you walk into a planning meeting, lay out your list of dirty words and create a penalty for anyone who mentions them. You'll be surprised how quickly your discussions turn to audience, engagement and how fast you come up with more creative, innovative solutions. Once you have that, you can see talk about these platforms if, and when, they are determined to be the right tools to be most effective in reaching your audience.

Oh, there are more dirty words like Friendfeed and Delicious, even more general terms like blog and wiki, but removing those seven from your planning vocabulary will help you reach a new strategic mindset and come up with better solutions for your clients.

What are your seven dirty words? Let me know how this works for you!

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Launched: Papa John's Road Trip augmented reality

Launched is a series that highlights practitioners who are using social media in consumer and B2B campaigns. The goal is to cut out the theory and rhetoric and focus on real world examples of social media in action.

This example is for a Papa John's campaign created by Fleishman-Hillard (my employer) and includes physical events, social media hooks and includes a cool augmented reality example. The campaign is in support of Papa John's 25th anniversary and ties into the Road Trip program. This post looks at the augmented reality application and tie to the broader campaign.

Here is a quick video overview of the technology:

[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

Marketing takeaways:


  • Good use of technology to tie physical customer interactions back to virtual elements and then through to transaction
  • Measurement through unique coupon codes in the augmented reality environment

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Launched, drop me an email.

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Tourism and social media

Earlier in the week I presented on the impact of social media in the tourism industry at the Idaho Conference on Recreation and Tourism in Sun Valley, Idaho. A fantastic crowd and place to visit. Here is the deck.

For more information on booking me to speak at your event, click here.

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The future of marketing

Last week was a whirlwind week, hence the lack of posts on the blog. I gave three presentations in three days and traveled from Cleveland to Idaho to St. Louis back to Cleveland. Here is the Friday keynote that I gave at the 2009 eMarketing Techniques conference here in Cleveland. This deck is an evolution for me, I adapt it all the time and this is the latest version.

[UPDATE] Thanks to Dan Hanson (aka the Great Lakes Geek) for recording the following interview with me after this presentation.

For more information on booking me to speak at your event, click here.

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Ball bearings, social media and you

iStock_000004515838XSmall.jpgAbout three years ago I spoke at an event in a town to the south of Cleveland. The audience was a more traditional marketing audience and they were very receptive to what I had to say...except for one guy at the side of the room. If you give presentations, you know this guy. He nodded a little, but shot an occasional contrarian scowl.

If there is room to become a social media leader in the ball bearing industry, there is room to become a leader in your industry.

After I was done I saw him hanging out toward the back of the room and as I wrapped up my obligatory mingling, I approached him. After introducing myself I asked if he had any questions that he wanted to address with me.

He started, "Matt, I know what you're saying, but this doesn't work for every company. People don't care about some of these products."

I had to wonder what the heck this guy did to have such a low image of his company. I probed a little further, "I think it does apply to every company to an extent and you need to be listening to know when the timing is right. What is your industry?"

Sheepishly the guy said, "We make ball bearings."

I do love a challenge. I mentioned that his company could take a leadership position with customers and in search engines by adopting social platforms now versus waiting to play catch up. He agreed to watch, but I am doubtful that he actually took my advice.

Tonight, I took a quick stroll through the social web. Here is what I found surrounding the ball bearing industry.

How bearings are made:

Bearing service center tour:

Advances in ball bearings using ceramic:

Photos of ball bearings on Flickr:

  

Wikipedia has a good overview of the industry.

Chinese ball bearing company uses a blog to post information about their products

Other companies syndicate their news via RSS to be listed among related blogs.

Bearing manufacturers have Facebook groups as well. On Facebook there are poeple who love ball bearings and people who hate bad ball bearings.

Ball bearing companies are on Twitter too as are fans of ball bearings and the media that covers the space and professional groups as well. There is actually a lot of conversation on Twitter about bearings.

So, what the heck does this mean for you? Ask yourself, who owns my space in the social sphere online? Do a search inside the top social networks. Who is already forming relationships with my customers/potential customers/influencers? What is the best entry point for my company? How can I get involved NOW in order to not lose more ground?

If there is room to become a social media leader in the ball bearing industry, there is room to become a leader in your industry.

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The cohesion of conversations; brands taking a #(pound)ing

iStock_000007087342XSmall.jpgThe hashtag (aka the pound sign, #) is a ubiquitous part of social networking at this point. The purpose of the hashtag is to be able to track and lump a strong of asynchronous messages together for later review and analysis.

For example, a group of people coordinate and use the same keyword at the end of every tweet. You probably saw this at SXSW this year when people were ending their messages with #sxsw. You can use third party sites to aggregate those messages into a single string that is ordered by date to see how events unfold.

However, the hashtag is also being used to track the community's brand engagement. Situations like #motrinmoms, #dominos and #amazonfail now have a public timeline that will remain in place forever. The massive volume of similarly tagged content will make it very easy for anyone to find what happened and see how the company responded across search engines and social platforms.

An argument that people have used to avoid engagement in this space is that it's a relatively small sampling of people who engage in these networks. Regarding the Motrin Moms controversy, an Advertising Age article quoted a Lightspeed research study that stated 90% of women had not seen the Motrin ad that spawned the backlash online. Of the 10% who did, 8% said it negatively impacted their brand impression. While that is a small number, you cannot underestimate the power of small, passionate groups of people who use turbocharged platforms to connect with and influence other like minded people. Wildfires can start with a single match, right?

Internal listening is paramount

I can partially understand when companies have some hesitation in listening to the broad community and engaging. It's time consuming and you have to have a corporate culture to make it work. However, I do not understand companies that do not listen in the social space for employee engagement issues, brand perception problems and platform breakdowns. These types of issues are having an impact on Dominos and Amazon right now.

#dominos: This one is picking up steam now. For more info on what happened, go here.
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#amazonfail: This ramped up a couple of days ago when a "glitch" in the Amazon system starting delisting GLBT titles. People responded to the "glitch" with the hashtag #glitchmyass. It seems to be trending down at the moment.
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[Update] Here is page one of the Google search result for Dominos as of 10:30am on April 15, 2009. Notice entry #3 from YouTube, the top news story as well as the next three stories after the new results.

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The bottom line is that these companies should have been listening and engaging all along, should have been prepared earlier with real, honest, personal responses and taken proactive steps to make things right with their community. Waiting a day to respond is WAY too long, waiting hours may even be too long.

Some things to think about:


  • Listening is more important than ever
  • Active listening can pick up issues before they become crises
  • Community building is key (in advance of an issue)
  • Events are being linked together by consumers for all to see
  • The content of those interactions will live on forever
  • The content also appears in search
  • A few, passionate individuals can dramatically hurt or help a brand in its interactions online

Do you go back through hashtags to see conversations over time? Have you come across them in search results?

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Visualizing the growth of Facebook around the world

facebook_logo.jpgToday at some point, Facebook passed the 200 million user mark. If you've been keeping up with my Face of Facebook global updates you know the details of this growth. If not, what are you waiting for?

As part of the momentous occasion, Facebook released a very cool heat map of the site's global growth from zero users through today. Below are the major milestones. Note the early US and european growth and how quickly it's moving throughout APAC, India, South America and parts of Africa.

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First//Look: Augmented reality

Picture 10.pngWhat do you get when you take a webcam, a piece of paper and some cool 3D animation? You get augmented reality (AR). This is relatively new though it's been experimented with for a couple of years at least. In short, AR is the combination of objects in the real world being combined with virtual objects using a webcam and some programming.

Sounds pretty cool eh? You have to see it to know what I'm talking about.

[Feed readers please click through to the post for the video]

Examples you can try yourself right now:

Potential uses:


  • The symbols that it uses can be printed on anything; paper, t-shirts, ads, etc.
  • Any time you want to make a physical connection with virtual objects
  • Allows interaction and engagement with printed pieces
  • People are working on using mobile device cameras to do this while you're on the go
  • It's just plain cool. Give it a try!

BMW looks at using AR to diagnose issues and help mechanics be more efficient

Turn the real world into a huge video game

Really bring Second Life into first life

This is pretty cutting edge, so not every company is going to be comfortable with it. The hardware barrier is pretty low (webcam) so this can hit a mass audience. It's great for presenting things when in conceptual mode (architecture, cars, etc.) as well as adding interactivity to existing items.

My advice is try one of the models above and think about the possibilities in your business. The hardest part may be to stop thinking of them.

[Hat tip to the Fleishman-Hillard digital team in St. Louis for putting this back on my radar screen.]

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The Face of Facebook Global Report - Q1 2009

C50791CC-025A-467E-8A51-5144D7AD930D.jpgWelcome to my Q1 2009 Global Trend report for Facebook. I prepare this quarterly look at Facebook to help you visualize patterns in the community and have a realistic view of the population free from marketing hyperbole.

As always, I use the data that Facebook provides directly from their advertising management system. Actual numbers may be larger, but we're marketers and these are the people who can be marketed to. Each country's data includes all age ranges. The data compares the populations at the end of Q4 2008 to the same population's numbers at the end of Q1 2009.

Key Takeaways:

  • Large gains in western Europe and the Pacific Rim
  • In total Facebook has 183,771,740 worldwide users as of the end of Q1 2009
  • The U.S. only makes up 1/3 of the total Facebook population
  • The Philippines and Indonesia has massive gains of over 160% from Q4
  • The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ecuador, Macedonia and Oman all had greater than 100% gains from Q4
  • Nearly 40% of the population of Iceland is on Facebook
  • 30% of the total population of Canada, Denmark and Norway are on Facebook
  • The U.S. (14.4), Italy (2.91), UK (2.85), France (2.47), Turkey (2.18), Spain (1.67), Indonesia (1.46), Argentina (1.15), Colombia (1.10) and Australia (1.08) had gains of over 1 million users in Q1 2009

Top 25 Countries by total users

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, UK, Canada, Turkey, France, Italy, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Hong Kong, Norway, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, India, Greece, Finland, South Africa, Indonesia, Israel

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Top 25 countries by highest % of total population on Facebook

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Canada, UK, Chile, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, USA, Switzerland, New Zealand, Bahamas, Malta, Puerto Rico, Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, Israel, France, Ireland

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*Note: This chart uses the total population of each country (not the online population)

Top 25 largest Q1 percentage gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Philippines, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ecuador, Macedonia, Oman, Portugal, Romania, Brazil, Taiwan, Lithuania, Austria, Bulgaria, Paraguay, Kenya, Ghana, Hungary, Netherlands, China, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, Thailand, Vietnam

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Top 25 largest total population gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, Italy, UK, France, Turkey, Spain, Indonesia, Argentina, Colombia, Australia, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, India, South Africa, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile

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Raw country population data for Q1 2009

Country Q1 2009 Q4 2008
Argentina 3,406,520 2,254,200
Australia 5,412,300 4,327,920
Austria 462,540 258,780
Bahrain 66,340 50,660
Bangladesh 284,660 198,780
Belgium 2,150,920 1,666,340
Bolivia 251,820 184,920
Bosnia 288,880 198,660
Brazil 392,840 209,100
Bulgaria 244,480 136,980
Canada 11,552,120 10,851,420
Chile 4,441,640 4,152,060
China 375,200 220,620
Colombia 4,743,920 3,636,320
Costa Rica 116,140 73,100
Croatia 598,320 491,240
Cyprus 134,260 109,420
Czech Republic 433,700 176,660
Denmark 2,060,440 1,778,440
Dominican Republic 163,060 115,680
Ecuador 201,320 130,860
Egypt 1,270,520 821,760
El Salvador 90,580 67,360
Finland 1,032,140 920,960
France 9,072,360 6,595,300
Germany 1,970,740 1,255,480
Ghana 93,160 53,880
Greece 1,348,920 1,000,320
Guatemala 127,880 93,960
Honduras 72,780 54,180
Hong Kong 1,706,780 1,456,740
Hungary 154,840 90,260
Iceland 148,380 120,520
India 1,602,860 1,072,080
Indonesia 2,358,400 898,360
Ireland 594,640 401,280
Israel 1,028,140 895,520
Italy 8,499,940 5,582,980
Jamaica 91,960 64,780
Japan 314,700 213,420
Jordan 317,800 266,700
Kenya 227,160 130,920
Kuwait 142,620 105,160
Lebanon 441,380 414,240
Lithuania 75,280 41,800
Luxembourg 94,780 87,400
Macedonia 140,000 78,180
Malaysia 1,183,860 851,240
Maldives 41,320 33,880
Malta 65,040 45,820
Mauritius 81,280 57,060
Mexico 2,141,500 1,439,580
Morocco 487,000 369,660
Netherlands 602,280 351,540
New Zealand 738,620 534,320
Nicaragua 43,920 29,560
Nigeria 331,240 212,780
Norway 1,795,040 1,455,080
Oman 35,600 24,240
Pakistan 546,360 376,800
Palestine 89,320 69,660
Panama 279,180 236,200
Paraguay 33,960 19,200
Peru 455,700 295,620
Phiilippines 1,030,340 390,700
Poland 300,880 194,960
Portugal 168,900 84,760
Puerto Rico 636,660 541,640
Qatar 98,020 67,840
Romania 108,460 56,300
Russia 203,180 122,780
Saudi Arabia 448,240 325,860
Serbia 753,720 557,480
Singapore 1,038,620 740,220
Slovakia 290,560 138,120
Slovenia 271,440 184,120
South Africa 1,406,120 920,860
South Korea 161,100 113,940
Spain 4,266,660 2,591,640
Sri Lanka 210,820 154,780
Sweden 2,043,980 1,697,100
Switzerland 1,382,540 1,122,900
Taiwan 205,060 112,840
Thailand 273,780 168,840
The Bahamas 54,300 43,900
Trinidad and Tabago 177,980 136,080
Tunisia 392,220 239,600
Turkey 10,105,380 7,924,640
UAE 593,560 485,540
UK 17,781,800 14,922,560
Ukraine 65,440 41,400
Uraguay 292,360 198,160
USA 56,462,020 42,017,280
Venezuela 2,732,860 1,872,840
Vietnam 63,360 39,120

Does anything surprise you on this? Anything else you would like to know?

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When everything becomes social, what is "social media"?

iStock_000005140921XSmall.jpgWhat do you think of when I say the term "social media"? Do visions of Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, blogs and wikis dance through your head? If you do, I think you're selling yourself short. VERY short.

Social media is a fad. All media will be social.

For the past year, I have included a slide in my presentation decks that says "Social media is a fad. All media will be social". We're already seeing instances of this in mainstream media. Just look at the Facebook/CNN partnership for the inauguration. It nearly crippled business networks around the world as people chatted with their Facebook friends while watching broadcast TV online.

This is an experience that has been taking place through divergent platforms for more than a decade (IM + TV), but is now becoming integrated into a single user experience. Just open Twitter during prime time TV and see what dominates the conversation. It's people talking together around a common topic enabled by whatever show is on.

Current showed us another example of the integration of TV with social technology as it flowed in real-time messages from Twitter during broadcast. This is a clunky solution for now until cable platforms integrate these services into the broadcast or they focus more on online delivery of content.

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In-person events are even taking advantage of social technology to make the event even more engaging. Speakers (including myself) take questions on Twitter and engage people beyond the four walls of the room. Live streaming of video allows a global audience to participate in a local event.

Social technology is allowing radio broadcasts to expand their conversations as people engage online while listening or even while not listening. Smart stations are engaging with their audiences through multiple platforms. Each morning I listen to the BBC's Radio 1 on my drive to work. The Chris Moyles Show uses multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS to engage the audience in real time. The hosts are savvy and the technology is simple and fast.

Mobile device experiences will become increasingly more social. You're seeing the start of this now with applications like Loopt and FourSquare, but you will see social interactions around news content via iPhone apps or any other platform that brings people together.

Does news become more relevant when discussed with my peer group? Absolutely. Once of the main problems with most social content is that the group of people commenting/creating are not relevant to my interests (see YouTube comments for example). If I can select who I have conversations with on certain topics, it's very valuable to me. I'm not saying we should censor people, but the technology allows for added relevance that we should be taking advantage of.

Even outdoor ads have started to become vaguely social. Mini Cooper took the lead on this a few years ago by using RFID technology to display custom messages to their customers as they drove by.

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So, instead of taking a narrow, short-term view of "social media", we need to step back, look at all media and see what the social technology potential is and look at how to take advantage of that to deliver more relevant experiences.

How does this notion that all media will become social change your view of media? Is TV/radio dying? What about magazines? Do these have to be digital to be social?

Let's hear what you have to say!

Note: If you're interested in having me speak to your group or organization, check out my speaking page to get in touch with me.

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The age of Facebook vs. MySpace: February/March edition

iStock_000005753573XSmall.jpgSo sorry for the delay in this report. MySpace seems to only update their ad targeting stats every other month (Facebook is done in real time). This is the latest edition of my look at social networks and their populations from a marketing perspective.

All numbers in this post are US-only and are collected using each site's advertising management systems so they are up to date and accurate from a marketer's perspective. (Who wants to talk about populations that can't be reached by marketing? Not me.)

What you need to know right now:

  • For the first time, over half of the population of Facebook is over 25 (60% MySpace is still under 25)
  • Overall Facebook is up 22% while MySpace is down .5%
  • Facebook has now surpassed MySpace in 31-50 age ranges
  • Facebook's 50+ group is the fastest growing followed closely by the 41-45 group
  • MySpace's largest losses are ages 35 and under
  • Facebook growth under age 25 is still slow (this group is maxing out)

MySpace down overall; Facebook over 50 booming; Facebook overtakes MySpace in the 31-50 populations

Total US populations of MySpace and Facebook:

Mar_totals_byage.png

Looking at Women on both sites:

Mar_Female_byage.png

Looking at Men on both sites:

Mar_Male_byage.png

Here are the actual Feb/March numbers:

AGE RANGEFacebookΔ last periodMySpaceΔ last period
13-176,051,940+7.58%17,072,104-0.18%
18-2111,572,420+6.65%19,840,744-0.81%
22-258,715,060+11.61%12,346,236-1.46%
26-30 7,703,320+22.55%10,949,876-1.86%
31-355,859,840+29.63% 5,778,080-0.44%
36-404,941,180+38.16%3,744,776+1.27%
41-453,000,860+47.33%2,226,476+1.80%
46-501,950,220+50.57%1,510,488+3.39%
51-65+2,945,680+51.90%7,692,972+0.91%

Other key takeaways:


  • These numbers represent all total users who can be reached through each site's advertising systems (not all worldwide active users)
  • MySpace's reporting system is not real time like Facebook's. Keep this in mind if you're planning a campaign.
  • MySpace skews younger than Facebook, engaging more of the highschool population
  • Facebook engages much more of the college population (inverse to MySpace)
  • Women make up well over half of the Facebook population across all age ranges
  • MySpace's 50+ population is over 70% female, Facebook is over 63% female

What do you think? What other networks are you investigating? The demographics and targeting options on both sites let you reach your audience in targeted/tailored ways and minimize waste. Knowing where your customers are is key.

Data sources: If you're curious, here is where the data comes from on both sites.

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Launched: Skittles.com

skittles.pngLaunched is a series that I am renewing to highlight practitioners who are using social media in consumer and B2B campaigns. The goal here is to cut out the theory and rhetoric and focus on real world examples of social media in action.

** Let's cut the BS on this one. I've seen a lot of people pontificate on if this launch is good or bad. Honestly, that is up to Skittles and their agency who are the keepers of the campaign objectives and analytics.

Now, on with the post. There has been a lot of buzz around the new launch of the Skittles.com website. Long story short, Skittles launched a site that uses third-party social media outlets as the base for their content. That means load up the site, you see a small Skittles widget on top of either Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or Wikipedia. Take a look at the video to see what I mean.


[Feed readers click through to the post to see the video.]

It has certainly created a lot of initial buzz, but that seems to be quickly tailing off.

Twitter Buzz:
Picture 24.png

Blog Buzz:
Picture 25.png

Picture 26.pngWhat I have not seen, and this may be more telling about their overall approach, is engagement from the brand. No outreach, commentary or other follow up. That is a huge loss for the brand in extending the conversation to an even broader audience.

As I mentioned in the video, the age verification "restrics access" to the content (even though it is wide open if you go directly) if you are under 13. Via Quantcast (not 100% accurate, but picks up trends) around 16-26% of their total visitors are under 13. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Pros:


  • Very open and transparent
  • Bold move for a consumer brand (I wonder what legal said)
  • Provides easy access for customers to engage on their own platforms
  • Created buzz online (was it all echo chamber rhetoric?)

Cons:


  • Not what you would expect at Skittles.com (games, Flash video, etc.)
  • There are some usability challenges that detract from the concept
  • It has been done before (although not at the brand level)
  • Social media is susceptible to attack/fraud/defamation and, while transparent, could be of concern for a lot of companies

Key Takeaways:


  • We need to know the goals of the campaign to judge this fairly
  • Buzz has definitely picked up, I wonder if they'll be as open with their sales trend data to show results
  • Good embrace of social media (especially with a younger audience)
  • The total lack of any control is a little scary, why not pull in all of this content into a branded site? Does this form factor add or detract?
  • You need a VERY open legal team to let something like this through, with Skittles they are young, open and it may not concern them at all

What say you? Take the following poll and let me know. Is this smart, dumb or are you waiting to see?

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Inside//Out: Radian6

Picture 23.pngIf you are at all involved in social media, either on the client side or the agency side, you have heard of Radian6. This Canadian-based company has used its own tools to grow their influence and broaden their customer base. Post nearly anything about the company or its employees and you will have someone stop by your site to leave a comment or lend a hand. (Disclosure: Radian6 is a partner of Fleishman-Hillard, my employer.)

Just this past weekend, Radian6 released an updated version with a new set of features. If you remember in my post 'Executing a listening plan' there are three layers to doing this well. Radian6 handles the social media/forum/micromedia data very well and helps coordinate the people layer. It does not include print news, TV or radio.

Radian's new release adds more team monitoring elements to enable multiple people to coordinate. The new release also tracks comments by integrating BackType into the system.

I think it's time to give you a tour of the product, show what it is capable of and discuss how it may fit into your listening plan (current or future).


[Feed readers please click through to the post for the video.]

I am going to do more of these videos on other measurement tools to show you what the landscape looks like. If you have a suggestion or recommendation for a future video here on Techno//Marketer, drop me an email!

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Facebook finally learns from its mistakes (or did they?)

facebook_logo.jpgAfter a few weeks of controversy over a change in their terms of service (TOS) agreement, Facebook today has announced it has apparently learned from its mistakes and will open this process up to the users. It is hard for me to fathom why this has taken such a long time given that this is what social media is all about. Why has it taken five years for the world's fastest growing social network to start listening and engaging its community?

Why has it taken five years for the world's fastest growing social network to start listening and engaging its community?

Facebook is opening up two documents for discussion. The first is basically a user's bill or rights called the Facebook Principles. The second document is a replacement to the TOS called the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Both documents are housed in separate groups that invite conversation and engagement. Once that dialogue happens, the community will vote for and against changes a la Wikipedia.

They're still keeping a nice big loophole open.

All of this is great, but the wording in Mark Zuckerberg's post about this topic is very interesting. He talks about innovation and "disruptive technologies" that "will not be subject to the notice and comment or voting requirement". So they're still keeping a nice big loophole open.

The overall management of the operation is what I see being the largest problem. Facebook's Groups are not good at handling a large conversation. It's a glorified message board. When 10,000 people respond, how do you ensure people are heard? How do you filter down the hot items? Who does that filtering? Sounds like a big hurdle that could backfire.

A couple of thoughts and questions on this move:


  • The command and control approach Facebook has taken in the past seems to be dying off
  • Still unclear what happens if something is enacted that impacts Facebook's business if they will adopt it
  • In Facebook's five year existence, it's hard to imagine why this hasn't happened sooner
  • How can they effectively manage thousands of points of feedback and narrow it down? Who does the narrowing?
  • Does the loophole I note above make this futile?
  • What are the legal implications of the community dictating policy? What if there is a conflict?
  • Should businesses look at adopting this approach to their online engagement?

So, what are your thoughts on this? Are you satisfied with the new process? Do you feel they've learned from their mistakes? Let me know!

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The two hour minumum

iStock_000002783708XSmall.jpgI am sure that if you are in an agency, on the client side or an individual in the social media space, the following question has popped up.

How much time do I need to spend in social media each day?

I hear this being asked in meetings, presentations and see it pop up across the web. To be truthful, there is no set rule here. However, I have come up with the guideline that I'll talk about in this post for engaging clients in new work, managing existing campaigns, talking to up-and-coming bloggers, etc.

It's the two hour minimum per day.

Why two hours?

The two hour minimum comes from my experience here on the blog as well as in the agency environment. I've given this a lot of thought, but at the end of the day, I've tried different formulas to arrive here.

To give you an example, I spend around 5 hours a day personally on this blog and in my networks. This is on top of my workload and personal commitments. I've found that if I spend around two hours I can stay above water. As soon as I dip below that, my community suffers. That's what I am trying to avoid. I've backed this up through client work where that number seems to fit with our internal teams as well as client-side teams.

Two hours is the absolute minimum amount of time that a company/individual needs to spend EVERY DAY in this space.

What do you do with two hours?

Oh, trust me. Once you start engaging, two hours goes by like a speeding bullet. The following items are a good foundation on how to spend the time each day.
    Listen - Check your feed reader, check your Google alerts, monitor Tweetdeck, do a Twitter search (unless you've added them into your reader), check Technorati (you never know), look at your commenting service (co.Comment/Backtype/etc.) to see who has replied to you. This isn't a one-time thing, set a schedule through the day and check back for 5 minutes.

    Engage - Monitor those conversations through the day and reply as close to realtime as you can. Overnight delays are common and (I think) accepted in most cases. During the workday, however, you can make more impact by replying within 2-4 hours. If you have a blog, write a post or at least brainstorm new ideas based on what you're seeing.

    Discover - Another part of the day should spawn from the listening and engagement phases. You should constantly look for new blogs, people on Twitter to follow, new relevant posts to comment on, etc.

This sounds like a lot to do in two hours, eh? It is. Remember I said this is a minimum starting point for entry into the space. The commitment will grow over time.

*Variables: Note that the complexity of your business/industry will weigh on this minimum requirement. If you have 5-10 brands, you may need to spend an hour each. This is not set in stone, just a guideline to get you thinking and talking.

What next?

Scale is important to be aware of in social media. The more success you have, the more time it will take to grow to new successes. The more you monitor, the more conversations, the more people you meet, the more time you spend.

Be aware of this and scale your two hours up to 3, 4, 5 to a full time person to a team of people. Richard Binhammer at Dell (@richardatdell) could probably teach a class on this.

Advancing from two hours

As you grow, it's crucial to maintain your level of engagement. This is a financial commitment for your client/company and needs to have accountability.

Some situations that can tell you when to scale:


  • When your response time is slipping due to volume
  • When your discovery portion of the time you're spending is limited due to listening and engaging
  • When your customers ask you to ramp up

These are good problems to have by the way. It means your community is starting to embrace you and your team. The goal is to grow steadily over time for maximum results. Quick wins are few and far between. It takes real effort and dedication.

How much time do you spend each day? Please weigh in on the poll below.

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The power of the trust economy

iStock_000006741261XSmall.jpgWho do you trust? Sounds like a simple, black and white question doesn't it? Trust in the real world (read offline) is something we're all familiar with. We've been burned by people or thrown under a bus or two. We adjust our construct of what trust means over time.

Online, however, this becomes more difficult. As trust levels drop with the stock market, it is also playing out in the microcosm of our online social connections. Savvy spammers have begun leveraging the trust equity that people and companies are establishing.

A couple of weeks ago I started noticing a trend on some of the micromedia sites that I use, including Twitter. Spam accounts were being created using an iteration of a social celebrity's username. I was friended by accounts from Scoble, Tamar and others. Or so I thought. If you looked closely at the invites, they were from the accounts scobleizer_ and tamar_ (note the underscore). Once the account clones were working they spammed about 2000 users and in most cases gained 200-400 followers before they were shut down.

Seeing that trend, I joked around with the following message:

Picture 4.png

To my chagrin, my username was quickly used with the underscore scam. I had 20+ followers alert me that this happened and I took the appropriate action. This happened two times once with _mattdickman and once with mattdickman_. Each time, over 350 people followed these fake accounts based on the trust I've established.

Picture 3.png

Another example of trust abuse happens when people/companies don't engage in this space and create a vacuum. Just ask the Dalai Lama. A fake user came on to Twitter and created the account OHHDL and had around 20,000 follow them. It was later revealed to not be an official channel of his holiness.

Picture 1.png

So, how do you make sure this doesn't happen to you? If it does happen, what is your response? I think having a supportive community (like mine) helps a lot as they spread the word and make sure it doesn't get out of hand.

Has this happened to you? How would you respond?

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Executing a listening plan

iStock_000000564491XSmall.jpgLast week I wrote a post on the lack of listening that is taking place among top marketing executives. In my opinion, most of the problem with listening stems a lack of the right tools and a lack of an action plan for what to do with the information.

Two of my top key takeaways from that post got me thinking.


  1. You have to have humans involved
  2. You have to have an escalation plan

I'm a visual person, so I wanted to come up with a construct that could frame this challenge in the enterprise for further discussion. Here is what I cam up with, let me know what you think:

layersoflistening.png
[Click to enlarge image.]

The data layer

The data layer has been getting a lot of attention lately. Many companies are very active in this space and provide great solutions. However, data without human filtering is useless. The key to the data layer is that you're listening to the spaces that matter and that it spans media types.

Data alone without human filtering is useless.

Aggregating news, TV, radio, blogs, micromedia, message boards, etc into a single location is becoming a necessity. People are doing this now, but the information is rarely synchronized and shared in a coordinated manner. Good filtering in the data layer can help to eliminate work in the human layer, but it's a fine line to make sure that emerging trends aren't excluded. The solutions that exist in this space at the current time are not adequate for major global brands.

The human layer

This, in my mind, is the key to success. No matter how good the data layer, you still need a human looking at it who knows the business, challenges and processes. You need to spot trends across media, uncover new innovations, and listen to what is happening with internal department responsibilities in mind.

The humans in this layer should span media formats, look for trends and spot emerging issues to flag for appropriate follow up. Within a company, these flags will need to be communicated to the right department at the right level. That's where the action level takes over.

The action layer

Listening without action is a waste of money and is one of the reasons I think more companies are not engaging. Companies are huge, siloed beasts that eat disorganization for lunch. Rolling out a listening plan is a challenge, but not one that can't be overcome.

The humans who review data need to know the structure of the organization and the people involved. In other words, these people need to be 100% integrated in the company's culture/process. They need to know the legalities of the business, HR issues, communications opportunities, brand/product feedback, how employees are engaging and representing the company and what is being said about the companies media properties.

In a company that is fully engaged in social media, this structure is VERY flat and responsive to even the smallest issues/opportunities.

Within each layer there needs to be an escalation plan. I didn't show that in this diagram, because each department will be different. You need to think about how the business operates and look at the possible issues that could arise. For each possible issue, determine who needs to know what and how fast they need to know it.

Here is an example for a consumer product company:


  1. Issue is detected. What is the issue?
  2. It's a product safety problem. How serious is it?
  3. Lives could potentially be threatened.
  4. Alert all heads of departments by SMS/email as well as key contacts within each department
  5. Schedule call as soon as possible

A cross-functional team needs to sit across all related departments to bind this process together and ensure success. They determine alerting protocol and responses. In a company that is fully engaged in social media, this structure is VERY flat and responsive to even the smallest issues/opportunities.

Listening as step one

If you remember my post from late September "Should your company blog?" (it applies to your company/CEO/VP/or yourself), the first step in the process is listening. The more companies that take this first step and listen are on their way to a solid foundation in customer engagement. You can't start truly engaging with a strategic insight until you listen. What's stopping you?

blog decision tree.png

How would you improve this? What am I missing? I'd love to have your feedback.

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Microsoft takes on QR codes

Picture 7.pngA couple of weeks ago I posted an update and video demo showing how QR (quick response) codes work. Today, I was pointed to a separate Microsoft version of the technology. It's called Microsoft Tag. The way it works is identical to the QR code system (download an app, take a photo, decode the photo through a gateway and deliver you the content).

Where QR codes came out of technology and manufacturing, this new system is coming into the world with a consumer-friendly push. The site is easy to use, shows the value of the service in terms that consumers can understand and provides a direct link to have the software download page sent to your device. The iPhone app has worked well in my trials.

Picture 6.png

The same Microsoft system enables marketers to create the codes through a central interface, track engagement through usage and render code images in a very easy manner. The application asks for your location (not sure if this is shared back to the marketer or Microsoft).

Here is a video demo of the Tag technology.

[Feed readers please click through to the post.]

Challenges

However, with the excitement around this system the same challenges exist for Microsoft as for other providers. There is a lack of education about this in the public and software readers are scarce.

Real world example

97200020-E04D-4DE7-9C8D-5E5D7581BDE8.jpgJust as an example of the kind of linkage you can get with this technology, I saw a QR code in the wild the other day when I was in a movie theatre. The cardboard standup for the movie "Notorious" had two of these codes on it. The code linked the user to the movie's trailer on YouTube and the revelation that people had when I showed them how I just linked the physical marketing to the online was amazing.

Could a move by Google embed this into the mainstream? What if all US carriers started installing this software standard? What would you use it for in an existing campaign? How are you engaging people offline to bring them online?

This isn't a short-term answer, but it does get you thinking.


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You suck at listening!

iStock_000002581157XSmall.jpgWell, not you personally (I hope). A recent CMO Council study, however showed that only 16% of 400 executives they surveyed have an online listening plan in place. 56% have no plan to track of drive word-of-mouth and only 30% thought they had the ability to resolve complaints quickly. Why such a low percentage? What is stopping these CMOs from implementing a plan?

Personally, I think that creating a listening plan is pretty easy. It's what you do with the information that you are collecting that is the hard part. This is where these marketing executives are falling down.

What you do with that information once you have it? How do you get all of the other departments to commit to the initiative? How do you execute on it without losing productivity? It really comes down to creating a customer service culture, where the customer is the priority. This is not how a lot of companies operate, however.

From my post earlier in January, here are three keys to listening online:

  1. Find your customer and spend your time there. While Twitter is great for some brands, you will find that message boards, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, etc. may hold the majority of your customers. If you're listening in the wrong place you're not doing any good.

  2. Use technology to speed the process. Instead of watching Twitter for 12 hours a day, subscribe to the RSS feed for your keywords on Twitter Search. Do the same with keywords on Google and your Technorati page. Check this a couple of times a day. On top of that, you can overlay that information on top of the monitoring tools.

    Big tip, I've seen monitoring companies sell their services as the end-all of this area and they are not. This requires a human being who knows the industry and company to make it worth while.

  3. Create your active listening plan. Listening is a good first step, but a lifetime of listening without action is not going to move the needles that you need to move for your business. Creating an plan for what to do with the information you learn is key.

    I wrote this post in February of 2007 on active listening and it still holds true today. This quote sums it up:

    "Agile marketing companies are leveraging new technology to create real, one-to-many and many-to-many conversations. They are using the outcome from that interaction to make meaningful, remarkable, relationship-enhancing changes that impact their clients in a positive manner. Are you listening?"

Key Takeaways

  • You have to have humans involved. This is often overlooked with all of the technology that we have out there, but humans can spot trends, flag issues that matter and ignore ones that don't. Whatever automation you employ, make sure you have a smart person reviewing it.
  • Have an escalation plan. Don't just listen for listening's sake. You need to know what to do when you hear something. Set action alerts when a certain criteria is met, set a clear path for issues to be escalated through and assign a person to follow up and make sure they're resolved.
  • Use the community to improve your ideas. Just like the examples I mentioned in this post listening can give you insights into your customers that would otherwise cost you millions in testing and research. Listen hard and act on what you hear.

At the end of the day, listening is easy. Setting up the systems and processes that take what you hear and turn it into a business resource is the hard part. What steps would you take if you were in their shoes?

2/3/09 - IMPORTANT UPDATE: I think that it's important to note that 75% of journalists get story ideas from blogs. How can you not be monitoring the space that has this much influence over the editors who cover you? This single reason alone should be enough to get people off of their butts and starting to plan their strategy.

Also, check out Jon Burg's great follow up post "10 reasons CEOs need social insights and 6 steps to setting this up".

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Moving Feedburner to your Google account

FeedBurner-256x256.pngA couple of nights ago I logged into my Feedburner account and saw a message that I needed to move my account to Google. Feedburner, for those of you who don't use it, is the most popular feed measurement service in the world. It tracks subscriber numbers over time as well as base metrics.

If you're familiar with what Yahoo! did with Flickr, this is the same thing. They are forcing all users to transfer their Feedburner.com accounts to their Google account. If you don't have one, you have to create one or lose your stats. I had a bit of trepidation on doing this given Feedburner's notoriously flaky record of late, but I decided to take one for the team and document what happened.

Here is a video demo of what you can expect:


[Feed readers, click through to the post if you cannot see the video]

UPDATE: This graphic was not working in the video above, but here is what the new subscribers/reach chart looks like. (Interesting to note that this is done in Flash now and cannot be viewed on an iPhone or other mobile device.)

Picture 4.png

UPDATE 2 (1/24): After a six day drop in subscribers, my numbers bounced back to where they were before the switch. Engagement numbers (the blue line) seems to still be a bit off.
Picture 37.png

Keys to understand:


  • Google has good reason to do this and hopefully will allow the service to remain free of bugs
  • Email subscriptions get a huge boost now running on the Gmail mail servers
  • Feed number will fluctuate "for up to a week" after this transition takes place (I am down from 2800 to 800). They say this will bounce back
  • Subscribers should not see a change
  • You don't have to change any code, it redirects for you (and will for the life of the product per Google)
  • You must do this by February 28, 2009 or you risk losing your subscribers
  • Google has removed all metrics beyond subscriber counts. If you want pageviews, visitors, inbound links, etc. you need to set up Google Analytics or another comparable package
  • From what I've seen on the Google Feedburner forums, there is a complete lack of support so we're left to guess and worry
  • We don't really have a choice, do we?

[UPDATE:] If you are using MyBrand, there are some hurdles you should be aware of. Click here to read more. (Hat tip to Ed Healy)

Any other questions, just let me know.


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Transparency in 140 characters

iStock_000003551768XSmall.jpgOver the past couple of weeks I have seen a number of people on Twitter who seem to forget that transparency extends to micromedia platforms. I think we've been through this drill with blogs and social media profiles, but the need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

Let's take a look at the challenges that micromedia presents to marketing folks, when to disclaim, guidelines of what counts as needing disclosure and what to do.

The need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

The challenges

There are only 140 characters: A lot of people are trying so hard to get every single word into their messages that adding a note for transparency's sake falls off the radar. Tweets look much more like text messages at this point and it's going to get worse. KNIM?

Twitter is asynchronous: People begin listening and stop listening when they want. We jump in and out of conversations. If you only disclose something one time, someone may not see it and be under a false impression. Better to be safe than sorry.

[Update] Context takes effort: The two previous issues compound the difficulty of providing context. It is more an art form than a process and everyone needs to learn for themselves. Just remember, people are reading your stream of thought over time and possibly out of order. Will they get what you're saying and know what your involvement is?

When to disclaim

When you talk about a client: If you talk about a client for any reason, in any way just add the tag [client] to the message. Yes, it's an extra eight characters, but it is highly important. The risk to not doing this is looking like an idiot to your peers and looking underhanded to the broader community.

Picture 3.pngWhen you stand to gain from what you say: Robert Scoble recently got caught "red handed" by my friend Louis Gray. Scoble mentioned the Amazon Kindle in a Twitter message (he has 20,000+ followers) and linked to Amazon using his affiliate link. Thus, any sales would give him revenue. I have no problem with him doing it, but he should have been more transparent (or naked if you will). [Note that I did not use my affiliate link.] This is relatively new to micromedia, but could be simply noted with the tag [AD]. It is still to be seen if this could be successful.

Fictional users: If a user is created in support of a campaign, it should be disclaimed when not clearly fictional. Entertainment characters like the Mad Men Twitter users would be an exception. I am sure we will see more of this in the near term.

WOMMA Guidelines

When you send a message on Twitter et. al. you are driving word of mouth. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some very good guidelines on disclosure that dovetail in nicely to new formats.
Honesty of Relationship
  • We practice openness about the relationship between consumers, advocates, and marketers. We encourage word of mouth advocates to disclose their relationship with marketers in their communications with other consumers. We don't tell them specifically what to say, but we do instruct them to be open and honest about any relationship with a marketer and about any products or incentives that they may have received.
  • We stand against shill and undercover marketing, whereby people are paid to make recommendations without disclosing their relationship with the marketer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations that state: "When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience) such connection must be fully disclosed."

Honesty of Opinion

  • We never tell consumers what to say. People form their own honest opinions, and they decide what to tell others. We provide information, we empower them to share, and we facilitate the process -- but the fundamental communication must be based on the consumers' personal beliefs.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding testimonials and endorsements, specifically: "Endorsements must always reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser. Furthermore, they may not contain any representations which would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated if made directly by the advertiser."

Honesty of Identity

  • Clear disclosure of identity is vital to establishing trust and credibility. We do not blur identification in a manner that might confuse or mislead consumers as to the true identity of the individual with whom they are communicating, or instruct or imply that others should do so.
  • Campaign organizers should monitor and enforce disclosure of identity. Manner of disclosure can be flexible, based on the context of the communication. Explicit disclosure is not required for an obviously fictional character, but would be required for an artificial identity or corporate representative that could be mistaken for an average consumer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding identity in endorsements that state: "Advertisements presenting endorsements by what are represented, directly or by implication, to be "actual consumers'' should utilize actual consumers, in both the audio and video or clearly and conspicuously disclose that the persons in such advertisements are not actual consumers of the advertised product."
  • Campaign organizers will disclose their involvement in a campaign when asked by consumers or the media. We will provide contact information upon request.

What to do

When in doubt, disclose. If you are talking about a client or making direct profit just add a tag at the end. Don't just add it once, but each time you mention it.

Would you add anything to this?

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Marketing imperatives for 2009 (free eBook)

AEB6B71C-CCA7-4F88-BD8A-42352B2099D8.jpgMy good friend and blogging role model Valeria Maltoni has done it again. Valeria has created a free eBook written by 12 marketers (myself included) about our execution imperatives for 2009. There are some new voices and fresh thinking inside and is absolutely worth a read.

Here are some quotes from the book and links my fellow co-authors:


  • "Basic metrics you can initially use to match up before, during and after sales deltas are frequency, reach, and yield"
    - Olivier Blanchard, The Brand Builder, @thebrandbuilder
  • "There are three imperatives for execution programs in 2009 - start with measurement, create content for the open Web and for mobility"
    - Matt Dickman, Techno//Marketer, @MattDickman
  • "The foundation and core of what social media is, consists of the five C's. Conversation, community, commenting, collaboration and contribution"
    - Mike Fruchter, My Thoughts on Social Media, @Fruchter
  • "With social media as a platform for participation, people can behave the way they were hardwired to behave in the first place - humanly, tribally"
    - Fancois Gossieaux, Emergence Marketing, @fgossieaux
  • "Social media enhances marketing efforts as an additional indirect communication channel"
    - Beth Harte, The Harte of Marketing, @BethHarte
  • "Companies with greater social intelligence have stronger bonds with employees and customers, and that translates into revenue"
    - Lois Kelly, Beeline Labs, @LoisKelly
  • "Change ensures our own livelihoods - new opportunities and trends to capitalize upon, unique products and profit centers that merit development, robust innovation to leverage"
    - Christina Kerley, CK Epiphany, @ckepiphany
  • "Social media interaction allows us to haveā€¦ well, interaction with our customers. It lets us see them as people instead of statistics and it lets us hear their voices"
    - Jennifer Laycock, Search Engine Guide, @JenniferLaycock
  • "Goals absolutely must be built on business objectives"
    - Amber Naslund, Altitude Branding, @AmberCadabra
  • "A proper social media education is more than just learning new tools. The most important lesson we can impart is the necessity to think 'humans'"
    - Connie Reece, Every Dot Connects, @ConnieReece
  • "Social media isn't causing problems, but it is revealing them. And the problems aren't new; they've been around for a while"
    - Mike Wagner, Own Your Brand!, @bigwags
  • "The secret of success in social media is a product or a service that people actually like and use"
    - Alan Wolk, The Toad Stool, @awolk

Take a read and let me know your thoughts. What are your execution imperatives for 2009?

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