Archive for March, 2010

Titles, Tags & Tweets: the Role of Search in Social Media Marketing

As my pal Jason Falls has been discussing recently, when it comes to corporate blogging:

(Upwards) of 80 percent of traffic on most corporate blogs comes not from your passionate community of fans, but from first-time visitors.

If you subscribe to the notion that you want to serve the needs of the majority of your audience in order to maximize the efficiency of your marketing efforts, this metric shifts the purpose and focus of corporate blogging from engagement and community building to winning search results.

IStock_000011867175XSmallWhile Jason is primarily focusing on corporate blogging, as we all know many brands will supplement their blogging with Blogger Relations, YouTube videos, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  We often advise clients that the content created for one outlet, e.g., a YouTube video, ought to be promoted across any other frequently-used channels.  Tweet about the video.  Post it to the Facebook Wall.  When appropriate, let key bloggers know about it.  Et cetera.

And Jason’s research reminds us that when cross-promoting in Social Media, TITLES, TAGS and TWEETS ought to have Search Engine Optimization tenets in mind. 

If you want to own a category, the TITLE and TAGS on that YouTube video ought be as focused on “what people will be searching for when they find this clip” as “being clever.”  In fact, you should probably be more focused on the SEO principles than the cleverness factor.  Likewise, when you TWEET about that video, you’ll likely want to use words in your 140–character slot that also harken back to those TAGS and TITLES.

These are simple-enough tactics to consider yet in the hurlyburly of Social Media Marketing we often put more thought into the content creation than the promotion considerations.  But in the end, Quality is trumped by Findability.

The “T” in the famous POST Methodology espoused by Forrester is often used to stand for TECHNOLOGY or TACTICS.  Put some thought into TECHNIQUES, as well.

Chris Baggott, Jay Baer and Debbie Weil are collaborating with Jason on his research project.  You should absolutely sign up for their webinar tomorrow to learn more – it may be held on April 1 but, it ain’t no joke.

A Gift to One of Our First 1,000 Fans

Last week SHIFT’s Facebook Fanpage achieved a nice milestone – 1,000 fans!  Compare that to most other PR agencies, and it looks like a pretty solid achievement.  THANK YOU for your kindness.  We want to return the favor.

On April 1 — no foolin’ — we’re going to raffle off a cool prize to one of those folks who count as one of SHIFT’s early believers.  (Actually, it’s a really, really cool prize.  I want one.)

Curious?  Check it out…

Wonder what we’ll have to do when we hit the 2,000 mark?!

(Many) Advertising Agencies (Still) Don't Understand Social Media

Look, I have nothing against advertising agencies.  Some of my good friends work at top ad agencies and I admire their creative brilliance and verve.  Also, many advertising agencies do a good job with integrating Social Media into their overall work.

I also am not in the habit of taking potshots at specific ad campaigns.  Generally I figure everyone has good intentions and we can’t expect genius-level execution all the time.

Lastly, as ya’ll know, I fully acknowledge that there remain many gray areas when it comes to ethical challenges in Social Media.

But the new Stella Artois campaign struck me as such a perfect example of how some Advertising agencies take a bone-headed, campaign-is-king approach to Social Media that it begged for a discussion.  Here’s goes:

The campaign for Stella Artois is offering up a contest to attend the next Cannes Film Festival.  The premise is that “Jacques d’Azur” — a made-up cosmopolitan playboy and movie magnate — has gone missing and only his rightful heir can be awarded his spot at Cannes.

(The “star” of the campaign is transparently derivative of the Dos Equis campaign around “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”  But never mind that.)

At the Stella Artois site, the use of Facebook Connect to integrate the visitor’s personal content in the accompanying contest video is best-in-class — very tight and creative. Not only did it use my profile pic in clever ways, it also clearly made note of my gender and marital status.  The campaign is certainly worth checking out from that standpoint alone.

So far, I’d give the Advertising team a B for creativity and an A+ for technical wizardry.  The campaign falls apart in terms of its promotion via Social Media.

The Facebook Fanpage is all about Jacques d’Azur — including a fake bio, a fake Wikipedia tab, etc.  OK, fine, I don’t get all hot & bothered about such “fake” campaign sites.  It’s what makes Advertising campaigns fun; you’d have to be a real clod to not understand what’s going on here.  Still, looking at the Wall on this Facebook Page, clearly the only folks engaged are the folks on the advertising team, posing as characters from the campaign:


The lack of true engagement on the Facebook page is lame but not surprising, plus, it’s still early in the campaign: maybe more fans will lead to more actual back-and-forth.  Still, it would be nice to see some effort at engaging new fans.

Moving on … It’s the Twitter spam that is galling.  From what I can tell, there are no less than SEVEN fake Twitter accounts involved, and each of them appears to be spamming anyone on Twitter who has a decent number of followers, like so:



This appears to be going on all day, across all of the fake accounts.  I’ve had two industry friends reach out to me in the past 24 hours and ask, “Did you see that spam from Stella Artois?  Ugh.”

Why would I re-tweet that message from @celinevcarter?  What is the relevance to me?  Why was I targeted, beyond the fact that I have X+ number of followers?  If there was a better reason for targeting me than my follower count, how would I know? — I’ve only been directed to the generic campaign landing page on YouTube.


I’ve written before about the challenges that Advertising agencies face when it comes to the daily grind of Social Media.

Creating a relationship is hard.  Sustaining a relationship is harder.  Converting a casual fan to a true brand evangelist is next to impossible.  All of that relationship-building is hard to measure along the way (ROI), and, fraught with risk to boot.

It is far easier to spend millions on something cool and creative and hope to generate some short-term buzz that might lead to a measurable sales boost.

But then what? When this campaign is over, whether it’s a success or failure, what relationship will have been created with new Stella fans?  What is the next call to action?  If the next campaign is not as fun or relevant, will those fans still rise to the bait and help promote it, or, will they fail to engage and ignore it?  Will someone who became a fan thanks to this fun campaign have reason enough to rally around the brand in a crisis?

Advertising agencies don’t think such thoughts.  It is not in their DNA.  It’s not their fault, but neither should they fool themselves into thinking that this stuff is easy.

Relationships buoy campaigns.  Campaigns do not create relationships.

PR Pros are People, Too

IStock_000011449643XSmallRecently a big bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates arrived at SHIFT’s offices.  When you work in Public Relations, an industry that skews heavily female, you grow accustomed to such grand displays showing up on desks throughout the agency.

But this was a little different.  The flowers and candy came from a client.  They just wanted to thank their PR team for their successful launch.

I’ve been doing this PR thing for 16+ years and I can count on two hands how many times this has happened.  Not because the account work didn’t merit it, but because the typical client just doesn’t consider such an effusive display of gratitude.  They say “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” on a tour debrief, maybe they send me a nice note lauding the team’s efforts; then they pay their invoice, and it’s on to the next project.

And that simple “Thank You” is 100% totally appropriate and fine with us.  We’ve been hired to perform a service and we are fairly compensated for the work. No further signs of appreciation are expected nor sought.

But, hey, for what it’s worth — these services are performed by people.

People like happy surprises.  They appreciate the occasional out-of-the-ordinary gesture.  They are secretly delighted to note the furtive and envious glances of their colleagues as they dig into the candy box.

The team that received that gift won’t work any less diligently for their other clients, but they will always work just a little bit harder for that client who spent $50 bucks on some candy and flowers.

Beware of C.R.A.P.

I was chatting with a software entrepreneur today who confided, “Honestly, I hate running the business.  It is such a hassle!”

I’ve had days like that.  I despise the feeling of re-inventing the wheel.  I loathe meetings.  I’m constantly stymied by some of the issues I know we must push beyond to grow our agency.

Yet, I am an optimist.  I read books like SWITCH by the Heath Brothers and I am inspired to press on.  I see videos like this one — a presentation by Richard St. John, at TED, and I laugh through the next set of challenges I face.

In St. John’s presentation, he warns would-be successes to persist at all costs; to beware of C.R.A.P.  That’s Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.

Sounds like good advice to me!

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