Tag Archives: Social media

Be good to your customers…especially in the world of social media

There is a story about Lego responding to a client’s letter that has gone viral. The basic premise – a Lego fan builds a set, against his father’s wishes he takes the completed set out and ends up losing a mini-figure. His father suggests he writes to Lego, which he does, and Lego responds by sending him a replacement as well as extra Legos. Great story. And good marketing buzz for Lego. Not only did they make an even bigger fan of the 7 year old, but they got a tremendous buzz about their actions – outlets from Huffington Post to Yahoo! wrote about the story.

Blue Ninja!

Be the ninja of good customer care

So what is the moral of the story? Take care of you customers…d’uh. Okay that is the obvious. But what this really shows is the greater importance good customer care takes with the rise of social media. Before blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social outlets, the above story might have been picked up by a local newspaper reporter as filler. Good story, but buried in the business section of the Sunday edition. With social there is long tail as well as a wider reach. The originally story came out earlier this year, I just read about it and I am now blogging about it. Long tail.

Of course this sword can cut both ways. Have a bad customer care story and that could hang around your neck for much longer than it took to resolve the issue. Or if your fried chicken actually seems to be a brain or a kidney- aka what happened with KFC – click here, but be forewarned it isn’t too “appetizing” to view. Same holds true for Dell that dealt with huge headaches, both in terms of recall as well as image when one of their laptop batteries caught on fire and was videoed and spread like…ahem…wildfire on the web. This was the catalyst for Dell placing more emphasis on social listening.

These examples demonstrate the importance of being much more in tune with customer service and listening to what your customers are saying, and doing. Social media has given everyone a megaphone. Regardless of how loud or quiet that megaphone is, it is out there. End of the day customers will always vote with their wallets, but now they have another way to vote – with social media. One could argue that when it was only with a wallet, you could always expect to find another “sucker” for your products. The reality was the wallet voting is buried in the aggregate. Social media makes the vote personal and pointed. Take a cue from Lego and always treat your customer well – provide outrageous service and it will come back to you in spades. And take another cue from Dell – make social media key to your customer listening and service.


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Filed under Consumer Product Goods, Current Events, Customer Service, Social media

Burger King – the double edge sword of social media and being hacked

During Presidents Day were subjected to who was the greatest President (my ranking – Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson and TR), were bombarded by deals on cars and watching a large brand’s Twitter account getting hacked! All good fun. Well not really for Burger King…


Slightly embarrassing for the burger giant. Of course it also drew a tremendous amount of traffic to the handle, but some accounts it added 5000 followers in the first 30 minutes it was hacked! It also drove all kinds of news and discussions across all media – I was listening to 98.5 The Sports Hub spend a good 5 minutes discussing it today. Clearly Burger King got some unintentional bump from this hack. But based on some of what was being said in cyber world it was mostly ridiculing the King!

My favorite from @jorcohen“Is the Hamburglar behind this?

This incident is a great reminder for all those who are plunging into social media (which you should be doing!) keep an eye on your social channels. But also have a plan in place in case you do get hacked.

  • Shut down the hacked account quickly: Hacking is not a new thing, but when your social channel is hacked it becomes viral and public very quickly…and embarrassing! You need to have ways to ensure you can shut down an offensive tweet or facebook post quickly. What adds complexity is the 24-7 aspect of social media.
  • Action plan while you are containing the hack: While are you trying to control the situation, you need to leverage your other social media channels to communicate YOUR message, ensure that you are dealing with the hacking and that you will be back to usual in all channels.
  • Your message after the hack is controlled: Once the channel is back in your control, what will you communicate? Burger King was simple in their reaction – Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around! – Good reaction, addressing the issue and acknowledging that they gained followers due to the hack. Here is another idea, Tweet out a coupon for a free french fry or whopper or soda. Use the opportunity to drive some traffic to your stores…make lemonade out of the lemons.

Hacking will always be around. Now with social media, the hackers have a great place to target where  your brand can be quickly embarrassed and made to look less than professional! Be prepared, have a reaction plan and think of ways to turn the situation into a positive.



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Filed under Current Events, IT, Marketing, Social media

LinkedIn – strokes our egos and gets free marketing

Some of you might have received an email from LinkedIn recently stating that your profile was in the top 5% or … gasp 1% of all LinkedIn. Congratulations! You are either a one in 10 million or one in 2 million! Putting this in perspective, if you are in the 5%, it is as if you were congratulated for living in New York, actually living in NYC is more “prestigious” since there are about 8.2 million residences of NYC. If you are in the 1% then it is as if you were just one more person living in Houston. Whoohoooo…

Not exactly the same as being the holder of the winning power ball ticket. But hand it to LinkedIn, they have tapped into a basic desire – where do we rank. This gets more showcased with the openness of social media. We know exactly how many friends we have on Facebook and how many people are following us on Twitter. LinkedIn tells us what percentage we are as well as what our “number” is…Klout gives us a number and a ranking amongst our social sphere.

What LinkedIn has done, better than the others, is made our number something to talk about. They send us emails thanking us for being one of the first 250,000 users or million users. They give us a percentage of viewership. And what do we do? We post it on Facebook, Tweet about it or blog about it (like right now). This gives LinkedIn a long tail of marketing buzz. Kudos to LinkedIn and their marketing.

So when you think about a new marketing campaign, think about the numbers and how you can appeal to our desires to always be ranked higher than the next.

If you are curious…I was in the top 1% so as if I was living in Houston.

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Filed under Marketing, Social media

Ouch – News Corp sells MySpace at a $545m loss…not a good ROI

Yesterday, News Corp announced it had finally unloaded the asset, MySpace to Specific Media for a whopping $35m! I think the equity valuation for the interns at Facebook might be worth more than that. That represents a $545m loss on the amount News Corp doled out in 2005 for, at the time, #1 social media site. Rupert Murdoch certainly did not bargain for this in 2005 when he thought he was filling out his media giant with the missing piece – social, which at the time was loosely defined as online communities. I am sure the father of Fox News is not smirking today as he absorbs a lovely 93% loss on his original investment and he really is no further ahead in the game when it comes to tying social channels into his portfolio, than he was in 2005.

So what happened? To me this feels very similar to when Time Warner and AOL decided to tie the knot. At the time you had an “old school” media company, Time Warner, associating its vast empire of assets with the new media kid on the block – AOL. What it represented was a company trying to latch on to the dot com craze of the time. Much like the News Corp – MySpace move, it also ended bitterly and not how any of the parties envisioned it ending. What lessons can we take from these?

  • Acquisition is not always the answer for entering new markets. Time Warner and News Corp both might have been better served in growing online and social assets organically. Rather than acquiring a new technology company look to poach some of their personnel and give them the tools to develop organically. I cannot see companies such as News Corp and Time Warner having the appropriate cultures to allow the new kids on the block to continue to flourish.
  • The deal you walk away from is just as important as the one you embrace. Groupon pointed to this as to why they turned down the whopping offer from Google. Funny how Google is viewed as potentially stifling environment! While the half billion in cash looked good to the MySpace team, it is peanuts compared to what Linkedin hit in valuations after IPO and what is predicted for Facebook’s IPO. Granted no one could predict what would have happened with MySpace had they stayed independent, hindsight is 20/20.
  • Timing or luck or something else? “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” MySpace used to be the #1 social site. What happened? Luck? Opportunity? Or combination of all of the above. Interesting how the explosion of sites like Facebook coincide with the rise of the iPhone and better smart phones. In 2005, our social experience remained tethered to our computers. Yes blackberry was around and some of us had Treos or other version of a smart phone, but where were the apps? And no wide spread Wifi…Maybe it was bad timing for the likes of MySpace, but that is the Darwinian reality of business and high tech.

So the page turns for MySpace, not sure what the future holds for the one time front runner. Could they follow AOL and redefine themselves? Or will the go the way of Friendster and fade away to background of social media?

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Filed under Current Events, Online Community, Technology

AOL – quietly reinventing itself – will it work?

With all the hoopla about the Super Bowl, car companies splashing advertising money, snow storms in Dallas and internet companies making light of political hardship an old dot com keeps plugging away in its quest to redefine itself and look to regain a sliver of its former glory – AOL. For many of us that remember the days of dial up we also remember the constant barrage in our mailboxes (the snail mail ones) of those AOL CDs, the ones that would grant us access, via the AOL portal, to the wonderful world of the internet, via the chirp of dial up. I recall for a while that my coffee table had a number of AOL CDs strewn across its table top acting as coasters. Ah the good old days of irrational exuberance.

AOL, the once might dot com company was overwhelmed by the likes of Google who realized that users did not need to access the web via a portal…especially when search engines made the entire web navigable and accessible. After a failed business venture with Time Warner, AOL has slowly started to redefine itself. Unlike Yahoo! who seems to be wanting to kick out social media from its portfolio, AOL has embraced social media and content and is instead looking to quietly aggregate many of the assets that have ridden the Web 2.0 to success.

The latest acquisition of the Huffington Post for $315m is another piece of the growing AOL content portfolio. The Huffington Post tops the Technorati list of top 100 blogs on a consistent basis, this blog is striving to break into this list…but still have a lot of work to do! the Huffington Post also has a healthy Twitter following – over 800,000 followers as of this writing.  Couple this with AOL’s early purchase of TechCrunch, another blog and the #2 blog on the same list, and clearly AOL is looking to bolster its reach in the cyber world of content. They have also acquired more niche blogging firms such as MMAfighting.com – a blog dedicated to fans of the MMA.  For a list of the companies AOL has been purchasing click here.

So what does this mean for AOL? For the amount of cash they are paying out for these assets I think they are getting some good deals. They realize that the search market is dominated by Google, with Bing and to some degree Yahoo! still commanding a large chunk of that market, so not worth getting into that. The portal strategy has sailed a decade ago. Free email is table stakes – with the likes of Facebook getting into the space shortly as well. Social is hot, but I am sure that AOL realizes with their brand name would make a pure social media strategy a difficult path to take. So instead they are moving into the social arena by seeking to control many of the destinations people are heading to for their content. With an increased amount of viewers seeking out blogs for their news and content rather than traditional sources like CNN.com or NYTimes.com, AOL has an opportunity to capture an audience that any advertiser and marketer would pay good money to reach. AOL is banking on the trend that blogging and other social media outlets will become the de facto outlet for content – and by owning a number of these assets they will also “own” access to their audience.

Just as Time Warner did when they merged with AOL, AOL is looking to get where the eyeballs are going and ensuring they can monetize that relationship. For AOL’s sake I hope they do a better job developing and nurturing those eyeballs and actually doing something with them, than did Time Warner with AOL. Otherwise the company synonymous with having mail, might continue to have relevance problems.

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Filed under Current Events, Social media, Technology

Marketing humor from Dilbert

Sometimes humor hurts….

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Filed under Humor, Social media

Social marketing strategy…don’t forget the press releases!

Marketing via Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Communities, MySpace, Second Life, YouTube, iTunes, Slideshare….etc etc…the list goes on of social media outlets that we are told we must be involved in if we are in the marketing game. But what about the old press release? Does that communication piece no longer matter?

In the “old” days that was a wonderful way of communicating with the market, sending signals to your customers, prospects, influencers, competitors, partners and any one else who had a wire service. One would have to fax documents, ensure we ended the release with ### and write the reverse triangle…this all seems so dated so 20th century in the days of RSS feeds, social tagging, email, twitter, facebook, Linkedin and the myriad of other social media distribution tools.  However, the press release remains a powerful distribution tool for companies to get their message out.

The press release should be an integral part of your social media strategy.

  1. Press releases continue to be a practical method to get news out to the market – with both domestic and international reach. Granted there remains a cost to leverage Press services, but the reach they provide remains wide ranging and a good ROI.
  2. The press release is a powerful tool to help your SEO – as long as you properly hyperlink the release. Have a boiler plate – include the url to your site – why? Once the press release goes out the search engines will recognize the links back to your site…helping your search results.
  3. The press release allows you to give readers a reason to come to your site or blog, think about the traffic you can push back to your social media hubs – the web site and blog – by simple sending out a press release.
  4. Press releases remain a powerful tool to educate your market of important business news: financial information, mergers, acquisitions and new customer acquisition to name a few. Coupled with the array of social marketing tools you have a powerful arsenal of channels to distribute your business message.

So when you get all jazzed up about a new blog, using Twitter, posting on Facebook…do not forget about the old reliable press release to get your news out to the market.

It will help your social marketing efforts as well!

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Filed under Marketing