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Ben & Jerry’s Drops Email in Favor of Social Media

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(Source: New Media Age)trackingBen & Jerry’s will become one of the first big brands to abandon regular email marketing. It will instead focus on social media.

The ice cream brand has decided to cut its monthly newsletter because the feedback it received from customers suggested that the majority would prefer to be contacted on social media sites.

Email marketing has long been established as one of the most effective digital marketing channels and has become a standard marketing channel for most brands.

In a move away from established practice, Ben & Jerry’s plans only one email update to customers each year. Instead, Facebook and Twitter profiles will be used to engage with customers on an ongoing basis, both in-house and through its PR agency Mischief.

I had this discussion with an email marketer a few weeks ago. He reminded me that I wrote last Fall Twitter would replace email. I was wrong. It’s Facebook that will replace email.

The reason is, I can directly contact my fan list through Facebook and those emails are 100% deliverable. Email is a useful tool. It probably will be for quite some time. What isn’t practical is a monthly newsletter. We don’t look for news on a monthly basis, we look for it when we want it. For some of us, that’s every second!

Having put together monthly newsletters for several companies, I know the amount of work that goes into it. It’s just not worth it. Having an up to date forum where your brands fans can ask questions and learn about your products is much better than a newsletter. Social media solves that challenge.

Do the People who “Like” You Actually “Like” You?

So you just drafted a lovely Facebook status, attached a snazzy photo and shared it with all of those awesome people who “like” your page; but did you know that some of those people will never see your hard (crafty) work because they are hiding from you?

Yep, it’s true. And you can find out exactly how many by following these steps:

  1. Go to your Insights page and look at the bottom-left graph.
  2. Select Total Fans/Unsubscribed Fans
  3. Check the yellow “Hidden from Newsfeed” box.

Now that you have this information, what percentage of your brand’s fans are hiding from you? In our experience, an average of 3-8% don’t see your content in their News Feed. This percentage is something to keep your eye on.

Frequency of posts is something I get asked about a lot. For Facebook, too many updates is offputting. I try and post no more than twice a day for fan pages.

Twitter is another story because it moves so fast. If you’ve got a good tweet, you may want to send it out a few times in a day. Using a tool like Hootsuite will help you schedule it out.

If you don’t have anything good to say, hold back until you do…no matter which medium you’re using.

Are Social Media Connections Real?

July 1, 2010 1 comment

Using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook may have more in common with “real” interactions than you think, the experience of one writer suggests.

The brain chemical oxytocin has been known to be associated with emotional bonds. Oxytocin is heightened in a variety of behaviors that involve people connecting with one another, including orgasm, birth, breastfeeding, and pair bonding. That’s why it gets nicknamed “the cuddle hormone.”

Given that this hormone is so important to interpersonal connection, it makes sense that virtual interactions might also bring out the oxytocin effect.

Paul Zak, neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in California, tested this recently on a journalist Adam Penenberg who was writing about Zak’s work for this Fast Company article.

Zak tested Penenberg’s blood before and after he used Twitter for 10 minutes, sending and receiving tweets the whole time. He found that oxytocin levels went up substantially, and that stress hormones went down.

This is great news, because other research has shown that people are more empathetic when their oxytocin levels go up, Zak said. They are more kind, honest and fair to others. In other words, people may be nicer – at least for about an hour – after they’ve been interacting with social media, he said.

There are people for whom too much time interacting online is detrimental, as they ignore or avoid in-person encounters. On the other hand, there are benefits to virtual communication.

“If your goal in life is to be connected to other people, how you connect doesn’t really matter – in person, online, it’s all the same biology of connection,” he said.

Of course, Zak’s sample size is one person, hardly making it a scientific experiment. But if it works so well in one person, there’s reason to believe it will for others too, Zak said.

A lot of people think social media doesn’t create “real” connections. I disagree and so does this article. What I’ve found is the way I use Facebook allows me to connect better with people I already know. Twitter helps me connect with people I don’t know. I as our connection grows stronger, I add them to Facebook as well.

From a business standpoint, I apply the same philosophy to LinkedIn. I’ll connect with just about anybody there because that is my professional profile.

We’ll All Be Using Foursquare Soon

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Most “normal” people we know want absolutely nothing to do with location-aware services like Foursquare and Loopt that let you “check-in” to restaurants and bars, letting your friends know where you are at any given moment.

A lot of these people say they would never join a service like that; they don’t feel comfortable sharing that information, and they don’t see the point.

We think they’re wrong, just like all the people — including us — who said they’d never join Facebook were wrong. Here’s why.

Check-in apps are rapidly becoming more focused on deals — coupons and discounts that are only available to people using these services. Loopt CEO Sam Altman describes his new app as “a virtual loyalty card” for participating businesses.

I have friends who have given up using foursquare, or won’t even try it. They don’t see any value to it. Sure it’s got the game feature, but even I’m sort of tired of it. What good are imaginary points?

The real value is going to be in finding inside information about a new place and getting deals.

Foursquare is growing rapidly, so the information piece is almost a given. What foursquare really needs is more businesses creating offers…really good offers. To me, $1 off a Starbucks isn’t compelling enough. Plus, they should really have a check in offer as well.

When I came up with the offer for Fat’s Bar and Grill, we came up with a great offer for the Mayor and a check in offer for everyone else. In Salt Lake City, there are only four venues I know of that have offers. When more venues create great offers, we’ll all be using foursquare.

Why foursquare is growing exponentially…

June 22, 2010 1 comment

For those who don’t know Foursquare, it is a social network based around your location.  Using the Foursquare app on your smartphone of choice (native apps available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm WebOS phones) you “check-in” to locations, and can see other people who have visited and what they say about it.  By checking in more than anyone else, you become the mayor of a location.

Mayors have typically been given special advantages, being able to cut in line, a free drink or two, and other discounts to name a few.  Now, Starbucks is offering discounts to any mayor of a specific Starbucks.  The deal is $1 and “NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blanded beverage.”  The deal is good until June 28.  It may not seem like much, but Starbucks isn’t exactly known for frequent discounts.

We were talking about things that are driving foursquare’s recent explosive growth on the Web Marketing Weekly Show. I suggested this Starbuck’s promotion has a lot to do with it, simply because it’s getting media.

Of course we can’t ignore the rise of Android based phones and other smart phones that give people access to a foursquare application. I’ve thought for some time business involvement is going to be required for foursquare to hit the critical mass that will provide the value needed to keep it going.

It looks like we’re getting close!

The Foursquare Challenge: Employee Incentive vs. Customer Rewards? « Black Web 2.0

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Next time you’re wondering why you can’t steal the Foursquare title of Mayor from whoever currently holds the crown at your favorite venue, take a look behind the counter. There’s a good chance that the Mayor’s an employee putting in an unbeatable 40 check-ins a week on the throne.

Stories have begun to surface around the web about Starbucks customers unable to take advantage of the Foursquare rewards that their steady patronage has earned them because the person behind the counter serving the coffee is also the Mayor of the venue. Starbucks has replied, but their response (“Foursquare is open to any one that can access it and it happens that the Mayor of this location is the Barista again I do apologize for any type of inconvenience that this may have caused.”) hints at a looming showdown between Foursquare, employers and their employees.

Nick Johnson (@WWJDinSLC) made a good point about this when we presented on foursquare last month for SMCUV…employees at foursquare venues with Mayor specials shouldn’t be Mayor.

I check in to my business and my job, but they’re not location based, nor do they have specials. True foursquare venues with specials shouldn’t ban employees from checking in, just from being Mayor. Checking in is a form of advertising, so it’s not bad, but when it generates bad press, it should be prohibited.

What’s the point in having a special when no real customer can use it? By the way, Starbucks needs to come up with a better offer than $1 off for their Mayors.

Businesses should embrace social media

June 17, 2010 1 comment

“Companies should embrace it, not block it. But they also need to empower their employees with knowledge to implement sound social media governance.”

The ISACA report highlights five areas of concern for business. The biggest of these was the increased risk of being exposed to malware and viruses.

Other risks noted included brand hi-jacking, lack of control over content, non compliance with rules over record keeping, and unrealistic expectations of Internet speeds and performance.

“The greatest risks posed by social media are all tied to violation of trust,” said ISACA Certification Committee member John Pironti.

“Social media is built on the assumption of a network of trusted friends and colleagues, which is exploited by social engineering at great cost to companies and everyday users. That is why ongoing education is critical.”

Sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t going to disappear in any great hurry and employees are still going to access them at work, whether on their own SmartPhones, Netbooks or laptops or the company’s.

Many youngsters entering the work place for the first time today have grown up with social media, it’s a part of what they do on a daily basis, and as such their attitude is one of complacency.

The answer is pretty obvious and Pironti is right, it’s education. If employers accept social media, and employees are aware of the risks and abide by the rules, everyone is happy.

This study points out the fundamental shift that has to occur when implementing a social media strategy; businesses lose control of their message. People are going to talk about you whether you use social media or not, so why not put out your message and then engage with others that talk about you positively or negatively.

Cutting off access, either in the office, or supressing detractors is a poor strategy. Social media is something businesses need to embrace and continue to learn about.

Why Your Grandpa Is on Facebook

June 15, 2010 1 comment

More proof that social sites don’t skew young. AARP study says older Americans are comfortable on the web and prefer Facebook to other social sites. Is it any wonder Facebook is growing by about 50 million users per quarter?

Rod Blagojevich Trial – No Tweeting Allowed

June 9, 2010 1 comment

Blago: To Tweet Or Not To… Oh, Well, Actually You Don’t Get a Choice, Sorry

by Jocelyn Rousey | 3:39 pm, June 9th, 2010

On Monday, newly minted Twitterer and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich announced that he planned to live-tweet his federal corruption trial, which got underway this past week. Alas, yesterday, with Blagojevich only one tweet into his trial-cum-new-media-adventure, the judge (who is clearly not sympathetic to the needs of the blogosphere) banned him from tweeting in the courtroom.

Reportedly, his publicist has actually been doing most of the tweeting. Oh, the wasted opportunity. After being chastise by the judge, Blagojevich began tweeting today about the less unique aspects of his life, namely his daughter’s eight-grade graduation.

That said, it’s worth noting that Blagojevich’s short-lived, live-tweeting experiment is only one of many recent endeavors by politicians to demonstrate technological savvy and capitalize on the campaigning capabilities of the new media. In April, the House Republican caucus launched its New Media Challenge designed to encourage party members to expand their online presence. The winner, Rep. John Fleming, was announced today. (He won and iPod, if you’re curious). Not to be outdone, the House Democrats devised a similar contest, The Member Online All-Star Competition, which began this week. The Democrats have a lot of ground to make up, however. The Hill notes that as of last week, well over half the Republican caucus uses Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, while well under fifty percent of the Democrats make use of the same sites.

One Republican in particular, Rep. Paul Broun (R. Ga.), seems to have the tweeting business under his fingers. Broun live-tweeted throughout President Obama’s speech yesterday, challenging the president’s assertions concerning the coming benefits of the health care reforms:

Donut hole will not be gone. Starting in 2011 the rebate will be replaced by a discount that never completely covers costs. #tcot

Obama just admitted that closing the donut hole will blow a hole in the budget.

Granted, Broun’s live-tweeting consisted of only a handful of posts, but it’s still a better effort than the singular Blagojevich tweet. We’ll just have to hope that however this trial turns out Blago will be quick to regain his tweetdom.

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Looks like he only got one out before being shut down from the court room. Not sure why they don’t allow tweeting in court…

How to resist when someone wants to change the logo

green coke can

Great advice from Drew McLellan’s book 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing:

Next time people want you to change your corporate identity, try this. Buy a can of Coke and place it on their office desk. Give them 30 seconds to study it and then tell them to close their eyes and picture the Coke can in their minds. Then wait a few seconds and ask them to imagine the can of Coke looking exactly the same, except it’s green.

They’ll tell you it’s just wrong. The can has to be red or it isn’t Coke.

That’s your aha! moment. Tell them they can open their eyes and when they do, simply smile at them and say, “And that’s why we don’t change the color of our logo either.”

The whole purpose of your logo and your colors is to build recognition. This takes time. Every time you change it, you start over. Be patient.


Tagged as: branding, Coke, Drew McLellan, identity, Sernovitz, WOM, word of mouth, word of mouth marketing

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Pepsi changed their logo style just a bit, but didn’t change the colors. Good advice. The same applies to messages… State your unique selling proposition clearly and you’ll do well.


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