Driving Social Business, Championing Innovation, & Inspiring Creativity

Double Down on Your Social Network of Choice

As the popularity of social networking increases, so does the desire to want to be a part of every emerging social networking trend. People want to be “early adopters” of these new networks whether they know why or not; after all its human nature to want to feel like we’re part of a group, we’re social beings.  Maybe being first to these new networks carries some weight, some bragging rights, a feeling of exclusivity, a new icon to post on your blog, and more often than not an inability to remain effective in engaging with the people you’ve worked so hard to build relationships with in the first place.

This holds true unless you’ve built all of your social networks to look alike, which I see people do all too often. The same people, the same conversations, it’s unfortunately the new norm. Take a second to reflect on this for a minute. Is your Facebook network the same as your Twitter network? Is your Twitter network the same as your Google + network? Is your Google + network the same as say your Pinterest network? You get my point.

I suppose it isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not doing much to connect you to new people and open your eyes to new experiences and learnings – which is the intent of most social networks. In today’s fast paced world of work, family, and other personal commitments let’s face it; we just don’t have the time to be effective in every social media platform that comes around.

Individuals are not only ones flying like moths to a flame when the newest social networks pop up. I’ve seen big brands also make these leaps just to be first just for no other reason than just that. Be first. How are these new networks fitting into their overall content strategy? Will these networks help them better connect with their target consumers? Are they forgetting about the consumers they’ve already built relationships with within their other social communities?  As I think about it more, this approach of constant social channel expansion could be detrimental to the communities big brands have worked so hard to foster online.

From a brand standpoint, it makes sense to double down on your social network(s) of choice. It’s critical for you to focus efforts on the social channels where your target consumers are. Think about planning content for this channel or in some cases channels, which resonates with these consumers, engages them, inspires them to take action, and builds further interest and connection with the brand.  When the timing is right and thought has been given to how to best incorporate a new social channel into your content mix, then and only then, think about adding a new channel to your businesses social properties. While being first to a new social channel seems cool and cutting edge, it turns un-cool really quick if you’re unable to serve up meaningful content to the consumers that connect with you in this new space, causing them to become disinterested in your brand and possibly loosing them as a customer.

I’m interested to get your take on this too. How do you feel about the ability to remain engaged with the networks you have built as you activate more and more social channels?  How do you manage your content mix to ensure the various social channels you participate in work for you or your brand?  I’m looking forward to the discussion.


The Super Bowl Social

Super Bowl Sunday brings us big parties, a big game, and even bigger commercials.  Every year the bar seems to climb higher from a creativity standpoint and brands are reaching further to get something to resonate with consumers.  It seems more people come to work on Monday morning and discuss the commercials more than they do the game, which was certainly the case in my office today.  In fact the Super Bowl is the one day a year I use my DVR to rewind commercials and re-watch them rather that simply buzzing right by them.

This year I watched the highly anticipated commercials through a new lens.  I wanted to see just how big brands would leverage the use of social media to extend their overall reach and continue the conversation with consumers post view.  Last year it seemed as if the use of social within the realm of TV was just starting to take off, so I was confident the this year’s Super Bowl would be the spring board to really see some great integration.

To my surprise very few brands added this social layer to their commercials, when you look at all of those that purchased spots during the big game.  Perhaps there are still a lot of unknowns as the space is still relatively new.  Maybe when you are investing 3.5 million dollars on a 30 second television spot, you just stick with what works?  Or maybe you take a risk, try something different, and get people talking about your brand in a new way? I’m not saying I have the right answer, but in my opinion trying new things [although not without challenges] often pays off in spades.

Out of all of the commercials I saw yesterday only two brands chose to use a Twitter hashtag to get viewers buzzing about the commercial they just saw. What a great way to continue the conversation and buzz about the brand – Kudos to Audi [#SoLongVampires] and Bud Light [#MakeItPlatinum]. I am certain that both brands saw significant traffic to both their social channels as well as their websites post airing of these commercial with the integrated social layer – even if the hashtags chosen are sub-optimal and don’t really speak to the brand they represent. In this case I am talking about Audi’s play off the Vampire craze that is seemingly oozing out of pop culture in the wake of the Twilight series.  Not sure association with Vampires is a way to sell luxury automobiles, but it sure gets people talking about the brand. Mission accomplished Audi.

Coca-Cola leveraged their infamous polar bears, directing viewers to CokePolarBowl.com which took users to a custom Facebook app where you could watch the bear’s reactions to the big game.  The URL now re-directs viewers Coke’s YouTube channel that has been re-skinned to play off the polar bear theme.  A recent article on Ad-Age reports that more than 600,000 viewers were following the live stream of the Polar Bowl Facebook App by the third quarter.  Even the @CocaCola Twitter handle was turned over to the bears and Coke is reporting a 12.5% increase in US followers prior to kickoff.  This is a great example of how brands can look to extend both the conversation and consumer engagement beyond the realm of just television.

Another way I did see brands try and differentiate their commercials during the Super Bowl this year, was by use of a 3rd party app accessible on any Smartphone or tablet.  It was clear these brands such as Pepsi, Best Buy, and Toyota were trying to reach those with connected devices and serve them additional messages.  The app these brands turned to was called Shazam, which when activated listens to the audio track of a song, or in this case commercial, the can serve up the name, artist info, and in this case exclusive content only those that engaged with the commercial by way of the Shazam app, could experience.  While I am an avid user of the app, I can’t see myself reaching in my pocket for my phone, accessing the app, and recording the audio from the commercial in an effort to get a nugget of new content.  Heck, it takes me more than 30 seconds to get my phone out of my pocket sometimes.  Although this approach of integrating Shazam into the commercial didn’t resonate much with me personally, I applaud these brands efforts for thinking differently and trying something new. In hindsight I could have leveraged that good old DVR to dig deeper on this one and Shazam! Get that exclusive content.

This years Super Bowl commercials are only the beginning.  I predict [and I’m sure many others in the social business realm do as well] that social integration will continue to gain traction and popularity thus finding a home within television commercials.  We’re even beginning to see a shift in how TV is broadcast to us adding in social elements, like live tweets and Facebook updates from sports journalists, news anchors, and even politicians.  This can be seen during many a televised game, news broadcast, or even your favorite reality TV show.  Commercials are not far behind, as more and more brands look to increase visibility, share of voice, and connect deeper with consumers; the social advertising layer will become a new norm.

 

 


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