Category: Social Media

Gap in the social media

Jumping on the bandwagon with both feet firmly in the easy fit jeans, Gap launched a Facebook Born To Fit campaign, driving off-line advertisement (print, tv, billboard, etc) viewers to their Facebook page.

With over 300,000 fans already, Gap would need to quickly learn how to handle the open social media platform.  Most of the comments on the wall are non-controversial and pro-Gap, like how much people love their jeans and what not.  But a comment from Eileen O’Brien:

“Should Gap Cos stop advertising on Fox which produces anti Obama shows like O’Reilly, Hannity and Glenn Beck? If so let them know now!”

How should Gap respond to that, if at all  Maybe the comment won’t get anywhere, but what if it does gets picked up by others and starts to grow into a campaign?  How should Gap respond to that?  Social media is a fun place that could very easily and very quickly turn perilous.

Companies need to have a policy in place on how to deal with these situations.  But I am happy to see Gap and other companies (big or small) embracing the internet and starting a conversation with their customers.

You know the new idea as arrived and matured when old-school wakes up and make the new idea their own.  Time for the youngster to create something else.  So what’s the next New?

Is Lite the new heavy?

Speaking of Lite (as in Google Lite), Facebook got into the act and launched the Facebook Lite beta.  Don’t know what it is, but as usual plenty of speculation on the blogsphere.  For sketchy details, screenshot and plenty of debate by commentators, check out mashable.

But that’s not all the news fit to print on Facebook.  They also acquired FriendFeed and launched real time search.  Now even more reasons to glue your Face to the Book.

Local and national government getting hip to social media

Last week UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) released a 20 page document on how government departments should use twitter. I haven’t had a chance to read it, just a quick look. Impressively enough BIS is allowing anyone to download (PDF) and modify the document for their own organisation. Doing what the government should do, openly sharing information.

But while the national government have been using social media for some time, what’s more exciting is that local authorities are getting in the act. I think that’s where the real power is going to be. Ability to provide real time information to local residents. Hats off to innovators in the government, you don’t see it that often. But when you do, we should celebrate it.

And here is an extensive list of twitters in government (most US based).

Other companies capitalise on social media

After watching Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, CaseXtreme, makers of hardened carrying cases for guitars made and released their video, offering a free case to Dave.

Nicely done. Now only if they can make their website a bit more appealing.

Some companies dont know how to manage social media

Normal “great service” by United Airlines led to a damaged luggage and despite repeated request for compensation, the customer was left holding the bag (read the story).  So after a year of getting nowhere with United, Dave Carroll did what he knows best.  He wrote a song about his experience.  Then he made a video and posted it on YouTube.



Within hours the story got picked by the traditional media. That got United’s attention.  A year after the incident, United agreed to compensate for damage.  While the damaged luggage might be compensated for, United’s reputation has been damaged.  But then again, that reputation, due to lack of customer service, was damaged a long time ago.

Marketing on social networking sites – Burger King did it right, did you?

Social networks are creating a buzz among the marketing folks who are trying to understand how to engage with the various communities online. Many marketers incorrectly assume that traditional marketing (i.e. advertisement) would work just as well on social networking sites as they have elsewhere. They happily go off spending money on that channel.

And they fail miserably.

Social networking is inherently about socialising.  Marketing, therefore must be about the social experience. Members of the site aren’t there to buy widgets, they are there to engage with their friends and colleagues. Take, for example, Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice campaign. Specifically targeted to Facebook members. A great example how to market to the community while allowing them to engage with their friends. Burger King could have opted to simply place an advertisement banner offering free burgers. Some members would have taken opportunity of that offer. But from the community’s perspective Whopper Sacrifice isn’t about free burgers, its about engaging with their friends in a fun way.

Result – not only is the campaign more successful than a banner advertisement would have been, Burger King ended up getting plenty of free publicity too.

Interestingly enough would this same campaign work on LinkedIn? I suspect not. Facebook and LinkedIn, while both are social network sites are used in very different ways by the members. Active LinkedIn members work hard to develop relationships on the site. They will not “sacrifice” a connection for a free meal. So what would work on LinkedIn? Lets see if Burger King can come up with something interesting.

More to the point, if social networking demographics are the right kind for your product, how are you engaging with that community?

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