Posts tagged ‘social media’

Guess what? The BCS isn’t good (at marketing)

It’s that time of year again: the leaves have changed, the air is cooler and colorful little lights can be seen on homes nationwide. Yep, it’s the beginning of the bowl season for college football. Today is a special day because it is the day after the BCS (Bowl Championship Series for you non-sports types) picked the 10 teams to be featured in its five bowl games.

What is special about today is that it’s the day that college football fans are the loudest and angriest. I can’t remember a year going by that hasn’t included a day where close to every sportswriter, blogger and fan unite to protest the BCS selections. Today, I join those ranks, having felt the effects of the BCS firsthand.

However, this is not going to be a blog about how TCU got hosed or how Texas v. Alabama is not what people want – there are plenty of other blogs talking about that. No, I want to talk about (surprise!) the BCS’s attempt at marketing through social media.

The BCS is a perfect example of what not to do in a lot of things, and marketing is no exception. Around mid-November, the BCS (like me) decided to get a Twitter account and a Facebook page. This was done at the behest of their PR firm who is owned and operated by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. What immediately followed was both equal parts catastrophic and hilarious – Twitter users from all around took the BCS to town; one user even compared them to the Ku Klux Klan.

Of course they responded by repeatedly stating how their system does really work and is the only system that works; this is the main problem with their campaign. The BCS has a great opportunity to engage in constructive, one-on-one conversations with the public, but instead are using social media as another medium to NOT encourage conversation. Also, when they did respond it just comes off as vindictive, here’s how they replied to one fan:

“You all agree on a “playoff” but don’t agree on who, what, where, when and how- that’s why the +1 and MWC [Mountain West] playoff plans were dismissed.”

This is textbook, the last thing you should do when you are already unpopular and trying to get the public on your side is to attack them. History has shown this doesn’t work too well (i.e. every revolution the world has ever seen). Also, as a sidenote putting quotation marks around “playoffs” just comes off as dismissive and arrogant.

Their Facebook page is no better. The wall features over 30 updates posted by the BCS. After first looking at that, I saw a tab labeled “Just Fans,” I assumed this is for the fans to say their perspective. After clicking on it, I was met with nothing but a blank screen– there was not one post on the wall. This means either no one on Facebook had anything to say or they were all deleted, my hunch is the latter.

Marketing is all about people and how can you take your message/product and make it connect with them. Social media has given us as marketers the ability to communicate with our target markets better than ever. That’s what makes it work, it’s a two-way communication, somehow the BCS and Ari Fleischer missed that.

For those interested you can find the BCS on Twitter at @insidetheBCS or at facebook.com/INSIDEtheBCS.

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12/07/2009 at 5:49 PM Leave a comment

Finding the right social network

kelsey-polaAs a marketing agency, being located in Fort Worth definitely has its advantages. For one, it’s Fort Worth, and really, who doesn’t love this city? Second, local businesses are the best here – Kincaid’s and McKinley’s are definitely at the top of that list. And third, TCU is right down the road.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity last Friday to attend a seminar on business online networking, and I got some pretty interesting definitions out of it that I thought I would share.

These definitions really are a great metaphor for the whole microcosm of social media:

  • Facebook is a pub – an informal place to talk casually with people and get to know them on a more personal basis
  • LinkedIn is a trade show – a slightly more formal place to meet other business professionals and connect with them primarily for business purposes
  • Twitter is a cocktail party – an energetic place where there are many conversations going on at once, amazing applications that allow you to see topic trends and reach many “followers” with your message
  • YouTube is Times Square on New Year’s Eve – a place where it’s hard to break through, but if you do, a lot of people will see you
  • MySpace is Woodstock – wild, crazy and perfect for the younger generation or cause-oriented marketing
  • HubSpot is the stock market – it brings you the measurements of what your online activities are doing for your business
  • introNetworks is like a trade show on steroids – it gets your groups and event participants interacting with each other before, during and after the event
  • cubeless is the company newsletter on steroids – it gets your employees interacting and collaborating with each other

The question now is, “which medium best fits your needs?”

10/01/2009 at 1:56 PM Leave a comment

The fireworks of social media

collin-polaFireworks are awesome. They are fun to watch and even more fun to light. But here’s the thing about fireworks: if not handled correctly, they can be catastrophic.

The same point can be made about social media. It’s fun and attention-grabbing, but it can also be destructive if executed poorly. Yesterday, I read a blog post where the writer obviously did not learn about fire safety; so to my younger readers and those not too familiar with social media culture, here are some safety guidelines:

Social media is on the Internet and, therefore, public. Never, ever, EVER (just for emphasis) post something online thinking only a few people will see/read it. Just like you should assume a gun is always loaded, you should also always assume your friends are not your only audience.

Social media is not the best place to vent. Before I start, random Twitter or Facebook updates saying something like, “Man today sucked,” is not what I’m talking about. That is letting off steam; we all need to do it sometimes. What I am addressing is a full-blown vent-fest only appropriate for your friends, your mom or a psychiatrist. If you write an essay-long blog post publicly calling someone out (Kanye West is an exception, go to town on him) or blowing-up after something has bothered you for a while, it probably won’t end well. Remember guideline one: some unintended person will probably read it. If that happens, you will come off as rude or condescending, when instead you probably just had a really bad day.

Everyone has an opinion on social media (this article is proof). The Internet commenter is the modern critic. I’m not saying this a good or a bad thing, because I have seen it go both ways. Social media has provided the opportunity for pretty much anyone to point out a mistake you’ve made. Now stay with me here, if you are venting, you are generally mad. Anger can lead to irrational behavior, which often leads to mistakes. Once this happens and (playing off guideline two) your readers think you’re a jerk, enjoy the commentary firestorm that is to follow. If you give people a reason to talk bad about you, they will.

So that’s it, keep these rules in mind and your social media experience should be nothing but pleasant.

P.S. Everyone going to the TCU game on Saturday should grab a program. An ad we created for McKinley’s is featured, and it rocks. GO FROGS!

09/18/2009 at 1:56 PM Leave a comment

To be or not to be on social media

KelseyThat is the question. With Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Plaxo, Flickr, Ping and blogs (have I lost you yet?) all inviting us to connect, the question becomes rather obvious:

“Everyone’s doing it, why not?”

Instead of simply jumping into the pool of social media, it’s important to decide whether or not one or all are right for your goals. So first things first: what are your goals?

Thanks to a meeting on social media at the Business Assistance Center, I learned a good list of questions any business should ask before deciding to take on social media.

  1. Strategic planning: what are your goals for marketing yourself and your company? And how do you plan to do it?
  2. Tactical knowledge: what do you need to execute this plan? (i.e. classes, one-on-one training, books, etc.)
  3. Operational procedures: how much time and effort will be required to attain your marketing goals?
  4. Avenues: which networks are the best to reach your goals? (i.e. LinkedIn is directed to a more professional base, while Facebook caters to more of a social network)
  5. Continuous improvement: will you be able to maintain the social networks you are on?

By asking yourself these questions, it will become clear if you are prepared or not to take on social media as a marketing tool.

I must advise you on one point in particular; instead of jumping into all of the avenues at once, first dive into one and become an expert.

Remember, social media is a process, like any other marketing strategy, you must be patient and willing to learn.

Enjoy!

07/22/2009 at 1:22 AM Leave a comment


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