For good or bad, people are influenced by their friends. Think of the last time you made a big purchase, like a car, a TV, or maybe your new smartphone. What factors contributed to your purchase decision? Did you get advice from friends and family or read reviews online? According to a recent Nielsen study and WOMMA member Keller Fay, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media sources, such as word of mouth recommendations from peers, friends, and family, above all other forms of advertising. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70% of global consumers interviewed saying they trust messages on this platform.
While social media can help brands achieve word of mouth on a large scale, it comes with its own set of challenges. Customers expect the same quality of care on your social platforms as they receive on your website or in your store.
Here are some best practices to help generate positive word of mouth for your brand in the social space.
Having a social presence isn’t a guarantee that fans will talk. But if you invest in your community and focus on providing value and excellent service, they’ll have something to talk about.
Overview: As if anyone needed confirmation that America loves bacon as much as money, comedian Josh Sankey recently completed a trip across the country funded only by bacon. In an effort to promote their new Butcher Thick Cut Bacon, Oscar Mayer sponsored Sankey’s trip with 3,000 pounds of uncooked bacon.
Sankey made it from New York to California in just 14 days. Along the way he traded bacon for lodging, food, and entertainment. The most expensive trade he made was to convince the town of Cedar City, Utah to proclaim itself Sizzle City. The renaming cost him 300 pounds of bacon.
Thoughts: The key piece of this campaign was social media integration. Fans could follow Sankey’s trip on Facebook and Twitter, where many of the trades and communications were made. That, coupled with simplicity and a just plain fun idea, made this successful campaign.
Overview: As Instagram continues to take the world by storm, more and more brands are jumping in on the photo-sharing fun. Nitrogram provides an analytics platform for Instagram that lets users track useful metrics such as the numbers of photos taken, the number of likes and comments on photos, as well as the total reach for photos.
Thoughts: Nitrogram may be a useful tool for helping brands track key metrics, but do you think Instagram is the right platform for brands? I think many avid Instagram users would agree that they’re on Instagram to catch a quick glimpse into the daily lives of their friends (without sifting through all the brands and ambiguous cries for attention on Facebook) and won’t readily opt in to being marketed to on this more personal platform.
Overview: LinkedIn is adding more expert advice to its website and making it easier for its users to find their pearls of wisdom. The new feature allows users to follow thought leaders like President Obama, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson. In addition to seeing what influencers are saying, you will have the ability to like, comment and share directly on their posts as well as see longer form posts with videos, photos and Slideshare presentations.
Thoughts: The online professional networking site, typically used as an important resource when job hunting, is hoping to give users a reason to visit more frequently. Do you think the new feature will be enough to make LinkedIn a daily habit for the average user?
Overview: Klout, recently announced some major changes which include a complete interface overhaul, new features, and a more accurate calculation of Klout scores. The old Klout score looked at less than 100 “signals” while the new score will look at more than 400 “signals” from seven different networks.
The new Klout aims to serve as more of a social resume. New profiles will look more similar profiles on other social networks. Part of this is the new “moments” feature which puts emphasis on individual moments and updates highlighting activity that generates action from people in your networks. When you look at your own profile, you will see a timeline of your social network updates and whether they’re influencing other users. When you look at someone else’s profile, you see their most influential moments.
The new design also includes measures of real-world influence including your Wikipedia page (if you have one) and your job title on LinkedIn. This acts as a bit of a safety net that helps keep and important user’s score up even if they stop creating online content.
The changes started rolling out August 14 and will slowly be rolled out to all users over the course of several weeks.
Thoughts: Unless you’re Klout-obsessed, you don’t really have a reason to visit the current version of Klout on a daily basis. With the new design, users will have a reason to return. They can check on yesterday’s content to see what their network is responding to and use that information to create more relevant content. Additonally, the updates increase transparency so users know exactly what is causing their scores to change.
Overview: In a race against Square, a mobile payment start-up, and other similar technology companies, PayPal is testing mobile payments at 30 McDonald’s locations in France. The test in France lets McDonald’s customers order food on smart phones through a McDonald’s mobile application, or online, and pay with PayPal. There is a separate line in the test locations to pick up the meals. Rolling out a service like this may help McDonald’s cut lines at restaurants, which is a key factor in maintaining and growing same-store sales.
PayPal has already signed on several retailers including Home Depot and Office Depot. Since McDonald’s has a network of more than 30,000 restaurants, a permanent deal with the company would be an huge victory for PayPal especially after news of Square signing a deal with Starbucks.
Thoughts: For consumers, it will be a lot easier to make payments with mobile devices, but the landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented. If every other store uses a different payment system, customers will switch between payment apps – multiplying the security risks of linked accounts.
Merchants may get a lot of choices for online payment systems, but customers could get the raw end of the deal.
Overview: Facebook and CNN have teamed up to create an app that allows Facebook users to share their stances on candidates and campaign issues leveraging the power of Facebook’s Open Graph. Unlike traditional Facebook apps, app analytics won’t be used strictly as social action based data, but rather as a social focus group. CNN plans to treat the opt-in data acquired as a “second screen” experience for political coverage, essentially contributing to CNN’s understanding of people’s opinions across the social space; segmenting user opinion by state, the app could help predict election outcomes and provide insightful voter data that can be utilized for future elections.
Thoughts: While user participation in the app is low so far, some numbers have already started coming in. It’s safe to assume that as the election heats up, user participation will increase and CNN can leverage the Facebook user base to offer poll questions and get well-sampled responses relatively quickly.
Overview: KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese created an iPad app as a new way for kids to create Macaroni Art instead of using real noodles and wasting them. The ‘Dinner Not Art‘ app will also donate 10 noodles to Feeding America for every virtual noodle saved into a piece of Macaroni Art, capped at 110 million noodles. Once the kids created their digital art pieces their parents could share them on KRAFTs Facebook page in the prestigious Macaroni Masterpiece Gallery.
Thoughts: Clearly sales was not the main KPI of this campaign, as they are promoting digital noodles. The purpose of the campaign is to drive engagement of KRAFTs philanthropy acts around food waste and feeding the hungry. KRAFT did a great job integrating their Feeding America partnership within their engaging iPad app allowing kids to make digital noodle art. The social element of sharing the digital art was a great way of involving the parents to help their kids post their picture in the Macaroni Masterpiece Gallery. Great engagement campaign, but let’s hope they will not see a significant decrease in sales as they start to promote digital noodles.
Overview: Volkswagen has launched its Street Quest Facebook campaign in South Africa, tasking consumers with pinning as many VWs as they can on the roads of South Africa, all with the aid of Google Street View. The top contest performers will have to go to Cape Town where they will be given a Volkswagen with a single tank of petrol for a live play-off the game. The winner will be crowned Street Quest Grand Champion.
Thoughts: Google Maps lends itself perfect to a gaming experience for a automobile company and it’s a platform many marketers have not yet taken advantage of. This campaign allowed Volkswagen South Africa to jump-start their Facebook presence and gain over 10,000 likes in less than 3 weeks. The campaign will last through late August.
Overview: Facebook recently released a new feature called Page Post Targeting that allows page admins to fine-tune their marketing message in order to fit the interests of each of their followers. This feature allows admins to target status updates in the news feed to fans that are most likely to benefit from them. In addition to the current language and location targeting, admins will potentially be able to target users based on age, gender, “interested in” (men, women), relationship status, education level, place of employment, in addition to current language and geographical location.
Thoughts: Page Post Targeting will make posts more relevant and help increase fan engagement. This should decrease unlikes and unsubscribes from users that are getting irrelevant brand updates in their news feeds.
Coca-Cola is dialing up its efforts to combine social media with outdoor events, following a successful initiative around a Paul McCartney concert. In a goodwill effort dubbed “America Is Your Park” (AIYP) that runs through July 15, Coke is inviting Foursquare users to check in to their favorite local, state or national park. The check-ins equate to votes in a contest where the winning public park gets a $100,000 grant from Coke. Consumers can also vote online. AIYP is in its third year, but it’s the first time Foursquare has been employed (and reportedly is only the second time Coke has run a Foursquare-based promotion in the U.S.
Qatar Airways launched a Twitter-powered global race that connects people around the world. The “Tweet-a-Meet” campaign enables teams of two to turn tweets into miles for a flight. Contestants simply log onto the company’s dedicated site – tweet-a-meet.com to register for the race through their Twitter account. After selecting a race companion, the teammates select any one of Qatar Airways’ 117 international destinations as their meeting point. Twitter users can accumulate miles based on the number of tweets that includes #tweetameet. The first three teams with the highest number of tweets at the end of the race will each win a pair of business class tickets to their chosen destination while other pairs are entered for chance to win one of five pairs of Qatar Airways Economy Class tickets to their dream destination.
On July 1, 2012 Taco Bell launched “Operation Alaska” a special mission to deliver 10,000 tacos to the isolated town of Bethel, Alaska. Back in June, local residents staged a prank leading people to believe that Taco Bell would be opening a restaurant. When the chain restaurant found out about the prank, they decided to bring Bethel residents what they had been craving. However, the fact that Bethel is accessible only by air or by river complicated plans. They used a military helicopter to fly a Taco Bell truck over the ocean.
The NBA has been embraced as one of the top professional sports leagues using social media in recent years. With official National Basketball Association league and player pages accumulating over 277 million likes and followers on Facebook and Twitter combined, the NBA decided to celebrate the involvement of players and teams using social media with its first-ever NBA Social Media Awards.
The NBA is not the only sports league to embrace social media. Major League baseball also has a strong presence. Last year they hosted the first ever #BravesBash to let fans interact with they favorite players, let Stephen Colbert take over the @MLB twitter handle, and allowed tweeting on the field at the Home Run Derby. This year they plan to increase engagement by setting up Pinterest and Tumblr accounts for all 30 teams and by allowing players to tweet on the field at the upcoming All Star Game.
With so many leagues and players already taking advantage of social media it’s no surprise that Twitter recently announced a partnership with ESPN to allow fans and advertisers a unique, interactive way to integrate broadcast TV with online social conversations around major sports events.
What do you think is coming next for sports and social media?
Renault Netherlands recently launched a Facebook campaign focused around the story of Hilda and her Renault 4. The concept of the story was that Hilda had loved her Renault 4 but she was now too old to drive and her car was left sitting in the garage. Hilda wanted to give the car away to someone who could also enjoy driving it. Facebook users were asked to visit the Facebook app to play virtual ‘hide and seek’ around an interactive house placing a tag where they thought the missing car key was. The person who placed a tag closest to the missing key would win the car.
The reason many companies do well in social media is that they use social interactions to share their culture and people. As brands’ social media presences become more sophisticated, more brands are taking advantage of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to tell their story visually and create a more meaningful connection with fans.
What’s the best example of storytelling you’ve seen on a social network?
Facebook’s business model just hit a stumbling block, as the social network is being forced to let users opt out of having their likenesses repurposed as endorsements in Sponsored Stories ads. The requirement of opt out controls comes as part of a settlement of a class action lawsuit where five Californians said they did not consent to having their names, faces, and activity used to promote companies who paid Facebook.
To celebrate the release of Justin Bieber’s new album, Mercury Music has joined forces with Blippar to offer an exclusive augmented reality (AR) experience – triggered by the ‘Believe’ album artwork. This is a world-first for a global artist of this magnitude, offering fans around the world an exciting opportunity to hear tracks from his new album and unlock exclusive virtual content and features.
Facebook has created a new feature that lets users find friends and potential friends nearby. Initially called “Friendshake” and also accessible through a URL that is the abbreviation of “find friends nearby” (http://fb.com/ffn), it’s another step in Facebook furthering its reach into mobile, and creating services to meet new people — rather than building up more connectivity with the ones you already know.
eMarketer predicts US online ad spending will grow 23.3% in 2012 to reach $39.5 billion by year’s end. A recent study found US marketers flat in their spending on traditional, offline direct marketing tactics such as direct mail and direct response broadcast for TV and radio. Spending on gaming was also flat, perhaps signaling a cautious approach to this newer format.
Technology changes quickly, but human behavior does not. Paul Adams explains why marketers should always be thinking about brand interaction from a human-centric framework.
Ford is introducing a web application that works much like their KeyFree technology for cars that allows drivers to enter and exit their vehicle without worry about keys. The KeyFree mobile app provides similar functionality for users by providing a seamless way to lock and unlock all the digital profiles of a user, including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and more. After installing the app, users are able to have the accounts on their computers lock and unlock depending on proximity.
BEV is the world’s first Tweet activated sampling machine. Simply tweet a unique hashtag when standing in front of the machine, and enjoy an ice cold BOS Ice Tea on the house.
In anticipation of the expected extra traffic and congestion during the 2012 Olympic Games–and to give Brits an extra incentive to walk to work, Recyclebank and Transport for London have partnered to release an iPhone app that gives users rewards when they opt out of public transportation and choose to walk or cycle to get around instead.
Microsoft just announced an upcoming improvement to the Xbox 360 that allows you to search for movies and video content simply by calling out a few simple phrases (“bing action” for action movies, for example.)
In an interview at the D10 conference last week, AllThingsD co-executive editor Walt Mossberg asked Tim Cook if Apple will strike a deal with Facebook to add a share option on iPhones and iPads devices, like the current deal with Twitter. Cook gave a vague response that concluded with the Apple CEO saying, “Stay tuned.”
TomTom, the maker of in-car location and navigation products and services, launched a digital campaign for its summer promotions this week. The videos are similar to the style of the popular Old Spice videos: a single man delivering a monologue in a stilted accent directly into the camera. The campaign includes a competition for five families or groups of friends to win the chance to spend two weeks mapping a paradise island, as well as 10,000 euros to spend.
Oprah Winfrey’s book club is coming back, now in a lively new version 2.0 that’s all digital. Starting next week, she’ll upgrade her wildly popular club, adding interactive features that encourage members to chat about the books on Facebook and Twitter.
Camera is Facebook’s newest mobile app for iOS, and it puts the many photos our friends post every day into one place. Like Instagram, photos are arranged in chronological order, and you can add your own photos directly from the app.
In what may become a signifier of the true beginning of the season, Nike has ushered in the Euro Cup with an epic commercial featuring the biggest names in soccer. The ad features a match between the Netherlands and France, but the game is interrupted when a group of young players crash the proceedings.
Band-Aid Magic Vision, a free app for iPhones and iPads, is linked to Muppets Band-Aids that already are widely available. After a bandage has been applied, children can use an iPhone or iPad and, within the app, point the device at the bandage, much like scanning a QR, or quick response, code, those pixilated boxes on ads, posters and packages. When children look at the screen, a Muppet character appears to emerge from the bandage.
In Colombia, Coca-cola promoted its online radio station Coke FM via a live concert where the audience could literally ‘download’ the band by downloading songs online. The stunt, via Ogilvy & Mather Bogota, saw the artists (a local band with a new album) suspended 50m above the stage. Every time the audience downloaded a song, the band played it and came down 10 meters, until they reached ground level with their fans.