Fun with Web 2.0

Many ads reveal just how serious the company takes itself, and they make for unintentional comedy. Take, for instance, this jewel of a commercial. Not to dissect it too much, but there are a few elements going on that combine to make this commercial a complete and total farce. Not only does it have a (semi?-) celebrity starring in it, the song in the background is by none other than Justice, a French electronic music duo currently responsible making hipsters and music critics swoon world-wide. Oh yeah, they’re also responsible for one of this year’s biggest dance hits and for making a Grammy-nominated critically-acclaimed debut album.

(Full disclosure: Having fallen into both of those aforementioned categories at several points in my life, and being a watered down Franco-American, I’m swooning too.)

Aaaaaanyway: The tagline for the commercial basically asks, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?”

Personally, I answer this question with an emphatic no. Of course, I drive this, which wouldn’t turn anybody other than little league dads on.

So I absolutely loathe this commercial for all of the reasons mentioned above, but particularly for that completely obnoxious tagline. Cadillac needs to get over itself.

A lot of people feel that way about Web 2.0 and, by extension, social media. And the good news is that they’re pretty funny about it. Take for instance Rdiculous, a submissions-based website that laughs at the proclivity certain websites have in leaving letters out of their name. Why is it that the letter “e” is always excluded? Is there some list of rules I didn’t read about?

There’s also the Web 2.0 Validator that allows you to enter a URL to see how Web 2.0 it is. People submit the categories the URLs are checked against (“Mentions Firefox” is a personal favorite) and they are hilarious.

One valid criticism with social media and Web 2.0 is that it supposedly gives everyone an over-inflated sense of self-importance. That’s true in a lot of respects, so websites like this are more than funny. They’re kind of vital: They offer some gentle policing. In a way, they keep everyone from running away with the spotlight and power Web 2.0 and social media give us.

Have you run across any more sites like these? Do you think social media and Web 2.0 cause this issue?

But How Can I Tell It’s Working

You can’t really blame your clients for asking you, however nettlesome it may be. They are dumping a lot of money into a social media marketing campaign.

Everybody knows this by now: It can be so hard to measure the effectiveness of a Social media campaign that clients often lost hope and interest. I think the most important thing you can do is to repeatedly reiterate from the start that SMM is indirect marketing and that its results are very difficult to measure. You can’t assemble a sample study or a test group. Nobody ever answers those “How did you hear about us?” polls websites have. There are no taglines or jingles to get stuck in peoples’ heads.

The “indirect marketing” and “It’s going to take time” points really can’t be stressed enough. Even more than marketing, SMM is online branding. You might not ever know when one comment on one forum might send a client your way.

To me, sometimes SMM seems like the Internet version of “Deadwood.” But it doesn’t have to be. Think of analytics and statistics as restoring the order to this Bizarro World version of the wild, wild west. Ok, this metaphor is getting a little convoluted, but you get what I mean.

Analytics are the tangibles you can deliver your clients. Rely on the website’s host’s stats. Get Google Analytics. Use Feedburner when you can. Get several sources of stats to show your clients.

Even social bookmarking sites can help in this regard. Search Digg,, Reddit and the like for your site or blog. It shows you how many people have bookmarked your content through their site or what content of yours is being submitted. This is as close to word-of-mouth as it’s going to get.

Set up as many newsfeeds as possible and check the number of subscribers. Submit any video content you have to YouTube and check that number, too.

Above all things, a SMM campaign takes time. Use every available stat and analytic service you can to keep your clients minds at ease while the campaign gains momentum and effectiveness.

The bottom line is to remind your clients that social media marketing isn’t like traditional marketing and advertising. The point is to spread brand awareness. Social media marketing still might seem a bit mysterious, but customers trust it for the same reason they trust word-of-mouth advertisement: They are hearing about it from other people like them. That can be more valuable than any tagline.

Suh-wing and a miss!

Wow, I am batting .1000 in baseball references lately. You’d think my home team must be on some sort of tear or something.

Everybody knows that email pitching is a necessary part of not just a social media marketing campaign, but also of increasing your blog’s readership. It’s an art, though. Think of it like this: You can’t email the managing editor of a major newspaper with the latest news on, say, your community’s chapter of the Texas Federation of Republican Women and expect a response, right? Well, you can’t just email a blogger and expect him or her to fawn all over your product just because you say so. It’s just not going to happen.

Before you ask something from a blogger, contribute something. Subscribe to their RSS feed and comment on at least one post a day. At least. Submit their content to social bookmarking sites – bloggers often check to see where their content is and will notice who is submitting it. Add them to your blogroll and mention or link to their blog in your posts as you see fit.

Do that for awhile before you would even think about emailing the blogger. You’re not trying to fool them into thinking you’re a fan so you can mooch off their readership or influence. You’re trying to contribute to their community and show them that you’re legit.

Here’s the tricky part though. Even when you do email the blogger, don’t launch into your product, blog or website on your first email. Start exchanging emails with the blogger. They might ascertain that you’re eventually going to pitch something to them, but they will most likely respond better to a little finesse.

Anyway, bloggers are writers. Writers love to hear their work praised. Start by mentioning a specific post that you liked and what you found appealing or helpful about it.

Oh yeah: DON’T lavish love on their most recent post. I’m telling you; bloggers live to pick feeble marketing strategies like that apart. Let them know you’re a long time reader and poster. Let them know what you’ve submitted where and that they’re on your blogroll. Don’t mention your pitch until you’ve exchanged a few emails.

When you do make your pitch, hopefully, you’ll have a better sense of how best to communicate with the blogger and your communication will be more natural. You want your blogger to appreciate and respect you, too.

Blogging is such an organic form of communication that it shouldn’t come as a shock to know that bloggers don’t want to be manipulated into endorsing something.

The Good Old Days

I’ve blogged before about how SMM is a way for companies to reconnect with consumers after years of distancing themselves from their customer base. Well, as you’ve probably heard, one of the biggest corporations on the planet is kicking social media marketing’s tires. recently debuted (to mixed results) to give Starbucks fiends a place to kvetch about the java giant. As it turns out, they want to kvetch in person (sorry – registration required).

From the Advertising Age article linked to above:

“The most popular idea on the site — by a 9,000-vote margin, with about 60,000 votes — is for Starbucks to promote “conversation” at its coffeehouses.

‘One way of doing this would be to use the power of media and wireless new media in particular to foster a sense of conversation about the arts, current events, etc.,” wrote user Conniemx. “In other words, to stimulate Starbucks patrons that wish to interact as part of a 21st-century ‘cafe society’ such as they have in Europe traditionally — people gathering together to discuss the arts, world events and culture.’”

Companies that want to partake in social media marketing are obviously on the right target, because it seems that consumers are yearning for the good old days, too. Yeah, it still seems a little artificial, but who cares? People are anxious to reconnect with each other after communication through this here internet and they have generally expressed a distrust with marketers. I’m glad marketers are starting to listen, even if it takes them a little while to get it right (an “online suggestion box”? ouch!).

Especially when we may-or-may-not-be-but-most-likely-are teetering on the brink of recession, people have to trust a brand before they’ll invest in it. SMM is the only way to nab these spenders.

“Kristen” v2.0

Ashley Alexandra Dupré. You know who she is. AKA “Kristen,” (NY Times online registration required), she’s the 22-year-old that brought down Governor Client 9’s administration.

Ms. Dupré, a musician, is somewhere in between aspiring and not-quite-there-yet. She may be on minute 12 of 15, but she’s not going down without a fight.

She’s certainly not the first to profit from her notoriety, but she may be the first to try to use the ever-changing schema of social media to reshape herself… and consequently, reshape the way America thinks about her.

CNN did a provocative article on Dupré (which is really no small feat, really, considering the topic) on the evolution of her MySpace page.

“It seemed she was trying to stay one step ahead of journalists, attempting to limit what information they could access. She was seemingly aware that the press would have access to her friends and every word, photo and comment on her profiles, so she began by deleting connections between her friends on Facebook,” the article says.

Dupré found herself in a predicament only Web 2.0 and social media could provide. She wanted the attention a MySpace account (and a scandal) could bring her and her career as a musician … until she realized that she didn’t want it. It was too late, though – the information was already out.

The article gives an informal timeline of all the changes on Dupré’s profiles.

“Thursday morning, the Dupré Facebook status gave the impression she wanted no part of the attention.

‘Sneaking out the back door,’ she wrote under her ‘current status.’

But as the day went on, it seemed Dupre’s feelings were changing and she might have been embracing the newfound spotlight.

The page had received more than 1,100 friend requests on Facebook. Initially, she ignored them.

By the afternoon she apparently gave in, but the feelings were short-lived.

By 2:30 p.m. Thursday the Facebook and MySpace profiles were gone, but they reappeared Friday.”

The article explained that time stamps showed “she was staying up all night cleaning up her profile and responding to critics on the Internet.”

That old adage, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”? It was written before the Internet. Yes, Dupré is probably a millionaire from all those songs she sold (not to mention all those thousands of dollars an hour she got per sexcapade), but she clearly didn’t want those NY Times journalists – and every creepy guy on the planet – salivating over her pictures.

Dupré knew she was being manipulated and exploited, and she decided to fight back and do a little bit of manipulating herself. Pretty savvy, right? Well, she might have a ways to go yet. Looks like all of the pre-Spitzer publicity just cost her a pretty chunk of change.

Ashley Alexandra Dupré: the first-ever call girl to suffer from over saturating the market.

Mind Your Manners

In everything, we must play by the rules. Social media marketing is certainly no exception.

SMM obviously revolves around social media- things like MySpace, Facebook, Digg and even Wikipedia. Each one of these user-driven communities has its own set of rules. In order for people to trust you and your brand, you have to give them a reason to. If you use these platforms in the wrong way, all your marketing tactics could be for naught: You could end up on that community’s “banned” list.

From Janet Meiners’ “How to Make a Blog Post Go Viral with Social Media:”
“If you’re pushing your story or product rather than sharing it, then you’re stepping over the line. … Avoid thinking that because there is a crowd gathered it’s a good time to promote yourself. This is applicable in the offline world, too. Once I heard someone announce their store’s grand opening at a church meeting, which was in very poor taste. We can probably all think of our favorite network marketer who manages to weave information about their products into every conversation. Keep it relevant.”

This is such an important point. People have to trust your content for it to take off over the Internet. This cannot happen if you behave in an obnoxious, or in any way untrustworthy, manner.

One major step in the right direction is to check out that community’s FAQs. This will set your boundaries. After doing so, use your common sense when engaged in conversation with other community members. Remember: SMM is indirect advertising. At this stage in the game, it’s hard to gauge how effective SMM is. For example, the effectiveness of Facebook’s SocialAds is under heavy debate. SMM is definitely best used for brand visibility. By getting your name out there, the belief is that all the potential consumers you reach will remember your brand when they’re in the market. Consumers are more likely to stay away if a particular campaign is perceived as distasteful or obnoxious.

Use common sense. You don’t like it when people get in your face to try to sell you something. This generation of consumers despises it even more. Focus on getting your brand and your message out there in a respectful manner and it has a greater potential to translate into increased sales later.

SMM: The Great Healer

When the Internet became widely available, many critics (I’m laughing right now at the thought of the Internet having critics. Seriously. The Internet.) said that it could create a culture of isolationism. They predicted people never leaving their homes to work or even grocery shop. There’s certainly a little of that going on in various sectors, but I think that social media marketing is somewhat of a backlash at anonymous advertising and seemingly faceless corporations.

Let me give you an example. On Friday, I called my Valero card’s customer service number to complain about the shoddy service I received from a representative while trying to pay for my bill. It wouldn’t do to vent to my electronic assistant, “Valerie,” (if that is in fact her real name). I kept screaming “OPERATOR!” or, alternately, “REPRESENTATIVE!” at “Valerie” even though I knew that the volume of my voice wouldn’t make her snap to it any quicker. Poor “Valerie” didn’t have a chance. I was too angry about having to jump through hoops to talk to someone.

I just wanted to talk to a real person. It’s just this weird thing I have – wanting to connect and interact with other people. I’m not alone. Social media experts universally stress being genuine and organic. That’s what the concept is based on, anyway; relationships are supposed to be built with these anonymous people peppered across the world. Social media is built on trust, word-of-mouth, input and feedback. To me, it feels like people are trying to reconnect as a result of being denied access to each other as corporations sprawled out and distanced themselves from the people they are trying to service.

In short? I’m touched by the grassroots appeal of it. I guess it’s the traditionalist in me.

The Real Reason Behind Digg’s Bury Brigade

Other related articles;
Digg’s Bury Feature Abused to Suppress Controversial Content
The Bury Brigade Exists, and Here’s My Proof

My Lips is Chapped – Friday’s Funny Video

I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I watched this video.

Enjoy My Lips Is Chapped by PooPoo Broussard;

When Life Just Blows…Fukitol!

At first, when I thought about posting this to my blog, I thought it had nothing to do with social media or marketing. I though…man: I just can’t resist. It’s hilarious. But then I realized, it had everything to do with social media. That’s what social media is all about: sharing.


Social Media Tips: Part Duece

There is a magic word when it comes to succeeding in social media: share. Social media is all about sharing information. It’s about giving away knowledge. It’s about free content. It’s about respecting your reader: be that your prospective client, your vendor, or your employee. And it’s about giving your reader real tips, tricks, advice, how-tos, instructions and
know-how that they will in turn share with their prospective client, their vendors, or their employees.

This is the mantra of Web2.0. Share. Share with content, lots of it. All kinds. Articles, videos, pictures, podcasts, whitepapers. Share with honesty: give in truth of your knowledge. Your generosity will come back to you. Pay it Forward. Share with frequency. Be involved in industry web conversations, your blog, your ezine, your social networks.

And to help you propagate the knowledge that you are sharing here are two quick tips:

1) Syndicate your content with RSS feeds, so people can receive your new content on their Yahoo or Google homepages, websites, news sites, and more. Provide an easy link on your site for people to subscibe to your RSS feed.

2) Utilize bookmark buttons., digg, technorati and other social portals or social bookmarking sites offer buttons that you can place on your website so that people can “bookmark or vote for your site”, “digg your stories”, etc. Make it easy for your visitors to tell other people about you!

Social Media Tips: Part Uno

So we all know that social media is here to stay, and if you aren’t utilizing a social contact management system in your Internet marketing, you’re behind. But how exactly does one go about using social media? It’s a nebulous Web out there, and marketers are just touching the tip of the iceberg on how to best utilize social media to their clients’ advantage.

Here are a few places to start on your social media campaign:

1) Blogging. Duh. Yes, everyone’s doing it, and you should to. Search engines love the blogs and so do visitors. But who has the time to write all that stuff? A good blog takes effort and time. You have a couple of options: a) choose someone from your staff that is a strong writer and who understands your business. b) outsource — but hire an English speaker please. And take the time to talk to the writer and help them understand your business. Yes, this is a process, and it does take time. You’re sure to spend more for a qualified writer who will write strong posts (and not just add random junk to your site), but it’s worth it.

2) Write reviews on your company and get your mother, friends, coworkers, aunt, sister, sister’s dog and whoever else you can think of to write reviews as well. Google Local, Yahoo Local,, and CitySearch are just a few of the places you can start. People do read these reviews, and the information on these sites could very well mean the difference between getting that next client or not.

3) Get a LinkedIn profile. This is a great site to meet other professionals and start networking.

For more tips and info on social media, check out this great whitepaper! It talks about more than just Internet applications, but it really has some great stats on how large companies like Boeing and GM have used social media to their advantage.

Microsoft Offers 44.6 Billion To Buy Yahoo

“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft Corp. has pounced on slumping Internet icon Yahoo Inc. with an unsolicited takeover offer of $44.6 billion in its boldest bid yet to challenge Google Inc.’s dominance of the lucrative online search and advertising markets.”

Read full press release here:

Microsoft Listas

New social media tool up on Microsoft Live Labs. This new tool named “Listas” will allow users to create and share content with others. Users will also be able to collect and save video, text bits and web pages as well as bookmarking links and subscribing to feeds that might interest you.

By the way, it looks like IE 7 and Firefox are the only browsers currently supported.

Listas Tech Preview

Download the Listas Toolbar

Community Page

Google & Form Strategic Alliance

Google Inc. and Inc. announce a strategic partnership Tuesday and announce a new product called “Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords” which integrates Google AdWords with Salesforce on Demand CRM. The new offering is targeted towards small to midsize businesses.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 5, 2007) — (NYSE: CRM), the market and technology leader in on-demand business services, and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) today announced that they have formed a strategic global alliance to help millions of businesses leverage the Internet to achieve success. The newest product resulting from this alliance, Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, is a robust offering that combines the power of Salesforce on-demand CRM applications with the Google AdWords™ platform to achieve integrated sales and marketing success. This joint solution provides businesses of all sizes with the same tools used by larger enterprises to successfully attract and retain customers.” Read The Full Press Release Here.

Current customers can go to to login to their account or you can go to Salesforce at