Tag Archives: social media

The “Invisible Children” and “Kony 2012” Phenomenon

We normally try to steer clear of political hot buttons on this business blog, and will make every attempt to do so here, as well.  What I want to focus on is the amazing reach of a single idea, and and how that idea quickly splintered into reactions and investigations and rumor and innuendo and inevitable humor and satire, all within 24-48 hours.  That, my friends, is viral.  Or as we say in New England, wicked viral.

An interesting summary of the situation can be read here, and some intelligent comments on both sides of the argument follow.  So I will not recapitulate the matter here, nor express my opinion on it (which is, in fact, still being formulated.)   Rather, I would like to examine the social media impact of this phenomenon.

The video first caught my attention via an article on FastCompany.com on March 7.  By the time I watched the video, it had already been viewed by half a million people since its appearance on March 5.  Within an hour of sharing it on my Facebook page, a friend posted a comment, with a link to another article, which suggested that the makers of the video, and their cause, were not exactly as they presented themselves to be.  After reading that article, a few thoughts came to mind:

    1. The power of a well-produced video is so compelling.  Upon first view, my reaction was not to do more research, or ask any follow-up questions.  In my mind, the video had shown me enough to warrant my desire to share it with others, thus helping the cause of the organization that created and posted it.  That’s a powerful video.
    2. At this writing, the original video has almost 28 million views on YouTube, and almost 17  million more on Vimeo, just 6 days after its initial appearance.  Is it possible to capture that kind of lightning in a bottle on a regular basis?
    3. It will be interesting to see how much traction their movement gets before April 20 – the day the organization has targeted for having their message blanket the physical world, in addition to the cyber world.  As a marketing case study, this one is a beaut!

So, the question is, is this a matter of a well-made video, introduced initially to a number of the right influencers in the worlds of politics and entertainment, then snowballing into a viral phenomenon?  Is the actual subject of the video that drove its popularity, or was it the execution of a great content packaging and release strategy?

Chuck Dennis

Time is of the Essence!

To make any kind of impact on social media, it is imperative that your content be timely.  That’s why you should start each day by viewing search alerts from your web search engines of choice, on topics that are meaningful to your business and industry.  You need to know what’s going on NOW.  The reasoning here is simple: keep your web presence as current as possible. It strengthens your business reputation, and your blog’s SEO.  And, you always have stuff to write about!

Here’s a quick lesson on how to get pertinent, timely information delivered to you when you need it:

  1. Where do you go? Log into your Google account, and go to http://www.google.com/alerts.  (Yes, you can do this with other search engines, too.)
  2. Where do you search?  Don’t limit the scope of your search to just news or just discussions, at least initially. Search everything, including other people’s social media!
  3. What do you search?  Create search alerts on your name, your business or product name, and some industry keywords.  Don’t forget your competitors’ names and products.  Do each of these separately, otherwise you will have bloated search results.  Use quotation marks to focus on “specific terms” such as “your name.”
  4. When do you want to be notified?  At very least, once daily.  But depending on your industry, you may want to be notified “as it happens.”  Beware of having too broad a search when you use immediate notification; your inbox will fill up quickly.

Consider doing this with a variety of search engines, such as Yahoo!, Northern Light, Bing, etc.

But a word of caution: become adept at quickly scanning and assessing these alerts.  If you fully investigate each citation, you will have created an incredible time-suck.

So focus on the hot news, and when something catches your eye, immediately write something about it, link to its source, and share it with your world!

–Chuck Dennis

So Many Sins, So Little Time

I read an interesting, if somewhat basic, article by Stephanie Parker yesterday, on SocialMediaToday.com, entitled 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media.  In this article, Ms Parker lists some guidelines (I think “deadly sins” is a little dramatic in this case, but hey, it got my attention) for newbies on the social media business scene.

She discusses the pitfalls of posting too much, and posting too little, and how doing either can damage your credibility in the social media community.  While there is no general standard for amount of posting one organization should do in any given day/week/month, the old phrase “moderation in all things” applies here.  Posting too much makes you a blabbermouth; posting too little makes you a wallflower.  Neither extreme will help your business.

Along the same lines, Ms Parker addresses the nature of what you share.  You don’t have to be, nor should you be, “all business, all the time.”  Keep the “social” in social media by posting or commenting on things that you think might interest your followers, but not to the point that you become known as the wacky organization that posts all the cute kitty videos.  But if your personal interest in music / art / literature/ photography / etc. intersects somehow with the nature of your business, by all means, share it with your followers.  This presents your human side, and ultimately, people do business with people they like.  So be likable!

Another part of what makes social media social is the interactivity. Don’t just be a facilitator, be a participant.  On your own pages, if you start a conversation that people join, make sure you contribute and respond to other people’s posts.  If people are contributing on your pages, it’s because they want you to hear what they think, and they want to hear what you think.  And to that end, Ms Parker also urges you to participate in a variety of social media sites.  Different sites have different strengths and weaknesses, and target audiences.  If you’re going to do social media correctly, you want to be seen at all the cool places.

Her final warning is a good one: not to get too hung up on metrics.  There are ways of measuring the effectiveness and ROI of social media, but ultimately, you are trying to increase your business’ visibility and build some relationships.  Do that over time, and the ROI will come.

Chuck Dennis

The Future of Customer Care has Arrived

I continue to be fascinated by the possibilities of Web 2.0 applications.  Things that were initially developed as amusement and entertainment are now being mined for business applications.  This explains the proliferation of geezers such as myself on Facebook (wanna be my friend?), YouTube, MySpace, etc.

Now, YouTube, the Internet’s favorite video site, is being used by some progressive businesses to enhance their total customer experience.  T-Mobile has created a YouTube channel where customers can get video answers to their specific questions, demos for various products, tips and hints for users to get the most out of their new phones.  This, good people, is where customer service must be headed.

Businesses need to keep up with the applications most favored by their customers.  And ultimately, they all will.  It’s just that some are doing it now, and that is pretty cool.

– Chuck Dennis

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned

It used to be, if your business angered a customer, you could lose the customer’s business, and count on him telling anywhere from 5 to 25 people about the negative experience.  Depending on the nature of the the experience and the credibility of the angry customer, you might take a business hit from some existing and prospective customers.  Not to mention, your loss is your competitor’s gain.

Nowadays, through the wonders of technology, specifically the interactivity of Web 2.0, disgruntled customers have a much larger stage for their soapbox.  Hundreds, thousands, even millions of people can now read about a single customer complaint!  An article in yesterday’s New York Times, titled "Dealing With the Damage From Online Critics," discusses this topic. 

Now, no business is immune to the occasional dissatisfied customer.  However, as the article explains, it’s often how the business deals with the dissatisfaction that makes or breaks them.  Depending on the magnitude of the customer’s anger, bitter online posts with embellished details and ominous threats can give pause to potential customers and even disinterested third parties.  Critical and derogatory web sites can be created, or simply steaming posts on blogs or online forums can wreak havoc on a business’ goodwill.

Businesses can fight back by jumping into the fray with denials, counter-claims, or simply by posting authentic or contrived positive news about themselves or their products.  However, my belief is that nobody wins in this kind of online street fight.  Everyone comes out with at least some scrapes and bruises.  A better approach would be for the business to attempt to reach out to the offended customer, and try to learn the exact nature of the problem, why it happened, why it disturbed the customer, and how it can be avoided in the future. 

The business that acknowledges its problems, and resolves them to the customers’ satisfaction, is going to win a lot more loyalty and admiration than one who simply tries to sweep the dirt under the carpet.

  — Chuck Dennis

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