Category Archives: Social Media

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies

Asking a marketer to describe their brand’s content strategy is like asking my wife what she wants for dinner. You’ll hear 50 different answers that really only distill down to a handful of choices:

  • FORMAT – “We use video, images and real-time engagement…”
  • MEDIA – “We create paid, owned and earned experiences…”
  • CHANNEL – “We use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn…”
  • SOURCE – “We have curated, syndicated, and costume content…”
  • INTENT – “We drive traffic to our blog for lead gen and SEO…”

How To Spot The Best and Worst Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian ParkerThe only answer you won’t hear is “I don’t know.”

While these inputs represent vital building blocks for connecting ideas, communities and people, successful content marketing strategies start with 2 core questions:

1. Who are we talking to… and why should they care?

2. What are we saying… and why should they share?

Content is the oxygen of your social media ecosystem. Strategy is the process of converting it into results by regulating what you do, why you do it and how. A content marketing strategy dependent on a specific channel, format or source will soon be on life-support as technology changes and interest wanes.

There is a better way. At Intuit we’ve had the opportunity to test, learn and iterate on several campaigns targeting global business professionals and small business owners. The content marketing strategy we’ve adopted focuses on maximizing the 2 core questions and scaffolding our content plans around consumer-driven motivations.

The best and worst of content marketing strategies come to life in 4 types:

4 Types of Content Marketing Strategies - Adrian Parker

WORST: Vanity Content

With lagging consumer relevancy and even lower trust, many traditional, outbound marketing tactics fall into the vanity category. Companies struggle to hit tomorrow’s revenue forecast and reach today’s audience with yesterday’s playbook.  Until recently the marketing solar system revolved around products and brands, not consumers. Mass scale was rewarded, encouraged and expected. Vanity content strategies are like a bad blind date that expects you to pay for dinner after blabbering about themselves through three painful courses. To be fair, vanity content pieces do have a place and a purpose but a strategy built on this approach is destined to fail. Just say no.

GOOD: Conversational Content

Conversational content powers Twitter timelines, serving as a virtual village where ideas go to spread or die. The steady stream of share-bait presents easy access to news, information, updates and random distractions. Done right, this approach requires dedicated resources who are equipped with the right tools and empowered by leaders. Like a great dinner party, the key to great conversational content is to start the discussion, not own it. Conversations can quickly become viral or convictional based on how audiences respond so leave room for the unplanned.

BETTER: Convictional Content

Content that evokes emotions, strengthens beliefs or confronts assumptions is challenging to produce yet powerful to consume. We often speak of “humanizing” or “personifying” our brand, alluding to the notion that people connect more easily with other people. This approach works extremely well when focused on the people behind your products and a story bigger than your brand. What this content approach lacks in scale it makes up for in transparency and trust. Great content elicits an action, which is the ultimate goal of most brand marketing and media. Instead of asking for the action, convictional content asks for a discussion.

BEST: Viral Content

The word “viral” has been abused more than Charlie’s bitten finger. By definition, the term denotes that new consumption comes from the activities of current consumers. Or said another way, users begat other users. Even within Intuit virality has various degrees. Sales enabling content for QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition (B2B) performs very differently from a TurboTax video campaign (B2C). While every piece of viral content isn’t necessarily marketing, all viral marketing delivers on the core 2 motivators: giving consumers a reason to share and care.

It begs an obvious question: In a world transformed by digital technology, why is viral content so prevalent online yet elusive for marketers? Easy answer: We’re busy creating innovative ways to talk about what we know best – ourselves.

Let’s Talk

In business, strategies answer obvious questions and question obvious answers. Any content plan will evolve over time but should always serve as a true north representation of what and who your brand stands for. Last week at Social Fresh West in San Diego I had the opportunity to discuss how to drive digital results by focusing on relationships. This “Care & Share Model” illustrates how it came together using a recent case study from Intuit. You can check out the full presentation on Slideshare or below.

I look forward to hearing how brands and small businesses alike tackle these challenges. If your content strategy had a Facebook page, would any of your customers like it? Leave a comment below with how you would rank your own content marketing strategy. Feel free to link to examples!

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

5 Signs Your Brand is Abusing Social Media

Everything and everyone has a purpose, an intended reason for being created. Birds were born to fly. Fish were formed to swim. Social media was made to________.

The word you used to fill in that blank reveals all you need to know about how successful social strategies will be at driving growth in your organization. Abuse – defined as “abnormal use” – simply means the utilization of something for a purpose it was not manufactured for. Pencils as cue tips, credit cards as therapists, food as a best friend and people as punching bags are all obvious examples of something abnormally used.

If you or your team have misaligned expectations about the role of social interactions there isn’t much chance fitting the proverbial square peg into the round hole. Over the last 3 years I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and coach business leaders across the globe and I’ve learned to spot the social media abusers fairly quickly. There are usually 5 ways businesses abuse social media so watch out for these warnings signs in your organization:

5 Signs Social Media Abuse - Adrian Parker Intuit

1) You get an email every month asking how much revenue was driven from Facebook. Social connections and peer recommendations hugely impact purchase decisions but using your channels as a direct response vehicle is the #1 sign you’re an abuser. This offense is worsened if you actually reply to said email with a dollar figure and no other context about your customers. Measuring the value of social activity purely in dollar signs is like measuring the ROI of your mom by her life insurance amount. It doesn’t make sense and actually impairs the ROI of your efforts by missing the bigger picture (lifetime value, media efficiency, loyalty, recommendations and trust). Click here for more on social attribution models and ROI.

2) Your customer care team isn’t actively monitoring social channels. When you said “yes” to using Twitter to connect with customers you also said “yes” to providing timely answers and follow-up to relevant inquiries. It’s a marriage. For richer or for poorer you have a responsibility to be present in the conversation even when it’s not convenient. Companies that sell or serve online have an obligation to treat online conversations in the same manner they would address a face-to-face interaction. Would you like to know how responsive you are as a brand? Try the Twitter Customer Analysis report from Simply Measured (it’s free).

3) You talk about yourself all day. Every day. Can you (Adrian is hot) imagine how (Adrian can’t cook) annoying (Adrian is from Texas) it is to attempt to (Adrian misses his hair) converse with (Adrian wants you to read this) someone who is constantly (Adrian has a budget meeting today) talking about themselves. Just stop it. Inside our companies we all spend an obsessive amount of time talking to, at and about our products as if the earth is still flat and the sun revolves around them. Outside your conference room is where the real world starts. It’s round, customers are real people and relationships matter. Here’s my 37-slide point-of-view on how to create content that drives connections.

4) The leaders who decide social budgets, staffing and resources aren’t active online. Your CMO doesn’t need to have a verified Twitter account or a custom WordPress blog but the key trigger-pullers in your organization do need to be present and participatory online. It truly is the only way to form an accurate end-to-end picture of how to best utilize social as a business mechanism. Imagine Jennifer Quotson, Visual Merchandising Director for Starbucks, procuring vendors to redesign their stores without ever stepping inside one. Better yet, picture Ross Meyercord, CIO of Salesforce.com, deciding next year’s staffing and expense plan without an understanding of customer trends or cloud adoption rates. It’s laughable but it happens more frequently than you think. As a leader, when you reduce your brand’s online experience to a row in an Excel spreadsheet you’re ill-equipped to make intelligent decisions about how best to drive growth. Shifting a company culture to a social first mindset isn’t easy but here are some tools to start the journey.

5) One team “owns” social media or mobile. Social media is ultimately about connections, not control. If one group holds the keys to the kingdom (either by design or default) you’re driving a Porsche 911 stuck in neutral. The true power of these peer connections is realized when a company’s culture embraces engagement as an opportunity to learn, hear and connect more with the people who keep you in business. It’s not a PR function or a marketing campaign, though those are key elements. With 1 billion people on Facebook and half the United States using a smartphone, digital and mobile strategy is everyone’s job. Realign your team and recalibrate your mindset or you may very well be the bottleneck to progress. Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons your social strategy is incomplete without mobile.

Abuse – abnormal use – can be expected with nascent, emerging technologies that require us all to flex muscles in new ways. With constant change comes constant learning. The opportunity lies in dispelling misinformation regarding interactive marketing and enabling both teams and leaders to learn new ways to drive growth from the inside out. Stop the abuse and take the time to do it right.

I’d love to hear from social media leaders and marketers alike. What are some ways you see social engagement mis-used in organizations and what are the barriers to increasing our social IQ? Leave a comment below.

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4 Reasons Your Social Strategy Is Incomplete Without Mobile

It finally happened.  Last year social and mobile tied the knot in a private ceremony and now they’re having kids.  With smartphone adoption in the U.S. surging to new heights and social networking surpassing pornography as the #1 online activity, business as usual is obsolete.  Interactive strategies must now solve for social experiences on a mobile device and mobile content consumed socially.  Anything less is simply insufficient.

At Intuit, we’ve taken this task to heart.  Our CEO Brad Smith is bullish about reimagining our products and services to fully realize the fruits of a social, mobile and global world.  For my team, this means our social and mobile marketing strategies live within the same group and we plan activities simultaneously with collaboration from our web and product partners.  It’s not an easy journey but it is a necessary one.  I believe there are 4 reasons to begin building out a true SoMo (social/mobile) approach to business.

4 Reasons Your Social Strategy is Incomplete Without Mobile

1. A social-only strategy is a job half-done
Brand have an obligation to stay social in a mobile world.  As consumer usage shifts from online/desktop toward mobile, everything has changed.  And nothing has changed.  In Intuit’s accounting professional division, 70% of our accounting and tax professionals are on a smartphone, and about 30% of those professionals are using a tablet.  We’ve evolved our approach to serve customers in their channel of choice.  Users can access software, training, social information and content as easily from a mobile device as they can from their desktop. Concurrently, if you see product information on LinkedIn, a blog or a forum, we’ll also provide that info via email or a representative’s phone call.

Our goal is to “leave no desktop behind.”  We’re still going to support our desktop software users who are more comfortable and confident in that environment.  Meanwhile, we continue to build up capability for the future.  It’s no longer enough to have one page, one language or one mobile device.  The most powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool is a great product experience.  A focus on delighting costumers begins and ends with great product, with marketing being the gracious host.

2. Consumer connections are the offspring of social and mobile getting hitched
Social and mobile proliferation creates limitless opportunity for us to connect with real people.  Customers are engaging on their mobile device or via a social channel long before they visit Intuit.com, call a sales representative or interact with a retail worker.  For Intuit’s accounting professionals division, we now have a virtual seat at that table when customers are having the conversations about our brand. Then we can observe, influence and respond in real-time. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with users in ways that weren’t possible two years ago.  For instance, a tax professional can now do their client’s taxes while they’re on their iPad, sitting on the beach.  A CPA can get trained and certified in QuickBooks Online on their iPhone while they’re waiting in an airport.  After completion, they can even share progress across social channels and tell their clients that they are certified with one click of a button to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.  All made possible by the marriage of SoMo.

3. Technology will only continue to shrink the world, raise the bar and stretch our boundaries
Brands must now be trilingual, with complete mastery of social, mobile and global best practices because customers expect it.  Once you shift to a social, mobile-first mindset, you’re automatically  global because conversations take place anywhere across the world.  No longer is there a barrier.  We recently launched global-ready training that can be viewed on any mobile device across the board, whether it’s Windows, iOS or Android.  We’re exploring global-ready experiences on YouTube page that auto-detect location and adjust language and content settings.  Being device and geography agnostic requires organizational commitments.  For global corporations, it’s inadequate to have one web experience, one language or one mobile device.  Relevancy requires having a portfolio mindset.

4. Brands cannot live by Facebook tabs alone
When I started in social media three-plus years ago, every campaign was centered on a gorgeous Facebook tab with a promotional call to action.  It was a creative extension of your traditional marketing campaign. These days, you need robust photos, video, text and content on the timeline that really create authentic engagement.  It’s no longer enough to build out a core tab function.  Facebook is doing a lot of work to really integrate more of those functions into the mobile dialogue, but for the most part, users are in their newsfeed – wanting to hear from their friends and family.  Not only does it provide a barrier for brands, but also it requires we earn our way into the conversation. Simply put, it’s sink or swim time.

As always, perfection is elusive so the focus should be on progressing your efforts year over year.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how social and mobile intersect to impact how you go-to-market, or not.

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Filed under Learnings & Insight, Mobile, Social Media

How Do You Drive Innovation? Intuit Wants to Know

Everyone has a story to tell about a time when their innovation made an impact on a campaign, client or in the community.  Intuit wants to hear your story.

We’re looking for 15 individuals to crown as “Intuit Innovators.”  From Nov. 8 until Dec. 19, small business owners and financial professionals from across the country can share their stories of innovation on the Intuit Accountants Facebook page. Whether it be serving clients with technology or supporting the community by giving back, they can submit their stories via video, text or photo.  Winners receive Apple iPads and Intuit Rewards Cards for up to $100.

Watch our quick Intuit Innovators video below for an overview of the campaign and how it works! 

Can’t wait to hear the stories.

Official Rules

Intuit Accountants Mobile Site

 

 

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What is Intuit’s Approach To Building Agile Content?

 

Back in April 2012 I led a discussion at the PR Newswire Content Marketing & Communications Leadership Forum in Dallas to discuss best practices and swap updates.  PR Newswire wrote a quick overview of the session that can be viewed on their blog.

During a video interview after the event they asked me a very simple question: what is your approach to agile communications and content?

I gave a not-so-simple answer.  Check it out below.

 

 

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15 Signs of a Great Community Manager

From Fortune 500 corporations to mom & pop shops, community management is arguably the most pivotal function of any social media team. A brand is the sum of its parts and oftentimes the person behind the social channel becomes the eyes, ears, voice and face of your brand’s online footprint. Choose carefully.

I’ve been lucky to meet, work with, teach and even learn from some of the best Community Managers in the industry. Whether you’re looking for new talent or assessing the performance of your current roster, these are 15 signs of a great Community Manager:

      1. They have immediate access to the pulse of what’s going on in your industry and among your customers. A great Community Manager doesn’t wait for the weekly company buzz report, they write it.
      2. They have empathetic eyes, possessing an ability to view online content and campaigns from the consumer’s perspective. They know their audience and continually seek ways to improve the customer experience from the inside out.
      3. They don’t just seek ways to improve (see #2), they actually act on solutions. Great Community Managers have a bias for action.
      4. They are multilingual when it comes to media. They produce videos, pictures and promotions with the same ease as writing posts and articles.
      5. They have a passion for engagement and conversing with customers that is infectious. They overwhelm you with creative ideas and are a constant source of good thinking.
      6. They are “professionally offended” if their content fails to get engagement and immediately seek constructive ways to do better next time. Great Community Managers never stop optimizing.
      7. They spend more time conversing with customers than sitting in a room talking about them. They monitor your social channel metrics daily and don’t depend solely on Radian6 to be your online ears.
      8. They regularly scrutinize your brand, your peers, competition and influencers to garner ideas of what can be done better or differently.
      9. They love to test, learn and derive insights from new technology. Change doesn’t paralyze, it invigorates.
      10. They are mobile-savvy and equally comfortable engaging on a phone or tablet as a desktop. They have created the proper barriers between the work account and their personal accounts to prevent social snafus.
      11. They engage on evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure your brand has a human voice that participates in relevant cultural and industry happenings. They do this without being asked.
      12. They know your company’s vision and can clearly articulate your strategy and how social impacts all of the above.
      13. They have an urgent desire to amplify your online presence tempered with an understanding that it takes time to grow. Great Community Managers are patiently impatient.
      14. They spend time each day reading about trends, happenings and people in order to develop a perspective for your brand.
      15. They have an expert understanding of each social channel’s publishing, reporting and administrative tools. Don’t assume this is common knowledge.

Perhaps the best sign of a great Community Manager is fairly simple: they read lists like this and immediately identify key areas where they can do better to help your brand. I’m grateful for the great folks I know.

Are you a Community Manager? Let me know what you think of the list and what indicators you think are valuable when looking for competent talent in this emerging space.

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, Learnings & Insight, Social Media

Staying Social Fresh

Yesterday was my first time in Tampa and though it was a quick trip, it was a good one.  Jason Keath invited me to speak at Social Fresh, a bi-annual conference specializing in enhancement tools for people in the social industry.

With few internal sources available for best practices, networking and training among traditional companies, Social Fresh fills a void that most in the field can relate to.  I’m grateful for the opportunity.

It’s also a geeky pleasure to connect with your Twitter favorites in real life.  I especially enjoyed chatting with Shauna Causey and Jay Baer while we waited for our video interviews.  Like me, they both have exciting new developments in the works and it’s great to see the glass ceiling for social is no where in sight. Yet.

My topic, “Elevate: Leading & Launching a Social Media Practice” was well-received and I believe any conversation about the business of social media must also include a leadership component.  [Click here to see a blog post summary of my chat].

As promised, here are my slides from the presentation:

Most of all, I enjoyed the dialogue with attendees after my session, several of whom confirmed my sense that we’re all facing similar challenges. Some of the primary questions were:

  1. How do we educate and lead cross-functional teams who don’t see value in interactive marketing?
  2. Are there resources for navigating privacy, IP and other legal issues facing companies?
  3. What’s the best way to lead a team when everything we’re doing has never been done before?
  4. How do I prove the value of social media in my organization so I’m not perceived as simply an add-on but a necessity?

Let’s continue this dialogue over the next several days as we edify one another. If you have recommendations to the questions below please drop me a comment or a link to your blog post.  I certainly learned a few things during my brief time in Tampa and look forward to what’s next for my Social Fresh friends.

Next up – I owe Kate Sawa (@katesawa) a post highlighting how to calculate and use earned media efficiency as a measure of social media ROI.  We’re going to use her success at the American Heart Association as an upcoming case study.  You just wait and see.

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Elevate: Launching and Leading A Social Media Practice

On June 7, 2010 the late Steve Jobs took the stage at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco to announce Apple’s latest break through release, the iPhone 4.  The tag line read “This changes everything. Again.”

He wasn’t lying.

I was 6 months into my newly minted role managing social media for RadioShack, their first foray into the space.  This announcement signaled the end of my honeymoon phase and represented the first time in RadioShack’s 90-year history that the iconic retailer would be a launch-day destination for Apple devices. Previously they only received Cupertino’s finest imports after the national release and  after the competition.

That day we sardined into a conference room, throwing out options and brainstorms for how on earth we could tell the masses we would be slanging Apples.  The launch was in 17 days, which meant we had 7 days to convince customers we were actually selling the device and 7 hours to say it first.  Every eye in the room was like a spotlight facing my direction.  Enter social media.

Social Media Takes Center Stage

Seemingly overnight, social media at  RadioShack accelerated from being a nascent, emerging tool for niche conversations to an urgent channel for driving the business. What was previously a thermometer – reacting to consumer and business stimuli – became  a thermostat, setting the pace for how our brand comes to life across 35,000 associates in 27 countries and 6,000 stores.

It was the end of my honeymoon and the beginning of an inevitable journey.  The business no longer needed someone to manage social.  They needed someone to lead it.  My approach was no longer sufficient.  They needed a visionary and a coach more than a community manager.  The business required internal alignment and strategy, not just advocacy.  It was time for me and social media to grow up.

I’m convinced any conversation about social business has one undeniable punchline: social leadership.  When done right, social media marketing evolves into a business practice that builds internal and external relationships across the organization.  It was never intended to be a solo show.  For me, this conversion from circus act to ring leader involved 7 points of individual and organizational elevation.

Social leaders must elevate…

1. From Community Manager to Coach

Community is the currency of social media.  Managing those relationships is vital, but it’s also teachable and transferable.  Recruit the right talent and give them permission to fail.  I know, it’s one of the hardest things to do but also the most critical.  Don’t expect them to say and do things exactly how you would.  Instead, a good coach builds a playbook that agencies, interns and co-workers can follow.  Create a social media  practice that works without you, not because of you.

2. From Evangelist to Educator

My focus is no longer on spreading the gospel of social media.  Ironically, the ever-growing ocean of stats, facts and figures regarding social usage are useless until you educate your business on how to be social.  This requires an elevation in your approach.  Speak to people about data, specific use-cases, financial impact and consumer response.  Most CMOs already know the cost of social so it’s a leader’s job to show the value.

3. From External Advocacy to Internal Alignment

Without an audience there is no brand.  Without alignment there is no business.  Outreach to influencers and brand ambassadors requires dedicated efforts across the organization.  As a social chief, it becomes my job to balance this external focus with my internal function as a liaison, ensuring we deliver on the conversations our advocates are having.  It’s perfectly OK to have multiple leaders own a piece of social strategy.  In fact, it’s a sign of organizational maturity. Just remember: leadership is plural, vision is singular.  Elevate and be the visionary.

4. From Test & Learn to Prove & Do

Innovation is important but it’s not everything (I can’t believe I just typed that).  Once you test a platform and evaluate its merits, it’s time to take action.  I had to elevate my conversations from mere recaps of engagement metrics (likes, fans, followers, retweets, etc.) to performance measures that are relevant to the business.  Contrary to popular opinion, there is a ROI component to social media and it’s the leader’s responsibility to represent this internally.  Here are the 4 measures I have found most valuable:

1. Competitive Share of Voice – How much of the online conversation did we impact/influence versus our competitive set? Measured via Radian6, Alterian or whatever your listening tool of choice is.

2. Media Efficiency – How much money did we save by using social channels and tactics versus conventional media?  Measured by calculating a CPM for the total audience and comparing directly to paid media rates (or industry benchmarks if you’re in PR).

3. Revenue Attribution – How many sales transactions resulted from this campaign? Measured by injecting a direct response component (unique code, digital tracking, etc.) into the social experience that connects potential customers to actual transactions.

4. Online Profit – How much profit (return on ad spend) did this interactive campaign drive.  If your business has an e-commerce function this is simply measured using the same approach as other digital drivers.

5. From Brand Program to Business Practice

As it matures, social becomes much bigger than a marketing channel.  Leading a practice requires oversight of enterprise-wide needs that fall well beyond the job description of a community manager or individual contributor.  This includes budgeting for operational support and social advertising, constantly reviewing agency rosters to assess scope and competency, evolving and championing staffing plans and procuring proven talent for specialized needs.  This point of elevation required me to take off the rock star hat and build a stage where everyone can have rock star results.

6. From Mobile as 3rd Screen to 1st Screen

I’ll admit it.  Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is increasing faster than the I.Q. of most marketers.  What was once an extension of our traditional campaigns has become the center of our consumer interactions.  Forty percent of social users are accessing the channels via mobile devices and some, my wife included, have no clue what the desktop version of Facebook even looks like.  I suppose we can thank Mr. Jobs for that as well.

7. From Policies to Protection

This one isn’t much fun.  When I wrote the social media policy for The Shack, it was intended to instill guiding principles and philosophies for navigating the online space.  It was an internal document with an intentional focus – protect our brand from itself.  The most urgent need now is protection from others.  The business of social media is the business of trust.  Without it, disaster ensues.  That trust must be protected by guarding privacy, securing intellectual property, scrutinizing licensing agreements and even counteracting legal claims.  Technology has created immense opportunity, especially for lawyers.  Leaders keep their enemies close and their lawyer on speed-dial.

What’s Next?

Managing communities, growing advocates, testing technology and crafting creative marketing programs are the core of social media and abundantly necessary.  A social leader must be able to manage these critical components while also looking at the bigger, sometimes blurry, picture.  These are the guiding principles I will take with me in my new position leading social, mobile and emerging media at Intuit.  I start next Monday.

I’m looking forward to presenting them today at the Social Fresh conference in Tampa.  As a follow-up, I’m committing to post links and more detailed examples of the tools I used to elevate.  If you find them helpful let me know your thoughts and if you totally disagree, let me know why.

UPDATE: Follow the tag #ElevateSocial for more updates, including my SlideShare presentation and a follow-up blog post, Staying Social Fresh.

AP

Twitter – @adriandparker
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/adriandparker

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My 5 Favorite RadioShack Social Campaigns

In the past 2 years the RadioShack social team has had just as many failures as successes.  For every article highlighting our innovative use of technology, there’s an equally as articulated report detailing what we learned from loss.

And, therein lies the sweet spot of marketing leadership: when you give your team permission to fail you also give them the tools to succeed.  So, just in case you weren’t following our every move these past 2 years (unimaginable!) here’s a recap of my 5 favorite RadioShack campaigns along with a “behind the scenes” factoid for each.

1. LIVESTRONG Team 28

This program started as a brainstormed solution to a simple question: how do we allow people across the globe to support Team RadioShack and the 28 million people battling cancer?  In addition to partnering with imc2 agency, we worked with UK-based shop Storm Ideas to build the custom “Twibbons” for the 2010 Tour de France bike race.  Users were able to display their support for Team 28 by tagging the number “28” on their social avatars. It evolved into a 4-month multi-media platform that included a Times Square takeover in NYC and profile pics being broadcast live across the globe.  Ultimately, it raised $30,000 for LIVESTRONG and the fight against cancer and remains one of my favorite activations.

FACT: The bright idea to transform the numerous Twitter and Facebook profile images into a mosaic of Lance Armstrong came from a Facebook fan.

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2. Twitter Powers Holiday Heroes

RadioShack’s award-winning 2010 holiday marketing campaign brought the “Holiday Heroes” theme to life by unleashing the power of Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and other emerging platforms.  I’d certainly love to say we knew it would be such a huge success, but the list of unknown factors far outweighed conventional marketing wisdom.  While our agency partners (and even some Twitter reps) thought we were crazy for using unproven, unknown hashtags for our Promoted Trends, we actually had a secret weapon.  Our consumers.  We used our fans & followers as an impromptu test audience to observe the shareability of the trends.  Not only did the campaign increase awareness and engagement, it also sold phones.  Imagine that.  The video below is a recap of our #IfIHadSuperPowers Twitter trend.

FACT:  Our first Promoted Trend flopped miserably.  We were redeemed a week later after the next trend when Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sent an email informing the team we had broken a record for impressions & engagement during a trend.

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3. Product Launch: HTC EVO 3D

RadioShack is 90 years old so we rarely get the chance to party like rockstars, let alone with them.  In this case, for the launch of the iconic EVO 3D phone we partnered with Sony, Sprint and HTC to release the device to the world in grand fashion.  Whether or not you’re a fan of Paris Hilton, LMFAO or our other celeb attendees, you must admit this is an unexpected way to celebrate new technology.  From Tweets and drinks to celebs and cars, the launch was covered across the country and came together in just 4 weeks.

FACT: The @RadioShack Tweets during the event were being curated & published by our intern back in Fort Worth as we funneled her pics, vids and updates. Long night.

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4. @RadioShackLIVE at the Tour de France

What do you get when you give 2 guys a box full of RadioShack gear and send them to France to experience the world’s biggest cycling race? More than 200 videos and 8 days of pure comedy.  imc2 agency procured 2 of Second City’s funniest improv comedians – Jordan & Steve – and we shipped them all over France.  In addition to our newly created @RadioShackLIVE Twitter account, our US audience followed the happenings on our Facebook tab which included a pair of virtual phones for tracking Tweets, videos, images and updates.

FACT: Honestly, though we received 100K views on YouTube we certainly anticipated more views.  This is the best campaign you never saw.

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5. #S0RightLive

This campaign is easily the most memorable.  Last December we hosted #SoRightLive, our first-ever live video webcast featuring RadioShack products and people.  Powered by Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, the event included 5 broadcast segments showcasing “So Right” gifts: from smartphones and RC cars to headphones and DIY tech kits.  All segments were hosted by RadioShack’s own Ricky Cadden, Paige Guyton, Danny Ramirez and Lauren Kushnerick and we built out a full set at the Dallas Omni Hotel.  The video below has some must-see highlights.  The results? 80 million global impressions, 550 hours of video consumed in 1 day and an average viewing time of 20 minutes. Many thanks to Alyssa and Chris from Weber Shandwick whom I hope to borrow away from their agency at some point in my career.

FACT: We rehearsed until about 1 a.m. the night before the live shoot and were deliriously tired.  Luckily Ricky and Paige were camera-ready the next day and all turned out well.  Can’t remember being more proud of the team!

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Filed under Innovation, Interactive Marketing, RadioShack, Social Media

Using Real-Time Media To Drive Real Results

Last week we hosted #SoRightLive, our first-ever live video webcast featuring RadioShack products and people.  Powered by Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, the event included 5 broadcast segments showcasing “So Right” gifts: from smartphones and RC cars to headphones and DIY tech kits.  All segments were hosted by RadioShack’s own Ricky Cadden, Paige Guyton, Danny Ramirez and Lauren Kushnerick and we built out a full set at the Dallas Omni Hotel.  The video below has some must-see highlights.

 

Why is this news? Glad you asked. This combination of real people showcasing technology using social media delivered the following results:

  1. 80 million global impressions (30M U.S.)
  2. 550 total hours of video viewed with 2K streamed views.
  3. Average viewing time per user: 20 minutes
  4. 4% engagement rate on Twitter
  5. 20+ bloggers, influencers and experts participated in the on-site studio event

#SoRightLive was an experiment for all of us and there are several learnings we’ll apply to future episodes.  Since being tasked with launching the interactive practice at RadioShack my goal has been to humanize the brand and ensure our consumer communications had just as much heart as muscle.  Traditional media like TV, radio, print and direct mail play a vital role in the consumer’s path to purchase and our goal as interactive marketers is to close the loop with media, messaging and motives that builds trust.  It’s a word we don’t use enough considering it ultimately decides how, where and when consumer’s spend their money.

Thanks to everyone for their hard work on delivering with excellence today while moving the needle for tomorrow.  More to come. Get ready 2012.

Would love to hear from other digital marketers and influencers on their experience with live events. What role can it play in driving real conversations?

 

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Filed under Interactive Marketing, RadioShack, Social Media