Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

My crude animation on social media addiction and relationships.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the future of TV and where digital media communications are going. Last night when we spoke about Hulu and the future of TV I was somewhat shocked to learn that 25% of all online searches are now YouTube videos. I mean, I knew it was up there, but 25% is significant. I can’t help but wonder if the targeted advertising of online content has a role in the reduced searches for other media, or if it is simply that online video is taking over the digital world. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

I recognize that I use search engines less in 2010 than ever before because it seems as though the content I used to search for now comes to me. It seems as though every website I visit has suggestions for alternate media channels that I may enjoy, and, in turn, these targeted yet seemingly serendipitous selections of media take up so much of my time I don’t even touch Google.

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It almost seems as though 90 seconds wasn’t long enough to express everything I wanted to for this project! The future of mainstream media is the internet. People want their news short-hand (preferably 140 characters or less), real time, and on demand. How many of us get our news by simply reading the headlines and captions on the MSN front page? Now whether today’s society is busier or simply lazier is up for debate; but regardless of the reason for this shift we have to recognize the fact that people don’t want to pursue news anymore, and pretty soon, they won’t want to pursue entertainment either. We want these media to come to us. We are no longer the consumer, we have the power to let these outlets know what we want and how we want it. And finally, they’re listening. We are the future of mainstream media.

Farewell my friend, we’ve had a long ride,
you saw me through while stressed out I cried,

I’ve shed those tears in your blue gaze,
while you stuck there with me in the roughest of days,

When I was ambitious and opened too much,
I knew you’d come through- like a ready-made crutch,

Our relationship has had its ups and downs,
you’ve seen me smile and endured my frowns,

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Tonight I couldn’t help but think of Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” and how the way we experience a story greatly relies on the medium in which it is delivered. A perfect example of this is Avatar. In the theater the 3-D imagery was somewhat astonishing when partnered with such realistic CGI and needless to say – I was sucked in… but on a tv or mobile device the experience relates to that of when I watched Ferngully in middle school. My main question after class this evening is how do we optimize the content we put on the web to create the same kind of emotional engagement we may see in a theater or even a live scenario? If the medium is the message what is the impact the internet is having on how our media is experienced and how do we make it better?

There has been a lot of dialog recently about what everyone is referring to as the “social media revolution.” On numerous occasions during my time at the University of Washington’s MCDM program we have been told that social media have resulted in a shift in the way we communicate. These platforms have provided a connection between industries and consumers that was unprecedented 10 years ago. The key issue that advertisers and marketers are running into today is convincing their bosses that these platforms are important for the future success of the company, and do require more than a few daily posts by a $9 an hour intern. But what do you tell your boss if he just doesn’t get it? Here are some ideas.

In a speech to the Association of  National Advertisers, the CEO of Procter and Gamble, A.G. Lafley, stated that

The more in control we are, the more out of touch we become. But the more willing we are to let go a little, the more we’re finding we get in touch with consumers.

It is clear that social media have had a huge impact on traditional marketing and advertising methods. Print and broadcast ad sales are dropping dramatically as efforts transition to online environments. Why? Because people don’t want to be sold to, we want to feel like we’re being heard. When marketing and support departments “let go” and listen to the issues of their consumers rather than trying to fight them or cover them up, they find an increase in consumer loyalty as well as earned media (online exposure as a result of a consumer comments or postings).

In the book Secrets of Social Media Marketing, Paul Gillin states that the first step in making your social media pitch is convincing your boss to embrace change. Social media is not the “common” method of communication to consumers and actually challenges many of the theories of marketing interaction. It is important to inform management that these platforms are to be utilized as a resource for people to voice their opinions and learn more about your business through interaction. That engagement is what gives consumers a feeling of loyalty to your brand by making them feel like their opinions matter. It’s all about building relationships.

Your boss may be concerned that opening up these channels will lead to negative dialog. This is a given because oftentimes people are much more apt to go online to vent about a negative experience rather than rave about a positive one. Nonetheless, this negativity should not be feared. It should be viewed as constructive. Sure, you may run against a wack here and there that is just angry for the sake of being angry, but more often that not the criticism will help improve your practices. Chances are that people are talking about your company online anyway, by excluding yourself from the conversation you are merely operating with ignorance to the real life concerns of your consumers.

I was asked recently by a Product Manager at a well-known online travel agency how she could approach negative social media without constantly providing free hotel rooms, rentals and discounted trip rates. I told her that the key to responding to a negative experience is admitting fault. Oftentimes that’s all the consumer wants. She had initially looked at the situation in a traditional mind frame “If I leave it alone, it will eventually go away.” This is not the case with social media, those posts are archived and spread like wildfire. You don’t want someone googling your company and seeing posts about poor business practices in their search response. Therefore if you admit fault and promise to improve, there isn’t really anything anyone can say after that. That is typically the best way to combat negative social media exposure. Not only have you addressed the issue, you also have the knowledge that you need to fix it. If you leave it alone more and more people are going to add their own experiences which could lead to a negative campaign that goes viral and ruins your image across markets. Your company messed up, it’s ok to admit that, just don’t let it happen again.

These are just a few important ideas to consider when presenting social media marketing as an option for your company. In addition, you can show him/her a great video about the social media revolution by Stephen Abram. Your boss may be concerned about affording resources for social media, but it’s your job to convince him that in today’s age, he can’t afford not to.

Source: Gillin, Paul. The Secrets of Social Media Marketing. (2009). Fresno: Quill Driver Books.