I’ll admit I was tempted to create an April Fools blog post for today on “The Top Ten Reasons Creative Thinking Is Overrated.” It would be a funny and quick post to write (ten spoof reasons followed by “April Fool”) during what’s going to be an already hectic week.
Your brand represents a promise, and unless you’re Penn & Teller or Stephen King, tricking your most important audiences is likely not part of your brand promise.
Just because another brand creates April Fool prank social media doesn’t mean you should. If another brand jumped off a cliff, does that mean your brand would too?
Your brand doesn’t use “funny” and “surprise” as a part of its brand strategy and brand experience any other day of the year. Doing it one day a year doesn’t make your brand seem human. It just makes your brand seem confused or that it is a mindless follower.
Self-deprecating humor is safer than “at your audience’s expense” humor. Can you turn your April Fool prank social media idea into one where your brand is the butt of the joke? Would you want to? Probably not.
What do you think about Aprils Fools prank social media and its fit with brand strategy?
You can say I’m too much of a stick in the mud, but if a brand tries to make fools of its customers, that doesn’t seem to be part of a great brand strategy and brand experience. And on that point, I’m serious. No joke. – Mike Brown
The Sunday afternoon tweets clearly confirmed the great content coming out of the Las Vegas event. By Monday, any remaining doubts were erased that the investment to attend the New Media Expo would have been a great one.
So while I wasn’t at #NMX, here are a sampling of tweets from the event. Again, this wasn’t my original content. These tweets are simply a sampling of great content I monitored and retweeted. Thanks to all the live tweeters for their efforts to share these ideas with the outside world!
This first link is to a Slideshare eBook with highlights from a broad range of #NMX presentations.
These New Media Expo tweets underscore that it’s a different ballgame for bloggers than for traditional journalists. This point is lost on many traditional media outlets trying to look like social media sites, often with silly results. Social media content creators, however, would do well to consider adopting the ethics professional journalists operate under daily basis. And speaking of “daily,” there is value in writing more – even publishing daily.
While I still contend viral content is largely a game of numbers and chance, these tweets provide an underpinning to creating content that will be better received, even if it doesn’t become viral content. The theme of a micro focus inside a macro sentiment provides a basis for both generating and refining ideas that are near this intersection.
5 traits of viral posts: 1 – they live at the intersection of niche and normal. #NMX
RT @resourcefulmom: Getting your post to go viral: focused, small theme, but one that affects hundreds of millions of people. #NMX — Mike Brown (@Brainzooming) January 7, 2013
MT @resourcefulmom: LOVE this tip: 4. Viral posts ride on back of a detachable rocket. If ur audience is small, can only go so far. #NMX — Mike Brown (@Brainzooming) January 7, 2013
This slide from the “War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing” presentation by Lee Odden is a wonderful illustration of how social content interacts with traditional marketing to address wherever a customer is in the buying cycle. You can find whole presentation from Lee Odden on Slideshare.
Others, who take a more cautious approach to their lives and personal relationships, cannot imagine WHAT they could share online about themselves while still maintaining a professional image.
Social Networking by Sharing Kitteh Pictures
I was having this discussion with a cautious business owner recently who has social media presences established for the business, but struggles with what to share to both establish professional expertise and make personal connections via social networking. My point was even in a business-to-business setting, people buy from other people. PERSONAL relationships matter in real life business development, and they also matter when you are engaged in online social networking for business development.
You should have seen the reaction though when I mentioned the strategy behind sharing pictures of our cat Clementine (who a Twitter friend dubbed the “Director of Enthusiasm”) on Facebook.
Within a few questions, we found some topics that definitely have the potential for sharing on social networks. The issue is whether this business owner will become comfortable weaving in a more personal feel to social media content.
7 Content Strategy Questions for Building Personal Relationships
What are your favorite sources of compelling news and information online?
What do business associates and clients know about you personally?
What do you share about yourself when you meet someone at a networking event?
What is intriguing about you and your professional and personal interactions?
What is visually intriguing about your life – both professionally and personally?
What brands, stores, and places do you talk up to people because you appreciate them?
Certainly, you have answers to these questions. If you are struggling with sharing personal information via social media, the answers to these questions can start to form the basis of your personal content sharing strategy.
Social Networking – When and How Much Personal Information
The next big questions to ask and answer are how soon and how much to share personally?
You have to do what works for you, but if you are reluctant to share personal information online, the answers to these last two questions are “sooner than you think” and “more than you want.”
So now that all the questions are answered, it is time to started sharing and building personal relationships to let people get to know you better in an online professional setting! – Mike Brown
If your evergreen social media content is in place, it’s vital to make sure you’re sharing social media content relevant to your audience at the time it is being shared. You can’t just throw content out there on social media sites your audience will view as old, boring, and irrelevant.
5 Tips to Sharing an Evergreen Blog Post
Here are five tips you can use to increase the probability your social media content still feels “fresh” when you re-share it on social media sites:
1. Share what your audience is searching for currently
If people are finding their way to your blog for specific topics and looking at a particular blog post right now, that is a good indication that particular social media content is still valuable. Check Google Analytics for recent active keywords and review the blog posts getting the most attention right now. We use the Jetpack Sitestats plug-in to monitor what blog posts are getting attention on a real-time basis so we can share links to what’s hot from an audience perspective right now.
2. Share what’s in the news right now
Current headlines are another great indicator of evergreen content to share. If a topic is hitting the business or popular news, it’s your opportunity to feature relevant social media content. For example, we published a blog post when Coca-Cola introduced a short-term redesign for the Diet Coke can. When Coca-Cola later announced the Diet Coke redesign was becoming permanent, it was a natural blog post to share again.
3. Share evergreen content related to what you are currently publishing
Suppose you are running a new list blog post on a particular day. As you share the link for the new content throughout day, alternate links to other blog posts related to your new content. For instance, on the day this post publishes, we’ll be tweeting links on community management and the programming like a TV network blog post. By taking a holistic view to your content strategy in this way, you can create a content theme for the day.
4. Share what the crowd is pointing to that’s popular right now
If you have vibrant Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or other presences on social media sites, you can readily scan them to see what topics people are writing and asking questions about currently. Check especially for topics and content others are re-sharing most frequently in your social media streams. The Google Trends is another option to see what searches are most popular currently. Take advantage of these cues to find comparable topics among your archived social media content to match current interests within your social media circles.
5. Share content that hasn’t been but should be popular
Just as certain TV shows are critically acclaimed but struggle to find an audience because of timing or other factors, the same can be true for a particular blog post. Perhaps an older post on our blog you really believe in didn’t receive the attention you thought it should have when originally published. Take advantage of future opportunities to share the post again and see if it catches on with the audience at a different time.
What other tips do you use to shape your content strategy and decide what evergreen content to share?
If you are sharing archived content from your blog as part of your content strategy, what tips and input do you use to make sure blog posts you’re sharing are relevant right now? Do you take any other steps to freshen evergreen content you share? We’ll put together a follow-on blog post about steps we take to keep even evergreen content fresh. – Mike Brown
Here is how we applied guerrilla marketing principles to create a sponsor bomb for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at my former company, a global business-to-business transportation services provider.
The Background for the Strategy
Our company wanted to send a message to a focused target audience of employees in our headquarter locations – Kansas City, MO and Cleveland / Akron, OH – and the broader local communities. The message was our company was still viable, had a global perspective, and had the stability to be associated with a major event such as the Summer Olympics.
The guerrilla marketing approach involved a series of 4 identically-structured television commercials starring our own employees from around the world. Each commercial delivered the same message and was featured in heavy rotation during local advertising breaks for the NBC affiliates within the Summer Olympics in our headquarter TV markets. While we skimped on metrics (because of a very tight budget), the overwhelming feedback of people in both markets was a belief that we had to be a major sponsor of the Summer Olympics.
4 Keys to Sponsor Bomb a Major Sponsorship Property with Guerrilla Marketing
From our experience sponsor bombing the Olympics, here are our takeaway guerrilla marketing lessons to developing and implementing a sponsor bomb strategy:
1. Figure Out All the Places Where the Event Will Be Visible to Your Target Audience
If you’re going to sponsor bomb successfully, identify everywhere the sponsor property will be visible – in-person, traditional media, online, etc. Once you have done that, figure out which venue is most likely to overlap with where your target audience will be viewing or participating in the event.
In our case: The opportunity was to buy time in the local TV affiliate breaks since it was affordable and allowed us to target audiences in Kansas City and Cleveland/Akron.
2. Mass Inferior Resources to Maximize the Impact
When you are using a guerrilla marketing strategy in place of a traditional sponsorship it probably means you have inferior resources relative to traditional sponsors. The difference is though, you may have proportionately more dollars to put into marketing the sponsor bomb effort. You need to orient the marketing mix for your sponsor bomb strategy to have the biggest possible impact when you can be active, even if it means passing up having a presence elsewhere / at other times.
In our case: We put our advertising investment into only the two (eventually 3) local markets with 15-second TV commercials. These shorter commercials were less costly, allowing us to buy approximately 100 or more airings in each market coming into and leaving local break in the Olympics. The result was if you were in either local market, we seemed to “own” the Olympics broadcast because of the high frequency we achieved.
3. Keep Your Hands Really Clean
With a sponsor bomb strategy, you don’t want to run afoul of the sponsorship property owner or other sponsors. That means it is vital to understand what you can and cannot do, say, and represent relative to the property.
In our case: We could not show the Olympic rings, but the legal team said we could say “Summer Olympics” without naming the host city of the Olympics.
4. The creative execution should be more strategic than creative (and it must be incredibly creative)
Creative execution for a sponsor bomb has to integrate strongly with the rest of the sponsor bomb strategy to maximize the impact with the target audience. The creative has to match up with the objectives, the budget, and how you are deploying resources. To make the sponsor bomb work, creative that generates a big “wow” without supporting every aspect of the strategy is just a wasted opportunity.
The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.
There’s a TV advertisement running in Kansas City for a financial institution’s new blog targeted at women. The TV advertisement features five women in a kitchen, supposedly talking and sharing in a very “it’s just us girls” way. Apparently by “just us girls” though the financial institution means “in a very stilted, formal, artificial, and awkward” way.
When you check out the financial institution blog, the “stilted, formal, etc.” sentiment carries throughout its site. The five women in the ad obviously represent five personas for the blog. But instead of depicting real people, the five women are characters with phony descriptive names tied to each persona’s life stage and some variation of the financial institution’s signature color.
Let’s just say the dearth of activity on the financial institution blog suggests nobody feels like hanging out in the virtual kitchen to talk and share with these phony personalities.
Example 2: The Vet Clinic
Then yesterday, after visiting our vet to pick up the cats, the vet clinic popped up on Facebook with a status update about a new blog post. I clicked the link and scanned the last three vet clinic blog posts. All three blog posts were about products to keep away from your pet. Helpful information, without a doubt. But the information appeared (based on the blog design information) to be generated by a company specializing in on-hold call systems. As a result, the vet clinic blog posts had the personality one would typically associate with an on-hold call.
Based on the words suggested in the Wikipedia entries and our experience with good and bad social media content, here are 10 questions the financial institution, the vet clinic, or your brand can ask to see whether you are putting enough personality into social media.
Apply this 10 question social media personality audit to see how any social media content from a brand does. Give two points for every “Yes” answer and no points for every “No” answer:
Is there an overriding emotion this social media content suggests?
Would you know the attitude employees of this brand embody from its social media content?
Are the behaviors your people display when they go above and beyond to help customers clearly suggested?
When you see this content, does it appear as if it could be shared in a genuine conversation or letter exchange with someone who knows you?
Is there a level of familiarity suggested that customers or potential customers would expect when they dealt with your employees in person?
Does this social media content have a spark of imagination and spirit?
Will the information shared via social media pass the “straight face” test?
Does the tone and delivery of the social media content treat the reader with clear respect?
Will a reader walk away from this social media content enriched both intellectually and emotionally?
Would people legitimately want to spend more time with the person delivering this social media content?
Let’s see how you did!
Grading the Social Media Content Personality Audit
Here’s how to score a brand on the social media personality audit:
18 or Greater: “A” – You are delivering personality throughout your social media content
16: “B” – You’re showing more personality than most are in social media
12 – 14: “C” – Social media content you produce might reflect aspects of your brand personality, but it could easily be missed
Less than 12: “Fail” – Your social media content probably has drab stock photos (even for what should be employee images), copy that should be on your website and not your blog, and status updates that read like short-form press releases
Who is doing it right?
If you want to see a local brand that has really impressed me of late by oozing its brand personality in social media content, check out the Kansas City store, STUFF on Facebook. It’s located on my favorite creative block in Kansas City, and in the face of a lot of generic retail social media content, STUFF shows you can showcase your brand personality in an imaginative way every day.
Oh, BTW, there is a caveat
Most of the creative questions, strategic thinking exercises, and innovation-inducing tools shared on the Brainzooming blog spring from real-life organizational situations and have been tried and tested.
This social media audit hasn’t, at least in this form. It’s all stuff I fully believe and espouse, but this attempt to share it in a new way isn’t client tested. Because of that, I’d love to see you apply it, and let us know if you think it’s appropriately categorizing the good and bad of social media content you see. – Mike Brown
This may or may not become a new feature on the blog, but if it does, Saturday Surprise will feature an intriguing demonstration of creativity floating around the Internet. This first video comes from Google+ and Jeffrey J. Davis, who shared it Friday afternoon.
As the headline says, this Saturday Surprise is what happens when you combine Mark Zuckerberg, Game of Thrones, an X-Acto Blade, a ruler, free time and a unique vision from Malaysian artist-architect Red Hong who “likes to paint, but not with a paintbrush.” If you’d like to learn more about Red Hong’s “Facebook” depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, you can visit her website for pictures and the story.
Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic new ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these innovation benefits for you.