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onramp whitepaper by peerFluence

VIEWS: 82 PAGES: 46

									How to Use Social Media:

An Onramp for Corporate Marketers




                                    a position paper prepared by:

                                                    Bill Franchey

                                    peerFluence, Inc.
                                        San Francisco, California
                                                    MARCH 2009

                                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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Table of Contents




Executive Summary"......................................................................4

Introduction"..................................................................................5
      How to Use this Paper"......................................................................6

      Benefits of Social Media to Companies".............................................7

      Social Media Optimization".................................................................9

                           .........................................................................9
      Why Virality Matters?"

      Web Advertising"..............................................................................10

      The World of Facebook"...................................................................11

How SNAP fits in"........................................................................13

Planting the Seeds (the “S” in SNAP)"..........................................13
      Put People before Tools"..................................................................14

      The 13 Skills of the PR Pro of the Future".........................................15

      Start by Listening"............................................................................16

Nurturing the Network (The “N” in SNAP)"....................................17
                                  ...........................................................19
      Fishing Where the Fishes Are"

                                     ......................................................22
      Understanding the Types of Fish"

      The Strength of Weak Ties"..............................................................25

      Case Study: The Strength of Weak Ties 2.0"....................................26

                                            ............................28
Authenticating the Message (The “A” in SNAP)"
      Storytelling"......................................................................................31


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     Display and Video"...........................................................................32

                             .............................................................34
     Maintaining the momentum"

                                            ..............................36
Personalize the Experience (the “P” in SNAP)"
     Social Media Goes Mobile"...............................................................39

                    ............................................................................40
     2009 and beyond"

                              ................................................45
Conclusion and SNAP Tear sheet"




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Executive Summary


Marketing, like any expense, comes down to Return on Investment (ROI). How
much brand awareness, marketability, product awareness and, in the end, revenue,
can be generated by the dollars spent on marketing? But marketing isn’t just about
ROI. Like any expense, marketing also involves risk. Sound marketing involves
making decisions to maximize the return on investment given an acceptable degree
of risk.

Until now, social media has fit into the realm of experimental marketing. Most major
advertisers allocate small portions of their marketing spend toward the growing but
still untested social media arena.

This white paper challenges that philosophy, first by disproving the idea that
marketing spent on social media is untested, experimental and unmeasurable, and
then by creating a playbook of best practices for planning, building and succeeded
on social media outlets.

The playbook is called SNAP -- for Seed, Nurture, Authenticate and Personalize.
SNAP is an onramp for corporate marketers to introduce their brand, generate
awareness, create viral messaging and generate traction through corporate-
controlled and user-generated content.

SNAP is not a step-by-step process. Rather, each of the four modules must work
simultaneously and must feed each other to advance the objectives and goals of
the campaign. While it starts with planting the seeds for an already trusted brand to
be disseminated to an audience, those seeds must continue to be spread and
nourished. It is that audience, which must be nurtured and cultivated in its habitual
environment, which will ultimately be responsible for iterating the message to
extended nodes in their networks.

As importantly, an effective social media campaign requires authenticating the
message by communicating in the language of the audience, presenting a clear,
consistent, believable voice. As in traditional advertising and marketing, it often
works more effectively when the message is personified with an easy-to-recognize
brand that evokes an emotional connection.

Finally, an effective social media campaign depends upon personalizing the
experience for your audience. Simply put, it means getting the right message to the
right person.
Social media is not, as some would believe, a one-to-many campaign that is
splashed across online pages. Indeed, it can’t even be referred to as belonging to
the business-to-consumer space. Social media, by contrast, belongs in the
business-to-consumer-plus-consumer-to-consumer space. In this form, where it
can be allowed to thrive naturally and virally, it can be one of the most targeted,
measurable, most cost-effective forms of marketing. Social media can generate
brand awareness, product awareness and revenue -- all of which can and should
be monitored by corporate marketing.




Introduction


If there is a single marketing campaign that has generated significant buzz for its
bold, well-constructed and inevitably successful social media campaign, it was the
Barack Obama presidential campaign. Barack Obama built a brand around the
message that Obama = Change, and galvanized hundreds of thousands of fans to
donate funds in small or large amounts, and to volunteer to join his “Hope”
campaign.

It was not the type of campaign that delivers speeches from the back of a train, or
sends people knocking on doors to hand out buttons. Where Al Gore may get
credit for the first online campaign, Barack Obama will get credit for what is already
becoming known as the Facebook campaign or the MySpace campaign” or the
YouTube campaign.

Was it a grassroots effort? Yes, in a way. But if the definition of grassroots effort
means delivering a singular message broadly to the masses directly, then this was
definitely not a grassroots effort. To be sure, Obama communicated directly to
some voters via blogs and email. But the core of his online campaign had nothing
to do with one-to-many communications. It involved creating a brand message
using traditional marketing and new-media tools such as video, contests and
position papers, and then building a small, centralized group of core, hand-picked,
targeted peer influence leaders who became brand ambassadors for disseminating
those messages to their own networks of “friends,” who in turn spread the word to
their friends, and then their friends, and so on and so on.
Where Obama truly set new ground is by entering the conversation that voters were
already having, in their native habitat (i.e. Facebook and MySpace) and via classic
brand leveraging techniques achieved cult status months before the November
election finally arrived.

How to Use this Paper
As the Obama campaign showed, there are ways of gaining marketing advantage
by following some best practices, identifying trends in a timely fashion, and knowing
what questions to ask to drive strategy. It is not just about hosting the best
conversations, but making those conversations more effective.

Among the questions this paper examines are: How do you find consumers on
social networks? How do you move your existing consumer base onto the
networks, so as to better reach them? Where, when and how do you enter their
conversations? What messages will they accept on their networks? Do you monitor
their activity? If so, how? And how do you maintain that relationship once it is
established?

The question is not just how to establish a brand on social networks, but how to
establish a brand’s social graph on the networks. It also means discovering what
data is important – and whose data to use, and where to locate your presence.
Equally important is how to draw fans in by endorsement of their reputation, and
through experiential marketing, customer-driven product development and
interactive tools. Throughout this paper, case studies are used in various industries
to showcase how other organizations and corporations are addressing these
issues.
     Of course, as the graphic below illustrates, sifting through a sea of social media
     sites, applications, widgets and platforms can be daunting for any corporate
     marketer. The most effective way to solve this problem is to know your clients, and
     find out what sites and tools they use on a regular basis. Some of the best
     practices outlined below will help. Note also the rapid growth of many of these
     sites. Facebook, for example, grew from 80 million weekly users in June to ... million
     visitors by ... Even Friendster, which just a few years ago was considered out of
     fashion already, continues to gain millions of new users.



                 social media now                      Top Social Media sites

                                                                                unique worldwide visitors in millions


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                                                                                               Source: comScore November, 2008




     Our SNAP program will help you not only define an onramp for succeeding on
     social media, but it will also help you build, maintain and grow your risk-return
     profile for the dollars you spend on social media. In today’s environment where
     every dollar spent on marketing must be justified against both ROI and risk, SNAP
     will give you a playbook for success that is justifiable, cost-effective and
     measurable.


     Benefits of Social Media to Companies
     The World Wide Web is mostly a collection of documents. A library connected to
     time. Today, innovators believe information becomes more valuable as more people
     use it. It is not the creation of data, per se, but rather the methods of creation,
delivery and, more importantly, the dispersion of data that is of value. Indeed, much
of the innovation resides within the dispersion of data, and the rate at which it
spreads.

To capture this dispersion, savvy companies are turning part of the distribution
control to the consumers themselves, via social media. These companies prosper
by searching out, nurturing, and tapping the expertise of individual online
communities, customers included. If tapped correctly, today’s companies have a
goldmine of potential customers, all of whom can be brand ambassadors –
spreading marketing messages virally at little to no cost to the company.

The most powerful form of marketing is an advocacy message from a trusted
friend. Social network services have become the platform by which those
messages are created and communicated. The consumer has become the
marketer.

“If a company trying to sell a new product knows where people seek advice and
information about the product, it can intervene in the process and raise its chances
of success,” says Donald Lehmann, a professor of marketing in the Columbia
Business School.

Social networks have evolved into platforms to organize users’ Internet
experiences. Users are posting a massive variety of content. At the core of social
networks is the social graph, an online embodiment of the global network of human
connections. Beyond the social graph, social networks facilitate a number of
participatory applications such as blogs, photo sharing, messaging, multiplayer
games, event invitations, and video exchange. These are the classic social media
services out of which social networks originally evolved. What is social media? They
are online applications, platforms and media which aim to facilitate interaction,
collaboration and the sharing of content. Convergence among Internet applications
is making the social network as comprehensive a computing platform as the
browser or the operating system. It is already possible to do nearly any Internet-
related task from within a social networking service.

        Convergence among Internet applications is making the social
          network as comprehensive a computing platform as the
                     browser or the operating system.

Facebook and MySpace, video sites like YouTube and Flickr, microblogging
services like Twitter, and numerous others have all emerged in the past three years,
and all are nourished by their users. In theory, there is no reason why Google’s
vision of an entirely web-based software world cannot be realized using social
networks as the underlying platform.

Social Media Optimization
A key aspect of social media marketing is Social Media Optimization, or SMO,
which does for social media what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) does for the
Internet. On the Internet, SEO is the process of using keywords and related
searches to improve the volume and quality of traffic to a Web site from search
engines – usually via organic or algorithmic search results. In theory, the higher a
site ranks in a search engine, the more searchers will visit that site.SMO, on the
other hand, uses mathematical models of influence to determine the strength of
influence on players within a social network, thus resulting in a more efficient
method for the viral dissemination of marketing messages and tools. SMO, like
SEO, is an effective, efficient form of marketing and can lead to even higher ROI
(Return on Investment).

One of the most effective ways of measuring influence is by using mathematical
models that have their roots in the Hoede-Bakker Indexi, which was created to
model the decisional power of a player within a social network. In its simplest form,
the Hoede-Bakker Index assigns a weight to each person’s influence, thereby
determining their position within a social network.

When used on today’s social networks, these models, done effectively, combine
traditional marketing techniques that analyze the characteristics of the individual
with social network analysis to produce an estimate of an individual’s influence. By
using these influence models, we are able to develop new models that help
determine the strength of certain players within a social media network.


Why Virality Matters?
Viral sharing is more than just the cheapest way to reach new customers – it offers
benefits such as the ability to generate leads, drive revenue, build brand awareness,
and more. Marketers who harness the channels can leverage networks of socially
connected consumers to spread their messages and offers, and drives significant
returns with relatively low costs and effort.

To extract the most benefit, Web societies must be used not only as a distribution
channel, but as a feedback channel, a decision-making body, a discussion group,
an innovation network, or an audience for marketing collateral, information feeds, or
ideas and opinions.


i   C. Hoede and R. Bakker, A Theory of Decisional Power, Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 1982
Web Advertising
The idea that ads can be a social experience is one of the industry’s best hopes,
and can be much more effective on social media than on traditional Web site
placement. Web advertising is expected to surpass $60 billion in 2010, and display
and video ads will account for more than a third of the total.

Most of what passes for social network advertising today are banners and text links
that do not connect to the social graph in any meaningful way, and detract and
distract from the online experience.# This is all changing. While traditional online
advertising firms are already breaking into social media, innovative new firms focus
solely on advertising in social media. These specialist firms deliver compelling ways
advertisers can engage users across social media, making online advertising on
social networks as engaging and socially relevant as the applications themselves.

Meanwhile, other new companies are providing applications that provide real-time
social media monitoring and analysis, tools, and Web widgets designed primarily for
PR and Ad agencies. The graphic below maps the distribution channel of a single
widget, from generation to three single, targeted influencers, then to their friends,
and so on. What is a Web Widget? It could be said that the original web widgets
were the link counters and advertising banners that grew up alongside the early
web. Later, ad and affiliate networks used code widgets for distribution purposes.



                                                          widget
                                        user or link
                                        across network




                                       spread                               spread


                                                 spread            spread




     credit: concept Dion Hinchcli e
These widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook
applications and voicemail accessories. Many applications are customized for easy
integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo,
Friendster, Tagged and hi5. Other applications enable people to find, make and
distribute web widgets for blogging, social networking services, and personal Web
sites. These widgets are often displayed on users’ profile pages on Facebook and
other social networks, and then sent in email messages within these networks to
their friends. Even if they are not notified, connected users are often pinged by
Facebook that a friend of theirs has added new content to their profile page.

         What is a Web Widget? It could be said that the original web
         widgets were the link counters and advertising banners that
           grew up alongside the early web. Later, ad and affiliate
           networks used code widgets for distribution purposes.

While Web widgets are important tools for brands, to be used effectively they
should deliver a true benefit to users, avoid overt branding and be relevant to the
user if they are to be successful. See the SNAP discussion below for tips on how to
nurture, authenticate and personalize the experience for users.


“Some of the opportunities that come to mind are viral marketing and
recommendations within friend networks, quizzes, surveys, games, and apps”, says
David Jones, VP Global Marketing, Friendster. “All enable user-to-user interaction or
sharing and can facilitate both brand awareness and shape brand perception within
social networks. For example, if a friend recommends a brand, or challenges me to
learn more about something via a quiz or survey, I’ll probably take a bit more time to
engage in that particular brand or product and allocate attention to it.”


The World of Facebook
Facebook is currently the largest social network in the world, with 132 million
unique visitors in June 2008 and was also still the fastest growing site among broad
social networking services. According to figures compiled by comScore,
Facebook’s visitor growth is up 153 percent on an annual basis. This compares to
an anemic 3 percent growth for MySpace. Other social networks showing strong
global growth include Hi5 (100 percent) and Friendster (50 percent), despite each of
those being less than half the size of Facebook. Orkut and Bebo fall in at 41
percent and 32 percent growth, respectively.
Every Facebook page is a unique experience where users can become more deeply
connected with a business or brand. Users can express their support by adding
themselves as a fan, writing on a Wall, uploading photos, and joining other fans in
discussion groups.

       trust in spokespeople, United States 2003 - 2008

       if you heard information about a company from each of these sources. how credible would it be?



       100%


       90%


       80%


       70%
                                 68




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                                                                                                                                2007 9
                   2003
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                                                2003
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                                                                                                                                2006
        0%

                    a person like you                an academic              a CEO of a company      regular employee       a blogger
                                                                                                        of a company


        opinion elites ages 35-64 in 18 countries
        responses 6-9 0nly on 1-9 scale; 9=highest



Companies can send updates to their fans regularly or with special news or offers.
Widgets and other applications can be added to a Facebook Page to engage users
with videos, reviews, flash content, and more.

Facebook’s array of applications is still in its infancy, and new applications are
constantly being developed that are ripe for the use and promotion of marketing
campaigns and innovative companies.
How SNAP fits in


The Introduction above was meant to familiarize companies with some of the
benefits behind social media, the landscape and applications behind it, and the
functionality behind the social graph that is its core. Here, and over the next ...
pages, we look at SNAP as a playbook for companies to start and build a presence
on social media.


Perhaps the easiest way to fail in social media is to venture into social media
without a plan, without listening to the audience, and without knowledge of what
sites, tools and applications they use and rely on. The first mistake that many early
social media campaigns is to simply create a page (i.e. on Facebook), and then
hope that people will come. The second biggest mistake that companies make is
by alienating consumers with restrictive policies, irrelevant content, or poor service.

For example, Ticketmaster made a splash in early 2008 with ... and ..., propelling it
to No. 6 on Facebook’s list of top pages in April. But just five months later it had
fallen completely out of the top 100 Pages, in part because tens of thousands of
fans “un-fanned” the Page amid complaints of poor customer service and
questionable tactics.

SNAP is designed to help companies avoid these early mistakes by establishing the
Seeds for their brand, Nurturing the audience, Authenticating the message and
Personalizing the experience.



Planting the Seeds (the “S” in SNAP)


Where does a company start? Before embarking on social media optimization,
social media marketing and Web advertising, one has to understand first how to
initiate and manage a social media strategy. This includes matching social media
strategies with overall corporate strategies and objectives, and then planting the
seeds for your already trusted brand.

It also includes developing and understanding how social media networks work, as
well as developing talent, assigning roles and responsibilities, and bringing in
outside help and strategists. Importantly, it also includes grasping the importance of
social media mining analysis and social intelligence technologies.

Talent and Roles
Companies first have to see if there is talent available in-house, or if new talent
needs to be brought in and/or if one has to reach outside to interactive marketing
agencies. Teamwork between a multi-disciplinary group in-house and an agency is
necessary.

Currently, in large companies, specialized marketing managers are found within a
variety of different departments and roles, often sorted by industries but also sorted
by mediums and channels. For example, there are corporate marketers that focus
on Web Marketing Advertising, Direct Marketing Search Marketing, Event Marketing
and Print Marketing.

Recently, two new roles arose to oversee corporate social media presence and
strategy: The role of a community manager, and the role of a corporate social
media strategist. A community manager is responsible for being an online face to
the community. His or her job is to primarily be a community advocate and is
externally focused. The social media strategist, who strategizes, creates a plan, and
oversees execution of social media strategies, is primarily internally focused on
program management.
On the operational and implementation side, there are other roles within large
enterprises that focus on social computing, including social researchers, analyzing
online behavior or creating specifications for future products. They are researching
or building social media products that will be brought to market.


Put People before Tools
Different sectors of the marketing industry continue to debate the drivers of
marketing in The Network Age, using terminology such as transparency,
engagement, relationship economy, conversational marketing, new metrics, etc. But
industries are struggling with adopting these concepts.

What are the most important skills for a social media strategist and communicator?
Ogilvy, which in many ways is still struggling with its traditional advertising and
public relations image, nonetheless has identified what it believe to be the 13 most
important kills for the PR professional for the future.
The 13 Skills of the PR Pro of the Future
1.Create integrated marketing and communications strategy
2.Deploy live listening posts online and offline
3.Design and deploy and advanced search engine optimization program
4.Plan and run a new media relations program inclusive of head-of-the-tail and long
tail media
5.Identify and engage with influencers online and offline
6.Manage communities
7.Integrate new technologies into their own lives
8.Model measurement and performance metrics including new engagement
metrics
9.Run quick pilot programs and evaluate on-the-fly
10.Train staff and clients continuously
11.Participate in conversations, not just messaging
12.Create and execute content strategy including video programming (hifi and lowfi)
13.Use digital crisis management

While some of this list is either common sense or limited to insider baseball in the
public relations industry, it is striking how much of this list involves social media
strategy, tracking and identifying influencers, managing online communities and
participating in ongoing conversations among consumers and clients.

When it comes to corporate communities, developing social media programs have
to be understood and mastered by not focusing on tools first, rather than on how
people use technology. Many brands and agencies believe they can engage
consumers in a dialogue purely by producing campaigns alongside and within user-
generated content and exploiting the YouTube phenomenon. It is of utmost
importance to understand the community as a whole and the individual audience of
a given campaign first, before trying to talk to them.

The right agency can help with corporate social media strategy. However, the
wrong agencies can often steer clients toward inappropriate channel policies,
especially if they don’t understand the mediums. Often, the right choice may be a
boutique Web agency, or a traditional marketing agency combined with a social
media consulting firm or strategy firm to guide the message onto the social
networks.

Marketers will move to the ‘Connected Agency’ - how Mary Beth Kemp and Peter
Kim in Forrester’s February report call it – an agency that makes the shift from
making messages to nurturing consumer connections; from delivering push to
creating pull interactions; and from orchestrating campaigns to facilitating
conversations. Over the next five years, traditional agencies will make this shift; they
will start by connecting with consumer communities which will eventually become
an integral part of their strategies. Getting consumers excited by understanding
their interests are what the new agency model is all about.

A choice of agency depends on objectives, target audience, online behaviors,
budget, length of campaign, etc., says Adriana Gascoigne, Director of Global
Communications, Hi5, and former VP of Digital Strategy at Ogilvy Public Relations
Worldwide in San Francisco. Ogilvy created its own new social media division called
360° Digital Influence. “What social media tools might you apply? Or, if you chose,
what route will you create for your own corporate microsite for corporate blogs,
bulletin boards, with a different look and feel?” Gascoigne asks.

Social media-focused agencies, by nature, tend to be designed from the ground up
and are primarily focused on viral applications, online video, and other socially
driven technologies.

“Social media agencies not only start with a laser-focused strategy and blueprint,
but they are also built with relevant talent and advantageous cost structures that
leverage social media capabilities and campaigns,” says Andy Hooper, lead Social
Media Designer at the San Francisco-based agency Term of Art.

Either together with a large PR firm - but again with these 'connected'
competencies - or with boutique agencies that specialize in social media, a strategy
depends on a company’s objectives and its target base.


Start by Listening
Before beginning to nurture the audience, a brand needs to spend time with their
consumers, listening to what they’re saying. What are they saying about your
brand? What are they saying about your competitors? Who are they listening to?
What are their concerns? What motivates them? How do they make choices? What
brands appeal to them? What tools and applications do they use? What irritates
them? What compels them?

Only then can a brand begin to plant its seeds. At first, a page on a social media
network may not even be needed. A message, a short video, a case study, an
interactive widget are all ways to test the waters, and can be planted directly into
the conversations that consumers are already having.

The goal here should be to offer food for thought. Be creative but cautious, and be
careful not to alienate. Avoid corporate speak and overselling. The audience will
ultimately be responsible for iterating the message to their friends throughout the
network. Later, once the brand has established some initial traction and you’ve
reached a comfort level with what consumers are likely to embrace and
disseminate, a bolder, more strategic campaign can be crafted.

The Seed phase can also help gather information that can be used later to build
target markets and identify influencers. Tapping and using personal data, including
email addresses and preferences, that customers provide when registering at one
of their sites, or at various other sites, or via tracking devices built into widgets,
should all be monitored and stored for later use. Once that database and personal
information is created, companies can better target their messaging and strategies
surrounding dispersing that messaging (including applying the right methods and
tools).



Nurturing the Network (The “N” in SNAP)


Perhaps the most important take away from this white paper is to cultivate the
conversation where your audience is already sharing information and exerting group
peer influence. In other words, work within your customers’ native environment.

For online marketing strategists who have spent the past 15 years trying to drive
traffic to their sites, this point is contrary to everything they have learned. The key to
social media is fishing where the fish are. This section is devoted to identifying the
habitats where consumers thrive, their habits and tastes, and matching that against
a company’s objectives and audience.

           cultivate the conversation where your audience is already
            sharing information and exerting group peer influence
The graphic below shows the basic landscape of social media. At the top are the
core social network sites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.). Surrounding it are
various other functional, social sites that allow sharing, discussing, publishing, and
microblogging. At the bottom of the landscape are various other social application
sites such as massively multiplayer online games (MMO), live streams, live casts,
and virtual worlds.
                                                                   the social media landscape




                                                                                network building

                                                                                    networking tools
                                                                                aim: to create business
                                                                               opportunities and locate
                                                                                talent, new employees




                                                                                  facebook 200 m
                                                                      myspace 126 m               Hi5 58 m

                                                                Windows Live + 87 m                Orkut 46 m
                                                                        ickr 64 m              friendster 31 m
                                                                                                   linkedin
                                                       blogger 222 m
                                                   digg                                                             google talk
                                                                                    social network
                                            wikipedia                                                                     meeb
                                  Yahoo Geocities 69 m           publish                                                       mim
                                                                                                                discuss
                                      wordpress 114 m
                                                                                                                             skype
                                          slideshare                                                                                      six apart 46 m
 publish and share                 newsvine                                                                                                                share the mission
                                                                                                                                         twitter
                                   Reddit                                                                                                  Pownce
need for channels to place                              share                     social media                            microblogg +                         opinion leader
         content                 youTube                                                                                                                   robust knowledge base
   aim: to build tra c                                                                                                                   Plazes            aim: to raise awareness
                                     delicious                                                                                       twitxr
                                   stumbleUpon

                                                                live cast                                                      socializr
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                                                                             communicate message

                                                                               need to know and connect
                                                                             with publics opinion on product
           activities in the social media landscape
                                                                                   and service content
                                                                                 aim: to create dialogue




Again, identifying where your audience participates within the social media
landscape is key to entering the conversation.
“There is very low overlap between the top six global social networks today,
meaning the same users generally don’t visit two (or more) social networks in a
given month,” says Jones of Friendster. “This means it’s more important than ever
for brands to leverage social networks that cater to the specific demographic
segment and region they’re targeting.”


Fishing Where the Fishes Are
Think of the value of getting an up-to-the-minute read on what the world is thinking.
Look at chat features for social networks -- each one is tied to a moment. Even
blogs, which have already become somewhat archaic in some circles, continue to
be used by millions of users. So, if a company can track millions of conversations
simultaneously, it gets a heat map of what a growing part of the world is thinking
about, minute by minute. As users read each other, comment, and link from one
page to the next, they create a global conversation.

One of the core reasons why such tracking is effective is because the users of
social networks themselves are keen on tracking sentiment - brand sentiment, issue
sentiment, etc. Until now, most sentiment tracking was done through blogs,
discussion groups, and company Web sites. It is a specific demographic that
participates in blogs and the like, so all one ever gets is a sampling of sentiment for
that specific demo. Social networks are changing all that, creating a way for
corporate marketers to discover true broad-based sentiment. However, just
knowing where they are is only the first step. Understanding your audience, and
how the flow of information works, is the next critical aspect to marketing on social
media.

          Social networks are changing all that, creating a way for
        corporate marketers to discover true broad-based sentiment.
The graphic below shows the three general types of players on a social media
network.

                                                    1% Leads, in uences, creates original content.
                                      in uencer     Invests in the entire process of their social network.
                                                    The most important members to reach and cultivate.


                                                    5-10 % Consume content, lter and post shared media.
                                      advocate      Socially active within the network.
                                                    The higher the level of participation, the more vibrant the
                                                    community becomes.




                                                    85-90 % The largest group of participants. They are the
                                      enthusiast    enthusiasts of brands and communities. The sheer numbers
                                                    of this group and their value as consumers of content and
                                                    of brands makes them important.




     social networking population




Entering the conversation in social media requires entering at the top of the
pyramid, where the influencers are. They are the ones who will decide whether your
message gets moved virally through the network. They are the ones who everyone
else listens to and follows. While the advocates in the middle also play a strong role,
they take their cues from the influencers. The advocates will then champion the
message and disseminate it to the multitudes of enthusiasts who are all too eager
to embrace it and continue it along the line.

Charlene Li, VP at Forrester and author of Groundswell, advises six steps toward
building presence:
    1. Start small, listening first and experimenting
    2. Develop relationships, not campaigns
    3. Find your revolutionaries (aka peer influence leaders)
    4. Align metrics to your own goals
    5. Get the help you need, whether that be from social media consultants,
       boutique marketing firms, PR agencies, interactive media, or traditional
       agencies.
    6. Prepare for failure

As Li points out regarding her sixth point, one of the most difficult aspects for many
corporate marketers is “letting go of control.” One way to minimize that loss of
control is to measure sentiment before launching a campaign. Knowing where the
fishes are, and gauging whether their sentiment for your product and services is
positive or negative, can help you decide when or whether to enter a conversation.

“The key is to advance the conversation. The last thing you want to do is to feed
the trolls,” Li said.

Sony leveraged a popular “Vampire” Facebook widget to reach its community.
Sony Pictures, the parent company of the very scary 30 Days Night vampire horror
film, re-branded the existing application and launched a sweepstakes contest to
generate registrations. Sony placed banner ads on the re-branded vampire
applications which promoted the movie. It doesn’t take a stretch of imagination to
realize that consumers who opt-in for a vampires application, where there is already
a network group of viewers with like interests, would also like a vampire movie.

The campaign was only live for three weeks, and there were 59,100 sweepstakes
entries, 11,642,051 visits for the bite page, and 17,652,567 for the stats page.
Sony was happy: it exceeded expectations, while users of the application were not
over-branded by offers, but instead were offered value by giving away prizes, and
tied into a movie that already existed.

What worked? Sony figured out where the already existing community was; and
rather than trying to rebuild something completely by scratch, it leveraged an
existing successful Facebook application. In other words, Sony reached out to
where the fishes already were.

By spinning the case further, Sony could have also sponsored elements from the
movie and integrated it within a game: Vampires could fight at different scenes from
the movie. A spin-off game could have emerged around the first game, where
members could give virtual gifts related to the movie, then cross-selling other Sony
products and merchandise.

Note that, while not every campaign is this successful, the Sony experiment
showed that, with little costs to the company, it was able to create a campaign that
was virally successful. With moderate effort along the way, the campaign could
have been converted to a much-more long-term campaign for the company. And, if
the campaign was copied, the same method and strategy could have been re-
purposed on similar applications for other films, games, and other products.
Understanding the Types of Fish
Understanding your audience also means knowing how to differentiate between the
different types of consumers. The graphic below shows a version of the diagram on
page .., but this version separates out the influencers into their various
characteristics.

 the in uencer is more than one dimensional                                                      grease the skids


                                         in uencer      1% description
                                                                                                         2547 0450 9620   rewards




                                          advocate      5-10 % description



                                                                                                                          sharing
                                                                                                                          photos




                                          enthusiast
                                                        5-10 % description   in uencer                                    in store
                                                                                                                          promos
                                                                             but really....

          social networking population

                                                                                                                          events




                           fashionista                 food junkie           sports nut       bookworm                       zen master




As in real life, influencers for a brand will not always have the same personalities,
traits and interests. A sports enthusiast may have a different profile from a book
worm or a Zen master, and their online profiles and patterns may not always reflect
their real-life profiles. Later in this paper, we’ll address how to “grease the skids” to
improve the viral spread of your message; and how to create messaging and a
story around your brand, in the language of your audience.

The use of demographic and behavioral data can help identify those types of fish.
While numerous private marketing organizations can help companies access the
right information, the U.S. government has a wealth of demographic, workplace,
educational, and financial information about its citizens. Nonetheless, probably the
best source of information is the expanding social database that resides within such
companies as MySpace, Facebook and others. Four types of information
commonly found in the social database include:

    •     Demographics – People (willingly) upload information about their age, sexual
          preference, political stance, work, school, email address, phone numbers,
          etc.
   •   Psychographics – People also share (willingly) what they like, what motivates
       or saddens them, hobbies, music, etc. With all this information, companies
       can find inner drivers and motivations. Status messages can be especially
       telling, particularly when someone is going through relationship pains.
   •   Technographics – Companies can also monitor activity by analyzing how
       customers use each social tool such as blogs, social networks, bookmarks,
       rating sites, etc.
   •   Relationship Networks – Perhaps most importantly, they share their network
       information, so that companies can see who has become their friends, what
       they think of each other (top friend apps) and eventually find nodes, and
       influencers.

Demograhics can be extremely useful to help format plans and spread messages.
Not only are demographics necessary for targeting the right clients, but they also
make sure the wrong clients aren’t targeted inadvertently. For example, inadvertent
advertising alcohol, cigarettes, or adult materials to people under 18 can open
companies to legal, civil and regulatory problems.

Psychographics are also extremely important – for example, by knowing that
person X just suffered a break-up or divorce, messaging or products can be
targeted based on this information. Likewise, technographics are important to
decide which tools to use. For example, when designing campaigns, using gaming,
videos or comic platforms/tools can speak more effectively to the teenage
audience.

Armed with detailed knowledge about how their customers use social media,
companies can be better equipped to move forward with their plans. It is important
to understand the people before deploying tools, messaging, products, etc.

Another key behavioral tool is to analyze how customers reach out for advice on
products and services. Do they reach our to experts for advice? Or do they look to
their peers and “social connectors” for advice?

To test this behavior, Professor Lehmann at Columbia Univesity, along with co-
researchers Jacob Goldenberg, Daniela Shidlovski and Michael Master Barak of the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, completed a study in 2007. Contrary to the
researchers’ expectations, the results showed that subjects often preferred to
consult social connectors over experts. On the other hand, innovative consumers
who already understood the basics of a given product, but needed more details,
were more likely to reach out to experts.

Once marketers have an understanding of their target markets, how they work, how
they behave, and how to measure them, companies can then turn to the
relationship networks themselves to determine the dynamics behind them. This is
where analysis such as Social Media Optimization can help determine not only the
key target markets, but also their effectiveness, how their networks are built, and
how messaging is disseminated virally.

The graphic below shows the value of viral messaging from the initial influencer, first
to their group of advocates and then to the broader group of enthusiasts, and then
through an interconnected and growing base of consumers-- and their lifetime
value to the company. As the diagram shows, the influence value of a consumer
relationship has a cascading effect which magnifies peer influence.

                                      the value of viral peer to peer messaging




                          in uencer


the in uence value of a                                                           asuming a $25K lifetime value.
consumer relationship                                                             the terminal value of a ...
is:                                                                               customer improves to...
 3.2 rst
2.1 second and
.8 in the third degree




This is where hyper-targeted, micro campaigning can truly gain traction. For a
fraction of the costs of impressions on air or in print, the right message can be
presented to the ideal consumers via viral peer messaging. On social media, the
efficiency and feedback loop inherent to Internet advertising finally removes the ROI
veil of even momentum marketing campaigns.

            For a fraction of the costs of impressions on air or in print, the
           right message can be presented to the ideal consumers via viral
                                    peer messaging.
The Strength of Weak Ties
American sociologist Mark Granovetter, inspired by the work of Russian
mathematician Anatol Rapoport, in 1972 wrote the highly successful The Strength
of Weak Ties. This paper defined the strength of ties as a function of the amount of
time, emotional intensity, intimacy, and the reciprocal services which characterize
the tie. What does Granovetter’s work have to do with today’s social networks?

Importantly, Granovetter’s theories have a strong impact on today’s viral marketing
messages, and how they are dispersed. Because each person has multiple
contacts, a bridge provides the only route along which information or influence can
flow from one of these contacts to another. Weak tie bridges are the channels over
which far-away ideas, fluencies or information are often carried. It is those weak ties
that, in the absence of strong ties, integrate diversity into communities over social
networks. However, without such a bridge, the community would be without
access to and knowledge of this rich data set. The graphic below illustrates the
difference between strong ties and weak ties, and absent ties.




                                                                    absent tie




       weak tie




                                             strong tie



Clearly, one of the best ways to establish whether or not a person is an “influential
bridge” to broader communities is to start with the identifying characteristics which
are provided by the person themselves. These traits are often provided on profile
pages within social network services.

But these traits are just a start, because they do not provide an inner look into what
that person’s broader network looks like. Counting the number of friends is another
strong indicator of a person’s influence, and is one way of identifying the size of the
person’s network. But again, it only goes so far.

In an interview with peerFluence, Granovetter said one of the keys in determining
whether a person is an influential bridge is to go beyond the number of friends they
have. “Some people could have the highest number of friends simply because they
collect friends. That may be negatively correlated to whether they are an influential
bridge. What matters is not just how many friends they have, but whether those
friends are in separate networks from one another.”

It is that “influential bridge” to broader networks which can help determine the value
of a person for corporate marketers who are trying to build brand awareness and
reputation about their products and services.

In an effort to take the impact of influential bridges and test it “in the wild,”
peerFluence built a survey around case studies on Facebook, and examined the
strength of weak ties and the related hierarchical structure of viral messaging. The
case study on the following page is a snapshot of the broader case study:


***************************************************************************************************
Case Study: The Strength of Weak Ties 2.0
Within any social network, interpersonal ties are the connections that carry
information between people, and are categorized as strong, weak, or absent. Weak
tie bridges are the channels over which far away ideas, influences or information are
often carried. While strong ties tend to breed more localized cohesion and
fragmentation, weak ties integrate diversity into communities. Without such a
bridge, the community would be without access to and knowledge of this more rich
data set.

In this study, peerFluence captures the relation between the strength and degree of
specialization of ties, and between strength and hierarchical structure – two topics
left unaddressed in sociologist Mark Granovetter’s The Strength of Weak Ties. The
theory, confirmed by the data, showed that strong ties aren’t necessarily needed to
create influence. What is needed, however, is a certain “greasing of the skids”
before a newcomer can gain acceptance and, eventually, influence within a
network.

In the study, two fictitious profiles for young women were created on the social
network Facebook. These two profiles were then distributed to both target groups
and to random groups of men and women as “friend requests.”
The first sample profile was created under the alias Thiera Sheisa – a moderately
attractive blonde in her twenties wearing a Von Dutch trucker cap. Her profile
showed a playfulness, a professed interest in music and boys, and plug-in
applications including Super Poke.

The second sample profile was for Pinkie Sheisa, the younger sister of Thiera – a
busty blonde with a decidedly more hip photo showing a plunging neckline and
bare midriff. Her profile showed a more serious, challenging side to her personality,
with interests in cultural, professional and social groups, and with feeds and
applications such as an enrollment as a fan of The New York Times’ Facebook
page.

         What is needed, however, is a certain “greasing of the skids”
          before a newcomer can gain acceptance and, eventually,
                         influence within a network.

Researchers at peerFluence sent friend requests for both sisters to the same
sample groups. Friend requests in the target group were selected for their network
value against criteria such as size of social graph, academic achievement, financial
status, prominence, and geography. In addition, a control group of random
Facebook members was also selected.

The results of the two tests showed strikingly different results. In Thiera’s case, she
established 162 friendships, of which 43% were unsolicited. She also received 161
person-to-person messages, 832 pokes and 31 wall postings over the course of
the experiment, but her follow-up invitations and the seriousness of the friendship
requests confirmed Granovetter’s hypothesis: that one must have a connectedness
beyond casual acquaintance to bilaterally transport data on a network.

Pinkie, on the other hand, was able to accomplish what her sister was unable to
do: capture viral attention and traction. Both the seriousness and the dispersion of
Pinkie’s profile were vastly superior to her sister. Pinkie received 811 friend requests,
the vast majority of which were unsolicited. Additionally, these friend requests
allowed peerFluence researchers to initiate new friendships, totaling 1803. Pinkie’s
network spanned the globe, with the largest concentrations in Los Angeles, New
York, Silicon Valley, Canada, Israel and London. Her network was vertically oriented
toward high finance, fitness models, adult entertainers, music lovers, and the
Middle East. Pinkie was poked on averaged 39.4 times her day, and messaged
over 2,852 times. Over the course of the experiment, Pinkie promoted events such
as the theatrical release of a documentary film, the opening of a small business, and
the arrival of brands on Facebook – all in spite of the fact that Pinkie doesn’t exist!
How was Pinkie able to generate such enormous viral popularity? The first reason
has to do with the technology of social media. Photo and wall postings, event
announcements, status updates, and new friendships appear in the news of
previously unconnected networks as a new friend addition multiple times each day.
Many of the people in Pinkie’s network had never seen or heard of Pinkie or her
profile before, but first learned about her when they read about a connection of
theirs becoming her friend. This publishing network activity helps perpetuate the
momentum on Facebook and other social networks.

But Pinkie’s experiment also confirms what her sister Thiera was not able to do:
succeed in bridging a weak-tie network that included millions of impressions. In
spite of the fact that she was fictional and had no prior acquaintance to any of her
“friends,” Pinkie showed that with a little axle grease a weak tie could grow virally,
and that the more connected one becomes, the more efficiently one becomes
further connected. This confirms a positive feedback cycle, referred to as the
Mathew effect, or “the rich get richer.” Although not the focus on the experiment,
the study also clearly demonstrates the conclusion that sex does indeed sell, in
social media as in many other forums. Follow-up studies near the end of the six-
month study also demonstrated that, unlike in the real world, social media
acquaintances do not blow away, and continue to be useful for subsequent viral
messaging.

Finally, the study also clearly showed the value of selecting and establishing core
groups of targets for the initial dispersion of friend requests. While Pinkie was able
to generate friendships across the target group and the control group, the target
group was much more successful in generating the right type of viral dispersion of
messaging, and the right type of follow-up requests that were sought.
*************************************************************************************************



Authenticating the Message (The “A” in SNAP)


As we mentioned earlier in this paper, each part of the SNAP program works only if
they are done in conjunction, continually, simultaneously. So, while nurturing the
audience on social media, it’s equally important to authenticate your message by:

    • Inspiring passion and brand ambassadorship through storytelling
    • By establishing credibility, trust and brand awareness
    • Using tools and applications to tell those stories
   • And maintaining that campaign via a long-term relationship with a continual
     loop of online events, content and activities.

The Authentication stage is where traditional advertising and marketing techniques
can be employed to great effect. Anyone in the advertising world, or in all the world
for that matter, remembers Joe the Camel. And, before that, Penny the Penguin.
For good or bad, the personification of those brands and the success they had on
brand awareness cannot be denied.

That same type of messaging is effective in social media as well. The benefit of
social media, however, is that it’s much easier and cost-effective to get a heat map
of what the audience likes, craft a message around it, and test it on social media.

Of course, authenticating the message won’t be effective unless the story is told in
the language of the audience, in a clear, consistent, believable voice.

Again, the Obama campaign is a good example of the effectiveness of creating that
brand, and repeatedly authenticating that message in the language of the audience,
using storytelling, tools and applications.

The Obama campaign was not a campaign that sent a message to millions of
people online, as some would have us believe. Rather, it was a true testament to
the use of hyper-targeted, micro-campaigning as a powerful alternative to online
advertising or to traditional advertising and marketing.

The Obama campaign spent a grand total of about $467,000 on Facebook. That
pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional advertising
(TV, radio, print, etc.) and about $8 million on online advertising that the Obama
campaign spent. And yet, top marketing strategists attribute that paltry amount of
$467,000 on Facebook to generating as much buzz, as many donations, and at
least as many votes as did all of the rest of his advertising spending.

Obama, with more than twice the fans of his closest runner up - in this case, the
BBC’s Chris Moyles Show - topped the list with 2.5 million online supporters by
election time.
Barack used weak ties and effective social messaging to allow everyone to feel they
were participating and were part of the campaign.

 “We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people
decide. If they want to support a campaign, they can get on the Internet and
finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and
direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and
the powerful,” Obama said.

For Obama, relying on the viral messaging of “influential bridges,” and targeting
those thought leaders to build networks of friends and supporters, was a key
aspect of the campaign.

The key for Obama going forward will be whether he can maintain that level of
interest and involvement during his presidency. His “Organizing for America”
initiative is his first push to turn that interest into an online, social media campaign,
and it mimics the same type of “we’ve got to work together” message that he
repeatedly drilled into the American audience during his inaugural address.

Meanwhile, skilled tacticians will be carefully segmenting the rest of us into levels of
participation and ranked according to our influence factors to help build that
message and spread it virally to the advocates and enthusiasts. All of this will
require new, innovative and creative messaging, storytelling, tools and widgets to
keep the flame burning.

Unlike Obama, we don’t all have a founder of Facebook to manage our campaigns.
And yet, once a company grasps an understanding of how social media works, and
how and where its audience is using it, a campaign can be created that employs
the same tools and applications that the audience frequents.

For example, The New York Times jumped on the Obama campaign itself to drive
traffic to its Facebook page by launching an Obama video promo and asked the
audience: “What should Barack Obama first address as President?” Again, the use
of video and interactive campaigns and tools to attract interest was key to the
campaign.
Below are the results of Forrester’s North American Social Technographics Online
Survey, conducted in 2008, showing the participation of users in popular online
tools and applications at least monthly. As the results show, there is no “killer
application” in social media, and blogs was just one of many popular uses.
Amazingly, watching video from other users was the No. 1 activity, with visiting
social media and maintaining social media profiles both within the top six activities.



                        activity                                                               Percentage of respondents who participated
                                                                                    8%
 Watch video from other users                                                                                                                       29%
 Read online forums or discussion groups                                                                                                          28%
 Visit social networking sites                                                                                                              25%
 Read customer ratings/reviews                                                                                                              25%
 Read blogs                                                                                                                                 25%
 Update/maintain pro le on a social networking site                                                                            20%
 Add comments to someone’s page on a social networking site                                                              18%
 Contribute to onlineforums or discussion groups                                                                         18%
 Listen or download audio/music from other users                                                              14%
 Comment on someone elses blog                                                                                14%
 Upload photos to a public Web site                                                                         13%
 Post ratings/reviews of products or services                                                         11%
 Publish /update your own Web pages                                                                   11%
 Listen to podcasts                                                                                   11%
 Use a desktop widget                                                                               10%
 Upload video you created to a public Web site                                                 8%
 Use RSS                                                                                       8%
 Upload audio/music you created to a public Web site                                          8%
 Add tags to Web pages, online photos, etc.                                                  7%
 “Vote” for Websites online                                                                  7%
 Write articles, stories, poems, etc., and post them online                                  7%
 Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki                                                     6%
 Use Twitter                                                                             5%


                                                                                   0%                 10%                          20%                    30%


 Results of Forrester’s North American Social Technographics Online survey. 2007




As the above graph shows, knowing where the fishes are is the first step toward
entering their conversations, knowing what they watch, read and listen, and crafting
campaigns around that. In the late 1990s and even in the early 2000s, the power of
using Internet marketing was chiefly about search wars. Now, that war is over, and
Google has clearly won. But there’s an entirely new battleground being fought over
social networking. The key is how to creatively use tools, messaging and viral
campaigns to bring customers together and get them on your side.


Storytelling
Whether it’s on a Facebook fan page or the messaging in videos, white papers,
advertising, or widgets, social media involves forming bonds and promoting
community value. It means building a community through transparency, openness,
and paying attention the needs of the community and what they are saying.

Storytelling requires rethinking what celebrity means, rethinking what newsworthy
means. The stars on the network are the fans, and what is newsworthy is whatever
that audience determines is newsworthy. It requires a deep knowledge of the
networks, starting with you.

Successful content on social media is:
   • Relationship-driven
   • Audience-guided
   • Competitive
   • Product-Placement Compatible
   • Cinematic/Edgy
   • Public-Interest Oriented

“Entering social media as a brand doesn’t remove some of the core needs of any
brand entering any new market space. You still need to define your brand essence
and the core value proposition and differentiating principles that make your brand
special,” says Scot Gensler, Vice President, Business Development, at Current
Media. “Once that’s in order, you need to engage in communities that are likely to
have the biggest impact. Consider overall reach, and target within your
demographic, then determine what the right format is for telling your story. Then
dive in and become an active participant.”


Display and Video
The new battleground is display, and the emerging category of video. Every minute,
10 hours of video are uploaded to the video-sharing site YouTube which now
shows hundreds of millions of videos each day. Ultimately, it comes down to
advertising, as marketing chiefs are turning to the Internet to create branding
initiatives.

While YouTube is great for watching and sharing videos, newer applications are
taking video to the next level – having a conversation in video. For example, some
applications allow users to access the Twitter service directly from their desktop,
and also cross-post to other services.

Social media has enabled any company to essentially act as their own network for
distribution, their own studio for production, and their own label for promoting their
brand messaging. The production costs little, and the distribution costs are
essentially $0.
Meanwhile, a new generation of independent filmmakers are making it easier for
corporate marketers to produce their own videos. There are over 2,000 film festivals
worldwide, and over 125,000 filmmakers registered on Withoutabox.com, the
primary site used for film festival submissions.

A new company, Storyboard, is acting as a sort of dating service for matching
filmmakers with corporate marketers seeking to produce videos, especially for
social media. Filmmakers are matched according to location, genre, awards and
accolades, and other capabilities.

“There are hundreds of thousands of filmmakers out there who would love to
showcase their talents and get paid for it,” says Adam Hootnick, founder of
Storyboard. “On the buy side, the demand for professional filmmakers is growing
exponentially, although until now they have had no way to screen for the right
filmmakers. This is going to create an outlet for the creative, niche-driven video
maker to finally find a home.”

Once they are produced, these videos can then be posted on the Web or, more
effectively, distributed on social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or
MySpace.

General Motors has created an entirely new online complex where consumers can
go to a drive-in theater or a tune-up shop and check out the Pontiac Solstice, for
example. Dell has a factory that allows visitors to customize a PC and have it
shipped to their door. Starwood Hotels is opening its new prototype, The Aloft,
and has built a virtual version in Second Life to get members’ feedback on its
design and features. It has sponsored concerts there to bring in visitors.The
challenge is finding an innovative technology that can be matched with your
products and messaging, and which can draw out target clients through viral
campaigns.

“Corporations can become the single-voice advertiser on entire apps, they can
integrate their products into apps as virtual goods,” says Markus Weichselbaum,
CEO, TheBroth Pty Ltd, whose Puzzlebee is a Facebook application. “In our
particular case, they can make their own sites more interesting by adding interactive
features (puzzles or drawing contests), and they can use our existing widgets and
create viral campaigns or widget advertising campaigns.”

“Advertisers need to wake up and realize that an optimal environment already exists
on the social web just waiting to be monetized in subtler, more intuitive ways.” says
Keith Rabois, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Slide, the company
known for Facebook’s notorious SuperPoke! app, and formerly with LinkedIN. “Not
only will these strategies extend their reach by orders of magnitude and save
development costs, but will ultimately be more appreciated by their prospective
customers.”

Dell Computers, along with a social media marketing agency and Graffiti Wall, a
popular self-expression Facebook application, deployed an interactive marketing
campaign that encouraged existing Graffiti artists to be involved in a contest that
spurred a member-created campaign resulting in affinity toward Dell. Rather than
creating a new application, this campaign took advantage of an application – and
community – that already existed.

Facebook members who used Graffiti were encouraged to join in a contest to win a
22” environmentally friendly Dell monitor (appropriate for artists) to create art around
the theme of “What does Green mean to you?” The contest lasted for one week.
Over 7,000 pieces of artwork were created and submitted to the contest. By
watching the replay of the art being created, viewers see hidden messages from the
artists as they discuss what green means to them.

         The challenge is finding an innovative technology that can be
         matched with your products and messaging, and which can
             draw out your target clients through viral campaigns.

Not only is the end product important to the corporations, but gaining access to the
“log book” is equally important. The community of artists on Dell self-regulated and
voted off pictures that were not appropriate, and afterward the community voted.
The winners were from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and the Maldives. The campaign
successfully engaged thousands of members, creating a campaign on behalf of
Dell, and the community was rewarded.


Maintaining the momentum
One caveat for companies is not to run risk of a mentality of short-lived campaigns
when it comes to social media. Communities existed before a brand reaches to
them, and will continue to exist after the campaign stops. Marketers should plan for
long-term engagements with these people, rather than short spurts.

“The key is to develop relationships, not campaigns,” says Charlene Li, a vice
president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, whose book Groundswell is a
national bestseller.

With the relationship forming, that is the time to take it to the next level. Even many
of the examples cited in the section above, while successful in their own right, could
have been built into long-term relationships, with brand ambassadors to lead their
messaging and drive viral groups of followers.

For example, a company could encourage artwork to be part of next-generation
green computers, with proceeds going to non-profits or back to the artists to
continue developing new products and campaigns. These experiential marketing
campaigns should not be created only within the walls of a closed garden, such as
limited to Facebook, MySpace or Bebo members, but also spread to the open
Web.

However, unlike most marketing campaigns that deploy heavy ads or message
bombardment, such social media campaigns are successful because they turn the
action over to the community, let them take charge, decide on the winners. A
campaign needs to move the active community from Facebook closer to the
branded microsite, closer to the corporate Web site, migrating users in an opt-in
manner.

BMW’s Graffiti contest iinvited Facebook users to color in outlines of 1-Series cars
with the theme “What drives you?” It enlisted a core group of active social-network
participants (more than 9,000 submissions in the first seven days) into a fun,
transparent evangelism effort. Participants spent, in many cases, hours
personalizing images of BMWs that they then shared with friends. On top, it took
advantage of the friend-to-friend newsfeed mechanism at Facebook to spread
word of the campaign beyond the paid media program. The concept and the
images themselves captured the attention of bloggers, columnists, Twitters, etc.

After a participant submitted a Graffiti, they took a look at BMW's pure site to
comment and link to their favorites. The five winners all received BMW Art Car
models - sorry, not real cars - by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, etc.
Some Graffiti submissions would later be selected by BMW and used in flash
banners posted on a series of Web sites showcasing the new 1-series.

The campaign was successful due to the call for participation within Facebook as
well as Web sites outside of Facebook such as Boing Boing. As BMW looked to
the Web to build buzz for the 1-Series, it was giving its video commercials an
added boost: BMW sponsored Boing Boing TV with pre-roll “sponsored by”
billboards and full commercials.

One of the most successful social media campaigns was conducted by Victoria’s
Secret for the PINK sub-brand. The success of the campaign owes as much to the
surrounded messaging, interactive campaigns, and related content as it does to the
show itself.
Building on the success of the Victoria’s Secret online fashion shows, PINK took the
social network campaign even a step further, taking those weak ties, especially
between college-aid women, and bridging links between them.
PINK models tour the country at college campuses. The company advertises
through MySpace, Facebook, partnerships with MTV, and youth-oriented blogs. In
addition to having a section on the main Victoria's Secret Web site, the brand also
has its own Web site, which allows users to view pictures from PINK fashion shows,
look at new merchandise, and download PINK desktop backgrounds and buddy
icons to their computers. The brand is one of the fastest-growing lines launched in
Victoria's Secret history.
Beyond PINK, Victoria’s Secret continues to experiment with social media. In fact,
it’s one of the biggest corporate users of the new advertising platform on the right
bar of Facebook pages. Victoria’s Secret used it effectively to promote its Dec. 3,
2008 fashion show in Miami Beach, including an interactive RSVP function which
gave users online access to parts of the show and also allowed Victoria’s Secret to
better gauge who was logging in.

Still, if it wants to continue to engage users via social media, Victoria’s Secret will
have to come up with new, creative uses of content and distribution. It’s been more
than a year since the PINK campaign hit its peak on Facebook. Without new
messaging, new content and new distribution, maintaining those relationships can
be challenging.



Personalize the Experience (the “P” in SNAP)


To build and maintain those relationships, one of the best practices that has been
developed as social media has grown is to personalize the experience through
precision-targeting. The objective is simply getting the right message to the right
person.

As a campaign is created and built, as fan bases grow through influencers,
advocates and enthusiasts, companies have been building their own bases of data
based on their user profiles. Personalizing the experience gives companies the
chance to use that data to build long-term relationships.

To be sure, personalizing the experience isn’t about building a relationship between
the company and the user. While those relationships can be effective, social media
isn’t about a consumer and a company. It’s about a person and his or her friends.
Still, a brand and its message can be part of that conversation.

“Social media is about me and my friends, and not about me and my brands,” says
Carol Werner, VP of Sales at Mochi Media and former West Coast VP Sales of
MySpace. “Leveraging the power of social media is not something I believe brands
can duplicate.”

What does make sense, Werner says, is targeting content to me on Facebook
based on my profile information.

This is one of the main reasons that banner ads tend to be low-priced for space on
social media sites -- they are not targeted to specific audiences.

Much more successful is either precision-targeted ads that deliver the right
message to the right group of targeted consumers, or to use precision-targeted
content (messages, videos, widgets, etc.) that are virally distributed based on the
core messaging discussed earlier in this paper.

The graphic on the following page shows how to create that precision targeting
based:
   marketer

                         channel type

                    speci c query with speci c campaign in mind

                                           channel type




                                                              right user for right message



   same marketer

                           channel type

                   secondary query with speci c campaign in mind
                                             channel type




                                                              right users for right message



The inputs into the schematic above include:
social media usage data (users actions on social networks) + user-supplied
information + the marketer’s expert knowledge

A marketer might make a specific query based on a specific product campaign, for
example, that will target users based on the data inputs and deliver the right
message crafted to appeal to that user.

Of course, some of this precision-targeted messaging can also be used to build
and customize relationships directly between companies and consumers.

Sites and fan Pages such as My IBM, My Subaru, MyAOL – imply a one-on-one
connection between each consumer and the company. The sites with “my” prefix is
an outgrowth of an increasingly customized world of technology, such as the iPod
and TiVo. It illustrates how companies are striving to show that they can be as
intimately connected to their customers as are vogue social networking sites.

At www.MyCokeRewards.com, the company seeks to collect data through survey
questions and through categories and passions. Then, the company creates new
content and offers new rewards (redeemed through the purchase of Coca-Cola
products) based on what was created by the customer.

My Starbucks was created as an idea site - to solicit consumer feedback on its
stores, products and image problems – but has evolved into chat rooms where
Starbucks loyalists can grouse about the chairs in stores or a lack of free wi-fi
connections. According to Starbucks, the 150,000+ customers who have posted
responses at My Starbucks Idea since March 2008 have led to tangible results at
stores, such as the introduction of a “splash stick” to prevent spillage from coffee
cups.

A related strategy that many companies are following is outsourcing their
community platforms that are created around their brands. For the most part, they
lean on the SaaS (software as a service) models that the white label social network,
collaboration, or even insight community vendors provide.

One recent trend is through the use of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) social networks. These
are social network systems that can be customized to suit companies’ needs, and
are driving the emergence of a wealth of ultra-niche networks.

Ning is one of the largest promoters of the DIY wave. One former ad executive calls
viral loops such as Ning the “most advanced direct-marketing strategy being
developed in the world right now.” Viral expansion loops have long existed in the
offline world. Tupperware parties, in which each attendee was a potential
salesperson, are a classic example. YouTube deployed a viral mechanism by
allowing anyone to embed a video link in their blog or MySpace page. The more
people who saw it, the more links were embedded, and soon, millions of users
were funneled directly to YouTube.

Significantly, viral-loop networks do not create content. They organize it. They rely
on the wisdom of crowds to create or aggregate masses of material to fill them. The
viral adoption model is an inexpensive way to grow an audience.


Social Media Goes Mobile
Meanwhile, the iPhone experience has changed the playing field for users,
companies, and developers. In the first quarter of 2009 alone, Apple sold 4.4 million
iPhones, while Google's Android and the new Palm continue to build on the cross-
platform, application- and service-driven model. In the new landscape of social
media, people are seeking solutions that seamlessly cut across mobile, web, and
live interaction.
Personalization can also be conducted effectively via mobile electronic devices
where precision-targeted messaging is distributed to cellphones, smart phones,
PDAs, gaming devices, etc. People use the mobile Web differently from their
computers: the display is small, and users are often doing something else
simultaneously, and typically have little time. But that creates opportunities.

CBS’s mobile business teamed up with Loopt, a social-mapping service, to deliver
the first location-based mobile ads in the U.S. and Europe. As one is walking down
the street checking sports scores on CBS, they may get a banner ad: “Getting
Hungry? Pizza is $5 off around the corner.”

“The biggest problem in mobile is distribution. If a company wants to get a piece of
content to a user, there is basically no getting around the carrier. Advertising is an
end-run around the carrier to achieve wide distribution,” says Michael Chang, CEO
of Greystripe, which provides free games for mobile phones in exchange for viewing
ads. The ads can be interactive, too -- users can click on pop-up menus, call
advertisers directly, or click on a survey. If done right, mobile ads can be as
entertaining as the game itself.


2009 and beyond
This will be the year that social media marketing goes mainstream. According
to# Forrester, 75% of all U.S. online adults now use social technology. With social
marketing strategies getting more buy-in, marketers are going to depend on# their
customers, more than ever, to do the marketing for them. Marketers in 2009 will
learn how# to deploy social influence marketing campaigns# more successfully
compared to 2008, which had#its fair share of experimental failures.#

“I think we’ll see more tie ups and collaborations between brands and the larger
social networks”, says David Jones, VP Global Marketing, Friendster. “We’re at a
juncture where social networks are becoming the primary starting points and
communication platforms online. If you look at the top 20 Web sites on the planet in
terms of traffic, eight of them are social networks (including Friendster) that didn’t
exist just 5 years ago.”

As we deepen our understanding of consumer interactions in social media, and as
new technologies gain traction -- including Facebook Connect for example, which
enables social# browsing experiences -- we should see the lines blurring between
marketing efforts on a#Web site and across the Web. We expect to see new social
advertising formats and new#social research that leverage the complex relationships
within the social graph. As this happens, social media marketing is going to#be glue
that binds every digital strategy together.#
Everyone becomes a marketer
As companies debate who should "own" community efforts within the organization
-- marketing, corporate communications, IT, etc -- their front-line workers will go
about quietly, unobtrusively interacting with customers, partners, and other
employees within their social networks. Companies will struggle with how to control
who says what -- but will increasingly realize that in an economic downturn, they
need all the marketing muscle and leverage they can get and actively encourage.

The boundaries between the corporate Web# site and the intranet are blurring.
Employees#want to collaborate and share knowledge with#peers who work outside
the organization too.#Corporate intranets are going to need to encourage and#allow
that kind of collaboration if they want to be competitive in this economic
environment# with fewer employees having to do more work.# The best ideas can
come from anywhere, and the#best people will look both inside and outside the firm
for that intellectual capital.#


Newsworthiness on social nets continues to improve
Going forward, defriending or filtering will become more prevalent, driven by
overwhelming newsfeed data and a desire for a high quality social network
experience as part of daily life for many Americans. Facebook recently upgraded its
news feed functionality to allow filtering by groups as a first step. Ultimately,
Facebook apps will emulate Twitter Grader, allowing users to prioritize friends based
on their overall social ranking -- and prune safely to ensure the highest quality
friends.

Furthermore, social rank algorithms will allow more filtering for searches and
applications run on social networks. These algorithms will tap into the social graph
and data inherent to the social networking environment to increase more
contextually relevant results and thus a better experience.

Influence ratings will ultimately be introduced that will provide a currency with which
marketers can attract and retain top influencers motivated to keep their influence
score high.


A more native human environment
Social media is bringing back the human element to digital interaction, as we move
away from "users," "customers," and "shoppers." People now deliberately seek
meaningful connections, self-expression, and a relevant and receptive community.
Social media will no longer be about features and applications. People will look for
tangible and relevant value out of their social experience; they'll be looking for
meaning and for order. Social media online is no different from social media offline,
as we look for ways to keep networks going regardless of device or platform.
People will connect around meaningful topics and have live and simultaneous
conversations within parameters they themselves define, which will bring relevance
back to their interactions with others. And they will create, join, and seek social
networks that enable these meaningful and relevant experiences. They will measure
their return on investment (time spent, level of disclosure, etc.) in replies, comments,
their ability to influence, and the value of their learning.

Large, traditional portals will continue their shift from competing to be the end-all,
be-all for consumers, to open content and connectivity across the Web. Google’s
Open Social and Friend Share and Facebook’s Connect will be among the leaders
toward providing an integrated social browsing experience with social graph data at
it’s core.

Some of the most successful#uses of the social graph we’ve seen so far are in the
news feeds and activity streams that reside on social platforms like Facebook and
Twitter. Expect to see new innovations that harness the social graph imaginatively,
especially at the awareness and consideration stages of the marketing funnel. The
early implementations of Facebook Connect barely scratch the surface of what’s
possible. For example, imagine your personal profile# being used for targeting
content and advertising across the Web, and not just on the social network where
the profile resides.#


The social experience will drive online shopping and video viewing
Shoppers are interested to see what friends are recommending, buying and
reviewing. It will fall on the shoulders of retailers to integrate the social computing
experience with the shopping experience as a means to increase revenue without
relying on being the deepest discounter.

As social media elements begin to influence video, and alternative television
providers such as gaming companies provide social communities in the living room
around premium content, we#may also see TV go social. The desire for more money
from consumers as well as more#interactivity, measurability and community will be#
especially apparent in the TV space as it struggles to#modernize.#


The focus on influencers will further increase
As social media adoption climbs exponentially, so too will the influence
conversations in a social context have on brand affinity and purchasing decisions.
Participating in a conversation online, sharing an opinion and influencing# a
purchasing decision explicitly or implicitly are becoming second nature for more and
more consumers. Currently, much of this influence happens in small groups within
the walled gardens of the social networks and therefore goes unnoticed, limiting its
viral spread. That will change in 2009 as social network analysis vendors help us
peek#over the wall and, as a result, marketers pay more attention.


Top-down branding will experience growing#impotence.
Most brand managers are used to defining their brands in relative isolation of
the#marketplace — or they do extensive customer#research and see it as their jobs
alone to define# the brand (or the manifestation of the brand) in different forms.
That’s going to change as consumers define the brands by the sheer volume of
their opinions; they’ll be shaping the brands more than the brands will be shaping
them. #

As a result, in order for them to be remembered,# brands will be forced to deliver
much stronger# value propositions to their customers. Brand managers# can either
fight this or treat it as an opportunity to take a different direction.#

Targeting consumers based on their exhibited behavior will move out of the click-
stream display world as personalization, social profiles and social graphs of
relationships and influence become accessible. Marketers will not only be able to
tell who is interested in a given product or service, but also who has high
engagement, and hopefully, high influence with other interested parties. New
startups are building technology to unlock the implicit data hidden in social
interactions, and tap into basic browsing behavior to personalize recommendations.
The result: a new way to identify real-time, implicit intent. Each person's profile will
command a different, personal CPM based on a trilogy of their behavior, influence,
and market demand.#

IDC calls advertising on social networks “stillborn,” as it#has been plagued by low
click-through rates and confusing advertising formats, including app-vertising,
hypertargeting and engagement ads.

There have been extensive debates about# whether a person’s Facebook friends
matter in a social graph. Weak ties (like friends on Facebook)#can be as valuable as
strong ties (close friends)#because they’re the ones that bring new ideas#into your
world and share your opinions with people who are further removed from your
social network. People tend to feel less conflicted about these weak ties and
share#more of their lives with them. The best way to#understand this trend will be by
paying more attention to academia and researchers like Mark Granovetter, who has
shaped theories governing influence across social networks.#
Marketers will organize around social media marketing
In today’s organization, SIM is# everyone’s stepchild. It is part public relations,# part
direct response, part brand marketing, part# customer intelligence and part sales
support. That will change#in 2009 as marketing organizations discover the#benefits
in approaching it holistically. Budgets will be put behind SIM and it will be treated as
a third dimension of marketing with its own team,#objectives and initiatives. This will
also force businesses to rethink how they are organized, including agencies. Niche
social media consulting# firms will find it harder to compete as SIM
goes#mainstream.#


Your Father and your boss will join Facebook.#
CEOs are finally going to succumb to the pressure from employees and join
Facebook, or at the very least, LinkedIn. They will likely be on blogging or micro-
blogging services too, sharing their# perspectives in an authentic fashion. Why
does#this matter? Because by doing this, they are going to#realize that social media
is not a fad; it is fundamentally changing how we relate and interact#with each other
and with brands online. CEOs are going to want to get on board.

Now that SIM is so obviously real,#we’ll see which brands are able to truly capitalize
on#it. Those that do will transform their business relationships with their customers,
employees and partners.#

As aggregating platforms enter the field, people will seek to bring order to the
endless bits of information available to them. Video tagging, conversation archiving,
taking cloud computing to the next stage, and making search more relevant are
some of the new baseline requirements. These represent a significant opportunity
for companies willing to undertake this massive endeavor.

Traditional ad networks will contract as competition for declining ad dollars
increases. There are simply too many broad networks# competing for the same
inventory and not telling# a new story.# Auction-based, self-service advertising
exchanges provide a marketplace for buyers and sellers of online ad inventory to
transact directly with one another. These platforms now have the potential# to
transform the way digital ad inventory is bought and sold in 2009 and beyond.#
Conclusion and SNAP Tear sheet


While there is no golden egg for how to set strategy for social networks, the
winners will be those who host the very best conversations. To do this, hyper-
targeted, micro campaigning can be a powerful alternative to traditional marketing
campaigns that utilize online advertising and click-driven Web sites.

On social media, for a fraction of the cost of impressions on air or in print, the right
message can be presented to the ideal eyeball. The significance of this to the return
on investment (ROI) to a marketing agency’s budget are no less than astounding.
As the U.S. economy continues to grapple with a struggling economy, and as
marketing budgets shrink and those who pull the purse strings are called to answer
for their decisions, social media will become an increasingly easy decision to justify.

The new form of social media will be about creating "whole products" and complete
experiences, all in real time, across the web, mobile, and live. Each user will be able
to create his or her own experience and move seamlessly through information that
is available to them anywhere, anytime, sharing rich content with a rich set of
groups and networks that they themselves define. Innovative companies that are
able to listen to these needs and deliver products based on them will not only
survive but thrive in the coming months and years as people eagerly come aboard
the new and fast-moving social network.

Having a better understanding of the breadth and depth of social media and how
businesses can utilize this phenomenon will allow them to experience this
transformation and opportunity.

Note: Tear sheet is on following page.
                                             SNAP
                               The peerFluence Social Media On ramp
SEED | start with seeds
listen to your audience
plant the seeds for your already trusted brand
o er food for thought
avoid corporate speak and overselling
NURTURE | nurture the network
work within your customers’ native environment
get familiar with the landscape; identify sites, tools and applications that your audience is using
cultivate the conversation where your audience is already sharing information & exerting group peer in uence
AUTHENTICATE | authenticate the message
inspire passion and brand ambassadorship through storytelling
employ tools and applications to tell those stories
personify your brand & evoke and emotional connection
present a clear, consistent, believable voice
establish credibility, trust and brand awareness
maintain that long term relationship with a continual loop of online events, content and activities
PERSONALIZE | personalize the experience
precision targeting: getting the right message to the right person
build and expand a target database, based on information you already own
cede control to the audience
where appropriate, build a connected relationship between your brand and the consumer
                                                                                               ”
                  “Participate in the conversation about your brand that is already taking place

								
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