Archive | Campaign RSS feed for this section

How Dell Has Reinvented Itself Thanks To Social Media

15 May

After last week’s post about the biggest Social Media Campaign Fails of 2012 (so far), I thought it would be a good idea to look at a company who has managed to use social media in the best way possible and have transformed their image and reputation as a result.

Social Media, Inspired by Dell

Dell is, without a doubt, a “darling” when it comes to social media industry case studies. Why? They are one of the first real “rags to riches” story that bridges several market segments including consumer, enterprise, SMB and healthcare; and they offer an industry-leading example of “listening” to their customers in social media channels, from blogs to Twitter. And perhaps even more compelling is Dell’s approach to managing the oceans of new information that they uncover on a daily basis — everything from support requests and product feedback to complaints and high-level topic discussions.

It all started with “Dell Hell”

In 2005, Dell’s customer service and support was apparently not what it is today. Combine the subsequent low-levels of customer satisfaction along with the rapid adoption of social media (which gives you the ability to spread discontent very far, very quickly), and you have the beginnings of a major brand backlash.

That’s exactly what happened with the now famous social media firestorm of “Dell Hell”, where Jeff Jarvis, (a blogger who had clout before Klout was even an idea), posted a rant on his “Buzz Machine” blog titled “Dell lies. Dell sucks.” This post ignited a customer revolt (which involved most of the comments on Jeff’s post being similar stories from other customers) which ended up changing much of the culture and customer service practices at one of the world’s most venerable technology companies.

How Dell Weathered The Storm

Dell ultimately weathered the storm thanks to Michael Dell, who recognized the importance of social media (both the risks and the opportunities), and got personally involved. One of the first moves Michael Dell made was was to create a dedicated corporate blogger that would span functional groups. Lionel Menchaca was nominated for the new position, who found immediate success dealing with Jeff Jarvis and other connected bloggers by speaking “honestly and directly”, effectively giving the company a human voice.

But Menchaca and his team did a lot more than just manage blogger outreach – They started a “listening and responding” program, for customer service and support, community-building and topic discussions with subject matter experts. When the small team finally hit the “on” switch for their listening platforms, four to five thousand conversations about Dell started landing in their lap every single day!

Dell’s “Listening Czar”

They ended up creating a new position called Dell’s “Listening Czar”, which became one of the most important components of their social media programme. The Czar was the overall integration lead for all of Dell’s social media functions, from their support forums to Ideastorm, and led a mix of resources to segment out conversations for different business functions.

Additionally, the Czar monitored a customized social media dashboard to identify trends and emerging issues. If a given threshold is reached, for example, if there are a lot of people talking or asking about a certain issue, a blog post on Direct2Dell was initiated.

Today: World-Class Listening through the “Command Centre”

Dell have recently expanded their programme even further by launching their Social Media Listening Command Centre, a social media hub focused purely on listening, engaging and responding to all-things-Dell in more than 11 languages and the Social Outreach Services (SOS) team has grown from 10 to 70 people over the past 2 years.

Dell’s Radian6 monitoring and management tools record an average of 20k – 25k social media events for the company each day, and they make a point of engaging wherever appropriate as quickly as possible. Most tweets, Facebook posts and the like receive some kind of response in no more than 24 hours, and many are handled in real-time.

In case you are a Dell customer, social media support is available to you via Twitter (@DellCares), Facebook (click the “Support” Button under the Cover Photo) and via Dell’s website by clicking “Support” on each web page.

In just a few years, Dell went from a serious brand backlash to leading the social media bunch; especially when it comes to effectively listening and responding to an ocean of customer conversations. By doing so, Dell has become a great example of how to integrate social media into an organisation.


Social Media Campaigns: Case Studies of the Biggest Fails of 2012 (So Far)

8 May

As social media continues to evolve, there is no set formula that defines a perfect campaign. While there are some great social media campaigns being run by companies, there are also plenty of campaigns being run which highlight how running a social media campaign isn’t easy, and there can be downfalls. Many individuals and companies are learning this the hard way, and it’s good to learn from other people’s mistakes so we don’t end up making them ourselves!

Here are some case studies of such failures that have occurred this year, along with the key lesson learnt from each failure.

1. McDonald’s #McDStories

In mid-January, McDonalds launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #McDStories. McDonald’s asked users to post nostalgic stories about their experiences on Happy Meals, however, the #McDStories campaign quickly took a whole different turn very quickly as users started using the hashtag to instead share horror experiences and shock tales. From poor work conditions to appalling food quality, McDonald’s campaign turned negative attention back to itself.

Here are just a few examples of tweets on the #McDStories Hashtag:

The Lesson:
Social media campaigns always contain a measure of risk, where perception from users cannot be controlled. McDonald’s suffered from this, with the hijacking of their hashtag campaign. While companies, to some degree, can attempt to anticipate reaction from customers, at times it is simply impossible. In general, companies need to prepare contingency plans, and have a strategy for when social media fails. This is also a great example which shows that no-one, not even a global restaurant giant, can control conversations on the internet.

2. Reddit & Woody Harrelson’s ‘Ask Me Anything’

At the start of February, Academy Award Nominee Woody Harrelson hosted Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA), where users can ask questions to individuals who have a unique story or occupation. While the AMA’s are generally used to promote thoughtful dialogue and discussion, Harrelson’s AMA chat took a different approach – Reddit users quickly got the impression that the movie star was simply using the site for nothing more than marketing purposes, and Reddit users lashed out. There was an enormous amount of backlash fired against Harrelson, his publicists and his upcoming movie, and Harrelson became infamous in Reddit history ever since. Google ‘Woody Harrelson’ today and ‘Woody Harrelson AMA’ is still the most popular search term!

Here are a few of the comments directly from Harrelson’s AMA:

The Lesson:
The main reason why this campaign failed so spectacularly is because of Harrelson’s (and his publicists) failure to understand his audience. Reddit is a social news website which possesses a dedicated audience that is very sensitive towards marketing attempts. With AMA threads, Reddit users expect an honest dialogue, providing an open forum between the host and the audience. When using a social media platform, it is vital that you carefully understand the community and how they work.

3. Chris Brown’s Post-Grammy Tweets

One of the big winners at the 2012 Grammy Awards was R&B singer Chris Brown, who won an award for Best R&B album. After the Grammys, Chris Brown celebrated his victory on Twitter, by sending out tweets to his followers. But instead of thanking his loyal fans for their support, he instead focused his updates towards his haters, attacking them with disparaging remarks and F-bombs. Given the singer’s already shaky reputation, these tweets further solidified the controversy around him.

The Lesson:
Given the shareable nature of social media, public perception and reputation can change at the drop of a hat. A single tweet can quickly spread to others, whether it is good or bad, especially if you are extremely influential within your respective industry, especially if this occurs from a business/company account. By posting such remarks, Chris Brown’s tweets turned some fans against him and had them commenting on his temperamental nature instead of the Grammy win itself. While the tweet was later deleted from Brown’s account, it lives on through the hundreds and thousands of retweets it received, which can’t be deleted.

4. Toyota’s #CamryEffect Campaign

During the Superbowl, Toyota planned a major Twitter campaign meant to promote the Camry. Creating a number of Twitter accounts labeled @CamryEffect1 through @CamryEffect9, Toyota intended to engage users by directly tweeting them. However, this had the opposite effect: users accused Toyota of bombarding and spamming them with unsolicited messages. Though Toyota quickly suspended the accounts, this campaign still resonates as an example of a failed, large-scale endeavour.

Here are some examples of the spam tweets it bombarded users with:

The Lesson:
In Toyota’s case, mass spamming was not the main problem, though it definitely added to their woes. Instead, it was the content itself that caused the uproar. In order to engage users, your tweets need to be interesting and intriguing, motivating users to retweet the message. However, the content used in the #CamryEffect campaign gave a self-serving and promotional impression. The bland, spammed messages and poor timing became a recipe for disaster for the major automobile company.

What lessons have you learned from these social media fiascos that you will apply in your own social media and PR efforts? Do you have examples of any similar fails from which we can also learn?

London 2012: Get Ready for the First Social Media Olympics!

1 May

Two weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee launched The Olympic Athletes’ Hub, to mark the 100-day countdown to the start of the Olympic Games in London. The Athletes Hub is microsite dedicated to aggregating Facebook posts and tweets from the athletes, and the Hub also boasts a gamification component: Users who sign up, follow athletes, and engage in the community have the opportunity to unlock rewards and win prizes.

This year promises to be the first truly social Olympic Games. Television networks are planning to incorporate athletes’ Twitter posts into broadcast spots, and marketers are planning a flood of Facebook marketing tied to the Games.

The IOC’s new social media guidelines lay out dos-and-don’ts for tweeting athletes.

During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, athletes will:

  • Have real-time text chats with fans from inside Olympic Village
  • Share their results and engage with fans
  • Grow their social media followings
  • And much more

The last summer Olympics took place in 2008. Since then, a lot has changed.

Not only are we a little older, but so is social media. For example, Facebook was relatively small in 2008 with ‘only’ 100 million users. This year, Facebook passed the 900 million user milestone. Likewise, Twitter had 6 million users in 2008; today the network is more than 20 times larger, at 140 million users.

Check out this great infographic produced by The IOC, which illustrates how social media has contributed to the changes in the Summer Olympics experience for fans and athletes. It highlights how coverage has evolved since the first modern Games in 1896, and the most popular athletes on Facebook and Twitter.

What role will social media play in your Olympics experience this summer? Are you looking forward to seeing how social media will play an integral role?

Social Media ROI: “ROE” is the New ROI!

27 Mar

When I consult with clients for the first time, many of them ask, “What’s going to be my ROI with social media?”

This question always leads to me starting off with a disclaimer: Social media is not magic! It’s not just another advertising channel and it is definitely not a one-way ticket to immediate profits. Social media is a form of communication; a platform for building relationships. And, like most relationships, it can take time, effort, and energy.

Marketing managers are increasingly being put under pressure by senior management who want their respective company to “be on Twitter,” but many seem to forget that social media is actually a communications tool and that consistent action must be taken to engage a following.

Compare measuring social media ROI to the task of calculating the ROI of a business card. Conference attendees rack up hundreds of business cards, but how do you calculate the ROI of all of the business cards that you hand out at a conference?

Just like a Facebook fan or a Twitter follower, a business card merely represents potential — so, you can’t accurately measure the ROI of a business card, just as you can’t measure the value of a Facebook fan.

This concept shouldn’t seem new, though, because traditional marketing, such as email marketing and telemarketing, runs by these rules. Marketers don’t ask, “What’s the ROI of this email newsletter?” Instead, they ask, “What’s the conversion rate for our email campaign?” And telemarketers don’t ask, “What’s the ROI of a phone call?” They ask, “What’s the conversion rate of our sales calls?”

Social media should be treated the same way. You can’t just ask, “What’s the ROI of social media?” You have to ask, “What’s the ROI of specific activities that we engage in via social media?” This is more commonly known as the Return on Engagement, or the ROE.

While traditional ROI may be hard to track in this networking, word-of-mouth, virtual world of Social Media, ROE is a trackable and measurable metric. You can count the number of clicks, tweets, retweets, posts, comments and, more as a simple way to gauge the interaction you are having with current clients, client prospects and potential referral sources.

These numbers are crucial as they allow you to look at how engagement on one social network can justify increasing your presence onto another, in addition to the number of people you’ve connected with in your conversations and the types of conversations and revenue generating opportunities you uncover along the way. Today, we can even track the social contacts that convert. With all this information, you’ll be able to calculate your ROE.

So, stop solely focusing on Return on Investment and remember that unlike traditional marketing methods, social media isn’t a one-way channel that starts and stops with the single hope that there is more business at your doorstep at the end of the run.

Social media is a way to build the relationships that establish trust and enable people to feel comfortable buying from a business. Return on Engagement is a measurable and long-term metric which will give you a much clearer picture of how having an online profile on social networks is important for your business.

How do you evaluate the ROI of Social Media? Is it a question that you have been asked before? If so, how did you answer it? I’d love to hear your views!

5 Key Tips When Adopting Social Media

20 Feb

When I consult with new clients, they regularly have a startling shock about social media – it’s not magic!

Believe it or not, a successful social media presence requires time, energy, and creativity.  I don’t want to sound like a mood-killer, but just because social media is the new thing that more and more people are now talking about and using, it doesn’t make it the one-way road to increasing profits. Once new clients understand this, they often say; ‘OK… so what now?’ For me, this is the fun part!

Here are my five key tips to seriously consider when adopting social media:

1. Change the way you look at media forever.
Start off by looking at social media as an on-going conversation. Start by conversing with your audience and don’t even think about sales. Just talk!

2. Dedicate some time to it.
If you’re busy and think you don’t have enough time to converse, then plan ahead and schedule a bit of time. Naturally, the next question is, ‘how much time should you schedule?’ – There’s no set answer for this; it depends on what you want to achieve from using social media and exactly how much free time you have. If you’re a beginner, my advice is to start off slowly with 15-20 minute increments at the beginning and end of your day. Once you have a routine and an established following, slowly increase this time to 30-minute sessions, and maybe more if you think it’s applicable. After a while, you’ll probably find that social media naturally becomes a part of your day, weaving in and out of your normal tasks.

3. Establish a game-plan.
Are you unsure of what to say online? Think about what’s going on over the next month for you, your business, the world at-large, and build an outline of topics to talk about within these categories. This can be your roadmap for content creation and ensures that your content is relevant to the audience.

4. Don’t compare social media to anything else.
Social media is not advertising, sales, or telemarketing; social media is a two-way conversation. It’s a consumer-controlled world, whether you’re ready for it or not. Be prepared to listen, acknowledge and address customer feedback. Accept this now! It’s time to listen and respond.

5. Stop being scared!
Many people are afraid of the technology – DON’T BE! If you take a few minutes to play around with the different types of social media, you might be surprised at how easy it is to navigate. Others are scared of what people will say, and make this their reason, or ‘excuse’ for not wanting to adopt social media. You have to be willing to embrace feedback – good and bad – and have a system in place for responding.

Do any of these resonate for you? How have your learned to adopt? What else have you discovered about social media?

If you’d like more advice and would like to explore how I could help you and your business with adopting social media, contact me today.

#hardandfast: A Life Saving Social Media Campaign

9 Jan

At the start of last week, I saw a campaign from the British Heart Foundation on BBC News about how to give CPR when someone is in cardiac arrest. Credit has to go to the people behind this campaign for making it so memorable by combining a serious matter with humour.

At the time of writing, this video is approaching 1,000,000 views on YouTube (and I’m sure by the time I’ve finished writing this post and publishing it, it will have probably surpassed this milestone!).

Within the first second of the clip you can see the #hardandfast hashtag in the top left, letting people know what to include when sharing this clip. This also give the Social Media Team at British Heart Foundation a term which can they search for to see how many people are talking about their advert, and only takes a simple Twitter search of the term to see that a huge amount of people are sharing this!

As well as the viral video, the British Heart Foundation also have other videos on their YouTube channel, a blog talking about the making of the advert and they even have an iPhone App! Their Twitter account now has over 18,000 followers and they’ve even launched a campaign looking at getting emergency life skills into the national curriculum.

If this campaign saves just one person’s life, it’s been worth it. Well done to everyone whose been involved in shaping the strategy to make this campaign such a success. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below!