Today’s post comes from Bridgz Account Manager, Janell Lathauer.
There’s a new kid on the social media block, and she’s already making a big impression. Pinterest is the Internet’s bulletin board, a place that can, as its mission statement says, “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” People and businesses can post images and create theme-based collections on the site. Internet-monitoring firm comScore notes Pinterest has more than 11 million unique monthly users, and has more than doubled its audience over the past six months. The average Pinterest user spends some 98 minutes per month on the site — more than any other social platform except Tumblr and Facebook. Seems like it would be an ideal marketing tool for businesses, and it can be, if you know how to use it.
Today’s post comes from Bridgz’s junior copywriter Nick Nelson
Once upon a time, embarrassing little slip-ups in customer service could be swept under the rug. If your brand was able to maintain a generally consumer-friendly reputation, you didn’t need to worry about isolated incidents doing much to damage that rep.
In a world where the internet and social media reign supreme, however, this is no longer the case. Particularly bad experiences will be shared with the world digitally, going viral and causing major headaches for your PR department.
Today’s post comes from Bridgz business analyst Allan Green.
My wife will tell you I am tough on eyeglasses. I scratch them, I break them, I lose them. Because of this, I was particularly interested when she told me that I had a chance to get a free pair through a company called Coastal Contacts. All I had to do was “like” them on Facebook.
I went ahead and gave it a shot, and was impressed by the selection and the ordering process. Then the other shoe dropped. My frames and lenses were free but there were plenty of other things that go along with glasses that were not. There was shipping, coatings, glare resistance, upgrading to the extra thin lightweight lenses – all this was extra. In the end, my glasses wound up totaling $48. Not exactly free, but better than the $100-plus I usually pay.
I had just run afoul of the latest gimmick in social media marketing: “like-gating.” Online companies have realized that large communities of engaged brand advocates can translate into big additions to the bottom line. But if you’re a sizable commercial company, how do you get people to “like” you on a social network?
Filed under: Customer Rules | Tags: anecdotes, customer experience, social media
The other day one of our newer employees asked me what we meant by “the customer rules,” a phrase often used in our marketing efforts here at Bridgz.
I thought for a moment and said, “Let me tell you something that happened to me personally early this summer.”
I explained this employee how I wanted to buy a new gas grill for my deck. My old one had run its course so I was on the hunt for a replacement. It was a Saturday morning in June when I went to the mailbox and pulled out a colorful mailer from one of the big-box retailers touting their summer savings.
Front and center on the cover was a great-looking gas grill, which carried a great price to boot. I promptly decided that this was the one for me. I grabbed my car keys and headed for the door when my wife asked, “Where are you off to this morning?” I showed her the mailer with the grill on the cover and said to her, “I’ve found my new grill and I’ll be back soon.”
The risk of using online media publicity to promote offline events is that nobody shows up. That appears to be what has happened to Mashable, the website dedicated to covering cool new social media and networks, at least here in Minneapolis.
Mashable has blown out a mass blast of emails broadly proclaiming tomorrow – Thursday, June 30 – to be Social Media Day. This event is sanctioned only by Mashable, in an attempt to promote itself and social media in general. As part of this national celebration, they are attempting to bring social networking from the Internet to the street with live events or “meet-ups” planned in cities and communities across the US – 1,376 communities to be exact.
“We’re thrilled to announce our second annual Social Media Day,” the PR release states, “This global event is a celebration of the technological advancements that enable everyone to connect real time information, to communicate from miles apart and have their voices heard.”
Funny, I thought that’s what the telephone (the original social media) did when invented in 1876.
Do consumers really want a car that monitors their health data, or simply one that provides safe, reliable and cost-efficient transportation?
Ford is testing an idea that would allow drivers of its F-150 trucks to monitor blood sugar levels and even transmit that data wirelessly to family members so they’ll know if there is risk of a diabetic attack. The company is also developing seats that track heartbeat and monitor stress levels. Perhaps this data could trigger a mechanism that switches the car stereo to a more soothing type of music. Or they could have prerecorded psychiatric therapy sessions that would promote positive affirmation on the way to and from work, while also reducing incidents of road rage. It could even save marriages.
Note: Today’s entry is a guest post from Bridgz Marketing Group employee Nick Nelson, detailing a recent customer experience.
My last guest post in this space came last summer, when I expressed frustration with a headphone brand called Skullcandy’s failure to respond to a customer complaint. They had a website with a contact form as well as a Twitter account, but my attempts to reach them through both channels fell upon deaf ears.
Since then, I’ve opted for alternative brands of headphones and recommended that others do the same.
If companies want to maintain a presence online and in social media – giving the appearance of an interactive and customer-friendly operation – it is imperative that they not let complaints and inquiries slip through the cracks.
Jimmy John’s, a popular sandwich shop nationwide, does it right.
Jaron Lanier, a pioneer of technology development in Silicon Valley back in the 1980s who is credited with innovating the first virtual reality programming, is not a big fan of Web 2.0 and believes social media is headed in an anti-social direction.
In his recent book You Are Not a Gadget, the dreadlocked genius heaps considerable criticism on modern day developers who he believes have become self-serving in their quest for financial gain, compromising creative and innovative integrity at the expense of human spirit.
Lanier takes issue with the “fake friendship” that social media sites promote as a means for luring advertisers and exploiting consumers. He challenges the wisdom of crowds, depicting it instead as a “cruel mob.” As for blogs, he views them mostly as nothing more than online babbles and snippets — “a widespread practice of fragmentary, impersonal conversation that has demeaned real personal interaction.” The internet is becoming anti-intellectual, he contends, as Web 2.0 collectivism is killing the individual voice and perpetuating a hive mentality.
It seems like every other day I’m getting an unsolicited email invitation to attend a webinar or download a white paper on the topic of social media. I have participated in some of these, mostly out of curiosity to see if there’s really enough new information to warrant all these webinars and white papers. There isn’t.
I’ve also read several books on the subject and found some of the information to be of interest and value, though not enough for a book. There’s a lot of redundancy, generalization and opinion supported by anecdotal evidence but not much in the way of hard data to show that companies have been able to monetize social media by linking it to new revenue streams.
There is clearly a bandwagon effect going as social media is being socialized and marketed on many fronts, and though I don’t fully understand the business implications I do know it’s something business cannot ignore. More companies appear anxious to jump on board, whether driven by opportunity or fear. The thing I don’t know is whether these companies are making money in doing so.
You’ve screwed up royally and damaged your brand, compromising a reputation built over the past 59 years, by running a distasteful advertisement that has offended a whole lot of people and generated a storm of negative publicity, in a lame attempt at humor. Now you’re scrambling to control the damage by claiming the ad was run without your prior approval? Good luck with that one guys.
It’s yet another example of how traditional interruptive advertising with clever headlines and outrageous creative — breaking through the clutter at any cost — no longer works in a customer-centric market where social media trumps advertising in almost every case.