Archive for December, 2010


GM hires hot New York social media firm, Big Fuel

Big Fuel, a New York-based marketing and communications agency, will open a Detroit office to handle social media campaigns for General Motors.

The expansion will allow Big Fuel to work with GM on a day-to-day basis, according to Seth Berk, VP of business development at Big Fuel. The two companies will collaborate on social media marketing campaigns structured around each individual GM brand line. The campaigns will roll out throughout the first quarter of 2011.

“Each of GM’s brand lines has their own audience demographic that we are working with them on reaching,” Berk said. The challenge with any social media effort, according to Berk, is understanding the audience and its needs. Big Fuel will work closely with GM to “make sure the messaging is appropriate and relevant to [each brand] audience,” Berk said.

The company’s Detroit office will consist of 30 staff members. Between 20 and 40 new staff members will also be added to the company’s New York office. GM and Big Fuel have been working together for the past six months on the upcoming campaigns. GM previously developed its own social media campaigns in-house.

Big Fuel works with 18 clients, including Colgate-Palmolive, Neutrogena, and Fox Interactive Media.

The story was first reported today on

GM could not be reached for comment.


7 Ways to Get Your Social Media Marketing Money’s Worth

7 Ways to Get Your Social Media Marketing Money’s Worth

By Kevin S. Ryan & Jeff Zabin
E-Commerce Times
12/22/10 5:00 AM PT

Done right, social media campaigns can be pretty flexible in scope and design, allowing marketers to shift gears to reflect facts on the ground. In fact, because of the two-way nature of most social media, brands can win laurels for adjusting their efforts in the face of criticism or lack of response.

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n the rush to Facebook, marketers are discovering that different kinds of content drive different kinds of results — and different social networks respond in different ways. It was not that long ago that the experts warned that brands could not “sell” in social media, that the audience would rebel, and that social media efforts would fail. We have learned, however, that when done correctly, it absolutely is possible to promote goods and services to online fans and friends.

Top Performers are focused most heavily on taking advantage of the “social” aspect of social media marketing, indicating a begrudging acceptance of the current state of ROI measurement, Gleanster research reveals.

Following are seven ways that Top Performers are maximizing the value of their investments in social media marketing initiatives. The research findings are based on the experiences of 284 companies that participated in the Gleanster survey for the new benchmark report Social Media Marketing (currently available for free download).

1. Give consumers a good reason to want to share brand-related content.

Good community managers have learned over time that one of the keys to a successful engagement campaign is to provide quality content that is relevant to the brand but that does not necessarily promote consumption of the brand.

Marketers who run social media efforts for companies large and small need to remember that customers want to take the lead in advocating for the brand. Brands might point them in the right direction, but consumers will be most inclined to interact with the content if it provides value, solves a problem, or is just plain interesting.

2. Identify and engage top influencers.

The influencers and brand advocates that gravitate to a company’s online communities and social media sites are the holy grail for marketers. These are the people who will tell the brand story, rally others to the brand’s side, and speak up when the need occurs.

With the right social media monitoring tools, brands can identify these people without engaging in social media marketing themselves, but they’ll generally be at a loss to do anything about it without joining the social media universe, even on a small scale.

Influencers are a funny breed. Brands should foster a positive relationship with them, but should be careful not to “buy” their influence. Just showing them respect and attention, and giving them early information, should be enough to keep them involved.

3. Leverage the reach and multiplier effect of social networks.

Social media platforms work by allowing people to connect and communicate with circles of friends — each with their own circle of friends.

These overlapping and interconnected circles allow users to broadcast their stories to their networks, and also allow the information to creep into the larger networks.

Marketers who create interesting offers, content or apps for these networks can find that the social capital pays off by sparking a “me too” connection to the brand.

4. Adjust promotional tactics as needed, based on campaign performance.

Top Performers are outdistancing others by paying closer attention to the effectiveness of their social media marketing — and changing course when necessary.

Done right, social media campaigns can be pretty flexible in scope and design, allowing marketers to shift gears to reflect facts on the ground. In fact, because of the two-way nature of most social media, brands can win laurels for adjusting their efforts in the face of criticism or lack of response.

Either way, the ability to modify a campaign to make it more effective or to draw a larger response has clear benefits that are not as readily available in more traditional marketing campaigns.

5. Generate new content and conversation on campaign landing pages.

Content costs money, and marketing content can sometimes come across as, well, marketing content. User-generated content, on the other hand, is generally authentic and is perceived by the audience as trustworthy.

This user content can also make static pages seem alive, offering a constant stream of changes. Brands need to be willing to take their lumps, though, because these unvarnished and sometimes impolitic comments can be off-putting.

6. Host one or more branded online customer communities.

Branded customer communities can be an effective way to gain customer insights, marshal enthusiasm and develop advocates.

Communities generally have strong value in natural search. But they are no slam dunk. They require a lot of TLC, and are something of a slow build.

The challenge, frequently, is in keeping the focus on building the community long enough to actually build the community. Done correctly, branded communities can pay off in spades.

7. Integrate social media with other media buys and campaigns.

Social media marketing is seductive, because there’s the perception that you can do it on the fly — that you don’t need the kind of planning and back-end support as you do for email marketing campaigns or traditional marketing efforts.

More and more marketers are adding Facebook and Twitter mentions to their ads and marketing collateral. The callouts frequently are mere invitations to join or follow the brand on those sites. However, aggressive marketers are finding ways to bring value to the fan for taking the action.

They are offering exclusive content, special deals or early information. The comingling of social media marketing with other campaigns can have the effect of making the entire brand seem more in line with the sensibilities of today’s consumer.

Kevin S. Ryan is research fellow at Gleanster and former vice president of social media at Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS). He can be reached at Jeff Zabin is research director at Gleanster and former research fellow at Aberdeen Group. He can be reached at


Kleiner said yesterday that it led a $200 million investment in Twitter Inc

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that shunned social-media startups in favor of green technology, is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make up for lost time.

After hiring Internet analyst Mary Meeker from Morgan Stanley last month, Kleiner said yesterday that it led a $200 million investment in Twitter Inc. In October, the Menlo Park, California-based firm also introduced a $250 million fund for entrepreneurs who are building social applications and services.

Kleiner, which along with Sequoia Capital made billions from an early investment in Google Inc., is getting a piece of Twitter at a later stage. The startup, with more than 175 million users, has already quadrupled in value over the past year. Kleiner also missed out on investments in Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., which are all valued in the billions of dollars on private exchanges.

“Are they late? Of course, they’re late,” said Eric Risley, founder of Architect Partners, a technology merger-and- acquisition advisory firm based in Menlo Park. “But I can’t imagine that means they missed the boat, because there’s a heck of a lot more innovation to play itself out.”

Founded in 1972, Kleiner has been one of the most successful Silicon Valley firms, mostly because of 1990s investments in Internet companies such as Google, Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

Green Technology

In the past decade, the focus shifted. Starting in 2006, Kleiner partner John Doerr began investing in alternative energy. He said in February of that year that “green tech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” In 2008, Kleiner introduced the $500 million Green Growth Fund. During that stretch, rival firms Sequoia, Accel Partners and Greylock Partners stuck with the Web.

While Doerr continues to invest in alternative energy, he’s come back to the Internet, now that social-media companies have taken off. Until the Twitter funding, Kleiner’s biggest social- networking deal was struck by former Electronic Arts Inc. executive Bing Gordon, who was hired by Kleiner in 2008. Soon after joining, Gordon led a $29 million investment in Zynga Game Network Inc., the most popular maker of games on Facebook. Zynga is now worth more on private exchanges than Electronic Arts is on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Chegg, Ngmoco

Kleiner also invested in online book-rental company Chegg Inc. in late 2008, and made multiple investments in mobile- gaming company Ngmoco. Chegg has since raised more than $180 million, while Ngmoco was acquired in October for $400 million.

Twitter marks a late-stage deal for Kleiner. Prior to yesterday, San Francisco-based Twitter had raised four venture rounds from about 20 investors, including everyone from angel investor Ron Conway to Wall Street securities firm Morgan Stanley. The latest financing round values Twitter at $3.7 billion.

“We are privileged and excited to be the lead investor in Twitter’s latest investment round,” Kleiner said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to helping the company become the next great Internet treasure.”

To find future Internet companies, Kleiner will be looking to Meeker, the former Morgan Stanley analyst. She gained fame in the 1990s for her bullish calls on Web companies such as Amazon and America Online Inc., and predicted last month that there will be a $50 billion online advertising boom.

Kleiner also is looking for early stage social startups in its $250 million sFund. Facebook, Zynga and Amazon are investors in the fund, similar to Apple Inc.’s role in Kleiner’s iFund, which opened in 2008 to back mobile-app companies.

“They’ve demonstrated they can move the ball when they need to and focus,” said Jerome Engel, founder of the entrepreneurship program at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a partner at Monitor Venture Associates LLC. “Social media is a great space and we’d be fools not to pay attention to it.”


Pew Research: World embracing social media!

A new report has found social media is growing all around the world.

International package delivery and courier services have been shown the global reach of social media in a new report.

The study, from Pew Research, reveals a strong appetite for social media among internet users all over the world.

After the US, with 46 per cent of the population using sites like Facebook and MySpace in Britain and Poland (both 43 per cent) South Korea (40 per cent) and France (36 per cent).

“Although still a relatively young technology, social networking is already a global phenomenon,” the authors state.

“In regions around the world – and in countries with varying levels of economic development – people who use the internet are using it for social networking.”

The study also noted that social media use is especially high among young people.

Time magazine has announced that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is its person of the year, following a landmark year for the ex-Harvard student.

Posted by Posted by Lucy Pritchard


Facebook Advertising Tricks for B2B Marketers

Facebook Advertising Tricks for B2B Marketers
by Paul Dunay

If I could offer you a billboard in the middle of Times Square for little to no cost for you to advertise your company would you do it? One of the great things about the Facebook is that it provides you access to a large audience of over 550 Million people worldwide at a very low cost so why not take advantage of it.

After 9 years of Search Engine Marketing – I think it is safe to say any keyword you are going to buy is maxed out when it comes to the Google AdWords auction process. In 2001 when Google AdWords was just announced – I was buying and converting potential prospects into leads for pennies on the dollar with keywords like Globalization, eCommerce, Interactive Marketing (I was in a consulting firm at the time). This is why today on Facebook seems so familiar to me – while the buying process is less about keywords and more about precise targeting – the costs seem awfully familiar.

So let’s go through 3 Tricks to Maximize a Facebook Advertising purchase for B2B Marketers

Trick 1) Place specific Job Titles into the Likes and Interest field. This way anyone who has mentioned their job title in their profile is now a potential recipient of your ad. Go big and go broad with the Job Titles. Facebook doesn’t care how many you put in there; they will go find you the profiles that contain them nonetheless.
Trick 2) Put the 20 top companies you want to target into the Workplaces field. Facebook unlike Google works off of the “or” operand not the “and” operand so you can use this to your advantage by placing as many of the companies you want to target into the Workplaces field and thereby target the employees of all of those firms.
Trick 3) Run your Facebook Ads using Friends of your Page – if you want to widen your fan base why not try targeting friends of the people who already like your Page. If they are friends perhaps they share a common interest and one of those interests could be your company. Best of all when appears; inside the ad it will personally name your friends who already like your Page giving it the credibility and hopefully the “like” ability you are looking for.
There are tons of ways to target folks on Facebook. I have even seen people target down to the single individual level – “NanoTargeting” as it is called. I suggest you get your feet wet with Facebook Ads by building your Fan base on your company Page. This will give you a feeling for how the self service system works and perhaps even try some of the tricks above for your initial ad buy.

Also pay special attention to the metrics that Facebook is providing to you from your advertising buy because you can compile a buyer persona by running an ad for 30 days and a minimal investment. A persona will tell you what their favorite movie was, what their favorite music was, what their favorite TV show was, what their favorite books were, even their average age, gender and marital status. Great stuff to know and great data you can use to refine you next Facebook Advertising buy!


Social Media Success: 5 Lessons From In-House Corporate Teams

by Amy-Mae Elliott The Social Media Marketing Series is supported by Webtrends Apps, which lets you quickly create and publish Facebook, iPhone, iPad, and Android apps. Learn more about it here or keep up with all Webtrends Social products by following their blog.

While implementing a successful social media campaign is something to celebrate, longer term, policy-based programs (which may not garner as much immediate publicity) can be even more rewarding.

Here we are highlighting five companies that have enjoyed long term success with their own social media teams and taking a look at some of the measurable returns they have seen as the results of their programs.

Key personnel from within the five companies below (in alphabetical order) have commented on their teams’ successes to offer you an insight into their various processes. Meanwhile, please be sure to let us know in the comments about any other companies that you feel should be recognized for having strong in-house social media teams.

1. Dell

Dell currently enjoys an online presence in more than 160 countries with more than 15,000 online conversations about Dell taking place every day — a stat that makes it one of the most mentioned brands. Dell is proud of its history of online customer communication and claims to have been exchanging info with customers online since the late 1980s.

Dell’s social media activity, as we’d now recognize it, began in earnest in 2006, initially with the Online Community Outreach team (tech support experts that reached out to bloggers with queries), then the debut of the Direct2Dell blog, followed up with rating and reviews added to Dell product pages. Since then the reviews have been made shareable across major social networking platforms including via the Facebook “Tag Team” — a social product finder app.

In the summer of 2007, Dell joined the world of Twitter, with just one example being its @DellOutlet account offering Twitter-only special deals.

In addition to the specific activity outlined above, Dell sees social media as integral to the day-to-day activities of its employees all around the world. Interested employees can attend Dell’s “Social Media and Communities University” to help them better represent the brand online.

The Success Story
As far as social commerce goes, Dell has received more than 170,000 customer ratings and reviews on across 62 countries, while its main Facebook Page has more than 360,000 fans.

The most headline-grabbing example of Dell’s social media program netting real-world results is its @DellOutlet Twitter account. Currently enjoying more than 1.5 million followers, Dell revealed late last year that it had generated $6.5 million in revenue, a figure that we can only assume has grown since.

Less easily measured success comes as a result of using feedback to improve Dell’s products in the future.

“The online conversations offer great opportunities for us to listen, learn and engage — we use what we learn to innovate and integrate technology that provides solutions our customers want,” says Kerry Bridge, head of digital media communications, EMEA and global public sector at Dell.

So, Why Has Dell Been Successful?
“Listening to our customers has always been at the heart of what we do,” says Bridge. “Dell’s heritage of direct customer connections and online leadership are the seeds of our drive to be a social media success.”

2. Ford

The social media team at Ford is spread across a number of departments. With six people across the company dedicated to social media, there are another 20 or so for whom social media is part of their wider roles. Ford’s social media push began in mid-2008 when it joined Twitter and the customer service department started a Social Media Action & Response Team (SMART), which monitors the online space for opportunities to help customers.

Now Ford can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, Scribd, Plancast and Upcoming, among others. In addition, is where Ford “insiders” can get more information and view user-generated content as featured in the “Your Stories,” “Ford on Blogs,” and “Your Ideas” sections.

The Success Story
Ford currently has more than half a million followers across Twitter and Facebook. A campaign-based example of recent social media success is the promotion for the 2011 Ford Explorer, which netted a number-one trending topic on Twitter, a number-two Google trend, and vehicle orders that were more than double what had been projected.

“We’re committed to the ‘always on’ mode, which means that we need to abandon the traditional ‘launch and leave’ approach that we previously used,” says Scott Monty, the head of social media at the motor company, who can be credited for much of Ford’s social activity.

“By taking the time to build a relationship with our fans by sharing not only our story but other people’s stories, we therefore gain awareness, trust and loyalty so that when they do make a purchase decision, we’re top of mind.”

So, Why Has Ford Been Successful?
“We’re successful for a few reasons: The first is that Ford has a strong business plan, great products and a commitment to a better world, and that is apparent in everything the company does. When we get to share that, it’s completely authentic,” says Monty.

“The second is, we realize that we have to constantly innovate and to give back to our community, as a way to reward them for spending their valuable time with us. And the third is that we realize that in humanizing Ford, it’s just as important to connect our customers and fans with each other as it is to connect them with Ford employees, because they’re more likely to believe what other people have to say about Ford.”

3. Intel

Intel has been involved in the social media space since 2004, beginning with blogs, before creating the Intel Social Media Center of Excellence two years ago. With three team members initially, this year the team has grown to seven and maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, as well as running company blogs.

The Success Story
Intel’s “Social Media Guidelines” is one of the best known corporate policies around. During the past two years, the company has trained more than 1,000 “social media practitioners,” in order to help them “succeed globally by enabling with information, tools, latest and greatest best-known practices, playbooks, strategic direction” and more.

“We consistently monitor and listen to the conversations on the web, trying to address as much of the questions and issues as we can,” says Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel.

“It is important for us to have presence on social networking sites where our customers can engage in a dialogue with us and get a 1:1 attention.”

Walter tells us Intel has been especially successful in engaging on Facebook in the past year. “We have achieved about 10% to 15% monthly organic fan growth on average, which is considered the highest organic growth you can get. We are now up to over 240K fans (over 90% of which were acquired organically).”

So, Why Has Intel Been Successful?
“Intel is a pioneer in the social media space. We were one of the first to come out with the Social Media Guidelines and one of the first to adapt to this seismic shift to social and train our marketers around the world through the robust university-like training program,” says Walter.

“Our success can be attributed to the strong executive support and to passionate grassroots/social media practitioners within Intel, among other things.”

4. JetBlue

JetBlue’s social media stratagem comes under its Corporate Communications department, which it describes as “the clearinghouse for all communications.” The company’s big push for social media engagement started in the spring of 2007 and it says it regularly looks to its customers for guidance as to what they’d like JetBlue’s role to be within the social media arena.

A corporate communications employee oversees a working group of subject matter experts from a variety of departments spanning communications, marketing, TrueBlue customer commitment and operations who engage directly with customers when opportunity arises. JetBlue has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube as well as maintaining the BlueTales blog.

The Success Story
JetBlue’s Twitter presence is the jewel in its social media crown. JetBlue started a Twitter account back in 2007 and now boasts 1.6 million followers. This success has seen the company launch a separate account — Cheeps — which is used to push promotional fares. JetBlue says this second Twitter account “has proven successful as a dedicated social media channel.”

“We have come to realize that Twitter is an excellent tool not just for pushing information out, but perhaps more importantly, for taking information in,” says Allison Steinberg, an e-communications analyst for the airline.

“We are able to use Twitter to take a general pulse of our customer base as well to identify breaking news items that may not have made it down the pipeline yet internally or via mainstream outlets. This helps us to stay on top of customer service items and respond to things in a timely and efficient manner.”

So, Why Has JetBlue Been Successful?
“Social media has been hugely successful for us because we understand that communication is a two-way street,” says Steinberg. “We consider the social media tools available to us to be our eyes and ears, in addition to serving as a mouthpiece for our brand.”

5. Vodafone

Vodafone’s social media team was formed around 19 months ago. It has since grown from the original three staff members to 15 and includes online PR and social media specialists and customer care and acquisitions.

Because Vodafone doesn’t treat social media as a stand-alone channel, the activity spreads from the obvious branded channels, which include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to all major online forums, tech and consumer blogs and more recently location-based platforms like Foursquare.

The Success Story
Vodafone currently has more than 18,000 followers on Twitter, 210,000 fans on Facebook and another 116,000 on its non-profit Vodafone Foundation “World of Difference” Page.

A recent example of success for a specific project comes in with Vodafone-backed @documentally’s challenge to travel the length of the UK utilizing only a PAYG SIM card and an iPhone. The trip resulted in 4 million impressions on Twitter alone, which Jakub Hrabovsky, head of web relations, says “demonstrates the endless possibilities and sheer power of social media.”

However, Vodafone’s in-house social media team is committed to everyday actions, as well as the splashy stuff. “Whilst our social media activities peak around launches and major campaigns, we consistently offer superb customer service across all of our channels including our eForum with an incredibly high percentage of customer inquiry resolutions,” says Hrabovsky.

“Twitter, due to its fast-paced nature, has been the most successful channel for us with almost 100% of inquiries resolved, with incoming traffic at over 5,000 customer inquiries per month at busiest times.”

So, Why Has Vodafone Been Successful?
“The major driver for our success has been the consistent commitment to social media and online channels overall, as simple as it may sound,” says Hrabovsky.

“Another reason is the ability and willingness to listen to our customers, our honest and credible interaction with online audiences and determination to explore new platforms as well as speed of reaction.”


60% of consumers follow at least one brand on Facebook, Twitter or another social network

Coupons, Promos Attract Social Media Brand ‘Followers’
60% of consumers follow at least one brand on Facebook, Twitter or another social network with a quarter seeking discounts, finds Empathica.

By Alison Diana , InformationWeek
December 6, 2010 01:19 PM

Top 20 Apps For Managing Social Media
The majority of consumers are willing to follow a brand on Facebook or Twitter — especially if there is a financial motivator such as coupons or special promotions, a new study found.
In fact, 60% of consumers polled follow at least one brand via a social network, and one in four said they did so in order to search for coupons or promotions, according to a poll of more than 15,000 residents of the United States and Canada by Empathica, a developer of customer experience management (CEM) solutions. Thirty percent cited their desire to seek more information on a brand, the study found.
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“The challenge for companies is to identify the triggers that make consumers want to follow their brand, further engage with them and keep them top-of-mind,” said Gary Edwards, Empathica executive VP of client services. “Our survey results suggest consumers show preference to interacting with brands that offer coupons and promotions via social media outlets. It’s important for brands to recognize consumer preferences and what will help encourage them to visit an establishment.”
While special discounts are a strong tool for first forming a relationship with consumers, businesses should look to move beyond general social media adoption, and seek ways to engage this channel into becoming active brand advocates, Edwards said. However, many companies today still find this level of engagement and nurturing to be a challenge, he noted. CEM solutions are designed to help organizations incorporate all communications and make them searchable and able to be analyzed, so companies can quickly respond in order to improve customer service and the quality of the consumer’s overall experience.
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Pursuing this type of relationship with consumers has an obvious benefit: About one-third of respondents acted upon a friend’s recommendation on a social networking site, the Empathica study showed. There is a slight difference in the two nations: One-fourth of Americans and 17% of Canadians had recommended a brand, service or product to a friend via a social network within the last three months, according to the poll.
In addition, Americans are nearly twice as likely to follow 10 or more brands than Canadians, and almost 50% of Canadians surveyed followed no brands.
“There is an apparent disparity between how American and Canadian consumers are using social media sites to engage with brands,” said Edwards. “We see that consumers are willing to make that connection with a brand online, even go as far as to make recommendations via social networks, so brands need to make it easier for them to do so.”
Not surprisingly, given its user base of more than 500 million registered accounts, Facebook was the favorite social media site in both countries, preferred by 67% of Americans and 64% of Canadians.
“Social media outlets offer numerous opportunities for companies to further promote and encourage brand engagement, taking it past an in-store experience to further validate their commitment to the customer,” Edwards concluded.
Empathica developed GoRecommend, an application that allows users to share positive brand experiences via Facebook, Twitter and email. After completing an Empathica retail experience survey, the GoRecommend engine prompts respondents who show a “high intent to recommend” their experience to share the results with their contacts.

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