Archive for July, 2010

Social Media is Ubiquitous…Not Really

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I think it’s a mistake to say social media is ubiquitous. Facebook with 500 million users, can almost stake a claim to being ubiquitous, but not social media. Can we say Facebook is the internet and the internet is Facebook? Not yet but we’re getting closer.

To Gen Y, Facebook is the Internet. Gen Y doesn’t use regular e-mail except to set up their Facebook accounts. From there on out, they use Facebook mail.¬† As the social web continues to evolve, news websites still thrive and exist but more and more people just check their friends’ wall feeds for their news. Facebook as a social network isn’t the only game in town, but the competitors, just aren’t ubiquitous enough to even be mentioned in the same breath, though they may have the same functionality.

What does this mean for future generations? It means the web as we knew it, as a means for information gathering from news sites and sources, will be supplanted by the social web-where our news and our information come from our peer networks.

The Value of Context in Social Media

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Consider the following sentiments:

  • Pittsburgh Ad Agencies Suck
  • Pittsburgh Ad Agencies suck the life out of me
  • Pittsburgh Ad Agencies sucker punch ad agencies in New York
  • Pittsburgh Ad Agencies sucked clients out of Chicago
  • Pittsburgh Ad Agency, Apple Box Studios, Sucks…:)

Now consider each statement on it’s own merit. Do all 5 things mean the same? Do all 5 things mean different things? If you have answered correctly with No and then Yes, you now understand the challenges that are facing social media, the art and meaning of context in social media, and the difficulty in measuring sentiment. It’s manual, subjective and time consuming, and yet there is no way to take the human element out of measuring and understanding the value of the semantics of sentiment.

How do you succeed with Social Media?

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Awhile back I was reading an article in which I came across 3 tenets for success in the world of finance, referrals and business. I kept going back to the three things and I kept staring at them and staring at them, until it hit me. They were essentially cornerstones or pillars for success in social media. Let me elaborate.

One of the challenges of ad agencies whether they’re in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, or wherever, is delivering quality to clients. Whether it’s graphic design, video, messaging or social media-the challenge is the same. Delivering a finished product that knocks the clients socks off and drives traffic and customers.

Enter social media. It’s been written about more than anything other than say, the dawn of the internet. It’s discussed and argued about every day. Why? Because people can’t quite figure out to use it. Which leads me back to the three pillars. Let’s look at them.

1) Visibility-In social media, it doesn’t work to lurk. If you’re going to monitor conversations, perhaps remaining passive will work, but ultimately in the social networking realm, you have to be seen to be heard, and to be heard is to be seen.

2) Credibility Once we have established that we are now part of this “group” or this network, then we can gain the trust of the participants. When someone get’s to know “you”, they can begin to trust you. When trust is gained, credibility is established.

3) Profitability Ahhh the end game. It’s why we’re all in this right? Achieve the first two and the third is a lot easier than you think. Social media may be cool and it may open doors but for many marketers and companies the end game result is profits. Do the first two things right-and you’d be surprised how the third one works our for you.

What the F**k is Social Media NOW?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

For those of you who don’t know who Marta Kagan is, she has created a niche around a series of slideshare presentations aptly called What the F**k is Social media. This is number 3 in that series.

Patience with Social Media is an Oxymoron

Monday, July 19th, 2010

We live in a go, go go, world. Our offline expectations are starting to mirror our online deliverables. We expect it now and when we do not get the real time results within 30 seconds to 1 minute in the offline world, we freak.

So what happens to the C-suite or the marketing manager when the results that they expected immediately from social media or were promised by the ad agency don’t materialize? A bigger question might be, what were they expecting? And when were they expecting it?

Social Media is not a sprint. It’s not a marathon either, it’s more like¬† a half-marathon. Whoever is driving social media initiatives within the organization, it is up to them to temper any enthusiasm with a grain of reality and a dose of hard work. Social media is not a silver bullet nor is it driven by just flipping on a switch.

Ad Agencies in Pittsburgh that use Twitter

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Don’t you just love lists? Especially the kind that can mean absolutely nothing, with criteria that is so esoteric and subjective, that it will generally piss off more people than it does anything else.

If you’re evaluating ad agencies in Pittsburgh, you, at some point have to ask yourself, “what ad agencies in Pittsburgh tweet and how effective is their twitter strategy“?( if they have one) Why you ask, should you care about whether an agency uses Twitter?

Because most agencies today, if they are worth their salt, will be integrating some type of social media solution into their campaign pitches to you. So it might be good for you to know that when they suggest to you, mister client, that you use Twitter-that they themselves use it and understand it. Essentially-that they are drinking their own koolaid and eating their own dog food.

Yea I know, mister agency big shot, your agency is too busy to tweet because you’re focused on the client.

Without further ado, here is a list of ad agencies in Pittsburgh in no particular order that actually tweet. While we were at it, we decided to feature the agencies that don’t tweet; and for extra measure we decided to grade each agencies efforts, as well as their tweet quality. It is what it is. If you’re one of the agencies mentioned and you disagree, or you have an account that we missed-then by all means let us know!

1. Brunner/@brunnerworks C- minus for effort and a C+ for tweet quality

2. Sterling Advertising/@britishagent F- Why? The account is for someone from London who tweets (90 times) about London

3. Mathew James Creative/F No twitter account to speak of.

4. Elisco Advertising/@eliscoad C- for effort; At least they have an account, that’s a start and they are tweeting but… D- for quality. They’re tweeting nothing to no one and having zero conversations

5. Virtual Edge Collaborative/F No account

6. Apple Box Studios/@appleboxstudios C+ for activity and effort given the age of the account. B- for quality. Definite conversations, sharing, exchanging and promoting happening as well as proper usage of hashtags.

7. Capslock Communication/F No account.

8. Think Creativity or is it Think Inc.?/F

9. Smith Brothers Agency/@smithbrosagency D- Though they have an account they have only tweeted 16 times. D- for quality. No conversations with some self promotion built in.

10. Mullen Pittsburgh/ No local Twitter account but I do know of some folks in Boston who tweet.

11. Fitting Group/@brandspanking B+ for activity C- for content. The tweets are one way and there are zero conversations

12. Ledonne Creative/ F No account

13. Marc USA/None zip zilch zero.

14. Beyond Spots and Dots/@Beyondspotsdots D- for activity and D- for quality

15. Krome/Fail

16. Brady Communications/Fail

17. Jampole Communications/Fail

18. Steelcoast Creative/steelcoast Not much happening here-Haven’t tweeted since April D- for effort and D- for quality.

19. ?

Twitter Strategy: Arrogance or Ignorance?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

-A notable trade publication has a Twitter account. They follow no one and have a 150 followers. All they do is push out links. Is this effective? or a waste of time?

-A company who claims to be a social media marketing company follows almost 3,000 people and likewise has over 2,000 following them and yet has barely tweeted over a 100 times. Upon further review the tweets are nonsensical and narcissistic. Effective or irrelevant?

-A so called “social media consultant” has over 10,000 followers and follows under 300. Are they missing out? Is there a healthy dose of self importance going on here?

-A local Pittsburgh advertising agency follows over 1300 people and is only followed by 400 people, should they purge 900 and keep the ratio 1:1?

-A big brand follows less than 10,000 people but is followed by 100,000 people. Does it matter that they follow anyone?

-A notable celebrity has over a million followers and doesn’t really follow anyone. They tweet nothing but nonsense, but hey, it is a celebrity. What do the followers hope to get out of the relationship? Why does the celebrity tweet?

In every one of the situations mentioned above, we could easily say that on Twitter, there is really no “right” way to use Twitter. But on the other hand, we could poke¬† holes in all of these scenarios. But here’s the bigger question. Is the reason why you use Twitter much more important than the reason how you use Twitter? Think about it.

Does Social Media Level the playing field?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Yes and no. What social media does, is it gives the smaller player a fighting chance. It gives the start-up a chance to get seen. It gives Justin Bieber his shot. It allows diamonds in the rough a chance to shine. But…

Does it empower our creativity? Does it democratize media? Does it level the playing field between experts and amateurs? It definitely has made everyone amateur film makers thanks to YouTube. It certainly has given rise to the citizen journalist thanks to blogging. Video production companies are now on every street corner thanks to the barriers of entry in sharing their digital video expertise. But I still think there is a fine line between amateur and expert. Though the line is fine, social media has allowed us to “think” that someone is an expert. Generally that can be discovered quickly through deeper discussion.

So what’s my point? Social media can allow for local companies to play with the big boys. It can allow for Pittsburgh advertising agencies to compete with agencies in New York. It can allow for social media consultants in Naples, Florida to speak nationally. It can create opportunity for everyone based on the synergy with search But… The field may be level in the middle, but generally it’s curved at the ends. In other words it can be a steep climb but once you get there it does level off. Just be careful, because on the other side, it get’s steep again.

Who said the earth was flat?

The Value of Google Trends for Pittsburgh

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Google has a ton of apps and tools that make it one of the smartest moves a company could make when doing anything in the digital space. One of those in particular is there Trends app. It’s just a great way to measure quickly what is hot in regards to search terms as well as real time.

Take for example this screen shot of Justin Bieber, the World Cup and Lebron James.

Sadly, it would appear that the world is still obsessed with Justin Bieber.

On a more localized level, if we wanted to look at all three Pittsburgh professional teams, you can see some marked examples of why each team was trending over the last 12 months.

But even on a more regional, local level, let’s say that you wanted to compare certain cities in Pennsylvania. What city seems to jump out for you here? That’s right, Pittsburgh.

In trying to do more localized trend searches, Google could not provide worthwhile data. For instance when we tried to do trend searches on Pittsburgh Ad Agencies as compared to say UPMC, the results were fairly obvious in to what was going to show up. But what you could do is compare local, large companies to see who is or has been in the news. By doing this, you can see the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising.

The Social Customer has the Power

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Trying to be the best little ad agency in Pittsburgh requires the understanding that the customer will and should have the upper hand  in any type of consumer based engagement. We need the customer more than they need us. Social media has leveraged that for them and has leveled the playing field.