Category Archives: Facebook

I Think I’m Coming Down with a Viral Inflection

By Jeff Bowman

Like many of you, I had serious doubts about the ability of Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools to have a real impact on the way we market products and services to prospective clients.

Boy has my opinion changed.

Not only do these tools impact the way we market, but they have completely changed the way we communicate.

Today your product or service is open to real-time reviews and criticisms.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, a whole new age of product espionage has grown from the ability to sway the masses with a few simple words of negativism.

Ads are cleverly disguised as viral videos, and I would suggest it started years ago when Super Bowl ads, previously viewed by game fans only, were designed specifically for the Internet where millions more viewers could check them out.

Anyone can produce a video, post it online and encourage friends to pass it along. Some become hugely popular with hundreds of thousands of hits worldwide at little or no cost for the exposure.

I was sent a link to a “homemade Canadian Video” produced in two days by a couple of aspiring musicians. It is actually well done, and will certainly result in some degree of fame and notoriety for the singers.  I viewed it this morning, then when I tried to show someone else this afternoon, I could not get on.  When I was finally able to view it at another domain, there was a little note in the corner “Now available on iTunes” A weekend worth of work, some decent online exposure and now iTunes? Unreal.

Another site that does the viral video thing on a much grander scale is They have a series of very clever videos asking the question “how can you get people to change their behavior?’  The answer, of course, is to add an element of fun. It isn’t until the end of the video that you discover it is an ad for a well-known company. A wolf in sheep’s clothing? No, just a very creative and well planned advertising campaign, which has now hit millions of viewers at a fraction of the cost it would be for traditional media.

The viral age is here, here in a huge way, and I’m enjoying it.  What are some of the best viral videos you have seen?

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Filed under advertising, blogging, Branding, Communications, Facebook, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Online marketing

Mommy Bloggers and diapers

By Stephen Rhodes

Jeff Bowman’s piece Monday, on the inventor of disposable diapers, reminded me of an article I read about the power of mommy bloggers  last week.

On Friday Hollie Shaw wrote a piece in the Financial Post titled Don’t mess with mom bloggersand described the impact moms had on the launch of a new diaper by the Procter & Gamble Co. The diaper purports to be more environmentally friendly, while 20 % thinner and 20% more absorbent, which on the surface seems like a winner.

The new diaper arrived in some test markets and one Louisiana Mom complained they leaked. She got her money back, but  complained online that P&G should have warned customers of its planned changes before going to market. Soon P&G was in full crisis management, battling negative reviews by bloggers on some 75 websites  and facing a Facebook campaign to bring back the old diaper, even before the new diaper had been rolled out.

Shaw points out in her story:

A social-media study last year by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners said 43% of women visit blogs to get advice or recommendations, while more than 40% of women believe blogs are a reliable source of information and advice. More than half said blogs influenced their buying decisions.

Today’s moms use the Internet as a resource. They research and share their experiences with each other through blogging, Twitter and Facebook. This bring back the old Pampers Facebook group has 481 members, but the reach is so much farther.

P&G is no slouch in product testing and marketing. The company spent 10 years testing this product before coming to market. And they have responded to the onslaught.

But much has changed in 10 years. This campaign was started by a disgruntled mom, who rallied other moms across and country. P&G has  undoubtedly devoted a lot of time and money fighting a rear-guard action. They will survive because good brands do.

Two things emerge here.

Brands need to be talking and more importantly listening to the digital world.

Through social media they can engage customers like never before and they need to use these tools to consult and dialogue with customers.

Because, otherwise, in the blink of an eye……….

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Filed under Customer Service, Facebook, Stephen Rhodes

Learn to write well

By Stephen Rhodes

The Web provides a forum for people to write freely about whatever they want and post it worldwide.

The Web is teeming with personal diaries in the form of  blogs, Facebook updates and now tweets. Some of it is painful to read.

The rules of writing, promoted by H.W. Fowler, author of a Dictionary of Fowler’s Modern English Usage or by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White in The Elements of Style, are lost today in a world of acronyms and 140-character blurbs.

Whatever your style, or degree of proficiency, Jason Cohen at copyblogger has “10 secrets to More Magnetic Copy” –  a few simple techniques to make your writing more compelling.

Jason talks about using the active voice, brevity and telling a story. His post reminds me of William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, an excellent resource for writers.

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Filed under blogging, Facebook, Stephen Rhodes, twitter

Eating elephant morsels 140 characters at a time

By Stephen Rhodes

To build on yesterday’s post about the changing world of marketing , I want to say that most business people I talk with are afraid of Social Media because it seems complex and involved. And it may seem a little daunting to someone with minimum online skills.

There has been so much written about Social Media over the last 12 months and it’s easy to feel uneasy and out of touch. I can’t keep track of the daily how tos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube and Flickr.

Think of it as an  elephant, and we all know how to eat an elephant.

Amber Naslund at Altitude Branding has an excellent primer called The Social Media Starter Kit. Download it and use it as a starter and a refresher. Follow Amber on Twitter and subscribe to her blog. She can teach you a lot.

In the beginning you want to listen and observe. Build your own community by following or subscribing to people who speak to you. When you feel comfortable, talk back, share and contribute. Find your own voice.

Let me know what you think of Amber’s starter kit? Or let Amber know.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Facebook, social media, Stephen Rhodes, twitter

Bedlam in the boardroom

By Stephen Rhodes

Emerging trends like Twitter and Facebook cause bedlam in the boardroom.

The big brand names so want to be trendy, hip and with it – at least those that view young people as their primary target group. They want to be out in front even if they don’t know what they want to be out in front of.

chaosIf you are standing on that precipice, look before you leap. It’s tempting to want to jump in but like any other marketing strategy, it takes thought and attention to detail. Back to the basics – who is your target audience, what’s the best way to reach them and what do you want to say? Social Media provides great communication tools but make sure it’s the right fit for your business.

I remember when newspapers first jumped into the web arena. They didn’t understand the medium, saw it primarily as a threat, but decided they needed to be there. Some newspaper groups across North America launched complex websites; but by holding content until the morning newspapers hit the stand, failed to recognize the real benefit of the Internet – immediacy. Expensive, labour intense websites, that essentially weren’t relevant, were scaled back during the last recession.

Even today, most newspaper websites don’t understand that the Internet isn’t a complimentary product line. It is the product line.

Think about how these new tools can help your business. Do a little research. Don’t just jump in blindly.

Your thoughts?

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Filed under Facebook, Marketing, social media, Stephen Rhodes, twitter