In the current Idea Email, we examine “Shared Links,” a new default feature that will be included in the next version of the Safari web browser. I believe this feature has the potential of broadening the understanding and popularity of what used to be called (by a small group of early social-media geeks) social browsing–taking it from a geek-user pattern of web usage into a mainstream pattern. Simply put, the concept adds a layer of “content suggestions curated by friends” to the typical kind of web browsing most non-technical people do.

For marketers, this presents both challenges and opportunities.

[Cross-posted on Rex Hammock’s RexBlog.com]

A few seconds after I saw the Super Bowl power outage “Oreo tweet” last night, I was so awed, I responded with the tweet below (Note: the time-stamp is GMT.) Scroll down, and you’ll find my Monday morning thoughts about what made it such a breakthrough use of social media.

 


Monday morning, 5:30 a.m.:

I’m not a fan of long explanations of the self-evident, but I know there will be much misinterpretation of why the Oreo tweet was brilliant, so I wanted to weigh in before the media sites that write headlines for Google (Huffington Post) start their SEO avalanche of headlines like “10 lessons you can learn from the Oreo tweet.”

Here are my two takeaways of why the Oreo tweet is the most outstanding use of use of Twitter as a unique marketing medium and distribution channel. (Note: There are countless ways to use Twitter, and far more important ways than mere marketing.)

google plus at six months review Last July, Hammock Labs issued a brief ebook (we called it an “ebrief”) that reviewed and analyzed Google Plus. We were intrigued enough by Google’s brand new service that we broke our rule of giving a new service and platform a break-in period before suggesting any client use it.

When first launched, Google Plus was not open to company pages, so we suggested individuals log on with their Google accounts and try it out.

A few of the gazillion
Twitter apps and clients

If you’ve ever wondered why Twitter is so gigantic, it may be because you’ve only looked at Twitter one way: on the website Twitter.com (where, by the way, you can find Hammock Inc here: @hammockinc).
But to better understand Twitter, and why it is so important, you must think of it as more than a website. Indeed, there are millions of Twitter users who rarely, if ever, visit the Twitter website.

The great thing about Twitter is there is no wrong way to use it. Sure, you’ll see missteps in etiquette and plenty of spammers, but for the most part it’s like Thunderdome: There are no rules.
There are guidelines, however, and Proactive Report offers a handy tip sheet from Ogilvy 360 for advice on various strategies—and suggestions on who to follow, what kind of content to create and how to engage for each situation.
If you’re a Twitter pro you will probably recognize the various suggestions, and perhaps have some of your own to add, but if you’re going to be covering an event or handling crisis management for the first time with Twitter this is a great starting point.

Call us nerdy, but last night at dinner my husband and I were amusing ourselves talking about the abundance of abandoned corporate blogs and Twitter accounts that are littering the Internet. You know the ones: They have introductory posts making grandiose promises about the purpose of the blog or social media account and then…nothing. It’s particularly a shame when you find a blog with lots of activity, but then realize the top post you’re reading is from October 2008.
I would love to see a statistic on how many of these accounts have been abandoned. Many more than are active corporate accounts, I’m sure.
The reasons for giving up on social media are many:

One of the major obstacles to implementing a B2B social media marketing plan is skepticism that social media are a passing fad, without foundation. Ironically, it often happens that when a business does start building social media awareness, it doesn’t take the time to lay that foundation.
In her brief essay, “The Four Pillars of Social Media Marketing,” Liana Evans points out that social media marketing takes work, both pre- and post-launch.
It really doesn’t “change everything” (let’s hope we never hear that phrase again), because it must be approached like any other kind of marketing – with research, strategy, engagement and measurement.
The tools and media are different – just as mass print media, radio, TV and Internet were different in their turns – but the methods are the same:

What does your audience want/need to hear, what and how can you tell them, how can you keep them coming back for more, and, how is it working?
In the end, the essential haven’t changed since Homer spun out the Odyssey in exchange for his supper, or Scheherazade (right) told her tales in exchange for her life.

Though good-quality and engaging video production can be a daunting task, it pays off for some businesses. The popularity of YouTube can be turned to commercial purposes, and ROI can be gauged using the site’s analytics functions.
Creating your own channel is a particularly effective strategy to attract visitors and monitor viewings, comments and feedback. Once you’ve created a channel, you must maintain it much as you would a blog or text-oriented social media presence, according to Mashable.com’s “Top 10 YouTube Tips for Small Business.”
The advice on using YouTube’s social capabilities – favoriting appropriate videos and making “friends”; using tags; and promoting your videos elsewhere – are particularly important in getting noticed.
We’d add an 11th tip: Determine your audience before you go on air. That will help shape the content and production of your videos, as well as whether YouTube is a good fit in the first place.

Lots of businesses are setting up accounts on various social media sites lately, but not all of them really “get it.” While there aren’t steadfast rules on how to use the sites, there are best practices and certain etiquette guidelines that most seasoned users try to follow. OnlineMarketingBlog hits many of them in this recent article, and while they specify the tips are for e-commerce sites, they really can apply to any business’ social media strategy. Tips include:

  • Collect data: It’s important to understand where your customers are coming from and how they’re interacting with your website and its content. Utilizing services like AddToAny and Google Analytics can provide valuable information about the habits of your audience.
  • Set up Twitter and Facebook profiles: This should be pretty obvious by now, but Twitter and Facebook are emerging as the top social media sites and can greatly enhance your digital presence beyond your website.
  • Engage your audience: It’s not enough to just set up a website, Facebook page or Twitter account. You’ve got to have a back-and-forth with the people coming to those sites. Respond to comments on your website and follow, retweet and respond to others on Twitter. If all you do is sell, sell, sell on social media sites you’ll lose authenticity quick—as well as the patience of your followers.

For more tips on social media best practices, visit the social media section of hammock.com.

How-to articles for using Twitter abound, but we liked the way this article from Connected Marketer zeroed in on helpful tips for tweeting responsibly and building a B2B community on Twitter. Blogger Jeremy Victor outlines the how Twitter can help “start conversations and build real life relationships” that will ultimately benefit your business.
Our favorite tips:
Don’t: Flood your audience with self- or company-promotional tweets. A balance is critical.
Don’t: Post negatively about a competitor. Don’t post negatively about anything for that matter.
Do: Provide value and be selective in your tweeting. Only tweet about things that the community of people whom you are working to attract will find interesting or valuable. A great place to start is to share links to industry news or new product announcements.