Category Archives: Social marketing

Reach, depth, and relationships — a few excellent social initiatives

One of the best parts of being in London is how delightfully energizing it is to make new business connections in this fantastic city. In those meetings, conversation often turns to what social and marketing campaigns and digital initiatives have particularly caught my attention by brands recently.

I think it’s particularly useful to look at digital campaigns and strategies through the Marketing RaDaR lens, as described by Nate Elliott of Forrester. Nate takes a no-nonsense approach to evaluating how businesses are tackling social and digital marketing. He reminds us — as if we should need reminding — that we should think about our channels as our customers do. Customers don’t think about paid, earned and owned channels. That’s for our convenience. Instead, he encourages us to think about Reach, Depth, and Relationship instead. I have found it helpful — because it helps focus on the purpose of that strategy.  What do you really want to achieve? It’s hard, but not impossible, to do all three in one sitting. But it is more achievable to focus on one at a time.

What do Reach, Depth and Relationship mean in this context?

Reach — a focus on word word of mouth and discovery, to encourage a wider audience to discover what you’re all about. Reach can obviously go beyond social to in-world advertising and TV. But here, my focus is on digital and social.

Depth — a focus on telling the story, through websites, stores, salespeople — everywhere that customer might find you.

Relationship — a focus on working with existing customers, or those who have expressed an interest, and staying in touch with them.

So, with that in mind, here is a selection of interesting Reach, Depth and Relationship programs and strategies worth learning from.

Reach (B2C) — Family memories, made in the great Smoky Mountains

The context for this campaign was that the average family doesn’t know what the Smoky Mountains has to offer. This team found an influential blogger — James Kicinski-McCoy who lives in Tennessee — and sent her, and her family, to the Smokies for the first time.  The blogger’s family was filmed by a Sundance award-winning documentarian.

The result was the Tennessee Bleubird campaign (yes, that is how you spell it, and I do it wrong every time I type it). It is a charming film.

Watch the Tennessee Bleubird Film on Vimeo
Watch the Tennessee Bleubird Film on Vimeo

Family Memories. Made in East Tennessee from TNVacation on Vimeo.

But the creativity didn’t end there.  It also came also in how they approached “reach.” They obviously needed as many people as possible to watch the film, but didn’t want to spend a huge amount on paid media. The first coup came in setting the film to an acoustic version of Dolly Parton’s “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” recorded by Ms Parton herself. She shared it to her millions of social followers. There simply couldn’t have been a celebrity more appropriate to the context, and having her involved was pure gold.

Second, the team got Rolling Stone to debut the film exclusively. In an online world where everything is everywhere instantly, and for free, giving an exclusive to the right outlet with a large audience, even for a short period, can give content a boost if that outlet agrees to high-level promotion. Within hours of the debut, the film had reached 30K views. With little paid media, the campaign generated 1.7M social impressions, 131K social engagements, and thousands of potential visitors. The campaign team quotes an increase in total travel to the region by 10-12% for the quarter in which the campaign ran.

You can read more about the Tennessee Bleubird campaign here:

Relationship (B2B) Autodesk

Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, and last year they launched what they called a Total Community strategy, involving Facebook, Twitter and a community hub built on Lithium. This community involves a group of Expert Elite users from around the world — individual community members who have made extraordinary contributions to the community.  The hub also includes a really detailed Knowledge Network, webinars, and other educational tools.  The community now has upwards of 1.4 million registered users.

What makes this strategy so successful, is that it builds on the knowledge of the crowd. It gives community members a chance to share knowledge and expertise — because people who know and understand complex products like Autodesk really honestly do want to share and help one another. The community enables new users to ‘help themselves’ when they have a problem to solve. Building a community like this, in pre-social days, would have been different. Today’s users understand the value of sharing, commenting, and participating. The Lithium platform builds in ‘kudos,’ which lets users vote up the contributions of other users — an inherently social activity.

You can read more about the Autodesk community on Lithium’s blog.

Relationship (B2C) Sephora

The BeautyTalk community on Sephora has, for quite some time, been one of my ‘go to’ examples of great community building — and dates all the way back to 2010.  (I can’t really believe it’s been that long, but the Lithium blog says it launched in September 2010, so it must be true.) On the BeautyTalk community, makeup experts answer pressing questions from other experts for no other reward than being helpful and knowledgeable. It’s a wonderful thing.

Depth (B2C) Adobe’s Photography Program

There’s nothing like a change in pricing or availability of a product used by a large and vocal community to challenge a brand. As if moving the entire Adobe suite of products to an online model wasn’t sufficiently complex enough. Adobe took the challenge of finding, and informing, their users everywhere on the changes head on.  And with humor, grace, and humility.  It was impressive.

Adobe showcased original creative on all their social channels using a funny cast of characters, all very unique — just like Adobe users themselves — and all complaining about Adobe. At first.

One of the aspects I liked the most was making “real time” cover photos for social channels that included real quotes from real users.

Adobe Infographic from the Photograhy Program
Real time cover photos, made from community comments

Adobe’s primary goal was to drive awareness and adoption, and to reduce negative sentiment, and they indicate they managed to turn negative sentiment around into a significant positive sentiment increase.

You can read more about the Photoshop “for everyone” Photography campaign on Adobe’s blog.

Meerkat as a ‘fad,’ make the customer experience personal, and don’t ignore millennials…

As part of my weekly media habits, I have been expanding my Podcast consumption to include Marketing and Business podcasts — beyond my usual diet of culture and entertainment. It sometimes feels a bit like teeth-flossing. Boring and worthy. But I always feel better afterwards. Anyway, I’ve organized it so that one Podcast will cover my commute to work and get me into a good working headspace.

The Marketing Smarts podcasts from MarketingProfs I like, because they interview people with real world opinions. Who are qualified to say something worthwhile. And give me actionable advice. Unlike the Ted podcasts, which are lovely and inspirational, but not so immediately actionable in my workday.

Today, I heard from Geoff Livingstone, a multi-talented marketer, with some good things to say. He advises me as follows:

  • Meerkat could be just a fad — ultimately the ‘live’ watching experience will fade
  • The customer experience on social must be relevant — yes, get attention, but if you don’t make your social outreach personal to the specific customer experience, you’ll not win
  • Don’t ignore milliennials — they are now becoming today’s VPs in decision making roles

On the Meerkat question, I’d be sorry if that does just become a fad. I don’t think it will. There are instances when near-live broadcasting from mobile is incredibly powerful. We’re not sure what it is yet. Meerkat won’t tell us what it is. Meerkat’ers will. Give it time. The best use case hasn’t emerged yet.

On the customer experience question, that’s so hard for smaller brands without the access to the big data. Mr Livingstone spoke of big brands, like T-Mobile, who can correlate your social identity with your T-Mobile identity, and reach out accordingly. For example, if they notice you tweet that you’re unhappy, because T-Mobile gets the latest phones too late, they could find you in the database and email you an offer to ship the next phone directly to your home, and waive the upgrade fee. Nice dream. Out of reach for most, but point well taken.

Finally, on ignoring millennials? At your peril. He also made some very good points about how millennials are forging new ways to protect their online identity. Today’s socially savvy millennials wouldn’t post drunk photos on Facebook, because they know better. They have places to keep that quiet and private, and they’re using them. Mr Livingstone gave sage advice about hiring millennials. He tells us he assures his potential millennial hires that he won’t be their ‘friend’ on Facebook. He won’t like their posts and comment. He does expect them to do their job competently. Not be socially well behaved. That’s not his business.

I have been chastised by millennials I know that my ‘digital footprint’ is too large. Too late, I think. Horse has bolted the stable. The millennials I know aren’t making that mistake. They’re ensuring that whatever is public is what they want to be public. That’s why services like Snapchat are so appealing. And why they are a good thing. I could learn a thing or two there. My identities are all ridiculously blurred. And that’s not a good thing.

How brands can build social relationships that deliver real value

Social relationship marketing is a key imperative, or should be, for all brands — both B2B and B2C. Social works in all stages of a customer’s discovery of a brand’s products: Discovery, Exploration, Purchase, and post purchase Engagement. There are jobs for social at each stage.

But the way social relationship marketing is being done by most brands today is failing. Why?

1. Because organic posts are now effectively zero — your social audiences aren’t seeing your content, and

2. Even fewer people are interacting with the posts they see.

Social audiences have to be tapped with social advertising. It’s no longer remotely reasonable to believe audiences will find your social posts just by discovering them in the Newsfeed (organically).  And similarly, it’s less valuable to drive them to your social presence.  You should be driving them to the only place you own — your brand website. Continue reading How brands can build social relationships that deliver real value

Thinking beyond simple social engagement, to a participatory engagement campaign calendar

At Friend2Friend, we work with our brand clients to ensure a year-round approach to engagement campaigns.  When the content that fills a brand’s social newsfeeds is solely of the “one-to-many” type – beautiful photos, inspirational videos, sneak peeks at new products – the only participation you’re asking of your audience is to like, comment, and/or share. And that’s OK. But brand social audiences will be happy to respond in a much more participatory way if you ask them. And there’s every reason to make that participation happen regularly, around the seasonal marketing clock.

Continue reading Thinking beyond simple social engagement, to a participatory engagement campaign calendar

Facebook vs LinkedIn — this will be interesting

Facebook will face some interesting challenges with their Facebook At Work product, not the least of which is the psychology of the user.


I certainly am not alone in having given a lot of thought to my ‘personal’ identity and my ‘professional’ identity. While there is obviously much cross-over — I am, after all, the same person — I am more than happy I have my LinkedIn space, and my Facebook space. I report differently in each, and have a very different network in each, with only a small percentage of cross over. All good.

So how am I thinking about the Facebook At Work announcement?

Continue reading Facebook vs LinkedIn — this will be interesting

Do your social posts survive the re-share test?

artofsmOn my weekend walk, I listened to this Jay Baer podcast of an interview with Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva and author along with Peg Fitzpatrick, Head of Social Strategy at Canva.

The podcast is part of Guy and Peg’s book tour to promote their new book ‘The Art of Social Media,’ a book they have filled with power tips for power social media users.

Here my five key takeaways from this podcast:

Continue reading Do your social posts survive the re-share test?

The best social strategy requires alignment with the customer journey

Once a brand has determined that social is an appropriate part of their marketing strategy, the next question is what exactly should that strategy be?

Without thought, brand can open up multiple social accounts and start posting. But what? And why?

Here are a few thoughts that may help start to frame the answer to that question.

Continue reading The best social strategy requires alignment with the customer journey

I’m glad #ALSIceBucketChallenge is over … now what can we learn?

As a marketer, watching a breakout viral story unfold before my social network eyes is always fascinating. How did that start? Why did that one catch fire and others didn’t?

Last month, I wrote this article for ClickZ, in collaboration with my colleague Roger Katz, on just these topics, for Friend2Friend — “What brands can learn from the #ALSIceBucketChallenge” summarizing recommendations as follows:

  • Be social platform agnostic
  • Leverage the social network effect
  • Make it meaningful, but make it fun!
  • Make it clearly actionable
  • Give it time to catch fire, and
  • Involve celebs if you can!

You can read an explanation for these recommendations at ClickZ.