From the Bro-Blog: “It’s Not Your Fault.” Social Media and Mourning

Originally Posted Aug. 15th 2014 on the Brokaw Blog

The world was rocked by the death of one of the funniest men ever to walk the Earth earlier this week.

We instantly became a global community of mourners sharing our favorite quotes, movie stills, and personal connections to the hero/anti-hero. Perhaps the most powerful messages are those of hope and support to those who may suffer from depression.You can’t help but wonder at the power of social media to provide a platform for connectivity. However, for many, it becomes a somewhat morbid play for attention: whether it’s a goal to create the most shareable tribute and “viral” message or the disgusting acts of trolls trying to make waves.

Is social media making us more compassionate or more morose? We don’t have the answers, but we do have a suggestion for brands. Keep it authentic and if in doubt, don’t post it. Even the most touching tributes could backfire.

As for Brokaw – we’ll just say Nanu Nanu and carry on…

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the facebook algorithm conundrum AKA “to pay or not to pay”

I’m finding that often I will tweet an idea and it comes of rather flippant or cryptic in the Twitter space and feel compelled to come here and provide more context to my point. It’s actually a great motivator to update my blog which is you scroll through you will notice is pretty random and disparate.

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So what the heck do I mean? Let’s act like DeeeLite and “Break it Down”

Splintered Social Media:

In the past 5 or so years Facebook has ruled the roost. It was the only social channel with true scale and ever-evolving targeting and reporting capabilities. EVERYONE is on it and if you want to be relevant and build relationships with your donors/consumers YOU TOO have to be on it. Which frankly was a pain in the ass for so many brands and organizations posing such dilemmas as “who should manage our page?”, “How do we get a million fans?”, “how often should we post?”, “What kind of apps/tabs do we need?” – not to mention the MILLIONS of dollars that brands were spending on building out robust Facebook pages only to have app usage drop off and at the end of the day not be able to track actual sales or business results from all of their efforts.

As a result of these pain points Facebook has moved to a strict advertising model. A year ago they encouraged brands to “strive for engagement” saying things like “The more likes, shares, comments you have the better your results.” Algorithms that once allowed a decent segment of your fanbase to see your content devolved over the last year to only allow 7% of your base to see any one piece of content – allowing Facebook to push you towards paying to “boost” posts.

so what is a brand to do?

to be continued….

What is ‘IT’?

I just tweeted this:

it’s not about 1:1 anymore it’s about story. it’s not about story anymore it’s about content. it’s not about content it’s about context.

and thought I would draft a post to go into more detail. One of the things that really gets my goat working in social media is how often people try to make it some mystical thing. Whether it’s a social media ‘expert’ trying to make it seem harder than it is or whether it’s a marketing manager who is afraid of it.

The reality is that social media is no different from anything you’ve been doing as a marketing or communications professional. (I know I’ve said this before but it warrants repeating)

Know this – if you’re social media campaign feels like an itchy coat that doesn’t quite fit your brand and leaves you scratching at your arm like a junky it’s probably a bad idea. Social media should be the comfy cardigan you stole from your ex boyfriend in the 90’s – something cooler than you probably are but that fits comfortably and goes with everything you normally wear.

I present a brief history of social media strategy as evidence:

1. in the beginning (like 2007ish) it was about getting buzz and acquiring legions of friends fans and followers

2. WHOOOPS it’s not about mass following and buzz but QUALITY friends, fans and followers! Damn!!! we’ve got a million followers but they aren’t our target audience, whatever will we do?

3. 1:1 (2009ish) – let’s build deep, meaningful relationships with our constituents, let’s pretend we’re having afternoon tea and crumpets and ask them how many tampons they use every month to hone our marketing and drive more engagement which will surely lead to more sales, right?

4. PUT A HASHTAG ON IT! (2011ish) – let’s link all of our new friends conversations with unique hashtags that highlight how cool we are. Now anyone can join the conversation and we’ll even tag our TV spots and print ads with it so we have what is called….INTEGRATED MARKETING! (yay)

5. STORYTELLING (2012) – Social media is not about reaching a mass audience, nor is it about developing intimate relationships with our consumers but rather about telling an inspiring cohesive story across our channels both traditional and social. Oh and mobile mobile mobile, video video video and #instagram it.

6. CONTENT (now) – I am no longer a social media expert, I am a content specialist.

wait a minute — isn’t that the same thing that our creative/copy/brand teams have been doing since the days of Don Draper and Darrin Stephens? I specifically recall an episode of Bewitched where Darrin talked about creating incredible content for Ajax and making it accessible to all of their target audiences through an integrated approach both in-store and in advertising or something .

The moral of the story folks is that ‘it’ is not about something new but rather something tried and true. The tools might get sexier and way more star treky but the concepts are the same. The brand messages may get shorter but the strategy and communications purpose remains true as ever — sell more things, get more donations, provide better service.

These guys lay it out perfectly (and in a tone that expresses my frustration) – Faith No More ‘Epic’, lyrics posted after the jump.

In closing – should you find yourself stuck with an itchy coat or not sure how to turn your tried and true marketing into a social media program, give me a ring.

Lyrics:

Can you feel it ,see it, hear it today?
If you can’t, then it doesn’t matter anyway
You will never understand it ’cause it happens too fast
And it feels so good, it’s like walking on glass
It’s so cool, it’s so hip, it’s alright
It’s so groovy, it’s outta sight
You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet
But it makes no difference ’cause it knocks you off your feet
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s cryin’, bleedin’, lying on the floor
So you lay down on it and you do it some more
You’ve got to share it, so you dare it
Then you bare it and you tear it
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s in your face but you can’t grab it
It’s alive, afraid, a lie, a sin
It’s magit, it’s tragic, it’s a loss, it’s a win
It’s dark, it’s moist, it’s a bitter pain
It’s sad it happened and it’s a shame
You want it all but you can’t have it
It’s in your face but you can’t grab it
What is it?
It’s it
What is it?…

what’s your leash?

my dog likes to eat her leash — while we are walking

i want to be mad at her but i realized I’ve been chewing at my leash all my life

wouldn’t you tug at the leash that led you around?

moreover – why aren’t we the leader and the led? So often someone or something else leads us and we follow or try to — and like my adorable and conflicted dog we think we can run farther and faster than we can and that leash just forces us back into a line and path we didn’t necessarily agree to.

so I ask you dear reader (if there are any of you) – what is your leash?

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photo by http://instagram.com/torojefe#

so — I’ve been trying to figure out the path to simplifying and trying to understand how to balance all the little beings in me (artist/professional, southerner/new yorker, christian/anarchist, gypsy/girlfriend) and wondering do i need to kill one to allow the other to survive….or can you be all of these things in one being?

then I remembered this song and it seems about right…only I wonder via a blog or a painting rather than a rubber room.

Ophelia — coming to terms with dualities

Reblogging myself: Diagnosing content marketing in the healthcare world

Originally posted on PharmaLive

Social media and digital engagement are inherently tricky for the pharmaceutical industry, which lacks specific guidelines for social media—especially regarding how drugs should be marketed in the social space. The beauty of adopting a content-focused plan is that it allows Pharma to concentrate their messages on providing value and disseminating information to a highly defined target without getting hung up in engagement and communications loopholes.

How does Pharma engage without engaging?

By telling a story and providing resources you can become a valuable and welcome addition to your end users’ social media mix without the risk of engaging in touchy conversations. As a content creator, you start the conversation, and you own the message and the moderation. For many healthcare brands, the need to disable comments on social channels or steer clear of two-way conversations in open channels provides a challenge in engaging the right audience. Such brands often resort to proprietary communities or limit their social engagement to blogging.

If you create vibrant content and strategize the right distribution points, you can broaden your digital presence and achieve social scale without navigating the two-way conversation rapids. By thinking about the end user, the stories and resources that the user wants and needs, the brand can become a valuable asset no matter what entry point they take.

You’ve got the science, now get the sexy!

The good news is, you likely already have a ton of content: studies, research, data, insights and testimonials. The challenge is how do you package it so it catches your target audience’s attention? Once you’ve got your sexy on, where do you strut your stuff?

Great listening audits synched with your end user information as well as key terms associated with your drug category will not only tell you where the folks are, but what kind of content they are already consuming. With this knowledge comes power – the power to craft your content into stories, graphics and videos that will truly break through and drive engagement from the right people, in the right manner.

Consider working with digital creatives to leverage these insights to develop unique and sharable pieces of content (e.g., infographics, motion graphics, and patient stories in animations or interviews). You can then distribute this engaging content via Facebook and Twitter, as well as digital ad units, email, and blogs that will have legs beyond your own channels and will be shared with your users’ networks. Of course you’ll need to follow all necessary disclaimers within this content.

“Doctor Recommended” in 140 characters…

Going back to your listening audit you should have a good idea of where your target user is engaging. Whether you have a presence in that channel or not, you can still reach them and get the clicks you deserve. There are a few ways to do this. For Facebook, highly targeted paid ad units are an effective approach as is general sharing of the content from your blog and website. For Twitter, getting partner influencers or medical journals to distribute your content will reach your audience (always noting any relevant disclaimers). Leveraging paid media units like Google CPC and other iAd units that follow your targeting will give you additional scale. Remember to ensure the content is sharable to increase the potential for organic virality once you’ve captured users’ attention.

#Taketwo and tweet me in the morning.

Now that you’ve figured out how to convert that mass of information you have into viable, attractive content AND you’ve distributed it in a strategic way, it’s time to regulate and perfect. What is so amazing about social and digital is that, rather than performing a zillion trials to get the product right, you can immediately change the formula. With real-time insights you can immediately see how your campaign is doing, meaning you can optimize by quickly adjusting your strategy. If your infographic is doing really well on Tumblr but not on Pinterest, you can stop investing as much time in Pinterest and increase production for Tumblr.

The options for the right formula are endless, the prescription for the best results will change month over month, but the baseline diagnoses is that content is king, even for Pharma companies, no matter what your social footprint is. And with that I’ll spare you any more medical analogies and let you start combing your library for content thought starters!

Renee Alexander is Director of Social Marketing Strategies at Rosetta.