MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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If Social Media Were a Small Town That Nosey Old Lady Down the Street Would be Facebook

This week on Managing the Gray my eyes were shocked to behold a brand new podcast by our pal (you’ll be meeting him via Skype tomorrow) C.C. Chapman. As always, the podcast impressed. One topic that stood out the most for me was a presentation he did called Social Media is a Small Town.

Being from a small town in Newfoundland, I could totally relate to what he was getting at with this presentation. He says, there is often a small town mentality associated with social media. To me, that means it’s all about generating a conversation or dialogue with your publics. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business. If you want to know what movie to rent you will ask your neighbour. Growing up in a small town can often be cumbersome especially if you are a private person; but, if you’re into social media you want people to know your business! (or at least want to know other people’s business)

Chapman says growing up in a small town has helped him excel in this world of blogging and podcasts and social marketing. I would have to agree with him there. Small towns teach how to spread information whether you want to share or not. I guess it all comes down to transparency. In a small town, the flow information is often inescapable. If you are to be successful in the social media world you need to realize that information must be truthful and passed along the right channels and to the right people.  In every small town there is the one nosey lady down the street who knows everything and shares it with everyone she speaks with. In our social media world she would Facebook or Twitter. Tell her a secret and within seconds all of your friends will know.

So, who agrees? Who in the class is from a small town and can see how this has helped them with social media? Or conversely has it hindered you? Let me know!

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June 15, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , | 3 Comments

Are we becoming social media experts?

Another week and still no new post from Managing the Gray. Instead of going on a tangent of my own about how this “social media expert” isn’t adhering to some basics of blogging, I found a rant Chapman did himself and would like to share it with you all.

In response to several emails asking, “How do I become a social media expert?” Chapman posted a video message. He seemed pretty frustrated with the question because as he says, social media is really no different than become an expert at anything. As we are in a social media class, I guess trying to learn this very thing, I thought it would be interesting to examine his response and see if it measures up to how we are learning to be such so-called experts.

 His advice consists of the following:

-work hard and keep yourself up-to-date

-just like anything else, you have to practice it

-if you’re in it because you think it’s hip or cool or it will be easy- then get out

-be passionate about it

-make it a part of your life, your job and then push forward

 I think as a class we are on our way to becoming experts. The most a class in social media can do though, is give you the basics and introduce you to everything in the hopes that you will continue use of it outside of the classroom. With presentations from people who work in the field of public relations (such as Ben Boudreau, Harold Simons  and others) we get to see how important social media is becoming in public relations and just how interesting it is. If you’re ever going to be passionate about social media, this class will do it for you. If after taking this class and you’re still indifferent to it, then perhaps you will never become a social media expert. At the end of this term I don’t think we will all be experts, but I think we will have solid foundation to go out on our own and pursue social media without fear and reservation. 

My question for you all is: do you think you’ll pursue social media further after this course ends? Do you hope to become a social media expert?

June 8, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | 4 Comments

Skittles: Tasting the Rainbow of Social Media Tools

Since Managing the Gray has not been updated since May 5, I went back through some of the older posts and found a great example of a brand utilizing social media. In his March 3 podcast, C.C. Chapman speaks a little bit about the new Skittles website and what he thinks of it.

 If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very interesting site for those interested in social media. When you first enter it asks for your birth date. Once entering the site you’ll notice that it’s set-up directly from YouTube.  Apparently the site is to change to follow the social media tools talking about Skittles. When Chapman did his podcast in early March the site opened on a Twitter page. An article on Clickz: News and Expert Advice for the Digital Marketer says that the site will utilize Facebook, Wikipedia and Flickr as they have YouTube and Twitter.

 A quote from MARS (who owns Skittles) spokesman Ryan Bowling says,  “In this day and age, where the consumer is extremely influential, the content for our Web site is really based off consumer chatter and beliefs about our brand.” He goes on to say that by directing consumers to these social media sites, he is showing them what people are saying about the brand and not what the organization itself is saying about the candy.

 In Chapman’s podcast, he seems a little hard on the site. He questions why they would ask consumers to enter their date of birth and wonders whether or not this new format is a little to tech-savvy and confusing for most consumers.

In response to his critiques about age, the Clickz article states that he site requests users to input their dates of birth due to a company-wide policy. Bowling says “We don’t market to anyone under 12 years old. That age screener is to enforce that marketing code.” This makes sense as social media sites are often not censored.

 I also disagree with the notion that it would be confusing for most users. Skittles is utilizing the most popular and viewed sites on the Internet today. These sites are intentionally made to be straightforward so the general populace of Internet users will be able to navigate them. I would actually go so far as to say that this format is even helpful to consumers as the site is in a format already quite familiar to them.

 Thinking about this idea in relation to social media marketing as a whole I have some reservations. I think it works well for Skittles because it is a fairly new idea. If more brands were to do it I think it would lose its appeal. To me social media is all about coming up with the latest idea and using new technologies in an innovative way for your brand. Skittles has certainly done that. As Chapman says in his podcast, it’s about the buzz- and in the world of social media, there is certainly nothing wrong with creating some buzz.

 Please check out the site. I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | Leave a comment

“Are You Passionate?”: How to generate and harness passion through social media

What are you passionate about?

When most people answer this question they tend to err towards the typical responses of family, friends, music,  peace, war, politics and so on. In Neil Young’s 2002 song “Are You Passionate?” he asks “Are you passionate? Are you livin’ like you talk?…. Are you loving it?Can you ever get enough of it? Is it everything?” Of course this song is not about passions generally (it goes on to talk about war) but those few lines give a nice overview of what passion is to people. If you’re passionate about something you’re actions will reflect your passion and you’ll want to share it with others. I don’t want to go so far as to say that passion consumes people’s lives entirely and can be “everything” to them; but sometimes when people are passionate about something it can become a main factor in their life. For example how some people feel about a particular charitable cause or political injustice often plays a major role in how they live their day-to-day lives.

Passions can play such a large part in people’s lives. So how can we as communicators get people passionate about the products or services of our organization through social media channels so that they share their passion with others?

The latest podcast post on Managing the Gray deals with passion. C.C. Chapman, recently gave a presentation about passion and how to best use it in a social media context. I like the example he gives about the latest movie you’ve seen and how it’s likely you were swayed into seeing it probably because of a friend’s recommendation more than the print ad. Passion is contagious and that is why it is important in social media.

He speaks about how to leverage social media and how to get consumers to be passionate. His recommendations include:

  • Asking fans to share their thoughts instead of waiting for them to respond
  • Keep it simple- you want the portal to be accessible to as many people as possible
  • You cannot buy passion but it can be fueled- hold an event, offer incentives to get consumers’ opinions
  • Listen to the consumer and what they’re saying about your product and the competitors (tools like Radian 6)
  • The more voices you get the better the story is going to be
  • If there are people within your organization who are passionate about it, get them to share their stories too
  • Let consumers tell their own stories, don’t try to translate it to corporate speak to fit your messaging
  • Give it time to grow

I agree with Chapman that passion has great potential in the world of social media. I mean, isn’t it true that the reason most people start blogs is because they are passionate about the topic they blog about. For example, my roommate blogs about her vegan cooking and follows several other blogs on the same topic. I like the suggestions he gives about harnessing such passion to the benefit of an organization but I feel like it doesn’t really address how to create such passion in people but rather how to address it once it already exists.

Any ideas on how to get people passionate about a brand or product?

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | 3 Comments