Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’

Ask 50 people what the number 1 rule in business is and you’ll likely get 50 different responses. Regardless, I’m sure most would agree that “Don’t Promise Your Customers Something You Can’t Deliver” is high up on the list of “don’ts.”

Now, I preface my forthcoming complaint with 1 caveat:

I greatly admire Starbucks for jumping on new media, technologies, platforms and generally attempting to keep the brand evolving alongside consumers. Be it with unbranded stores, partnering with Klout, the legendary My Starbucks Idea, or being the first major brand to tout a Foursquare Promotion in which Mayors supposedly receive special promotions or discounts at specific location at which they reign (this being the subject of my imminent rant), they clearly see the value in the primacy and innovative thinking that dominate successful modern marketing.

As a Social Media Marketer, Community Manager, Creative Technologist, and Digital Trendhunter (yes, I AM all of those things, so bite me), I am quite familiar with the territory and how difficult it must be to brave the unknown and forge ahead in spite of landmines and obstacles that saturate the landscape. Understanding this, I will happily grant brands the latitude to explore new ideas and forgiveness for blunders that occur under noble (at least for marketing standards) intentions. But in the case I’m about to discuss, we’re closer to false advertising than we are to easily dismissed road bumps in a beta program.

That said, the aforementioned programs are worth shit if no one at Starbucks is actually aware of what’s going on. Case in point, this morning I happened upon a Starbucks which I routine (I’m verbing that word, as opposed to say, “frequent”).

This is the Starbucks In Question

Having only been there a handful of times, I didn’t think that “Checking In” on foursquare would have any impact on my quest for the elusive Mayorship, but lo and behold, while standing there on line, boom, I was crowned mayor and notified of my reward.

Mayorship Official

I was entitled to a $1 discount on any Frappuccino.

Starbucks Venue Page on Foursquare

And so, with a stupid ass grin plastered on my face, I walked up to the Barista and kindly asked for the frap, with discount, courtesy of the promotion and showed her my phone with the corresponding messaging displayed. She had no idea what I was talking about. Neither did the manager. The convo went as follows (not verbatim, but essentially this is what happened):

Me: Hi, I’d like a Grande Caramel Frapp with the $1 Foursquare Mayorship Discount. Do you need to see the phone? Here [Showed her the phone].

Barista: Um, I’m not sure if we do that, hold on [Gets manager].

Me: Hi, Do you do the Foursquare promotion for mayors? [Showed him my phone].

Manager: What’s foursquare? I never got that memo, sorry.

Consequently, I left, quite unhappy, and walked straight into the Dunkin Donuts around the corner (though they screwed up my order, at least the didn’t renege on any promises.

After Tweeting my incredibly frustrating and disappointing experience, I found that I was not the only one to encounter such ineptitude. This was sent to me by a twitter friend, Cassie:

Every weekday morning I go to the same Starbucks.  Not only is it convenient but, they know me there and are always friendly and consistent.  While I’m waiting for my drink, I usually check in on Foursquare.  I have about 30 checkins in the past two months and I’ve been the mayor for several months now and since where I live (Albany, NY) isn’t really the mecca of social media, I doubt that anyone will oust me any time soon.  Although I’ve been the mayor for this long, I hadn’t yet tried to use my $1 off a Frappaccino until this weekend.

I stopped by my regular Starbucks on Sunday morning and I ordered my normal hot drink and a Frappaccino and then said “Also, I’m the Foursquare mayor here.  What do I need to show you to get my $1 off?”  The look that the barista gave me when I said this was sheer confusion and dismay…like I had spoken to her in some kind of alien language.  I then proceed to show her the screen that said I was the mayor, the coupon that pops up on all Starbucks locations and generally try to explain how Foursquare works and that this is a nationwide promotion.  She was more than confused by all of this and kept mentioning that she would need a promo code in order to give the discount.  There was another barista working who also said he had never heard of the promotion or Foursquare.  I was starting to get annoyed and the barista probably picked up on this and offered to give me the $1 off anyway.  She took copious notes and I told her just to Google it and she would see the press release from Starbucks.  I paid, took my drinks and left.

I went back this morning (as usual) and asked the two ladies that I see every morning if they knew about the promotion.  Both of them said they had not heard of it.  Thankfully, I don’t really like Frappaccinos.

All the best,
Cassie Cramer

And Twitter Cohort Joe Hester Brought This “Jaffe Juice” Post to my attention, for yet another example.

Which brings me to a very big WTF Starbucks?

Starbucks FAIL

In addition to an angry ‘tip,’

Angry "Tip"

I’ve tweeted the @Starbucks account 2x since this egregious communication breakdown with no response. Which brought about this post.

I’m very torn here – I want to just not care, it’s only a dollar, and like Cassie, I’m not particularly fond of Frappuchinos. But as someone who’s job it is to devise and advise on programs like these, such problems are simply unacceptable. Right? It’s not like this is a secret promotion they’re running. Just look at how many outlets have covered it!

Where do you  guys weigh in here?

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AKA The “I don’t care about the World Cup” Edition 🙂

Stay Tuned For My In Depth Coverage/Review of Everything I Learned at the Ad Age Creativity & Technology (CaT) Conference, by far one of the best and most valuable and interesting events I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. I rank it up there with TED and SXSW. Oh, and I’ll be looking over this new Klout “Facebird” thing and will have my thoughts for you next week. Klout is definitely going to be huge. HUGE!

Klout to Launch Facebird for Facebook

Heineken Lets Beer Drinkers Customize Their Bottles

Stickybits Rolls Out “Official” Branded Bits, Signs Up Pepsi As First Advertiser

Twitter Acquires Smallthought Systems to Integrate Analytics Tools

Reaching Teen Influencers with Social Messages

Are Typosquatters Hijacking Your Brand?

More Adults than Teens Consume Mobile Video

Mind Over Mass Media

Hispanic Moms’ Online Shopping Habits

Mobile Apps to Hit $32 Billion in Five Years

Google Launches Video Ad for TV Effort

Google Mobile Trivia Feature Activited: But, Keep Your Questions Short if You Use Speech-to-Text

Experts Predict We’ll Be Working in the Cloud by 2020 [STUDY]

City of New York Blankets Times Square with Giant QR Codes

Fashion Mag Turns to Facebook to Find New Stylists

Why Japan Matters: iPad Mania, Cloud Computing, And Social Intelligence

Online Video Viewing Shifts to Long Form Content

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Media

Trada brings crowdsourcing to online advertising.

Awareness of Location Based Social Networks Currently 7% Of Americans 12+

Consumers Follow Social Brand Referrals
http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007630

Consumers Follow Social Brand Referals

National Study Reveals How Teens Are Shaping & Reshaping Their Wireless World: Study Sheds New Light On Teens’ Cell Phone Habits, Expectations & Dream Phone Wishes
http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/allnewsbydate.asp?NewsID=1334

Man uses briefcase GPS to draw self portrait across the whole planet
http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/man-uses-briefcase-gps-to-draw

Glympse Brings Real-Time Location Sharing To Facebook
http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/15/glympse-brings-real-time-location-sharing-to-facebook

KFC Puts the SPIN on the Double Down Sandwich
http://www.spinsucks.com/advertising/kfc-puts-the-spin-on-the-double-down-sandwich/

What is GEOFocus, and Why Did We Launch It?
http://www.ianschafer.com/2010/04/what-is-geofocus-and-why-did-we-launch-it.html

Hoodie Updates Your Facebook Status With Gestures
http://www.geeksugar.com/Hoodie-Updates-Your-Facebook-Status-Gestures-8110276

Yahoo Scientist Questions ROI of Kardashian’s Sponsored Tweets
http://adage.com/digiconf10/article?article_id=143301

Google Suggest Becomes More Local
http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/16/google-suggest-becomes-more-local/

My Primary Sources Of Info:
http://twittertim.es/Aerocles
http://www.emarketer.com/RecentArticles.aspx
http://mashable.com
http://techcrunch.com


Last night I received an email from Klout, the Twitter profile analysis tool and website, asking if I’d like to participate in a new program in which they pair big brands with influential Twitterers; specifically, the program is designed (or claims to be) so that the particular promotion is directed toward – not just Twitterers with a large number of followers or those with many retweets and @mentions – but those whose posted content indicates a some sort of authority or influence or maybe merely an affinity for discussing the topic related to the brand and promotion in question.

Klout - Starbucks eMail

In this case, I apparently tweet often about coffee (guilty), and I assume, to some extent, those tweets incur replies and conversation, enough to warrant an offer for some free Starbucks coffee, anyway.

Take a look at the email and offer signup – [Screenshots included somewhere in this post]. What do you think of this program? I kinda like it – but then again, I’m getting free coffee 🙂

Have you received any offers like this? Starbucks is fairly social media savvy and have been undergoing a rebranding process for a while now – between the unbranded stores in Seattle to taking on the instant coffee market with Via to the successes of @Starbucks & My Starbucks Idea, so I’m not surprised that they’re’ paving the way in this arena. I’ve tried Ad.ly, My Likes, and Sponsored Tweets, but find their models a bit spammy. My gut feeling is that this is the closest we’ve come to a real step forward in a twitter ad/marketing model. The idea follows something I learned at a recent ARF event during social media week. The presentation was about the Science of Social Media, and one of the speakers, a brilliant man from Yahoo Research whose name escapes me at the moment, informed us that research indicated that a user’s influence on twitter couldn’t be predicted by followers or numbers alone. Rather, in order to determine if a tweet will cascade,  you’d have to combine those figures with the specific area of expertise that the person has and whether or not the content posted falls within that area of authority. — This certainly seems to fit with that theory…

What do you think?

Klout Offer SIgnup

This is my first article in a series of posts that will focus on applying social psychology to social media marketing. Little did I know it at the time, but spending 4 semesters in a social perceptions and behaviors lab in college DID come in useful! (I know, I was shocked too). I’m going to start with the Overjustification Effect

Overjustification Effect, simply put, is a description of what happens when someone offers an external incentive for a behavior already found to be intrinsically rewarding.

Lesson One: Overjustification Effect & Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET):

Overjustification, or the undermining effect, occurs when an act that is initially driven by intrinsic motivation loses its behavioral grip as it is replaced by an additional, extrinsic motivator.

Take the example of a young child in grade school – his grades are slipping. The parents immediately recall the hyperbolous discourse surrounding positive reinforcement and tell their child, “Son, for every A you get in school, we’ll give you a dollar.”

Seems like a good deal for everyone involved right? The parents successfully motivate their child who, consequently, strives to achieve better results through the remainder of that rigorous second grade curriculum.

But what if the child already liked school – and thus was already motivated to succeed?

Sounds crazy, I know. But what if…? Well, social psychology would tell us that if the child initially enjoyed learning on its own merit, the subsequent external monetary reward would, while boosting performance in the short-term, also act to devalue the initial motivating factor – the child’s innate affinity for academia.

Now, I ‘m not going to protest the concept of positive reinforcement (surely, it beats corporal punishment) and I certainly can’t argue with years of successful marketing that tells us these types of external rewards (often in the form of deceptive or pseudo-monetary coupons, rebates, points, free samples, contest entries…etc) can influence behavior. I will, however, assert that any impact these endeavors have will be short term, and, when used within the social media landscape, are antithetical to the inherent functionality and opportunity afforded by these social platforms and the brand-consumer interactions they facilitate.

Case in point, Fan Woody. I’ve spoken out against this campaign before, so I won’t go into detail here, except as it illustrates my point and typifies an industry-wide failing. That is to say, TGI Friday’s created a fictional character (also an adversative notion when dealing with social media – which generally serves to augment the human-esque qualities in a brand, as opposed to extending its shadowy anonymity, seemingly embodied in the creation of fictitious characters like Woody), who proclaimed, “Become my fan and get a free burger!”

These sorts of brands propositions can yield a large influx of new fans – short-term, albeit deceptive & superficial, success. These new fans are not brand advocates. They are not invested in the organization. They signed up to get free shit.

I don’t think I need to ramble and rant about quality vs quantity here, but I will (I’ll keep it short, don’t worry).

When advising brands on how to manage a twitter account, the question of ROI always comes up, and it’s intricately linked to the management strategy, specifically, how you decide with whom you should follow and engage. The concern often regards numbers – “But I can only talk to X amount of people a day,” “There are a million people mentioning my brand, how do I determine which ones I should follow?” “How many followers should we aim to have at the end of the campaign?”

This is where I scoff pretentiously and say, you would rather have 1000 followers that are excited to interact with you and actively advocate for your brand, than have 10,000 followers who you garnered by giving away a free vacation to someone who used your hashtag. [Again, not trying to say these types of promotions don’t have their place – they do, and it’s usually when launching an account and should be designed to raise awareness. But that’s all – and that’s not usually necessary for big – household name – brands.]

So what about when you’re not launching a campaign or raising awareness for a new social media presence? What about the preexisting fans and followers – the ones who decided to interact with a brand on social platforms because they actually like the brand – the products, the philosophy, what it stands for? The ones social media is really all about.

Well, all that goes out the window when extrinsic drivers usurp those, valuable, authentic, sincere, innate motivators. A consumer can relate to a producer based on that organization’s brand, not overtly obvious tactics designed to influence purchasing behaviors. The consumers that relate to your brand are the ones that will advocate for you and are therefore the people to whom your efforts should cater, at least insofar as that you don’t abuse their patronage or dismiss their value in light of the appealing and alluring mega-growth (read: meaningless numbers) factor.

Based on the overjustification principal, I would go so far as to say that superficial external rewarding hinders the true potential that social media offers to brands. By actively devaluing the intrinsic motivation that drives consumers to fan or follow (or otherwise engage and interact with) brands (and their content) in the first place, there is a conscious sacrifice of quality for the sake of quantity. Artificial, manufactured growth via fast and easy methods in lieu of the organic growth achieved by brand evangelists who can, and do, influence their peers and legitimately impact consumer behaviors.

The idea of rewarding and incenting behavior probably predates any formal study marketing. However, in my opinion, gimmicky rewards have become so commonplace in social media marketing, too often are brands relying on them as long term strategies instead of for what they actually are, namely, conversation starters.

If I am going to follow a brand on twitter or fan one on Facebook, 9 times out of 10 it’s because I am already familiar with the brand and wish to augment my relationship with that brand by adding a social dimension. The benefits of such an enhanced association can include customer loyalty & CRM programs that may be partially comprised of para-monetary rewards. But when brands offer up nonsocial incentives, like TGI Friday’s now infamous Fan Woody campaign, as the basis for the interaction, yes – there is an instant and tangible ROI – but they lose out on what social platforms do best – connect brand lovers – active, consumers evangelists, with the brands they love and feel connected to.

So I beseech the marketing community – enough with the gimmicks. If you want real results, focus on enhancing the users experience with your brand, offer utility and content that allows the consumer to get the most out of their relationship with you, programs that have something to do with why these individuals are real life fans of your brand to being with.

This is what I’ve gleaned from my personal, professional, and academic experiences. But what about you? Do your experiences as a marketer speak differently? Do your experiences as a consumer reflect what I’ve discussed here?

A version of this post, written a couple of weeks ago, can also be found on the Shamable Blog, Here.

It seems like every day I see another group of posts populating my news feeds and Twitter stream touting an easy to implement social media strategy, a social media mold, readily adapted to your brand or business, or a list of social media MUSTS, things that every company needs to know about and act on – regardless of what exactly your goals or business model might be, the most recent example being Mashable’s “3 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Strategy” (pardon the run on).

Not too long ago, I wrote such posts and sometimes I’ll still retweet them, if only because within their laziness-enabling premise, there are, occasionally, bits of truth and relevancy. But that cold reality of the matter is that these cookie cutter social media plans and strategies, these molds that can be made to fit any organization, are crap. Why? Because for the most part, they simply state the obvious, repurpose other people’s content, and are designed for clueless executives desperate to jump on the bandwagon or their underlings looking to make a good impression – both of whom know next to nothing about the social space and the nature of dynamic content.

For example, lets look at this Mashable post. The article opens by explaining,

“Companies large and small are rushing to understand and get involved in social media. But most of the agencies and consultants who are being paid to establish social media campaigns for corporations are afraid to tell their clients three things they don’t want to hear.”

She goes on to list and elaborate upon these 3 topics:

  1. Everyone must work together
  2. Top Management Must Be On Board and
  3. Don’t Expect Overnight Success

I’m sorry, but I have to be blunt here when I say “DUH!” When are these 3 postulates NOT true in the business world? Should you ever expect overnight success? Does anything good ever come out of NOT working together? And don’t get me started on the involvement of top management.

I’m not trying to call out B.L. Ochman; in fact, I am a huge fan of hers and the What’s Next Blog. I do, however, feel an obligation toward my job and protecting the reputation of my profession. Posts like these feel lazy and dumbed down. Truisms they are, but they have nothing to do with social media, and framing them in that context makes it seem like anyone can do what we do, which is certainly not the case.

I’ve grown to despise these posts because the foster laziness and ignorance, they enable procrastination and poor tactics, and mostly, because they tarnish our burgeoning industry, instead of validating it.

Case in point: I recently spent several weeks assembling a comprehensive short and long-term social media and digital strategy for a client. I surveyed the landscape – what has the brand done until now, where have they succeeded, where have they failed, and what can be improved. I looked to align their existing brand objectives with social media objectives and further specified how those objectives might be reached differently as they take advantage of each social platform’s unique offerings. I audited their competitive set and looked for areas where these competitors were doing well – indicating the brand’s need to catch up – and where the competitors were failing – indicating an opportunity for them.

I looked at trends and predictions. Which brands are best-in-class and how could we emulate them, improve on their models, and innovate and lead? I did my due diligence and amassed tomes of research – what are their target audience’s most common existing behaviors on social networks? What type of engagement does their audience want from these brands and how could they provide it?

After weeks of intense research, meetings, writing and revision, I flew across the country and presented a 57-page strategy and action plan to the client, the first in a day full of nonstop meetings. Not once did I mention that “Top management must be on board,” or that we “shouldn’t expect instant success” – had I done so would have almost certainly damaged my credibility in front of an audience of established and experienced executives.

For what it’s worth, they loved it. The client was happy, thus, my bosses were happy. I thought to myself, with a big smile “Great, mission accomplished.”

But that smile was quick to fade as I realized that my weeks of work and research weren’t nearly enough. I spent the rest of the day listening and learning.  Competitive analysis, reports and reviews of the last 2 years worth of marketing, advertising, and public relations efforts.  There was talk of focus groups and the precise ROI of spending on individual efforts on different media and campaigns.

By the end of the day, I had realized something that I had known intuitively for a long time but was reluctant to acknowledge – social media does not exist in isolation. Nothing does in marketing. Everything is tied together in an intricate web of objectives, metrics, communities, budgets, messaging, and brand images. My 57-presentation was amazing, yes, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. I could have spent another month – and probably will – figuring out how to tie-in my 57-page tactical outline with the rest of the organization’s plans.

UPDATE: Since then, my presentation has led to an action plan, identifying and delegating individual tasks & responsibilities – in order to take my strategic vision into the more realistic world of actionable and executable possibility. Overarching themes and long term objectives were boiled down into a time-line of assignments and iterations of platform-specific mini-objectives, prioritized based on ease of implementation, production costs, time frames, and urgency. This has not been easy, and I’ve yet to find a post outlining a quick and simple methodology to reach this stage of strategic planning, let alone, finding any mention of this process in the “5 Social Media Strategy Musts” types of posts I’ve seen.

The reason these one-size-fits-all “social media stratagems” are bullsh*t and will never work and the reason most enterprise 2.0 consultants fail to actually back up their talk and improve a brand’s efforts to be social and become dynamic, engaging content producers, is that it takes a LOT of time and effort to understand the inner workings of a brand, especially a big business. These lists are fodder for inept and executives too lazy to expend the time and effort necessary to understand and learn about the social evolution of businesses and dynamic nature of today’s content. They are easy to write and even easier to pass off as legitimate plans.

For such endeavors to actually have merit and potential for the brand, they must be customized to the business from their inception, built to align with the companies overall objectives, and most importantly – COMPLIMENT – NOT SUPPLEMENT – existing marketing efforts. There are no MUSTS, no absolutes – what’s right for one brand may be disastrous for another. Social protocols and norms evolve so rapidly that these lists, for whatever value they may have when they’re written, become obsolete before they’d ever have any actual impact. So people, please stop relying on cookie cutter approaches because you are too lazy to devise your own. Stop trying to force your business into a mold that will only impose limits and hinder the true potential new media actually offers.

I’m writing this post – not to crap on Mashable or B.L. Ochman, but because I hold them to a high standard. People look to them, relying on these influencers and industry leaders, for valid, sound, advice. This is an example of parties that hold a clear opportunity and authority to further our industry – and flaking on their responsibility to do so. As such, I would be remiss if I let that happen without calling them out for it. I’m not even saying that I’m any better, but we need to rally, as an industry and as a community, to create more valuable content and do away with lazy “filler” products. We can do better folks.

Thank you and good day!

I am a Social Media Manager & Emerging Media Strategist based in NYC (though I’ve come to prefer Social Media Monkey). You can find me on Twitter as Aerocles and on my blog, the Legends of Aerocles.

A little while ago, I wrote about Tweeconomics. Seems I’m not the only one under the impression that social media has pervaded almost every outward facing facet of modern business. The ROI debate – “Is there?” “Isn’t there?” “Does it matter?” “Do different rules apply?” “How do we adapt our ROI paradigm?” “Is it even possible to calculate?” – has been going on for centuries. OK, maybe not CENTURIES – but it certainly feels like it’s been going on for a while, and with no end in sight. I can’t argue for the validity of this video, and I’m still not convinced of EVERYthing conveyed in it, but for the most part – I love it. What do you think?

 

“Sponsored Tweets” – The mere mention of the phrase sends chills down our collective spine and carries with it a stigma whose weight rivals that any other related to the platform, amongst it’s power users. We cherish the site as one of the last remaining media to hold out against advertising, so it’s no surprise that losing such freedom would have many of us reeling at the very thought of allowing those evil advertisers to invade our precious territory that we’ve protected for so long.

Yes, I know that’s a bizarre sentiment coming from a Social Media Manager/Strategist at an Ad Agency. And I’ll admit, maybe that’s changed my perspective a bit, as the concept no longer seems as scary to me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see brands flooding the medium with promotional content, via tweet or banner ad – trust me, I’d be the first to abandon twitter if that were to happen. However, I’m sure there’s a way that it can be implemented in a non-abusive, noninvasive, way.

I’m writing, not to advocate the practice because of anything I’ve done or plan to do, rather, with the intention of on opening up a conversation that, I hope, will de-stigmatize this sensitive issue, following 2 recent experiences with different forms of sponsorship/advertising creeping into tweets – each with it’s own spin. After all, despite our feelings about pervasive marketing, many times it’s what allows us to enjoy the content we love – whether on TV or online. As of now, Twitter’s business model, despite the new Advertising Friendly Terms Of Service, has consisted of nothing more than selling off bigger and bigger chunks of the company as they desperately try to identify a viable means of revenue generation – but we all know this already.

Anyway…

IZEA’s Sponsored Tweets.

Sponsored Tweets

A few weeks ago I signed up to participate in this controversial program. It’s not super new – most of you have probably heard about it already or even considered or experimented with it. Well, I pushed it off for a while, but eventually signed up & quickly forgot about it. Then, about 2 weeks ago, I received a DM informing me of a sponsored tweet opportunity. I clicked…and the tab sat open in my browser for about 3 days while I pondering the implication of participating, of disseminating a sponsored tweet to my followers (I still hate that word, not that it doesn’t provide a nice ego boost or reinforce the idea that Aerocles is some sort of deity or demiurgic figure worthy of worship…but come on…can’t we think up a better term?). Will my followers get upset? Will they feel deceived? Will they understand my experimentation or desire for that extra $3.50 (#recessionexcuse)? Most of all – Will anyone even notice?

I tweet like 100 times a day – would one 10am tweet with a link – looking pretty much like the rest of my posts – except with the necessary disclosure of the fact that this particular tweet is ‘sponsored’ – catch anyone’s eye as notably different?

I talked about it with a few people before hand – and their main concern seemed to be the issue of deception and disclosure. People follow me because they trust that I am feeding them useful information – vetted by me and marked with my stamp of approval. I get that. That’s pretty much the reason why I start following anyone else – they add value, whether through information or entertainment. So does disseminating a sponsored tweet devalue my presence? As long as it’s not often and clearly disclosed, I deemed it acceptable. So I did it. And guess what – several people clicked on the link. A few others asked me what a sponsored tweet was. And no one complained. No one said “Hey Dave, That was a bad Idea, I’m going to Unfollow you now.”

What I liked about the service is that when creating your profile you can outline the topics you’d be ok with, or interested in, tweeting about. Making the sponsored message custom tailored to the Twitterer’s (or Tweeter’s depending on the regional dialect of Twitterse that you speak) personal interests and preferences – thus keeping the content aligned with the rest of his/her tweetstream, to a degree. Not only that, but the participant has the ability to write the sponsored tweet his/herself, and decline opportunities if they disagree with the message, brand, or website they’d be promoting

That said, I’ve posted 2 sponsored tweets, raking in a grand total of $6 (though I’ve since upped by price to $5 a tweet). And I still haven’t received any negative comments for doing so.

Then there’s Last.fm’s Song Tweets. After I ran out of free plays on my Pandora station (WHY DID THEY DO THAT???) I crowdsurfed crowdsourced of course, asking my twitter friends what they use for online radio. I tried a few of the suggestions and found Last.fm to my liking. Once I had my station set up, I realized I could sync my station with twitter, in such a way that if I tag a song as “Loved,” it would tweet the name of the artist and song with a #lastfm hashtag and links to the both the song on last.fm’s site and on amazon.com, so people could purchase the individual track or album. In this approach, the sponsored tweet is entirely in the hands on the Twitterer and obviously in line with his/her taste in music and caters to people’s desires to share their preferences.

Last.fm Tweet

What They Have In Common:

They are both Opt-In

They are both ‘ads’ meant to direct followers to a website make a purchase – but reflect the specific Tweeter’s preferences and interests.

So….What do you think? Are these viable means of Advertising on Twitter? How Can Twitter capitalize? Should they be taking a percentage or commission of some sort? Should I be rewarded by Amazon on a Pay-Per-Click model for anyone who buys a song or album as a direct result of my tweet?

Aerocles’ Thought of the day:

New At-Work Strategy: Keeping My ‘Lost in Deep Thought” Look Plastered On My Face – It Stops People From Interrupting My Procrastination…

First off, here’s one video and two ads that I think are amazing:

Secondly, Obama Campaign Aside (Thanks Ken), I Have Some Advice For Reluctant, Hesitant, Ignorant, Brands: & The Rest Of The Universe (Marketers Take Note)

Dear Universe: Email Marketing Is DEAD. D-E-A-D DEAD. Eaten By Worms & Resorbed Into The Internet From Whence It Came. Accept It!!!!

When’s the last time you received an email from a store and that actually motivated you to get off your ass and go to the outlet or even spend money on their website. Social Media has slain the Monster of Direct Email Marketing. Not That It Doesn’t Have It’s Spammy Counterparts – Auto-DMs, Facebook Messages From Branded Fan Pages…etc.

Here’s how it’s going to work – You Exist. Online. As Long As I’m AWARE of where you exist (which is another matter altogether), rest assured, if i want to be updated on your company news, I’ll opt it by subscribing to your twitter feed, read your blog, or fan you on Facebook. And then I’ll visit you when I decide. Not the other way around. End Of Story. Disagree with me all you want, it won’t make you any righter.  And if it’s not clear that this is the future you’re resisting, just give it a few months.

Brands that don’t embrace Social Media as a way to reach their goals (no, you don’t have to give up) will fail. The purpose of, and results once generated by, email marketing, can still be accomplished – Except now through this new and scary interface call the interwebs. Traditional BROADCAST Advertising still has it’s place. But Email just isn’t one of those. In My Mind, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way –  An Email from McDonald or Starbucks or  The Gap (I haven’t thankfully, I’m just arbitrarily choosing widely recognized brands for argument’s sake) is equivolent to the spam I receive about Acai Berry Weight Loss, Penis Enlargement Pills, And Cheap Watches – Garbage.

And I’m being nicer than I should – I’m 24, I’ve seen successful email marketing. But try emailing a 15 year old & they’ll laugh at you. That’s not how people engage brands anymore. Truth. Statistics be damned.

On a less frustrated note, here are some awesome reads you should definitely check out:

Times’ David Pogue blurs journalism lines

Death by Social Media

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Six Reasons Companies Are Still Scared of Social Media

Three Top Ways to Damage Your Brand With Social Media

Firing housekeepers creates PR mess for Hyatt

Have A Fantastical Weekend

I Can’t Tell You How Excited I Am To See Google Sidewiki’s Potential Actualized. Unfortunately, As Marketers Have Done With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, (MySpace – Remember Her?) And Every Other Facet of “The Social Web,” Sidewiki provides yet another means for those who just don’t ‘get it’ to exploit the system and barrage us with broadcast, branded, messaging.

Until now, this usurpation of online communities and the manipulation of our fundamental human desire to generate content and share information has been limited to custom-tailored (if we’re lucky) invasions of specific platforms or desperate attempts at creating their own.

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Sidewiki, has, without a doubt, an enormous potential – one to utterly destroy any limitations or barriers on the “information sharing” currently allowed by the internet. We’re looking at the possible information exchange of exponential proportions. Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be the tool that unlocks the whole of the internet to the pervasive, abusive tactics of irresponsible marketers.You know the type – the ones who build facebook pages that collect dust and twitter accounts that auto-follow and auto-DM promotional messaging.

I sincerely hope that Google has developed, within it’s algorithm, protection from this parasitism but I fear that these individuals, for all their irresponsibility, have one talent, namely, circumventing those protocols. Take a look at this video – What stops me from using sidewiki to just hop from site to page to blog, highlighting portions of text and promising readers further explanation, only to lead them elsewhere – a deceptive practice that seems to be aligned today’s spammy zeitgeist.

What do you think? Are you more excited for the evolution of the social web potentially facilitated by Sidewiki? Are you confident that Google has taken the necessary precautions to keep spammers from hijacking this tool  and isn’t about to provide unlimited access to anyone who wants to litter your website digital post-it notes, maliciously intended, or otherwise?

If this is web 3.0 – I’m scared.

UPDATE: 9/24/09 – Check Out These Two Other Awesome Posts On The Topic:

Google Sidewiki: Danger (By Jeff Jarvis On Buzz Machine)

Google SideWiki Extorts Google Network Participation (By Gab Goldenberg on Search Engine Journal)

Fear of Google’s Sidewiki… (By Justin & Jesse on Extreme Discovery)

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