Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Social Media Marketing Agency for GM is Staffing Up

One of the biggest growing careers in today's job market is getting in with the social media marketing departments of large companies and corporations. Knowing about how to get company information out to the growing public via the internet, tv, ads and the like is something that many companies are looking for these days. If you can make a company more popular, then you may become more popular at the company and even work your way up the corporate ladder.
General Motors has had their problems in the past, but it appears that they are trying to revitalize their public image. Big Fuel, who handles all of the social media marketing for GM, has just announced that they will be opening a new office in Detroit to service GM's account, and they just so happen to be on a hiring binge.

CEO and founder of Big Fuel Avi Savar has noted that he has somewhere around 15 people currently in Detroit but is looking to up that number to about 30 by March. Big Fuel currently employs about 80 other people in an office in New York who handle the social media marketing for such corporations as McDonald's, Neutrogena and Colgate-Palmolive's Wisp toothbrush. By the end of 2011 Savar hopes to have more than 200 people on his staff.

GM brought Big Fuel on to handle their social media marketing about three months ago when the company was getting ready to work with Hyundai. However, this deal fell through after Joel Ewanick, lead marketer of Hyundai, moved to GM and persuaded Big Fuel to follow. Big Fuel has yet to do any campaigns with GM but a few are primed to release in January, according to Savar, including an ad for the Chevrolet Cruz known as the "Cruze-arati" which gives free cars to people who have large followings on social media outlets.

The previous social media marketing firm for GM was run in-house by Mary Henige and Chris Barger. These two were in charge of a program back in March that took eight teams of bloggers and drivers to attend South by Southwest on behalf of GM. According to Hanige, "They've been retained by marketing so you'll see more brand focused social marketing campaigns, which is good. We'll work with them, continue to lead GM's brand efforts and maintain and increase the relationships we've built."

Ford, one of GM's biggest rivals, has often dwarfed GM's social media marketing, maybe because Scott Monty, the social media marketing guy for Ford, has over 48,000 followers on Twitter alone. It also didn't help GM when Ford launched the Ford Explorer on Facebook and began circulating videos with celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Bret Michaels answering consumer questions about the model back in November.

Avi Savar and Big Fuel have their work cut out for them. With stiff competition from Ford and other companies, Big Fuel is going to need to do something tremendous in order to bring back attention to the dying General Motors before Obama has to bail them out again.

Source: Mashable is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow Friday On Twitter - A How To Guide

FollowFriday Twitter IntroIf you are new to Twitter, you might be wondering about a common hash tag you see every Friday. And just so we don't lose anyone here, a hash tag is any word or group of words put together without spaces and preceded by a "#". Hash tags help people search Twitter for key words, the key words in this case being simply those words proceeded by a "#" sign and called... you guessed it, hash tags. But on any given Friday one of the most popular hash tags on Twitter is #FollowFriday, or at times simply #FF by those hard pressed to come in under the Twitter character limit of 140.

The #FollowFriday phenomenon took off a few years ago when Micha Baldwin tweeted, "I am starting Follow Friday. Every Friday suggest a person to follow." Wow, what a concept right? In theory, just as Baldwin suggested, these are your recommendations for who your friends should be following. In reality it has sadly been perverted into something totally removed from that simple concept.

But for the purpose of this article we'll sidestep what's wrong with the world and focus on how you can use the #FollowFriday hash tag easily and effectively.

Let's start by keeping in mind that social media in the virtual world is simply an extension of our social interactions in the real world. As such, I like to apply the same rules to both.

How hard can that be? It's not. Just follow the social rules that most of us everyday. So, what exactly are those social rules and how do we apply them to #FollowFriday on Twitter?

The simple rules I use are: When someone says hello to you, say hello back. Keep in touch with those you would consider friends or acquaintances. Make small talk with other people, not just random tweets to no one. Mention those you admire even though you may not interact with them. Say thanks when someone does something nice for you, such as mentions you in a #FollowFriday or other positive list. Finally I would urge you to avoid arguing with clowns, as no normal person would want to follow a Twitter stream full of negative tweets or arguments.

When it comes time to apply these simple rules, well, as the saying goes, "there's nothing to it but to do it." But let's make sure we do it effectively. For that I would recommend a Twitter app along the lines of TweetDeck. Using a columnar based app such as TweetDeck, that separates your mentions into their own column, makes it quick and easy to reply to all those who mention you. With that ability you simply build your #FollowFriday tweets with all those who have mentioned you or tweeted with you in the past week, or even those you want to mention and might just happen to be on your screen at that moment. This is of course far from an exact science.

To further illustrate, my personal #FollowFriday routine goes like this: Load up TweetDeck, scroll down my Mention Column as far as it will go or until I hit last Saturday. Find those with whom I interacted, as opposed to those who just spammed me, click on the reply button, scroll up, repeat. By doing this again and again you will notice you are building a tweet that mentions all those you just replied to. Do this until you are down to a minimum of 14 characters remaining and then go to the front of the tweet and add "#FollowFriday". There is a chance that you might accidentally mention someone more than once, but there are worse things in the world than being overly friendly. But just try your best and keep going.

One quick improvement on this scheme is to try and apply a hash tag to the user or group of users you just mentioned in your #FollowFriday. For example I often #FollowFriday those of the politically conservative persuasion, so I might add a #tcot tag at the end to tell others these people are fellow conservatives. Also, if you have room in the tweet, a nice touch is to add a personal comment that makes each #FollowFriday tweet unique. An example might be "#FollowFriday @OhioHope @BentlyHogan @JohnBeagle // My Favorite People On Twitter!" As long as it's genuine and you have room, anything that makes your #FollowFriday tweets, or any of your tweets, stand out it's a good thing.

Be careful though, as this procedure can quickly crank out the tweets so take care to slow it down. That is to say, you don't want to fill out your followers' general stream with a dozen back to back tweets of nothing but #FollowFriday mentions. Do that and you may very well lose a few followers.

Will this in and of itself necessarily gain you any followers? Perhaps, but from experience I have not seen any increase in followers, even after 50 or more #FollowFriday mentions, over what I would have picked up on any random day. However, I do see an increase when I get involved and use #FollowFriday to follow those recommended in the tweets of friends. As there is a good chance you have something in common with those mentioned in a #FollowFriday by a friend, there is a good chance those folks will follow you back.

One last parting thought: In real life we don't attend a party or say hello to friends just because it benefits us. We do lots of things simply because they are the polite and nice thing to do, and perhaps we enjoy it a little bit too, and so in my humble opinion #FollowFriday should be thought of in the same way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toyota Thinks Your Tweet is Worth $500

ToyotathonWhen Twitter took off, nobody expected it to be as big as it got. Everybody and their mother tweets, and some people have thousands of followers following their tweets. Even celebrities are tweeting. But is a tweet worth anything financially? Well, according to Toyota, your tweet is worth $500.

According to a recent promotion from Toyota, a tweet from you is worth $500, a mere 1000 times more than Eventbrite is willing to pay you. Confused yet? Well, to make it simple, Toyota is rewarding those of you out there who buy a new Toyota by January 3, 2011 with a $500 debit card if you tweet about your new purchase on Twitter.

There are a few things you must do to qualify, however. In order to be eligible for the debit card, you must sign on to and send in the following tweet through Toyota's application "If I get my new Toyota during Toyotathon, they'll give me $500 just for this Tweet. @Toyota #shareathon." Customers must do this by December 15, 2010, but once they buy their Toyota, they can redeem their $500 debit card on the same page.

Toyota's goal is to get people who may be just remotely interested in buying a Toyota to spread the word about the campaign even if they do not actually end up purchasing a car. However, I think it is safe to say that those who do tweet this will get a little extra attention from Toyota's marketing team in the next couple of weeks.

It does seem very strange that Toyota is willing to reward customers so heavily for such a small task. In response to that, Toyota's National Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager Kimberly Gardiner had this to say, "We wanted to leverage social media to build incremental awareness of our annual Toyotathon sales event. We feel that $500 is a significant enough offer to stimulate consumer interest and generate strong buzz throughout the social space."

Gardiner went on to say that, "Tweets and other Social Media efforts help us create velocity behind an immediate call to action for consumers to take advantage of a program like this with limited duration."

This definitely seems like a good way to spread the word about Toyota's sale as well as a great way to move somebody from thinking about buying to knowing they are going to buy. If this works out like Toyota hopes, then they will see a nice increase in sales during their Toyotathon sales event.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pro Accounts for StumbleUpon Set to Launch Early Next Year

The beginning of next year marks a big change for the social media site StumbleUpon as businesses, publications and brands will be able to join the site as "Pro" users. A "Pro" user will be able to tailor their own content as well as suggested content in order to reach a broader audience.

Founder and CEO of StumbleUpon, Garrett Camp, Director of Communications Mike Mayzel and Senior Product Manager Jeff Eddings, the people who make up StumbleUpon, recently discussed the new Pro user project, duly named "StumbleUpon Pro", at Mashable.

The whole basis of StumbleUpon Pro is that businesses and publications will be able to sign up for the discovery service with a status from a regular user to a paid content provider. Essentially, a Pro account would work the same way a verified account on Twitter does. It would give the publication, company or business a level of legitimacy and authority that will entice regular StumbleUpon users to follow it.

Now accounts like this will not contain only a stream of a company's own content like some type of spamming creature, that would just be ridiculous. However, that content would more likely be more effective at reaching interested users given the likely boost in following. The StumbleUpon team was a little unsure about how the Pro accounts would be displayed on the site, however.

As of right now it appears that this service will be free. However, businesses and publications can pay to have their content featured more extensively via the existing ad platform that StumbleUpon currently uses. According to Eddings, this move for StumbleUpon aims to answer one very important question: "Who are the people who are here to discover stuff, and who are the people who are here to get discovered?"
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