New Viral Marketing Campaigns Spread Excitement

I always like to hear about the latest viral marketing campaigns and see how big brands are trying to outdo each other.

Papa John’s Pizza Mania

First off, p-i-z-z-a! Papa John’s unveiled an online contest this week asking fans to share their special recipe. The contest, dubbed “Papa’s Specialty Pizza Challenges”, encourages pizza aficionados to submit their special recipe along with a short blurb about why their pizza is so special. Ten semi-finalists will get a chance to have their recipe tested at Papa John’s HQ. From there, three finalists will have their recipe featured on the Papa John’s menu in August. But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Of the final three, Papa John’s will hand out a $1000 budget for marketing.
The recipe with the most sales will get a permanent spot on the menu! The grand prize also includes free pizza for life and an appearance in a Papa John’s TV ad. Go to Papa John’s Facebook and take a look for yourself. I never thought that people could be so excited about pizza but as fan Diane writes on the Page’s Wall, “I don’t care for American Idol. But, a pizza right now sure sounds good.”

Honeymooning with Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn also launched a campaign this week targeting newlyweds who are looking for a good deal for their honeymoon. Appealing to members of their rewards program on Twitter, Holiday Inn’s month long “Honeymoon on Us” contest will give out free prizes. With wedding season around the corner, this is the right time for the InterContinental Hotels Group to focus their efforts on vacationing couples. The grand prize is pretty great too – a complete wedding registry!

Papa John’s and Holiday Inn are just two examples of how big brands are using social media to the fullest extent. Nike also just set a record with their new viral ad. Do you have any other examples you’d like to share? It doesn’t have to be a promotion that’s currently running.

Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

Privacy Concerns
Facebook’s privacy shuffle is not quite done as founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals that new settings will be coming very soon. Great, just what we need!
Facebook’s integrity may be unraveling as many users are angered by privacy violations, profile bugs, and Zuckerberg’s pompous behavior. A recent source reveals that Zuckerberg called users “dumb f****” when a friend asked why users would trust a stranger with their information.

Profiles Lacking Personality

Privacy is not the only thing that Facebook user profiles are lacking – what about the personality? Remember when you could make your interests “unique”? Maybe you enjoy ‘music to sleep to’ or some other obscure band or activity. Thanks to the site’s new feature, you can’t even add something you’re interested in to your profile unless it already has a presence on Facebook (via Group, Page, Community etc.) On top of that, adding an interest to your profile instantly connects you to other users who like the same thing, whether you like it or not.

Now everyone is stuck with a boring, generic profile layout and you can’t even add an interest that Facebook doesn’t like. Remember when you could add your favorite song to your MySpace profile or change your background layout to match your mood? No, we aren’t talking about the obnoxious animated gifs. What if you just wanted to simply change the background color and font? Not possible with Facebook. Although my MySpace account has been laid to rest many years ago, the new Facebook makes me miss it sometimes. Facebook’s features seem to be getting more problematic and restricting. That’s not to say that MySpace didn’t have privacy issues of their own… but still.

What’s Next?

Thousands have already pleaded to commit social suicide and quit Facebook by May 31st, will you join? I’m also looking forward to Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, which is set to launch September of 2010.

Social Media: What’s in a Name?

In the social media world, going viral is gold. It’s hard to get people riled up about something and when it happens, the spontaneity of word of mouth is unstoppable. Today, we’ll take a look at how some notable name changes have helped in going viral. Sit back, take some notes and get ready to change your name.

Making a Splash for a Good Cause
Courtesy of this short clip, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shows us how effective the right name can be. As he explains it, social media helped out for a worth cause in 2007. Greenpeace held a contest to name a humpback whale and raise awareness about protecting these gentle giants. Mister Splashy Pants won out above the other names and helped attract attention to this cause.

A Foodstuff Gets More Fans than The Worst Band in the World
Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback? Yes, it can. If you haven’t heard, Nickelback is arguably one of the worst bands in the world. An anti-Nickelback enthusiast decided to create a Facebook Fan Page and gather fellow fans for this cause. You may have seen it pop up on your friend’s page and it’s too funny not to follow! Here are some other things that this Pickle beats: MTV, Glenn Beck, and naps. As of now, the Pickle is still in the lead.

Shameless Self-Promotion
Are you a fan of Chad Javon Johnson? Maybe Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals rings a bell. In 2008, the football player legally changed his last name to match his jersey number 85, in Spanish. The word “Ochocinco” is actually displayed across his uniform. There were some rumors that Chad wanted to change has last name to “Himself”. Just picture the announcer saying, “And Johnson throws a pass to Himself”. Hilarious, but no. Chad has recently announced that he is planning to change his name to “Hachi Go” – which roughly translates to 85 in Japanese.

Social Media Things to Keep in Mind

Going Overboard

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Blogger. Tumblr. WordPress. Vimeo. MySpace. People can tend to go a little overboard when it comes to social media nowadays. It’s not a bad thing to be everywhere, but you may be spreading yourself thin. Instead, examine the right platforms for your campaign. Having a Twitter or WordPress is pretty useless you’re active. No one said it was easy, but it does take time and effort.

Overlooking Google Profiles

With all the profiles you currently have, who as the time to consider their Google Profile? It is always worthwhile to take advantage of free resources to make sure that your latest info is updated. While Google may have failed with Orkut, they have many social innovations that have grand potential. Google Wave is a favorite among web designers and other busy professionals, while Google’s What’s Popular is looking to rival Digg. There are new social media sites coming out all the time, but it’s especially worth it to keep your eye out on Google products.

Someone’s Always Watching

A little creepy? But yes, we should all be a little more careful with our personal information on all these social media sites. It’s common sense and yet, it can’t be reiterated enough! Facebook’s founder recently claimed that we’re no longer in the age of privacy. According to Zuckerburg, he would make all private info public, if he launched Facebook today. Although many oppose his remarks and Facebook’s recent privacy changes, the best we can do is guard our online identity. Another sketchy source came out saying that Facebook knows who you stalk. Not sure how you guys feel about all this, but I just like to be aware of what’s going on.

Who Uses Facebook’s Marketplace?

New and Improved

Earlier this year in March, Facebook re-launched its Marketplace that is now powered by Oodle. If you haven’t heard of it, the Marketplace is a classified ads section where users can list and respond to advertisements. The Marketplace gives users the ability to buy, sell, and trade all their goods with other Facebook users.

Marketplace Features

So, who really uses the Facebook Marketplace? You may have seen friends trying to sell their used chemistry books or their extra phone. But, did you know that there’s also a section for housing and free stuff? That’s what’s so great about this application. Originally created in 2007, the new Marketplace is revamped with a user friendly interface. While it is like Craigslist in its free listing of classified ads, but it also integrates an important social factor that Craigslist lacks. Wouldn’t you rather buy something from a friend or a friend of a friend than a complete stranger?

Seeing the Potential in the Marketplace

Marketers are warming up to the market place as they see ease and convenience of its features. With every listing, you can promote the sale of your goods and services by adding pictures, putting it in an appropriate category and even sending out personalized messages. Such custom settings make it easier for those looking to buy and sell real estate. Because Facebook thrives on the social thread, word of mouth will still be important. If your friends have had a successful transaction with a certain seller, they’re likely to spread the word. Before you brush it off, not everything on Facebook is a time-waster. In the past, Apple has even posted a listing looking for iPhone engineers on there!

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

Pros
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
Cons
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

Pros
+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
Cons
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

Small Businesses Benefit from Facebook

How to Take Advantage

Large corporations may have a bigger brand presence on social media sites but that doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot also benefit. Setting up a Facebook page for your business is a cost effective way to keep up with the latest customer trends. Facebook is an easy to use forum which allows customers easy access to upcoming news or events. Additionally, creating a strong online presence can help you rank better in search engine results and bring more relevant traffic to your site. An example of a small business that uses Facebook to its maximum potential is the Beverly Hills based Sprinkles Cupcakes. Founder Charles Nelson relies on building buzz through the Sprinkles Facebook page instead of traditional paid marketing efforts.

Stay Connected with Your Fans

Sprinkles uses Facebook to create a unique and engaging
relationship with their fans. They have even come up with a fun code system which gives the first customers with the secret phrase of the day the opportunity to get free treats! This is a great way to build word of mouth advertising, as well as bring customers to the store. A part of social networking sites is being just that, “social” – and being active can help small businesses succeed in this area. The key is to engage customers by providing help and insight or offering incentives and other promotions. By having a Facebook page, you can monitor the good and bad that is being said about your business. This is better than knowing nothing at all about how your company is perceived. It is even an effective tool that will give you the opportunity to fix those problems.

Using Other User-Friendly Sites

Local references and review sites are popular amongst customers who are looking to try new things. Yelp and Yahoo! Local Listings are perfect examples of these popular sites. Although there are many social networking sites out there, it is important to practice restraint and don’t overdo your efforts. Like any other investment, it takes patience to see a return on your hard work. Whether it is Facebook or any of these other sites, the key to strong staying power is steady maintenance of your page. It is foolish to put in numerous hours one day and then completely stop your efforts. Instead,  view it as a long-term project and set aside a couple minutes every other day to monitor your growth.

Advanced Business Blogging Webinar by Hubspot Review

bill gatesI attended a webinar today on advanced business blogging by Hubspot. Don’t let the advanced part in the title scare you away. Hubspot, an online marketing company similar to emarketed, does a great job on providing webinars. Today’s webinar focused on blogging and can be viewed here. A few notes about the actual webinar that really made this interesting. First they had a powerpoint of the webinar that can be accessed here through SlideShare and a live video feed of the presenter that was being pulled from Mogulus. You can view Hubspot’s channel here. Mogulus provides a free service and a paid version which removes the advertisements. There were no advertisements on the webinar but when I viewed the video on Mogulus there were advertisements. So I’m assuming that Hubspot is using the free version. They have over 800 viewers on the webinar today! You can view all of their shows on their Mogulus channel or here on their site. Hubspot also integrated their Twitter account into the presentation so you could ask questions through Twitter during the webinar. There were also links to Facebook and LinkedIn as well from the webinar page. These are all free tools that any one can use.  The use of these social media tools was very impressive and is definately something that we’re looking to integrate into our next version of our emarketed site. They were able to utlize these free services which can be used by anyone: Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, & Mogulus

Ok, lets get into some of the key points from the webinar. A lot of the content which I’m proud to say has been discussed by emarketed in past blogs. Hubspot goes into why you should blog with 5 keys to a successful blogging:

1. Pick your target personas
2. Create a mix of posts
3. Write great posts
4. Sustain it
5. Spread it

One of the great take aways from this webinar is that your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts can start from your blog. You should write content that relates to your products and/or services. One thing to remember though is that SEO takes time and this is the same for writing blog posts. You will not see the direct results of your blog writing for several months. You also have to promote your blog once it’s up. It’s the same for your website which our clients are starting to understand. People will not just magically stumble across your blog when you write content. It must be promoted. Some of the methods Hubspot discussed were the following: post to twitter, comment on other blogs, post to facebook, start building a list of subscribers to your blog. They also had a great tip about using images through Flickr so I took their advice for this blog post. We do not always uses images in blog posts but I can see how it makes the blog easier to read with an image.

For more information regarding the webinar you’ll have to watch it at the following link.

Adding Facebook advertising to your search marketing campaign?

I just stumbled across this ebook on Facebook advertising by Matt Dickman. I’d suggest checking it out to get a better idea of how Facebook advertising works and to learn more about social media marketing. As Facebook and social networking sites continue to grow this will become more important. It’s literally changing the search marketing industry! The days of running search engine optimization and paid search campaigns alone to drive traffic to your site is becoming outdated. Reaching a broader audience through Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites is imperative to your search marketing campaign.

emarketed now offers this as a stand alone service or as an addon to current search engine optimization and paid search customers. Stay tuned for more social media updates as this emerging method of advertising expands. You can also follow us on twitter for short updates.

social media buzz by peta

Just came across PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals) website last night through facebook. One of my facebook friends had an award PETA had won for a blog posted on her profile. So I checked out the blog and the various PETA web properties, one of which was their YouTube channel. They have over 3,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 200 videos. Some of these videos are commercials that have been banned from TV. They also have a sexy celebrity channel. I’m sure they get a ton of traffic from these sexy videos so of course I had to check some of them out. 😉 I was doing some market research! They didn’t have the same volume of traffic as the blender YouTube channel we blogged about last week but some of their top videos were brining in over 100k views in a 90 day period. You can check this one out with Jenna Jameson below. Sex sells so PETA is using this to their advantage in promoting their message! Brillant job PETA!

Back to business here. I almost fell down the YouTube hole where one video leads to another and all of a sudden you’ve watched 20 short 2 minute videos. 😉 I was very impressed with PETA’s use of social media buzz on their site. They do a good job of highlighting their different social media properties through links to Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube. They also have PETA TV where they promote these videos directly on their site. Another site the promote is peta2.com where you can find tools for helping animals, class projects, online activism and much more. Another site they highlight is the petakids.com website where they have games and contests for kids. All of this is creating social media buzz for their mission.  They seem to have content for all ages and demographics from sexy ads to games for kids.

Take some time to go through a few of the PETA web properties to get some ideas on how to market your business through social media buzz. I’d love to find out how emarketed can start promoting some sexy models on YouTube to drive traffic for our business. But in the end it comes down to conversions and would this traffic really be ideal for emarketed? It would be fun and exciting to do but would be very expensive and not generate the type of traffic that would lead to conversions.

PETA gets an A+ in our book for creating social media buzz!