What’s Next in Social Media?

Earlier this week I participated on panel about Social Media at an offsite for senior executive at one of the world’s largest media companies. It was an extremely interesting session and particularly interesting to be on the panel with Dennis Crowley of Foursquare and Jordan Glazier of Eventful.

The last question that was asked was: tell us what we don’t know. What’s coming around the corner? What’s the future?

Southwest: Tier 2 Brand Takes To Social Media

In an earlier post I talked about how there’s a huge opportunity for agencies and social media marketers with Tier 2 brands. I cited United and the Guitar-gate incident as an example and talked about why I don’t think it’s enough to move United into real action.

Illustrating my point, here’s a great example that I came across today of a Tier 2 brand, Southwest, that’s taking full advantage of the Social Web and coming at United competitively: SOUTHWEST LUVS GUITARS (AND CONTESTS)!

AT&T’s Seth Not Real. So What?

So, it appears that Seth, AT&T’s blogger guy, works for its PR agency Fleishman Hillard (sorry, but I think he comes off like a douche in the video). The question was posed on Twitter by Todd Defren about whether AT&T should have disclosed that Seth works for FH.

From a consumer’s point of view, that’s not really the point. For all intents and purposes Seth works for AT&T. By putting him out there as the mouth piece of AT&T, he is AT&T, so to speak. Sure, he’s a ‘blogger’ but do we expect anything impartial from he if he works for AT&T or its PR agency? I think Todd’s question in some ways has more to do with the flaws (and insecurities) of the PR industry more than what matters to customers

The more important point to me is that AT&T is still missing the real opportunity. All they’ve done is more of the same, just a different wrapper. A different channel for the same old message and business practices.

AT&T Getting Real?

I just saw this video from AT&T that was posted on YouTube and is apparently making its rounds. The message from AT&T is:

“Listen, we know you think we suck but I we just want you to know that we’re spending all this money on our network and it’s really, really hard, OK? And we’re working really, really hard, OK? So maybe you should give us a break because we’re trying and you just don’t understand so let me try to explain it to you using social media so that you understand how much we’re really, really trying.”

Some Brands Can Suck

Some brands suck and seem to get away with it.

These days, almost every marketer (particularly agencies and consultants) is trying to come up with Social Media strategies for you name it brand out there. It’s sometimes a game of who can scream the loudest when a big brand fucks up, about how social media could save it and it should turn to it right away.

I think this can be a waste of time from an agency’s perspective trying to win that type of business.

Online Community Management Tips & Resources

Creating and cultivating an online community of passionate fans and customers can deliver tremendous benefits for any brand–greater affinity and loyalty, direct marketing channel to your most passionate customers and deep insight into your customers’ likes and dislikes, to name a few. However, growing an online community is no easy task and it takes time, and more often than not, dedicated resources to make it successful.

Here are some useful resources and tips as you think about your community strategy.

Talking About Engagement on Marketing Voices

I met Jennifer Jones last year when she invited me to be a guest on her Marketing Voices podcast to talk about KickApps and social media in marketing. She was kind enough to have me on again and she published the podcast today. We talked about Engagement Marketing and went over some interesting examples of how our clients are using social media and KickApps to engage with their customers. You can listen to the podcast below.

Can you hear me now?

TechCrunch’s Mobile Crunch blog reported yesterday that Verizon Wireless is now accepting user reviews and ratings of products in their catalog. The author of the post and many of the readers that left comments seem to think this is a bad move on Verizon’s part.

I concede that it may seem strange for Verizon to be opening themselves up for potential abuse, but I see this as not just a brave move but more importantly, an extremely smart one. By doing this, Verizon goes from being just a transactional vendor to providing something that’s potentially really valuable to customers during the buying process. This translates to trust.