“It’s Social Marketing B#tch”

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For those that choose not to listen to the uttercast, I’d like to provide a little more color commentary around the title of this post. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to do a podcast with Dennis and Aronado of Lucky Startups. During the show, Dennis and Aronado were looking at the Powered.com site (the company I work for) and saw that the messaging on our site talked about “Social Commerce.”
The short version behind the term is that as Powered was evolving from an eLearning company to a social marketing company, they were looking for a term that captured the essense of “social” but also differentiated them from being a “tools” play. “Social commerce” seemed to make sense but obviously wasn’t exactly the right term. As a result, our current site still reflects the old messaging but we are in the process of updating the site so that it reads “social marketing” vs. “social commerce.”
Following the podcast I did with the Lucky Startup boys, their mention of “social commerce,” spurred my good friend, Adam Cohen, to throw out the question, What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term “social commerce? A few people chimed in and their answers were pretty harsh (Ed Illig and David Schuette’s in particular). At first, I was a little put off by the responses but then immediately realized, I would have had the exact same reaction if I were in their shoes. So rather than stew, I decided to take a humerous approach and record my thoughts this AM on my walk down to Starbucks.
That brings us to the title of this post which is a humerous play on comedian, Dave Chappelle’s “I’m Rick James, b#tch.” During his show, Chappelle loved to play the aging, disrespected Rick James who needed to let everyone know that he was “Rick James, b#tch” and how dare anyone disrespect him. I thought it was apropos given the fact that I didn’t want to come across as defensive as I was explaining that Powered doesn’t do “social commerce” but in fact builds successful social marketing programs for well-known companies like Sony, HP, iVillage and Motorola, to leverage that same approach.
To that end, next week there will be no more mention of “social commerce” on Powered.com – I promise! Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Cohen! ;)

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Thoughts on Un-Follows/Qwitter

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I had someone stop following me this weekend (no big deal, it happens all the time). As I was going in to in-follow them back — a standard practice unless the person is someone I’ve chosen to follow — I noticed that this person’s most recent tweet was a little snarky regarding all the reciprocal in-follows that ensued. I sent a message to this person asking what they expected when they decided to “leave the conversation.” The rest of the story and my thoughts on un-following are in the attached Uttercast.

What do you think?

It’s Time for Big Brands to Engage!

Up until this point, it’s understandable why many brands have chosen to avoid social media. Quite frankly, there haven’t been many meausurable success stories beyond those of the usual suspects like eBay, Best Buy’s internal Blue Shirt Nation community and Procter & Gamble. For the most part, it’s because many companies social initiatives have lacked a strategy, key performance indicators and overall community management. However, it’s hard to ignore some of the consumer driven data coming out of Cone Research’s latest 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study (requires free signup to download).

For starters, Cone’s report tells us that almost 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and one in four interact more than once per week. More importantly, the study shows that 93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media, while 85% believe a company should not only be present, but should also interact with its consumers via social media.

If that’s not enough to whet big brand’s appetites:

  • 56% of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with, and better served by, companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
  • 43% say that companies should use social networks to solve my problems
  • 41% want companies to solicit feedback on their products and services
  • 37% feel that companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand
  • 33% of men and 17% of women interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media

I don’t know about you but if I’m the CMO of a big brand, I’m looking at these numbers and shaking my head. What? You mean my customers actually want to talk to me using social media? Yup, they do. And they are already doing it with some of the other big brands they know and love like Starbucks, HP, Saturn and Sony.

So guess what Ms. or Mr. CMO, you have two choices at this point. You can continue to ignore social media and hope that smart people like Cone Research are wrong (hint: if Cone is wrong, so are the same smart folks at Forrester Research, Gartner, Sirius Decisions and Deloitte) OR they can embrace the “Groundswell” and start to think about a social media strategy and implementation plan in 2009.

Thanks to the folks at Cone for continuing to provide great research in this space. For more information on the Cone Research study, please visit their site.

This post was cross-posted on http://theengagedconsumer.powered.com.


UPDATED ON 11/24: PLEASE SEE CHIP GRIFFIN’S COMMENT BELOW ON CONE RESEARCH’S CLARIFICATION OF THEIR RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.