How Starbucks Do It….Solid Social Media Strategy

I was put on to this guy by a friend recently. This is solid social media thinking. Putting social at the centre of the company and putting the consumer at the heart of the thinking.

Matthew Guiste, Director of Global Social Media at Starbucks

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The MadMen Guide to Thought Leadership

Just found this presentation by Mark Fidelman , head of social at
Very nice way of looking at social…and I am a MadMen fan so it was right up my street!
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Is Social Media the Moneyball of Marketing ?

I watched Moneyball the other day. It is a great movie about a baseball coach, Billy Beane, who develops a new way of creating a team and has massive success despite the financial limitations of the team. According to the film, baseball teams were all created with the same set of rules for the last 100 years. The scouts and managers looked for what they thought was the archetypal player for certain positions. Once they had found that player, they tried to bid for them in the draft system and how much money you had determined the quality of that player.

Beane and his assistant discovered that there was opportunities with players that had been undervalued and that by studying the statistics and applying a new formula and criteria, they could put together a team that out performed it’s perceived value. In essence they changed the paradigm of “spend big and get the best” which was prevelant not just in baseball but in sports across the world.

Pre-social marketing had a similar paradigm. The more you spent the more you got.It was a system that was built on the idea that, if people hear and see your message lots of times, they will act on it. Your money dictated your reach, influence and ultimately your success. Occasionally good creative would break through a little bit, but these instances were rare because again, in order to get good creative more often than not you would have to hire a good creative company and this again, cost money.

The ability for a brand to have owned and earned media has changed the game. Brands with a relatively small budget can now compete with the big players on an even field because in social media, spend does not necessarily gaurantee a win. Why? Because a win is now longer defined as numbers of likes and views. The key performance indicators of social media are engagement and brand advocacy. We now have the ability to have a relationship between consumer and brand and to quote the Beatles, “Money  can’t buy me love”.

Knowing your consumer and having the ability to engage with them is the key here. As a brand you are better to have a smaller number of highly engaged brand mavens as your owned media than to have a large number of passive Likes on a page. The big brands cannot pay their way out of this, they have to engage. The trouble is that for them, this is a difficult thing to do, it is the antithesis of how they have operated and succeeded for the last fifty years.

New brands and small brands though have the opportunity now to take the high ground. Be bold, be daring and put the consumer first. Engage with them, listen to them and create an army of people who love your brand. Old Spice showed that this approach can yield serious commercial results. They weren’t a big player when they launched their campaign, now they are the coolest deodorant brand around.

Marketing is maturing. It is no longer enough for people to just hear or see your message. It is about them actually relating to the message now.

Numbers of ears and eyes is a simple sum – Money x Frequency x Creative = Reach.

Engagement is a less simple equation –

Consumer Knowledge x Potential Advocacy x Creative x Relevance x Sharability x Honesty = Engagement

But it is an equation without one vital component, Money. It can help, it can continue to make a difference but it is not necessary and that is the key.

Take money out of your strategy for social at the beginning and look at your approach as if your brand has no money at all. Create the core of your strategy around engagement and allow media and creative spend to enhance your strategy rather than dictate it.



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If I Were Ronald McDonald……….

McDonalds are licking their wounds after a social media beating on one of their campaigns. You can find a report on the story here  . McDonald’s sent out two tweets with the hashtag #McDStories to highlight the “hard-working people” who help to produce its meals and promote the chain’s use of fresh produce . Not a bad idea on the surface.

They had to shut down the campaign within an hour when critics hijacked the hashtag to complain about McDonalds. Complaints ranged from food hygiene and sourcing to service and fast food culture in general.They accused the company of making customers sick, serving pig meat from gestation crates and offering up a burger containing a finger nail.

Rick Wion, McDonald’s social media director, admitted: “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned. It was negative enough that we set about a change of course.”

Rick, I feel for you. This was a good social media campaign but it wasn’t a good one for McDonalds. There are massive learnings to be had here though and this bad experience should only be the start rather than the end of McDonalds engagement strategy.

Since the documentary Super Size Me and other subsequent books and films like Fast Food Nation there has been a sustained and aggressive campaign against fast food chains. Being the leading brand in the market, McDonalds took the brunt of the attack and as such radically changed its image and product over the last six years.

This campaign opened the door to more of these attacks and the fact that McDonalds couldn’t even ride out more than an hour shows how powerful their opposition is. The issue for me is the brand.The McDonalds brand is still demonised as the ultimate in globalisation and corporate malpractice. I don’t think McDonalds can move into social media expecting brand loyalty and advocacy just yet. Instead, they should lead with product.

Their products have vastly improved since the documentary came out and now, McDonalds can actually stand over quality and sourcing alot better. In order to counter the arguements laid out, McDonalds should do seperate campaigns on social designed to fact check and promote individual products. Converse and debate with the opponents and ask brand mavens to defend and advocate the products. In essence, take the argument and conversation away from the McDonalds brand and focus it on the product.

They could tie product campaigns in with previous brand statements like “I’m Lovin’ It” by creating a hashtag brand to go with each product #imlovinMcNuggets #imlovinThickShakes etc etc. Replies about how terrible McDonalds are have a lot less relevancy and impact when the conversation point is a milk shake.Over 12 to 18 months, they could develop the advocacy to the point where a campaign like they just had could potentially live and breath.

Also, it might be an idea to take the perceived failure of this campaign and turn it around directly. There could be room for a McDonalds facts campaign on social. This would need a great deal of preparation but it could be a game changer for the company. Actively engage with each of the people attacking the brand and fact check their arguement, ask them if McDonalds can do anything to improve their experience for them. It would be rocky to start off with and would need significant investment but it could yield massively potent results.

What ever the case, I hope McDonalds don’t shut down social after this experience. It wasn’t a bad campaign, it was just too soon for McDonalds. Controversial brands will always attract negative comments on social but it is how the company deals with these comments and how they engage the next time that will determine the success.

Good luck McD’s. I am off for a KFC.

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A Lesson In Social Commerce By Lynx

We are at the beginning of social commerce. No one has got it right yet and no one will earn millions from it straight away. Much like when e-commerce began, companies are still trying to figure this new commercial channel out. Where does it fit in to to their current commercial model? How do they do it?

Today Lynx launched a social commerce campaign in order to launch it’s new unisex brand on to the UK market. Brands would do well to look at how Lynx have approached this. They have recognised that the currently, Facebook is not the place to do your entire weekly shop. They have set up a commercial campaign that is not designed to compete with its retail sales, but instead, add value to it’s core consumers and start talkability about the product launch.

The key insight here is that Facebook  is the place where your brand mavens go to connect with you. These are the biggest fans of the brand. There is a distinctly different commercial paradigm with them, than there is the casual consumer. Here they have used the channel to sell a limited run of the new brand ahead of it being launched into the general market. 100 cans of deodorant to the first 100 people to buy.

It wont make money. It is not about making money at this point. It is about reaching out to this core of consumers and getting them to make a commercial transaction with their favourite brand on a socially connected platform. This campaign is the embryonic beginnings of Lynx’s social commerce strategy.

You might note as well, that they did not get to this point straight away. The page is engaging and is filled with apps and competitions. The vast number of followers and reasonably heavy page engagement show that there is a solid base of social media marketing from which this commercial strategy has been launched.

Good work Lynx and relevant agencies and partners.

Now where is my credit card?

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Content Dumping – The Lazy Man’s Approach To Social Media

The brand will go unnamed because I fear litigation and you never know, they may be a client some day. They are not the only brand who do it, they weren’t the first and they won’t be the last. What do they do that is so bad? They content dump. They fill my news feed up in one big chunk with all of the stuff that they want to say that week. Flump! Not so much as a “by your leave” , they just pour everything they have down your throat in one big go.

So how does the social media strategy look for that sort of approach?

Brand X – Lazy Ass Social Media Strategy

1. Acquire content from Marketing Department

2. Acquire content from PR department

3. Acquire additional content from the web

4. Put all content on to all social media channels at the same time

5. Wash, Rinse,Repeat




This is such a negative for the brand. Never do this unless there is a specific reason to post in such a heavy manner ( breaking news or product lunch etc) . Post as you would occasionally , regularly and when you and your message are relevant for the ones which you want to consume the message.

Dump on me and I will dump you.

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Are You Being Served ? Customer Service in Social Media

The cold sweat drips down the young marketing executives back. Her worst fear has come true. She thought her post would win the favour of her managers and the senior staff of the company but now it has backfired. Her post which went up a day ago reads, “Hey everyone! We have a special this week on the Indigo, half price to all our Facebook fans! Just quote the code RXBB in store to avail of the offer!” . The first few replies were brilliant. Some thanked the brand. Others gave positives like, “cool” and “nice one” .Then at 1145 pm last night it happened. The complaint. “Indigo’s are rubbish. I had mine a full week and it crashed. Not even worth a quarter price never mind half.Fail.”.

What does this marketing exec do now? Does she delete the post? Does she deal with the query on Facebook? Who can she go to for advice?

The answer to those questions are unique to every company. There is no right or wrong way of approaching it. For some, certain complaints are best left alone or deleted ( it is a rare case but it does happen) . For others they will want a swift resolution to the matter and bring it off Facebook. Others may be in favour of opening up the dialogue on the platform. Whatever the approach, one thing is certain – if you go on social media, make sure you have an integrated plan for dealing with customer complaints and customer service.

Ideally, you should have a social media specialist in your CS team devoted to solving the problems of your customers. They should work within the agreed framework of the CS division and have a dotted line in to the Head of Social Media with reference to tone, standards and process. Each complaint on social should be logged and dealt with in a timely manner. Positive or negative comments form the CS interaction on social should also be logged and used for training purposes.

One thing that isn’t readily done on social media is pro-active customer service. The kind you get when you walk in to a good clothes shop or a car dealership. “How can I help you?” . It is the ultimate preamble to a sale or at the very least a conversation. Brands should look to give themselves the digital equivalent of this greeting. This will come in different forms for different brands and in some cases may not be applicable at all. But the action should be investigated and it might be a good idea to bring the sales manager of the brand into this investigation.

Further to asking your own customers if they need help, what about asking disgruntled customers of your competitors if you can help? This is the ultimate in customer service for me. There are many good social media listening tools on the market at the moment. They will enable you to eavesdrop on any conversation happening about your brand or others. If someone is complaining about a competitors service or offering and no one is listening, why not offer your product or service? Again, this might not be for every brand and there are a myriad of ways in which this could work but this outreach could play an important role in your acquisition strategy.

Customer Service is the sharp end of Marketing. It wipes off the make up and tinsel of advertising and branding and states what the brand really is. Customer Service 1.0 was a one to one experience. Now, in a viral world everyone can see good and bad customer service. Once again, people now have more power over the brand because of this. Get it wrong at your peril.

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Social Brand Experience Study

This is a great study that gives an illustration of where we are now with the adoption and integration of social media. Good learnings about consumer habits and some interesting responses concerning how senior managers within organisations are viewing social media. Most notably only 6% think social media will make a difference to their commercial activities.

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“I Don’t Get Twitter”

“I don’t get Twitter.” . If you were born after 1981, you will have heard this often enough. Most of us gateway-ed  into social media via Bebo, Myspace or more commonly Facebook. Twitter is a bit of a leap from these platforms and is used differently. Convincing friends to persevere is one thing, but if the Marketing Director or CEO doesn’t “get it” , you will have trouble convincing the organisation how important twitter could potentially be to them.

I saw this nice little infographic today and thought it would be a nice little card to show these people in case of an “I don’t get Twitter emergency” . If you push the person through the stages shown below, they might just get interested. If they get interested, they should get addicted. If they are addicted, watch how quickly and easily you can role out your social media strategy!

Caution – CEO addiction to Twitter may result in your company failing within three months.


Infographic courtesy of: El rincón de Lombok Design

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