Wichita Tweet Up Covers Consumers As Marketers Topic

I attended a Tweet up last week in Wichita, KS on our way down to South by Southwest. We talked about the integration of social media in mobile devices, including downloadable applications, using the mobile web to check online e-tailer prices while at a home town merchant, or making social streams from Twitter, Facebook and other networks part of your mobile home page as the Motorola DEVOUR with MOTOBLUR. An interesting take from a couple of folks was that local merchants can monitor the web for the lowest prices online for similar products that they carry in the local store, then be active with the local community online and those merchants will be able to charge the premium while building customer and community loyalty.

Another issue the Wichita covered was about how consumers are being marketers for brands. After all that’s the attraction of social media for many big brands, have customers do with credibility what marketers have tried for years.

Wichita, KS Tweet Up, March 12 from Albert Maruggi on Vimeo.

We raised the case of TGIF’s Friday’s integrated campaign to get 500,000 fans in the month of September for their number one fan/spokesperson Woody on Facebook. If you became a fan everyone would benefit with a free Jack Daniels burger. Woody quickly met his goal of 500,000 fans by mid-September, presenting a problem of what to do with the remaining two weeks, and the ad buy. After the grumbling began online they doubled Woody’s free burger allotment to 1 million.

Tom Shaw writer of the Marketing Executive blog estimates that if 50% of the 500,000 fans bring one person who buys a meal and a drink, it will generate up to $5 million in sales.

We put the question of marketing to your network and the Woody’s example to the Wichita group and the feedback was mixed. Some bought into the idea, if they liked a product they would share it with their network, others took a case by case approach, perhaps sharing with only a portion of their fan/friend/follower base, while others shrugged it off as part of the new dynamic of social media. Give a listen to the video. Apologies for some of the side conversation going on in the background.

We met at the Donut Whole, a fantastic place with outrageous donut flavors like bacon maple and chocolate cheese cake. I’m told by one of the employees that one of the secrets is the fresh spices purchased from a local importer. The donuts are worth the trip even from Minneapolis!

Special thanks to Cindy Kelly @wichitacindy for helping organize the Tweet up. I’ll donate a food item to a St. Paul, MN food charity for every comment we get on this blog.

A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

The world is full of good Samaritans who give of themselves for others. Let’s focus on two, Ed Bennett of the Maryland University Medical Center and David Ekrem, Manager, Web Development at the Mass General Hospital for Children. They compiled a list of hospitals using social media, specifically at least one of four types of social media blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Ed and I chat in this podcast about why and how hospitals are gradually dipping their toes into the social media pool. Bennett weaves ways to use social media in with new media tools like, webcasts, podcasts, and video of surgeries, long before it became fashionable to Tweet about it. In the podcast, Bennett, a web manager, makes a good case for marketers and PR folks to work with IT in this life and death environment.

There are hundreds of ways to use these tools, enough to give anyone a headache. Allow me to outline one use for each medium.

Blogs – A blog is a place for an on going dialogue, detail, and to build a body of work that helps brand a facility or an individual. Dr. John Butler is a physician at the
Arden Hills Clinic in Minnesota. He recently caught my attention with a post about the iPhone as an essential medical instrument. His blog helps ease the anxiety about medicine in general and informs about specific issues about which he is familiar. It warms us up to Dr. Butler.

A Good Samaritan for Healthcare and Social Media

FacebookSt. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital there are so many things this Facebook page does well but I share it not because other hospitals should take on the same thing, but to show how versatile this platform can be. It can be used by patients to share their stories on your wall. When you visit this site to see those stories, bring a tissue. It uses widgets in conjunction with the page to raise donations. It uses multimedia to inform. And yes, it shares a personal side asking NCAA bracketology questions and other aspects of being part of a social community.

TwitterCarilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA and Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA are good examples of hospitals that use Twitter as a newsfeed. Little nuggets of news from the hospital, events like parenting classes or links to information about faster radiation treatments are a good diet of information for hospitals.


I have not seen this application for twitter yet, so I’ll share the idea. If you’ve seen it from a healthcare provider let me know. If not, and you like the idea, take it and tell me. I think a facility that has a specialty in hearts or bariatric surgery can do a specific feed related to diet and exercise. It would contain information about calorie count, fast food healthy choices, reminders to do 2 flights of stairs, and all coordinated to an appropriate time of day. This feed is best send as a text message to your phone since it will be a good reminder to push away from that lunch table in time to take the long way back to the office.

Comment line 206-600-6887 – or leave a comment below and we’ll donate a food item to a St. Paul food shelf.

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The Social Mind Of A Corporate Marketer

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall of a corporate meeting on social media? Many of the readers of this blog and listeners of the Marketing Edge podcast have been in those sessions where ideas are evaluated about whether to have a company blog, launch a podcast series or include bloggers in the media relations strategy.

Christopher Barger is a social media strategist and has been in the largest of corporations, IBM and GM, where those conversations and decisions take place. The beauty of Barger is his ability to see and articulate a legitimate objection from a personal management fear. Both are essential to understand and address in a corporate environment in order to make progress. It is part of the mutual respect in a team that allows that team to try new tactics, be innovative and, most importantly, learn.

The Social Mind Of A Corporate Marketer

In this podcast, Barger and I discuss his experience inside marketing and management groups deciding on social media tactics. He explains the difference and growth social media has had in General Motors product launches.

Some of GM’s efforts on the Web:

We highlight how marketing is changing from a predictable process to a participatory sport in which everyone becomes smarter. Yes, we even tackle the dreaded ROI of social media. Hmmmm, what’s the ROI of this blog post? Gee, will someone click on “Contact Us” and hire us and therefore I can say that the 2 hours I spent thinking through the conversation with Barger, recording it, editing it, and posting it will generate a dollar return?

Silly isn’t it? Right, it is, because as you’ll hear, the conversation was an enjoyable learning experience. It continues to build relationships, one with Barger and the other with Marketing Edge listeners, so the ROI is part of a much larger element of relationship and brand management.

To translate that to your company, it goes something like this: Who is this company? What type of people do they wish to associate with and how can the company, and its employees, add value to the lives of those with whom they associate?

As you hear in Barger’s description of working with specific communities in social media, such as parents and car enthusiasts, it’s all about being part of their passion and very little about selling them a car. The rewards to the company, however, are tangible. The value to the individual employees in GM that are participating is gratifying.

I’ll continue to say it, and the more I have conversations like this one with Barger, the more I believe it: Social media is a movement, not a market. This does not mean commerce is not supported by social media; it means that commerce is a result of adding value to the group, not meeting a quota tied to a logic that has no connection to that community.

We thank Chris for his insight and invite you to share your own thoughts below.

Retailer Best Buy internal social network gives employees voice and management insights

Retailer Best Buy internal sociaGary Koelling and Steve Bendt were Best Buy advertising guys in search of better information about the customer experience. Their first stop was the blue shirt sales associates on the floor of Best Buy stores who interact with customers everyday.

In their quest they developed an internal communications platform that generated thousands of conversations across the company. The result, more information, more issues, more solutions, more ideas, more impact — and a corporate culture that is beginning to appreciate that buy-in brings out the best in employees.

I visited Best Buy to interview Gary and Steve who are now senior managers for social technology based on the success of their 18 month experiment. They acknowledge that their focus on listening to the type of environment the employees wanted was essential for the employees participation. Without that they knew they would have nothing.

The images in this post are from Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation social network. Fun and interesting. Certainly designed to set a certain mood and create a welcoming atmosphere. They were inspired by Blue Shirt Nation users as Steve and Gary listened to their thoughts about making the site user-friendly.

Here’s my take on what they found as essential elements to a successful corporate social network platform.

  1. Bottom up process to let users of the site help build the platform
  2. Management that is willing to discover what their employees are capable of innovating
  3. A willingness to act on the good ideas hashed out in the conversation of the group
  4. Listen all the time to the conversations inspired by the users.

On a technology note, Blue Shirt Nation was built with the open source code Drupal www.drupal.org.

I will have more on this topic at a presentation I’m giving at the Society for New Communications Research NewComm Forum www.newcommforum.com April 22-25, in Sonoma County, CA – A host of great speakers including Shel Holtz, Paul Gillin, and Joseph Jaffe among others.

Get in on the January book giveaway the New Influencers by emailing me at Marketingedge@providentpartners.net and in the subject line put New Influencers. Good luck the drawing is January 31.