Last week I wrote about how to engage bloggers, based on my experience as a (pro) blogger. I explained how I receive hundreds of emails every day, and how it can be difficult to make a message stand out amid that noise.
I also explained that campaigns – all campaigns – have budgets, and that it is highly lame for brands to expect bloggers to keep doing favours for them, for free.
Today I spotted a tweet by Malcolm Coles that makes for a fantastic case study in what not to do. He flagged up a real shocker between one of the world's biggest mobile companies and a humble blogger.
So on one side we have Muireann Carey-Campbell, who writes the Bangs And A Bun blog. On the other is Nokia. And in the middle is one of Nokia’s presumably expensive PR firms, Mission.
Really bad company websites are organised around a business's internal structure - they reflect what departments the business has (which no one else gives a toss about), as opposed to reflecting what customers want or how they think.
The Ryder Cup site marks a new low in making your website reflect your organisation's internal structure.
Increasingly brand savvy customers are more wary than ever of insincere corporate apologies issued by emotionless commitee, and thanks to social media they're more able than ever to make your first strike count against you.
However, if you simply apply a little humility, making a mistake can actually lead to a better long-term relationship with your customers.
Last week, in a deal that sounded too-good-to-be true, group-buying website Groupola was offering the new iPhone 4 for a mere £99, sim-free. Users had to simply register interest on the Groupola website, where they would then be emailed a link to buy the new must-have iPhone on Friday.
With such a tempting deal on offer, on Friday morning, the Groupola website faced major meltdown, and that's essentially what happened.
A Groupola spokesman said 5m unique users tried to access the site between 9am and 9.30am. That number seems incredibly far-fetched to us but obviously the website fell apart as a result of the demand.
With thousands (if not millions) of users unable to access the site, it's unsurprising that a wave of angry consumers took to social media channels to voice their outrage on Twitter and Facebook.
The process was mismanaged from start to finish, resulting in a PR fiasco for the company. So what could Groupola have done to avoid such an unmitigated disaster?
Groupon may be the 800 pound gorilla in the super-hot group buying space, but its prominent success story, coupled with low barriers to entry, has led to a significant amount of competition, both in Groupon's home market, the United States, and globally.
Not surprisingly, Groupon isn't content with its current U.S. dominance. Investors haven't poured nine-figures into the company so that it can maintain its current market position. So it's rapidly expanding internationally to tap into new sources of growth. But expanding beyond a home market almost always comes with challenges and risks, and that's becoming apparent as Groupon tries to move at breakneck speed into far-flung markets.
Apple's Steve Jobs gets a lot of kudos for publishing his email address publicly (and occassionally responding to strangers). It's excusable if most corporate CEOs aren't ready for that, but today AT&T has demonstrated the flaws of the opposite approach.
A customer emailed AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson twice to ask for a phone eligibility upgrade. In response, he was threatened with a court order. Needless to say, AT&T no longer has that customer. But Stephenson is getting a lot more emails. And surprisingly, AT&T has yet to respond in a constructive way.
Last week, I wrote about Unvarnished, the 'Yelp for people' startup
that has sparked a decent amount of controversy since publicly launching a private beta. In my post on the
company, I echoed the sentiments of a good number of fellow bloggers
and suggested that Unvarnished "may be 2010's worst startup."
Unvarnished's co-founder, Peter Kazanjy, left a comment on my post,
which was shortly thereafter followed by an interesting comment from a
fellow going by the name of "Mike."
Online reputation management is an increasingly important subject for
businesses. And for good reason: consumers are on the internet, and
they're talking about the businesses they interact with. From reviews
posted on sites like Amazon to dedicated customer review hubs like
Yelp, there is no shortage of online places for consumers to express
their opinions about businesses (and their products and services).
But what about individuals? While some have tried to bring the reviews
to an individual level, there's really no Yelp for people. A new
startup that is receiving some attention and sparking some controversy
hopes to change that.
There’s no shortage of information telling online marketers what they should be doing. After all, everyone wants to be at the top of their game and best practice stuff really helps – but I rarely ever see a list of some of the DON’Ts.
So I made one. It should hopefully help you continue to steer clear of the online marketing taboos... If you are doing any of this, then shame on you.
Social media, whether you like it or not, is about conversations. For brands, that can be a headache. Especially when people are angry with your brand and talking about it. But marketers should take solace: there are much worse things they could be doing.
At SxSW this weekend, the panelists at Does My Sh*t-Talking Really Help Your Brand? panel were agreed: it does.