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Peyton Manning, the NFL and a city winning on social media

Omaha!

Omaha, NE, has a great zoo, hosts the College World Series, is the hometown of Warren Buffett… and was mentioned dozens of times on Sunday.

Social media are excellent if you’re a sports fan (full disclosure: I am one).

One of the great things about social media – and especially Twitter – is that fans can connect with other fans in real time, as they watch the games. This makes for some incredible fun, as celebrities, other athletes and your buddies all react to that play you just saw on TV.

Other times, though, sporting events provide brands with an incredible opportunity. During last year’s Super Bowl power failure, Oreo capitalized and earned millions of dollars of publicity and acclaim for one simple tweet.

During the AFC playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers, one midwest city got more publicity than it could have paid for over a year, all because Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has a love affair with the word “Omaha.”

Manning is known for yelling various “code words” when his team is preparing for a play. Some of these words tell his teammates to adjust to something the defense is going to do. Some of them are nonsense. One of them – a word Manning has been yelling for years – could be heard again and again on TV. Twitter took notice, with fans, writers and famous folks tweeting about the Nebraska city’s clear appearance on the broadcast. (In case you were wondering, Manning says Omaha all the time, but the playoff broadcasts usually have more cameras and more microphones, so on-field sound was more audible than usual.)

As the Omaha craze grew, the city’s visitors bureau decided to get in on the fun with this tweet:

This simple tweet tore through the Internet, with thousands of retweets and favorites, along with dozens of articles appearing online regarding the tweet and Manning’s propensity for mentioning the city.

This is a prime example of a brand taking advantage of an opportunity. Sometimes, it’s not the big campaigns that earn all of the results. It will be interesting to see if the Omaha bureau can capitalize on this success – especially with the Broncos still in the playoffs this weekend against the New England Patriots. During the offseason, it would seem to be a great opportunity to connect with Manning to promote the city. Either way, Omaha needs to leverage this attention with more tweets and information on the rest of their web presence.

And in case you were wondering, “How many times did Manning really say it?” Here’s a video of all 44 mentions during Sunday’s game.

Playing by numbers: Fake clicks undermine social media campaigns

Fake clicks

A teen in Indonesia provides fake social media clicks. Photo by Associated Press

Interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about companies paying for fake clicks on social media sites in order to artificially build credibility and buzz among their followers.

This news isn’t surprising, especially because most companies incorrectly overvalue “likes” and “follows” as success in social media. The reality is that success in social media needs to be measured in the same way as all other marketing efforts – by the number of dollars brought to the company.

Social media has huge value for brand management and awareness, but contrary to popular belief, most users never have this thought, “Wow, I will buy that product based on the number of likes Brand X’s Facebook post has today.”

While building an audience is a big part of any social media campaign, companies must focus on winning real users who will lead to real business, rather than obsessing over the number of likes or followers each account has.

In the long run, companies that buy fake clicks get little value for their money, and they risk getting hit with a big public relations backlash if they are discovered. In the end, it’s just not worth the half-penny per faux click.

Making Facebook friends with Applebee’s

Applebee's

Mmm, chicken tenders.

The subtitle of this post should be “A reminder that engagement doesn’t just happen.”

This story of journalist Chip Zdarsky and his long, funny relationship on Facebook with the local Applebee’s is well worth the read. The interaction between Zdarsky and the local eatery is funny and positive, and kudos to whoever is doing the social media for the restaurant for staying on message and trying to promote the Applebee’s brand throughout the exchanges.

However, the big takeaway from the article for social media marketers can be seen in this quote from Zdarsky:

I started digging deeper on the page and noticed it was, well, pretty barren of comments. It just seemed like whoever was in charge of their social media kept putting up new photos and trying to engage conversation and was left with a whole lot of nothing.

The person running social media for this Applebee’s did an admirable job of trying to bring people to the restaurant’s account, with little return on their time. So the question has to be “could they have done something different?”

In short, yes.

One of the biggest misconceptions of social media management is that engagement comes automatically from asking questions of the audience and letting the magic happen. In reality, most people who follow a brand’s page are looking for three things: News, deals and customer service.

Brand pages that have a mature, established audience can add question or poll posts to their strategy and get engagement. The goal of a post such as “Our Three-Cheese Penne goes great with ___ for a perfect Pick ‘N Pair combo” is to get users not only answering but debating. User X loves one dish and comments about it, while user Y loves something else. They (and others) begin to debate the merits of their favorites, and the restaurant gets a ton of positive feedback with little effort. In the end, each user is more likely to go to the restaurant and order a new dish.

Followers of this local restaurant – rather than the Applebee’s corporate brand page – are most likely looking for daily deals and coupons. To build engagement, this page might need to understand that communication is going to be more one-way than not for a while. And that’s OK.

(Side note: Question posts were horribly ineffective during my time at Princeton University, and many financial services companies find that asking open questions can backfire more often than not.)

The goal of any social media presence is, in the end, to get more money in the coffers and more people in the business. Not every Facebook page is going to be Starbucks or George Takei, where every post earns thousands of likes, comments and (most importantly) shares.

Success is engagement. If that means changing course midstream, it’s always worth a shot. Either that or get some publicity from Buzzfeed and The Atlantic. No problem, right?

If your business is looking for the right strategy to build a successful social media presence, contact us at Shea-Cahir Consulting today.

Comedy is difficult… especially on social media

Twitter

Think before you tweet.

By now, you’ve read about “The Tweet Heard Round the World,” by public relations executive Justine Sacco. It’s pretty short and sweet.

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

The outrage related to this is well-placed. It’s racist, classist, really inappropriate, and just plain stupid.

However, there is a more business-related reason that Sacco was fired, and it provides a lesson to all companies.

Read the rest of this entry

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