Two days ago, Neil Young joined Twitter. Nearly 26,000 users are already following him, including me. So what did the massively influential singer-songwriter have to say as his first tweets?
As a fan, this was a huge disappointment. No insights into his famously introspective lyrics or deep explorations of his diverse musical styles? Not even close. Instead, some generic promotional drivel – clearly, this is not really Neil Young but rather a publicist or marketer who is endorsing his brand.
An article about Neil Young’s deceiving Twitter tease on GigaOM.com focuses on whether the fake hype is reason enough for social media companies to start flagging the difference between brand and personal accounts. It also raises the question of whether famous people’s promotional accounts will be excused if Twitter decides to ban fake names.
The most questionable part of the fake hype over the Neil Young Twitter account to me, however, is the boring content the marketer has published so far. As a former Content Development Team Lead at WebiMax, and as the current Social Media Manager, one thing I always stress is the importance of understanding your audiences and writing with them in mind.
Whether you’re a content marketer writing a blog post for a client or a social media marketer composing a tweet for a campaign, give the readers what they want. In this case, fewer dull marketing posts and a little more “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Neil Young’s distinctive guitar sounds and signature voice deserve it – and so do his fans.
I asked our content writers and social media marketers to come up with ideas for Neil Young tweets, and within minutes here were some of the best responses:
1. If I could tweet this through a harmonica I would: the @rollingstone exclusive premiere of new video Walk Like a Giant http://bitly.com/QSj1hD
2. While @jimmyfallon did a great job impersonating Neil Young for his show, Young’s lyrics are more thoughtful than this: http://bit.ly/S3bgtW
3. On 8/25 NBCNews.com mistakenly reported Neil Young dead instead of Neil Armstrong. Alive & well – album out 10/30 #RIParmstrong
4. Neil Young never walked on the moon, but now he’s on Twitter. That’s equivalent, right?
5. #MentionADateYouWillNeverForget 11-12-1945: The day of my birth! Read more in new memoir: http://bit.ly/OXWMun
Basically, Neil Young should hire WebiMax to manage his Twitter campaign. Which is your favorite tweet? Let us know in the comments below.
How can lip balm be controversial? Just ask Chapstick – they’ve managed to offend a lot of people with the image they chose for a new advertisement and, moreover, how they chose to deal with the backlash on their Facebook page.
Chapstick is the latest example of a brand mishandling negativity over a new advertising campaign – a prime example of how NOT to use social media when it comes to managing your reputation online.
What many companies don’t realize is that, for the most part, Americans are a forgiving group of people. We watched as Britney Spears fell from grace, but now she’s a judge on the popular television show X Factor with millions of people rooting her on. Michael Vick was involved in an illegal dog fighting ring and served time in jail for the conviction, but now he’s the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles with a strong fan-base. Chris Brown was charged with felony assault for beating his girlfriend, pop star Rihanna, but he continues to be a celebrated member of hip hop community.
What do these three people have in common? They all admitted their mistakes, apologized, asked for forgiveness, and explained to the public how they plan on changing their lives for the better. Any publicist will tell you that trying to cover up a controversial event will only make matters worse. Owning their actions and taking responsibility for their mistakes is the only way that celebrities or famous athletes can begin to repair their relationships with the American public – and that goes for brands, too, not just people.
So when Chapstick ran this ad -
- featuring a woman bent over the back of a couch looking for her lost Chapstick (we know where they were going with this ad: read Dan’s latest post about how sex sells in the marketing world), and they received criticism on their Facebook page by people who found it offensive, did they take ownership? How did they handle the backlash?
They deleted the comments. Big brand management no-no.
To make matters worse, in bold letters at the bottom of the ad it says “BE HEARD AT FACEBOOK.COM/CHAPSTICK.” Perhaps a more accurate call-to-action would’ve been “be heard – as long as it puts our brand in a positive light.”
If Chapstick wants to use social media as a place where consumers can go to give their honest feedback and “be heard,” they’ll need to be prepared to take the bad with the good. Here are my two pieces of advice for Chapstick, or any brand that is faced with a similar situation:
- Listen to people’s complaints, and apologize to those you have offended on your Facebook page where the public can see your response.
- Be prepared to handle criticisms as well as praise & approval whenever you launch a new campaign – especially if you direct readers to your Facebook page where consumer feedback is a fundamental part of social media for businesses.
What do you think about Chapstick’s decision to delete negative comments from their Facebook page? Join the conversation on Twitter using #brandchat or email me at pryan[AT]webimax.com.
You just launched a new site, began a new business venture. You’re confident in your product/service. That’s taken care of. What’s not is your brand’s level of traffic and customer intrigue. Something has to be done about that. You’ve heard about the benefits of online marketing tactics, such as SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) services. You’re very interested, but would like to learn more. Here’s your chance.
SEO vs. PPC
Those in the online marketing industry understand the stark contrasts between PPC management and SEO tactics. However, many businesspeople do not have the time to make such distinctions; they keep focused on their own field. Understand this: SEO is a longer-termed project. It does help with traffic and gaining attention, but such traction is not made directly “out of the gate.” Startups wanting to gain short-term traction should consider using a PPC management service instead. A startup can begin fielding traffic from the first day (even in the first hours) of the campaign.
As I’ve already stated, many businesspeople are intrigued by online marketing, yet they don’t have the time to learn properly. They don’t have the time to devote to the PPC process. Outsourced vendors, on the other hand, do have the resources to commit. That’s exactly what PPC requires: intense commitment. Being vigilant ensures a great ROI. Unfortunately, a number of startups tackling PPC management on their own often fail, losing money in the process. Vendors devote one member or an entire team to the process, which is how you want to manage your startup campaign for maximum peace of mind and success.
Do you know what terms to use in your campaign? Do you know how much competitive words cost? Are there other words your brand can use to gain traction and intrigue? You may not know, but it’s likely a PPC management service can answer these questions. Their experience is worth the investment, which may make your decision to hire a PPC specialist a little easier.
It’s Easy to Trace ROI
Some online marketing initiatives are difficult to measure in terms of success. For instance, companies whose SEO tactics didn’t raise levels of traffic a whole lot may still see increased conversions. Pay-per-click management, though requiring diligence and experience, is straightforward. A PPC management service can show you where your money was spent and if those expenses generated revenue for your business. While some outsourced services may make businesses struggle to determine an exact ROI, PPC management is easier to measure with greater accuracy.
Today, I was sitting at my desk when I received a phone call from a “Blocked” number during my lunch break. Reluctantly, I answered it.
“May I please speak with Patricia Ryan?” a voice asked me.
“May I ask who’s calling?” I responded, politely.
“Yes, this is Karen. I’m a customer care specialist representing PetSmart.com.”
Immediately, I knew where this conversation was going. Before work this morning, I received an email from them asking me to fill out a survey about my experience with a recent order that I placed through their website. One of the items in my order was wrong (I wanted the grey Martha Stewart dog toy box, not the blue one), so I decided to take the survey and give my honest feedback. Less than 5 hours later, Karen was calling me to rectify the situation.
“We follow up with customers who have negative experiences with PetSmart.com to avoid nasty online reviews by unhappy people,” she told me.
Then it clicked – this is PetSmart’s proactive approach to managing their online reputation. Obviously, they’re aware of the potentially damaging effects that negative ratings and reviews can have on their brand and ultimately their bottom line. Rather than have to react to them after they’re already published, their strategy is to prevent “nasty online reviews” from happening in the first place. For me, it was effective – I hung up the phone a satisfied customer and they don’t have to worry about me damaging their reputation on the Internet.
All businesses – no matter how big or small, online-based or not – should have an online reputation management plan in place. A combination of being proactive like PetSmart, combating negative reviews, monitoring social engagement (for more on how your business can use social media to constructively engage with customers, read this post on Twitter & Customer Service), and positioning your company in a positive light is the most effective way to manage a brand.
Can you think of any examples of proactive or reactive reputation management strategies that were successful? Share them with me at pryan[at]webimax.com.