January 03, 2012

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Optimizing the TV-Twitter Connection Twitter has become a companion medium to TV. People watch their favorite shows, with a computer or mobile device at hand, tweeting reactions to the characters, the plot, the action sequences and the story line. They also tweet about brands while they watch. The volume of brand tweets can now be correlated with specific TV shows to create a new double-barreled channel for brands to engage their fans and more selectively target likely customers or brand advocates. Bluefin Labs, the social analytics firm associated with MIT Media Labs, has been keeping track of tweets as they relate to TV viewing. They found links between brands and the shows their fans watch most, which they call Social TV Analytics. For example Wal-Mart fans are most likely to tweet about America’s Supernanny on Lifetime or the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on CMT or Las Vegas Jailhouse on TRUTV. In contrast, Target buyers tweet about or during CMT’s Top Secret Recipe or HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney. It has always been assumed that there is lifestyle linkage between TV shows and the people who opt-in to watch them. Apparently this affinity dynamic is true for Twitter as well. The data can be correlated by brand and by category according to Bluefin. For example, 3 of Coke’s Top 10 tweeted shows are on ESPN. But there are no sports shows among the Top 10 tweeted shows for the Pepsi faithful. Some of the results are predictable. Beer drinkers tweet during sports shows and wine drinkers tweet during fashion and relationship programming. TV programming and commercials have always prompted talk. Now everyone is a TV and a social critic with instant digital access to an audience on Twitter and beyond. It’s a chicken-and-egg question; do people with lifestyle preferences tweet about brands because they advertise on these shows and networks? Or is there an organic subject matter trigger that drives brand tweets within specific content? The relationship between TV and Twitter provokes 4 new thoughts. 1. Should brands better align with highly tweeted shows and invest in added commercials and product placement to optimize fan engagement? 2. Should brands anticipate heavy brand tweeting during particular shows and staff social communities to respond in-context and in real-time to fan comments and posts? 3. Should networks merchandise tweets as a way to expand fan bases and better harvest brand advertising budgets? 4. Should consumers expect increasingly integrated commercial messages in programming that intertwines their TV watching and tweeting habits? Twitter is adding a new dimension to TV. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out and which brands leverage this dynamic inter-media relationship.
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4 Ways to Engage "Super Socials" About one-third of Americans with a social media profile have fully integrated social media (mostly Facebook) and smart phones into their daily lives. These 46 million people, manage their lives minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour using their phones. Two-thirds have used their phone to update their social media status which probably places them among the 300 million who check their Facebook pages using mobile devices several times each day. Jay Baer, analyzing a new study from Edison Research and Arbitron titled Social Habits II, calls them “Super Socials.” Some of the key survey findings were: Social networks are mainstream tools for personal communications Super Socials are more likely to be young and female Mobile access drives increased frequency of social network use Frequent users create more content -- more viral opportunities Frequent users are more likely to follow brands Frequent users consume more on-demand content Frequent users watch more video TV on a digital device Almost 25% said Facebook most influences their buying decisions This growing segment is the leading target for integrated marketing campaigns. Forty-three percent of social media activists follow brands in social media; 8 in 10 do so on Facebook. Their psycho-demographics inform the personas that marketers use to build digital assets and target digital media. Mom’s make up a healthy sub-segment of “Super Socials.” Yet when surveyed, 72 percent said that no social network influenced their purchase of products or services. A data point like this makes you wonder. The obvious explanation is that people say all kinds of stuff on surveys so we can easily dismiss internal contradictions as “survey error”. On the other hand the survey might be revealing a type of cognitive dissonance emerging from the social media experience that is being documented by a growing body of data, specifically the recent CMO Council study that says consumers and brands are coming at social media from different perspectives, with different expectations and agendas that might be seriously out of synch. People embraced Facebook and other networks because they created fast, easy and free ways to keep up with and communicate with friends and family. Social media is a personal CRM tool that adds value and fun. Plus it’s the thing to do, as evidenced by huge adoption among every demographic segment. Brands are second cousins. Admitted late to the party, brands are groping for credible ways to enter and participate in the on-going conversation. Typical brand interactions on Facebook happen once. The average fan visits the brand page once, usually to sign up for offers or deals or to play a game or participate in a promotion. A “Like” is usually the cost of participation not necessarily a sign of brand awareness, affection or preference. Most of the action on brand pages takes place on apps. These visits are not organic repeat visits. Instead media spending drives app use and promotional participation, often Facebook ads and external drivers like banners, video, search, text ads and e-mail. The fact that only a small percentage of fans actively visit brand pages without prompting suggests that the relationship with brands is secondary to relationships with real friends and based on a WIIFM calculation rather than as an expression of true loyalty or love. The implication is that super social consumers frequently participating in the Facebook experience will play along or take goodies from brands but that’s not the reason they visit, post, comment or like frequently. No brand wants to feel, much less be, an interloper on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube or elsewhere. It’s humbling to realize that the frequency and intensity of brand relationships aren’t what we thought they were or should be. But it also gives us clear direction on how to better serve our customers and ourselves in crafting social network marketing programs moving forward. Consider these four social media tactics. Focus on what people do. Interact and support the things that Super Socials (and everybody else) do frequently in social media. Think visually and think through a life on the go. Identify inflection points where your brand has a distinctive positioning or point of view or can uniquely add value. Comment on the things fans care about. Share frequently. Become more like a real friend; helping, advising, celebrating and sharing. Enable or enhance functionality. Find ways to add to the social network experience by making it easier to post or share pictures, comment or post on popular subjects or find other people with similar interests. Conceive promotions that either save consumers’ time or...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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