Talkin’ Skittles

This is fairly interesting. Skittles have changed their homepage to a link to a Twitter Search on Skittles.

All sorts of conversation, is happening right now about it. I mean RIGHT NOW:

ryancarson : http://skittles.com is now a Twitter search for the word “skittles” – Interesting (via @laughingsquid)
sushimonster : I can imagine the ad agency’s pitch now to skittles… “We’re not going to design you a new website. Your site will be THE INTERNET”. $80k pls

durbin : has anyone else heard about the skittles salmonella outbreak? be careful tasting the rainbow, its deadly.

emilychang : watching the tweets about skittles coming in and LMAO. the backlash has already begun. geek irony rules.

j3thr0 : I have a sudden craving for Skittles

and, ahem, my favourite:

ivoteforart: I’d rather spend my pocket money on a great piece of affordable art at http://www.ivoteforart.com, rather than a measly packet of Skittles

This graph, taken from Twitscoop, shows just how much buzz there has been in the last two hours:

To be honest, I’m not really sure what to make of this tactic. It will definitely create a bit of cheap PR for them, as media and bloggers alike talk about it. And then it will probably fizzle into nothing. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least they’re having a crack, I guess.

What’s your take?

Social Media – Listen, Say Sorry and Move On

This post is not a rant about why Big Brands don’t belong in Social Media. Nor is it a plea that that you HAVE to get your brand on Twitter and any other hot social media property de jour.

It’s about one of the really great benefits of Social Media marketing – If you mess something up, you can just apologize, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

Look at Telstra Big Pond for example. Clearly, they set up a Twitter account before they had ANY idea about using Twitter – as illustrated by their first 5 tweets shown below:

bigpond11

I could sit here and whine and moan about how “Big Business” don’t get it, like i usually do. But I won’t. Because that’s irrelevant.

What is relevant is BigPonds most recent 5 Tweets:

bigpond2

Did you see that? Real Humans instead of robots. Telstra learnt, probably quite quickly, that Twitter wasn’t the place for automated responses. They listened to some feedback:

bigpond3

They wised up. They learned their lesson. They re-thought their approach to Twitter. They got some real people onto the case. And they kept going with it. Now Telstra BigPond … they have over 500 followers.

My point is this. The great thing about Social Media marketing is that if you make a mistake, it doesn’t really matter. All you need to do is learn from your mistake, apologise, and move on. It’s that simple. And it’s just as true for a big corporations as it is for a small business using any type of social media tool.

There are countless other examples of forward thinking brands that experiment with Social Media, but don’t get it right the first time. And that’s OK. No one remembers if you fumble in the first place. And even if they do, you can recover from this easily.

Just listen, say sorry and move on.

ROI and 2.0 don’t mix

I have to say, I agree with DJ Francis. The whole, “What’s the ROI of web 2.0 / Social media?” debate is a pointless one.

My two cents on the issue:

The ROI is in the learning – You’ll gain a whole chuck of return from the learning that you get from just being involved in social media. Return on Investment doesn’t always have to be a financial return on investment.

Marketing is no longer linear – It’s unconventional. You don’t just plug in a strategy and get results anymore. You list. You respond. You make mistakes. You learn. You try again. You keep trying.

Marketing, like it or not, can’t always be measured in a spreadsheet. It’s serendipitous. That’s not a bad thing.

You don’t need a strategy document to listen to your customers – At the end of the day, all of this social media stuff is just a vehicle hear what your customers are really thinking. And if that’s not part of your plan, you’re in trouble.

Social Media keeps you ahead of the game – The innovators didn’t wait around to see if their social media campaign delivered ROI. And as a result, they’re already ahead of the game. Take a brand like @Zappos. They’ve expermented succesfully with social media tools such as Twitter. And now they’re two steps ahead of everyone else.

Who says 1.0 tactics are working, anyway? – Before we start going after social media, let’s not forget that the traditional marketing approach isn’t exactly working its socks off. Does anyone think that Coca Cola actually generate ROI with a new bottle shape or any other futile marketing exercise?

It’s free! – You don’t even need to spend money on this. Just time.

So the question should no longer be, “Is it worth getting involved in Social Media”. The questions is, can you afford not to?

Back in the saddle

So here I am, blogging again. Although I’m far from finding the rythym just yet – I used to have a list of potential blog posts as long as my arm; right now I can’t think of anything all that insightful to write about. I’m sure it’ll come back to me.

Besides, I find bloggers like Hugh Macleod sometimes just write to reflect, rather than offering nuggets of insight in every post. So I might experiement a little. Let down my guard. And just write.

It has been almost 3 years since I began this little blog. Since then, social media arena grew up. Now we have Facebook. We have Twitter. We have i Phones. We have 1.4 billion people online.

Blogging itself never really hit the mainstream. But that doesn’t matter. Because the fundamental ideas that blogging represents are alive and well. Mass amateurisation. Mass connection is happening.

But while some things have changed, a lot has stayed the same.

Sadly, even now that I’m working in the online industry, I still find so many people who don’t “Get” what the internet is about. They keep pumping out banner ads and building microsites. Sadly there still isn’t that many great examples of brands that have suceeded in social media. Yes, there are plenty of companies that have done a fantastic job. but I still believe we have a long, long way to go.

Lately I’m finding myself more interested in the effects of the web on our culture that I am about it’s effect on marketing. Either way, I’m as passionate about the internet as I’ve ever been. And If you haven’t seen Kevin Kelly’s TED presentation on “the next 5,000 days of the web”, take a look below. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!