Social Concepts

Archive for April 2011

The first time I voted, was for a president. It was for a historical election. It was for a Black president, above all.

I love firsts. But as historical as that election was, I have to be clear here that President Obama did not only make history by becoming the first Black president. No, he made equally impressive strides. With a shift in our social world, Obama capitalized off the success of various networks to garner votes. He had an email list serve of 13 million users, has his own website which integrates social marketing campaigns. His entire campaign revolved around social media, and that to me is quite an impressive feat.

I’m extrememly excited that he’s running again in 2012. Political values aside, I think this will make for an interesting campaign season. I want to see how Obama will improve from last year, and how he will compete against other candidates who will jump on the social media bandwagon. I want to see how all of these candidates will reach out to this dynamic set of socialites online. I want to know who’s going to do it the best, and who’s going fail.

So while the political pundits will be evaluating each campaign platform and dissecting each debate, I’ll temporarily wear my social media expert cap (if I can remotely call myself that) and dissect each tweet, Facebook post, YouTube video, podcast…etc. We’re in for a treat next year, guys.

I’ll keep you updated!


I had an interesting read last night, an article called the “19 ‘New’ Rules of Social Media Copywrting.” It was intriguing, to say the least.

Now, I’m not going to list all 19 of the rules they mentioned, but I wanted to highlight two points — one that I fully agree with, and the other that I’m kind of on the fence about. (Ok, no. I completely disagree.)

Rule #10: Create Discussion Topics

It’s echoed throughout most of my posts on this site: Engaging with your audience and listening to them is premiere on social media. Without it, your presence is obsolete.

So of course I think it’s important to create discussion topics with your audience in order to promote your brand. People LOVE conversation. They breathe off of debates. I follow AOL BlackVoices on Twitter, and one thing I can always say about them is that, though their articles are sometimes subpar, they fully engage with their followers and consistently pose questions pertaining directly to their stories to generate discussion. It works well for them.

Any journalist knows that the best part of writing a new story is the comment sections. When you see dozens of folks partaking in conversation about your subject, rather criticizing your work, it feels like heaven.

So yes, I completely agree that with any social media marketing tactic, engagement is KEY. Having a well-thought out discussion is what’s going to make your organization much more recognizable.

Rule #12: Use the 4 U’s

Create Urgency, Usefulness, Uniqueness and Ultra-Specificity to stimulate interest,” is how this rule is described. Ok…I agree. But the description went downhill, telling folks to create a teaser and use phrases such as “Limited time…”, “Right now…”, “Last Chance…” etc. But when you use these phrases, your marketing comes off as a straight sales tactic. It sounds like that’s all the focus of the campaign is: We want to give you this at a discount, or for free because we need  you to buy! rather than We value your opinions and your intellectualism, so lets build a relationship by engaging in a deep discussion. (Ok, I did the most right there, I know.)

Essentially, what I’m saying is that while there should be a balance in your social media campaign, the language you use should rarely scream BUY! And while I agree with the new rules of social media copywriting, I just can’t bring myself to accept Rule #12. What do you all think?

What does Snooki, Pauly D, and the rest of the cast of Jersey Shore have in common (Besides that effervescent oompa-loompa orange glow)?

You may hate these Jersey folks, but their doing one hell of a job at branding themselves across the nation. Their branching off to other tv shows, spin-off series, and making the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

This actually has no relation to social media, I just really like Jersey Shore and wanted to use it as an example. Because when you analyze this trio, it does perfectly prove that branding is everything. That branding can take you to the next level. That you can brand success.

Branding is important. There, we made the Jersey Shore analogy work.

One of the primary mistakes that brands make when utilizing social media for marketing is their lack of personality and interaction through that medium. They focus strictly on marketing their brand, rather than connecting with their fans or followers. This mistake is quite common among industries and brands that have a strong presence on social media. There’s nothing unique to them that makes people gravitate to their brand.

If you ever read an O’Dwyer article, you’ll find that it frequently stresses the need for brands to use social media appropriately and LISTEN.  It’s important to build a connection with the public, because when that falters, your brand is at a standstill.

A widely recognized example for a business recognizing the importance of listening through social media is Starbucks. Three years ago, Starbucks created an online community called “My Starbucks Idea.” In it, users are able to submit their ideas to Starbucks executives. The company takes things a step further by implementing the idea, and showing its consumer-base that they’re listening. They engage merely by sharing and executing ideas.

But although Starbucks is attempting to show that they’re listening, a closer look can reveal it to be a vapid marketing strategy. Last year, Starbucks claimed that out of their 80,000 shifts into a new direction, 50 of the ideas were consumer-driven. Marketing bloggers took a closer look, however, noticing that some of the ideas were essentially re-gifted. One post from Brand Autopsy found that only eight of the ideas were actually new; the rest were already in Starbucks’ pipeline, or were simply revamped from its old practices. And some of the ideas Starbucks addressed as new were not executed entirely. Consumers complain that in the end, asking for customer input and not necessarily acting on it is worse than not asking for their opinions, at all. They also fault Starbucks for the PR driven responses they issue when engaging with their consumers; it’s not as fluid and organic as it should be on social media.

As the customer mentioned above, asking for input and not acting on it is WORSE than not interacting with the public for their ideas. This will only hurt Starbucks’ brand

It’s difficult finding a clear-cut balance between monitoring what a company puts on the web, and how closely they engage with their audience. But at its core, a company that listens well to its customers and acts accordingly with them will always have a leg up on their competition, and will always have brand marketing power.


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  • Odochi Ibe: The Super Bowl is like the Holy Grail for commercials. Companies will spend millions trying to get the coveted spot to showcase their most clever com
  • Odochi Ibe: I love Vloggers! I could spend hours surfing YouTube just to see what the ones I subscribe to have to say. I give these people a lot of credit for ha
  • Odochi Ibe: "Effervescent oompa-loompa orange glow," priceless. I admit I was not a fan of Jersey Shore, I thought it was annoying and stupid, but after the cont