Social Implications: What’s Next?

Social media is something that businesses all around the globe have embraced and why have they chosen to embrace social media? The answer to that question is simple because we the consumer have embraced it and have changed the way businesses do business. Social media is not just about keeping in touch with friends and family or writing about what kind of day we had, social media is much more than that especially in today world. In todays world their are over 955 million facebook users, YouTube receives more than 4 billion view per day, and Twitter has more than 140 million users. This is just a small sample of some of the social media sites that are used everyday. A full report of this can be found on expandingramblings.com where they list 35 different social media sites and the number of users or views that are received. With such a large number of social media users what percentage of those include businesses. According to the Social Media Examiners 2011 Marketing Report, 93 percent were using social media for marketing purposes, and 90 percent of marketers said that social media was important for their business. The point is that with the enormous amount of people actively using social media, it is extremely important for businesses to also join in order to reach consumers. It is clear that the majority of businesses are already using some form of social media, whether it is through a company blog or having a link to their Facebook page or Twitter name. Some companies will have more links to different social sites, but most just use the old staples and have yet to step out any further than blogs, Facebook or Twitter.

Intrest in Pinterest  

The newest trend that seems to sweeping the world of social media is Pinterest, this is a fairly new social platform because it has only been around for about 3 years, but within those 3 years they have managed to gain 20 million users and counting. Last year interest in Pinterest rose 429%, Pinterest was also ranked second next to Google for retailer referral traffic. Forbes says that, “… non-consensus companies. An obvious secret is when a startup has discovered a deep insight about its users, which is not obvious to the outside world, but is the key …”(Huffington Post). So this is a sight that a company may think about when evaluating their current social media strategy or if they are thinking about joining the world of social media. But guess what that is not all that is trending, Instagram is also trending. Instagram is a social app that is available for your phone, this app is similar to that of Pinterest but this app allows for you to snap a picture and then share it with friends and family. It is not just camera but it has options that allow you to choose the type of filter to make your pictures unique. A person may also share their Instagram photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Ok, so we have Pinterest and Instagram currently trending, but what would happen if Pinterest and Instagram decided to get married? Well the answer to that is Pingram. Pingram is another photo sharing site that allows for users to combine their Instagram photos in a Pinterest like fashion. When using Pingram you are given a vanity URL that allows you to post unlimited pictures everyday. This also allows for people and businesses to upload pictures they take with Instagram and post them on Pingram. Which means that people and businesses can use this a way to keep friends, family and business partners up-to-date on what is going. Could Pingram be the next big thing, well only time wil tell, right now it seems to be more of a teenager site but as time goes by and it get more popular who knows if it will take off and be as popular as Pinterest and Instagram or even Facebook.

 

Outcomes of Good and Bad Social Media

Social media offers companies a chance to engage with consumers. That means listening to those who serve and not just brushing them off. When implementing a social media marketing plan it can go one of two ways, good or bad. In this weeks post I will discuss how one company used social media and failed, while another company uses social media and have had complete success.  These two companies both have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but one company started a social media campaign that failed while another started a social media campaign that succeeded. These two companies are Ragu and Southwest Airlines.  Google both of these companies with the phrase “social media” added you will find numerous articles and blog entries about these companies and their use of social media.

Dads Rage Against Ragu

In 2011 Ragu decided that to start a new campaign called, “What’s dinner time like when dad cooks”. Ok stop! Look at the title of the campaign. That is just a bad from the start and I am not the only one who thought this was one of the stupidest campaigns and not only that but also insulting to dads. Here is how it went down, they started this campaign with a YouTube video that they made of what Mom’s have to say about dads and cooking dinner. They used their Twitter feed to spam dad with @ symbol and this video was attached:  When watching the video the first thing that comes to mind for me is that these women are stuck up and think they are better. They rail on how their husbands cook dinner. One lady in the video mentions that her husband only knows how to make sausage and waffles, another one talks about how her husband only grills. They all say that the kids love when dad cooks because they get whatever they want. So for Ragu to “spam” dads using Twitter was obviously not the right move. A company should never send out  spam in the first place, but to send out spam messages to dads, with a video complaining about how they cook is insulting. What happened after this fiasco? Well as you can imagine dads were not happy and so these dads fought back through the use of “social media”. That’s right Ragu isn’t the only one who knows how to use social media (well maybe they don’t). CC  Chapman who happens to not only be in marketing but is also a dad, was one of the many dads who got spammed by Ragu via Twitter, he was not happy and neither were his followers.

The question now is how could Ragu avoid this in the first place. One way in which they could have avoided this is by better defining who their target audience was, instead of just spamming them with an insulting video. There are many different approaches they could have taken if they wanted to target dads, for example what asking dads what they like to cook for their kids. They could have used Twitter in a better way in asking its followers (male followers) what they like to cook for their children. This could have been done on Facebook as well.Ragu is a perfect example of how a company should NOT use social media, but that doesn’t mean a company can’t use social media to make consumers more aware of their brand along with reminding consumers about them.

Southwest Airlines 

Are you “nuts” about Southwest Airlines well then you are among the millions of other people out there who are a fan of this airline. Southwest Airlines currently has over 2 million people following them on Facebook and over 1 million followers on Twitter. Now how is it that Southwest has such a high amount of people following them on these two sites. The answer is through their marketing campaign “Nuts About Southwest”, this is not only their slogan but also the name of their popular blog. This particular airline has a one of a kind blog, this particular blog is written by the employees of Southwest Airlines about their job, the places they have gone and the people that they meet. Most blogs only have two or three contributors, however they have around 40 different employees blogging for “Nuts About Southwest”.  Southwest has always been known as a company that has excellent customer service, in that they always listen to their customers and strive to meet the needs every person who chooses to fly with them. In an article on PRdaily they talked to Laurel Moffat about why their social media policy, she mentioned that “We’re all communicators  and that all members of the Southwest team embrace being spokespeople for the company”. This key phrase is “spokespeople for the company”. When dealing with social media it is important that when allowing for employees of any company to look at themselves in this way, if one member does not feel this way then there could possible be an issue. She also mentioned that, “…good intentions alone won’t manage a massive social media following”. This is important to understand because if a company is to start a social media campaign then it is important to manage those who follow your company so that you can pin point problems and fix them before they get out of hand. She also mentions that when dealing with social media, it is important to sound like a real person, people don’t want to follow a company that sounds like they are just Tweeting to tweet but rather to think that they are talking to you and engaging with the consumer.

Things that Southwest does in order to make their blog and all their other social media sites work is that they listen and when a problem arises they work to solve the problem in a timely manner. There was once an incident in which an overweight passenger was removed from the plane because he could not fit into the seat. The person whom they kicked off the flight decided to blog about it and complained about it. Southwest made phones calls and Tweets about this trying to find a way in which to rectify the problem. They also handle the problem in which one the pilots went off ranting. They were able to resolve this issue and once again Southwest was able to regain the respect of their customers.

So how does Southwest manage to maintain such a strong force on social media sites, Southwest uses the following sites in order to make sure that everything runs smoothly they use Radian6 and Vocus. Radian6 is part of Salesforce and this site in which companies can use for social media listening, monitoring and engagement. Vocus has a marketing suit and a PR suite, the marketing suite allows for customers to, “…makes it easy for to attract customers through search engines, get followers on Facebook and Twitter, and generate buzz and visibility for your company.” There PR suite allows, “…allows you to monitor news, distribute press releases and engage in social media.” This I believe has truly helped Southwest to establish a brand in which consumers can trust.  It also has allowed for Southwest to better monitor what is going on with the various social media outlets that they are using. Laurel Moffat also said that one which they monitor what is being published on their various different social media sites is by making sure that all member are required to print out a report to share with all the departments. Also any employee who chooses to do a local Facebook page in order to engage with consumers are required to take training on how to do this properly.

Now that we have a full understanding of what Southwest does in order to maintain their high standards in the world of social media, let’s find out what could possibly go wrong. Considering how well they monitor all of the different sites they are on as well as their “Nuts About Southwest” blog it is hard to imagine something going wrong. If anything was to go wrong I would imagine that it would involve something like a disgruntled employee who writes for their blog writing something negative and it somehow slipping through. Someone hacking their site could also cause a major disturbance, especially if it took them a few days to fix.

                             Ragu VS Southwest 

We have discussed how one brand Ragu screwed up in using social media by spam their so called target market, while another company Southwest Airlines has taken the use of social media by the horns and are doing excellent. So how could one company go so wrong while another did so well? The answer to that is simple, one had did their homework while the other didn’t. Knowing who your target market is, is important and knowing how to go about reaching them is even more important. Ragu choose to spam their target market with an insulting video while the other company choose to listen to their customers and wanted to be seen as a company that truly cared about their customers.

 

Ivey, M. (2011, June 30). Southwest airlines and social media strategy: 5 lessons for marketers . Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/southwest-airlines-strategy/:

Hosenkkamp, S. (2012, February 10). How southwest manages its popular social media sites. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/How_Southwest_manages_its_popular_social_media_sit_10788.aspx

https://twitter.com/SouthwestAir

https://www.facebook.com/Southwest

Schechter, M. (2011, October 04). Brand bullying: A tale of ragu and social media. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/ginidietrich/370992/brand-bullying-tale-ragu-and-social-media

 Chapman, C. (2011, September 27). Ragu hates dads. Retrieved from http://www.cc-chapman.com/2011/ragu-hates-dads/

 

Apples and Oranges: Differentiation

Apples and Oranges what is better? Well guess what, we won’t find that out today because instead we will be discussing the differences between two grocery store chains one which is a major chain and the other which is a much smaller chain store. The grocery store business is a fast growing industry with a new store opening everyday. The two stores that we will learn about and compare are Vons/Safeway and Sprouts, these two stores are our apples and oranges. The conversation for today will be about how do these two stores use social media to their advantage and if it what they are doing is working for them. But before we get into that let’s look at the history of these two stores and find out where exactly they are coming from.

Ingredients for Life:

Vons or also known as Safeway is grocery store chain that is located California and Nevada but Safeway’s are located all over the west coast as well as some other states in the midwest region. But how did they get their start and where are they today? Vons was first started up in Los Angels in 1906 and by 1928 they had expanded to 87 stores and by the 1970’s they had expanded even more with more than 159 new stores. Now in 2012 Vons has over 325 stores in California and Nevada. What makes Vons so impressive and how have they managed to be a leader in the ever growing grocery store industry? Let’s look back to 1948, during this time they did something that no other grocery store had done before, they started to sell self-service produce, meat and deli department. Since then they have been growing and changing and doing things to help keep them up to date and on top of what the consumer wants and needs. What are some of these things and do they have anything to do with social media? The answer to that is simple, yes. They have been doing this not only through the use of social media but by offering things in their store that consumer may find important. According to their website Vons has “introduced full service banks, one hour photo, professional pharmacies,dry cleaners and service centers which offer copying and faxing.” This is one way in which they are able to get customers back is by offering offering all of these different services. What else do they do, well let’s take a look. Just like most grocery stores they have a loyalty card that allows for consumer’s to save money on products that are on sale. They also have a program called “Just for U” this program allows for customers to save an additional 10-20% percent off sale prices, the Coupon Center which allows for consumers to find the coupons that they want and download them directly to their club card, personalized deals which are designed to save the consumer money on the products that they purchase most often, and your club specials this allows for you to find all the items that you purchase most frequently and find out if those products are on sales. This not just something that can be done in the store, but you can also download the “Just for U” app for your iPhone and Android.  They also have a Facebook account, that allows for consumers to engage in conversation with one another, they ask questions and also show special deals that are going on in the store. They have Twitter account in which like with Facebook they allow for consumers to engage with them, the ask questions, tell you about deals, and give advice about products that you may want to purchase. Then they have a blog but this blog is better than just listening to what the people work they have to say, but rather it includes posts by the people who really matter and that is YOU!

This is my local VONS store, located in the Hillcrest/Mission Hills area of San Diego, CA

The next store that I want to review is a small chain located only in a few states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Before getting to how they use social media let’s take a little trip to the past, it all started back in the 1940’s with a single fruit stand near La Mesa, in San Diego, CA at this time the store was not called Sprouts, but rather it was called Boney’s, named after the man who started it all Henry Boney, hence the reason why some of the stores are called Henry’s. What has happened to Boney’s/Sprouts since that first fruit stand in 1943, well today they now have over 100 stores located in eight states. What makes this store so special that it belongs in this blog, well it is a different than you average run of the mill grocery store, it doesn’t carry as many products as most stores do and they don’t advertise on television. So how do they do it, how do they stay in touch with their customers, well first off they offer extremely low prices on the produce, for example 4lbs of watermelon or 4 ears of white corn for $1. But how do they connect to consumer via social media well this is how, the use the basics Facebook and Twitter but they also have a YouTube channel but unfortunately  they don’t advertise their YouTube channel so I had to personally search YouTube myself to find their channel. However their YouTube channel shows only four videos, but one video shows them sponsoring a Walk for Autism in Arizona.

There Facebook page is filled with questions that consumers can answer which helps them to engage and feel as part of this community. There Twitter Account is just filled with basic information, facts and recipes.

So the differences between the way in which Vons has chosen to use social media versus the way in which Sprouts uses it, is amazing. They both sell groceries but Sprouts is much smaller than Vons and so they don’t need to utilize social media as much as Vons. It is important to understand that every business is different therefore not every business is going to use the same social media outlets. Also it is important to understand that not all social media outlets need to be used in order to engage with the consumer. I believe that both Sprouts and Vons have done a good job as far as the amount social media outlets that they have used and how they have chosen to use them. Vons since they are bigger than Sprouts and sell more grocery items it is important for them to be able to compete with the larger grocery stores such as Kroger and Wal-Mart. Now Sprouts because they only sell a small selection of products and they sell healthy, organic, gluten free products as well as few other products, they didn’t need to do as much a Vons because they are competing more with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Both of these stores are different but both stores are part of the ever growing grocery store industry and need to use social media in order to keep up and in touch with their customers.

* Sources pulled from:

http://sprouts.com/

https://twitter.com/SproutsFM

https://www.facebook.com/SproutsFarmersMarket

http://www.youtube.com/user/SproutsFarmersMarket

http://www.vons.com/ShopStores/Our-Story.page

https://twitter.com/vons_pavilions

https://www.facebook.com/Safeway

 

A Brief History of Advertising

Welcome to Advertising Then Now and Forever: The Good The Bad The Ugly. This blog is designed to give a better understand of what exactly advertising is as well as  discussing strong brands that have stood the test of time as well as brands that have failed.

Let’s start with understanding what exactly adverting is, according the Merriam-Webster dictionary advertising is, the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements. Advertising has a strong history and it has been around since ancient times. Here is a brief outline of the history of advertising, this will hopefully give a good understanding as how far we have come in the world of advertising.

Ancient Advertising

The start of advertising did not include TV, Radio or Print ads. Instead people would stand and yell announcements about events that were going on in their community. This was truly ancient advertising in the fact that because their was no such thing as even print advertising that this is what people had to resort to in order to advertise an event. Not long after this though advertising in the ancient times changed and they started to print their advertisement however because many people at the time could not read the ads had consisted of only pictures. Different cultures advertised for different reasons, the Romans used advertising to announce Gladiator Matches, in Arabia they would advertise political campaigns, the Egyptians made for sales signs, in Greece they would have lost and found posters. However in countries like Africa and Asia the earliest form of advertising was Cave Paintings.

 15th-17th Century

A lot happened during this time period as far as advertising is concerned. At the start of the fifteenth century this is were it all really started. The printing press was invented around 1440 and this is were we start to see handbills. From then on out advertising took off and we start to see newspapers being printed during the seventeenth century and ads being placed. These ads were simple, they were not fancy. A lot of these early ads were for advertising books and newspapers but also medicine.

19th Century Advertising 

The early part of the advertising was still not big, the more ads were running in the paper than before but they were all placed in the back of the paper. These ads often times for elixirs. By the late nineteenth century we start to notice that ads are no longer just black and white text, but color images started show up more often. This all has to do with the change in the business world, we are introduced to Thomas Barratt the father of modern advertising, as well the introduction to the first full service ad agency N.W. Ayer & Son in Philadelphia in which was in charge of content a they worked off commission.

20th Century Advertising  (1920-1990s)

A lot happened durring this time period and so I will try to make this as brief as possible and hit some of the major events in advertising during this time. This where we start seeing ads for products that have ultimately stood the test of time. In the picture located on the left    we see an original ad for Wrigley’s chewing gum, and this product as we should all know is still around. We have propaganda ads during war time (WWI and WWII). Ad agencies now had designers that would design the ads that would be ran. We start to see ads at the movies, in magazines, radio and by the 1950s we are also start seeing the first ads on Television. The ads that one might see during the 1950s would include luxury items, science, dieting and cigarette advertising. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of the creative revolution and meet Bill Bernbach who is best known for his Volkswagen ads and the ads that wer aired also started to be targeted to certain audiences. By the late 1980 and 90s we are introduced to cable television and are also introduced to channels like the Home Shopping Network, which aired nothing but ads and sold products through the TV. Just call the 800 number and and order.  By the 90s we are slowly introduced to the Internet, and ads start to be placed online.

21st Century (Today)

WELCOME TO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY!

Since the ancient time of standing and yelling announcements to the invention of popup ads on the Internet we now in the 21st century and boy have we come along way since the ancient times. We still have the Internet, radio and TV ads, but the look and design of these ads have changed since the early days. We have Google which is everyone’s new best friend. When you want to find information about anything and everything just “Google it”. Google has Google ads if you want to use them to help promote your product or website, there are various different social media website e.g. Facebook which places ads on the side of there page that they think might be of interest to you. Advertising today is much more targeted. You can shop completely online at sites like Amazon.com and when you start shopping there they will look at the purchases you have made or products that you might have looked at and place ads or show you products that might interest you in the future. TV ads are getting better but are having some trouble in that we now have DVR’s which allows us to record our shows and then fast forward through the commercials. However advertising has gone through a lot of  changes and   those who make ads are always looking for new and inventive ways in which to market a product or brand. One way in which they are doing this is through a tactic called Guerrilla marketing, which is finding a way to promote a product or brand in a way that a person my not expect (take them by surprise). As time goes by it will be interesting to see what the future of advertising holds us.

*The information here was provided by: ORACLE Think Quest