Oct 18, 2007 127 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Want to be really successful in social media marketing? You need to be an evangelist and activity participate in communities, forums and blogging. Leave this session knowing how to evolve from community observer to community participant and influencer.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Speakers: Sarah Hofstetter, Vice President, Emerging Media & Client Strategy, 360i

Rob Key, CEO, Converseon

Adam Sherk, Search/PR Strategist, Define Search Strategies

First speaker of the day's second session, “Evangelist – The Marketer’s Role in SMM” is Rob Key, CEO, Converseon who will talk about engaging community. Community is the crux of the entire web experience. Present are dozens of communities have people of similar interests or growing cultures. There, we can communicate better. As marketeers we haven't been asked to be part of them. Communities are meant only for consumers and consumers. Henceforth, it should be a marketing ploy. In "2nd Life Liberation Army," a community in Second Life, there are avatars that take up commercial properties, such as Sony etc.

What's the purpose of being a marketer? It's all about being a cultural anthropologist. As marketeers there will be lot of backlash for trying to develop brands as we foray into social media communities.

8 Ways To Get Into Social Media Communities:

  • Be an active member of the community.
  • Make friends with elders in the community.
  • Understand and respect them.
  • Lead with altruism – come bearing gifts.
  • Discover a community need.
  • Learn the linguistics.
  • Value and cultivate relationships.
  • Leverage appropriately … over time.

Take the Second Life example:

Even at the beginning of the 3d web, there already are 7 million accounts. According to a majority of 200 respondents, they were all unhappy with Second Life's real world company activities. Imagine, people within Second Life are agitating the sale of selling Second Life land to Starbucks.

Our Approach: Joined Second Life in 2006, understood and followed the norms of the community. Issues related to ecology are of prime importance in Second Life. This led to the launching of Second Chance Trees Islands. Through this, you could buy a tree for 300 Linden Dollars and at the same time, a real tree will be planted somewhere in the world. A Google Maps image shows the location of where your tree is planted in real life.

This project garnered so much attention that it was picked up by mainstream media. Won the OMMA award for best virtual world project and was in contention for winning an award for American Express.

The third speaker is Adam Sherk, Search/PR Strategist, Define Search Strategies. If you are talking about social media, you have to be nimble as it requires multi-department coordination from PR & marketing, to the SEO team to the IT department. A lot of this revolves around money from ads. The leggl department is worried on whether you will do anything to get the brand's image a backlash.

Common Pitfalls include:

  • Lack of strategy
  • lack of support and resources
  • poor coordination
  • Inappropriate and unnecessary contents
  • no understanding in communities
  • hiding affiliations
  • being excessively emotional

Many a time, those who do not understand social media can do more harm than good.

Paths To Success:

  • Selling upper management the concept
  • Getting buy-in from all key departments
  • Instilling a "give to gain" philosophy
  • Finding the right people to manage the efforts
  • Giving them what they need to be effective

Building credibility in social media sites' communities take time. Also keep a check on links and traffic.

More to consider:

  • How will you sustain your efforts over the long-term?
  • What happens if your brand ambassador leaves the company?
  • What about employees with their own personal profiles?
  • How will you deal with negative responses and reactions?

Finding what works:

Hearst Magazine: An article they submitted called “The Daily Green” about the Lunar Eclipse brought in three times more views within a span of 2 days than an appearance on the homepage for the entire month.

Good Housekeeping: Good Housekeeping made to the first page of Digg, thanks to Dog costumes. The post garnered over 50 comments on a variety of points.

TV Guide: They hired a full-time brand ambassador who participates and regularly monitors social sites. There is full transparency within communities while there are network partner sites created for publicity efforts. Many promotions are created around exclusive content.

TV Guide promoted High School Musical 2. they came up with original and exclusive content for the film which was featured in an article. Word was passed through FaceBook etc. The outreach was a smash hit. Fansites and blogs picked it up too.

  • 700% greater on the photo gallery
  • 300% greater on Video
  • 25% greater on page time
  • 192% new visitors
  • 1000% greater ratings and reviews


Last speaker of the session is Sarah Hofstetter, the Vice President of Emerging Media & Client Strategy, 360i.

How do marketeers influence the influential? Its all about finding a place where marketeers can smartly put forth across social media so that they can be evangelists. What are the assets that you can use to promote your brand? Th answer is more than just saying, “my band rocks”. You have to include widgets, CD-ROM, etc.

First case Study: NBC's Heroes

A Digger favorite. As it was going on a 7 week hiatus thanks to Dancing with the stars, they had to make sure that viewers would return. For this, NBC worked with PR, marketing etc. Together they came up with prormotions, games and other fun paraphernalia that would keep the audience and viewers engaged. A word of caution: Take care when your are pitching (Read "Bad Pitch Blog"), people should be interested in what you have to say.

Second case Study: Comedy central

For this they wanted to create awareness about the politically-related stuff on Comedy Central. They already had a good following. As comedy book lovers adore the Green Lantern,we drew an analogy and linked it to the site. This stirred a lot of controversy which bred a lot of intensity. Keep giving your audience something to write about. Feed their hunger. Everyone is looking for interesting things to write about.

Third case Study: Living with Ed

For this new HGTV TV show, the aim was to attract a new set of viewers that may have not watched the channel but used blogs, communities, forums etc. The biggest problem was that the first rank of “Living with Ed” showed “erectile dysfunction” and not television show.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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