October 1, 2008
At the Mixx Canada Toronto conference on Monday, I saw a great presentation by Natalie Johnson, [praized subtype="small" pid="597ce70258167de10a3ead0ceea0179355" type="badge" dynamic="true"]‘s Manager of Social Media Communications and Monik Sanghvi, Senior Vice President at [praized subtype="small" pid="8149cff86ec3b9508702f6a11159609082" type="badge" dynamic="true"]. They showed the various ways GM uses social media to promote its various brands. GM approaches social media marketing via three angles: Engage (entertain), Educate (inform) and Enable (connect).
- I Got Shotgun is a videoblog at the intersection of cars, culture and entertainment
- ImSaturn, a Saturn social network, uses Ning, the white-label social networking platform
- A series of blogs at gmblogs.com
- Pontiac Underground, a blog powered by Typepad
- The Saturn Astra Facebook page
- Chevy Aveo Livin’ Large, a promotion around user videos and the Chevrolet Aveo
- A Twitter account under the @GMblogs alias
- GMNext, that could be described as the “portal” for all social media initiatives at GM
What it means: I was surprised by the depth of social media tools usage within General Motors. I’m especially amazed by the fact they reply to questions/comments addressed to their Twitter account. They’re definitely joining the conversation. Reading between the lines, I believe GM sees social media as multiple very powerful branding opportunities. Given that I suspect they mostly use television for branding today, it’s possible social media might eat into television advertising budgets if GM is able to prove the social media ROI.
In light of the latest Kelsey Conference in Seattle last week whose theme was “vertical marketplaces”, I read with great interest this eMarketer article about online communities. Analyzing a portion of the “2008 Digital Future Project“(.pdf) report produced by the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future, eMarketer reports that “nearly half of US Internet users (…) said they belonged to a hobby-oriented online community, a full 41% of respondents belonged to an online social community, and one-third belonged to an online professional community.”
The following graph shows the types of communities users belong to:
eMarketer also quotes a recent The Economist article that said “… that the future of social networking will not be one big social graph but instead myriad small communities on the internet to replicate the millions that exist offline. No single company, therefore, can capture the social graph. Ning, a fast-growing company with offices directly across the street from Facebook in Palo Alto, is built around this idea. It lets users build their own social networks for each circle of friends.”
What it means: I’ve often mentioned how much I like this Wired article about meganiches. I’ve often said that I’m a strong proponent of media “verticalization”. I therefore believe Ning is onto something really big as the social Web becomes more distributed.
November 1, 2007
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, created quite a stir this week by announcing he will be blocking the e-mail address of anyone who sends him any non-relevant releases and messages. He added oil to the fire by publishing on his blog the e-mail addresses of more than 100 people who did that in the last 30 days (he says he receives 300 e-mails a day). To make himself clearly understood, he added “So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public).”
David Meerman Scott, a well-known online marketing strategist and writer, says he gets “several hundred unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. Well over 99% of them are not targeted to me, instead they are sent to me because I am on various PR people’s lists because of this blog, because of my books, and because I am a contributing editor to EContent Magazine and have written for a bunch of other publications. I’m getting the identical piece of spam email as hundreds of other poor journalists.”. He adds “most PR people are spammers”
Flickr photo by Freezelight.
At the same time, Google pre-launches its OpenSocial initiative via influential bloggers who were involved in the project. New-York VC Fred Wilson says: “Google’s launch of open social is interesting. They pre-launched it in the blogs and are getting top bloggers who are also their partners, like Marc Andreessen, to do some of the work for them. It’s smart. Marc’s company Ning is one of the leading partners for open social and I think Ning will benefit greatly from it. So he’s going to promote it because of pure self interest. Which is fine, in fact it’s preferable in my book.”
What it means: you have in this blog post two extreme examples of what to do and what not to do PR-wise. Will Chris Anderson’s reaction create a snowball effect? This could be the beginning of something very ugly which would lead to a major reform of how online PR works. At the same time, this seems like a great business opportunity to build an online marketplace to properly match releases/news with appropriate editors/journalists/bloggers. Anyone interested?