Posts Tagged ‘brand fans’


Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

There are a lot of us that follow people on Twitter whom we have never met or heard of just because everyone else is following them. “They” must have something good to say, right? We should trust them. Or we like a brand on Facebook just because they are giving away an iPad, or friend someone from high school merely to see their photos. Yet, we never even talked to them – then or now.  (I know people that have over 2,000 friends on Facebook…come on. That number might be ok for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. because we are “networking” with peers and colleagues, but these Facebook accounts are mostly personal.)  

In reality, we all are just building our personal brand. In fact, regardless of the Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?network, these people may not really be our “friends” or even acknowledge our tweets but when we update our status or link to an interesting article, they are seeing it and vice versa.  Our own word-of-mouth marketing is taking place with every post, generating a buzz for ourselves, company, brand or clients.

Since the 1980s, when word-of-mouth marketing became the big craze, the continuing efforts of companies trying to create a buzz, by having people endorse their products, has increased. And with social media, it is easier than ever. All marketers know that the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising is not something that can be purchased, or so they’ve been taught.

However, that may no longer be the case. Celebrities, along with other influencers are receiving compensation to tweet and blog, mentioning certain products to their millions of followers. Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 just to tweet?

Sponsored Tweets, a new Twitter advertising platform, connects advertisers with twitter users. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word. Along with advertising on Twitter, the company also has a sister site Pay-Per-Post, which pays influencers to blog about certain products. Currently they have 400,000 participating bloggers and tweeters, and over 40,000 advertisers.

Besides paying people to tweet and generate a buzz around your brand, you can also gain followers or friends by simply buying them. One way to gain “fake,” “targeted” friends is Twitter1k, which offers several options for the quantity of followers. If you need Facebook friends/fans, well you can buy them too. (Interestingly enough, the use of such friending or advertising services could potentially get you banned from a given social network – though some claim that they are less likely to do so then their competitors – unless of course you are using a service affiliated with the network. Then it seems to be more “ok.” Go figure.)

Why are companies doing this? Well most of us trust a brand that has a higher number of followers, fans, and YouTube views. If a brand has this, many “friends” and most of those friends are speaking positively about them, then we assume they must be engaging or influencing.  We are also more likely to recommed the brands (personal or business) that have lots of friends and followers.  Those artificial friends that are doing your word-of-mouth advertising have real friends that trust them, and that allows your brand to reach different verticals without much effort. Therefore, for some marketers, the incentive to fallaciously drive-up those numbers is very attractive.

If you found out that a brand you trusted had paid for their followers or for praise from someone that doesn’t even use their products or service, how would you feel? Does the ability to buy friends or pay people to be brand ambassadors go against the etiquette for transparency in social media? How does that reflect on the brands and companies who legitimately build their following, slow and steady, over time? Would you ever consider purchasing friends and followers for your brand? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and our authentic Fresh Idea readers. 

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*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Is Ashton Doing It Right, or Just Leading Us Astray?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Katalyst HQ

by Crystal DeGoede*

Most of us can agree that the way people and businesses communicate has changed significantly over the past year. How is your company or organization establishing web credibility? In the December 2009 issue of Fast Company Magazine @ fastcompany the cover story is on Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) becoming a “new” media mogul.

Katalyst Media, Ashton’s production company, has produced a web-series just for Facebook called Katalyst HQ, which shows the daily life of employees at Katalyst. Their goal: to entertain the target audience of the brands they promote, in an effort to go where the audience is already and message there (i.e., Facebook and Twitter).  Since Ashton has more than 3 million Facebook fans and Twitter followers, brands such as Nestle, Pepsi and Kellogg’s, are jumping onboard, in hopes of obtaining a similar following.

Does that mean the days of traditional advertising with a banner ad on your industry’s leading pub over? Netscape founder Marc Andreessen seems to think so, “Banner ads aren’t going to cut it,” he says. “And media companies have not been creative or aggressive about making products designed for engagement marketing. Now that’s changing, giving brand advertisers a new way and reason to buy.”

Kutcher wants his company to be the new go-to source for brands looking to engage in “influencer marketing,” which is when you focus on specific individuals and their influence over potential buyers rather than the whole target market and direct your marketing initiatives around these influencers. Garrett Schmidt, who leads the experience design and client-strategy practice for digital marketing firm Razorfish, agrees. “People are discovering that experience matters more than traditional advertising now,” he notes.

When you aren’t a celebrity like Ashton Kutcher or don’t have over 3 million fans/followers on Facebook and Twitter, how do you leverage social media and acquire brand fans in order to gain “web cred”?  As a PR, communications or marketing professional, do you have a 2010 plan for creating engagement marketing campaigns for your brand?

Please share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Do You Have Brand Fans?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

by Crystal DeGoede*

Technology, the ways you connect with your audience, and communicate your brand continue to change – faster than you can send a 140 character message. But it seems that as things speed up some organizations are losing the trust of their clients and prospects because they lack personal interaction. Should you stop launching marketing campaigns and start word-of-mouth movements?  What does it take to engage and build brand ambassadors and start a movement in the digital age?

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Flickr Image: Intersection Consulting

Part of my responsibilities in the marketing department at BurrellesLuce is always trying to find new ways to increase our presence on social media sites along with engaging our clients and target audience. 

So naturally during the 2009 PRSA International Conference (#prsa09), I wanted to learn more about getting our clients and prospects involved and talking about us on social media networks and even offline. I wasn’t interested in just not another “how-to” session.  Like many public relations and marketing professionals, we are already out in the social media space. And like many in the industry, we just need to know how to make it more engaging and inspiring to our audience and deliver on those results. So I attended, “People Are the Killer App: How to Grow Word-of-Mouth Movements With Your Brand Fans” presented by Geno Church, word-of-mouth inspiration officer, Brains on Fire.

To start was a discussion of campaigns versus movements and how they differ. When a company talks about its brand or product, that is a campaign; when others talk about a company’s brand or product that is considered a movement. Here are a few comparisons from Geno’s presentation:

  • Campaigns have a beginning and an end. Movements go on as long as kindred spirits are involved.
  • Campaigns are dry and emotionally detached. Movements are organic and rooted in passion.
  • Campaigns rely on traditional mediums. Movements rely on word-of-mouth, where the people are the medium.

 To help illustrate his points, Geno shared with us a very compelling case study on Fiskars brand scissors, and how they launched a movement with the help of Friskarteers (a group of four brand ambassadors). With the aid of these brand ambassadors Fiskars  increased their online conversation by 600 percent and “recruited” 5400+ engaged and active members.

Do you think businesses should now become P2P (People 2 People) and rely on customers to generate movement for their brand rather than running a print ad in The New York Times? Or is it necessary to stay B2B/B2C and continue to employ the traditional tools of the trade?  Do you think connecting with your customers on a personal level is more valuable that keeping things all business?

*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce