With Facebook Pages and Twitter feeds becoming standard marketing tools for more and more brands, agencies have come under growing pressure to keep up with clients' social media demands.
To help meet that challenge, Buddy Media is extending its tools for creating, managing and tracking social campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to Madison Avenue. The company's platform promises a single source for managing brands' social media presence without the need to know FBML or any other programming language to set up and run social marketing efforts.
For Facebook, that means using the software to easily create and maintain interactive fan pages aimed at driving user interaction through a range of customizable apps for adding quizzes, polls, YouTube videos, slideshows and HTML, among other features to pages. The system also enables users to publish content directly to a page's Wall and to extend a brand's Facebook presence to other sites via Facebook Connect.
On Twitter, it allows agencies to manage multiple client accounts, track volume and frequency of click-through rates of links posted, and monitor social metrics such as sentiment, share of voice and market share. The platform will soon add functionality for MySpace and other social networks as well. Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow likened the platform to a "WordPress or TypePad" for brand pages. "Agencies are starting to figure out they have to do social media and this platform is specifically a social marketing platform for agencies," he said.
Lazerow added that agencies would benefit from technologies the startup has developed over the last two years to run campaigns on Facebook and other social properties for 100 clients including Anheuser Busch, FedEx and Microsoft.
In a brief demo, he showed how a basic Facebook brand page with video, a Twitter feed, HTML and a polling app could be assembled in a matter of minutes rather than hours. Already on board as charter agencies that plan to license the Buddy Media Platform are Publicis Groupe's VivaKi unit, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, and Kirschenbaum, Bond, Senecal & Partners.
"This platform makes it fast, easy and cheap, frankly, for agencies and brands to develop, maintain and optimize a social media presence," said Jeff Flemings, senior vice resident and global head, social, at VivaKi. "Automation in this category is still lagging and hasn't caught up with what brands need."
Shiv Singh, vice president and global social media lead at Publicis' Razorfish, emphasized the importance of having a flexible system for marketing via social networks. "The Buddy Media platform allows us to really quickly change and edit a Facebook page based on the response we're getting to a particular app," he said.
In that sense, it turns pages into test beds for what marketing approaches work best in social media. And clients can share access to the system with agencies to help streamline the approval process. Lazerow said Buddy Media has another 50 apps in the pipeline for building out Facebook pages, with a mapping tool the next to be added.
Says Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow: "Agencies are starting to figure out they have to do social media and this platform is specifically a social marketing platform for agencies."
Excuse me, but WTF?!? "...figure out they have to DO social media..." What exactly is "DOING social media"? Apparently is involves: "...driving user interaction through a range of customizable apps for adding quizzes, polls, YouTube videos, slideshows and HTML, among other features to ("fan") pages." And the objective of this "user interaction" would be...? Making Brand Teams feel really good, like when they break 1,000 best friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter? What's the ROI on "doing social media"?
The brilliant creator of Universal City Walk, amongst other breakthrough architectural BID projects (Jon Jerde Partnership) said "People go where people are." A universal insight into human nature he leveraged in designing 'destinations.' It makes sense to slip in some advertising wherever people are, but no one with any conceptual ability would believe that setting up a booth at City Walk for Bud Lime at which people could become 'fans,' leave their email address and receive spam with funny video clips and quizzes was a great idea for making them loyal brand buyers -- oh yeah, great experiment, but we've learned people tire of the spam very quickly. Beer.com and all the other 'young male portals' died quickly due to a lack of content quality and volume as YouTube blew past them. Simply because the masses socialize in a new medium does not make it a new mass medium.
Folks, any medium labeled "social" is not an advertising-appropriate medium any more than telemarketing is. The illusion that people are willingly becoming 'fans' of your brand is nothing more than early adopter experimentation -- it is already fading out (witness the acceleration of how fast new bloggers, Facebook members and Tweeters drop out). "Social media," like listening in on any conversation between people, is merely for listening to how well your marketing efforts OUTSIDE of social media are doing.
Yes, we can whack up some animated display ads to inject into consumers' Facebook wall posts and they won't complain too loudly (they accept this as an annoyance that pays for this fun, free social connection tool), but "social" conversations aren't ripe for the injection of "push marketing" efforts. Early willingness to see what's going on with new technology like Twitter is identical to kids at raves being willing to chat with "guerilla" brand ambassadors handing out free branded vodka shots -- welcome to a new wild and crazy platform/venue, Brand X, but don't expect an invitation to my house party (and don't expect me to be so willing to chat at the next rave I see you at now that I realize what you are up to...).
There ARE going to be new technologies that will allow us to create "PULL marketing" efforts online for smartphone exposure (take a look at Yelp's Monocle and let your imagination work), consider how functional A.I. via Web 3.0 (The Semantic Web) will change the way we market very soon, but all this hoopla about "doing social media" is nothing but a fast-track to ruining our credibility as marketers on yet another new medium. RESIST the impulse to 'flock'; think, analyze and understand that the most fundamental lesson the Internet has taught us: NO ONE wants the endless repetition that push marketing is based upon; no one wants us interrupting their social interaction; and ultimately, no one really wants any brand to 'be their best friend' -- they have fellow humans for that.
What's most interesting in all of this is that the key barrier to experiential marketing winning a bigger slice of the media spending pie, that we've yet to develop a provable ROI metric, doesn't exist as major international brands fall over themselves to 'invest' in "social marketing," which has ZERO ROI metrics (standardized or even commonly accepted) going for it. Kind of like marketers complacent faith in TV advertising at any cost, no?
More on the topic at http://preview.tinyurl.com/yak7zbt
Well, I agree with the previous commenter (Kevin Lenard) that there needs to be a way to measure the ROI of "social marketing," and that no one wants marketers interrupting their social interactions.
I have a feeling there's a lot I agree with Kevin about on the topic of social media) he makes some great points), but his assertion that social media is "merely for listening to how well your marketing efforts OUTSIDE of social media are doing" is pretty shortsighted. Social media plays a different role for each company–Facebook and Twitter do not make sense for every company. But they sure do if your customers are talking about you there.
Most companies don't "get" social media. Heck, most agencies don't. But there is a place in the social web for companies who seek *meaningful* relationships with their customers.
There are companies that do it well: Starbucks, Southwest, etc. They *engage* in the conversation, and do it well. You might say "Well, they have a product/service that people feel passionately about." Yep. And if your company doesn't, maybe it's time to start thinking about what's wrong with your product or your company culture, not where you can throw more advertising dollars to interrupt people. Where can you engage and inspire your customers?
After all, one of the reasons people fall in love with a brand is because they somehow feel a part of it. It helps define them, make them feel good, makes their lives easier (boil to down: good brands meet a core need). But if someone can be made to feel personally vested (and a meaningful part of) a company...well, that might just garner a company the brand loyalty they so desperately seek.
Social media is bringing about a sea change. And it brings with it an opportunity for marketers to redefine our industry into one that inspires, not interrupts. Let's seize that opportunity, and move away from being "hucksters" and move towards being "healers."