Archive for category Facebook

Thailand’s ‘Amazing’ social media presence

Amazing Thailand mobile app menu.

Thailand’s popularity as a tourist destination isn’t only due to its rich culture, divine cuisine and opportune geography. It has well-organised tourism authority that doesn’t trade in clichés and recognises the diversity of the millions of tourists from around the world and their reasons for visiting.

Tourism Thailand has an excellent online presence centred around its Amazing Thailand website that’s chock full information and tools including travel planners, interactive maps and hotel finders and all important special deals.

The Amazing Thialand campaign recently won a Pacific Asia Tourism Award for its “social networking” campaign left by its Facebook site which has more than 150,000 friends.

This fun page is informative and entertaining. It features a Flash game relevant to coming events, currently Songkran Champion, a shoot ‘em up with water pistols – Songkran is a festival where Buddhist monks sprinkle water on worshippers, though in some parts it has evolved into an all out water fight.

Wall posts are engaging and there are plenty of pics and Youtube videos. In the Notes section you’ll even find Thai recipes and job vacancies for anyone seeking an expat lifestyle. There’s also a link to the highly praised Amazing Thailand mobile apps for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and iPad. The apps feature destination and event guides and food and accommodation information. They also have a Google Maps driven location guide to help you find attractions, and allow you to share your experiences via the Facebook and Twitter sites.


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Driving Holden’s social media strategy

Holden has embarked on a widespread social media campaign during the launch of the new Australian-built Cruze.

Cars are excellent products for social media marketing as they attract passion and fierce brand loyalty. Manufacturers can also take different marketing approaches to suit their various models and the kinds of people who buy them.

Holden has recognised the importance of social media for some time and recently embarked one of its biggest online campaigns to market the launch of the new Australian-built Cruze across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Leading the charge is the company’s Social Media and Digital Communications Manager, Andrea Matthews, who says social media is now a key component of Holden’s product launches. “There’s strong consideration for social media across everything we do.” says Matthews. “But you won’t see us “doing social” just for the sake of it. It has to fit with the campaign and the customer.”

While Holden has a large social media presence and following, with almost 175,000 Facebook followers on its main site, Matthews admits the company is still coming to grips with the opportunities social media offers to its marketing efforts and ways to provide customers added value.

One thing the company does seem to recognise is that social media marketing needs to be, well, social, meaning there needs to be a balance between a carefully planned social media campaign and genuine public engagement. “We’ll time our Facebook/YouTube/Twitter updates so that colleagues know where they appear in the overall plan, but we don’t script our interactions too much,” says Matthews. “It can make the updates far too stilted and not at all natural.

”I feel our social media activity has already moved a long way from just “broadcasting” what we want people to hear.

“We’re listening too, and that’s a strong message.”

When marketing a brand with so many devotees like Holden, getting a strong response via social media is the easy part, but are there any drawbacks?

“Holden has always been a social brand and with such a strong fan base. That has definitely played in our favour, but it is not without its challenges,” admits Matthews. “With such a rich motoring heritage, we have fans who for whom Holden equals high performance V8s only. We also have fans at the other end of the spectrum who drive our small cars and are equally passionate about them. That’s quite a demographic range to reach in a single forum like Facebook.

“That’s one of the reasons we established a stand alone Facebook page for our small car lovers, to give them a place to share their enthusiasm outside of the V8/historic car discussions which were taking place on our brand Facebook page.”

While social media is proving successful for Holden, Matthews says it’s difficult to accurately gauge its performance within individual marketing campaigns. “That very much depends on the objectives you set for the campaign,” she says. “If the objective is around building product/brand awareness and purchase consideration then it can’t be isolated from all of the other things we do as marketers and communicators.

“I’m also not sure that I’m keen on the idea of stand alone social media campaigns – we consume media and messages in so many different forms that social can’t sit on its own. To be used most effectively, it needs to be fully integrated with all of the other brand/customer touch points.”

Finally, if she had to choose just one social media platform to promote Holden’s brand which would it be? “It would have to be Facebook, because everyone is there,” says Matthews. “And with the changes to Facebook, I think brands have got a greater opportunity to build out their content.

“In fact, I think we’re really just learning what opportunities it offers to us and our customers.”

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The more people ‘Like’ the FJ Cruiser, the cheaper it will be

Toyota has taken put a rather welcome twist on crowd sourcing by reducing the price of its new FJ Cruiser by $5 for everyone who Likes its Facebook site as part of a competition.

As the car maker says on its Like My Ride website it is “offering you the chance to buy a Toyota FJ Cruiser at a reduced social price. For every “Like” the price will drop by $5. You’ve got until Monday, 28th March to reduce the price as much as possible. Toyota will even throw extras as the price drops… adding to the bargain. Get sharing!”

As I write this the site has 1156 fans meaning the price of the retro looking four-wheel-drive has already dropped from its retail drive away price of $50,334 to $44,559. Anyone better at maths than me might have already worked out 10,067 Likes would mean a free car. However the small print (and there’s a lot of small print) says that the most the car can be discounted by is $20,000 to rather reasonable $30,334 – meaning 4000 Likes.

Once you Like the page you can fill in a form for a chance to buy the car at the reduced price.

This is an interesting promotion that will probably receive more attention than if Toyota were giving away a car. It also gives them a massive boost in its social media exposure and a database of potential customers.

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Celtics score online

Worshipping your sporting team is not something you grow out of. Even as an adult there’s a period each season when you get into that zone where you want to lap up every piece of information related to your team during that incessant period between matches.

Social media is fast helping to fill that void, but it’s incredible how many sporting organisations are denying themselves constant coverage by sticking with the stock standard website with fixtures, player profiles, news and member info.

One team that’s doing it right is NBA giant Boston Celtics. With sell-out crowds a given, the Celtics realised it could use social media to reach out to those fans who couldn’t make it to it’s constantly sold out games. It also recognised a lot of these fans were tweeting about the games or commenting on the website as they watched on television.

The club turned its website into a virtual TD Banknorth Garden where fans can congregate on game days and spend the intermediate time lapping behind the scenes stuff, the team’s history, stats and of course merchandise and ticketing information. It goes to show what a team can do if it has more flexibility and ownership of their websites and aren’t restricted to a cookie cutter approach by their leagues.

The Celtic’s Facebook page has more than 3.2 million fans and features weekly articles, interviews, ticket opportunities and its popular 3-Point Play, an interactive stats prediction game that fans can play against each other. Over on YouTube the team has a rather more modest following of around 4400 but that’s probably because the videos, including post-game wraps, interviews and 3-Point Play updates can be seen on the Facebook page. The Celtics have almost 130,000 Twitter followers who receive live game updates, team news, heads up on ticket sales.

All in all there’s plenty for even the biggest Celtic fans to sink their teeth into and feel like they’re part of the team.

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Another social media boo boo…

Time and time again we see it, people and brands making foolish mistakes with significant repercussions within the world of social media. Nestle famously botched things up for themselves by demanding a fake Kit Kat commercial (produced by Greenpeace) slamming them for their use of Palm Oil, be removed from the web. The video which up until that point was far from a viral success, suddenly went around the globe faster than Greenpeace could have dreamt it to. All thanks to Nestle ruffling feather. The public barrage aimed at Nestles poor handling of the case and sudden attention on their use of Palm Oil did not do them any favours and is now a case study that I personally feel every client should take note of.

One would think that with such a large brand going through such a public PR battle via social channels, some lessons would be learnt.

Apparently not.

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole is the latest to thoughtlessly act via a social media platform and surprise surprise, is now watching his brand fall from grace. Kenneth made the very foolish choice to hijiack a hashtag in Twitter to promote his latest collection. Now hashtag hijacking is not rare, but it’s use can not be taken lightly. To do it requires very strategic thinking or it can backfire. Like in this case. See image below:

The Cairo hashtag was being used as a news source to share events from troubled Eygpt. The most insensitive thing about this, is that a significant amount of people are losing their lives due to the unrest. This is no time at all for a brand, representing something as irrelevant as fashion, to hijack a hashtag where concerned users are sharing serious content.

Bad move.

But I will give credit to Kenneth Cole for addressing his stupidity via an apology post. Despite it seeming to be heartfelt, he has opened himself up to an onslaught of criticism. See the comments here.

Surely it’s time that we, as brands (and even individuals – no need to remind us all of Stephanie Rice’s Twitter mishap where she lost her Jaguar sponsorship), learn that as we join online conversations we are involving ourselves in a very transparent and dynamic environment. We must think logically and strategically and above anything else, we must use some common sense.


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What goes online in Vegas…

If ever there’s a travel destination that was going to embrace social media in a unique way it’s Las Vegas. Last year it did just that with a social media scavenger hunt. Run by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority during US National Travel and Tourism Week, the Las Vegas Social Media Scavenger Hunt involved 30 venues including stores, hotels and casinos that provided special deals to participants such as accommodation offers, two-for-one specials, merchandise and discounted show tickets.

Each venue had three-hour window to communicate a clue to participants via Visit Vegas’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Participants had to be friends or followers of at least one of the accounts. Once they received a clue they had to show up at the venue and become a Facebook/Twitter friend/follower of that business in order to receive their reward – some of the venues offered bigger prizes to the first few people so show up.

This is an excellent way for businesses to use social media to not only build brand awareness, but to get people in store and build a customer database. While it proved successful for a mega tourist destination like Las Vegas (with tourists and residents taking part), I can imagine it working a treat for smaller destinations in Australia such as food and wine precincts. It could also be an effective tool for business associations or councils to attract residents to local shopping strips.

The key for such a scheme to be replicated is planning and promotion well before the event. All the businesses involved would have to be keen partakers and be aware of their obligations.

And it should be tailored to suit the kind of businesses involved. Large hotels have the staff to deal with a couple of hundred people coming through their doors in a three-hour period. If the hunt involves small businesses perhaps provide a longer window of opportunity or choose prizes that require little effort or paperwork to arrange, like show bags.

Finally, be sure the terms and conditions are straight forward so all participants know what is required in order to claim a prize.

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Monster or mouse?!

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Sony’s new-ish Facebook app – Media Monster Wars (first hit attention August last year). And with Justin Timberlake headlining the experience, naturally I was intrigued.

It’s a really neat example of an integrated social media game that generates a monster from analysing your own Facebook content. Which means the more active you are (the more likes, photos, comments, shares and interaction you have) the more powerful your monster will be. Then off you go to share the app and battle your friends. And if you’re powerful enough, then why not challenge JT himself.

Or so the promo video shows.

Here’s where I insert a #fail. I’ve tried a couple of times now to make a monster. One both occasions the “generating and optimising media monster” part of the process took well over 8-10 minutes, only to stop and start the process again. From the start….

Which leads me to my belief: there’s one key element to developing a great Facebook apps: keep it simple.

Sure there is room to dazzle people with a fabulous user experience, but don’t risk a botched attempt at brand interaction by doing too much; crashing apps only result in one thing – irritation. Not good for any brand.

Especially not in this case for Sony, who no doubt is paying significantly for JT’s appearance. If users can’t get the opportunity to challenge him with our monsters, then where’s the ROI?!


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Instant sharing with Cortex

If you love sharing web content via social media (and let’s face it who doesn’t?) a nifty new app from Google is for you.

Cortex is an app that works with Google Chrome that lets you link to a webpage you’re viewing to your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts or even your iPad.

You simply hold your mouse button down (or finger for touchscreens) to bring up a pie menu with your selected social media and/or iPad logo.

Click on the one you want to link to, press enter and the link and page headline shows up as a status at your social media account. You also have an option to write a comment to go with the URL, which is automatically shortened if sending to Twitter.

Until recently Cortex was available by invite but is now available for download here.

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Fluevog a step ahead of social media trends

John Fluevog's quirky style is evident in his online marketing.

John Fluevog Boots & Shoes Ltd is one of a growing number of companies which are known by their social media campaigns as much as they for their product.

The relatively small Canadian footwear company claims its sales rose 40 per cent in 2009, the first full year of its social media campaign that includes a popular Facebook page and interactive website.

Encouraging customer feedback is a big part of the Fluevog’s social media strategy as is holding online votes about new shoe designs to see which ones get produced.

More importantly John Fluevog Boots & Shoes has identified its young and hip target market and pitches to in a way so they not only want to buy the shoes, they’d want to work for the company.

The Facebook page is active and not just a fan-site that people “Like” and forget. Staff contribute with information, competitions and light-hearted banter while receiving feedback in way of product reviews and the sort of fan mail and pics you’d see on band Facebook pages.

The company website is much the same and takes the user beyond product information to make it a fun online destination in its own right. You can design an ad to win $1000 or vote for other entries; download iPhone wallpaper and take part in its Opensource Footwear scheme, where user ideas lead to shoes designs. In other words it’s encouraging people to send in their creative ideas for no reward other than possibly seeing them incorporated in a finished product – this is the most popular page on the website.

Most importantly customers can purchase boots and shoes online, which at the end of the day is what the whole campaign is about.

Interestingly, Stephen Bailey, who oversees marketing and social-media at John Fluevog Boots & Shoes says the company doesn’t invest in paid advertising in social media. However, his own work has shown, an effective social media campaign does need a certain amount of investment in time and creativity, which can pay off with a loyal client base.

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