Sunday, November 11, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 12-15

Case Studies, Metrics and your Semester Project

Week 12-13: Case Studies

Zappos is a very successful online shoe and clothing store. They considered by many to be one of organizations that makes the best use of social media. Here is a presentation about Zappos' use of social media. Although it may be hard to get the meaning of all the slides without the narration, the message still rings loud and clear. Despite this, Zappos' Tony Hsieh says he dislikes the term "social media" and (probably jokingly) says that anyone that uses it in front of him at Zappos has to pay him a dollar.

This might be puzzling on the surface. However, as the father of two young women, I hear them speak of the difference between "real friends" and what could be termed "facebook friends". A facebook friend might be fun to communicate with, post some funny videos, like some cool bands, but they are not the people you can count on to be there for you as "real friends" are. Reading about Zappos made me think that perhaps even with companies, there can be your "real friends" and "facebook friends" - taking the word "friend" with a grain of salt. Another way to put it is that social media is only one, and not even the most important way, that Zappos connects with their customers. They are committed to providing great customer service. Social Media is the icing on the cake, used to strengthen the bond with their customers, and not to substitute for good customer service.

Consider Zappos' use of social media as you work on your project. Social Media and web sites in general will be successful when they help both the organization and the customers achieve their goals. Read all the links above, then ask yourself: What do you think Zappos' goals are regarding Social Media? What do you think their customers' goals are for interacting with Zappos? Zappos' success implies that they are doing a good job of addressing these goals.

Assignment: Week 12 and 13

Preparation: Be sure to read all the links in the entry about Zappos. Send me any questions, or post your thoughts/questions to the discussion forum.

For week 12 (Homework 10) - Your task is to do a case study of an organization that you feel does social media well. You can not use Zappos. Consider all of the social media channels they use. Speculate on what you think their goals are, and what you think their customers' goals are, and comment on how effective these channels are in addressing these goals be specific. Include why you think the organization you selected makes good use of social media. Post to your blog. Your case study should be similar to the Zappos case study. Upload the link to the Homework 10 dropbox.

Your assignment for week 13 (Homework 11) is to do the same as for week 12, but with a different organization. Upload the link to the Homework 11 dropbox.

Week 14: Metrics

One adage about business I have heard many times is "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." It is quite reasonable for any organization undertaking some initiative, such as a social media marketing plan, to want to know if the initiative was effective or not.

How then to measure the effectiveness of a Social Media Marketing Initiative. Is it simply a matter of how many Facebook like's, Twitter followers, YouTube Subscribers? That seems incomplete. To be sure marketing materials need to be seen to be effective. However, the goal of marketing is not just to be seen, but to lead to action.

Another possibility is to look at the overall success of the organization. If after a marketing campaign, sales increase, one may be tempted to give credit to the marketing campaign. However, Correlation does not imply Causality. There are so many factors that goes into a companies' success or failure - some of which are outside of the control of the company. A company could have declining sales, even with a good marketing effort, if, for example, there is a general economic downturn. Perhaps their marketing campaign kept the sales from dropping even more.

So, statistics like Twitter/Facebook/YouTube followers, and gross sales may provide a very simplistic view of the picture, but not the whole picture. Like the fable of the blind men describing an elephant, different measurements give part of the story, but not the whole story. Taken together, management can get a more accurate view by looking at several measurements, then is possible through just one measurement. Here are some resources to start you off in investigating measuring social media marketing:

Assignment: Week 14 (Homework 12)

Be sure to read the links I posted concerning measurement. Also, revisit the Interviews I posted. Using Google News find 3 recent (since September 2011) articles about measuring Social Media Marketing. Create a blog post that links to the 3 pages, and summarize each of them. Then, write a paragraph that summarizes your understanding of measuring Social Media Marketing. Upload the link of your blog post to the Homework 12 dropbox. Ask if you have questions.

Week 15: Finish Your Semester Project

Use this week to take everything you have learned in this unit, and the entire semester to finish up your semester project and make it as good as it can be. Please ask me questions, or let me know if you want me to review anything. You may also post the the semester project discussion forum. When you have completed it, upload to the drop box. If you have any difficulties uploading, email it to me at, then post an entry in the drop box indicating you emailed it.

Final Words

This is the first time this course has been offered at LCCC, and I really enjoyed teaching it. I hope you enjoyed it, and more than that, I hope you learned a lot. I would really appreciate any constructive feedback you have about this class, positive or negative - what worked, what didn't, what you feel the most important things you learned, what you wished was addressed that wasn't or wasn't adequately addressed, what you thought of the materials, what you thought of my use of social media in this class and even what social media do you think I should incorporate into the course delivery (i.e. would it be beneficial for me to have a twitter account for this class?). You can email me. Please feel free to be frank. If you are concerned about anonymity, you can drop off an unsigned note in the business division office, and ask to have it put on my mail box.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 11

This week, we want to focus on three things:

  • Peer Review
  • Twitter and other social networking tools...
  • Revising Semester Project

Peer Review

Your first task this week is to be sure you have completed your Peer Review. Email your review to your classmate and post to the Peer Review dropbox. Let me know if you have questions. I should be making these assignments soon.

Homework 9 - Twitter and other social networking tools...

  • Create a Twitter account. Even if you already have a Twitter account, please create one just for this assignment. Do this as soon as possible, and post your Twitter username to the Message Board. If you are unfamiliar with how Twitter works, do some research or please ask.
  • Follow at least 10 Twitter accounts, broken down as follows:
    • One classmate
    • Three organizations that tweet about Social Media Marketing
    • Three organizations using Twitter to market their products/services.
    • Any other Twitter account you want. Celebrity, friend, organization, etc...
  • Tweet at least 3 current news links about Social Media... Use a link shortener, such as
  • Tweet at least 3 tweets about Social Networking sites other than the ones we have reviewed (Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter, Google +, etc.). Use a link shortener, such as
  • Re-tweet at least 3 tweets from each the accounts you are following. For at least 1, add your own comments to the retweet.
  • Create a blog entry that contains:
    • A link to your Twitter page
    • Rank the three organizations using Twitter to market their products/services, that you have followed, by how effective they use Twitter. Explain your rankings
    • Define some guidelines for the effective use of Twitter
    • Answer the following question: Is Twitter better suited for some organizations than others? If so, what about an organization makes it well suited for Twitter?
    • A summary of the other Social Networking platforms you tweeted about, what benefits they offer their users, and what marketing benefits do they offer to marketers.

Revising Semester Project

Take the feedback I and your classmate has given you, and continue researching and working on Semester Project. Please contact me with questions. Continue to discuss the project on the Message Board.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 8


For this week, you have two options for your assignment.

Option 1: Create a video and post to YouTube

Create an account on YouTube. Create a video between 2 and 5 minutes that discusses what makes for an effective YouTube marketing video. Post your video to YouTube and add the relevant title, description, category and tags to it. Then, embed your video into a blog entry. Post to the drop box the url of your blog post.

A few things to keep in mind. There is free software to make videos on Windows and on Mac. For Windows, there is Windows Movie Maker and on the Mac, iMovie comes with Mac OsX. If you do not have a camera, you can create a video consisting of still images. If you do have a camera, do not worry if it does not take high quality video. If you have questions, please contact me.

Option 2: Evaluate three videos on YouTube

Find 3 good marketing videos on YouTube. Embed them in a blog post, and write a paragraph about each video explaining why you thought the video was good. Then, summarize your conclusions about what makes a good YouTube marketing video. Format your blog entry using headings and other formatting, to make your post look good, and to help organize the content for the readers. Post to the drop box the url of your blog post.

Remember to continue working on your semester project.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 7

This week, we want to focus on three things:
  • Effective Use of Facebook for Marketing
  • Comparing Facebook and Google + from a Business/Marketing Perspective
  • Start Working on Semester Project

Assignment - Blog Entry

Part One: Effective Use of Facebook for Marketing

For this week, you will need a Facebook account. I imagine many of you already have a Facebook account. I will not ask you to share this account with me, in respect of your privacy. You will need it though, to examine and evaluate how some organizations are using Facebook for Marketing.

First, review all the materials from previous weeks in the class, including your blog entries and classmates' blog entries, concerning what makes for an efective use of Social Media for Marketing. Then review this article about good Facebook Pages.

Finally, find the Facebook pages of 3 organizations that you are interested in. You may need to "Like" the page to view its content. Rank them from most effective to least effective. Explain why you ranked them as you did. Cite any references you use to justify your rankings.

Comparing Facebook and Google + from a Business/Marketing Perspective

Research, then compare and contrast Facebook and Google+ as a tool for business - especially marketing. Specify the advantages and disadvatages of each. Be sure to focus on the use of Facebook and Google+ as business tools, and not just from an individual's personal perspective.

Final Thoughts

Remember, these entries are to be your own words. If you use material from a resource, you need to cite it. Give your post a title that makes it clear to me which assignment it is for. Format your entry using either html or the editing tools available on your blogging platform. If you need help navigating through Facebook, let me know - for that matter, if you have any questions, please ask. When you are done, upload the URL of your blog post to Angel.


There is nothing for you to turn in this week regarding your Project. However, I want to make sure you start working on it as your rough draft is due soon. Make sure you have read the instructions for the assignment and understand each part. Part of creating a Marketing Plan involves research and discussions to determine what needs to be done. For this assignment, use your own knowledge of LCCC, examine what other colleges are doing, and use the discussion forum to ask me questions and discuss with other classmates. Keep in mind, you can choose to do a marketing plan for another organization, but you should follow my format.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 6


By now, we should all know what blogs are. This week the focus will be regarding the effective use of blogs. This week’s assignment will consist of creating a post to your blog that discusses some blogs that you will examine.

Do the following:

  • Review your classmates’ blogs. (see Discussion Board in Angel) Chose one post you consider to be very good from at least two of your classmates’ blogs. Include in your blog post, a link to each of the two posts, along with a summary of why you chose those posts.
  • Find a good blog about Social Media Marketing written by someone outside of this class. Read several of the posts, find at least 2 that are noteworthy - ones that you find insightful, relevant to this class, something you did not know or head before or otherwise valuable. Include in your blog post, a link to the good blog you found about social media marketing, and links to at least two posts on that blog that you found especially good, along with a summary of why you chose that blog and those posts.
  • Consider what would make a blog an effective tool for marketing - review your past blog posts, posts of other students, the interviews, or any other resource you can find. Use the Discussion Forum to discuss this with your classmates. Then find three blogs by businesses, organizations or individuals that are, at least in part, using the blog to market their goods or services. Then assign a grade (A,B,C,D or F) to each of the three blogs based on the criteria you determined for an effective marketing blog. In your blog post, describe what criteria you used to grade the marketing blogs, link to each blog, identify what grade you gave each blog and explain why.

There are three sections to your blog post: Classmate Blogs, Blogs about Social Media Marketing and Blogs used to Market. Clearly label each section with a heading. Be sure you understand the difference between the blogs for the second and the third parts. The second part should be about a blog where the topic is social media marketing. Here is an example of a blog about social media. In the third part, the blogs should be not about social media marketing, but used to market the efforts of a person or organization. Here is an example of a blog used by a business to market its products. When you are done, post the url of your blog entry to the dropbox in Angel

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 5

Areas of Caution: Ethics, Pitfalls, Social Implications

Few thing in this life are without their downsides. Technology is especially tricky in this regard as technology moves faster than our societies' ability to completely understand all the consequences, legal and ethical issues. Social Media has been around long enough that some of the issues have been identified, but not all.

It is prudent then, for us studying the use of Social Media for Marketing reasons to consider these issues, and discuss how they can be addressed.

Issues facing Businesses


Why should a business care about ethics? While the ethical positions of individuals and organizations may vary, I would expect most would agree that organizations have a responsibility to act ethically. In my opinion, that is the most compelling reason for a business to act ethically. Many professional organizations have codified rules of ethics for their members, including how they market their services.

If one is not swayed by the "responsibility" reason for acting ethically, another argument can be made - namely, that acting ethically is good for business (or perhaps acting unethically is bad for business.) One could say this is a sort of a form of karma - an organization's actions influence how it is treated.

The perception of many is that often, marketing efforts sit on the edge of ethical behavior. The public is skeptical about marketing claims, with good reason. Young people today have been subjected to ads since they have been children. The promise of social media marketing is that it can reach those that are cynical about traditional marketing methods. With that, however, comes some ethical challenges. One of the statements made most often about social media marketing is to be effective, it requires a personal connection between the organization and the customer. The basis of any personal relationship is trust. As such, I believe social media marketing raises the bar with regards to ethics. For it to be successful, social media cannot be business as usual with regards to marketing.

Here are some ethical issues surrounding the use of social media:

  • Is it ethical for a CEO of a company to post a blog post someone else actually wrote?
  • Is it ethical to delete a negative comment someone wrote? What about an abusive comment?
  • Is it ethical to pay someone outside your organization to blog or tweet about your company?
  • Is it ethical to give influential bloggers free goods to review? If I posted on my blog a review of the iPad 2, would it matter if I purchased it, or if it was given to me by Apple?
  • If an organization claims it is "transparent and authentic" (see discussion of these topics under Addressing the Issues, what does that mean? To what degree do they need to live up to this?

Other Pitfalls

When organizations employees social media as part of their marketing efforts, it is a double edge sword. It gives a way for their fans to help spread the word, in effect, to provide free assistance spreading the word - viral marketing

Of course, when an organization employs social media, it opens the door not just for its fans, but also for its detractors. For some, this loss of control is difficult. Trying to hard to keep control can alienate even an organization's supporters. In fact, even if an organization does not employ social media, it can be vulnerable to such attacks.

Here are some examples of issues organizations/individuals have faced or could face related to Social Media. This is a mixed list - in some cases, social media was used against organizations, in other cases, the organization's social media strategy is being attacked.

Addressing the Issues

There are several concepts relating to social media that address such issues. Two of them are: transparency and authenticity. If social media marketing is not business as usual and, as many have stated, requires a personal touch, and interactivity to be successful, then trust is critical. being transparent and authentic is a key to this. Of course, there are those that would argue that transparency in social media is an illusion. Can one be "somewhat" transparent? Can a line be drawn and a balance struck?

Many organizations create a Social Media Policy. These are designed to address potential ethical and other business issues relating to social media. Here are Intel's Social Media Guidelines, which, in the spirit of transparency, are published and available on the web.

Issues facing Society as a whole

Speculating on the long term impact of the use of internet use, social media and social media marketing is McLuhan-esque territory. There is speculation concerning how computer/internet use could reshape our brains. The impact of advertising on children and adolescents has been studied. Many now are constantly connected - always on. The best description I've heard about how many of us live our lives is Continuous Partial Attention. Key in understanding facebook is recognizing that "We are its product, not its customers". What will be the impact when children and adolescents when the advertising becomes ubiquitous, following them around via their mobile phones and butting in during interactions with friends? What will be the impact of children and adolescents spending so much time on a site, where they are viewed as a "product"? It can be chilling to consider.

I don't want to end on a pessimistic note. This week is the "issues" week, where we begin to examine some of the negatives of Social Media. To quote McLuhan "We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us." While no one has a crystal ball to predict the precise impact of technological changes, we must consider potential issues and develop/use tools with awareness.


This week, instead of a blog post, you will post to two discussion forums on Angel(LCCC's CMS - the discussion forums will be in the week 5 folder). One forum will be "Describe what should be contained in LCCC Business Division's Policy on Social Media Marketing for its employees." and the other "Issues Businesses have faced related to the use of Social Media". Each forum is worth 2.5 points. Every post or reply will be awared some points. After you have earned your 2.5 points, you are welcome to continue discussing, but will likely not be awarded more points (on the other hand, I may award extra credit points for outstanding contributions). In both forums, support what you say with specific examples. For example, seek out and cite actual issues organizations have had relating to the usage of social media, and what we can learn from these issues. I will make every effort to stay up to date on grading and award points within 24-48 hours of the post.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 4


Numerous proverbs proclaim the value of planning. Here are some I recall:

  • Measure twice, cut once
  • It's not ready, fire, aim.
  • Look before you leap.
  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Poor Planning

Note: Before you think I am laughing at someone's misfortunes, According to The Mythbusters while the story is plausible, it likely originated with an old joke, not an actual event.

While most people acknowledge the importance of planning, many organizations neglect, or do not give it the attention it deserves:

Planning in Marketing

Read this description of Marketing Plans. Pay close attention to the first section. Here is a description of Marketing's 4 P's mentioned in the article.

Social Media Marketing Plan/Strategy

Here are a couple of presentations about Social Media Marketing Plan/Strategy

Note: These presentations are foound on Slideshare is a great resource. From their site:

SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. With 50 million monthly visitors and 90 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 250 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.


A real pleasure associated with teaching a new class in a new field is that experimentation is not just welcome, it is required! And in a class that relates to social media, it only makes sense to use the tools/concepts associated with Social Media. It is another way for the students to become familiar with the material, and it allows me to realize and demonstrate the benefits of the topics we are studying. This week's assignment will be an experiment in Crowdsourcing.

Do the following:

  • Post the link to your blog in the Student Blog forum on Angel
  • Review the materials above about Marketing Plans and Social Media marketing Plans
  • Go to Slideshare and find one presentation, different than the ones I used, about Social Media Marketing Plans
  • If there is something you don't understand, either in my sources, or the one you found, post a question to the discussion board.
  • Review the Marketing Plan format - for your Semester Project assignment.
  • Create a blog post that contains the following:
    • Post to your blog a link to the presentation you found, and your reaction, positive or negative. Does it agree with the sources I posted, or differ?
    • Based on what you learned - from my sources, the one you blogged, ones that other students blogged, and any other resources - discuss what you would change about the Semester Project Marketing Plan Format. Make at least 2 or 3 specific suggestions and support your suggestions with material from the resources you have reviewed.
    • Post what you think of this assignment. Is it a good idea for an instructor to solicit changes to an assignment from his students?
    • Be honest. It is ok to offer constructive criticism. One of the risks of "going social" is that it opens one up, whether a teacher, or an organization, to negative remarks. For social media to be an effective tool, constructive, respectful criticism ought to be welcomed. I genuinely want to make this class, and the materials the best they can be and your feedback can help.
  • To be authentic and transparent here, my goals for this assignment are:
    • to reinforce the importance of planning
    • for you to learn about Marketing Plans and Social Media Marketing Plans
    • to make sure you have reviewed the project and start thinking about it (hint, hint)
    • to improve the materials and assignments for this course. I may incorporate your feedback into the course/project.