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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 3

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan is a visionary that studied how the media effects individuals and society. His concepts are important to consider when studying any medium. We will use some of his concepts as we consider the impact of Social Media and its application to marketing.

My Overview

Items cited in my video

Cultural Icon - scene from "Annie Hall"

On "The Medium is the Message" (one of his most famous quotes)

Each medium, independent of the content it mediates, has its own intrinsic effects which are its unique message.

The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. (Understanding Media, NY, 1964, p. 8)

What McLuhan writes about the railroad applies with equal validity to the media of print, television, computers and now the internet. "The medium is the message" because it is the "medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action." (Understanding Media, NY, 1964, p. 9)


Additional Materials about McLuhan


Review the materials on this page about Marshall McLuhan and his key concepts. Find other resources about McLuhan. See if anyone else has applied McLuhan's Tetrad to topics relevant to this class: the Internet, Web 2.0, Social Media, Social Media Marketing. Gather your thoughts, and attempt to apply McLuhan's Tetrad to Social Media and Social Media Marketing. Discuss with your classmates your thoughts on our classes' message board within Angel (our course management system). Finally, create a blog entry that discusses McLuhan's Tetrad and Social Media/Social Media Marketing, supporting your thoughts with links to resources. When you are done, post the url of your entry to the drop box
in Angel.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Social Media Marketing - Fall 2012 - Week 2


The goal of this week is to begin thinking about what makes for effective social media marketing. First of all, read through the series of interviews I did with a group of people about how they use social media for marketing. The people on this list are involved in a wide range of activities. As you read the words of this diverse group, try to look beyond the differences for common themes regarding how social media can be used effectively for marketing.

Then do some online research to see what the "experts" say about effective social media marketing. I say "experts" because there are many folks out their claiming to be "experts" trying to sell their seminars or consulting services. That being said, you can find a lot of good information online about how to be effective with social media marketing. For any site you use, you should evaluate its reliability. Again, consider whether what you read confirms or conflicts with the other things you have read.

Next, look at examples of organizations using social media for marketing: look at one or two examples in 3 or so different social media sites... i.e. all your examples should not be from facebook. Do the examples seem effective or not? Why?

Lastly, post to the discussion forum your thoughts on what makes for effective social media marketing. Use what you have read in the interviews, on the web, and examples you have found to support your thoughts. Read and comment on your classmates' posts.


After you have done all the readings/preparatory activities, create a blog entry that lists 5 or so general guidelines for what makes for effective social media marketing. You can either specify things to do, or things to avoid doing. Support each item on your list with a few links to resources you found in the readings/preparatory activities. Upload the url of the blog entry you created to Angel