Social Media Done Right

by keif on August 28, 2008

So a big hub-bub ’round these parts of Columbus was Nationwide hiring Shawn Morton to do social media strategy.

(Disclaimer: I used to work at Nationwide, I still have friends there, and I’m writing this because I want to!)

Social Media for an Insurance/Finances company?

Damn straight. I loved the idea. It’s forcing a big company to become more involved with its people. It’s bringing the corporate in touch with the civilians. It means instead of commercials of cheesy actors saying how “I got a great rate from Nationwide” it’s the twittersphere all-a-twittering about “I got some great info from Nationwide.com” or maybe “check out Nationwide’s hilarious new commercial.”

But all these little things aren’t what I want to focus on.

Corporate Responsibility and Transparency

Certainly you always stumble on advertising articles talking about the new campaigns – but usually it seems that’s where it stops. Company A has started a microsite, check it out at… or Company B is giving away X if you do Y, pass it on.

But sometimes, just sometimes, the company wants people to talk about it. And as David Griner points out, sometimes companies fuck up so utterly and completely what could’ve been a good review of their product.

David writes:

Over on the J-Walk Blog, John Walkenbach seemed plenty happy to have received a free bottle of a liquor called VeeV — “the world’s first Acai spirit.” Before even trying it, John wrote about the product, ran a picture of the bottle and promised to do some “live VeeV blogging” (ie, blogging under the influence).

Home run for the VeeV marketing folks, right?

Hey VeeV, I’m available for test marketing! Send free shit my way!

How’d they screw up? How COULD you screw up? I mean, maybe they’re worried they’ll be portrayed as the drink of alcoholics if someone “live blogs” drunk.

Apparently, John blogging drunk about VeeV, but the marketing agency of VeeV – Maverick Digital – put a little comment (as Bob no less) talking about about how awesome it is in pure marketing speak – which rather pissed John off.

Right, that’s what Griner said.

Right – people hate it when you try to act like you’re some random schmo (in this case, Bob) with a genuine opinion. Which brings me back to Nationwide…

Sanjaya-ize yo’self, fool!

That’s right. Sanjaya-ize Yourself – in the spirit of Elf Yourself you can upload a shot of yourself and make yourself like Sanjaya of American Idol fame. Haven’t you heard of it yet? It’s being shown in targeted markets – smart move! They identified a certain niche and targeted them with a celebrity that appeals to them.

And my point is?

Vader Sanjaya-ized. I totally stole this from Shawn.

Vader Sanjaya-ized. I totally stole this from Shawn.

This simple entry on the fan board for Sanjaya:

Just wanted to let everyone know that Sanjaya will be premiering his new TV commercial for Nationwide Insurance at Branch (226 E 54th St) in Manhattan on Wednesday, August 20th at 6PM.

The event is closed to the public; however, you still may be able to catch a glimpse of Sanjaya.

If you’re outside the NYC area, you can check out the new commercial on Nationwide.com (http://nationwide.com/about-us/featured-ads.jsp) and on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/NWInsurance) starting on Wednesday evening.

And for those who want to try on Sanjaya’s own unique style, you can check out our Sanjaya-ize Yourself widget starting Wednesday evening as well.

http://www.sanjaya-ize.com

BTW, I am part of the team at Nationwide that is putting together the event and the Sanjaya-ize Yourself widget, so please let me know if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to hearing what you all think.

See that last part? Here, in case you missed it, I added some bold to it for you:

BTW, I am part of the team at Nationwide that is putting together the event and the Sanjaya-ize Yourself widget, so please let me know if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to hearing what you all think.

See what Shawn aka sMoRTy71 did differently? FULL DISCLOSURE OF HIS INVOLVEMENT. No bullshit, no clever white lies. He appealed to their fans, made sure they knew who he was and that he was totally pimping out his product.

That , my friends, is how you do social media right.

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