Category Archives: Google

5 Social Video Marketing Examples – “Social Video” in Business Today

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Last week I gave my best shot at defining what is “social video marketing.” In today’s article, I showcase 5 examples from companies that I think are meeting that definition.  These examples  are doing social video marketing not just for sales and visibility, but because it reflects an important part of their own business model and business culture.

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I liken this article to going out to dinner tapas-style – 5 big appetizers that make up a tasty dish on social video marketing. I’ve kept the information short for each numbered example; and I have included a small, embedded video where feasible, along with a link to any existing article for more information, entrée-style. I’m not getting into what examples or business models are proven business successes, because those could all be individual articles in themselves. Instead I want to start you off with an idea of what’s possible, so we can see how this newly-defined marketing niche we call social video marketing is beginning to take shape.

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Social Video Marketing Example #1: The Fun Social Experiment

I consider BlendTec to be one of the very early pioneers of social video marketing. Their “Will It Blend?”  claim to fame is showcasing all the ways that their retail and commercial blenders can blend things you would never likely see in any television commercial. All the possibilities they have come up with  are on their YouTube Channel. It has been going strong since 2006, and some of their more popular videos (they’re very good about covering the latest gadgets or pop culture products) have amassed over 10 million viewers individually! Their videos are hilarious with a 60’s-kitch soundtrack; they have solid production, creative writing, and a concise video length. Also the company’s own founder, Tom Dickson, appears as the host of every video to show off the power of his blender.

Want more of this topic? Watch my interview with Blendtec’s George Wright, former VP of Marketing and Sales who came up with the BlendTec video marketing strategy.

Social Video Marketing Example #2: Exploring Controversy and Creating Dialogue

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This edgy-but-compassionate Midwestern evangelical pastor and author recently put out a religious book titled, “Love Wins – A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person.” Even before his book released on March 15th of this year, the buzz from his promotional YouTube video helped generate lots of mainstream media attention, and skyrocketed the book to #6 on’s best sellers’ list. If you do a search on YouTube and Google Video, you’ll see that Bell has been doing social video for many years. I liken Rob’s style to an attraction for “tipping sacred cows,” which he manages to express in a way that’s both palatable enough to both his target market as well as people outside his evangelical circles, who are attracted to both his message and the creative ways he expresses it with both social media and online video.

Want more? Read my article, “Social Video Marketing Wins! What Rob Bell and ‘Love Wins’ Can Teach Us.”

Social Video Marketing Example #3: The Video Apology and Remedy

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Social video marketing isn’t only about creating entirely positive new experiences for customers. Sometimes it involves demonstrating responsibility when you make mistakes, and a way to make amends. Domino’s USA’s Pizza Apology Video featuring their CEO was an excellent way to respond to the Domino’s Prank Video posted on YouTube back in 2009. However to turn a big negative into a positive for sales, what they had to do was build on the original apology and show a strong, continued effort to follow up with videos directly. So the following year in 2010, Domino’s launched the “Show Us Your Pizza” contest website, featuring Domino’s USA’s own head chef inserted into actual user-submitted videos of people’s pizza experiences with Domino’s. (One video I particularly enjoy is where the head chef personally delivers a new pizza directly to a customer who got a botched order, and he interviews the actual customer about his whole experience, right at the guy’s dinner table.) Domino’s YouTube channel and their Show Us Your Pizza website are great examples of how to turn a big negative into a big positive using video. They combined an apology with a remedy, engaged with their customers, and empowered them in a fun way.

Want more of this topic? Read my article, “Time for Your Business to Apologize on Video? Social Video Marketing Remedies.”

Example #4: The Video Help-Desk for Everyone

Google Webmaster Help

Google Webmaster Help’s YouTube Channel

Google Webmaster Help’s YouTube Channel is an excellent example of how any business can put their own frequently asked questions into a series of videos. Google describes the channel as “a one-stop shop for webmaster resources that will help you with your crawling and indexing questions, introduce you to offerings that can enhance and increase traffic to your site, and connect you with your visitors.”

Each episode is hosted by Google’s senior software engineer Matt Cutts, who has worked for them since 2000 and is in charge of enforcing the Google Webmaster Guidelines; and whom I’ve personally known since 2002. Each of the videos is done with stellar audio and video quality, with a simple yet well-light solid color backdrop that varies between episodes. Users are encouraged to submit questions for future videos, and Matt always announces the name of the submitter in the beginning (where both the name and question are featured as a clear text graphic). It’s a great example of how any individual question can be a great opportunity to respond to in a video, that is very easily shared with people who have the same question.

Want more of this topic? Read the Google Webmaster Central Blog post with their introduction of the YouTube channel.

Example #5: Staff as the Helpful Video Presenters (and Personalities)

Zappos is a retail shoe company

Zappos a retail shoe company

Zappos is a retail shoe company that embodies social video marketing deep into its business culture. Their own staff showcases all of their products by holding them in their hands to present them directly to the camera.

“We get a lot of customer feedback on our YouTube channel and prior to having tracking, we used this as a way to gauge how well our videos were received.  We used google’s fancy analytics as a starting point for how long our videos should be, where most of our customers were located, what kind of videos they were interested in, etc.”  Zappos also has a YouTube channel called The Zappos Experience, created for their customers to submit their own video to Zappos with their feedback and questions.

I recently spoke with Zappos’ own Video and Product Manager, Laurie Williams, who shared with me this information on their marketing success:

  • Zappos plans on shooting a video for all incoming new products this year. That turns out to be around 100,000 new videos.
  • They have 19,000 videos indexed on google.
  • They offer social media share (Facebook, Twitter, blog) icons on all product videos.
  • Their recent addition of a video button (and text graphic “video”) shot up their website video views from 20,000 video hits a day to 160,000 – an 800% increase.

Want more of this topic? Check out my article and video interview with Zappos’ Laurie Williams, taken at the Liveclicker Video Commerce Consortium Summit in July 2010.

This is a very small sampling of companies that are doing social video marketing that I think we can also learn a lot from and implement in own marketing and ecommerce efforts. I’m looking forward to exploring much more of online space and showing more examples of companies today that are “getting social” with their video marketing communications. It should help us all learn how to better combine the technology, media, and creative culture needed to build better business relationships with our customers and colleagues while driving results.

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Six Social Media Trends for 2011

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It was a banner year for social media growth and adoption. We witnessed Facebook overtake Google in most weekly site traffic, while some surveys reported nearly 95% of companies using LinkedIn to help in recruiting efforts. In my outlook for last year, I cited that mobile would become a lifeline to those looking for their social media fixes, and indeed the use of social media through mobile devices increased in the triple digits.

I also outlined how “social media would look less social” or more accurately exclusive, and indeed, we’ve seen the re-launch of Facebook groups, which focus on niche interactivity, and more recently, the emergence of Path, billed as “the social network for intimate friends” which limits your network to only 50 people. The past year also saw some brands go full throttle on Foursquare‘s game-like geo-location platform, attempting to reward mayors and creating custom badges for the network’s power users.

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In other areas, such as social media policy, I was less accurate. Conversations around the topic did begin to take place, But a global survey indicated that only 29 percent of companies even have a social media policy. That’s not as high as I expected.

So what could we see happening in 2011? I’ll take a stab at six trends again. In no particular order:

It’s The Integration Economy, Stupid. From Ford, to Dell, to Starbucks (client), to Jet Blue, and a host of other companies who have pioneered early uses of social media for business, 2011 will be the year these companies take a serious look at integrating social media, not only regionally but globally. Don’t be surprised if the same companies that piloted programs such as Ford’s “Fiesta Movement” and Starbuck’s Foursquare programs also become the first companies to take on the huge challenge of integrating social media into all facets of business from global marketing to crisis management and beyond.

Tablet & Mobile Wars Create Ubiquitous Social Computing. As competition heats up in the form of cheaper, smarter phones and an assortment of tablets that may hit the market (a $35 Tablet in India?), technology consumers will come one step closer to being connected 24/7, and in more powerful ways than previously possible. Social networking will be on the go, out of the house, and out of the office. More competition, variety, power, and affordability in devices will fuel the increase of ubiquitous social computing.

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Facebook Interrupts Location-Based Networking. If 2010 belonged to Foursquare and its playful, competitive and sometimes addicting ecosystem of badges, mayorships and specials, it’s likely that Facebook will rain on Foursquare’s parade in 2011. With tons of data and the architecture behind Facebook’s response to Foursquare about to be rolled out globally, Facebook is well positioned to actually make location based services useful to business.

Average Participants Experience Social Media Schizophrenia. While social media schizophrenia (the overload of multiple social profiles) is nothing new to tech mavens, it will become something that more and more “average” users experience as they tweet, Facebook, G-mail, chat, Skype, BBM, SMS, and Tumble their way across the social web. While many mavens have adopted ways to manage and cope, average users may find themselves at the beginning of the curve in need of a 12-step social identity program. This may lead to increased demand from typical participants to have a more integrated and simplified social graph and an opportunity for platforms and companies alike to meet this demand.

Google Doesn’t Beat Them, They Join Them. In 2010, Wired told us that Facebook could beat Google to win the net. But even at the end of 2010 after failed attempts to create their own networks such as Buzz, Google could prove that the best way to beat Facebook, Twitter, and the rest is to do what Google does best: Index them to pieces. Indeed, I’ve already noticed Google’s algorithm has become smarter about Twitter data. I only have to type in a few words to locate old tweets. It’s possible that by sticking to what Google does best, they may be able to take advantage of the social web by indexing any and all social data they can get their hands on. Expect the Googleplex to “strike back” in 2011, and perhaps demonstrate that they may figure out their role and relevancy on the social Web.

Social Functionality Makes Websites Fashionable Again. After several years of being told to “fish where the fish are,” businesses realize that users expect social integration to existing Websites. Sites such as AMEX Open forum serve as a model for how networks such as Twitter can integrate with the Web experience. Websites will increasingly serve as “digital hubs” that integrate social activity from many platforms. For example, Apple’s music social network, named Ping, recently integrated Twitter. While the integration has kinks, it demonstrates that even the most iconic of brands realizes that they do not exist in their own walled garden. They must integrate to be relevant in a socially connected world.

These are a few emerging trends that come to my mind. I’m interested to hear what you think as well, so please weigh in with your own thoughts. Where do you see social media going in 2011?

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The Google Loophole Has Become The Facebook/Twitter Loophole

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There are a lot of interesting angles to the news this morning about The New York Times’ new paywall. Top news will remain free, a set number of articles for all users will remain free, there will be different pricing tiers for different devices, NYT is fine with giving Apple a 30 percent cut, etc, etc. But to me, the most interesting aspect is only mentioned brieflyabout halfway down the NYT announcement article: all those who come to the New York Times via Facebook or Twitter will be allowed to read for free. There will be no limit to this.

Up until now, we’ve seen paywall enthusiasts like The Wall Street Journal offer such loopholes. But they’ve done so via Google. It’s a trick that most web-savvy news consumers know. Is a WSJ article behind a paywall? Just Google the title of it. Click on the resulting link and boom, free access to the entire thing. No questions asked. This new NYT model is taking that idea and flipping it.

The Google loophole will still be in play — but only for five articles a day. It’s not clear how they’re going to monitor this (cookies? logins?), but let’s assume for now that somehow they’ll be able to in an effective way. For most readers, the five article limit will likely be more than enough. But that’s not the important thing. What’s interesting is that the NYT appears to be saying two things. First, this action says that spreading virally on social networks like Twitter and Facebook is more important to them than the resulting traffic from Google. And second, this is a strategic bet that they likely believe will result in the most vocal people on the web being less pissed off.

Paywalls are not easy. For proof, look at well, just about every site that has ever tried to implement one. The barrier is always met with huge backlash. But much of that backlash often comes from the savvy readers who had been used to getting at the content for free on the web. NYT seems to be betting here that these users are the same ones that now rely on Twitter and Facebook for their news discovery. And they will be unaffected.

Is that the right bet? Maybe, or maybe not. Facebook has around 600 million users now. Twitter has another 150 million plus. These are mainstream services that extend far beyond the early adopters. But even if this move goes beyond the vocal users and into the mainstream population that might otherwise be willing to pay, at the very least, it will still mean less overall backlash.

And it’s yet another sign of a changing of the guard on the web from Google to Facebook and Twitter. It will arguably be easier to find all the NYT content for free via Twitter search than it was via Google search. At the very least, it will be more obvious. And the social filters of Twitter and Facebook will have people sharing only the best articles that you’re likely going to want to read anyway.

Meanwhile, the other side of the bet is that those coming in from Google are probably more likely to pay if asked nicely every once in a while. You know, the more mainstream and perhaps slightly older and less tech-savvy audience. The people who may actually pay.

The main point? If you’re reading this post, you’re unlikely to be affected by the NYT paywall because you probably came here from Facebook or Twitter — the two key players in the new social loophole.



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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Facebook, Google, Twitter


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Google Taps Your Friends to Improve Search Results

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Social Search

Google has updated its Social Search tool to add links, photos and relevant web pages from your friends to Google’s normal search results. The changes build on Google’s earlier social-search efforts and help add a more familiar, human element to your search results.

Google Social Search, which debuted in 2009, taps yoursocial network to find search results from people you know. Although your friend’s Flickr photos of Yosemitemight not normally rank high in a Google search, Social Search adds another layer to the algorithm-based results and makes sure that you see your friend’s photos when you search for “Yosemite.” In order to use Social Search you must be signed in to a Google account.

Back when social Search first launched any results Google found within your social networks were relegated to the bottom of the page. Today’s update changes that, mixing social results in with regular search results. The change not only makes it easier to find results from within your social network, it also signals that Google is getting more serious about social search as a first class offering.

Facebook already uses similar social network connections to surface helpful links and even recently started using your friends to promote and advertise products within the site. Google, on the other hand, has been slow to embrace social searching. This is only the the second update to its social search tool in nearly two years.

The second major change in this update is that Social Search will now add notes for links your friends have shared onTwitter and other sites. For example, if you search for a video of a singer slapping his guitarist after a bad solo, and your friend happens to have posted the same video to Twitter, that result might show up higher in your results. You’ll also see a note beneath the link, mentioning that your friend tweeted the video.

The last change in this update to Social Search gives you a bit more control over how your various social network accounts are linked to Social Search. Previously accounts were connected publicly through your Google profile page. That still works, but you can now also connect accounts privately, so no one else will know that you masquerade as @voltronsuperfan on Twitter. Of course, Google will still know, so if you’re concerned about maintaining your privacy, Social Search probably isn’t for you.

For an overview of how Google Social Search works, check out this video:



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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Google, Increase rank, SEO/SEM


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