Between a blog and a hard place

When thinking about posts I could write for this blog I had a disturbing thought: most of what I think about, I can't blog about until it's no longer relevant. It's the bummer of working in social media at a major brand: we're doing some really cool stuff, most of it has never been done before, and yet I can't talk about the process of creating it at all due to competitive issues.

Any suggestions of what part of the process I actually could blog about without giving too much away?

A creative solution in Online Advertising

It’s great to get mentioned as a cutting-edge example of creativity – it’s one of the reasons I like working on the Online Advertising Team. A new mention crossed my path today: Mike Takahashi’s blog mentioned us for the Twitter display ad we did last year. (First ever on the Google network) 

Say, I wrote that tweet he featured. Cool! 

Facebook, Twitter traffic increases, MySpace declines

Brian Solis delivered an interesting analysis of trends among social media web sites on his blog today. According to the data provided by Experian Hitwise, Facebook visits are up 194% over last year (and now boast an almost 60% market share among social media platforms in the US) and Twitter visits were up a staggering 1170% over last year. The once-mighty MySpace is on the decline, down 55% YoY visits.

Harnessing the Power of Organic Emotion

Dan and Chip Heath wrote a great post today about tapping into real emotion (as opposed to creating an emotion that didn't already exist related to your product) for marketing. What's the emotion naturally associated with your product? Listen religiously to what people are saying about your brand in social media you'll instinctively know. Start with free tools: Google alerts, Twitter search, Technorati. Have the results delivered via RSS feeds to your email inbox (or where-ever you do your reading each day). 

Great listeners become great strategists because they know from a consumer standpoint 1) what's worth talking about and 2) what the emotion behind the conversation is. 

The “New” Advertising

Usually when people talk about advertising, they're thinking in "Mad Men" terms: the "we'll create a need for you and then tell you what to do about it" school of advertising. Social media has changed all that. Online social networking has ushered in a new world where word of mouth behavior and recommendations, always a huge factor in purchase decisions, is now visible and increasingly measurable online. Since a recommendation from your friend is more effective than a traditional banner ad, advertisers are taking notice.

Instead of fighting the instinctive human desire to talk to one another about experiences and products, smart marketers work cross-functionally with product teams to create ways to improve the product experience with strategically placed human conversation. The smart advertiser knows those helpful conversations are themselves, brand assets. Armed with those assets, smart advertisers find ways to deliver those helpful conversations to new people by using their distribution channels.

Best Buy's Twelpforce initiative is a great example. To improve the customer shopping experience (even before customers step foot in the store) Best Buy employees reach out to customers with questions via Twitter. They used one of their distribution channels (tv advertising) to inform the masses about this new way to engage with the brand. Smart!