“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.” – Dee Hock
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
– Antoine de Saint Exupéry
When I first started working on websites, the idea of appearing bigger was the goal. Companies concluded that one of the advantages of having a website was so that you could seem larger than you actually were. A small business in western Massachusetts could sell to customers across the country just like their larger competitors, all they needed was a website. Even if the entire company was one person on a computer in the basement, the web became the store front and that was how the world saw you. The internet was the great equalizer, with every body following the examples set by the bigger companies.
Today it is a little different. Some examples of the most successful social media and web marketing strategies were started by small companies that decided not to act like the big companies. One of my favorite examples is Ramon De Leon (#Ramonwow), who used social media to grow a business and demonstrate what the new web experience was going to become. #Ramonwow, as he is now known, used social media as a way to connect with his cutomers. He often speaks about his basic strategy, that if I get the customer to know me, then they will buy from me. He did this by engaging his customers where they were on social media and by providing personal content that customers saw as high value. His success has shifted the way many companies want to be seen on the web. Smaller and personal are the new goals, with companies now trying to adopt a web presence that social media has been proven successful. People want to interact with a company that engages and relates to them as a person. The value they want to get from a website isn’t just information about the services or products but about high value content and a unique brand experience. The web experience has changed to one with personality.
Now the big companies, who you may have pictured their websites as a series of computer servers and impersonal electronics, want to present themselves on the web more as a person. Someone, who is sitting there, willing to engage or react to all questions and comments from customers. Users have shown that it isn’t a bigger presence they want but a personal one.
I just attended the Social Media Marketing Strategy Summit and realized that the attendees may have taken part in a very clever social media strategy by Bally’s.
When I arrived at the hotel I was told that a room, one that is in my reservation, would not be ready until the following day. Until then I would be upgraded to a suite. I would, however have to check out of it the very next day and move into a room that was more aligned with what I reserved.
So after I get to the suite and start walking around, what is the very next thing I did? It is too late in Massachusetts to call anyone, so I do the very next best thing. I take a few photos and brag about it on Facebook. Show it off to my friends. Their response is everything from jealousy to amazed, and even one or two talking about how awesome it was when they stayed in a Las Vegas suite. The typical social media interactions and engagement you will see on Facebook.
I didn’t think much of it until the next day at lunch when I learned that this happened to two other attendees, random people I chose to sit with that day. And then again during a presentation the group learned that this also happened to one of the speakers. This speaker used it as a demonstration of two social media concepts. The first is that people love to brag on social media. My kid just beat her best time at swimming, look at this awesome thing I’m about to eat, and look at this fantastic room the hotel game me for free.
Second, she then used it as a demonstration of bad customer service through social media. She tweeted a few times about how the hotel was going to make her change rooms, even though this was their mistake. The hotel handled it by just giving her a phone number to call. It wasn’t the proper type of social media response. At least not the type she was going to present on that day. It also wasn’t the worst, the issue was resolved and three out of the four people it happened to switched with no great fuss.
It seemed odd to me and it wasn’t until I was half way back to my house from the airport that I thought of a few things. Bally’s is pretty smart or they are dumb lucking their way into social media marketing creativity. I have no knowledge that Bally’s is doing any of this intentionally, but I would like to think that they are, simply because dumb luck isn’t a good strategy. I think they intentionally put people in suites for the social media benefits as well as a few others.
The first is simple, put someone in a suite and they like it so much that they keep it. Writing it off as a business expense or who knows when I will get this chance again. I have already bragged to everyone online, why not just stay. Did you see the size of the tub?
The second is the long dollar approach. Which we learned can be the real value of a good social media presence. For free I promoted what a Bally’s suite looks like, for free I gave a testimonial to the cool amenities included in a suite. And for free I got a number of friends and family bringing up how cool they thought it was when they stayed in a Las Vegas suite. Who will get bragging rights next time? If anyone who saw my pictures or the pictures of any of the other seminar attendees this happen to chooses to stay in a suite their next visit to Vegas, all it cost the hotel is cleaning a few rooms that were obviously sitting empty anyway.
I thought this made a great example of a social media strategy and how it happened to a bunch of social media strategists.
A tribute to John Buscema. I concentrated on using CSS in the design of this piece for placement of elements and functionality of the roll overs.
The goal of the game is to defeat your opponent by creating an army made up of different character types. Each character type has basic abilities and character statistics that change through out the game based on a common deck of enhancement cards. Think of it as field promotions for the character as it defeats opponent characters.
This interactive play thing is designed entirely in Flash. The user can start of with one idea in mind but end up with something entirely different. It’s made to be played with.