HAF – Links from Roxanne’s Presentation

This post is a summary of the conversation we had at the Hawaii Advertising Federation Conference. Please feel free to join in. Tip: Lots of links here, so right-click or control-click to open them in a new window.

Advertising online is fraught with challenges. Most web savvy consumers have learned to tune them out, as people are increasingly displeased with advertising in general. A large part is due to ads getting noisier and more ubiquitous. I was on a US Air flight recently and when it came time for drinks, and the tray tops came down covered in ads, I heard three different people complain out loud. People are tired of the intrusiveness and one-way-ness of most ad messaging. They want to have conversations that are two-way. The nice way to put this, is that advertising is due for an upgrade.

Since my expertise in online, the underlying theme today was to convey how the internet is a foreign country. It has it’s own practices, many of which are the opposite of their offline counterparts. The pace is faster, the look and feel is less polished in most cases, the interactivity is high, and there is a good chance someone is talking about you whether you know it or not. You may use email, Google, and have your own website. (That’s web 1.0). To be a successful traveler, you’ve got to leave the Holiday Inn in this foreign country and go out to meet the vocal locals. (That’s web 2.0.) The social web is filled opportunities and pitfalls for advertisers.

A Few of Our Group Metrics
* Most of the 70 or so people in the room had read a blog before.
* Less than 10 had left a comment on a blog.
* 2 had written in a blog.
* About 10 belonged to LinkedIn.
* 1 person was on Twitter.

Benefits and Buzzwords
Your power comes from joining the conversation. At it’s most basic form, by adding a comment, you create a valued in-bound link back to your web site. You also add your point of view. You can in many cases claim thought leadership for your company, for your industry, for your customers, for your vendors. Read my post on how and when to leave blog comments.

Remember relationship marketing? The tools and apps (applications) of web 2.0 are relationship marketing on steroids. People stay longer on sites that allow them to do something other than read some text or look at a some pictures. On blogs and socnets (social networks) people click through to more pages. That translates into longer session times and more page views which are a resource you can sell, or sell ads on. And the relationships you build with your visitors? Priceless.

Accepting comments on your site allows people to tell you what they love, what’s not working so you can fixit sooner than later, ideas for new products and services, and most importantly they build trust with you. If you talk back in the comments, it shows you pay more than lip service to the concept of listening. When it comes time to buy, they will come to you first, because you have already established a relationship and possibly market leadership too. All the while you are getting free market research data, if you think of it that way.

And regardless of whether or not you (as the company) are engaged in online conversations, your brand is being discussed, debated, celebrated and parodied online. This brand democratization can be ripe with opportunity as well as fraught with bloopers. Your odds are better the more you are engaged. Here’s a “link to the YouTube Mac vs PC” ads, the real ones and the spoofs, some of which Jason Sperling (link has expired) showed to us at lunch today.

Social Networks
Thanks for joining our “analog” social network! Now that you’ve had practice creating a profile and sharing a few details about yourself with someone you did not previously know, you are ready to go out an join an online social network. Try one under a personal screen name to get some more practice before you start doing this on behalf of your company. And check out Mitch Joel’s blog on personal branding to get tips on how to benefit from your participation.

Free Blogging Services: (Set one up and play with it for personal use)
iWeb – if you’re on a Mac (It’s part of the iLife software package)

Sites I mentioned:
CNN – Click on “From the Blogs” link below an article to see recent, related blog posts
Honolulu Advertiser – find a news item and look for “Reader Comments”
Technorati – indexes millions of blogs; look for blogs here and claim your blog here once you have one
LifeHacker – popular blog with tips for managing your life
Chris Brogan – Look at the “MyBlogLog”: in the orange-bounded box in left column to see recent readers (we left a comment on the Mac Book Air post)
My Sister’s Site (link has expired) – pets and kids in southern California
My Mom’s Site (link has expired) – Blanche’s Art Show

Business Examples:
Mary Schmidt – marketer who grew her service business with a blog
Association for Downloadable Media – Association for Downloadable Media; multi-author association blog
MightyJ Music – local girl band who gets bookings by having a video blog; doubled site traffic after an appearance on Beach Walks with Rox, as compared to zero traffic increase after appearing on local morning television in Honolulu
Legal discussion of Hasbro/Mattel – Scrabble and Scrabulous discussion of Hasbro/Mattel/Scrabulous trademark infringement
Discussion of Ford Black Mustang Fan Club issues

Social Network (SocNet) Sites:

Please leave a comment and tell me what you liked, didn’t like, and anything I may have missed! I am working on some additional training programs targeted for agencies and business communicators to learn how to use the social web effectively. Let me know if you’re interested.

Mahalo nui for inviting me. I had a blast – and hope we can continue learning together.