Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman

My notes on “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” by Erik Qualmantélécharger (1)

The story about bacon salt

  • Bacon Salt was an idea that was born out of the minds of two Seattle buddies, Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, who over a few beers jokingly posed the question – “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a powder that made everything taste like bacon?”
  • They found over 35,000 people that mentioned bacon in their MySpace profile. They began reaching out to these people to gauge their interest in Bacon Salt, and not only did they find interest, they started receiving orders when they didn’t even have a product yet.
  • It went viral.
  • The spice that made everything taste like bacon incredibly sold 600,000 bottles in 18 months. “We didn’t even have a product at the beginning; instead, we bought cheap spice bottles, printed out Bacon Salt logos and scotch them onto the bottles.”
  • Lesson: People are passionate about what they like. Each passion is a niche that can turn into a business.


The story about Matt’s funny dance

  • Matthew Harding quit his job and began travelling.
  • All of us are known for something quirky among our friends. Harding was known for particular dance. So, while travelling in Vietnam, his travel buddy suggested he do his dance, and they filmed it. The video was uploaded to his website for friends and family to enjoy, and they loved it! “the dance can probably best be described as a five-year old on a Halloween sugar rush” says a friend.
  • Harding decided to perform his unique dance whenever he was visiting an exotic location on his journey. He later would up editing together 15 dance scenes in exotic locations. All the scenes had him centre frame, with the background music “Sweet Lullaby.”
  • It went viral.
  • Stride Gum saw a huge opportunity and approach Matt, offering to help sponsor his travels. Matt was delighted because he had been travelling on a shoestring budget, actually having to use a college travel company. With the help of Stride, Matt was able to produce a third video.
  • This video was the result of travelling to 42 different countries over the prior 14 months and including shots from 70 different cities and locations.
  • 33 million views later, for the nominal fee of sponsoring Matt’s travel costs, Stride was paid back in millions of dollars worth of brand equity.
  • A main reason the campaign was successful was that Stride kept the integrity of the original concept – it was always about people – it wouldn’t be prudent to all of a sudden make it about gum.  In fact Stride helped Matt improve on his original formula by suggesting that Matt try to surround himself with locals also joining in the dance, whereas previously the somewhat reserved computer programmer would have, at most, one or two people in the video with him.
  • Stride could have had Matt wearing a Stride T-shirt and passing out gum, but they were smart enough to leave well enough alone. Instead, they had a tactful message at the end of the video and also had a discreet logo in the upper right of some of the videos. Stride showed how successful a brand can be by simply associating itself with social media that is already virally successful, which gives other brands something to chew on.

The Lesson: If you push your brand too much when you associate with great content, it may inhibit the spread of the virus.

The story about Coke + Mentos = Exposion

  • Two scientists experimenting in a lab one day discovered that if you drop 5 Mentos into Diet Coke, a fairly volatile chemical reaction would ensue. Since it was so visual and dynamic, YouTube was the perfect platform to make it globally famous. In the past, the CocaCola Company could possibly have handled this quietly behind closed doors, however, in today’s world with the heightened social media exposure., Coke was forced to deal with the situation.
  • In the past, Coke would have been alarmed by this discovery. There was also probably good cause for this potential alarm because the public could jump to the incorrect assumption that Coke must be highly toxic and it would be undesirable to have this type of reaction going on in the stomach. The end result would have most likely been a long court battle by Coke to discredit and shut these activities down.
  • The best results came from Diet Coke. Sprite, Diet Pepsi, Coke Classic and Dr Pepper didn’t produce quite the same dramatic effect but it was still spectacular.
  • A window was open for Pepsi to do something if Coke didn’t. Coke decided to embrace the exposure of this experiment and actually hired the original scientists as spokesmen (Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz). They in turn went on to do a much more elaborate video on YouTube that got over 9 million views.

The Lesson: If you ignore it, it won’t go away, so embrace it instead.

The story of the the first Juke Box

Imagine the conversation when the first Juke Box Company approached a record label for songs

  • Juke Box Company: “We could remove your songs, but then people will not be able to find them to listen to them.
  • Record Label: “That’s ok, we don’t really see any direct revenue from the quarters they put into your machine, so why should users be able to listen to our music?”
  • Juke Box Company: “At that moment in time it’s on the only place they can listen to the song. Even if they own the record, they aren’t’ going to carry their stereo around. Don’t you want people to be exposed to your music and if they like it they will come in an dbuy the record?
  • Record Label: “meh”

This is what is happening between the Associated Press asking Google/ YouTube to remove copyrighted material.

The Lesson: Everybody has a different preference for consuming media. If you know your favourite song is on YouTube, and the radio, you still might buy the mp3 from Apple or the whole CD because you like to consume the song on your mp3 player or massive home stereo. Surely exposing your media to the biggest possible audience plus making it easy and cheap to purchase in the format they want it in, is more profitable in the long term than trying to squeeze a few dollars out of a small audience?

Other Interesting Bits

  • About incentivising recommendations:
    • People don’t make recommendations for financial incentives, but because they like to be perceived as the expert on something.  Eg Contributors of reviews for TripAdvisor are simply compelled to give back to a community that has give to them.
  • About leveraging your flaws:
    • “When you point out your flaws, people will give you more credence when you point out your strengths”
  • About not leaving a vacuum on social networks:
    • What happens when a brand doesn’t set up a page on the major social networks? A user will set up either a positive or negative space for you if you choose not to.
  • About user control in the future:
    • How many cameras do you need for a Masters Golf Tournament?
    • Imagine internet viewers being able to select which hole, which player, and which angle they’d like to watch from
    • Many people will be happy with the default choice, but others would like the power in their hands
  • About hiring Ebooks from Libraries:
    • What if you could rent all books in electronic form from your library?
    • Imagine limitless supply because the more information that is free and available, the more society benefits (but how would publishers and authors be incentivised?)
    • Could you still restrict the number of electronic copies you rent out or how long you rent them out for?
    • How can publishers benefit from books passed from one friend to another (because they currently get nothing)
    • What if there was no renting at all, but you had to pay 20c for every book you want to “own” in electronic format? And you could pass it on, which saves your friend the download, but they still pay?
  • About being the best at something, not everything:
    • Historically, we have seen the “we are the best at everything” messaging coming from corporate marketing departments.
    • In a 140 character world you have the chance to help the consumer retain something and pass it on.
    • Hyperfocus on your strengths or niche

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