I have the simple goal in life to help as many people, companies and organizations find success. It is what I wake up every morning hoping to do. Because of that, I want to give some free advice to the team at Ragu, whoever their social media agency is and any company thinking about getting into social media.
I’ve got the credentials to give this advice. I ran my own marketing agency. I’ve helped develop and execute online campaigns for The Coca-Cola Company, HBO, American Eagle Outfitters and many other companies. I get paid quite well to speak on the subject and consult with companies, but today the advice is completely free.
I just hope it helps.
My free social media advice for today is in direct relation to Ragu spilling all over their own campaign.
Twitter is a Conversation.
As of me writing this it has been 19 hours since Ragu sent their last tweet. This is not a big deal, except that their last batch of tweets were @ messages to several dads to bring attention to their newest video.
On Twitter when you send an @ message you are hoping for a response (they sure did get one from me). You are publically talking to someone and of course you hope they respond. I’ve seen responses to them and yet I’ve seen them say nothing back. It is a two way street and a conversation isn't very good if you don't say anything back.
Would anyone think it was a good idea to walk into a party and scream "hey look at me" and then walk back out the door without saying anything else? I think not.
Always Be Listening
This is rule number one of the Internet and without it being a core part of your culture you are in trouble.
You never know what people are saying about you online unless you’ve got your ears up. There are so many tools that can help you do this, but at a minimum you need to have Google Alerts and Twitter Search (both free) set up around your name, executive’s names and products.
Last night there was a SWARM of conversation about my post and tons of tweets, FB posts and other blog posts about the subject. I got up this morning and the conversation was still going on. I talked about it, responded to comments and continued the conversation.
Guess who was not part of it? You guessed right, Ragu.
The Internet Doesn’t Sleep
We live in a world that never turns off. Keeping old fashion bankers hours does not work any more.
Now in this case I know that the sauce hit the fan around 11:00 at night and most brands are not listening except during traditional work hours, but I don’t think that can be an excuse any more.
The fact that these @ messages were thrown out and then whoever wrote them clocked out for the night is dangerous. If you are going to open up a conversation then you need to be sure to be ready to discuss things in real time. If you want to only engage during "business hours" then make that clear.
Play Devil’s Advocate With All Ideas
Whenever I’ve been involved in building a campaign we always sit down and think “what is the worse thing that could happen.” We do this so that it vets the idea and so that we are prepared for it.
Rarely will you run into a full blown crisis, but if you don’t challenge the ideas and at least think about worse case scenarios then you are only doing a half ass job of working with your clients. I’ve worked on some pretty insane campaigns that involved shark attacks, vials of fake blood and giving out bras to teenagers on Facebook. Talk about possible pitfalls, but we were ready for them because we discussed them up front.
I don’t know what (if anything) Ragu is going to do because of all this, but I sure hope they don’t over react.
I remember when the whole Motrin Moms fiasco happened and they instantly pulled the ad and issued a legalese ridden apology. They buried it in the sand and ran away from it rather than using it as something to talk about and learn from.
Tempers can flare and they can die out just as fast. Be calm and everything will be ok. Just don’t do nothing. That is even worse. :)
If You Want to Engage Parents, Don't Forget the Dads
A final point that only applies to brands who are targeting parents.
Last night when all this happened I noticed that there is a Ragu Ambassador program. I don't know how long this has been going on, but they have 25 bloggers involved. Any idea how many men. ONE!
Most of us guys are use to this and giggle about being "the token dad" in a group. Sure we laugh it off, but it is lazy in my mind. I'm still waiting for the day that a brand step up and fully realizes the power of all parents rather than just one group or another.
I'm writing this from an airport in Canada. I have no idea if anyone is listening, but I sure know that a lot of people are talking about my reaction and the campaign.
I truly hope this advice helps Ragu and others.
Ragu, let's discuss over dinner. Only rule is I get to cook. :)
3:00 pm Update - A brand manager has contacted me and we are going to chat tomorrow.
Photo Credit: PicsIShouldShare