Reporters' Roundtable: How to (really) use social media in your business

We discuss the incredible success of the Old Spice YouTube campaign compared with Apple's top-down over-control of communication around the iPhone 4 antenna problems.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
3 min read

On this episode of the Roundtable, we're talking about how to really use social media in your business. We're not going to say you should hire a bunch of "consultants" to tell you that Twitter will rocket you to success. Instead, we'll explore how to carefully, deliberately use your brand and your personality online to make your loyal customers more loyal and to spread the word to potential new customers.

And yes, the most recent and possibly most successful social campaign ever is the Old Spice program, which we will be talking about. Also, today: What Apple could have done in the social space to mitigate some of the brand damage caused by the problems with the iPhone 4's antenna design.

Our guests:

Brian Solis, founder of the branding and marketing firm FutureWorks. Now, there are hundreds of marketing and PR people in tech, and it's fair to say that most of them have at one point or another pitched me. Including Brian. But behind Brian's PR chops is a person who does more than pitch. Brian is one of the few branding and marketing people I've met in this business who backs up his approach with both a sensitive social radar as well as a real head for research and numbers. His books, Putting the Public back in Public Relations, and Engage, are thoughtful works on how to use social media.

And joining us from the real world (not tech): Rick Bakas, director of branding and social media for St. Supery winery. Rick is also author of the book, 75 Savory Tips for Social Media Success. Rick's real-world cred includes the fact that he's a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He's also an old-school branding expert.

Watch this: How to use social media in your business


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Show notes and talking points

AntennaGate: What could Apple have done with social media or social networks?

Old Spice: We have to start by talking about the Old Spice campaign, which just ended. For those six people who aren't aware of it, the campaign started traditionally, with a few great ads featuring the abs of Isaiah Mustafa, a good looking and very funny spokesman for the company's new body wash. The social coup de grace, which just put the brand over the top, was an epic marathon in which P&G sponsored the creative team at marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy to create short YouTube ads (sample) in response to social media. People messaged the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere, and they create ads on the spot -- about 160 all told -- over the course of two days. Why? How'd they do it?

How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made
The Old Spice Social Media Campaign by the Numbers
Old Spice's Online Video Coup

How do you measure the success of a campaign like this?

Lessons learned? What parts of it could St. Supery, for example, replicate? Or Dell or Apple, or my consulting business, or your flower shop?

One story around this campaign was that P&G showed incredible bravery in letting the campaign team produce content in real-time, without approval from the client. Is this critical for social media?

Let's talk more about Twitter and Facebook. What's to be gained by being on these services? And more importantly, what's the best way for a business to exist on Facebook or Twitter.

Discuss tools (e.g., CoTweet, Radian6).

Discuss ComcastCares -- how to make it work and not get buried.

Yelp and damage control. Discuss.

New social spaces like Foursquare. Great piece: Do you know who your mayor is?


From your books: Top tips, observations

E-mail comments to roundtable@cnet.com, and get all the show notes as well as replays and downloads of the podcast on the blog.

For early news about the next episode of Reporters' Roundtable, follow Rafe on Twitter.