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Coca-Cola VP Talks About the Keys to Social Media Success

“The days of controlling the message are absolutely over. At best you’ll be invited in and you’ll get to co-create and participate with consumers.”

Wendy Clark, senior VP-integrated marketing communications and capabilities at the Coca-Cola Co., gave a presentation at the AdAge Digital Conference where she talked about how social media has completely changed the game for marketers. Though she was using her own multi-billion dollar company as a reference point, much of what she said applies to marketers at every level, from individuals promoting their own talents to small businesses and on up.

She talked about how over the years we’ve gone from delivering one message to the world, to delivering targeted variations, to the current climate where we create conversations that work two ways. She calls this new landscape, “liquid and linked.” Liquid because every piece of marketing has to spread out to the very furthest communication point and linked because it all has to relate back to the core message.

Turning Social Media Followers into Brand Evangelists

Do you know VABeachKevin? He’s a guy on Twitter who might answer your question if you’re confused about a product from Omniture. Funny thing is, he doesn’t work for the company. He’s just a guy who likes the product and likes to share what he knows. He’s a brand evangelist and his word is worth more than ten tweets from a salesman on the company Twitter.

Brian Watkins of Adobe has an interesting new webcast available that talks about how you can get your own VaBeachKevin, because seriously, we all need at least one like him.

Twitter for Customer Service? Fortune Puts it to the Test

The answer to a customer service question should always be accurate, as simple as possible while still covering the problem completely and it should arrive in a timely manner.

For most companies, this means running customer service phone lines or responding to email, but some intrepid explorers are giving Twitter a whirl. It’s a logical step, seeing as how people love to use Twitter to complain about companies, so why not use the same method to turn the consumer around?

The folks at Fortune decided it was time to put this new option to the test, so they took their problems to eight companies known to have customer service agents manning Twitter. They dealt with banks, airlines, shopping sites and even got technical assistance for their cable TV. In each case, they delivered the question by Twitter, Phone and through the company website.

New Book Offers Marketing Advice Beatles Style

When you look at the history of The Beatles, it may seem that their rise to the top of the charts was based on a series of fateful meetings and lucky breaks. But according to Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, there was nothing accidental about it. They say that every move, every junction was carefully planned and vetted with an eye always toward being a musical success. They say, that by following the blueprint set out by The Beatles, any company could rise to the top of their own industry chart and that is the premise of their new book.

Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles is a simplified, straightforward look at the steps that made The Beatles one of the most successful musical acts in history and how those same steps can be applied to business.

The 11 Unwritten Laws of Reputation Management

Over at Forbes, I’ve been moonlighting as someone that writes well enough to, well, write for Forbes. ;-)

I’m pretty “chuffed” with my latest article which shuns the trend of making 2011 predictions and instead focuses on the unwritten laws of reputation management in 2011.

Here are the first three to whet your appetite…

Law #1 – Everyone has an online reputation

We all have an online reputation to maintain. Don’t believe me, go ahead and “Google Yourself”–I promise you won’t go blind! Even if you don’t find anything written about you, then that’s still your reputation–or lack thereof. In 2011, you should make sure that what’s found in Google, Facebook, Twitter et al is something you’d be equally comfortable showing your mom or your boss!

Astroturfing: Maybe it’s Not as Bad as it Seems

Astroturfing is defined as the act of creating a false sense of grassroots support. The two most common examples are politics and online reviews. For example, a Senator receives a flood of letters that appear to be a spontaneous response to a political event but the letters are actually from an organized group who will gain something by swaying the vote.

Online, it could be a series of very positive product reviews that seem to come from Average Janes when in reality they were posted by an employee of the company.

Don’t Let Bad Service Negate a Great Campaign

My hobby is entering giveaways. It’s probably akin to a gambling addiction but it doesn’t cost me a penny and I win some pretty cool stuff. Last week, I won a $25 gift certificate to a gourmet food company that I had never tried.

Last Friday was free shipping day, so it was the perfect day to get the best out of my win. Except for the fact that the system they use sees a gift code as a discount code so I could only use my gift certificate or get the free shipping, not both. Why? A gift certificate is money, not a discount. Determined to fix this, I called the company’s toll free number in the early evening, California time. I was directed to the “customer service” line which was a recording saying they were closed. Hmmm.