How Ford Became the World’s Best Social Media Brand

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Ford ceases to kick its social media strategy into overdrive with impressively shocking campaigns that not only set global social media trends, but raise the benchmarks for how brands should utilize it for their business.

They have socialized and humanized their brand image so much to the point that they now have a social hub called Ford Social (see image above), where they aggregate all of their social media profiles and communities, allowing fans to share stories, images, videos and ideas with one another.

They showed us the power of social influence marketing and brand advocacy with the famous Ford Fiesta Movement campaign, which not only helped them survive the 2008 recession but yielded these outstanding results as well:

  • 4.3 million YouTube views 
  • 500,000+ Flickr views
  • 3 million+ Twitter impression
  • 50,000 interested potential customers, 97% of which don’t own a Ford.

the intuitive Ford Explorer Launch social event, the cool Fiestagram contest, and now the innovative Smartphone social media bluetooth app. 

The Software “Ford Keyfree Login” automatically logs in and logs out your web accounts as you approach your computer with your smartphone, using bluetooth technology. 

It’s free, time saving, no more hacking and no more industrial spying.

But how did they do it, you may ask? Sure it helps to have a social media genius like Scott Monty on your team, but there are 7 other lessons as to why Ford did so well socially with Jeff Bullas’s The 7 Secrets to Ford’s Social Media Marketing Success.

Not only did Ford show us how to utilize each social media tool in a creative and enticing way, but they also exemplified the power of social influence marketing and brand advocacy, and how to humanize your brand properly.

Creative Commons Spurring Arab-Originated Digital Content

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

If you are an agency (creative, advertising or digital), publisher, blogger, artist, or you want to do any of the following, then Creative Commons is for you.

  • Let people share and use your branded visuals (photos, videos, graphics, etc.), but not allow companies to sell them.
  • Encourage readers to re-publish your branded content (blog posts, articles, press releases, etc.) as long as they give you credit.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that aims to enable the sharing and use of creativity and content through free and easy-to-use copyright licenses. Here’s a video to feed your visual urge and to give you a better idea of the concept.

With the ever-growing popularity and need for branded digital content and entertainment, protecting such work has become even more important seeing that it is so easy to copy and paste other people’s creative work.

Fortunately enough, we’re now starting to see this become more active in the Middle East, especially seeing that Creative Commons Qatar just celebrated their first year anniversary. Creative Commons Qatar has become an affiliate partner in order to help spur and protect arab-originated digital content. Check out the video they recently created:

Great job Qatar! Arab countries such as UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt have also joined the affiliate network. We hope to see more Arab countries become official affiliates especially Kuwait seeing that we’re based (or should we say ‘biased’?) there and all.

As you may have noticed from the video these licenses do not in any way conflict with nor replace copyright. Rather they work alongside with them to allow for greater protection and flexibility in the sharing and usage of creative work. Here’s a  list of the licenses that Creative Commons offers (compiled by the Australia Affiliate.)

The Best of the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Yesterday we blogged about our 1st Day at the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference and today we had even more fun at the event. Yes, that’s me on the right (the short guy!) representing Raad Afyouni Advertising Agency.

And next to me is Mr. Mathew Batarse, the Director of the Social Media Club in Kuwait (a non-profit organization that facilitates social connections and collaborations), which he convinced us to become an official member of (and we’re happy to!)

During his presentation, Mr. Mathew kindly shared some really interesting facts and insights on social media and on how some of the best companies are utilizing it to reach and connect with their customers in an engaging, practical, but more importantly, non-salesy way.

For example, Gigaset’s neat little “Talk to the bird” Facebook campaign. What did Gigaset do to get people more engaged on Facebook? Well I can describe it to you, but I don’t want to bore you to death so I encourage you to watch the above video to get your daily creative inspiration intake.

You know what Gigaset did, was humanize their brand and with a non-salesy and storytelling way of delivering a marketing message, even though they used a Parrot to do so (I know, how ironic!) You know what? Two previous articles we wrote that relate to these topics come to mind, How the Heck do I Humanize my Social Media Brand?, and The Future of Advertising: Effective Storytelling (6 Tips), in case you’re interested in getting some further inspiration.

One other speaker we were inspired by was delivered by Mr. Khalid Al-Zanki, who has recently founded The Media Boss, whose mission is to educate, empower, entertain and inspire people by spreading knowledge of marketing and technology.

Khalid Al-Zanki was also responsible for bringing the best-selling author and world-famous social media commentator, Gary Vaynerchuk to speak at the Crush it Seminar in Kuwait, which received quite some publicity from the media, namely Al-Watan TV as you can see from the above YouTube video.

The biggest takeaway from Khalid’s presentations and from others as well, is to sit and plan your social media strategy before you launch. Of course content is king, but one key finding is that only 20% of your content should be promotional while 80% should be entertaining and/or educational. Here’s an example of the 80% type of content that not only educates and entertains (through comedy) but shows the importance of Digital Marketing Strategy as well.

1st Day at the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

It’s fortunate enough that we were able to start the day off with a caffeine fix to help us last through the information overload that we received during the workshops. In case you missed it, we wrote an article on how Kuwait is to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference, and today was the first part of the 2-day conference.

The presentation that we enjoyed the most was one that was delivered by Mr. Patrick Attallah, Founder & CEO of Social4ce who enlightened us with a great presentation on how social businesses need to find and engage with communities online more effectively and utilize social graphs to better reach each target audience.

Another presentation we enjoyed was the one that was delivered by Mr. Ziad Rahal of none other than the famous Yahoo, which is making quite of an impact in the Middle East by focusing on Arabic content development by purchasing “Maktoob”, an Arabic Internet Service Company.

We look forward to the the 2nd day of the conference tomorrow and at the end of it we will make sure to write some blog posts providing lessons and takeaways drawn out of the event. Stay tuned!

Kuwait to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re happy to see that the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition will be held right here in Kuwait, but at the same time we ain’t surprised! Here’s why: According to the Dubai School of Government’s Arab Social Media Report, Kuwait has one of the highest penetration rates in Facebook, Twitter, and Blog usage.

Coincidentally, we’ve also got the Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012 happening here on April 15th, 2012. This is also another clear sign that social media is a big part of the Kuwaiti culture, and is picking up a lot of speed quite rapidly.

The Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition is an two-day event that will take place May 9-10, 2012 at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Kuwait. The price to attend is quite hefty, but they’re offering 50% discounts for people who register online.

Here is a description of the event in their own words: “Many government agencies and businesses are implementing Web 2.0 and Social Media strategies. However, simply having a Facebook page,Twitter account or YouTube channel is not enough; organizations need to be strategic in developing and integrating communications using social media.”

The event is said to have workshops and speaking engagement on key issues that revolve around the following topics:

  • Budgeting social media
  • Video marketing
  • Social media tools
  • Social media education & training
  • Social media problems/obstacles
  • How to communicate with social media
  • Social media on digital devices
  • Advertising
  • Geographical strategies
  • Success stories from social media
  • Case studies for successful social media commuting and presenting.
  • Social media analysis
  • Saleability of social media
  • How to measure and add value to social media
  • Security features and increasing user participation
  • Social media marketing strategies

As for who should attend, the following types of companies, organizations, and professionals were listed:

  • CEO’s & COO’s
  • Marketing Executives & Managers
  • Brand strategists
  • Business intelligence
  • Customer Service agents
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Social media managers
  • PR managers
  • Advertisement experts
  • Communication Executives
  • Bloggers
  • E-business managers
  • Digital marketing
  • Product specialists

They say the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years, and many thought that it’s still too early for businesses in Kuwait to see the benefits of social media. But if you look at the amount of blogs you’ve got in Kuwait nowadays and how they’re making a whole bunch of money from selling advertising space, you would think otherwise.

And if you consider that Kuwait has the 4th highest amount of active Twitter users in the Arab region, standing at 117,304 (Arab Social Media Report 2012; Dubai School of Government), then it makes it even more clear that you either get on the social media ship, or you’ll sink. But as the conference pointed out, social media is not just about creating a Facebook and Twitter page, but it’s about maintaining them to build relationships with key influencers, providing valuable (but branded) content and entertainment, and monitoring and measuring the results.

Fortune 500 Usage of Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Just goes to show you how important it is to have an active social media presences nowadays. Hence the word, “active”! It’s not enough to just create your profiles and allow them to collect dust (metaphorically of course), you need to keep posting unique and useful content consistently.

The experts say that roughly 40% of fortune 500 companies will not be present within the next 5-10 years, due to social media (or the lack of effective social media adoption or utilization) and that the ROI of social is that your business will exist in 5 years! 

Fortune 500 Social Media Statistics

30 Awesome Content Marketing Examples

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We wrote an article before titled “How the Heck do I Humanize my Social Media Brand?" and one concept we were highlighting is the notion that only 18% of people trust advertisements nowadays, while 69% of people trust editorial content. 

For this reason, one of the phenomenons we are now seeing in the advertising and marketing world is this idea of content marketing. If I had to define content marketing in a concise but sufficient sentence, it’s this: Providing valuable or intriguing content that either educates the end-user or entertains them, but in a way that indirectly promotes your brand.

What’s a good example when it comes to entertaining your target audience? A spontaneous or humorous video. Yeah, you heard us! Just have a look at the above Old Spice commercial which got 40 million views on YouTube and sparked the creation of many other parodies of this ad using the same character and theme.

But what about content marketing that educates the end-user? What’s a good example of that? Besides articles and blog posts, free e-books are perfect examples! And how ironic, we found an e-book that provides 100 examples of content marketing (hence the title of this article), created by The Content Marketing Institute

You heard the man, the e-book they provide cutting-edge content samples from a wide variety of print, video, online and event campaigns. If you are an advertiser, or a marketer, or a blogger, then you need to download this e-book, but if you’re too hesitant to provide them with your email or are too lazy to even do so, then here are the most unique 30 examples they provided. Feel free to click on the link that provokes your curiosity the most and learn from their successes.

Each example has right next to it in square brackets the type of content that it provides. You will notice that much of the content does not relate to the brand very much, and even if it does, it’s fairly indirect. This is the right way of doing it, seeing that people are tired of being bombarded with traditional “push” advertising and marketing messages and signals, and this is why there is this phenomena of content marketing in our times, which in a way is branded content or entertainment.

  1. Broadcasts from The Waffle Shop [LIVESHOW] by the Waffle Shop
  2. The Conflict Kitchen’s Food Wrappers [IMAGE] by Conflict Kitchen
  3. “CityOne” Simulation Game [GAME] by IBM
  4. ShipServ Pages – The Movie [VIDEO] by ShipServ
  5. B2B Marketing Manifesto [eBOOK] by Velocity Partners Ltd.
  6. “The Message is the Messenger” [INFOGRAPHIC] by Eloqua + JESS3
  7. Nike Better World [MICROSITE] by NIKE
  8. LEGO Club Magazine [MAGAZINE] by LEGO
  9. “From One Engineer to Another” [BLOG] by Indium Corp.
  10. The Friend Network Optimizer Facebook App [APP] by SAP
  11. The Caterpillar Online Community [FORUM] by Caterpillar
  12. Cries for Help Lighting Revolution [CONTEST] by Cree Inc.
  13. The Intuit Collaboratory [LAB] by Intuit
  14. “Man of the House” Community [BLOG] by Procter & Gamble
  15. “Being Girl” Community [MICROSITE] by Procter & Gamble
  16. Tablespoon Cooking Community [MICROSITE] by General Mills
  17. “Red Bulletin” Magazine for the iPad [APP] by Red Bull
  18. NC On Campus (Location-Based Services) [APP] by NC State University
  19. The Museum of Me [APP] by Intel
  20. Coupon Mailers – a Poetic Undertaking [COUPONS] by Target
  21. Traveler IQ Challenge [ONLINE GAME] by Traveler
  22. Google’s ZMOT Project [eBOOK] by Google
  23. The Accenture Podcast Library [PODCAST] by Accenture
  24. Social Media Examiner “Stories” [BLOG] by Social Media Examiner
  25. Eloqua’s WOW-Worthy Webcasts [WEBINAR] by Eloqua
  26. Nightmares Fear Factory – Flickr Photostream [IMAGE] by Fear Factory
  27. Infographic of the Day [INFOGRAPHIC] by Fast Company
  28. Do-It-Yourself Tips & Trends [VIDEO] by Home Depot
  29. Chow, Baby [WIDGET] by Chow.com
  30. Pivman Comic Book [COMIC] by First Response

The Brain of a Blogger [INFOGRAPHIC]

Infolinks ceases to impress us with their informative and useful infographics filled with with curiosity-striking headlines and practical tips such as what kind of blog theme to choose, what type of content to write, how to share you content, and how not to really mess your blog up.

This time they use a virtual scalpel to dissect the brain of a blogger to better understand some of the obstacles and challenges they face, unleashing some of the tricks of the trade. Check it out:

The Big Problem of Ad Fatigue [INFOGRAPHIC]

Advertising is overwhelming its intended audiences and that it’s causing what the below infographic by MarketingZeus.com likes to call, “ad fatigue.”  Since only 18% of people trust advertisements nowadays and while 70% of people trust the opinions of complete strangers online, advertising needs to be humanized, as explained in our previous article: How the Heck do I Humanize my Social Media Brand? 

Advertising is also moving towards the trend of being conducted in the form of effective storytelling and we also wrote an article on this topic with The Future of Advertising: Effective Storytelling (6 Tips). Most people are convinced that ad fatigue is causing people to look for targeted, branded content and entertainment, but if you need further conviction then this infographic will sure do.