Mike Moran, Paula Berg and Viral Marketing

I’m getting another dose of Mike Moran. Now he’s talking about different types of viral marketing:

Content-Based social media marketing. Focuses on the content to be posted and passed around (e.g. Blogger, WordPress.com,YouTube, del.icio.us,digg, StumbleUpon). Does your organization have content that might be passed along?

If you think YouTube isn’t for B2B, you’re wrong. YouTube lets potential IBM customers get a product demonstration in a low-stress environment. No pressure. Very cost effective. Here’s an example from IBM:


Squidoo is another example. Some might find it helpful.

Don’t launch big new projects. For example, don’t say you now want all of your releases to be social media press releases. Try one. Then try another in a different way.

Personality-based social media marketing. For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace. It’s a way for people to find consultants directly.

Interest-based social media marketing. For example, message boards. Yahoo! Groups. Technorati.

Fantasy-based social media marketing. Second Life. Club Penguin. Webkinz. Activeworlds. IBM has over 4,000 employees who participate in over 30 virtual worlds. IBM has more than 30 islands in Second Life. Unisfair is a private virtual world. WebEx meets Second Life. It costs less than the shipping costs for in-person meetings.

What not to do:

  • Don’t submit your own content to social bookmarking sites
  • Don’t fake your identity
  • Don’t Lie

What do you do?

  • Get to know the community
  • Give back to the community
  • Let the community spread your word
  • You can’ force it

Paula Berg talked about the Nuts about Southwest blog. She told the story about their assigned seating test. Announced that they were thinking about using assigned seating. They got over 700 comments, and 80 percent wanted to keep open seating. It was a virtual focus group. But it’s better than a focus group because it doesn’t cost anything.

They also discovered a problem with short booking windows…that customers can’t book flights more than 3 months in advance. The mini-skirt issue was another case study. Paula doesn’t think they handled this as well as they could have, but they at least earned some credibility for listening. They let the conversation go on far too long without jumping in.

She also mentioned the Too Pretty to Fly controversy. On the heels of the mini-skirt debacle, they decided they couldn’t afford not to engage. Paula and a colleague went on the offensive about the girls’ offensive behavior. They got tremendous support from bloggers. They also created a YouTube video with a beautiful girl from their department:


They have a YouTube channel, too.

Paula’s Take Aways:

  • Establish channels before a crisis – Web site, Bogs, YouTube, Facebook
  • Don’t be afraid to steer the conversation – Be gracious, be honest, be real. Speak the language of your audience.
  • Act Fast – Doesn’t have to be perfect. Set the tone for the conversation. Harder to repari a damaged reputation than maintain a good reputation.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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