On the Receiving End of Social Media Campaigns

Here’s an example of a typical email I receive multiple times daily from social media experts on behalf of their clients. The company that sent this one says on their website that they, “track, measure and analyze everything – making sure our team delivers exactly the right message, authentically and transparently, to the right audience.”

In practice, do they measure up to that standard?

Hey Ed Kohler,

Strange start. Not a common way to address someone. Especially from someone who claims to be a Deets reader:

I love your blog!

Thanks?

I like your post about your ‘Recent Bike Trips Around Town.’

Looks like he read the most recent post.

I think its interesting how you documented where you stopped and what you ended up getting. From the looks of your destinations, it seems as we have the same interests when it comes to good eats.

He does appear to have read at least one post on the site.

I am a huge fan of great food but I like to save money when I can.

Wait, what? That post wasn’t about saving money. It was about biking around town.

Honestly, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience in a great city?

Based on focused grouping a whiteboard session feel of that question, I imagine the answer is “no one.”

That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial.

That’s why? It’s not because you’re being paid to spam people?

Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

That’s already good, but I hope you like sugar, cause Visa is sweetening deals over the next couple months.

You hope I like sugar? Are you sure that’s an authentic thing to say to this “right audience”?

When the Visa Deal of the Day is on, you score a deal for your friend! This Friday (7/30) and next Monday (8/2), when you buy a Living Social deal with your Visa card, you’ll get another deal to give to a friend! Simple as that.

That seems like something LivingSocial could tell me in their email or on the site next to the deal. I think we could both agree that I wouldn’t be swayed by this offer if I didn’t want the deal. So, why are you emailing me about this?

Now, if the deal could speak for itself, it’d say, “I’m pretty great.”

Anthropomorphic spam is kind of creative.

As it stands, though, we need your help to spread the word about these deals to your readers.

Or, you don’t have an audience of your own, don’t want to spend money on advertising, or have convinced your client that spamming bloggers is the what social media is all about?

Go to LivingSocial now and get ready for the Visa Deal of the Day in your city: livingsocial.com

Get ready? I can barely contain my excitement.

If you aren’t able to cover the deal as a post, then we would like to have your permission (pretty please?) to post a comment to the last post on The Deets with the offer.

Why would I want you to post information about this to a post I wrote about local bike trips?

I look forward to hearing from you and let me know if you have any questions!

Great!

Socially yours,

Huh?

[I removed the employee’s name.]
Visa Outreach Team

Thanks, Visa Outreach Team, for engaging me in this social conversation. Color me informed.

Here is a bit more on “Activation Outreach” from the sending agency’s website:

Key to effective execution is having a dedicated and professional outreach team that deeply understands the platforms being used. This is critical on two levels. First, you need to know the subtle and effective ways to maximize impact on each platform. Second, each platform has it’s own rules of engagement. Only by being an integral part of the platform ecosystem can you make sure that engagement is both respectful and effective.

“Subtle and effective” sounds sleazy to me. I’m more interested in transparent and effective. Or honest and effective.

Here’s an idea that social media experts may want to consider trying: When emailing bloggers who don’t appear to pimp products as often as mommy bloggers or Target Rounders, consider sending an email that says something like this:

Hey Ed,

According to some our social media software, you appear to have written about Groupon in the past and have a decent readership. Given that, would you be interested in hearing about an offer involving a Groupon competitor that’s partnering with a credit card company?

If so, let me know.

If you’re not interested in this, but may be interested in future PR news, could you let me know what sort of topics or companies interest you so I can hit you up with the right stuff?

Thanks.

Name

& Company Name
& Phone Number
& Twitter Account

That would work much better with me, and I have a hunch that others may prefer something like that as well. Go ahead and steal it if you agree, social media experts.

Social yours,

Ed

23 thoughts on “On the Receiving End of Social Media Campaigns”

  1. What? You mean those comments about what a great blog I have. “One of the best around”, as one guy who wanted me to review his new CD said, aren’t so true?

    Deva-stated…

  2. I got mine yesterday! …and here I thought they liked MNBeer! I fired back suggesting I send them ad rates… No response 😉

  3. @Sank, sorry to burst your blogger bubble.

    @Ren, I mostly feel bad for our future Don Drapers who find themselves in cube-lands spamming bloggers for a living. Faking authenticity is not easy.

  4. Here’s two more examples:

    Hey James Norton,

    I just came across a recent post by Soleil Ho titled “Five Tastes from the Midtown Farmers Market” and wow, everything looks so delicious. I was especially intrigued by the idea of boiled peanuts, something I hadn’t heard of before but now look forward to trying one day. The low price of all these items was also quite impressive and appealing. Honestly, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience in a great city? That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial. Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

    …and…

    Hey Aaron!

    I liked your review of the pizza at the Grand Ole Creamery! Having pizza AND ice cream under the same roof is awesome, and I’m glad the pizza was good. Because you seemed to have enjoyed the pizza there, I wanted to let you know about a way to go back to Grand Ole Creamery for cheap! After all, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience in a great city? That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial. Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

    Then, I tweeted.

  5. Here’s mine:

    Hey Erica!

    That Hip Hop Against Homophobia Vol 6 sounds really interesting! It looks like an awesome way to raise awareness, and the $5 cover is a steal for good music. Honestly, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience in a great city? That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial. Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

  6. I love it.

    “Socially yours”- That sh*ts gold.

    I mean it’s engaging, leading – how many closed questions were asked?

    do you like saving money? – hells yeah
    wouldn’t you like to help friends save money? – aww yes
    you like strangling baby kittens right? – aww wait wait don’t answer that
    do you like deals so good they can almost talk for themselves – check

    Where do I sign up, right? I mean that’s some grade A scripting.

    Ziggler and Gitomer better watch out.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention On the Receiving End of Social Media Campaigns | The Deets -- Topsy.com
  8. Heh. If only I had the time to write up each and every one of these I get and then promptly mark as spam.

  9. Got one overnight:

    Hey Sornie!

    I read your blog and was intrigued by your recent post titled “Get this, I had a bad frozen pizza.” I feel your pain! While I’ve had my share of (surprisingly) tasty frozen pizzas, I’ve wished I’d never even looked at the misleading box art of some others. After reading your article, I will now avoid DiGiorno’s like the plague (thanks in advance!). It’s always good to know if something is a good value for your money — especially when its coming from an unbiased source. Honestly, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience? That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial. Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

    That’s already good, but I hope you like sugar, cause Visa is sweetening deals over the next couple months. When the Visa Deal of the Day is on, you score a deal for your friend! This Friday (7/30) and next Monday (8/2), when you buy a Living Social deal with your Visa card, you’ll get another deal to give to a friend! Simple as that.

    Now, if the deal could speak for itself, it’d say, “I’m pretty great.” As it stands, though, we need your help to spread the word about these deals to your readers. Go to LivingSocial now and get ready for the Visa Deal of the Day in your city: livingsocial.com

    If you aren’t able to cover the deal as a post, then we would like to have your permission (pretty please?) to post a comment to a recent post on A Day in the Life with the offer. I look forward to hearing from you and let me know if you have any questions!

    Socially yours,

    Vince Morales
    Visa Outreach Team

  10. I responded saying no I wouldn’t post it, that I’d delete the comment if they left one, and then a link to this post. Michael Lee (“Michael Lee”?) responded with a “Duly noted – I will not post.” But no “sorry ’bout that” or anything.

  11. Hey Bill,

    I love your blog! The buffalo chicken ranch pizza looks amazing. It includes 3 of my favorite foods all in one..buffalo chicken, ranch dressing, and pizza. Even though I know there is ranch dressing in the pizza, I would still use ranch dipping sauce with it. I am a huge fan of pizza because I am in a hurry most of the time I am able to grab it and go without spending a lot of money. Honestly, who doesn’t like spending less to get a great experience in a great city? That’s why I think you and your readers would love to learn more about LivingSocial. Every day, LivingSocial will offer an amazing deal (we’re talking up-to-90%-off amazing) for local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more.

    That’s already good, but I hope you like sugar, cause Visa is sweetening deals over the next couple months. When the Visa Deal of the Day is on, you score a deal for your friend! This Friday (7/30) and next Monday (8/2), when you buy a Living Social deal with your Visa card, you’ll get another deal to give to a friend! Simple as that.

    Now, if the deal could speak for itself, it’d say, “I’m pretty great.” As it stands, though, we need your help to spread the word about these deals to your readers. Go to LivingSocial now and get ready for the Visa Deal of the Day in your city: livingsocial.com

    If you aren’t able to cover the deal as a post, then we would like to have your permission (pretty please?) to post a comment to the last post on Lazy Lightning with the offer. I look forward to hearing from you and let me know if you have any questions!

    Socially yours,

    Wilson Liang
    Visa Outreach Team

  12. Now that some of the names have been included, I noticed something else:

    Wilson Liang, Vince Morales, Michael Lee, Joel Dominic and all these other people sending virtually the same email from the “Visa Outreach Team” all appear to be pseudonyms for one of these people, unless they’re truly outsourcing this in a Mechanical Turk-like way.

  13. I sincerely apologize if you feel that Socialarc has abused the social media contract. We pride ourselves in not spamming on behalf of our clients and work diligently to ensure that we are creating relationships with bloggers rather than spamming them. We always ask permission, and do not blindly post.

    We can and should have done a better job and I really apologize to all of you. Our company takes this very seriously. Be assured that we have taken a very close look at our outreach messaging and are committed that this does not happen in the future.

    Also, I assure you that we are real people. We are all full-time employees that are passionate about using word-of-mouth marketing to help promote our clients and add value to the community. For us, being real and transparent is core to our ethics.

    We generally receive very positive reactions when outreaching to bloggers in the course of our clients’ campaigns, and the LivingSocial offer was no exception. We make a very strong effort to only reach out to bloggers who would be genuinely interested in our clients’ offers, or where we feel the message would truly add value to the community, but we clearly were not meticulous enough in this instance.

    Thank you for helping us improve and please feel free to contact me directly with any other questions or concerns.

    Aaron Mann
    President
    Socialarc
    Twitter: @aaronmann
    Aaron.mann@socialarc.com

  14. Aaron, thanks for commenting. I have no doubt that there are many bloggers interested in participating in offers like this. Figuring out the best way to reach them must be no easy task. You’re company is definitely a step above astroturfing commenters, which I do appreciate.

  15. Ed,

    Thanks for your comments. We do try, which doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t improve. Thanks again for pointing things out.

    Aaron

  16. But, but, but…they say the team ‘deeply understands the platforms being used’…does this mean you don’t deeply understand (or appreciate being) you are the platform being used?

  17. That’s super interesting – I actually saw them announce that on the site this morning and you’re right – that was enough for me. I also like that you not only called out what you didn’t like about the email, but also stated what would’ve caught your attention (and been more genuine).

  18. Doniree, I forgot to check out what the killer deal on Livingsocial was this morning. Thanks for the reminder. It’s actually a repeat of the same offer from May 17th.

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