August 16th, 2007 by Sterling Hager
OK, the headline here is really reaching. But it's mid August. Dave and I sometimes feel like the only people in Massachusetts working this month. Nevertheless, the title here refers to a story by Patricia Brusha who is the co-founder of www.acoupleofchicks.com which offers, as they say in their own words, a non-intimidating approach to online search, marketing and measurement with a focus around travel and tourism. So far so good? Her story is entitled, "Sheep 2.0, Wool in Scottsdale creates a Social Media Phenomenon."
As I understand it, someone associated with a chichi hotel in Scottsdale decided to install a fake sheep in the lobby and it became a favorite photo spot for handsome women passing through. One thing led to another and voila, as Ms. Brusha writes, Night after night the unassuming sheep was the center of so many pictures and became such a local social buzz that someone, (and so far we have not been able to expose the culprit) created a My Space page for the Sheep… …friends have more than doubled with a tremendous amount of photos and comments uploaded… Secondly, someone has now uploaded a trailer for a new movie coming out called “Black Sheep.”
OK, interesting story. But for me, the most compelling part of Ms. Brusha's article is taken from the opening paragraphs in which she characterizes bad versus good social media practices, with an emphasis on blogging. I happen to agree with her 100%. She calls poor corporate blog efforts 'blog-atorials.'
From an online marketing standpoint numerous companies have tried to orchestrate a conversation when the underlying message is really an advertorial. Funny as sophisticated as many of the web 2.0 dialogues have developed, those that are participating in this online dialogue can almost always smell a rat. There is a distinct and unique difference between marketing and the conversations that are creating what we now refer to as Social Media… Though I will give these blog-atorials credit as they can be much more engaging than the traditional marketing messages we are used to. I applaud the advertisers who recreate their message in an unassuming way.
Everyone contemplating a corporate blog should hear and heed those words.
[About this Photo: I found this on Flickr here at this link. It is apparently a picture of this sheep at this hotel establishment.]
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