Hi everyone,

Welcome back to another dose of social media news, analysis and best practice. Straight to it:

What's the point of Google+ pages?


Yesterday Google announced their long sought-after business pages for Google+. Up until now there was no way for brands to set up a presence on G+ (indeed, those that Google noticed were thrown off the service). But that all changed with yesterday's announcement, and Google's attempt to "make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands".

I've just set up the USM page, and in doing so I considered some of the positives and negatives of the new service for brands and marketers. I've written up a blog post on the topic - and you can see it here.

Beyond marketing: Samsung launch the first gamified corporate website


Yes, gamification is a bit of a buzzword. But it's one the corporate world is taking seriously. There are plenty of examples of gamified marketing campaigns, but as with social media, the sign of real acceptance is when companies start using the functionality for more than just marketing - and start to integrate it into how they do business more generally.

You can see the same process happening in the social media world, with the acceptance of the need to use social media for customer service, and the increasing popularity of using social media tools for internal communications, but now gamification appears to be taking its first steps down the same road.

Samsung, so often the leaders when it comes to social media adoption, appear to be at the vanguard of the Gamification wave too.  They've just put out a press release laying claim to the 'first gamified corporate website'. Members of the 'Samsung nation' are now able to win engage and compete with other 'nationals' for badges, points and other rewards.

I've been onto Samsung's (US) corporate website, and there is indeed a big blue bar allowing people to become members of Samsung Nation. It seems to be taking off, whilst on the page the feed of 'recent activity' was constantly moving, and some people have amassed several hundred thousand points since the site was launched a few days ago.

Worth keeping an eye on this - is it an exciting new area for gamification to grow into, or a false dawn?

Reckitt Benckiser mock ill males with innovative social media campaign


The home, health and personal care company have launched a Facebook campaign in the UK for their popular Lemsip cold treatment. When visiting the page, you're invited to create a video, "starring James Brown and your Facebook Friend". You then choose whether you're male or female. Men can send a video to "an unsympathetic woman in your life", and women "send your video to a moaning man".

It's all tongue-in-cheek (fortunately), and ends with the creation of a personalised video to send to your tormentor of the opposite sex.

It seems to have all the conditions for success:

  1. It generated a pretty funny, and personalised video

  2. It ensures you 'like' the brand for a continuing relationship

  3. It ensures you give RB the details of someone else they can market to

  4. It encourages you to post the whole video to your wall - in an attempt to make the videos 'go viral'. When viewing the video, people see a big Call To Action pushing them to either share this video, or create their own.

  5. Unlike the Seat campaign we discussed a few months ago, the message is directly aligned with the product - next time you or your partner contract 'man flu', you're sure to remember Lemsip


However, it's worth pointing out that it seems to take 5 - 10 minutes for a video to actually generate, which somewhat slows the process and loses momentum in the process. I can see an awful lot of people getting bored of waiting, and not sharing or creating their own version. Hmm.

Even considering this, if you've got a spare minute or two (plus five), check it out here.

How you can avoid turning a social media gaffe into a social media disaster


A few years ago, speaking on behalf of a brand was an ability reserved only for well-trained and senior spokespeople and executives. But with the advent of social media, far more people get the keys - and that means far more mistakes are made. And it's not just that - a mistake made in an interview with a business journalist could be resolved with an apologetic phone call. If it's made in a tweet, it's out in the world instantly - and incredibly hard to sort out.

So more and more companies are starting to set up policies and practices to ensure that any mistake made on social networks is mitigated and resolved as soon as possible. If you do a Habitat, a Red Cross or a Kenneth Cole, you're better placed to minimise the fallout - or stop it in the first place.

ComputerWorld have just put out an article giving you clear advice on how to set your company up internally to be able to handle these mistakes better, and says the key things you need to do are:

  1. Spot that there is a problem

  2. Do something about it (probably apologise)

  3. Try not to do it again


OK, it's pretty simplistic - but there are some good examples and pieces of advice in the story. Check the whole thing here.

That's all for this week guys, until next time,

Nick