August 17, 2009

iMedia Names KML an "Agency to Watch"

iMedia, August 17, 2009


Moving beyond the experimental phase

The eyeballs are certainly there. Everywhere you look, social media is taking over, whether you're talking about the sheer number of page views on MySpace, the fact that everyone and their mother seems to be on Facebook, or the fact that you can't go a day without hearing something about Twitter.

And then there's the million-dollar-question lurking behind the social media frenzy -- how do you monetize it? While that's a problem for the platforms, the question is simply another way of asking whether advertisers have a place in a user-dominated medium. And more to the point, what is that place, and how do advertisers go about getting in the conversation without turning off their customers?

Those questions have been a continuing storyline for the past few years, with brands of all stripes dipping their feet into the fast-moving waters of social media. Those "social media experiments," as many brands have referred to them, have come off with varying degrees of success. But it's fair to say that as we enter the second half of 2009, we're past the experimental phase.

The fact is, there is good social media work being done out there all the time, and while a lot of it goes to the well-known mega-agencies -- and plenty more is done without anyone taking credit -- iMedia wanted to put the spotlight on a handful of the smaller shops that have caught our eye. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these agencies certainly are on the cutting edge of social media, and they are all worth watching well into the future.

Karma Media Labs

Karma has worked for: Warner Bros. Television, "The Ellen Degeneres Show," and FEARnet.

Something cool:
"Our client, FEARnet, recently hosted a petition on Facebook to bring FEARnet back to Time Warner Cable," says Karma CEO Lori Dicker. "When we initiated the campaign, we encouraged development of a Facebook fan page versus a Facebook group because of the page's added ability to drive awareness and word of mouth through user newsfeeds, updates, and other functionalities that promote deeper engagement levels with the audience. We wanted the page to be a place where fans would continue to visit, contribute, and share with their friends."

Within the first few weeks, the FEARnet Facebook page gained more than 12,000 fans, Dicker says. "Through content updates, calls to action, and page-hosted contests, we were able to influence fans to spread the word to grow support by suggesting the page to friends and share on their profiles," she says. "Outside of Facebook, through influencer and fan outreach, we were able to drive awareness to the page to gain more participants. The level of feedback garnered through the Facebook page and wall posts was well beyond expectation."

What's the biggest misconception you commonly hear from brand clients about social media?

Dicker says:
Many people assume you have to spend a lot of money to generate awareness through social media. This isn't necessarily true. You can actually spend very little money to make a big impression. Many of our brand clients who have managed traditional and online media buys have a preconceived notion that the same kind of budget and media dollars is required for social media marketing. The difference is word of mouth doesn't have to be bought. Similarly, many of our clients are used to measuring media with traditional metrics. I'd say 90 percent of interactions with our clients are education on how social media marketing and influencer outreach is placed, measured, and optimized.

The other misconception is that the high-traffic mainstream sites and blogs are better quality placements. While a "firehose" approach may help with getting the brand in front of many audiences, connecting with fans and audiences in niche communities in a conversational, contextual, and relevant way will lead to higher levels of engagement and generate more word of mouth, which has been proven to be the largest driver of conversions, purchases, and other behavioral changes.

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For more information about KARMA Media Labs, please call 323-850-5646 or visit the Web site at http://www.karmamedialabs.com

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