SOCIAL MEDIA STORY OF THE WEEK: Kodak Uses Social Media to Name a Camera

Whenever you want to try and impress people with how important social media can be, one of the first things you get is a barrage of questions.  The most important one being, do you have any examples of people using social media for business?  This comes into play whether you are talking about creating a company Facebook page or a Twitter account or a corporate blog.  People want to know if someone else has done it before them and, if so, how successful were they?

We routinely talk to clients about taking bad things and making them good.  People like to post snarky comments or complain about company products on Facebook pages and blogs.  Yes, social media has opened up whole new avenues for businesses, but it has also given a voice to everyone.  Literally, everyone is now a critic.  As such, many companies are afraid to take those first steps into social media for fear of people saying “bad things” about them.   However, you can also use social media as a way to very publicly turn a bad situation into PR and marketing gold.

A great example is Kodak.  Yes, the people who have been making cameras for about as long as there have been cameras to be made.  For a full reading of what the company did, directly from the company itself, you can click on this link here:  http://1000words.kodak.com/thousandwords/post/?id=2411446

Basically, Kodak is trying to compete in the small and portable video camera market.  You may know about the Flip camera, as a good example.  So, Kodak came up with their own camera, but they then gave it the name Zi8.  Online reviewers (the main repository, these days, for reviewers of technological gadgets) were almost unanimous in their praise of how well the camera worked.  However, they were also almost unanimous in how much they hated the name “Zi8.”  Well, Kodak, being  a smart company, took notice of the negative comments and tried to make it into a positive.

So, they took to the internet and their social media efforts.  They decided that if the public did not like the name of their new camera then, with their even newer camera, the public should be the one to name it.  They set up the rules, they asked the public, and then the public responded.  They asked people to post suggestions on their Facebook page, their blog and via Twitter.  The company then selected a few possible winners before choosing the winner at the Consumer Electronics Show.  That was back in 2009 and 2010.

 You see you can publicly turn a potential public relations disaster and turn it into public relations gold.  You can also have fun, reach out to your customers and establish a greater connection with them.  Social media is interactive and using it in this way establishes a rapport with your customers, vendors and clients.  It shows that you listen and it does it in a public way that people appreciate.

Do not fear social media.  Embrace what it can do and where it can take you.  And, if you are still confused, then find a company or person who can help guide you through it all.

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