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Main > Archives > 2006 > November > Q/A with Jason Zajac, GM, Social Media, Yahoo

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Q/A with Jason Zajac, GM, Social Media, Yahoo

The q/a below comprises Chris Anderson's questions for Yahoo's Jason Zajac.

q: social media as longtail of media - we now see the rise of peer production; what are the most effective techniques for developing social media strategy?

Zajac: there are preconceptions about user generated content and what that implies relating to control.

But first a definition of social media. According to wikipedia they are tools and platforms that enable people to connect and share with others

people talk about Flikr because at 2 and a half years old it's a grand daddy of social media sites.
for a long time we didn't allow advertising on flikr.

recently we allowed advertising there - so long as it related to the passionate sharing of photos. there's a perception that user generated content is poor quality. Nikon put out call on Flikr that said show us what you have.

Nikon gave 16 passionate shooters was a new camera, the images they provided back to us were stunning.

Q: how did nikon pick the 16?

Zajac: they asked us to send invitations to engaged members of the flikr community

as the campaign went on they targeted the second campaign for enthusiasts and semi-professionals and it became all about community and not about the celebrity sponsor.

q: how do you measure results?

Zajac: performance of the campaign - click through percentages for people who came to the site was higher than any other campaign on Yahoo. Ever.

q:assumptions that amateurs are amateurish. many assumptions about what's good and popular has to be made by big operations. (people don't value quality over relevance...)

Zajac: before yahoo I was at Palm, when engadget and gizmodo first launched. engadget became a competitive reference tool for us because they covered mobile gadgets. they do an incredible job in that one space and have more traffic than CNet.

Yahoo answers is another example of the value of relevance.

q: how to listen and engage with the audience?
Zajac: focus groups is an older method. now you go out and the scale of feedback and wisdom of crowds is unbelievable, but you still need some mechanism for bubbling up.

At Yahoo we used to talk about relevance. but on the chart there are sites with lots of links in, but what's more important is where the links come from. now we're talking about authority of the links.

in ebay - the crowd gave them a brand. you're a powerseller with 4 stars. myspace - how many friends do you have WHO are your friends?

q: so how do you influence?

Zajac: you have to decide whether you're in it or not. Chevy didn't pull their UGM campaign. Tahoe sales actually went up. they became known as the brand who let consumers in.

example - doritos came to Yahoo wanting to relaunch. they were using social terms to talk about it... we said to let consumers create a brand for the super bowl. Crash the Super Bowl... we had just acquired Jump Cut. over 300 commercials created in the past month.

Doritos will choose 5, winners will be chosen by an open community vote.

q: mentos, coke video. coke said first kids don't do this at home, and coke has just sponsored a second round but they weren't as well received.

Zajac: lazy sunday part 2 with Natalie Portman was not as well received. people can tell that you're trying (also the Portman rehash was pretty much a big piece of poop - G). there will be hits. the question is can you manufacture hits with predictability. the moment the brand has a hand in it you diminish the quality.

Semel thinks about it as open mic night exploded - you've widened the funnel, but the signal has to come from the audience. It helps if you put things in terms of show business for Semel.

By Garrett at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

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