Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had a Twitter Twitter account set up for some time now. Brown recently built on this for the G8 Summit to bring voters, er, British citizens inside access via Flickr and a G8 blog.
Lenovo is taking a similar approach for Beijing with its "Voices of the Olympic Games." Ogilvy’s Rohit Bhargava is part of a team encouraging 100 athletes from more than 30 sports and 25 countries to use their Lenovo laptops and Flip cameras to detail their experiences.
Their video, Flickr, blogs and Twitter feeds will all roll up into the site and Lenovo is clear in noting it “HAS NOT required the athletes to say anything positive about Lenovo - the aim is to offer its technology to help them share their voices.”
This approach makes perfect sense for both groups and is clearly well-intended. My assumption is that, along with automotive, two of the most active groups online are politics and sports.
Anyone planning programs like this one needs to build in one key component – time. Once the sites go live and promotions are in full swing, true conversations take time. After content is published, the authors in question usually have something better to do other than wait for tweets, emails and comments to roll in for immediate response.
It takes time for plain old back and forth communication to happen. And that's one reason why the value of a social media campaign increases over time as traditional vehicles, like print ads, decrease over time.
Plan accordingly or don't plan on connecting with your consumers.