Yesterday I was leading a panel of "social media mavens" (as we were all described in the conference program) at OMMA Social in NYC to talk about social media campaigns that worked, those that didn’t and our tips and tricks for having more success with social media. We did thankfully make it through our entire panel without someone bringing up the vastly overused "Will it Blend?" series from Blendtec … and the resulting discussion offered an interesting look at why some campaigns in social media sink while others swim.

Interestingly, Sprint made two of the four panelists lists for being a sinking campaign mainly because of their recent ad campaign where the CEO, Dan Hesse, makes a plea to start a conversation and the spot ends by displaying his email address. Of course, he got emails from around the country and in response, each person was sent a very impersonal automated response email with a promise that someone would contact them.  The other two sink examples were Wal-Mart’s fake "Wal-Marting Across America" blog, and United Airlines lack of having a blog leading to 8 of the top 10 search results for "United Airlines blog" being highly negative (this was my contribution to the discussion).

All of these examples had one thread in common: they each represent a big missed opportunity. The interesting lesson in this is that each was deemed a sinking example by our panel due solely to its execution and not because of the idea itself. In fact, in each case the idea had significant unrealized potential – which suggests that perhaps the real challenge in social media is not knowing what to do but rather taking a good idea and doing it right …

Note: This post is cross-posted from the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence Blog.