Web widgets are the new frontier of content distribution when it comes to social media marketing. Web widgets are tiny interactive micro-applications made up by small portions of code which can be easily embedded in your blog site, or run in a widget platform installed on your own computer.
Photo credit: Webwag
Social media is all about reaching out to and interacting with people through the Web. Web widgets enhance and build upon that interactivity further, providing rich, always up-to-date information to users / customers. And worth mentioning is web widgets are completely free and re-distributable.
Web widgets belong to two categories:
a) Embeddable: you just grab the code of the widget and paste it into the HTML of your blog site. You can even add them to social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, and many others.
b) Not-embeddable: you need to run a widget platform on your computer. Windows Vista and Mac Os X Tiger and above already have this feature built-in. Linux users can install Screenlets. For Windows XP and Mac users Yahoo! has developed its own widget platform as well.
Web widgets can integrate newsradars, photo galleries, games, video clips and compilations, Flash applications, and almost any type of media content you can think of. Lots of brands are even creating rich content, which you cannot find anywhere else on the Web, specifically for their web widgets!
Media analyst and social media marketing expert Peter Kim has put up on his own site a fantastic collection of social media marketing examples, listing all the companies that use social media to market their products and services on the Web.
To show you the potential that web widgets have in social media marketing, I have here selected, from Peter Kim's list, the very best widget applications created by companies, while adding a brief description. I have actually selected only those widget examples that allowed me to fully embed right into this article the widget application, making it easy for you to look at these examples and to evaluate their marketing strategy and effectiveness.
Intro by Daniele Bazzano
(Hand-picked and extracted from Peter Kim's Social Media Marketing Examples)
Dove-MTV Fresh Takes
Beauty company Dove has partnered with popular music channel MTV to promote its new line of products. In this web widget they offer small "webisodes" of Fresh Takes, a show airing on MTV channels starring singer and actress Alicia Keys. You can also chat with a meebo-powered chat room, or listen to music tracks by R&B singer Duffy. By answering to a short survey, Dove and MTV also give you the opportunity to win a $200 gift card from Amazon.
The Hotel Indigo
With this widget Indigo Hotels perpetuate their philosophy of making customers stay in touch with nature. You can read natural-food recipes, have a look at the upcoming local events in your city, or listen to chill-out music podcasts, as well as reading all the latest news from the company. And if you want to book your stay, just click on a button.
Do you like the new Samsung Omina? From this widget you can preview some of the features of this new smart phone. Just drag and drop the little icons from the left to the right side of the screen. Watch a small video, listen to music tracks, or check how GPS info are displayed on the phone. You can even use this widget as a permanent clock: simply adjust the time zone and you're set.
Stephen King's N.
This web widget entails a graphic, downloadable version of "N.", the new graphic novel from Stephen King. From the widget brought by CBS and Marvel, you can watch small webisodes of "N.", and a small interview of Stephen King himself describing how this project was conceived and what makes it valuable to promote his new book. You can also order the book straight from the widget.
This web widget from WWE promotes the SmackDown Vs. Raw 2008 video game. You can watch videos taken from Nintendo WII and DS platforms, or have a look at screenshots of the game. After you've enjoyed the content, you're just one-click away from the official site or to purchase the game.
Disney Music Block Party
This web widget allows you to access all the podcasts from the popular Disney Music Block Party Tour. Check product details, tour information, or go straight to the iTunes Music Store to download the podcasts you like. And if you run-out of time, you can even grab the content and sync it to your mobile to enjoy it on-the-go.
The popular low-price store company Walmart has partnered with Taste of home magazine, invitation service Evite and The Weather Channel to bring you everything you need from your garden parties with neighbors. Read food recipes, buy all you need to prepare your dishes with the shopping list feature, create personalized invitations cards, and check the weather forecast for your zone.
Motor company Honda created this web widget to advertise its new SUV Pilot. This widget showcases a series of webisodes with funny videos that focus on the key strengths of the new vehicle. As many widgets of this kind, this works like an anchor to the official site, where you can go and create your own webisode or customize your Honda Pilot.
Music channel Vh1 released this web widget to promote one of its most successful Spanish reality shows: Viva Hollywood, where players compete to become a telenovela star. From the widget you can watch a trailer which explains what the show is about, have a look at participants' bios, or go to Vh1 site for additional videos and images of the show.
National Geographic News
This minimalistic web widget allows you to put National Geographic latest news on your site. Just place your mouse cursor on the headlines to enlarge the news. You can also access National Geographic photo and video content very easily by using the buttons at the bottom.
If you want to have a comprehensive idea of what web widgets are, how they work and how you can you take advantage of their distribution and marketing potential, I suggest you give also a look to this other article on MasterNewMedia: "Digital Content Distribution Made Easy: Web Widgets - What They Are How They Can Bring New Life To Your Blog - Video Guide"
This resource list has been put together by Daniele Bazzano of MasterNewMedia - Original resource list of social media marketing examples prepared by Peter Kim for Being Peter Kim and published on November 23rd 2008 as "A List of Social Media Marketing Examples".
About the author
Peter Kim is a former analyst at Forrester Research and international marketing manager at Puma AG. A well-known personality in the fields of social media and marketing, Peter Kim currently working to build a start-up to help clients formulate social computing strategies.Peter Kim -