- Australia (51)
- e-marketing (99)
- Journalism (28)
- Marketing (119)
- Media companies (41)
- Ray Welling (2)
- social media (88)
- Technology (104)
- Uncategorized (3)
- Video (47)
- Writing (29)
- Zazoo's Help a Writer Australia (1)
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- January 2011
- November 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Here are a few interesting stories about social media that have been published in the past few days:
“….many clients still ask about benchmarks. They ask, ‘What are good CTRs, CPCs, CPMs, etc. so I know how my programs stack up?’ Well, there’s good reason those benchmarks are hard to find. Lacking a reliable source, I ran my own analysis over the last three years and came up with many eye-opening results…”
“With so many new social sites emerging it is very important for marketers to have Australian specific intelligence to determine which channels are the most attractive to pursue as part of your marketing strategy….”
“Marketers are under constant pressure to measure everything they do. The result is often a default to tactics that are more easily and accurately measureable, regardless of their effectiveness. This is especially true in social media marketing which often requires qualitative measurement rather than quantitative metrics that are more familiar to online marketers….”
“What’s the future of interactive advertising? Executives from interactive agencies and marketing technology tech companies tried to answer that question at two conferences this week in New York City. Discussions ranged from the challenges of working in social media, risks for agencies in using pay-for-performance models, one online marketing sector that’s thriving, and Amazon.com’s crowdsourcing initiative. Here are some takeaways….”
“Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it… But for all the media industry’s hype and buzz surrounding social networks, microblogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks’ analysts, likely never will. The report, “How People Use Social Media,” finds that social media is having a profound impact on the way people connect with each other, but that it’s not becoming a very meaningful way for people to connect with brands, or advertising promoting brands….”
“In 2009, more data will be generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind through 2008. Information overload is more serious than ever. What are the implications for marketing?….”
Today’s edition of the Corporate Communicator, from US PR firm Bon Mot Communications, contains the following piece, which provides a useful summary of a recent study on corporate use of social media: “As the traditional news hole continues to shrink, communicators are turning to new media sources to help get the word out about their organizations’ services, products and causes. However, many business leaders are still skeptical when it comes to the value of coverage on blogs and other social media sites.
“If this challenge sounds familiar, be sure to check out a recent study from the Aberdeen Group, ‘The ROI on Social Media Marketing: Why it Pays to Drive Word of Mouth.’
“According to the study, companies are learning to leverage social media to drive marketing ROI by listening to and learning from current and prospective customers. Aberdeen found that 63% of companies surveyed plan to increase social media marketing budgets in 2009 - some by as much as 25%.
“However, Aberdeen also found that measurement continues to be a sticking point: 59% said it was either difficult or somewhat difficult to measure social media.
“How does your organization stack up? According to the study:
· 39% of surveyed companies have established a method for engaging consumers in online conversation
· 26% instill an organizational focus on social media
· 24% establish a method for defining social media benchmarks and goals
· 21% create a team or committee dedicated to social media ROI
· 18% link results of social media activities to increased revenues and other financial outcomes
· 18% establish a method for driving brand advocacy and customer referrals
“You can purchase a full copy of the report here: http://www.aberdeen.com/summary/report/benchmark/5639-RA-social-media-marketing.asp “
With the recent explosion in Facebook and Twitter use (the media hype and recent stats are backed up by anecdotal evidence such as the stream of high school and uni friends that have discovered me on Facebook and a bevy of would-be porn stars following me on Twitter), it’s inevitable that some pundits are starting to ask if we’re reaching social media overload.
Judy Shapiro, writing in Ad Age, writes that, “We use our different social networks to enrich different dimensions of our lives. Therefore, as you would expect, we want different things from our different social networks…. This is the heart of the problem. As marketers, our knee-jerk reaction to every community we create is to motivate members to create rich and robust profiles of themselves so they can connect with each other in new and powerful ways. While this approach may be desirable to us as marketers, it may not be best for consumers. We need to be mindful and respectful of the realities our customers live in and the truth is that managing all these social profiles is none too easy, the technology and tools notwithstanding.”
She suggests marketers take a close look at their community-building strategies, asking “Are we being practical about what we expect users to reveal about themselves in our communities? Is our community a hub where users will congregate regularly, where rich profiles are of value or are we creating a secondary ’spoke’ community meant to address narrow or temporary niche needs? In short, as marketers do we demand that users create too many profiles in all our community-building programs?”
The Harvard Business Review has also discussed this issue recently, recommending that companies treat communities as a high-level business strategy that is integrated across business functions, rather than just being the domain of the marketing department. A Facebook group or a Twitter account is not good enough.
The HBR authors advise that companies shouldn’t try to control communities, and should view online networks as just a tool for community building, not an entire strategy. In other words, get out there and meet people face-to-face rather than just via the Internet.
It concludes: “Although any brand can benefit from a community strategy, not every company can pull it off. Executing community requires an organization-wide commitment and a willingness to work across functional boundaries. It takes the boldness to reexamine everything from company values to organizational
design. And it takes the fortitude to meet people on their own terms, cede control, and accept conflict as part of the package”
Anyone up for the challenge?
Here’s a diagram from Peter Kim showing the results of an analysis done showing how popular various types of social media distribution are:
Note how microblogging (largely Twitter) is the third-largest slice of the pie, behind social networking and blogging. Wonder how this will change in the next 6-12 months?
Once you start getting involved in the digital or social media business, you tend to lose perspective. You can see all these cool things happening out there, and you’re linking up with all sorts of interesting people via Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, and you get this feeling that, for once in your life, you’re riding the crest of a wave (forgive me if my surfing analogy is a bit skewiff, but I grew up in the land-locked American Midwest) and involved in something with enormous social and business potential.
Meanwhile, your family and friends shake their head when you tell them what you do all day and wonder what on earth is the point of linking up with people you don’t know from a bar of soap and exchanging 140-character missives on Twitter that are largely on the topic of Twitter. It’s a good reality check to engage with the ‘real’ people in your life and see that, just maybe, you’re overestimating the effect and potential, and that most people couldn’t care less about digital communication.
Well, a new report just published by NetPop Research shows that YOU SEE, I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG - DIGITAL SOCIAL MEDIA IS EXPLODING! Yes, it’s a US report and Australia is further behind this curve, but get a load of these numbers:
- More than 100 million Americans are regularly posting material to social media sites - that’s one-third of the population
- Use of social media has doubled in the past two years alone
- 7 million people, known as ‘power users’, interact with about 250 people a week via digital social networking (yes, that’s more than 30 people a day)
See Mum, I didn’t waste that college tuition by spending my days surfing the Internet!
They say a year on the Internet is like seven years in the offline world - think of it as dog years (oh no, now I can’t get this image of my Dalmatian chasing his tail out of my head!). In that case, a year in social media is at least twice as fast.
So 10 weeks is a long time in the life of Twitter - by my complicated reckonings, it’s about a year ago. Now that I’ve completely confused the issue, I’ll get to my point: 10 weeks ago I wrote a post questioning the business value of Twitter (two posts, actually). Since then, Twitter has really entered the zeitgeist, with global users supposedly jumping from 6 million to 8 million just in the past couple of weeks, up from practically nothing 12 months ago.
There have been articles in just about every major newspaper in the Western world trying to explain the appeal and the utility of the service. It’s been used by Australian and American politicians, Rove, my resident breakfast radio announcer Adam Spencer and schoolkids. Most of the coverage has been favourable if somewhat bewildered, though some people are looking at it harshly, such as IT philosopher Jeremy Pettit, who wrote, “Didn’t Nietzsche say, ‘Soon everyone will learn to read and write, and that will be the death of language’? Brilliantly offensive. I’m sure he had Twitter in mind. The morbidly self-obsessed screeching to the morbidly self-obsessed in bite-sized chunks.”
Anyway, after writing those earlier posts I decided to become more pro-active and try to test the business utility of following scores of people and having them follow my 140-character musings (BTW, I’m @raywelling if you would like to follow). I tried to seek out social media experts to follow and sought the advice of more experienced Twitterers about how to monitor what’s going on in the Twittersphere. I’ve watched people of all ages and backgrounds join up, particularly social media geeks, such as the hundreds of people attending ad:tech this week who drove the conference search term up to the #2 trending term on Twitter on Tuesday.
After attempting to manage the growing flood of postings through Tweetdeck (a specialised Twitter browser) and setting up regular searches on terms I’m interested in (contact me via the comments box if you want to know how to do this), I noticed a few trends settling in, such as the fact that an increasing number of posts tend to be links to interesting/useful blog posts, stories, videos, photos etc. (if you’re wondering about the problem of long web addresses in a 140-character environment, there is a widget you can use to shorten addresses to a manageable length).
Anyway, I had my Twitter epiphany this week. After viewing a tweet from a social media PR expert in the US who happened to be in Sydney speaking at a conference, I decided to follow him. Within minutes, I had a direct message from him noting that I was based in Sydney and since he was in town, did I want to catch up for a drink? We did catch up, and even if it doesn’t turn out to result in extra business, I can now clearly see how these connections can prove to be extremely useful. If nothing else, I met an interesting person who I would never have connected with through conventional means.
They don’t call it ’social media’ for nothing!
Success measures for online activities is one of my hobby-horses. I’m pleased to report that an excellent article has been published on Econsultancy outlining 10 ways to measure social media success. I suggest you follow the link and read the whole article, but here’s the list:
- Search marketing
- Brand metrics
- Customer engagement
Chris Lake writes, “The key with social media measurement, I think, is to stand back and take a widescreen approach to measurement.
“Rather than focusing on the smaller, campaign-specific metrics, such as traffic from Twitter or the number of fans on Facebook, wouldn’t it be better to look at how it helps to shift the most important business KPIs, such as sales, profits, as well as customer retention and satisfaction rates?
“….Like TV advertising, social media will play a role in moving brand metrics, and perhaps more so (it is easier to make a noise and to be socially active; there’s an anytime, anywhere factor at work here. And hey, shit sticks around longer when you throw it online).”
As always, the comments are just as thought-provoking as the article. They include:
“Engagement is certainly on the lips of every nonprofit digital person; as mission-based organisations that’s supposedly what we exist for. But i’m losing faith with the idea of measuring it. Dare i suggest it’s something that you have to _feel_ …?”
“I’ve often asked industry experts how to measure social and nobody has a compelling answer. The industry as a whole is divided on this. Social media is the new mullet!”
“There’s a contradiction at play. With TV and print, measurement doesn’t seem to be a big deal, despite the fact that they often claim the vast share of ad budgets. However these same people will make demands for ‘a single planning currency’ for online, to ‘improve’ measurement.”
This will become a more salient issue as experience in the medium grows and measurement technology improves. Watch out TV!
Following on from yesterday’s post on the Skittles.com saga, the interest in this story in social media circles has been phenomenal, but now that Skittles has yanked the #skittles Twitter Search page from its home page (you can still find it if you go looking deeper on the site) like a spam Twitter account, the post-mortem has begun in earnest. It’s a bit like a digital version of the finger-pointing that goes on after disasters such as the recent Victorian bushfires.
Catherine Taylor writes today in Social Media Insider: “Now, it’s time to drown in social media clichés, like the following: The mere fact I’m writing about this means the campaign achieved some success. Awareness of Skittles on the Web probably hasn’t been this high, ever. The underpinning for the strategy for this campaign is in itself a social media cliché: The consumers own the brand.
“But I’d also like to offer that, in obsessing about this campaign, social media watchers are becoming their own cliché. What stood out to me in looking at the tweets about Skittles this morning wasn’t the naughty stuff, which seems to have run its course, but the whole meta phenomenon where people aren’t talking about Skittles per se, but what the Skittles campaign means for social media. Then there’s all the hand-wringing about the fact that some people said naughty things about Skittles and how that somehow mars the campaign (no pun intended, though Skittles is made by Mars). C’mon. Do you really think the agency and client were so naïve as to not know that would be part of it?
“It’s time to move on to something truly important. Kudos to Skittles and Agency.com for embracing the idea that it’s not the brand home page that defines the brand. That’s a good thing. But we knew that already.”
To quote from a couple of the comments on Catherine’s blog post:
“We have to be very careful about what strong thinkers we are and make sure not to over-intellectualize these new age approaches as marketing professionals. This wasn’t about us. This campaign or experiment thereof was about where we’re going. It wasn’t rocket science, but I’m sure it worked. Skittles displayed a direct interest in finding their consumers where they are likely to be found and used their consumers to communicate the brand however the consumer chose to in their very own language…and the consumers did just that!”
“I’m not sure what you need to know to wake up and be MORE IN TOUCH with your audience. They got trashed on Twitter because Twitters are about REAL, organic, testimonials and truth in real time. Spending the time, and $$$ with an agency that didn’t understand nor grasp that from the get go, shows that someone at the top of this, should have done more homework, or solicited better advice about using Twitter. Every agency in the world wants to jump on the bandwagon and utilize Social Media. If you don’t understand how to properly “engage” consumers using Web 2.0 technology, you need to be careful, for it’ll blow up it you face.”
“The only important question is will this cause people to buy more Skittles? I look forward to learning the answer.”
“I think the real value is less about the execution and more about the philosophy that drove it. If it means anything at all, it’s that this campaign is a recognition of the importance of the role social media plays in brand-building. The game has changed. It’s not 1999 anymore.”
It will be interesting to see how the campaign is viewed in the fullness of time. Brilliant tactic or big mistake? What do you think?
11. Helps me to be seen as resourceful
10. Current content maintains my visibility throughout the Web without having to pay for sponsored links or ads
9. It generates a “buzz” about my business
8. Connects me with my audience at an emotional level
7. When I serve my customers well, they’re more likely to pass my name on to others
6. Establishes my business identity
5. Connects me with people in places I currently don’t have access to
4. Helps future clients get to know me better as a business professional and as a person
3. Connects me with businesses whose services I may need
2. Helps me to understand who my customers are
………….and the number one reason Why I Use Social Media is……..
1. Builds trust between me and my customer
Trust is the new currency.
Reprinted with permission from:
Ray Schiel © Copyright 2008
The Global Social Media Network
An analogy-filled discussion on social media on the Ravenous Buglblatter Beast of Traal blog (don’t ask me, I have no idea what that blog title means, either!) this past week compares social media engagement to blurbs on toothpaste tubes. Karthik S. tells the story of a client who said, “Do we need to start a conversation with each and every person who says something about our brand online? Gosh, that’s going to take a lot of time”.
He points out that engaging every single person who interacts with your brand is both impossible and missing the point of social media engagement. He likens it to the tube of Colgate toothpaste (which he was reading while contemplating social media engagement at 6 in the morning!) which says, “for best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.”
He writes: “A toothpaste is supposed to clean your teeth; remove goo from gums (with the help of that other device, tooth brush); control bad breath…and so on. So, perhaps, it would have been a lot more appropriate if Colgate (and other toothpaste brands around the world) had actually printed, ‘For best results, brush twice every day and after every meal’.
“Isn’t that the ‘best result’ in question? Why bother about existential activities like squeezing the tube, when the objective of using the paste (and the tube, as a result) is completely something else?”
One of the commenters on the post, Chris Knutson, had a great response: “As for responding to each and every person who mentions your company on the internet, I don’t think that’s necessary. Rather, companies can use social media to take the pulse of how people feel about their brand, and use it as a second voice for their customers. If you happen to see a surge of complaints or concerns about a particular issue, you respond in the most visible way possible. If there is an ongoing conversation topic on Twitter, reply to the topic with your input, or offerings to provide assistance, or look into an issue for people experiencing pain with your company.
“These activities do get noticed. The key to doing it effectively is sincerity. If you are perceived as genuinely concerned, social media users will respond positively, and your use of social media to engage with your customers will be respected. If you are perceived as just trying to perform damage control, you could see some backlash.”
And re: the toothpaste tube instructions, one commenter added: “Reminds me of the nasel inhaler (Vicks Sinex) which includes the instructions: Remove top and push up bottom. Now that would certainly clear your passages. And the Starbucks coffee cups: Caution! May contain hot liquid. Are we really getting so dumb we need these kind of kind of instructions? There again, maybe your client experience shows we do.”
The Social Media Marketing group on LinkedIn had an insightful discussion this week about why traditional companies struggle to “get” social media. Robert Stinnett started the discussion with a story about his recent visit to a department store and his thoughts on how mobile marketing might have led him to buy a $400 barbeque while he was idly waiting for a salesperson in the next department.
He said, “It’s frustrating to see companies not realizing the potential of social media. I can’t tell you when the last time it was that I paid attention to an ad on the television or in print; yet I “listen” and “react” to my social networks. I trust the network far more than I ever would an advertisement in traditional formats nowadays.
“Of course, I also realize how hard this is. Companies seem so unwilling to change until they are facing something that makes them change.”
Some of the comments posted included:
- “We often hear or read amusing stories of how some high-profile individuals remark about a technology that is new and amazing to them but that the general public has been using for like 2-3 years. So it could be that the ones who are making decisions are so out of tune with current trends that they simply can’t understand the benefits.”
- “Consumers in the market continue to move beyond the reach of traditional marketers. This issue of lifestyle habits and running both old and ‘new’ marketing simultaneously to hold aging consumers yet appeal to younger ones plays a role, in-part, in the economic disorientation society is experiencing right now.”
- “We all want perfect, but in this day and age business is running at the speed of light. You have to have an agile workforce and an agile management team willing to try new things and move with the markets. Sitting around and doing nothing, but what you did for the past 10 years, isn’t going to work. Look at Obama’s speech tonight. Twitter was buzzing; Facebook was roaring. The feedback loop was in full swing - and I felt like I was part of it, and not just some dud sitting there watching ‘another speech’ on television.”
In the current economic climate, with companies around the globe just trying to stay in business, it will be interesting to see if they view social media as an opportunity to shine in the gloom, or whether it’s easier to just pull down the shutters and spend less on everything in the attempt to survive.
Paul Verna has published an insightful article at eMarketer looking at user-generated content online. He says it’s important to understand what makes up content creation and consumption, as well as “appreciat(ing) the complexities of the content ecosystem, which means looking at gray areas between creation and consumption.
Forrester Research has broken down the user-generated content universe into several categories of users:
Verna asks: “Do critics and collectors create content by generating reviews, comments and lists, or are they simply reacting to content posted by others? Are joiners actually part of a content exchange if their main interest in social media is to use online networks for interaction and communication?
“These are the kinds of questions marketers should be asking as they dive into social media. The better marketers understand the habits of the various groups that make up the content spectrum, the better they will be able to use social media to further their campaigns.”
He concludes that ”rules that worked in previous generations need to be refreshed, and in some cases completely rewritten.”
Tourism Queensland’s Island Reef Job campaign has struck a chord with economically battered people everywhere. Well-executed across a variety of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and the Web, the campaign, soliciting job applications for an Island Caretaker for the Great Barrier Reef, was expected to generate 400,000 website visits by the end of February. More than 200,000 people visited the first day of the campaign and as of last weekend more than 2.5 million visitors had checked out the site.
The campaign is one of the few Australian initiatives to garner extensive overseas media attention.
As the job description says, the six-month, A$150,000 gig is ”a live-in position with flexible working hours and key responsibilities include exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef to discover what the area has to offer. You’ll be required to report back on your adventures to Tourism Queensland headquarters in Brisbane (and the rest of the world) via weekly blogs, photo diary, video updates and ongoing media interviews. On offer is a unique opportunity to help promote the wondrous Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.”
You have until 22 February to apply, so start working on that application!
Jim Nichols at iMedia Connection has reviewed successful viral campaigns, and concluded that the biggest common denominator was the clever use of humour. Take a look at his review of 14 of the funniest, most effective campaigns (warning, political correctness alert).
They include a pint-sized Gordon Ramsay-in-training, a graphic depiction of the effectiveness of condoms, a scatological ditty about toilet paper and Australia’s own ‘Flashbeer’ campaign for Carlton.
Nichols writes: “Humor is hard to do, but perhaps even harder is crafting funny programs and messages that deliver real brand benefits. As we all know, assessing the impact of any creative on brand strength is pretty squishy science. But we can identify creative programs that drove buzz and virality online, and through this identification process attempt to tease out some core principles of brand beneficial humor.”
Online Media Daily has reported on a recent HubSpot survey which highlights the importance of a good blog to a company:
“Compared with the rise of newer marketing tools such as Facebook and Twitter, the corporate blog may seem a bit stodgy. But a new study finds blogging to the most important lead-generation source among social media options, followed by StumbleUpon, YouTube, Facebook, De.lic.ious and Digg.
“Of the 167 executives and business owners surveyed by Internet marketing firm HubSpot, three-quarters of those that have tried blogging said their company blogs were “useful,” “important,” or “critical” to their business. Nearly half the companies have a blog, and three-quarters publish content at least weekly.”
Read the rest here.