Archive for August, 2010

30
Aug
10

Older Adults Nearly Double Social Media Presence

A new study from Pew Internet found that between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking site usage grew 88% among Internet users aged 55-64, and the 65 and older group’s social networking presence grew 100% in the same time frame.

Young people still dominate social networks like Facebook, but their usage only grew 13% during the year covered by Pew’s report. Older adults are catching up at an incredibly quick pace, though it remains to be seen whether they will pass the youth or hit a ceiling at or below the usage levels reported by young adults and teens.

Older adults who use services like Twitter or Facebook are still in the minority amidst their peers. Pew reported about 10 months ago that 19% of all Internet users use status updates, but only one in ten Internet users aged 50 and older used status updates or read ones written by others. That’s a lot more than there used to be, but it’s still a small group — especially when you consider the fact that Pew’s numbers only cover people who are on the Internet at all. Many people in that age group aren’t going online to begin with.

According to report author Mary Madden, e-mail still dominates interpersonal communication for the 50 and older set.

http://mashable.com/2010/08/28/social-media-stats-adults/

Advertisements
25
Aug
10

social media marketing is not and should not be a pure numbers game

Rethinking the Value of Social Media: Measurement
By Aliza Sherman Aug. 25, 2010, 9:00am PDT

In last week’s installment of “Rethinking the Value of Social Media,” I discussed how social media marketing is not and should not be a pure numbers game. In this post, I’d like to talk more specifically about re-framing the way we think about the measurement of our social media efforts.

Firstly, we should stop worrying about the numbers of friends, fans and followers we gain, or how quickly we gain them. Instead, we should be measuring the value of our followers over time against engagements — both quantitatively (how many?) and qualitatively (what is the sentiment?).

My company Conversify has been using a Follow-to-Following Ratio on Twitter (dividing the number of followers of an account by the number of people being followed) to measure Twitter health. Maintaining a ratio of at least a “1″ or more helps to keep us on track to keep us from “over-following” and helps us illustrate that we’re growing our Twitter following thoughtfully.

It seems like an useful additional number that we might use is an Engagement-to-Follower Ratio. This could track the increase in interactions with one’s following, commensurate to the growth of one’s following. As the number of followers an account has grows, however, can the number of engagements (retweets, @ mentions, etc.) grow at the same rate? And how do we factor in the additional work it takes to maintain or increase engagements?

Using the theories outlined in Julien Smith’s “Follower Hyperinflation” post, it stands to reason that you cannot keep up with growing your following at the same rate over time while having the same access. And you can’t produce enough content, status updates and interactions with your following at the same rate over time to maintain the same engagement-to-follower ratio — it’s just not sustainable.

Given the many variables of growing and managing your followings, here is one more way to frame social media measurement, basing it on Amplification, Conversions and Transactions:

Amplification: How much is your message being spread (or “amplified”) because of your social media interactions? You can benchmark your “social media influence” today with free tools such as SocialMention, Twittergrader and Vitrue’s Social Page Evaluator and paid apps like Radian6 and Attensity360. How do the number of retweets, shares, likes, etc. increase over time? How many more mentions of your message or brand are you seeing online?

Let’s face it: It is far easier to measure to watch the digital trail of pass-along messages (retweets, shares, blog posts references) than the assumptions we make about the reach of traditional advertising. If we advertise in a magazine, why do we trust that the magazine that our ad will reach, be seen and acted upon by other people through offline “pass along” and how do we measure that? We use a formula instead of concrete numbers. When we pay for a television ad campaign, how can we know for sure that the people who see your commercial will not only act on what they see but then tell others about it offline? We can’t, and yet for some reason we trust those things are happening when we’re sold those ad spots.

Conversions: How is your following helping to convert others to becoming fans and eventually customers? We could also call this “Recruitment.” While this number is harder to measure concretely, you can easily run an “experiment” about the willingness of your following to help you build an even bigger following. Simply post a status update to your Fan Page on Facebook asking your existing friends to suggest your Page to their Facebook friends. Pay attention to the increase of fans after that. “Warm” referrals and recommendations have so much more value than those you obtain though cold calling or by paying for, right?

Then go a step further and note who mentions that they did, indeed, suggest your Page. Your social media “superfans” will often comment to let you know they did what you asked, happily. Think about recognizing them for their efforts somehow; perhaps surprise them with a gift. Not an incentive, mind you, but an unexpected “thank you” after the fact. You read more about your social media superfans in “How to Convert Your Facebook Superfans Into Brand Ambassadors.”

Transactions: After converting interested people to to loyal followers, you want them to do something more — some kind of action or transaction: hire, buy, donate, sign a petition, etc. This is an easier number to benchmark and monitor, but it also tends to be the number that is slower to grow, particularly in the beginning. Placing a social ad on Facebook that leads to a shopping cart to buy doesn’t work as well as leading people to your Facebook Page to become a fan, converting them to Superfans and inspiring them to convert others, and then gaining transactions over time.

While time always seems to be “of the essence,” any company that has been in business for a long time will tell you they didn’t grow overnight and that the value of loyal customers far outweighs the one-time customer who responded to an ad but never came back to buy or interact. Repeat customers — and referrals from satisfied customers — are still the “cheapest” marketing we can hope for, but it does take time to cultivate them.

Not everyone has the patience for the cultivation and care social media marketing requires to do it well. They look for short cuts because they are fixated on the wrong numbers and placing value on the wrong things. For those with patience there are rewards, though: There are many case studies out there to prove that social media marketing can be a valuable addition to a company’s marketing mix; it can enhance and amplify their traditional and online marketing efforts and can have a positive impact on a company’s brand, customer service capabilities and, eventually, sales.

What are some concrete examples you have for positive returns on your investment and real value in social media marketing?

23
Aug
10

Starting with the technology and approaching social media with a mind-set of “let’s just get out there and be a face in the crowd” is sure to result in a disastrous outcome

Developing Strategies for Enterprise Participation in Social Media
By JEFF CARR | Published Aug 23, 2010

The rules of the game are changing, and they’re changing faster than ever before. You’ve seen the signs because they have been there for quite some time. Yet, if you’re like many organizations out there, you’re not sure how best to engage or even where to start.

You know you can’t afford to wait much longer and you’d like to develop a comprehensive strategy but that takes time, expertise and resources, all of which have become a scarcity in today’s harsh economic environment.

Are We Wasting Time?
With more than a billion users now online, every minute of every day millions of people participate in online conversations that take place across a multitude of social networking sites, blogs, discussion forums, wikis and topical communities. Included is the exchange of information and opinion around well thought out and researched articles, shorter more concisely written blog posts or 140 character tweets on services like Twitter, plus everything in between.

The collaborative architecture of today’s social technology has rapidly become a key enabler in providing users with the capability to publish any thought, idea, feeling or opinion on any topic at any time, for free. As a consequence of the inherent nature of these participatory social systems, average users have gained an increasingly higher level of leverage due to the ease with which their perspectives can be virally spread from person to person and community to community with little or no effort required on their part. As the number of users continue to grow, so too will their involvement, further compounding the already exponential growth of information being generated.

What if the messages dispersed are of detriment to your organization? How long will it take for you to hear about them and how will you react? Alternatively, what if they represent an opportunity? Will you be ready to take action by being first to respond?

The real challenge for any organization becomes how best to filter through it all and place it into a context that’s not only relevant but actionable. If done correctly, it has the potential to offer a gold mine full of insight into your industry derived from those that matter most, your customers.

The Importance of Restraint
As simple as it is to just jump into the social infrastructure and get started, the best approach is to use a little restraint. Starting with the technology and approaching social media with a mind-set of “let’s just get out there and be a face in the crowd” is sure to result in a disastrous outcome.

An earlier report by Gartner predicted that by the beginning of 2010 more than 60% of fortune 1000 companies will have had participated in some form of online community for the purpose of building customer relationships. At least half of these they said, were expected to fail due to an inability “to establish mutual purpose, ultimately eroding customer and company values” (see A Chronology of Brands that Got Punk’d by Social Media for a list of some examples where this has come to fruition). There’s a lot at stake with arguably the most important being reputation.

Consequently, as a first step, it’s crucial you take time to gather, document and gain a clear understanding of your goals and ultimately, what you’re trying to accomplish through social media. How will you know if what you’re doing is successful unless you first define what that success is going to look like?

There are typically many internal stakeholders with oftentimes conflicting perspectives and it’s important that you make every attempt to break down those organizational silos to get the right people, from the right groups, in the room to ensure everyone works from the same basic set of fundamental principles with respect to the organization’s overall goals, marketing objectives and key messaging. The wisdom of the crowds, as they say, need also apply internally as well. Successful strategy is a cross-disciplinary responsibility.

Listen, Engage, Measure and Enhance
Once you’ve got your cross representative team in place and overall objectives defined, market research will help to identify where your customers, associations, vendors, suppliers and competition are actively involved online. What communities are they in? Who are the key players? Who has influence and who doesn’t?

The purpose here is to ensure you are going to where the meaningful conversations are and not wasting valuable time and resources in places where they are not. Survey the landscape to determine where the best opportunities for entry exist and begin to outline approaches that commence the process of connecting with the people and groups that matter most.

Four key actionable areas to consider as part of your social media implementation include:

Listening – Observing and monitoring the voice of the industry as it is being expressed by participants in their everyday communications. The goal is to establish an understanding of overall sentiment by listening to what customers are saying. Also note what your competitors doing and try to determine if are there any opportunities to partner with vendors or suppliers that might already be engaged.
Engaging – Becoming an active participant in the conversation by connecting with customers through the appropriate channels. Look to contribute value based on insight captured throughout your monitoring activities. Try not to be too ambitious by tackling all avenues at once. Start small, establish a connection and then look to expand on your success. Keep in mind that it’s not a race; it’s about listening, learning and evolving.
Measuring – Establishing a metrics program that uses hard data captured through analytics and other feedback mechanisms to measure if what you are doing is moving you toward your goals. Perform an analysis on a recurrent basis and review and evaluate the results with the overall team to identify both positive and negative trends.
Enhancing – Keep in mind that it’s an evolution that requires an iterative approach. Leverage the results of your measurement to make incremental improvements to your methodology based on the things you learn as you go. Don’t be afraid to be creative, flexible and constantly adjusting in an effort to create contributions that offer value to the community as a whole.
Bear in mind that as you develop out your strategy, transparency must be a key component. Make certain that you clearly identify who you are, what you do and why you’re there. Social media, although centered on a person or organization, is truly about building relationships, the most important part of which use trust as the foundation. Unlike traditional marketing, it shouldn’t be viewed as a medium for pushing your message out to your audience but rather treated as a conversation or a two way street for sharing information, listening to concerns and developing mutual solutions to common problems.

Success Starts at the Top
Lastly but definitely not least, without the support of your Executive team you’re likely doomed for failure from the start. As the voice for your organization, it’s your responsibility to ensure senior level leadership clearly understands not only what the goals are, but how and why social media are the vehicle for attainment. Implementation and management are an iterative process requiring sustained care and attention and as such, you will need ongoing support in the way of budget, time and dedicated resources.

While your organization and the communities you represent are unique in your own way, addressing each of the areas outlined above as part of an overall strategy will be sure to get you moving in the right direction and on to building better quality relationships with those that matter most. Ultimately, your strategy will be to uncover issues, identify opportunity, produce market intelligence and develop deeper, longer-lasting relationships with industry stakeholders by understanding their voice as it is expressed by them in their own words. Your success depends on your ability to listen and add value.

23
Aug
10

Tweet, blog and link-in to a career

By Laura Raines
For the AJC

“Anyone looking for a job in today’s competitive market without using social media is at a distinct disadvantage.”

“If you’re looking for a job in a village of 30 people, your chances are slim,” he said. “Your chances are better in a village of 300 people, and many times better in a village of three million people.” That’s the advantage of using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to boost your job search.

“You greatly expand your universe, and with it your contacts, knowledge and employment possibilities,” he said.

With more companies and organizations incorporating social media practices into their operations, you may need social media skills to land — and keep — a job.

“CareerBuilder named social media as one of its top ten hiring trends in 2010, noting that one in five employers plan to add social media responsibilities to a current employee,” said Witt. “Eight percent plan to hire someone new to focus or partially focus on social media.”

You can assume that employers and hiring managers are searching online to find and screen job candidates. Your job is to be found and be found credible.

Start by building your online reputation using LinkedIn.

“Use this site to promote your career experience and accomplishments, make contacts, research companies and individuals and join job affinity groups,” said Witt. Create a complete profile with accurate background information, a professional photo, contacts and recommendations.

“Don’t wait until you are job hunting to help your contacts with their careers,” he said.

“To find possible employers or useful contacts, use the advanced search function. If you’re looking for a job in magazine design, you’d type in those words and your employment location.”

A number of contacts will appear, some of which may be connected to people you know.

Ask your contacts for referrals to new contacts so that you can broaden your net for career advice and job leads.

“It’s amazing, but with my couple hundred contacts, I can usually get connected to four or five new people in almost any field,” said Witt.

Keep your profile active adding useful content such as articles you’ve written, helpful books, or things you’re working; or by adding links to your website, blog or Twitter site.

“You can also use Facebook to brand yourself, build your professional reputation, connect with professional groups and post interesting content or industry news,” said Witt. “Keep it positive and professional.” No gripes, profanity and or questionable photos.

“Be selective about whom you accept as friends and use the ‘block comments’ feature to monitor what appears on your site,” he said.

Start a blog

“If you’re passionate about some area of your work, start a blog,” said Witt.

When you learn something new and interesting post it, and share it with like-minded people.

“Ideally you’d like to attract followers and make connections with better known experts, but even if you don’t attract an audience, you’ll learn a lot about your industry, and that will help your job search,” he added. “If you offer good information, it will come back to you in many ways.”

Witt’s interest in the public and representative journalism movement led him to start a blog in 2003. He became a recognized expert and conference speaker, earning the respect of the Harnisch Foundation, which resulted in a $1.5 million grant to found the Center for Sustainable Journalism.

Join Twitter

“Twitter is a great resource for job searching because of its keyword functionality. You can form connections with others in your industry around the world, and many recruiters post jobs daily on Twitter. You can follow them and respond,” said Witt. Use the Twitter tool Twellow to search for people’s bios and URLs. You can also use Twitter, Yahoo, Bing and LinkedIn to search for industry groups that could benefit your career.

“To get the most from groups, don’t be a passive participant. Get involved,” said Witt.

You can learn social media skills through industry associations, professional workshops, Webinars, continuing education classes and conferences, such as the “Integrating Your Social Media” conference sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Journalism Oct. 22-23.

The center is offering free LinkedIn tips for job searchers at its website, www.csjconferences.org.

“You want to get quality training, so ask someone you trust who uses social media for advice,” he said.

18
Aug
10

U.S. advertising on social networks surges 20% to $1.68 billion, half of it on Facebook

August 17, 2010 | 7:23 pm
Just after Facebook hit 500 million users last month, some analysts increased their 2010 forecasts for spending on social media advertising.

U.S. advertising is expected to increase 20% over last year to $1.68 billion, up from December’s forecast of $1.3 billion, according to a study by digital research group EMarketer.

“That’s primarily due to the strong performance of Facebook and somewhat due to the fact that we started adding Twitter to our analysis,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst.

The study, conducted every six months, also measures sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn and Classmates.com as well as popular sites in China, Japan and Russia for worldwide figures.

Half of that $1.68 billion spent by U.S. advertisers will go to Facebook, according to the study. By 2011, advertisers will spend $1.06 billion on the San Francisco company — a 112% increase from 2009.

Worldwide, overall social media ad spending is leveling off — except for on Facebook. Advertisers around the globe will pour an estimated $1.76 billion on the site in 2011, which is a 165% increase from 2009, according to the study.

This means marketers recognize this is an easy way to reach consumers where they spend a lot of their time, Williamson said.

“Facebook has been one of the leaders in ways to advertise in social media,” she said. “It’s become one of the go-to places for marketers.”

That’s largely because of Facebook’s self-serve advertising system — EMarketer estimated that it accounts for at least half of the company’s revenue, an increase from previous estimates.

“We underestimated how big that success was,” Williamson said. “I think it was a surprise for Facebook as well.”

The system allows marketers to create and post ads without having to go through a salesperson, which is unique to social media sites, Williamson said. Once an ad is created, users also have the option to “like” or “become a fan” of an ad, which Facebook then posts as suggestions to mutual friends.

But although marketing dollars are increasing in the millions, Williamson said Facebook is far too big for users to worry about being bombarded with ads.

“There’s plenty of opportunity and plenty of places to put advertising,” she said. “It’s been very minimalistic, and that’s on purpose.”

Advertising on MySpace, which is refocusing on its roots in being a social media site for entertainment and music for youth, is on the decline. U.S. marketers will spend $323 million on the site, down from $445 million in 2009, EMarketer said. By 2011, U.S. and worldwide advertising on MySpace is estimated to decline about 38% from 2009 figures.

“It’s a smaller targeted audience,” Williamson said. “There are fewer advertisers who want to reach a youth market.”

— Kristena Hansen

Charts: U.S. advertising spending on social networking sites, by venue, for 2009 compared with 2010 forecast. Credit: EMarketer

14
Aug
10

Study: Social Media Closing In on Newspaper Websites

(Aug. 13) — Here’s a bit of news to share* with your friends: According to a study conducted by United Kingdom based iCD Research, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are catching up to major news websites when it comes to which source users turn to for breaking news.

The picture is not at all bad for traditional newspapers, which are managing to stay afloat despite heavy declines in their standard circulations, but the research results do provide the latest illustration of how the worlds of new and old media continue to collide. Surge Desk takes a look at where this latest study finds the Fourth Estate.

Social Network Use Shoots Up

Based on results from the 1,000-person survey, conducted exclusively in the United Kingdom, 50.4 percent of consumers still favor the BBC website as their primary breaking-news platform, but social media tops all other contenders, coming in at a strong second with 18.4 percent.

As more and more people log on to social networks (Facebook recently eclipsed 500 million users) for more and more time each day (jumping from roughly 3 to 5.5 hours a month during 2009, the Nielsen Co. reported earlier this year via Marketing Charts), it should not be surprising that their news-consumption habits should migrate to social media networks as well.

Dead-Tree Media Still Standing, But On Uneven Footing

The report dovetails with increasing fears over the fate of the traditional “dead-tree” publications. Newspaper circulation in the developed world dropped precipitously between 2007 and 2009 (by 30 percent in the U.S. and 25 percent in the U.K., respectively, according to one estimate). News websites have been seen as the next logical means for those outlets to hang onto readers, and this year started out better than any in a long time for newspapers in that sense, with properties attracting record traffic to their websites in the first quarter of the year.

Of course, social media continues to change the game: In the iCD study, not a single British newspaper website topped the social media category, with the pay-walled Times of London website receiving a paltry 5.4 percent in support.

The Great Tumblr Rush

Interestingly, while many traditional media organizations are attempting to use Facebook and Twitter to redirect traffic to their main sites (with less-than-stellar results, at best), there is one, lesser-known, less-trafficked social media platform that has lately become something of a magnet for news websites, despite its novelty and unfamiliarity: Tumblr — the weird microblog platform that fills a niche somewhere between Facebook and Twitter and eschews the now-standard comment threads in favor of a “reblog” option.

Traditional media heavy hitters such as The New York Times and The Atlantic are reportedly having “a field day” on Tumblr. But the definition of a “field day” in this case may be a bit overstated. So far, many of the websites have simply staked out domains on the service (ironically, the financially strapped Newsweek was one of the first, and so far few, to actually carve out a decent Tumblr-exclusive content presence), so it remains to be seen just how they will employ it and how effective it will be at drawing readers to their main websites.

Tablet Gamble

Add to that today’s revelation that News Corp. publisher Rupert Murdoch will launch an all-digital U.S. “national newspaper” specifically formatted for mobile and tablet devices such as the iPad, and what you have is … well, an unprecedented new/old-media collision, in which a sustainable 21st century business model remains as elusive as ever.

Of course, there are diehard holdouts to all of this newfangled social-media mumbo-jumbo. Among the respondents to the British study, 276 indicated that they straight up “do not get their news from the Internet.” Maybe they are waiting for someone to get it right?

13
Aug
10

Social Media Strategy Lessons From Pepsi

Social Media Strategy Lessons From Pepsi
Alyson Shontell | Aug. 11, 2010, 12:25 PM

With millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, Pepsi is one of the few big corporations who have a good handle on social media.
BigThink.com talked with Bonin Bough, Global Director of Digital and Social Media for PepsiCo, to uncover the company’s secrets.
Bonin believes the biggest social media challenge for businesses is embracing innovation. “Social media doesn’t have to be a conversation,” he says. “It could be a sweepstakes exclusive to the Twitter community or a contest only for Facebook participants.”
“The real [Pepsi social media goal] was less about what’s the big strategy? and more about what are the small wins? How do we prove ourselves internally to the organization that these are viable platforms, and then prove successes [within the communities]?”
Scaling social communities is also a challenge. It takes a lot of work and media dollars.
“I think [scaling users] is an interesting combination between using media dollars/techniques that are going to get you reach…as well as finding what the right participation in that community is,” he says. According to Bonin, the social space is still one big experiment, but a lot can be learned from early pioneers like Guy Kawasaki.
PepsiCo is a mammoth of a company, with entire teams dedicated to measuring social media interaction. Bough offers advice to startups that lack such extensive man-power: Do only as much as your resources will allow. “If you don’t have the means to have a person on Twitter 24/7, then don’t do it that way….Have [something like] Follow Fridays were you spend two hours talking to the community if that’s all you have to work with. There really are no set rules.”
Bonin believes companies should use social media to encourage brand dialogue among loyal users. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, and give people who are passionate about products and companies a platform to express it.
“These are just new channels that we’re going to talk to consumers in,” Bonin explains. Why wouldn’t we be innovative? Why wouldn’t we be at the front of that and taking risks like we do in our business in general?”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/pepsis-secrets-to-social-media-strategy-2010-8#ixzz0wUo1moN3




Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 17,615 hits
August 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jul   Sep »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031