Quantifying Social Media

The social media revolution has been in full force for the past few years. It is evolving beyond demographic and age barriers, becoming an all encompassing mass communication channel that every person and business should be in tune with. This is an intriguing video that observes the magnitude of social media and uses numbers to show why its so important.

-enjoy

Thanks to Socialnomics

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Focusing on the Basics of Social Media

Nailing down a solid foundation for a social media campaign still comes as the most important element of a social media strategy. Before building apps., micro-sites, widgets or otherwise the communication channels between brand and consumers must be free flowing and continuous. Social media continues to evolve at an exponential rate as new programs, features and connection methods are being developed. While its certainly important to stay ahead of the learning curve in the social media landscape it is most important to foster the conversations occurring in the traditional social networking manor.

It is obvious that demographics and  business goals of each company by in large determine the shape that a social media campaign will take, but for any business, brand or otherwise to see the desired ROI from a social media effort the countless hours of community building, content sharing and conversing must come first, otherwise the innovative tech and development methods fall short. Success in social media depends upon persistence and dedication in terms of providing community members with a desired ROI for their time spent contributing to the community and helping shape the company’s online existence.

We’ve been heading up the social media campaign for northeastern music festival, Gathering of the Vibes, which has been a great experience with great people. Our focus for the entire campaign has been centered on getting fan interaction and engagement, not developing the coolest new app. or strategy. What we’ve seen is exponential fan growth, fan engagement that rivals top brands and festivals and a stoked community that has made social networking with the festival a daily routine they look forward to. That is a favorable ROI that directly correlates with success.

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Twitter Introduces New User Interface

Yesterday twitter silently released a new user interface within the “following” and “followers” sections of profiles. Selecting the “expand” option on the new UI shows the latest updates of all, giving a better idea of their content and activity without having to travel to their page and also provides a drop down menu with options to DM, @reply, unfollow or block.

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There is also the option to view in a list. The list option is more condensed, showing just the menu drop down and user name, leaving out real names, locations and latests updates that you can see in the above screen shot.

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The new upgrade seems an insignificant change to the site, but does provide a more simplified usability. Personally I enjoy seeing the expanded details on followers and the people I’m following. With the increased amount of garbage accounts sometimes it is hard to distinguish between genuine users and BS accounts that provide no value to your stream. Now with the expand option the tidbit of info helps to determine validity and provides a more relative introduction.

Looking further into the subtle changes made by twitter, Techcrunch has made the hypothesis that a new mobile site is in the works, heres their take.

“What’s interesting about these icons is that they appear to look exactly like icons that Apple uses for OS X — including some of the ones on the iPhone. Could this mean that we’re about to see a revamped mobile version of the Twitter site? Who knows, but it could sure use an overhaul.”

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A Marketing Miracle? Facebook’s New Publisher Controls in Beta

Thanks to the pressure put on Facebook by the advances of Twitter we the people are receiving a better service. Twitter reigns as the thought sharing, micro-blogging mecca, where Facebook provides the end-all be-all network, aggregating all of ones personal sharing and media. Twitter’s success comes about through its simplistic model of sharing and communicating, today Facebook released a beta feature that may set a new standard for Twitter’s content sharing model and groupings.

New publisher controls were released in beta today on Facebook. The new publisher controls provide various grouping options to sharing content and dispersing it as widely or privately as desired.
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Status updates can now be viewed not only by those in your social network but also by those who aren’t. Perhaps most importantly, Google, Bing and every other search engine that indexes Facebook pages and profiles will now display shared content at the desire of publishers. “The privacy settings that you implement for each story will also carry over to the stream.get API call.” It seems quite apparent from a marketing standpoint that the avenue this creates to spread branded content and awareness is very beneficial, granted that it is quality content being dispersed.

For brands, twitter brought about an avenue where companies could add value and depth to their identity by not only positioning themselves in a business segment, but by providing links, ideals and thoughts that brought forth a personality with whom consumers could interact and relate. Facebook is beginning to reach a stage where brands can better connect with not only there friends or fans, but reach out to a broader audience and introduce themselves through personified content sharing. In my opinion this is a milestone feature release for Facebook.

Read more on AllFacebook or AdAge

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Microsoft’s BING

So as we all know due to the berade of advertising, Microsoft has launched a new search engine, Bing, as a response to Google. And the question that remains is, will Microsoft be able to take market share away from Google?

To answer this question let’s look at the history of the two companies a bit.

Microsoft started out as a software company. When Bill Gates and Paul Allen began the company, they were writing software to be used on the Altair 8800, this was in the mid to late 70’s. Their software become incredibly popular and they quickly locked in deals to distribute their software and it took off from there. They went on to refine their software with MS-DOS and then Windows and now Vista. Along they way they have been extremely successful building and selling software and bundling their software into personal computers. So much so that they were part of the infamous monopoly case.

Google started out as a search engine. Larry Page and then Sergey Brin realized their was a better way to search through the information on the internet by putting emphasis on backlinks rather then how many times a keyword appeared on a page. They got some initial funding from some prominent angel investors and venture capitalists and continued to grow their search engine. Google quickly rose to become the most used search engine because of it’s uncluttered feel and amazingly good results.

As consumers we have grown our trust in Microsoft as a software provider. Microsoft Word dominates it’s field as does Excel and the Windows operating system. In much the same way Google dominates search because we have come to trust Google, even making the verb “google” an official word in the english language.

Microsoft trying to get into search is a classic case of a big company seeing a smaller company’s success in a particular field and trying to bully their way into that field. Unfortunately for the bigger company, this rarely ever works. Take a look at the company Sears. Sears was known as being one of the best providers of hard goods and was doing really well. So what did they decide to do? They decided to get into softgoods and then clothing. Unfortunatly for Sears, people continued to think of them as a hardgoods company and didn’t buy their softgoods or clothing. Sears had loads of overhead of softgoods and clothing, put millions into advertising these things and wound up losing a tremendous amount of money. All because people think of Sears as a hard goods company.

In the same way, I think of Microsoft as a software company. When I think of search I think Google. There is pretty much nothing that Microsoft can do that will make me think of them as a search company. Furthermore, Google is doing a really good job. They are continually improving, have kept their site clean and have kept me, the consumer happy. So why would I switch to Microsoft Bing? Certainly not because of an advertising campaign that Microsoft is doing. I have logged thousands of hours on Microsoft operating systems and software and thousands of hours using Google search all of which has ingrained the idea into me about what these respective companies are for. No way an advertising campaign can break these perceptions.

Microsoft made a mistake a year ago with their failed acquisition of Yahoo! and is going to fail again with Bing. They need to stick to what they are good at which is software develpment and continue to be innovative in that field. Because in the field of search, Microsoft simply can’t win.

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Digg Dialogg: Exclusive Bruno Interview

On June 30th the Digg community will be hosting an interview with fashion aficionado, Bruno. Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen‘s fashion savvy, flamboyant, “Funkyzeit” host, will be taking the most popular questions submitted by and voted upon by Digg users.

This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity seeing that the controversy to be stirred up by this flick will probably lay Bruno to rest. Just from viewing a 2:50 minute trailer one can see that the Borat saga will be taken to the next level. I’m curious as to whether or not we’ll see Eminem in the theaters! It appears that he and Bruno shared a few bonding moments at the MTV awards.

Questions can be submitted at http://digg.com/dialogg/bruno_1 through Wednesday, June 24.

‘Digg Dialogg lets you submit your questions to notable leaders and luminaries. Rather than editors or journalists, the Digg community decides the most popular questions to be posed in the interview, so submit a question for Bruno!’


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Vanity URLs Offered on Facebook

Around 1:00pm today facebook announced that they will be offering users the ability to select vanity
URLs for their profiles and pages they administer. If you are unfamiliar, an example of a vanity URL is http://facebook.com/edieter, rather than the current long tail URLs that everyone possesses; http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=10213726&ref=profile. There is significance behind this announcement seeing that the inclusion of vanity URLs will make common named users more identifiable within search engines, greatly increase the ease of sharing facebook profiles or page links, and add a personal element to facebook URLs. Currently a number of networks offer vanity URLs such as twitter, myspace, ilike, etc. Until this coming Saturday, facebook has only experimented with a limited number of vanity URLs for notable brands and publications.

Starting on June 13th @ 12:01 am EDT facebook will allow users to claim their URLs. By visiting http://facebook.com/username, users will have the ability to select their URLs by simply following the instructions. Also, facebook will be including a note on everyone’s homepage prompting them to follow the instructions:

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Facebook usernames will be available in basic text forms, and you can only choose a single username for your profile and for each of the Pages that you administer. Your username must be at least five characters in length and only include alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), or a period or full stop (“.”).”

Be forewarned that once you select a URL it is with you for life, no rewrites, retries or complaint submissions. Our recommendation would be to stay in and bring the party to you this coming Friday or show up to the festivities fashionably awesome with your new URL, because if there is a URL out there that you’re dying to have it probably won’t be available Saturday morning.

Find more information about the vanity URLs on the facebook blog

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