Monthly Archives: August 2010

Is an iPad app the right choice for your brand?

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

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The iPad has become a powerful new platform for brands, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. Watch as a handful of brand marketers debate the relevancy of this influential tool.  Courtesy of IMediaConnection.com.

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7 Steps for Building a Community of Twitter

Twitter provides an excellent channel for marketers as it is “a real-time information network powered by people from around the world” who are interested in discovery and communication. In order to tap in to this tool, it is important to become an actice participant who consistently adds value to the community.

Below are 7 Steps for Building a Community on Twitter:

1.Start with the Basics – Your profile page is your first opportunity to build credibility. It important to take full advantage of the elements that you can control such as the BIO section, profile picture, background imagery and link. Don’t underestimate the value of your Twitter page appearance – it should reflect your branding guidelines and personality.
2.Make the Commitment – There is no quick way to build a targeted and loyal community. In order to be successful, make it a planned activity and set aside time each day to spend 30 to 60 minutes on Twitter participating.
3.Know Your Target Audience – It is essential to understand what content is relevant and useful to the individuals you would like to reach, you must take a content approach to growing your community. Don’t simply make it a numbers game – “the who matters more than the how much”.
4.Have a Personality – Remember, it is a community made up of people so include your personality in your tweets.
5.Provide Value – In my opinion, this is critical and requires you to listen to your audience and be an active “good citizen” in the community. Don’t make it a one-way broadcast by only tweeting out promotional messages and avoid flooding your audience with updates.
6.Tweet Responsibly – This should be a no-brainer but don’t share confidential information or use your account to stage attacks on your competition – always be respectful.
7.Be Present – Don’t be a wallflower. Respond, ReTweet and Interact. Be sure to regularly acknowledge, highlight and thank those contributing members who continually add value to your community.

Courtesy of Brian Rice and Social Media Today.

Next Generation of Social Media

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Here’s a great article on the next generation of Social Media courtesy of Jim Nichols and IMedia Connection:

“If you said “social media” to a marketer 18 months ago, chances are they’d have thought exclusively of social networks. No more. We’re seeing social capabilities incorporated into virtually every digital experience. This has brought opportunities and dilemmas for marketers. I say dilemmas because lots of brands got online by pounding to fit a broadcast-shaped peg into an interactive-shaped hole. They developed one-way websites, banners, and search programs. Social media analytics tools are showing us that this model had many flaws.

But as more and more brands embrace social for the two-way offering it is, it’s important that we keep abreast of major news in the segment.

This article is designed to give marketers some highlights of what new initiatives, offerings, and companies appear to have traction. It’s not for the social “expert.” Rather it’s geared to the generalist who wants a survey of some of the more important and interesting developments.

Without further ado, check out this summary of social developments divided into four “buckets”:

Facebook Open Graph and the socializing of content sites

Facebook’s new Open Graph (OG) initiative is a means of adding value for its members across the web while simultaneously enabling content publishers to offer social features. In OG’s launch week, more than 50,000 sites incorporated OG components. Many of those implementations were small, such as adding a “like” button embedded in content. But here are some of the ways it’s being used on a grander scale:

Pandora is leveraging Open Graph to facilitate the sharing of music and discoveries between friends. Capabilities include:

•See a list of friends who use Pandora
•See which artists and songs are “liked” by friends
•Import Facebook pic into your Pandora profile
•Listen to friends’ stations
•Get music suggestions based upon music you “liked”
The Huffington Post has socialized its content by offering a “Hot on Facebook” module, a “what your friends are reading” module, and a “like” button on most stories.

Newspaper sites are incorporating a sort of “your news” box that lists the latest “news” you have received on Facebook. Here’s the version on The Washington Post’s website.

Yes, Facebook’s hit some roadblocks and hurdles over privacy. Assuming it gets past those, Open Graph will make profound changes in how we consume content.

Promoted Tweets debut
The big news on Twitter is Promoted Tweets. These are sponsored tweets that appear in the Twitter Search results.

Twitter announced Sponsored Tweets and its charter sponsor list (Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America) in April. More recently, Twitter altered its terms of service to ban the Twitter platforms and third parties from embedding sponsored tweets into users’ tweet streams. Twitter shared this rationale:

First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction. Secondly, the basis for building a lasting advertising network that benefits users should be innovation, not near-term monetization.

UnFacebooks and user control
Partly as a response to concerns about Facebook’s privacy missteps, a number of alternative social networks are attracting attention. From tech blogs to Elle.com, the UnFacebooks are a popular story. Of course Orkut, MySpace, and Friendster are also trying to capitalize on Facebook’s stumbles. But here are some new sites getting play:

Diaspora: Billing itself as “an open source personal web service that will put individuals in control of their data,” Diaspora is the brainchild of four NYU students and has raised more than 20 times its initial funding goal. The idea behind Diaspora is essentially opt-in, versus the major social sites’ opt-out approach. It is working feverishly to get everything going this summer.

Pip.io lets users define different “rooms” of people that they want to share information with. Users can also define if they want one- or two-way communications with their rooms.

A self-described “social operating system,” Pip.io is clearly trying to be more than a social net. When you visit, make sure you are using Firefox or Chrome, not MSIE.

Story of My Life is a new platform enabling members to tell stories in a variety of media and make them private or public. I love the idea of letting more people tell the stories of their lives. And not just in words.

Does it sound like a blog platform to you? Yes, but the community features make it more than that. And it’s really more about defined stories than a stream of consciousness.”

Email Still Beats Social Networks

By Chris Crum WEBPRONEWS

A new report from Econsultancy suggests that email still beats social networks when it comes to marketing for e-commerce. The report says that over a third (37%) of consumers don’t use a social networking site, and that those who have become a “fan” or “friend” of a company or brand online are still in the minority.

Is email marketing more effective than social media for you? Let us know.

The report is based on a survey of over 1,400 U.S. consumers, which the firm calls “nationally representative.”

While Facebook may think email is “probably going away,” marketers are still having a great deal of success with it. And just as increased mobile adoption continues to fuel social media use, it’s not exactly hurting email.

The report suggests that the rise of mobile will continue fuel email’s success. It notes that each generation of chipsets moves mobile devices closer to the personal computer. “Advanced behaviors today (accessing the Internet or checking email from a mobile device) will clearly soon be commonplace, at least for people in their working years. Nearly two-thirds of people under 24 have checked email on a mobile device,” Econsultancy says.

“Online product research contributes a far larger percentage of total retail than the 8% directly attributed to e-commerce, while the evolving nature of digital interaction and customer service is changing the fundamental relationship between companies and consumers,” says Econsultancy’s US Research Director, Stefan Tornquist. “The winners will be those who use digital communications most effectively, to influence and enable both online and offline purchases.”

“Although a variety of media are competing for consumer attention, email continues to be the desired channel for many types of commercial communication,” adds Tornquist. “Social networking and its effect on the nature of brand is the hottest topic in digital marketing, and deservedly so. It’s still worthwhile for marketers to remember that social network adoption is far from maturity.”

The entire report can be found here.

Of couse, it’s not really a competition between social media and email. Both should be part of your marketing arsenal, and are effectively used together all the time. For example, another recent study from ExactTarget found that nearly 40% of consumers visit Facebook and Twitter to supplement the news, information or deals they receive via email marketing.

When Pitching a Product, Ask Yourself, ‘What Problem Does It Solve?’

AmyBateStumpf.jpg

It’s been a very hot summer so far, but many PR professionals are already thinking about their winter holiday pitches, specifically the endless amount of holiday gift guides and how they can get their client to be included.

Amy Bates Stumpf, co-founder of New Product Events and Gift List Media, a gift guide pitching media database, says that regardless of the pitch, you need to stay focused on the problem and solution:

Write a compelling headline that states the benefits of the product, not the feature. The beginning paragraph should focus on a problem that the product solves.

Courtesy of PRNEWSER.

Bates Stumpf will talk about everything you need to know about pitching gift guides in our upcoming “20 Tips in 20 Minutes” PR webinar on Tuesday, August 17th. Click here for more information and to sign-up

Understand the Lens Thru Which People View Their World

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by Kaila Colbin , Courtesy of Social Media Insider.

I had the good fortune today of having a conversation with the visionary John Marshall Roberts, whose focus is on igniting inspiration and overcoming cynicism. By understanding the lens through which people see the world, Roberts suggests, we can better appreciate each other, communicate with each other, and connect with each other.

To understand those lenses, Roberts has built a psychometric tool, based on the work of the late psychologist Claire W. Graves. The Gravesian framework explores different lenses through which people see the world; Roberts categorizes these lenses by color for reference purposes.

“Copper” thinkers, for example, have an individualistic, success-oriented worldview, one that thrives on the legend of the self-made man and belief in the auto-regulating nature of unfettered free markets.

“Jade” thinkers are humanistic, experiencing, as Roberts puts it, “the source of all life as the benevolent spirit of one’s fellow man.” In contrast to the copper folks, jade thinkers might reject materialism altogether in the name of love or spiritual connection.

And “Gold” thinkers take a systemic approach. These are the people who recognize money is great, but you still have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror — and, conversely, that group hugs are wonderful but that you still have to pay the bills. They’re the folks who embrace the “power of and” described by Collins and Porras in the book “Built to Last.”

For decades, we’ve looked at traditional marketing from a copper framework. The only questions we asked ourselves were how we could better succeed: how we could reach a bigger audience, get more leads, grow more market share, sell more product. The purchase of AdWords is a copper purchase, a straight financial transaction: I puts my money in, I gets my clicks out. We don’t have to bring no relationship into this.

In and of themselves, those things aren’t bad. AdWords isn’t bad! But it is certainly a different framework from the one through which social media operates.

Companies looking for success in social media must start with a different set of questions: “Why would anyone care? How can I better serve this audience? What can I do to make an authentic contribution to this community?” As Eric Qualman said in his Socialnomics video, today’s successful companies “act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy: listening first, selling second.”

Bear in mind, though, that selling is still in there. The jade approach — the one that puts relationships above all else — tends to fall a bit short when it comes to making payroll. It’s the systemic, gold thinkers who can tackle both imperatives simultaneously: How can we contribute to this community in an authentic way while maintaining our company’s financial sustainability?

What’s interesting is that frameworks evolve iteratively. We begin with a framework, which then gets reinforced or inhibited based on the feedback we receive. There have been plenty of companies that have approached social media marketing from a copper worldview. These are the ones taking the exact same commercials and messages, putting them up on Facebook or YouTube, and wondering why nobody’s following them. The responsive ones are learning from this reaction, and evolving their approach to be more inclusive and systemic — to apply more gold thinking.

Is it ironic that, with gold thinking distinguishing successful social media players from Whole Foods to Gary Vaynerchuk, everything we know about Mark Zuckerberg from the media puts him squarely in the copper camp? Different lenses create different types of success in different types of environments. It is up to you to choose your worldview.