Category Archives: Marketing

Social Media Coming of Age – at the tipping point?

Super Bowl Advertisers Tap Social Media:

“Brands employed social media, whether to poll consumers to determine how well their ads were received, or to drive additional traffic to Facebook where they could actively engage with their potential customers – something that TV simply can’t facilitate. To generate additional traffic for the social sites and online communities that have been integrated into their marketing strategies, several brands enhanced their Super Bowl microsites with social content, and in turn added promotional content from their brand sites to their social efforts.”

BBC says Use Social Media – or Leave:

“BBC news journalists have been told to use social media as a primary source of information. For BBC news editors, Twitter and RSS readers are to become essential tools, until now the broadcaster has been very cautious about social media.”

Meet The First Miners of the New Social Graph :

“These days, it’s all about who you don’t know. That’s the theory behind a group of very interesting software projects being built on top of the giant graph of friend/follower connection data that Twitter exposes about its users. Name 3 people whom you admire, despise, work with or otherwise pay attention to and tools like HiveMind, Follower Wonk and Twiangulate will quickly calculate who all those people are following in common on Twitter. Say you’re a reporter covering New York city schools. Who might be a good source to contact? Here’s what Copeland recommends: Look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s list of followers on Twitter. See which ones look like education-related organizations.”

The State of Social Media Around the World 2010:

This is an extensive post and well worth clicking through to see the well illustrated detail.

The Conversation Prism

“Upon review, it’s clear that Facebook, at 400 million, is truly earning a global audience, which naturally burrows its social roots with every new connection and the connections of connections forged within the network. According to research, Facebook dominates in 100 out of 127 countries measured. In 50% of the countries included in this study, online photo sharing dominated the list of social media applications. It is also among the oldest of social services within the included mix. 44% of the countries in this survey embrace online profiles in social networks suggesting that their personal brand, whether for engaging in personal or professional interactions, is becoming increasingly important. 81% shared photos and online profiles as the top 1 and 2 activities with the exception of Japan, China, and South Korea where blogging displaced social profiles as a top application. 94% of countries reported that micro-blogging (think Twitter) were among the least pervasive with the exception of Japan, where it ranked fourth – just below social network profiles and above video.”


10 Uses for Twitter in 2010

What is ElephantEar going to do with Twitter this year?

  1. Listen to customers – by monitoring traffic to @overtone and hashtags #overtone and #openmic – and engage with them personally and en-masse
  2. Watch competitors – by monitoring traffic with their @userids and #hashtags
  3. Listen to leading edge thinkers
  4. Make instant complaints (or just rant) using the hashtags #fail and #servicefail and talk to hotels, airlines, retailers and online sites tweeting using their @userids
  5. Virtually attend conferences – by monitoring hashtags like #sn09 (Supernovahub) and #w2e (Web2.0Expo)
  6. Listen to bleeding edge thinkers
  7. Logging my checked baggage when I travel
  8. Find amusing web content: xkcd @shitmydadsays
  9. Get Stock tips from StockSource
  10. Tell my friends where I am using Foursquare

What is Social Media Engagement?

Copyright Overtone Inc. 2010

PASSIVE / BROADCAST (top left) – organizations listening to their entire market, say, by doing a keyword search on the fire-hose and analyzing the posts that come back over time for sentiment and topic

PASSIVE / PERSONAL (bottom left) – organizations or probably marketers or product managers following or listing individual influencers to hear what they are saying with regard to the product or brand

ACTIVE / PERSONAL (bottom right) – individuals within the organization watching Twitter and making direct responses (More Evidence that Social Network Marketing can Work , Hyatt McCormick Place Twitter Account)

ACTIVE / BROADCAST (top right) – marketing groups watching Twitter and making direct responses to the poplation that follows them via their own @corporate_account (e.g. Seesmic’s Twitter Account ,VirginAmerica’s Twitter Account or Wholefoods’ Twitter Account)

Three recent articles discussing Twitter

Follow the Tweets by Huaxia Rui, Andrew Whinston and Elizabeth Winkle (November 30, 2009)

Rui, Whinston and Winkler’s post discussed how “executives can make accurate predictions about sales trends by analyzing tweets that mention their products or services”

Their research followed 3 movies – and observed correlations between box office sales and the sentiments expressed about those movies by Twitter users. Their findings concluded that revenues could be predicted using Twitter postings as a leading indicator.

These lessons can be applied equally in other industries and the article offers advice to executives on how to use Twitter:

  1. Listen to and engage customers
  2. Be a part of the Twitter ecosystem
  3. Identify influencers
  4. Pay attention to shifts in opinion
  5. Follow trending topics

Twitter and Me! Why It’s The Only Social Media Tool I Use by Vivek Wadhwa  (January 1, 2010)

Vivek Wadhwa voted for Twitter in the Crunchies because of how it has impacted him despite his reluctance to embrace Social Media.

He likes the conciseness of communication, the real time communication aspect – how Twitter has created a low overhead, rapid focus group, opinion gathering, market research mechanism. He adds that “it’s the most efficient mechanism I have ever seen to allow me to peruse the thoughtstreams of others who live all over the world”.

In the comments, @douglasputman so eloquantly says: ” I have a home on Twitter, where I can sit by the River and watch the world flow by. And I can dip my toe in the water if it pleases me.” – which makes for a very pleasant picture indeed.

Why Twitter Will Endure by David Carr ( January 1, 2010)

David Carr overcomes his initial skepticism over Twitter amongst other Social Media ‘web-bourne life intrusions’

He points out how Twitter allows him to be “in narrative on more things in a given moment than I ever thought possible”.

He comments on the user-defined folksonomy of #hashtags and describes Twitter as being “so friction-free” and again the river analogy “Twitter can be overwhelming, but think of it as a river of data rushing past that I dip a cup into every once in a while. Much of what I need to know is in that cup”

Generally though, he comments on how Twitter has become part of the online fabric and has to potential as the river where content can easily flow into and be captured from – and this will fuel its continuance.

10 of the Smartest Big Brands in Social Media

Samir Balwani’s Mashable article 10 of the Smartest Big Brands in Social Media describes  how the big guys are getting creative with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other Social Media. As you read the post, recognize that not only are these brands using Social Media creatively, but they are also very genuine in how they speak and listen.

As you plan out your own forays into Social Media if you are genuine, first think about what you want to achieve, get an understanding of what the medium is, how people use it, what you as a brand can do to add value to that experience in relation to your products and services and remember, it’s a medium that you cannot control – the users will do what they want with it, so you must be genuine in your desire to engage with them. Finally you should put in place mechanisms to listen to everything that is coming back – this is where you can quickly understand where you need to take action – either to engage in discussions or to look inside your own organization to correct and improve on how you are percieved by your customers.

How not to be an online influencer

This one is doing the rounds, the story of how James Andews, a PR account executive issued a Twitter post about a major client’s hometown. If you are influential and you post on Twitter, then people are going to see.

David Henderson’s blog posting, How Not to be an Online Influencer provides the detail. What intrigued me was the sheer number of comments this posting received. It’s also doing the Twitter rounds.

It’s all over for Michael Bayard

The world wide web really is a very small world. Just Google “Michael Bayard” and (as of January 19th) he is top of the list, a placement that most SEO practioners would kill for. However, number 1 placement and all but I still wouldn’t want to be in his shoes right now.

Tip 9 of my Top 10 Tips for Customer Listening states:  “If you are participating in Social Media, then do so genuinely and add tangible value, anything else will be noticed and punished…

Social Media happens to also include “review sites”, but Michael sadly did not heed the advice, instead, creating a Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing application to pay people 65 cents to write positive comments about Belkin products on Amazon and NewEgg.

So heinous was this Social Media faux-pas, the nice folks at Crunchgear even posted Michael’s Linked In page in their article “Belkin paying 65 cents for good reviews on New Egg and Amazon“. And so did the Daily Background. It’s enough to make me remove my Linked In profile too!

Funny. Made me chuckle anyway. Remember kids, it sounds tempting, but just don’t do it!

The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

The article in WSJ – Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World (by
SALVATORE PARISE ,  PATRICIA J. GUINAN and BRUCE D. WEINBERG) discusses how the secret to leveraging Web2.0 is participation. Even though mainstream brands are embracing blogs and forums they are not genuinely participating and they do not go far enough to ENGAGE their customers.

Consumers need a reason or incentive to participate, the article discusses how this can be done without overt sales pitches. It also discusses how to allow the dialog to flow freely – something that may be counter-intuitive to marketers raised manipulating consumer conversations.

It’s worth a read, if you are skeptical about the benefits afforded by Web2.0, it may open your eyes. I plan to post more on this topic soon.

Selecting a Community Platform – 10 tips from Jeremiah

Forrester analyst, Jeremiah Owyang’s freshly published report, The Leaders In Community Platforms for Marketers provides valuable insight into 9 vendors. Here is a summary in 10 bullets:

1.       Social network and online community adoption is on the rise and are being seen as cost effective channels for product and brand marketing and a  growing tech segment is for community platforms providing community infrastructure and features, reporting and integration with business applications – these 10 bullets are dedicated to helping evaluate a vendor.

2.       This Forrester Study assessed 9 vendors: Awareness, Jive, KickApps, Leverage, Lithium, LiveWorld, Mzinga, Pluck, and Telligent – selected from a field over over 90, these focused on large organizations, interactive marketers  and have a strong services component.

3.       Applicability and reputation: vendors specialize in markets and vertical and therefore their feature set is tuned to certain segments (e.g. KickApps for media) – make sure your vendor has experience with your market needs.

4.       Speed and ease of deployment: How quickly you can launch a community and then extend and expand will be determined by the amount of configuration and the ease of use of the tools, componentized or widget based platforms make this easy

5.       Features to look for: Basics will include threaded discussions, comment, live chat, document and image upload, blogging forums and more advanced features are Wikis, Multimedia (audio, video) support, polling and surveys, social networking features, premium content support and of course system security to prevent hacking, web analytics to report basic usage .

6.       Advanced features you will need: Widget creation and customization, full service reporting and analytics and performance dashboards, ability to add custom code, the ability to setup automated import of content, analytics to identify influencers and understand community conversations and to make recommendations on action.

7.       Completeness of offering: Full functionality is complemented by the ability to integrate with other applications (e.g. CRM or BI) will be required as will the ability to exchange (I/O) data via APIs, how much control do you need over the layout, navigation and graphics and a strong and easy to use administration layer.

8.       Services to keep you on track: Implementation consulting to ensure that you are trying to achieve the right goals, installation services to ensure correct deployment, essential support and maintenance to make sure data is backed up, recoverable, the service can be restored with minimal downtime and no data loss,

9.       Of the 9 vendors (who all seem to claim market leadership), Jive Software and Telligent came out on top across all categories – of particular mention, Jive’s intuitive UI , Telligent’s strong analytics, Lithium’s forum and blogging solution, Awareness’ quality of site design (pixel perfect graphics),  KickApps widget technology and Pluck’s content management.

10.       The Elephantear’s take on this is that there is a broad enough range of vendors out there to suggest that this is a maturing market, as with any technology vendor selection, viability and reputation are always a concern, but make sure that you rank importance of what you need to achieve with your community and the application features and support you will need to do this – this will help you select a vendor that will provide the right solution for your needs.