Online Personal and Professional Hubs and Influence of Social Media on Advertising – Social Media Breakfast

As usually phenomenal event  sponsored by PartnerUp  and DeluxeSteve Borsch  (Connecting the Dotspresentation pointed out still new ideas (and tools) on the topic that seemed to be discussed so much.

connecting-the-dots

Steve described the shift of linear thinking to parallel and associative, and showed the most comprehensive “map” of social space I have seen so far.

social-media-map-small
Other interesting ideas from the presentation:

  • Participation in social networking definitely accelerating; LinkedIn probably benefited from the economy the most 😉
  • 93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media; 85% of Americans believe a company should interact via social media.
  • There is an expectation that a person should have one place – a hub of his or her social activities
  • Think about yourself as a “curator”
  • Blogs are not disappearing – they are becoming mainstream media

Today all media is social and all social is media

Steve Rubel, SVP Edelman and Associates

Digital lifestream aggregators – a new one – posterous

posterous

Tim Brunelle  presented a few ideas about influence of social media on advertising. The most surprising for me was a thought that social media is keeping the advertising alive… We often hear that the advertisement is dead (what makes sense), but Tim argued that companies still need to communicate with consumers and the combination of social media and advertisement could produce the best result. Interesting…

Twitter – Reality and Potential

twitter-futureTwitter: Will It Implode Under the Weight of Its Hype?  was an interesting article was recently published by Click Z.

I agree that Twitter will not revolutionize marketing as some believe, but I also agree that Twitter opened a unique niche, which will not disappear.  Twitter will not allow access to mass marketing… but why do we want to do “mass marketing” in the era of better segmentation opportunities? 🙂

Twitter has unique qualities that no other medium can satisfy:

  1. “Moment-search,” “moment-communication,” and instant opportunity to connect with people who are in the same situation. This is very useful for live events. Some of the examples: a webinar crushed – the attendees immediately gathered on Twitter  and expected communication from the webinar provider on Twitter, what was easier and much more practical (comparing to e-mail or any other communication).
  2. twitter-followCustomer service implications. Yes, customer service can be provided by phone and through Twitter, and the cost would probably be the same. But, customer service successes and failures on Twitter became instantly public – customer service is merging with PR and becoming “public customer service.”  The cost of failing (and benefit from excelling) in customer service rises exponentially. 
  3. Twitter is good for some niche applications. Even if it is an opportunity to reach early adopters only – Twitter has an advantage of doing our segmentation for us! Twitter is useful as a low cost channel for posting jobs, coupons, and business announcements. This marketing tactic makes sense if it is working.
  4. Opportunity to connect with others. Not every speaker at a conference would publish his or her e-mail address, but most happily provide their Twitter URL. This allows asking questions and starting relationships that otherwise would not be possible. 
  5. Limitation of commitment for information provider   and information reader. Though 140 characters are not always enough, it can be liberating. 140 characters limit the amount of time that needs to be spent to write and to read the post. I remember talking with one of marketing managers about her interest in starting a blog promoting the conference. She had information to share – new speakers, updates to web site, etc. However, she would not have time to write a blog. I immediately opened my Twitter account and typed a quick post. “That is it,” I said after explaining more about the micro-blogging tool. “I can do that!” said marketing manager.

twitter-implodeI totally agree that the idea of broadcasting “what are you doing” will eventually disappear, but the business applications of Twitter will probably remain in some form… we just don’t know yet in which one…  I am guessing that useful functions of Twitter will become part of our life in a couple of years, but, maybe, it won’t be Twitter application to provide them. Who knows?  We can just wait an see – it is interesting time in marketing!

MIMA – Obama Online – Design View

obamaEven if a presidential campaign can not be compared with normal marketing operations, its lessons are extremely valuable. Last MIMA event  was a great opportunity to hear perspective of Scott Thomas  on the Obama campaign – a perspective from a design standpoint. The campaign truly accomplished its goal to “go where the people are.”

The most interesting ideas from my perspective:

  • “Killing the fold” on the home page. The designers decided not to limit themselves by the attempt to fit all important information “above the fold” of the home page and linked it to other portions of the site. Too much of the information was important; the links would be too small and difficult to click. The designers gave more “space” to the information, but abandoned the fold. However, the home page of the site was designed to hint that something exist below, encouraging people to scroll. Site visitors scrolled.
  • Importance of collaboration. Designers worked with developers; designers worked with web analysts. The decisions on which web initiatives received more attention were based on traffic analysis.
  • At the point when the goal was to encourage people to register to vote, Obama branding became unimportant for the task. The goal was registration, not choice of the candidate at that point.
  • The campaign had surprising level of trust… The campaign hired passionate people who were experts in their field and allowed them to do their job without intruding into minor details. The designers, in their own turn, allowed other designers to participate in their efforts – they posted necessary files for local organizations to create their own materials.
  • Analytics and testing. The designers tested everything possibly (buttons shapes, colors, wording etc.) and based design decisions on the results of the site use that came from the analysts.
  • To succeed, the site should be constantly evolving…

Twitter Spam Lesson Live on Marketing Experiments

marketing-experimentsI love Marketing Experiments!  This is one of the most insightful interactive marketing informational resources   I found and often recommended to coworkers and clients. Today’s webinar happened to be even better than expected; it demonstrated a couple of lessons live, and the attendees were active participants. This marketing experiment (though unplanned) introduced me to Twitter Spam and highlighted the “real time” nature of the channel.

The presentation itself was very thoughtful. It showed good and bad examples of business use of Twitter and was based on fundamentals. Well-known Forrester’s POST approach (People, Objective, Strategy, Technology) was modified into ROST (Research, Objectives, Strategy, Technology). Even if I think that POST still applies, any mention of Objectives before Technology makes me happy! 😉

twazzupThe recommendation of Twazzup – Twitter monitoring tool  was also interesting – I have not used the tool before.

The most interesting however, was the real and absolutely unexpected series of “marketing experiments” in twitter use and Twitter Spam that I never noticed before…

Twitter Spam Lesson Live on Marketing Experiments:

  1. Too many people were joining the webinar – congratulation to Marketing Experiments!  🙂 The topic was enticing and the quality of Marketing Experiments events is well-known. Topic contained Twitter, so specific hash tag #webclinic was announced.
  2. Unfortunately, the number of people overwhelmed GoToMeeting service and Webinar “closed” after a couple of minutes.
  3. After determining that my Internet connection was still functioning… I went to Twitter to see what was happening… So did many of over 800 webinar participants….
  4. Webinar was restarted, and then it crushed again…
  5. I was back on Twitter, together with the rest of the determined webinar attendees… discussing the situation.twitter
  6. Webinar was restarted again, and did not disappoint the audience.
  7. At that point the conversation on Twitter became one of the 10 top trending topics…
  8. Twitter Spam immediately became noticed: unrelated messages with the same hash tag #webclinic appeared in the search results.

Marketing Experiments captured the situation spectacularly in one of the Twits, that was re-twitted multiple times:

WebClinic-Hot-tip

Everything happened very quickly, and soon after the webinar ended, the #webclinic disappeared from trending topics. 

Interesting… It was my first introduction to Twitter Spam, which has been well-described already   but the problem of Twitter Spam  happened to be more widespread than I thought before… even after religiously blocking all inappropriate followers from my own account.

The experience was very enlightening… First the frustration that my favorite webinar was not available, then camaraderie of fellow attendees trying to understand the situation, and then the communication with Marketing Experiments that everybody could observe… with the interruptions of Twitter Spammers.

Comments about the event noted that even if the webinar was excellent, the audience expected more traditional “structure” including measurements. Hopefully, we will see it in the future…

My attempts on Twitter experiment were rather anecdotal. 😉  No hard data, but I noticed:

  • more followers (serious) after tweets sent around lunch time
  • more spam followers around weekend
  • more retweets of concise useful data in the message
  • more interest to topic including Twitter itself (what would not be surprising)

How will microblogging evolve?  Only time will tell – what an interesting interactive marketing world!

follow-marketing-experiment

 Follow Marketing Experiments on Twitter  I do! 😉

Cloud Computing Opportunities for Business – Rocking the Cloud – Reside

cloud-computingExcellent event on cloud computing!  Reside was successful in blending the concept of cloud computing for marketers and IT professionals into one event where each group was able to see their aspect of cloud computing advantages.  
Even more information related to online communities and cloud computing can be downloaded from the event’s page.

What I found interesting – marketer’s perspective:

  Implications of cloud computing:

  • Empower access to technology to those with need, not knowhow
  • Greater ability to innovate—the freedom to make mistakes
  • Increased ability to focus precious capital on other needs

The layers of the cloud
 SaaS-PaaS-IaaS

Very insightful overview of online communities (an invaluable 34 slides presentation with benchmark data!)   presented by Eric Scheel.

Particularly enlightening – objectives of the communities and which part of the organization needs to be involved. This is the best “answer” to the question of “who owns social media in the organization”
objectives-of-online-communnities

Examples of existing online communities:

Idea Storm (Dell)ideastorm

  • 10,000+ ideas generated
  • 615,000 promotions of ideas
  • 81,000 comments
  • 200+ ideas Implemented by Dell
  • Average 10,000 unique visitors/day

Dell’s Breakdown of ideas:

  • 4% innovative
  • 80% improvements
  • 12% unusable

ObamaCitizens’ Briefing Book

  • In one weeks’ time…
  • 125,000 participants
  • 44,000 ideas
  • 1.4 Million votes
  • Briefing Book for President

FICOFICO – Decision Management Community

  • Several thousand members; largest in industry
  • Continual customer contact vs. 2x per year
  • Customers helping each other
  • Sense of “ownership” builds loyalty
  • Integration to CRM -> Lead Capture -> Increased Sales

 stideaMy Starbucks Idea

  • 40,000 ideas in first 3 months
  • Media reports from large newswires, including the New York Times, digg.com and Yahoo! News
  • Implementing ideas (Gluten Free Options, and free coffee on Election day.)

A successful community requires a significant philosophical commitment from many levels of the company.

online-community-roles-and-responsibilitiesReside provided excellent explanation of project roles and responsibilities for the community management, the process how ideas should be handled,  and a very practical list of Keys to Success.

 

 interactive-snackThe Cloud computing event  also set a record for the best breakfast event I have attended so far from the perspective of location, venue, and food. Yes, snack is important, and breakfast provided at the Metropolitan Ballroom  was absolutely spectacular!

Online Marketing Summit – Minneapolis

online-marketing-summitMinneapolis part of Online Marketing Summit   was very educational, and I hope this event will come to the Twin Cities area next year too.

The most interesting ideas from the event (in my understanding):

Excellent SEO opportunitiy: video (the competition is not that significant yet). Optimize video (put on YouTube, add to you site, image files, text around, links to the video).

vimeoVimeo – video posting site, which allows customizing anchor tags text links from anybody who embeds your video.

Google-BaseAdd your items to Google Base

Check for duplicate content (tool – copyscape.com http://www.copyscape.com/ )copyscape

Do not forget REL=”Canonical”

Dealing with IT is a sensitive topic… IT can feel that SEO is technical responsibility at which they fail. It is good to start the conversation with a statement that SEO is something most companies are not doing and that SEO is an additional opportunity to help the company to make money.

SEO blog to read http://www.businessol.com/seo-blog/ 

How to track AJAX and Flash Actions with Google Analytics Event Tracking

301 other domains to your www; 301 passes link ranking.

Absolute links are better for SEO… Ideally, a CMS would use relative on stage and publish absolute links live.

Description is not affecting ranking on Google (but still in Yahoo); careful with pure call to action without relevant keywords…

Tip: if the site has too many pages and optimization of each page title is not possible, insert reversed breadcrumb into title.

More pages on your site, the better page rank you have

Web 2.0 allows to “extend the message to people who has highest propensity to link to us.”

Applying traditional marketing metrics to social media is similar to applying advertising metrics to PR.

Who “owns” social media in the organization?  It depends on the goal…PR? Marketing? Customer service? However, C-level executives needed to be champions.

How to deal with more than one Web analytics packages: decide in advance which package should be used for which data and follow this rule.

Web analytics should be considered as:
strategy > infrastructure > value creation.
Currently 37% of companies don’t have formal strategy for extracting value from data…

Optimization is the reason why you collect data.

Ikea-YouTubeVery good example of YouTube channel – ikea 
Successful videos provide valuable content (job search tips – successful; explanation of how to use job search web site – not successful).

How to find relevant niche community: find niche bloggers – check blog roll.

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