MIMA – Social Media Grows Up

As usually, interesting MIMA event.  Social media is definitely maturing and different organizations find ways to make it beneficial.  Less and less we hear companies trying to “do social media” and more and more we see the channel is used to achieve business goals. Good 🙂

The speaker represented 8th Bridge – a company specializing in Facebook (and social media in general); particularly in Social Commerce.  8th Bridge built the first store on Facebook and first airline booking on Facebook.

Facebook is definitely more attuned to b-to-c, and to adding some shopping opportunities directly into Facebook.  However, 53% don’t trust Facebook payment system.

Most interesting (from my perspective): “Like” is not a purchase intent – this is a post-purchase action indicating satisfaction with the product.  There are hopes on utilization of more specific “Want” button; it will be interesting to see how this tendency evolves.

Other social media curiosities:

  • 75% of everybody online in US has a Facebook account
  • Traffic from mobile devices buys twice as much as web traffic
  • About 4-7 of Facebook posts are seen by fans
  • Referral traffic from Facebook to news publications is huge.  However, the most popular are old stories of “man bites dog” type.
  • For retailers: important to make sure that the Facebook referral traffic is linked to the specific product page for the product mentioned

 

Value of Dot Com comes back to life…  Social only is insufficient for retailers.  A year ago retailers were advised to use social only and skip the building of a site.  Hm… Smart!  🙂

MIMA – Community Management

Though marketers seem to be talking about community management for a few years, there are some changes in these conversations. Interesting – community management is now discussed seriously (good), but there is no dramatic distinction between b-to-c and b-to-b yet in the conversations (can be better 🙂  ).

As a b-to-b marketer, I see a very strong difference: in most cases a communicator who loves the product can be probably trained for b-to-c community management, but in b-to-b, the goal is to find an expert who wants (and can) communicate.

The speaker, Olivier Blanchard, gave a fun presentation on the topic at a wonderful campus of General Mills.  Some of points that I found interesting:

  • There are still companies who perceive social media as “something we need to do” because everybody does… However, the reasonable approach of finding a way to benefit the business with this tactic starting to take hold.
  •  The industry is starting to talk about a “community manager job” – this is very good.
  • The community manager should be a “chief communications officer in training” – if the person does not fit this characteristic, he/she may not be the right person. Though I am questioning this though now for b-to-b… In some areas, the company would want to attract certain niche inhabited by narrow-focused experts. In this case the community manager would have to be the expert, or the community manager would not be perceived as credible…  In this case, would this expert need to be a “chief communications officer in training?”  Probably not…
  • A new tool similar to Radian 6 that should be familiar to community managers is Spiral 16 ( I have not heard about it – what a shame 😉  ).
  • Speaker’s blog with a treasure of resources – The Brand Builder Blog

Politics and Social Media – Social Media Breakfast

The event attracted more marketers than journalists or politicians and was useful for all. 😉

Journalists covering political campaigns had the same perception of social media “I have to do it.” Though they agreed that it was not true even a year ago.

From the journalist’s perspective, stories are now “compartmentalized” for specific channels: some are worthy a blog post, some can be added to Facebook, and some don’t warrant more than a Tweet.

Twitter is a Wild Wild West in political communication – voters are not afraid to ask questions. Twitter seemed to be the dominant force and concern among political campaigns and journalists because of its immediacy.

“You can do a lot of damage as a candidate in 140 characters.”

Changes brought up by social media:

  • commentary is live and immediate
  • Google Alerts and RSS are too slow (!) – Twitter does a better job
  • Blogs are “back-up documents” for Tweets
  • Information is not always sourced correctly – error issue

Unsummit – Interactive Marketing Un-conference

unsummitMy first unsummit was very insightful. Though extensive audience participation is not typical, this type of events poses more questions than answers. The topic is perfect – nobody is an expert – we are all learning in real time and trying to catch up with interactive marketing universe. 

Interesting points:

Social media: it is important to have a strategy. What are you trying to communicate? Facebook is a tool, not a strategy. The decision “we should be involved into Facebook” can not be considered strategic.

The army experiment (not so good): One group decided to set up a Facebook page. However, the page did not have a following of fans (was not sufficiently promoted to fans) and attracted people who did not support the army. The Facebook page was used as an online “protest;” soon after the Facebook page went live the protest was organized outside of the unit’s building. The protesters most likely used the Facebook page to find each other and organize.  

Another army experiment (good): prospective recruits could ask questions through the website, and soldiers from different parts of the world answered these questions on the video. The video was posted on the site unedited. This approach increased the credibility of the organization.

Internal communication:

yammerCompanies are using private Facebook pages and Yammer. Medtronic encourages all new hires to sign up on Yammer during the orientation. Price Waterhouse discovered that Yammer helped people who work in different locations to communicate better and extended the practice to the whole company.

The “intranet” becomes more collaborative… the move is inevitable.

New tools

dropboxDrop Box  – a tool that allows saving large files on the cloud to be accessible from different computers.

setster  Setster – a free tool for adding appointment setting functionality to web sites and blogs. The consultant that recommended the tool noted that his clients are using the tool quite willingly.

todoist  Todoist  – a free tool for creating… to do lists in a quite sophisticated form.

xmind  XMind – a free team brainstorming and mind-mapping tool.

Social media reality check session tried to return the unsummit attendees back “to the real world,” where average person may not be as comfortable with the new tools and ideas as everybody in the room…

We should not try to set trends; we should utilize trends that already exist.

 The most popular tools of the future will be most likely “low friction” tools – the applications that are simple and easy to use.

One of the presenters was working on the real estate iPhone app that allows the person to enter his preferences for a house. When the person would be half a mile from any matching house on sale, the phone would ring and inform about the house on sale.

Personal information right now: the user goes to places (sites) that have his personal information. In the future, the personal information might be stored in the browser, and the sites would “react” to this personal information.

Minnov8  – a podcast done by a local group highlighting innovations of local companies in the interactive space.

minnov8

The minnov8 group brought up an interesting point: in the past the definition of “genius” was an exceptionally gifted scientist making discoveries by himself. In the future, the definition of “genius” will change to the person who is able to synthesize ideas of many gifted scientists…

 “In the future, it is not what you know, it is what you share.”

danahboydRecommendation to review publications of Danah Boyd – Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Mobile

Development trends: attempts to transpose to mobile what already exist online. This approach does not make sense and can be compared to early paining of children in adult clothes (during the time when children were perceived just small adults).

Mobile is different – “it is not your website squished down.”

But, the question is: How can I get all that content to the mobile?  This question is similar to a more prosaic task: How do I feed a toddler nutritious food if he is not going to sit through a meal?  The answer: Snacks!! 🙂  

We need to “snakefy” mobile information for the user. Typical user is not viewing mobile content longer than 5 minutes.

ralphGood example or mobile applications is Ralph Lauren

fiercewirelessMobile resource: Fierce wireless.  The site has a free newsletter subscription and can be searched for verticals topic (health care, etc.) specifically. 

  • Prediction: Android devices are expected to outstrip the rest.
  • Most people do not read “long form” on a mobile devise; they bookmark something interesting to read later.
  • Completion of tasks on mobile devices now is less than 50% (usability issues across devices).
  • New term: m-commerce –  mobile commerce. 

Important: to fail fast and cheaply and learn from it (last session).

Unsuccessful examples:

A beer brand created a contest for schools which offered students to send a picture where they were “interacting with the brand.” The brand had a ranking of “party schools” and offered an ultimate prize – a trip to Cancun for a spring break. The problem: colleges and parents did not like it and the campaign had to be stopped. 😉

slurpee  Slerpee  created its own branded social network for enthusiasts. The probability that the people would join one more social network is less comparing to adding a possibility of interaction with the brand to the social networks that already exist. Definitely an expensive effort. Better approach would be a Facebook app or a simple Ning site. “Go where the people are…”

 More successful example:

Kreg-community Kreg tool company created a simple Ning community for people who use their tools. The community is active and can help its members to solve problems in the area of tools (what is important for the brand). This is definitely successful (and inexpensive) effort.

AMA – Social Media (now I love HootSuite…)

presenterThe event was quite interesting and at the end I was determined to invest more energy into understanding HootSuite used by the presenter. Now I am a fan! 😉 Goodbye good old TweetDeck…  

Highlights from the event:

  • hootlogo85% of consumers believe that a company should not only have a presence in the social media universe, but also interact with the consumers
  • 78% of those who are 45 – 60 years old are computer users… their top activity online is… dating.
  • Generation “net” – people born to the social networking world – is the first “global” generation; they can communicate as easily with pears anywhere in the networked world and consider it natural.
  • 90% of purchasing decisions are started on search engines
  • Social media: one engage follower worth 100 unengaged followers

The presenter uses HootSuite  because it allows managing multiple accounts and provides analytics. It also allows following others without leaving HootSuite (unlike TweetDeck).

hootsuite

HootSuite also has a built-in scheduling mechanism and “hootlet” allowing to tweet easier by clicking a browser button and modifying almost ready “tweet” with already shortened URL.

hootlet

Interesting: if originated by Twitter, bit.ly looks like traffic from Twitter in reports, but ow.ly (HootSuite shortening) is a separate traffic source…

Mobile SaaS and Promotion of Social Media – Social Media Breakfast 19

Social Media Breakfast #19  was as useful as usually. I noticed over last eight events that the audience is changing – it becomes more mainstream and corporate. Acceptance of social media is growing, so is the number of professionally dressed people in the audience…. This is good.

lisaLisa Foote  started her presentation with the reminder of growing use of mobile. Significant growth of Facebook, Pandora, and Twitter is now coming from Mobile. Socialnomics09  gives more impressive numbers on mobile use and social media in general (video below).

80% of mobile phones are not smart phones – this needs to be considered in marketing programs. “Smart” phone is the opposite of “feature phone” – an appropriate definition for “not smart enough” phone 😉  To make applications useful for mobile devices, applications became “light,” most concentrated on content.  

mixmobiLisa introduced a new company MixMobi that provides mobile marketing opportunities (and instant analytics!!) on SaaS basis. Social Media Breakfast attendees could see creation of a mobile ad and posting it through Twitter. Attendees could access the ad from their mobile devices and instantly see the metrics on the MixMobi interface. mixmobi-analyticsThe interface is easy to use, and when available, the service  should start from $19.95 per month…  There were conversations about a totally free version, but it does not seem to be available at this point. 😉

MixMobi created the platform to answer most common requests from customers and provides a very extensive feature set.  The company also emphasized instant and correct analytics (yes, mobile analytics is a problem 😉  ) and ability to promote campaigns quickly in different media. Anybody interested in private beta testing should send Lisa a note.

One of the customers was a company specializing in promotion of private colleges to prospective students – The Lawlor Group who used MixMobi’s technology very successfully. 

zapposIn the intermission, Zappos’ culture books were presented to two forward-looking people who run Social Media Breakfast.

Yes, Zappos culture is legendary, but I have not realized that it would be analyzed in a sizable volume… 😉

 

The second part of the event was devoted to promotion of social media in the enterprise. At that point corporate presence in the audience was felt very strongly – in problems that social media enthusiasts had and in their solutions.

Some of the most interesting points:

Internal promotion: focus on a particular task, a business problem that needs to be solved, not the tool. Sometimes, the tool may not even need to be named. Instead of suggesting employees to use Yammer, what could be faced with “oh, one more ‘thing’ I need to learn…” we should tell the user what he/she can do and give username and password. Social media tools are just “new tools to solve business problems.”

Interesting problem solving: albertAlbert  mentioned a situation when two groups worked together in different time and it was not easy to encourage them to communicate. People did not want to go to the same work portal during their time off. However, giving them opportunity to communicate through mobile interface was successful  – it was not considered “work” in the eyes of the employees.

Albert also mentioned Running a Hospital – a blog he believes important for anybody in the health care industry.

running-a-hospital

Importance of the organizational culture: companies need to have a receptive culture for the social media to be successful. “Culture first” – social media should not be considered as “other” – its use should start from a business gap and how to fill it…

Titles and generations:
The executives are often people who understand the benefits of new approaches to reach business objectives, but middle management can be a problem. Middle managers see employees’ involvement into social media as a distraction from the task of their individual departments. The problem is not to “find executive support,” but to “find us” – the enthusiasts in different parts of the organization.

Boomers – many eager to adopt the tools, but concentrate of the tools rather than their application.
Generation X – “Hooray – we found the tools that allow us to do [something] more efficiently!” X wants to be relevant and (many) happy to embrace the tools.
Generation Y – familiar with the tools, but has no idea how to use them for business, lacks work experience; can not get the content for the tools.

Generations need to cooperate… but the enthusiasts are found in each generation.

Security concern: Yammer has file-sharing capability… it is dangerous… Security concern is a “people” issue, not the technology issues… the same risk existed with typewriters, e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. However, the security needs to be addressed through rules of use and basic education of employees.

Popularity of social media: “internet trends” free class at the library changed to “intro to social media;” Science Museum classes on social media were overbooked since conception.

stactionNew tool to investigate: staction a project management (variation on a basecamp) tool that excited one of the attendees of Social Media Breakfast.

MobileMSPNew Mobile Marketing group in town: Mobile MSP – seem to have a Twitter account only, but the first meeting is scheduled on September 28 – we will see what happens next… 😉

Twitter Guesses: Why Few Young People Use Twitter

twitter-tweetTwitter is somehow more attractive to older people. Twittering public is more likely to be 45-54 years old rather than 18-24 years old. Based on respectful research, this news was quickly recognized as a fact rather than a speculation: Teens Don’t Tweet; Twitter’s Growth Not Fueled By YouthWho’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens .

Right after the data became known, we started guessing why Twitter is not patronized by young people: Why Teens Don’t Tweet, Why Adults Have Fed Twitter’s Growth.

twitter-demographic

One of the explanations was the timing of Twitter  – when Twitter became popular, teenagers already had other communication options. I tend to agree with Mahable’s suggestion  that Twitter is not serving main desire of an average teenager – to connect with friends. Twitter is more useful for following news topics, what has never been a focus of teenage life.

twitter-growth

However, the most interesting question, I think, is our surprise that young people are not mesmerized by Twitter, and a need to explain this unexpected fact. Most likely, we are surprised because of our stereotypes, or previous experiences, or success formula lock-ins.

We seem to assume that young people are more likely to be using all new technologies. There is another assumption that young people are more knowledgeable about new technologies than older people. I believe this assumption is incorrect, even if I caught myself more than once thinking exactly the same.

My own “Twitter error” was quite embarrassing. A few months ago I heard about a new group in town – Social Media Breakfast .  I could not attend the meetings because of work, but when I finally had a chance… I felt uncomfortable… I was afraid to walk in the room of 20 year olds and feel as a lost grandmother… It was Social Media after all – a field for teenagers… However, my curiosity and interest for the field easily won over expected discomfort, and I showed up on the next event. To my surprise (and great relief!) the audience was full of people about my age. Yes, I saw young people, and I saw also older people; I saw some people I knew, I saw social media experts who were 10 years older than I, and I felt quite comfortable… Yes, I have not missed a single Social Media Breakfast since that first visit.

Why do we think that young people are more likely to adopt new technologies? 

Oh, yes, there is truth in this fact, but it is probably true very briefly, until the technology becomes known enough to attract its true users. These real users can benefit from the technology, rather then enjoy its brief novelty.

Examples:
Henry Ford was fascinated by his mother’s sewing machine. My 22 year old male coworker in my native country was proudly using his family’s brand-new washing machine, fascinated by its sophistication. Do we really know many young men enjoying sewing or doing laundry?  Probably not…

More specific examples:
Thinking about any corporation – young people are not necessarily those who are PowerPoint experts or Excel experts. Young people do not know this software any better than the rest of us; however, those people who use this software for their work do, disregarding of age. Most of us probably come to that middle-age gentleman in finance with occasional Excel questions.

Twitter is just a tool; Twitter allows people to do certain thing and it will be the most appealing for people who like doing that “certain thing,” rather than just young people fascinated by novelty.

New social media platforms and technologies are spectacularly easy to use – we will probably see more tools adopted by a group of people with certain interests rather than age. I think it is wonderful; it is great for users, and very useful for marketers.