Social Media is here to stay and continues to expand by leaps and bounds, as a new study by Nielsen Online titled “What Americans Do Online”, shows 43% annual increase in the use of social networks and blogs. The study indicates that 1/3 of Americans spend their online time communicating via social networks and blogs than any other method. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and blogging platforms like Wordpress, BlogSpot and Tumblr are making a big imprint in the Internet space by initiating and continuing conversations going in a more social and lax manner. These are open and free platforms for people to express and share how they feel at any specific moment with no boundaries. These numbers speak for themselves as more and more online users continue to become more social and are very quickly turning social media into a main stream activity.
What is social media?
Social media include web-base platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogs, etc., used as mediums of social interaction, networking and broadcasting media dialogues. Unlike traditional media—print, broadcast, radio, mobile and so on—social media is a interconnected web of online digital platforms for interaction and relationships, not ads or content the way traditional media publishes. Social media relies heavily on technology and new trends, as online users become more familiar and comfortable with new tools that make it easier for them to communicate in a more fluid and free environment. This is why players like Google, Facebook and Twitter occupy important places in the space, as they offer users easy to use, useful and interactive technologies to make their online experiences simpler and more fun.
Erik Qualman—online marketer and author of the book Socialnomics—published two videos with incredible statistics he gathered from his research, which take the social media obsession to a completely new level. The high pace engaging video compiles a slew of key stats from many reliable sources that strongly demonstrate that “social media is not a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate”, as he calls it.
Here is a quick glance at those impressive stats:
1. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
2. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
3. Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years), Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
To illustrate the importance of how social media today, its power, influence and true magnitude here is a truly astounding and dynamically updated statistics widget that was put together by online media producer and social media guru Gary Hayes. It feeds from a Flash application that shows how active & dynamic the Social Web, Mobile Industry and Game Business is, by spewing real-time results of what’s happening now and what people are doing in this very moment.
Do You Know Who is Watching?
But, because of the nature of social media and technologies available out there, online users must always be aware of privacy issues and concerns that may sometimes compromise personal information. Granted, the two big players out there: Google and Facebook make everyone’s online experience unique and a fun experience, but by the same token they are also keeping a closed eye on us.
Here is a great creative image that touches upon the issue of privacy on the Internet in a concise manner…
Privacy is in everyone’s mine and to keep a balance on what remains private and public is very important. Key Internet players must listen to the user’s concerns about this to maintain a healthy balanced relationship between user and provider. But, people must also understand that social media isn’t just a fad indeed and that Google and Facebook are here to stay and make social media more open and dynamic.
What are your thoughts about social media today and your concerns about privacy issues?
It's been four long years since the last world cup took place in Germany, when Italy beat France for the prestigious cup! This Friday the referee’s whistle will mark the beginning of the first world cup of this decade, hosted for the first time in the African continent. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be in its 19th edition and it’s scheduled to take place between 11 June and 11 July 2010 in South Africa. Soccer mania is seen everywhere: outdoor advertising, print, radio, mobile and online, with media spends this year higher than any other year.
Some of the biggest soccer stars today like: Messi, Torres, Ronaldo, Kaka, Beckham and many others will take part on the world's most-watched sporting event. According to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ / Infront Sports & Media, billions of people watched the World cup, and a good chuck of it did so in 2006 via online, from which we can only speculate that those numbers will rise tremendously this year. Here are the 2006 numbers: FIFAWorldCup.com became the most successful sports event website in history with 4.2 billion page views from June 9 - July 9 — more than double the traffic recorded during the 2002 event. More than 125 million video streams, and more than 73 million page views on the mobile web portal after FIFAWorldCup.com went mobile for the first time. So, this clearly demonstrates that the online medium has grown quite a bit and that there is a huge market that can be prove to be high lucrative to tap into.
New and existing brands that support FIFA are beginning to spend more time and money in online marketing and have come up with many different ways to capture the loyal soccer fans attention to grab a piece of the pie. It’s all about making a good and long lasting impression, capturing the most eye balls and highest participation possible. Smart branding for an event of this magnitude and scale is key!
But before taking a look at the participating brands involved in this whole marketing game, let’s see how the hosting nation is branding itself to impress the world.
In preparation to this worldwide event, South Africa spent billions of dollars to brand itself the best way possible. Five new stadiums were built for the tournament and five existing venues have been upgraded. In addition to the stadiums being built and upgraded, South Africa has also improved its current public transport infrastructure within the various cities, with state of the art transportation systems and projects. Hotels, restaurants, parks and many other hospitality establishments have also spent millions preparing for this big event to be ready to accommodate visitors to full capacity.
South Africa has also implemented safety and security measures for local and international tourists attending the largest event in the world. Overall, the country has invested almost $10 billion, in four years leading this event, which they hope to be a great success and view the whole thing as an investment in the long run. That’s a lot of money for a developing nation struggling with so many internal problems like health and crime. Let’s just hope that what happened to Greece at the Olympics doesn’t replicate here a few years later!
South Africa has put a lot on the line in the name of branding itself to the world the hard way, but are they investing money in social media channels the same way World Cup sponsors have?
Let’s now take a look at how well some brands are doing branding themselves particularly in the online side of the business.
Official FIFA sponsors and sports/soccer centric brands have invested a great deal of money in social media for this World Cup. All of the official World Cup sponsors (and many non-official sponsors too) have been busy working on the newest application that can connect fans with a global social media audience via Facebook and their mobile phones, the most engaging viral marketing campaign and the most fun and simple ways to engage audiences and get them to participate.
Here is a list of brands that are present at this edition of the World Cup (some of them long-standing sponsors): McDonald’s, Powerade, Continental, Sony Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa, Budweiser, Emirates, Nike, Puma, Umbro, and many others. However, not all of these made the cut on my short list of brands worth mentioning that have done a great job branding themselves at this year’s World Cup with solid online marketing campaigns and should capitalize from social media. These top player brands include: Sony Ericsson, Visa, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Budweiser.
Sony Ericsson - One of the long-term sponsors of the World Cup.
Power of Twitter - With Twittercup, Sony has proven to keep it as simple as possible, with a smart Twitter campaign that tells us social media and sports are a natural fit. The Twittercup collects and counts fan tweets, creating a competition among attending nations. The good is that since its launch in December 2009, the Twittercup has already amassed 43,000 tweets, the bad is that I cannot seem to easily find this on Twitter only the Sony site.
Visa – They have replicated a social application format used during the Olympics that proved to be highly successful called: social media match planner.
Adidas – A World Cup sponsor heavy weight in so many levels, Adidas has been a sponsor of the game since 1954.
TV Soccer Celebrity Ads – Adidas is relying heavily on a big budget TV ads with soccer celebrities like: Kaka, Michael Ballack, Messi, Villa and Zidane called: Fast vs Fast featuring their F50 adizero boots and trying to spark social media conversation on Facebook. At almost 80,000 views thus far, the video count is quite low for a big player in the game known for killer creative ads.
Nevertheless, Adidas has a huge advantage for being a close and strategic partner of the cup with the match ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, manufactured by them and provides with boots and wear to many of the players and teams, giving them perhaps the most direct exposure and appeal to a fan.
Coca-Cola – Another brand heavy weight and present at the World Cup since 1974.
Funny UGC YouTube Video Contest – Coca-Cola has taken inspiration from Roger Milla’s 1990 corner flag dance to encourage users to upload their own unique celebrations on to YouTube, the winner of get to go to the World Cup. UGC funnies have proven to be very successful and the simplest the better, so Coke scores high here. Additionally, Coca-Cola is perhaps the largest brand on Facebook with 5.5 million fans and a huge following on Twitter, where the contest is nicely supported.
Budweiser – A well-known brand with a long standing history of success on branding and a sponsored of the World Cup since 1986.
YouTube Reality Show: Budweiser United – Budweiser held a global audition via YouTube to find 32 fans from respective World Cup countries who will live together in South Africa “Real World” style. Once the Cup kicks off Budweiser will create a YouTube reality show documenting the fans as they play out their rivalries en masse. As their team is eliminated so the house member will be kicked out. The two final fans will go to the World Cup final and the winner will present the Budweiser man of the match trophy to the best player. Facebook will play a supporting a strong supporting role.
This one can prove to be the most creative social media campaign that promises to have a lot of legs, since it uses the two strongest channels in social media to replicate a reality show that was very compelling and successful among fans altogether, and may take reality shows to a new level and platform.
What do you think?
Who is faring the best in Social Media?
How well has South Africa done preparing for this colossal event? Have they neglected social media?
Share your thoughts!
Recently, I had a chance to speak with an influential Hispanic player in the digital space, and one who has made a difference in making his voice heard and who has been able to recruit a solid fan base from the bottom up.
In an exclusive interview with Matt Reyes the founder of Twitteros, we will get a chance to learn more about his role as a successful Latino influencer in the online world and how the Hispanic market has grown and become a key player in the marketplace. According to eMarketer there are currently over 26 million Hispanics using the Internet every day, and that number is growing just as fast as the total number of people within this minority, and by the end of 2012, it is estimated that there will be nearly 30 million Hispanics on the Web.
Have you ever heard of Twitteros?
According to Mat Reyes, the term Twitteros is a Spanish adjective that means, “Twitter user”.
Matt is the founder of Twitteros, a social media community hub for Latinos that Twitter, based on the Ning platform that launched in late 2008. The community hosts profiles, music, photos, blogs, forums, and other features.
As he explains: “The whole idea of Twitteros is to connect all Latinos that Twitter. We have so much to say and so much to learn from each other, and this group will only connect us even more!”
In my 1:1 chat with Matt Reyes, he was very open to share with us more about Twitteros and his role as an influencer in the market, so influential that the 2010 US Census partnered with him and his social network to encourage Hispanics to be counted and share the importance of taking part in the act.
Who is Matt Reyes?
I am well-versed and active in bottom-up media, organizations, and theory, I believe in the marketing philosophies of Douglas Rushkoff and Seth Godin. As a follower of these principles, I have helped organizations ranging from major brands to cultural arts institutions define their purpose, create authentic word of mouth, and become innovative.
How big do you think is the Hispanic influence online these days?
It's growing each and every day. We are still yet to be on par with the general market, but influence is much greater among younger communities.
Do you consider yourself part of the generation Y and a web 2.0 junkie with the creation of Twitteros?
Yes, I definitely consider myself a millennial and consider those who join Twitteros millennial-minded.
Do you consider yourself a tech junky?
Yes, of course.
How did the whole idea of creating Twitteros come up?
Basically, I modeled Twitteros after Twitter Moms with the goal of uniting Latino Twitter users and showing their diverse interests. Twitteros is the network for digitally influential Latinos. (His profile reads on Twitter Moms: “I am a fan of Twitter Moms…even though I'm a dude!” From this, we can infer that his approach of creating a community like this moms' hub for Latinos to connect, seems to have certainly worked.
Why a parrot?
A parrot humorously replaces the bird that is famous on Twitter. Matt further explains: “I wanted a character that is Latino and thought the parrot would be a pretty funny take on the Twitter bird!”
How long has it been since you began your online community and how far have you gotten from where you started–traffic, members etc.?
Twitteros hit its 1-year anniversary this past December and we've grown to over 600 strong, influential members (subscriber) who are well-connected on the Internet. We've surpassed 100,000 page views since we began.
How is your audience broken down in terms of geography, US versus Latin-American based members?
The site is mostly Latinos living in the US right now. However, there was a big jump of Chileans who joined after the earthquake. We are also gaining traction in other parts of Latin America.
Are you considering of migrating your community to any other platform—Face book?
For the time being, Twitteros is based solely on Twitter and allows users to show their extended presence to their blog/websites. There is a Facebook page, but that is mostly for those who want to keep up with the blog posts that users post daily.
Are you still a one man show or do you have bloggers who write for Twitteros?
Fortunately, the members help keep the website vibrant and full of content, especially when important issues come up.
What's your influence with this year's census and Latinos?
Twitteros is currently an Official Partner with ‘Voto Latino’ to reach out to digitally influential Latinos to get a complete, accurate count in the 2010 Census.
Have brands also reached out to you to help them get a WOM in the Hispanic community using Twitteros as the platform for it?
Yes, we've had some support from @southwestair and @tmobile. We did a great campaign with T-Mobile during the Latin Grammys.
Where do you see Twitteros a year from now?
A year from now, I see Twitteros connecting even more Latinos with their varied interests both in the US and in Latin America. 60% of tweets are in a language other than English.
What do you like most about social media and what do you foresee in the future of digital space?
Social media is only as good as the apps and open-source development that come from it. Content is nice (and key), but the tools are where the magic happens.
With the direction Mobile technology is gone in recent year, are you thinking of integrating your community to mobile in the near future?
We are already connected. If you visit Twitteros on an iPhone, you can see the iPhone version of the site. (But, still no phone or Android application for Twitteros though).
Matt Reyes is one of those people who had a vision to connect Latinos online and his hard work and perseverance has paid off, his influence in the digital space among Latinos has certainly resonated in this community. This is a growing community who is very interested in following the latest trends in technology and innovation, shopping online and connecting with people online. Like Matt, there are many other influential young Latinos who have made their mark in the space, by creating an ecosystem that is necessary and useful for people among a specific community to connect and share their ideas and passions with each other.
There are over 82 million mothers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and 35 million of them have children under 18 and access the Internet regularly, based on a 2009 research report by eMarketer. Of this number a good percentage of moms are well connected power users in the social media space. The Internet is an integral part of the lives of 34 million mothers in the US. They not only go online to plan a trip or pay bills, they also use the Web to communicate with friends, share advice, blog and socialize. Moms are the ultimate Internet networkers, as they seek out other moms’ advice for what they’re looking for, with a large percentage of them using the Internet at least twice a day.
Since women do the majority of product research and household purchasing, savvy mommy blogs include product reviews and recommendations on items ranging from infant clothing to packaged food to new cars, brands have been taking noticed on the this trend and are now reaching out to these influencers to maximize their reach and presence online.
Moms visit parenting and family websites and blogs where regularly view news, weather and political content online, among them among the most current and savvy of all online users. They search for shopping deals for their kids, want to learn about cooking recipes, want to be involved in charitable causes, want to be up-to-date with the latest trends, among many other relevant conversational topics that would deal with home and the family. And when they find something great for their family, they talk about it, not only with their family and friends, but often with a much broader online audience. They are among the most technically savvy online power users who use social media channels such as blogs, social networks and Twitter as platforms to extend their influence in the space.
This group has been classified as Mommie bloggers, and they occupy a special place in the space that separates them from other groups online; as they have become the hottest and most influential target demographic that every brand wants to focus on these days. Like moms there are many other groups that are surging in online influence too, and how brands can take notice of them is by paying attention to the latest social trends and by listening to what they are saying and learning about their behaviors when it comes to selecting and buying products that best fits them.
Here is graph showing a growing trend of how much mommy bloggers numbers have increased over the years and what these numbers are estimated to be by 2013.
Written by Reese Ramos – Digital Marking Director