Want to make social media work for you?
Clients ask the same question every week: How do we make this social media thing work for us? What's the secret? The good or bad news is: There's no secret. You just need a few things:
1. A brand or product that doesn't suck
2. Some cool content or a video with a hook
3. Time (or money)
So, go out there and do something cool. Be interesting. Different. Try new things. Keep going. You'll get it!
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!
Thinking about your social media strategy? This formula works. Just do it. We can help you if you like.
AdAge listed Easy To Assemble from IKEA as one of the top 5 branded entertainment deals of 2009! Our team worked directly with IKEA on creative, design, technology, social media, and content strategy for this record breaking campaign with millions of views in just a few months. Watch the show on the site we built ;o)
Ugh. Ok, so I tried giving this topic a few weeks to sink and see if I could calm down about it but, no, I'm still not happy. Usually I'm all about new technology, online services, gizmos, gadgets and digital products that make my already considerably cushy life just that much cushier. Particularly, little things like Amazon remembering who I am everytime I come back, recommending books and holding all my credit cards on file, or Google's slightly big-brothery-I-know-exactly-where-you-are-and-no-don't-bother-clearing-your-cache-'cause-we've got-your-click-pathing-profiled-already tweaks to Google Maps, search ads and every other product they've built. Seriously, who doesn't want their map to zoom to your current location on load? Maybe I've just become used to that level of creepiness.
But Facebook, man. Holy crap. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love technology. I loves me some technology, but this is getting a bit much. I seriously, absolutely, positively do not want to show up on some site for the first time and see my entire friends list laid out in front of me with message and product suggestions tailored specifically to my own unique brand of stupid Facebook comments. There's stuff all over my profile that I wouldn't want showing up when visiting another site in any circumstance - voluntary or not.
Now some people might say I'm splitting hairs. Amazon, among others, tailors their product offering directly to you based on your usage patterns - searches, favorites, purchases, etc - but that's a sort of walled garden of hyper-specific marketing. I have to sign in to access this data, at least once when setting up my account and possibly every time I return, to get all these targetted offerings. Facebook, on the other hand, is proposing to just sign you up. Seriously. You've never been there but you're signed up the second you land on the page.
“…we’ve also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site.”
Is this the end of the world? Well, no. But it certainly feels like an invasion of privacy and a betrayal of trust. [More on trust in a minute.] I'll give you an example that I don't find to be far-fetched at all. Let's say I go to Sports Illustrated for the first time because I've just got to get a Swimsuit Calendar for my wall. Why? Maybe I'm lonely. Maybe it's none of your business. Oh, snap. That's just it! It is none of your business. But my good buddy decides to go to Sports Illustrated too. Maybe he's there for the same calendar or maybe he's there to read an “article”. Haha. Anyway, he might see a great, big picture of my face saying, 'Hey Buddy, your friend Ryan just bought a steamy Swimsuit Calendar.' Probably because he's lonely… That sucks. You see where I'm going with it though.
Is Facebook going to protect users from situations like that? Will they stop it at merely signing you in to a site you've never been before and restricting the “general information” from spreading out in concentric circles of shame and irritation? I doubt it. Facebook has betrayed our trust before. Beacon anyone? New opt-in-only privacy settings? Facebook will of course give users the usual convoluted privacy settings but make no mistake, you'll be opted in until you find the stupid setting to turn it off. I hope…
I realize the web - and mobile for that matter - are travelling in this direction at break-neck speed but I feel like the old man in the corner going, “Back in my day, the web was anonymous! You could go anywhere and do anything without fear of persecution - or at least embarrassment. It was private dammit!” I'm just tired of having my personal information sold and traded about without my permission. And, NO, telling me you're going to opt me in ahead of time doesn't count. Couldn't Facebook start us opted-out and convince (read: bribe) us to turn it on?
Ok, so I never made that my Facebook status. If you are in the dark about all the “I like it” Facebook statuses that started happening this month, women are writing about where they like it. Their purses, I mean. Where they like to put their purses. (Duh.) It's for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Supposedly.
Well, now I have some questions:
You probably remember earlier this year when women were writing the color of their bras also supposedly to raise awareness for breast cancer. I highly doubt that these two viral Facebook status updates actually started off as trying to raise awareness for breast cancer. I cannot find a single credible source on the internet that shows me where either of these two started. Would this same thing work for men? For men, prostate cancer is the second biggest killer out of all cancers. What if men wrote the color of their boxers or where they like to put their wallets or satchels or murses (man purses)? First, would it spread, and second, would that raise awareness about prostate cancer?
Ok, end of rant. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. I just don't see the point. On the other hand, maybe this would remind women to do their monthly checks for lumps or get that mammo they've been putting off.
The question bigger than, “How did this start?” is “how did this spread?” The answers might help you try to apply this free and viral strategy to your brand.
Obviously, this isn't easy. It has to be something sassy and something that makes other people wonder enough to do some research to find out what it's about (or at least question publicly). Efforts will be hit-or-miss, but since it's all free, there's very little monetary loss.
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
Our approach here at Fabric is simple. To break through in social you got to do three things (maybe a few more, but these are a critical):
1. Connect your brand to something valuable to the person you want to influence. Starbucks has shown that 5 million people care enough about deals/coupons to fan them on Fb. You would only fan Starbucks if you got $ in return, right?
2. Use a simple idea - such as “hot or not” - to juxtapose and create an angle for interaction. Simple quizzes and polls work because it's easy to engage. I like this. I think this is crap.
3. Wrap content around your brand. If you are a food brand, build content around recipees or health. Drinks? Make a “10 hottest bars” list.
Keep thinking about what your audience is already doing. Help them do it better. Make it easy for them to engage.
Don't think they care about your product or brand. They don't really. They don't even think about it. Don't try to make them. They have things to do.
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.
What's better than a basket full of kittens? One puppy. That's right; just one. Not a litter. No, that's too much love and awesomeness for anyone to contain. Just one cute, adorable, fuzzy puppy.
*cough* cats suck *cough*
Fabric recently finished designing and developing a new beta site for Dogasaur, a social site aimed at helping dog lovers improve their dogs' lives.
We started with a few simple goals: create a site that placed the best, most pertinent information on dog products, services and health at dog lovers fingertips; give dog owners a place to rate and review these things; and develop a home for canine experts to get their information out and available.
But, we quickly found in our discovery phase that ratings and reviews just weren't enough. Dogasaur needed a place for dog lovers to express themselves, to add their own personality (and their dogs' personalities) to their profiles. And, not only just dog lovers but the businesses serving them. We discussed options with the client and out new profile layouts were born.
We've had a ton of fun creating Dogasaur with our client and we're not finished yet. On the horizon: bigger and better tools for businesses to reach (and help) the Dogasaur audience; videos, pictures and dog breed information; more robust interaction tools with dog shelters, rescues and charity organizations; and other social tools to engage our user base.
Search is one of those things that seems simple but is difficult to do well. The most common problem users tend to face when searching is that either no results are returned, or there are too many irrelevant results.
On a recent project we had the case of a simple keyword search bar that not only had to return relevant results but aggregate data returned from several sources. The user expects to type a search and get nicely-formatted results that match their query. Our problem was that the results came in multiple formats from multiple servers with quite variable response times.
Our initial implementation was to have tabs. The Addresses search was run, results were shown, and the other inactive tabs when clicked would carry out their respective searches. The problem was that there was no guarantee the first search type (addresses in this case) would return any results, and if the businesses search had returned results it would have been much better to display that first. The tabbed interface was also very disjointed, as swapping tabs had to perform the search (causing a delay), and users expect switching tabs to be instant. Also, the usability suffered, because if the search resulted in a few matches of each type, you couldn’t see them all on one screen.
The final implementation was in two parts. Firstly, all the searches were executed in parallel via Ajax, displaying and updating a progress bar as each was completed. This visual feedback helped offset the now-longer delay before any results were displayed. Then the data returned from each API was normalized so it could be fed to a single HTML render, facilitating output into the same screen. This allows the results to be displayed in a single list, grouped by type. Types with no results (or ones that timed out) are omitted from the output, pushing the relevant results to the top.
A few months ago,an interactive marketing agency with offices in LA and NYC asked us if we could do some “word of mouth” (WOM) marketing for one of their clients.
They wanted to hire our team to “post about the product to message boards and social networks.” Fake promotion. Also known as Astroturfing. The practice I'm referring to here is fake product reviews, comments by people hiding their identity while being paid to comment, or fake “customer” dialogues. It's dirty. So much so that this behavior is now illegal in the EU.
We declined to do the campaign, partly because the product sucked, but mostly because we think lying is a bad idea. Pretending to be someone you are not is not cool.
As you may know, a lot of brands and PR firms engage in this practice. For example, Home Depot recently seems to have done some remodeling on their product reviews. Big brands make big mistakes. Even Coke stumbled.
Are you a marketer thinking about doing some Astroturfing? Go surfing. You'll feel better. Besides, wouldn't your time be better spent building relationships with real customers? You could even talk to them. Maybe consider working with brands that matter to you? Then, when time comes, you don't have to fake it. You can tell the truth. That's organic marketing.
There are countless examples of this nonsense hurting brands. You got some you want to share?
Ah yes, the timed honored tradition of training rats to press a button a get some cheese. Er… wrong metaphor. Ah… the time honored tradition of tying a carrot to a stick and making that dead horse walk an extra click to get some meaningless play gold that has no utility in real life other than to provide bored office workers with something to do other than actual work…
I might have messed up that analogy too. Whatevs.
Social game applications - Facebook gaming apps and mobile gaming apps in particular - use this tactic to such an extreme degree I'm not sure the game concepts come first or the actual clicky button-y thingies.
We want them to click a button that gives them shiny coins!
Yes, but what kind of button?
A red button.
Awesome. But… why are they clicking the button?
Oh. Well, shit. Um, because they're at an airport. And, and… they run the airport! They decide what airlines are coming and what chains to have in the food court and how to run security.
OMFG! That's genius! We'll make them click a red button so they can get coins and upgrade their airport. But not enough coins to get the really good stuff. They need to buy special Frequent Flyer Coins to get the good stuff.
Yeah. It'll be sweet.
So, sarcasm aside, it obviously works. Farmville has 89 million users on Facebook and Foursquare is rounding the corner on a million smart phone users. What would be interesting is to see the real drop off points. How many of those users installed the apps and never came back but never uninstalled? How many played obsessively for a week or two or even a month and suddenly dropped it altogether? There's something missing in the formula. How do you engage a user - obsessively - for extended periods of time past even one or two months?
Because these apps are “free” and easy to obtain the user investment in the beginning is low. You need to hook them fast and the most readily available form or digital crack is fast levelling, easy badges and lots and lots of coins. You'll eventually loose your users but maybe you've made enough to build the next game. And the next and the next. It's a slash and burn strategy that is quite frankly as boring as it is addictive. Which is kind of like watching paint dry - eventually you get so bored you hit this zen like place in your head you don't even know where you are anymore. Experience The Nothingness of Click.
Funny enough, the ads for most of these games say things like 'Hey our game is different. We've got a real story. It's not just click farming!' They lie. Straight up. There's just not enough content in these games to keep your interested. There's just not enough variety in the button clicks to keep you going forever.
What's the solution? Well, I don't really know. Sorry for the anti-climax. But I think it's in the social part of the equation. Monopoly had an awesome Google Maps integrated game last year that was very popular. If they had better anticipated that popularity we might still be playing it right now. The idea of augmented reality and geo-location apps is still pretty exciting. Social play that ties in real life experience with game-like elements isn't a new concept but it's one still begging to be perfected.
Written by Ryan Nash
We're moving into an era where the line between companies and consumers is becoming more and more blurred. Social media sites like FB and Twitter allow companies to connect with the consumer quickly and on a familiar platform; review sites like Yelp and C-Net pit consumers against or with companies in order to keep companies on track with good business practices and good products; and of course, bloggers are able to reach the masses and over time become trusted resources for news and reviews.
Bloggers are all the rage lately. Anyone can have a blog with an internet connection. You can blog about ANYTHING (hell, I even have a blog about cookies!). And lots of people love to talk — they just need listeners. There are varying degrees of bloggers, too; each topic will have a few bloggers that rise to the top due to their expertise on the subject, their social network and their ability to communicate to the masses. Bloggers are like middlemen between the consumer and/or customer and the company, but they're usually on the consumer / customers' side.
If people were cities on a map, bloggers with a following would be a big dot with bold names. It is for this reason exactly that in my time here I reach out to bloggers. Recently we sent out a bunch of stuff to women with children who we thought would be interested in the Lovin' Scoopful brand — a light gourmet ice cream brand with less fat and fewer calories and they donate to the Special Olympics — to have an ice cream party. They blogged about it (examples can be found here and here) of course, and the positive reviews helped. Some important things to keep in mind when you're looking to reach out to bloggers:
Ideally it's a win-win-win situation: the blogger gets free stuff and popularity, the company gets information out to a targeted audience with very little cost, and readers get helpful tips and news from a trusted resource. There are still skeptics out there who don't see the utility in blogging or the importance of these online journals; however, incorporating bloggers into your media plan might surprise you.
I went to Noshi Sushi with seven friends on Tuesday. Great food. My friends are in their early to mid-thirties. I asked them if they would ever buy virtual goods. None of them would. They think it’s silly and they don’t see the value. While they do accept virtual gifts from friends through Facebook, they hate it when they are asked to “install the application and share my personal information.”
Today, I sent them some virtual gifts.
I predict virtual gift revenue will finally break through in the US in 2009. Unlike interruption advertising, virtual goods and branded content works great in social networks. Proof? Facebook reportedly made $35M+ in virtual goods in 2008. Now, if they can make that kind of money with their boring clip art - then I predict there’s 100% revenue increases in store for 2009.
How big is this market? In Korea the virtual gift economy is huge and it’s the driving revenue model for loads of market leaders such as CyWorld ($160M annually) and Nexon (80% of $230M revenue). Charles Hudson has a great post here with loads of data (and assumptions.) Thanks Charles! Of course, you may know that virtual worlds like Habbo Hotel and Second Life is all about virtual goods, but those eco-systems are closed and there is no doubt the massive markets are in social networks and mobile.
Viximo is betting big the social market. They seem to think they can be market makers (see interview with CEO here) and their Giftd shop just opened in time for the Holidays. Hi5 just launched their own gift store and MySpace is reported to be working on a version of their own (I have to say, I don’t really understand what’s taking so long. Maybe you know?) Other players in this market includes FooPets, NeoPets, Digital Doll House, and major Scandinavian player StarDoll. There’s Zynga and major player Social Gaming Network who recently bought niche Facebook app developer (fluff)Friends . Also have a look at Artist Licensing and IP companies like Virtual Greats.
My friends say they won’t buy virtual gifts. Would you?
There seems to me to be a two kinds of mobile social users: the Mobile Gamer and the Mobile Braggart.
If you're in the tech industry, as I am, you're one of these two whether you like it or not. It's merely a matter of personal preference. You can “think different” with all your iPhone buddies, look important on your BlackBerry or even hang with the new disciples of Android and still fall into one of these two categories, although I have my opinion which users fall pretty hard into the Braggart definition.
The Mobile Gamer
A gamer is an imaginitive individual at heart with strong escapist tendencies who loves to assume alternative personnas and waste valuable time acquiring vast hordes of e-stuff (read: treasure, coins, $, dead dragons, etc). I fall squarely into this category. The Mobile Gamer is interested in the actual game mechanics, the gameplay challenges, the refining of strategies and the satisfaction of winning.
The Mobile Braggart
A Mobile Braggart wants everyone, everwhere to know exactly what they are doing, where they are doing it and who they're doing it with. It can be as simple as getting breakfast on a Sunday morning with friends after a “crazy” Saturday night hopping from hotspot to hotspot. Checkin. Tweet about how awesome this event is. Checkin somewhere else. Tweet about how awesome the late-night food is. Checkin. Post a picture of your totally amazing Sunday brunch with friends. It really is that amazing.
Written by Ryan Nash (mobile gamer and escapist artiste)
I find the brewing battle between Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown to be really exciting. At this point, I'd have to say Foursquare is going to be the winner - no surprise. They're making the right plays, signing a new deal with big brands almost every week and are cornering the market on PR. But they're missing something… It's not really fun to “play” Foursquare.
Foursquare and Gowalla fit more into the Mobile Braggart category. There's not much of a game mechaninc; they're really just vehicles for social expression (read: my life is so interesting!) so I find it hard to care. One might argue that these apps aren't intended as gaming platforms but I'd disagree. Explore your city and unlock badges… that's a blatant game mechanic - carrot-on-a-stick tactic - designed to keep users coming back. Look at the icons and the badge names, the general design even. They're definitely games desgined on a massive social scale. They're just lacking anything particularly game-like to do.
So, what am I whining about? Just this - they're not doing a lot to make due on the actual gaming promise. MyTown, on the other hand, is very much a game. In fact, they've come at it from a different angle - nailing down the gaming mechanics and now quickly adding in the social elements. Was this the right play? Well, they have over 1.5 million users; a number that neither Foursquare or Gowalla can boast. But, MyTown doesn't have the brand recognition that Foursquare or even Gowalla does so they're deficient in that area.
My bet, which shouldn't be a surprise, is that even though MyTown has garnered as many users as they have on the actual strength of their product they're going to be surpassed by Foursquare. Probably very soon. My hope is Foursquare takes a bit of their hard earned dollars and builds out more the gaming part of their universe. Maybe take a few plays from the MyTown playbook and give me a reason to actually use their application. Bragging about my interesting life isn't enough to hold my attention. But bragging about how great I am at gaming could definitely get me out of hiding.
Written by Ryan Nash
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 worth pointing out that pure growth in registration numbers is not the only metrics that matters. Data on user activities such as page views, time spent on site, visit frequency, as well as member interactions and purchases are all important when you evaluate the value of these networks.
Engaging users over time has proven to be tricky. Yeah, you can build it and you might even be able to get people to register. But can you make them stick around? Many can't make it work and that's been an expensive lesson for many brands and marketers.
It's a challenge one of our teams are taking head on. Ryan Nash, Sara Apelkvist, Michael Jung, and Clayton Kjos are developing a new niche social networking site due to launch in January.
We can't wait to share our design experience with you when the BETA site becomes available in late January. Can we make you stick around?
Everything is changing fast. Advertising, media, marketing, content, and context. We think social media is at the center of it all. So, what to do? Jump in. Don't sit back. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t think about it. Just do something. It will likely be better than doing nothing.
That’s our attitude anyway. Just do something. Here are some things you can do to engage:
Get a Facebook account and use it. Why? You’ll find old friends. People you forgot. Those geeks in your class you forgot about. Oh, yeah, they are now running cool companies and doing amazing stuff.
Use LinkedIn. Yeah, it works. 20 million business people can’t be wrong. You must know someone, right?
Get the new iPhone. The mobile Web has arrived.
Try www.Summize.com. See what the Buzz is about.
What are you waiting for?
I live in Los Angeles. So I know something about love and hate relationships. I love interesting people. I hate traffic.
I feel the same way about Lifestreaming. In short, it's “virtually posting real time updates of your activities.” Taking a picture? Upload it immediately to Flickr. Thinking about buying a rabbit? Let your friends know through your micro-blog.
From your mothers perspective, it all makes sense. Your family always wants to know what you're up to. Some friends might even care.
I'm torn. When my friends came back from Burningman - again - I checked their pictures on Facebook. (I missed the playa this year - not so much the dust-storms). Many of my friends are creators or producers. They create art, music, or products in their professional lives. Facebook makes it easy for me keep up on their latest innovations or adventures.
On the other hand, the constant stream of personal experiences on social networks networks makes disconnecting hard. If you're not in the stream - how are you going to hold up in conversation? I want to feel as if I can disconnect anytime - not missing anything. Just like e-mail, this bastard is always on.
Regardless of how you feel, Lifestreaming is here to stay. So, you might as well get on with it. Especially if you're a marketer (aren't we all?) here's a few things to think about:
Using common utilities such as Facebook, you can quickly close the communication loop with the people you love, no matter where they are. You can share what matters anytime in real time. This sets the pace for communication: faster than e-mail!
In fact, Facebook's little news-feed represents a big leap in social media. (Yeah, I know there has been others but the wide adoption makes use of Facebook more relevant to more people).
As bloggers have proven, social groups with massive influence forms around those most connected.
Those people who have social graphs with several hundred connections become very valuable nodes in marketing networks. We call them influencers. You should get to know them - or become one.
If you want to take advantage of lifestreaming for your brand - here are a few of the top opportunities:
Now, are you a producer, creator, follower or spectator?
Get your goggles on. It's not a dust storm yet, but it's going to take a while before it all becomes clear.
As we see more and more ad dollars move to online, everyone is rushing to make their mark in the webspace. Of course, the current source of online media right now is social marketing, and one of the most common question for brands in this area is which to use: Facebook or Twitter?
Keep in mind that not only are these two different platforms but that you're also reaching slightly different audiences with each. That being said, depending on your product or service, both or either of these community sites could be a great way for consumers with a common passion for your brand to get together and have you push news to them. Consumers joining your Facebook page is a voluntary move that is incredibly welcome in an age where people are more and more weary of spam and secretly paid sponsorships.
In a nutshell:
- There are about 125,800,000 accounts open in the US. Of that:
12.7 million are 13-17 (10.1%)
31.1 million are 18-24 (24.7%)
31.4 million are 25-34 (25%)
21.8 million are 35-44 (17.3%)
28.8 million are 45+ (22.9%)
43.4% are male, 54.6% are female (the rest of the accounts are not specified)
There are 100+ million registered accounts (most, however, are outside the US). According to ComScore, 30% of their users were under 25 at the end of 2009, with that number having increased about 10% since 2008. Like Facebook (and most social media sites in general), Twitter is slightly more female, but the discrepancy between female and male users isn't as large.
The few facts above touch the surface of what kind of research can be done on these sites, but it is a good start. Things are changing rapidly in the internet world; for example, on Facebook, the 35+ age group is growing the fastest.
Social media is a great tool if used effectively: dog lovers unite under the Dogasaur Facebook fan page, and the health-conscious as well as moms join the Lovin' Scoopful page. Oh, and another thing: it's easier to target peripheral audiences, like supporters of the Special Olympics, using social media if it is done correctly. A couple of months ago I contacted the marketing person running the Special Olympics Facebook page and asked him if the Special Olympics and Lovin' Scoopful could trade shout-outs just because I knew that the Special Olympics has a very broad audience and supporters would like an ice cream brand that donated to a cause they are passionate about:
Users engage by commenting on, “like”-ing and retweeting status updates and pictures while seeing relevant information that they opted in to receive. Tailor your messages to your specific audience via the specific medium; even if your entire audience is a certain demographic, your social media audience may or may not reflect the same. With the internet becoming increasingly available and portable and networking sites growing bigger and bigger, you may want to use the data above to determine how much time you should spend expanding your brand image in these areas.
You are currently browsing the archives for the Social Media category.