Tag Archives: social media

Social Media Monitoring – Why You Need It

Yes. There are still execs and other decision makers who haven’t latched onto the benefits of incorporating social media into their corporate strategy. In a guest post on Social Media Explorer, author and co-owner of Professional Blog Service Erik Deckers shares his list of reasons why brands should not be afraid of social media. One of the biggies is this: social media can be measured. He writes:

How do you measure a TV commercial? How do you know how many people actually sat through the entire commercial and bought as a direct result? How many walked away after 20 seconds? 10 seconds? How many people never even saw it because they changed the channels?

Social media monitoring provides brands with a wealth of information and insight about consumers, their behaviors, wants, needs, frustrations, etc. For example, sentiment analysis tells brands how consumers are feeling about their product, company, or even staff. Brands no longer need to wait for sales reports or to commission focus groups to learn what’s going on inside the customer’s or client’s mind. It’s all right there, waiting to be measured: the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

There are any number of reasons why companies are afraid, and there are only a few reasons why they shouldn’t be. But these reasons trump all the excuses any business can ever come up with.

1) Social media is not going away. It’s not a fad. It’s not something we’ll forget about. Social media has been brewing for the last 30 years, when Compuserve and Prodigy started as community bulletin boards. Or even before that when real computer bulletin boards were introduced in the 1970s. Companies may come and go, but real-time communication isn’t going anywhere.

2) Social media has gained wide acceptance faster than any other medium. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners; television took 13 years to get 50 million viewers. Facebook, on the other hand, added 100 million users in 9 months. Social media is only going to grow and get a stronger foothold in the way we communicate and receive information and news.

3) Social media is inexpensive. Facebook is free, Twitter is free, blogging is free, assuming you’ve got the time and knowledge to use it. If you don’t, you can hire people to manage it for you. It’s no different from hiring in-house or outsourced professionals to manage your TV ads, your websites, and your trade shows. The only difference is once you hire social media people, your overhead is mostly finished; the tools don’t cost anything to operate.

If you hire someone to produce your TV ads, there’s still the costs of actually creating them, and then buying the airtime. You can hire people to manage your trade shows, but you still have to pay the added costs of booth space and rentals, going there, working it, and coming home. Plus expenses.

4) Social media marketing can be measured. One big difference between social media marketing and regular marketing is that we can measure social media marketing through tools like Google Analytics and SocialMention.com (both free) and Radian6 and Vocus (both paid services).

How do you measure a billboard? How do you know how many people drove by, read it, and bought your product? How do you measure a TV commercial? How do you know how many people actually sat through the entire commercial and bought as a direct result? How many walked away after 20 seconds? 10 seconds? How many people never even saw it because they changed the channels?

With social media, we can tell who read a blog post, clicked a link, and then made a purchase. Mainstream media can give you estimates and guesses, but they can’t actually count. Social media can tell you how long someone watched a video or visited a website, when they clicked away, and where they went. Mainstream media can only guess at the numbers of viewers, listeners, and readers.

Social media marketing isn’t going away. And while it seems like everybody is using it, there are still hundreds of thousands of businesses that haven’t even considered it. It’s not too late to start. It’s not too late to create a Twitter account or a blog, and then talk directly to, and hear directly from, your customers. There’s nothing to be afraid of, and there are plenty of people to help you get through the rough spots.

via Social Media Explorer

 

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Local SEO and Reputation Management: Key Contributors to Online Presence

This is an amazing article found on http://esynergize.com.  Great information and so true for business today!!

You may often hear discussion about building an online presence for your business, but what exactly does that mean?

In general, it refers to positioning your company to be readily found by consumers or other businesses looking for your products or services— and when they do, projecting a highly positive image.

The most effective approaches involve several well-coordinated activities. While social media and organic SEO have grabbed a lot of the spotlight, local SEO and reputation management continue to be vitally important.

With Google and Bing increasingly emphasizing local geography as a key search factor, businesses can realize meaningful ranking jumps through local optimization.

This is accomplished through a variety of means, but tactically presented inclusion in relevant local online directories provides benefit in two ways. In addition to being found through those directories, inclusion also boosts Google and Bing rankings.

A business being found by targeted prospects is the prime objective— unless, of course, the search result casts a negative image. Unhappy customers, disgruntled former employees, the media, or even competitors can inflict harm through unfavorable postings.

In order to mitigate this risk, companies are wise to engage in formal reputation management activities. This involves automated monitoring of all related Internet activity followed by proactively addressing any negative findings.

Unfortunately, lack of good local SEO and reputation management can insidiously impact sales across all business channels.

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Clash of the Social Network Titans: Google+, Facebook, and Twitter

I found this article on http://www.marketingprofs.com and I had to re-post it because it is so interesting.  This article was written by Michael Wu!!  Make sure to take it all in!!

A few weeks into Google+, and most at least know of the new social networking site, even if they haven’t joined yet. Still resisting? Based on its current growth rate, you may want to jump in sooner rather than later.

Below, I compare and contrast the network properties and social principles behind the most popular social platforms.

Facebook

Facebook’s utility comes from helping users simply maintain all of the relationships in their lives. However, real-world relationships are complex. Not every relationship is the same, and every friend is unique. By collapsing all the different relationships into one bucket of “friends,” Facebook created the problem of conflicting social spheres. Some groups just don’t mix in real life, and some information is not for all friends—regardless of how close your relationship is.

Offline, people deal with that problem by spatial-temporal segregation. We simply meet different groups of people at different places and times. But on Facebook, we’re stuck; we either don’t share, or share with everyone. Although Facebook subsequently implemented features that allow users to place friends into groups, those features were Band-Aid fixes that didn’t drive adoption. Google+ addresses that problem with Circles.

Friendship on Facebook is bidirectional, requiring both parties’ consent to connect. Anyone can initiate the connection, but the other person must accept it to create a tie. Those mutual, reciprocal “friendships” help keep the relationships and content on Facebook relevant. As a result, the signal-to-noise ratio on Facebook is fairly high compared with other networks that require only unidirectional consent, such as Twitter.

However, bidirectional consent is not without cost. One of its drawbacks is that it requires the coordination and alignment of intent between two people. That is harder to achieve than it may seem and it limits a network’s growth rate.

Twitter

Unlike Facebook, Twitter requires only unidirectional consent to connect with another user, resulting in greater growth potential. Despite Twitter’s 140-character limit, it’s grown at an astounding rate. Twitter use has spread so feverishly that Twitter has created a communication network with lower degrees of separation than the social networks in our physical world.

The average path length between any random pair of Facebook users is about 5.73, which is on par with the six degrees of separation in real-life social networks. But the average path length between random pairs of Twitter users is only 4.12. That means networks requiring only unidirectional consent could lead to a smaller world, where people are closer (i.e., the average path length is shorter). Accordingly, information spreads faster on Twitter.

The unique value that Twitter provides is the simplicity of the platform, which requires almost no effort to adopt and use; it’s growth is directly attributable to that simplicity. That said, membership growth doesn’t imply that users will continue to use the platform. In fact, the number of active members on the site is not very impressive at all. A significant number of Twitter accounts are inactive, and many active members are bots.

The biggest problem of a unidirectionally connected network is that it makes content less relevant. Twitter streams (“timelines”) are often flooded with noise; tweets have a low signal-to-noise ratio. Twitter implemented lists, a receiver curation mechanism, to help users curate content—but lists are insufficient. Like any unidirectionally connected network, Twitter connections are much weaker. The ties that bind Twitter users are less cohesive, more fragile, and therefore less sticky—a probable contributor to Twitter’s low ratio of active-to-total user base.

Google+

Like Twitter, Google+ requires only unidirectional consent to connect. Though that approach aims to combat some of Facebook’s more complicated alignment of relationships, the resulting growth also makes the network noisier. To deal with the noise, Google+ has Circles that enable receiver curation.

But will Google+ turn into a glorified Twitter? If people fail to put their connections into the proper circles, then Google+ can certainly turn into just another noisy stream. However, even if people spend time to categorize their connections, there’s still no guarantee that receiver curation is a strong enough filtering mechanism to deal with the noise.

Google handles both of those problems very well with its user-experience design. To encourage the use of Circles, Google+ “gamified” its Circle Editor. Categorizing connections is both simple and fun.

To deal with the problem of receiver curation, the Circles feature enables an additional mechanism: sender curation. Users can selectively share with different subsets of their connections using a combination of individual users, circles, extended circles, or the public. Though sender curation isn’t unique to Google+ (Facebook and LinkedIn automatically incorporate those mechanisms due to the bidirectional nature of those networks), its effectiveness depends on the sharing behavior of the sender.

Aside from its social network, Google+ also provides many community-building tools. Google+ has made it easy for people to find content they are passionate about via Spark. And if there is ever a need for high-bandwidth, face-to-face communication, users can start a Hangout (video group chat) with up to 10 people.

Those tools enable relevant groups of users to hold conversations about a common interest, which can eventually develop into real relationships. So Google+ is not only a social network but is also overlay with communities, which is how humans operate in the physical world.

And the Winner is…

Now, is Google+ the ultimate answer for managing our relationships? Probably not. In real life, our relationships are very complex. Each is unique. In Google+, everyone would be his or her own circle, nested inside a complex hierarchy of context that changes over time. As for features, Google+ definitely packaged a lot of essential social features in a well-integrated platform, so +1, Google+.

For Google+ to win, it needs to gain users with lots of friends who can bring those friends to the new platform. However, Facebook is still more than 70 times larger than Google+. Its true strength, however, is not the sheer volume of its user base but the cohesiveness of its networks.

Facebook contains many strong ties: families, close friends, high school buddies, etc. Having a lot of those strong connections is what makes Facebook extremely sticky. Strictly from a network value perspective, the more friends a person has on Facebook, the more utility she can derive from the network (i.e., network effect).

Conversely, more is lost by switching to Google+, where connections may not be present. That’s why users with many friends (and who can bring many friends to Google+) are precisely those who are hardest to get—because they are least likely to switch. Users who have few or no friends are the easiest to switch, yet they are least effective for driving adoption of the new network.

For a more complete picture, consider the business ecosystem built into these platforms. Facebook has been around for eight years and has a large network of partners and developers who have built apps and businesses on the Facebook platform. Some of those partners (e.g., Zynga) even spawned entire industries.

Likewise, Twitter (five years old) strategically opened a sampling of its data via its public API. That resulted in a huge ecosystem of software apps, tools, services, and businesses. Those business relationships are not going to disappear overnight. And Google+, only a little more than few weeks old, clearly doesn’t have that external infrastructure yet.

So who is going to win? I foresee a fragmented social networking marketplace without a single dominant player. Google+, Facebook, and Twitter have their own unique strengths and niches. The only clear winners, in the end, are consumers. A healthy amount of competition drives innovation, differentiation, and specialization. As the industry matures, convergence and interoperability will ultimately lead to better service for the end users.

Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/5624/clash-of-the-social-network-titans-google-facebook-and-twitter#ixzz1UdhFEjxI

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Social Media Statistics

If you’ve been under a rock then you don’t know how social media is the wave of the future in business marketing and beyond.  Take a look at the statistics and see why your business needs social media to reach your customers and for it’s survival!!

 1.   By 2010 Gen Y outnumbered Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network

2.   Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web

3.   1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media

4.   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.

5.   If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest between the United States and Indonesia (note that Facebook is now creeping up – recently announced 700 million users)

6.   Yet, some sources say China’s QZone is larger with over 600 million using their services (Facebook’s ban in China plays into this)

7.   comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – Vkontakte.ru is the #1 social network

8.   2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction

9.   1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum

10. 80% of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….

11. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females

12. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the population of Ireland, Norway, or Panama. Note I have adjusted the language here after someone pointed out the way it is phrased in the video was difficult to determine if it was combined.

13. 80% of Twitter usage is outside of Twitter…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?

14. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen

15. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…

16. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube

17. Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English

18. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs

19. 54% = Number of bloggers who post content or tweet daily

20. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth

21. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour

22. Facebook USERS translated the site from English to Spanish via a Wiki in less than 4 weeks and cost Facebook $0

23. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content

24. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands

25. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them

26. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations

27. Only 14% trust advertisements, and only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI

28. Hulu has grown from 70 million total streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009

29. 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video…on their phone

30. According to Jeff Bezos 40% of book sales on Amazon are for the Kindle when available

 

Source: Mili Ponce – socialmediaexperts4u.com/

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