Monday, October 31, 2011

Learn To Master Relationship Marketing

Social media marketing is relationship marketing. Relationship marketing means building and nurturing relationships with your audience for the purpose of spreading a positive message about your business or your brand.

Unlike some other forms of marketing where a message is thrown out into the ether like a piece of bait in the hopes someone will take a bite, relationship marketing requires you to develop a very specific message and groom your audience in such a way that they will want to pass that message along to the people in their own social network.

Traditionally, relationship marketing was difficult to develop or maintain. There were very specific avenues to follow when it came to relationship marketing, but for the most part it relied upon a simple word-of-mouth formula that developed more less spontaneously from a given advertising campaign.

With the advent of social media, advertisers now have a clear path for developing relationship marketing. In fact, everything about social media is relationship marketing. the entire global social media network is built on the premise that will want to share the messages that matter to us with people in our network. Those messages might be from friends, family, the local news or the brands we trust.

For advertisers the road to building strong relationships with clients is open. All they need now is a map.....



Are you or your employer new to social media or relationship marketing? Here’s your chance to get up to speed, with the following excerpt from the first chapter of Mari Smith’s new book The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web.

To help you get started with social media marketing, let’s use the acronym P.O.S.T., a concept developed by Forrester Research.

P.O.S.T. helps to simplify and use a template for how to approach social marketing.
P Is for People

Where are your people? Are they mostly on Facebook? Are they on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus? Are they on a completely different network
that may be serving the Asian or European market?

You need to do some research and find out if your target market uses a particular online social network more than any others. Before you can do this, however, you first need to be clear about who your target market is.

Marketing professionals have long used psychographics to determine target markets — an analysis that consists of behaviors, trends, cultures, and ways of thinking attributed
to certain geographic locations.

With such a surge in online engagement, you can now also assess your target market based on technographics.

Technographics is a composite picture of the type of people you’re trying to reach, which networks they hang out on, and — perhaps most importantly — how you’re going to reach them.


Click here to read more about "P.O.S.T."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Retailers Prepare For Christmas Shopping With Social Media

CNBC.com has a great article out talking about the impact of social media on retailers during the busy holiday shopping season. They pose some interesting questions and scenarios that might alter the way we all do our Christmas shopping.

The time is long past when people get their sale notices from the local newspaper. Instead they are sharing and Tweeting the best locations for the hottest toy or the best prices on electronics. Most people have a smartphone with a bar code scanner app that shows them the best prices at stores in their area. They are also sharing their disappointing outings, which surely has some retailers shaking in their boots.

And how should retailers react to social media during the shopping season? How fast can they respond to errant Tweets or posts during Black Friday shopping, when most stores expects to post a profit? And should they respond to every instance or let some slip away? Do they need extra social media help just for the holidays?

These are great questions and I will be interested to see how the season works out for retailers and for shoppers....


Platforms like Twitter and Facebook not only give businesses a chance to promote their wares and build brand loyalty, they also offer an opportunity to respond directly to shoppers and pick up on consumer opinions and trends.
While the new social media landscape means a small customer-service misstep can mushroom into a big public-relations embarrassment on YouTube or Twitter, the ability to monitor consumer tastes also gives retailers access to a trove of information that may help them as they plan product lines and inventory.
“Social media is a great way for companies to interact and get to know their customers and consumers,” says Stephen Wyss, partner in the retail and consumer product practice of financial services consulting firm BDO USA. “It’s also a really fast and cost-effective way to gather information about new markets."

Click here to read more of the CNBC.com article.

Saving Dinner for the Holidays: Menus, Recipes, Shopping Lists, and Timelines for Spectacular, Stress-free Holidays and Family Celebrations

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Excuse For Avoiding Social Media

At this point of you are not using social media for your business you are definitely behind the times. in fact, the term dinosaur might just be applied to you.

In the early days of email many companies refused to use services like Yahoo! and Hotmail because of the proliferation of email marketing, also known as "spam". Then something strange began to happen. Email grew organically and the folks using email marketing started raking in the cash. Suddenly email marketing was no longer "spam" but an integral part of any online business model. Everyone wanted to use email marketing to promote their goods or services because it worked.

It worked.

Fast forward to 2009 and social media is beginning to gain traction with the population, but many businesses avoid it because of the proliferation of virtual farms and games. It was considered by many businesses as a time-waster; something to be avoided at all costs. Then something began to happen. Social media usage grew organically and sites like Facebook grew to an astounding number of users. Hundreds of millions of people were using an assortment of social media sites, creating a huge online audience that businesses want to put themselves in front of.

Today Facebook has almost ONE BILLION users; hundreds of millions more use Twitter, Flickr, Google+, YouTube Quora and a host of other sites. Today, if you are NOT using social media to promote your business you are missing a huge opportunity: an audience of BILLIONS.

Fortunately, because of the proliferation of social media use by business a fairly clear path has been blazed for others to follow. If you are still lost when it comes to social media marketing there is help available. Either a social media marketing professional or an assortment of free tips and tricks online that can get you started.


Tips & Trends

Just like advertisers, small businesses should be concerned about engagement. How many people are talking about you and your brand on Facebook? This may be the real measure of success when using the social media to market your small business. Bloomberg Businessweek
Don’t sweat the comments on your B2B blog. Many small business blogs, though by no means all, are business to business focusing not necessarily on retail or the general public but rather on attracting the attention of other business owners in need of their products or services. Here’s an argument for why comments on this kind of blog don’t matter. Search Engine Journal

Social Media Basics

Here are five things you must never forget. It’s true that social media is still in its infancy and even true that much of what makes good marketing for your business on social media is still a matter of trial and error. Still a few patterns are beginning to emerge about what works and what might not. Bloomberg Businessweek
Blogging is about communicating. Blogging is an important part of any online marketing strategy. While some small business owners are really excited about the prospect of writing and sharing ideas. Others may be scared to death by the prospect. Embracing Blogging.

Click here for more business advice about using social media.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quit Your Job With Social Media (And A Little Flourish)

Joey DeFrancesco was tired of working at his hotel job and decided to quit. Not wanting to simply resign quietly, DeFrancesco decided to go out in a big way.
With a marching band.

That's right, DeFrancesco enlisted the services of the marching band of which he is a member to play his background music while he handed over his notice and marched triumphantly out of the hotel. He also shot a video of the experience he posted to YouTube, called "Joey Quits."

This was probably the only smart thing he did. His video has so far generated more than 2 million views, making it a viral hit. CNN has covered the story and the HuffPost has a one-on-one interview with DeFrancesco where he explains his reasons for quitting, and the way he did it.

Allegedly DeFrancesco has already scored a new job, but it is unclear what the long term implications of his stunt will be. Of course, the fact that DeFrancesco was so open about his intentions and seemed not to care who knew what he had done does speak volumes about his character, so maybe it will ultimately work in his favor when it comes to future employment.

Social media is arguably the most powerful communication tool ever created by humans. We can share stories, inform our neighbors across the street and around the world, and promote good causes. We can also use social media to further our own goals and help us feel empowered to improve our own lives.

How we use social media is almost as important as what we are using it for. Just remember, posting something online today might seem like a great idea; everyone wants a viral video hit, but eventually we might not be so ready to expose how we felt at a moment from our past, especially when we don't know where we might be in the future.

The numbers don't lie: Twenty-four-year-old Joey DeFrancesco has become a veritable Internet celebrity, a hero and a viral video sensation. The original YouTube video of "Joey Quits" earned more than 2 million views a week, which includes 18,092 likes and 438 dislikes and counting.

"I'm going to quit like that if I'm going to quit," one commenter said, echoing the wishful thinking of many.

"Joey is the hero of all downtrodden workers because he is the embodiment of 'take this job and shove it.' He's living out the fantasies of countless workers who also hate their bosses," said Allison Hemming, CEO of the Hired Guns, a digital marketing and talent agency.

Beyond resonating with millions of people, the video says a few things about how social media are changing the way businesses interact not just with customers but with employees, she said.

"Managers should remember that if you're terrible to your people while they are working for you, your formerly silent former employees will have a platform to out you in a potentially very public way. And that sentiment can effect your business too."

Click here to read more about "Joey Quits".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Find A Job With Social Media: Here's How

With unemployment hovering close to 10 percent now is not the time to be out of work. Unfortunately, those high numbers mean lots of people are without work and given that the economy is showing few, if any, signs of recovery they have a long, hard slog ahead of them.

For some savvy job hunters social media has delivered a job when repeated queries, applications, resumes and other traditional job seeking skills have not.

The question for many is: how do I leverage my social media network to deliver a decent job that gets me out of this rut? Fortunately someone has written down the basics in a language that is easy to understand for anyone--even a dummy.

These "...For Dummies" books have been around for a decade and it never ceases to amaze me the wide selection of topics they cover. You might think they had long ago covered just about everything there is to be dumb about, but now that social media has come along a whole plethora of confusing topics have become available for the "For Dummies" authors.

If you are in need of a job, and know a thing or two about social media (or even if you don't) consider picking up a copy of "Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies."

Joshua Waldman had an MBA from Boston University and a good job, but in 2006 he was laid off—twice. He started using social media to network, find open jobs, and eventually to get job interviews. It worked. In fact, it worked so well that by the time Waldman was offered a job, he no longer wanted one.

He wanted to write a book about how to use social media to find a job.

“I realized that social media can be used in a smart way,” says Waldman (GSM’06) from his home in Portland, Oreg. “I wanted to help people learn some of the tools and tips.”

Waldman’s book, Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies (Wylie, 2011), stresses the importance of letting the job seeker’s personality shine through to give employers a sense of who he or she really is. He recommends that job seekers take care to market themselves online only the way they want to be seen (no errant Facebook photos or outdated résumés), and that they make web-friendly résumés using video and LinkedIn. The book is part of the popular “For Dummies” series, with its signature bullet points and helpful chapter summaries.


Click here to read more about Waldman's book.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mobile Social Media Growing Exponentially

Don't look now, but that person you are chatting with on Facebook might be standing right behind you.

That's right, recent studies have shown the number of people using mobile devices to access their social media networks has grown more than 30% in the past year and that trend is expected to continue.

As smartphones continue to dominate the marketplace you can expect that more and more people will begin maximizing their functionality. And they have a lot of functions.
Today's smartphones are more powerful than desktop PC's which were available at the dawn of the 21st century. They have more than a gig of memory space, fast processors and high-definition screens. They play videos, music, access e-books and of course, access the World Wide Web. This makes them more like a mobile computer than any tool we've had available to us before. It is only logical that we use them that way.

If you are looking to expand your social media marketing you would mistaken to not include mobile as a part of that plan. The first step is optimizing your web site for mobile use, but that's only scratching the surface....

The three-month average of those consumers reading posts from people they know was just over 58m. But mobile social networkers aren't just watchers. A sizable portion -- over 50m a month -- used their mobile devices to produce content as well (eg. post a status update or photo), highlighting the fact that these users are quite engaged.

That engagement is potentially good news for marketers. That's because comScore found that this engagement extended to interactions involving brands and organizations. Nearly 38m mobile users are reading social posts from brands and organizations each month, 24m are retrieving coupons or deals, and nearly 20m are clicking on ads.

The key takeaway for marketers: your social strategy is part of your mobile strategy, and your mobile strategy is part of your social strategy.

Status updates and coupons distributed through Facebook and Twitter may reach users on the web, but they are increasingly going to be reaching users on their mobile devices. To ensure that you're getting the most from these interactions, you need to ensure that your messaging and calls to action work as well in the mobile context as they do in the web context.

Click here to read more about mobile use and social media marketing.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seniors 'Get' Social Media

A recent AARP study showed that more than 60 percent of all tech-savvy seniors (those who owned and use a computer) in Washington State were participating in some form of social media. This trend toward increased use of social media by seniors has continued in all 50 states as more and more people 65 and older discover just how beneficial social media can be for their lives.

Before social media if you wanted to keep up with your children or grandchildren once they moved away you either had to wait for them to call you (which was rare) or risk being treated as an intruder and call them. This is a frustrating turn of events for people who have spent most of their lives raising youngsters before turning them loose on the world.

Fortunately, social media allows seniors to stay in touch, remain a part of the day-to-day lives of their children and keep track of the widening family circle. They can see photos, watch videos and be a part of conversations from miles away.
But the benefits of social media use for seniors doesn't stop there. Once they begin to use social media and feel more comfortable with it they will be more likely to take advantage of its many other uses. They will get inside information on things to do in their community: sales, coupons; new restaurants and programs.

For business owners the fact that seniors are the fastest growing segment of the social media community is great news. This demographic represents a group of people with more disposable income and a hankering to get involved, go out and do something.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Nearly six in 10 computer users age 65 and up have a Facebook account. In fact, seniors are joining Facebook in record numbers to stay in touch with the family and find out friends.

"Where else would you can you reconnect with people you haven't seen for 40 years, right?" said Marsha Collier, who wrote the book, "Facebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies."

Collier says it's natural to use social media to keep an eye on what your kids and grand kids are doing. But she says you need to resist the urge to meddle or be judgmental.

"Realize that you are an invited guest into their space and you don't want them to make their posts private. You want to see what they're doing. So don't go to them and make judgments. Just observe, enjoy and realize that you can be a part of their lives. And the same thing with your friends. It's all out there on the Internet. It's all very public. So everything you put down reflects on you. Every word you say is on there forever. It's an open forum."

She says you need to accept the language you may find on your children's or grandchildren's sites.

"That's their vernacular. That's the way they talk," she says. "So let them talk to each other. It's a much more transparent and open world we live in right now. Just enjoy that you can observe all this."

Click here to read more about seniors and social media.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Social Media And Industrial Espionage

Ok, social media won't let you peek at a competitor's secret formula or get you the technical details of their new product line, but it sure will give you a good idea of how their business is doing and what they have might have planned for the future.

Today just about every business as an online presence. usually this entails a web site, newsletter and social media network. By signing up for their newsletter and joining their social media network you might get a glimpse at how well they are doing. You will also get a good idea how well they treat their customers and what their customers are expecting from them.

Turn about is fair play, so you should accept that your competitors are likely doing the same thing to you. This means having a good handle on your social media network and keeping your business in good standing with your customers.

Social media is a great tool for connecting with customers, clients and competitors. By making full use of social media you can effective manage all aspects of your business, and keep one eye on the guy down the street.

The huge amount of very rich information that people now share with each other in this way can be effectively used to build a better understanding of consumers, what they want from a product or brand, as well as a company’s position in the market, to better inform marketing, branding and communication strategies.

How effective can social media be in gathering market intelligence? An HP Labs team recently illustrated that they could more accurately predict box-office sales of new releases than any other Hollywood market predictors, while another recent academic paper demonstrated that company and share price direction was positively correlated to twitter mentions suggesting that Twitter coverage and sentiment could become an effective tool in aiding investment decisions.

Click here to learn more about using Social Media to monitor your competitors.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Social Media's Role In Lives Now

Those who aren't using social media are now becoming the outsiders because social media has firmly fit itself into the social norm.

Social media has emerged fully and is in four out of five Internet users daily lives now, Solis states in his post. Many depend social media to connect them to friends, family and even shopping now.

About 53 percent of social media users follow a brand, which connects them to shopping on a near daily basis. People of all ages are using social media for things they would normally search the Internet for themselves, such as shopping and research. Why search for things yourself when a social media website will hand them to you?

Retailers can post offers and deals on social media websites to draw users in. About 60 percent of people use social media to find out more about brands and retailers. Out of those users, 48 percent respond to offers posted on Facebook or Twitter.

With social media giving retailers such easy access to consumers, it is also outside of the social norm for businesses to not being using social media.

Social media is clearly becoming the new normal. For the last several years, simply adding the word "social" in front of anything and everything from media and gaming to commerce and CRM to business and consumerism, it's clear that we are finally approaching the end of the hype curve to start making sense of what it all means and just how far it applies to the future of business and media.

But as social media becomes part of our cultural fabric and even as we witness businesses, governments, sports teams, and almost every organization socialize communication efforts today, much of what we see is merely the beginning of something that will one day become something far more important than the medium itself. Indeed, social media is affecting behavior and nothing is more important than the ability to influence decisions and ultimately behavior. The state of social media is not necessarily as much about which network is #winning as much as it is about how people are spending their time, interacting and connecting with one another, and what happens as a result.

Click here to read more about Brian Solis's thoughts on the rise of social media.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stay Informed With Social Media

For the most part the mainstream print news industry has shunned social media like the plague, despite the fact more people are using it to keep themselves up on current events.

That's right. Today more people get their news through social media than just about any other medium. With more than 1 BILLION people using social media it is plain to see that if you want to spread information social media is a great place to start. You can find information at other sources of courses. There are plenty of news sites to choose from. But if you want to stay current--get the latest unfiltered, unmoderated news, social media is the place to go.

Not all mainstream news sites have avoided using social media to get their message out. Sites like CNN.com and FOX News have coordinated their social media efforts with their posted news to successfully leverage more viewers. This is not exactly the same as getting your news straight from the source-. If you want to see video shot by someone actually at the scene of the fire, or the battle or the protest, there simply is no substitute for social media.

I am not sure why the print media continues to eschew social media, but it is definitely to their detriment. There are a number of print media reporters using sites such as Posterous and Twitter to post links to their stories and report live from the scene of the action, but for the most part these are uncoordinated efforts aimed more at promoting the individual than their organization.

As time goes on the relevance of news media may come into question as more and more people turn to social media to stay informed. Or, perhaps the mainstream media will reverse course and learn to love what so far they have considered to be their enemy.

The online social network has caused news and information to spread like wildfire. Like all giant media revolutions (the telegraph, TV broadcast, etc.), people harshly criticize the newfangled way of obtaining news. The biggest difference in this particular news format is that it’s a huge public display of opinions.

Never before have people been given such easy access to publicly share their ideals — it’s just a few typed words and a mouse click away in an unrestricted forum. The thing about social media is that opinions are so heavily influential that sometimes it can get in the way of what news is about: sharing unbiased information.

What is most likeable about this whole trendy news phenomenon is simply the fact that news is trendy. In my head, the equation goes something like this: Social media is trendy. Social media has a special focus on the news. Therefore, news is trendy. The fact that this generation of students is actually enjoying getting information and learning about current events is delightful. It doesn’t matter if it’s from 15 Facebook statuses about the verdict of a court case or a Twitter timeline filled with play-by-plays of the big game. Frankly, students are being supplied with information and being equipped with what they need to form their own opinions and conclusions.

Click here to read more of Ashley Reid's views on social media news.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Social Media For Business: How Does Your School Rank?

You might think business schools would be the place to go to learn how best to leverage the phenomenon of social media marketing in your favor. Unfortunately, a new report seems to show otherwise.

In fact, according to FastPivot.com the top three ranked schools-Stanford, Harvard and MIT-are sorely lacking in social media savvy, at least with regard to their own marketing efforts. In some cases their Facebook page is not being updated regularly, in others they are not making the best use of available tools for marketing their business. It is a shameful state of affairs when you consider four year tuition to these schools costs more than the average U.S. home.

This is not to say that these schools have a curriculum which is lacking, just that they apparently don't have a good grasp of how to use social media to market their programs. This might imply their curriculum is lacking, but it's not possible to draw a direct connection between the two things. Of course, if my auto mechanic drove a car which kept breaking down I might think twice before I took my car to him.

The imperative here is to "practice what you preach." Don't say you are business masters if you cannot grasp the latest business practices. And we aren't talking about the most recent social media marketing tools, either. Facebook pages have been around for years now and there are some fairly obvious "best practices" for making the most of them. It's not rocket science.

Of course if it was rocket science, maybe the folks at MIT would have a better Facebook page.

After another search, we found that Stanford also has a Stanford MBA Program Facebook Page that’s actually fairly active. However, the majority of the posts seem to be similarly formatted program announcements, which get pretty boring after reading the first few. Their “Like” feedback reflects the poorly developed content too.

There have been a couple of cases in which Fans ask questions about upcoming programs, and in response the admin. coldly refer them to web pages; in a way that lacks the ardor and intellectual edge one might expect from a world class operation. The last time they even posted, as of 10/12/11 was last Monday, which is over a week ago! Ideally, Pages should post once or more a day with exciting news and updates–miss a week and everyone assumes you’re out of the game!

It’s also a sad state of affairs to see only 65 fans “talking” on this page too. We’ve seen three times better for local mom-and-pop FB pages who are giving social media marketing a serious effort. The one consolation is that they do have the Page default set to display “everyone’s post,” which indicates some level of desire to be social. As of now they are fairly detached, but perhaps they’ll elevate their efforts in the future. It’s kind of like the student who just turns a test in with only a name scrawled across the top–you hope he or she tries harder next time.

Click here to read more of the FastPivot.com review.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Media: Are You Getting What You Want?

With social media use at an all time high and continuing to show signs of strong growth now is a good time to start talking about what we expect it to deliver.

So far social media sites have dictated what we want, need and should expect. But just television, radio and even the early Internet eventually adapted to user demands, social media should start adapting.

Businesses have been among the strongest, if not THE strongest, groups of social media users. Unfortunately social media sites have been slow to recognize this fact and offer any of the things that business owners would like to see.
Chief among these is a functioning analytics service.

Social media marketers know just how difficult it is to provide a clear picture of how well their efforts are answering the needs of their clients. Facebook provides a lengthy amount of data through their "Insights" feature, but this information is murky, at best, and does little to show how impactful a Fan Page is for the customer.

Twitter is slightly better if only because it easy enough to track visits to your web site from Twitter. Though how people are supposed to find your account on Twitter short of searching a variety of terms or making a lucky guess are unclear.

There are sites designed to deliver social media analytics, but usually this results in reams of useless data which does little except baffle the client.

If social media sites expect to remain relevant they need to not only grow and evolve, they need to listen to the people who use their services. People have been talking about the obvious lack of social media analytics for more than a year now and yet no one has stepped up to deliver a viable alternative. Until social media recognizes this obvious deficiency, at least some business owners will be too afraid of wasting their time using social media marketing.

On Facebook

I'd love to be able to see, somewhere, a list of everyone who has liked a URL from my site that has been posted to Facebook. Or even just a reliable number of how many people might be on that list. As it stands now, I see different numbers on the "Like" buttons we post on the articles themselves, and on the links posted to my sites' Facebook pages. And I have no way to track likes of that URL if it is independently posted to FB by people with which I'm not friends or to whom I don't subscribe. C'mon, Facebook. Let publishers see exactly how many people like their stuff.

I'd also like to know what people are saying around Facebook about the pieces published to my websites. I've started using Facebook's comments application on one of my websites, and like how it cross-posts comments made on my site to commentors' Facebook walls (increasing the visibility of the post). But how cool would it be if I had the option to allow that app to also display all comments about that URL posted anywhere on Facebook? Or, if I didn't want to use Facebook's comments app, if I had the option on my site's Facebook page to pull in all FB comments about that piece? For pieces that generate hundreds of comments, give the page administrator the option to select the top comments for display on the page. Either way, this tool would encourage greater interaction between publishers and Facebook, and empower publishers to better connect with the audience that's talking about their work.

Click here to read more of blogger Robert Niles social media "wish list."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Social Media Revenue Growing Substantially

Despite a faltering global economy revenue in the social media sector is continuing to see explosive growth, increasing by more than 40 percent in the past year to more than $10 billion.

And that trend is expected to continue as more and more stream online, signing up for services and joining sites. This increase in viewership is expected to cause advertising rates to increase, pushing revenue even higher. Analysts expect that by 2013 social media revenue will surpass $50 billion annually.

The key for social media content producers, however, is developing new and different models to capture as much of this revenue as possible. So far, advertising accounts for more than half of all revenue generated by social media. This number is expected to grow, as is its share.

It is interesting to note, with approximately 1 billion people using social media, that still represents just 1/6 of the possible audience. As social media claims more and more of the viewing audience it is only logical to expect revenue increase. The key will be determining what news way can be designed to capture the largest piece if the pie.

Social gaming revenue is on pace to reach $3.2 billion in 2011 and grow to $4.5 billion in 2012. Social gaming includes revenue that social networking sites earn directly from users who play games that are developed in-house, and the revenue earned by allowing game developers/publishers to use their sites as a platform to let users play with friends on the network. It includes revenue earned from "virtual wallets" within games (such as when users spend virtual money on in-game items like swords or tanks, or to create virtual armies).

“We have seen social networks take a platform-oriented approach to game monetization. That is, the social networks have evolved into platforms for social gaming by publishing APIs that help build an ecosystem of developers and publishers,” Ms. Gupta said. “The dominant monetization models for social games are ad-led and ‘freemium’ models. The free-to-play games are funded either through advertising (wall advertisements and in-game branding) or through in-game monetary transactions that enable users to ‘level up’ or buy virtual goods.”

Social media subscription revenue is forecast to reach $236 mn in 2011 and total $313 million in 2012. Few social sites charge subscription revenue, mostly for premium services. Some professional sites such as LinkedIn, Xing in Germany and Vladeo in France, charge a subscription fee from their users for enhanced services, such as an expanded profile view.

Click here to read more about social media revenue.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Netflix Dumps Qwikster

In yet another admitted mis-step, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, announced Monday the company WOULD NOT be splitting off its DVD by mail service into another company, called Qwikster.

This story is like the social media faux-pas that wouldn't end.

First, Netflix turned off a lot of customers by raising rates for people who want streaming movies over the Internet and DVD's by mail. Then, ignoring the tumult and passionate (negative) response to their changes, changed again and decided to spin-off the DVD rental portion of its business.

Oh, and let's not forget that they did so without first checking to see that they could own their new name in the social media landscape. (Point of fact, they DID NOT own @Qwikster, which belongs to a pot-loving dude with attitude and no knowledge of the Netflix problem.)

As the stream if negative comments flowed across the Internet, Netflix turned a blind eye and the stream became a deluge. Subscribers jumped ship (although I don't know where they think they're going-Netflix still has the best deal, by far.) Forecasts for growth were changed to reflect a downward trend and investors started to complain.

It looks as if Netflix has finally capitulated and Qwikster has been killed. But has the damage already been done? Message boards, status updates and Tweets are still blasting the company; competitors are seeing a small surge in interest, and everyone is pointing to Netflix as being (perhaps) the most obtuse company operating today.

Honestly, I don't know how they could have handled this situation in a worse way unless they sent every subscriber a package of fire ants and dog poo in their little red envelope.

In a blog post, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings acknowledged the company had made a mistake in attempting to spin off its DVD-rental service into a website called Qwikster, separate from its streaming-video service.

"It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs," he wrote Monday.

The Los Gatos, Calif., company, which sends customers DVDs via mail and also gives them access to a catalog of movies to watch over the Internet, had angered subscribers with two recent moves. In July, it raised the price of one popular subscription plan from $9.99 a month to $15.98 a month. Then in September, Netflix said it would spin off the DVD-by-mail service into a Qwikster subsidiary, while Netflix would remain a website for streaming video.

Members bashed the idea on Internet message boards, complaining it would be difficult to visit two separate websites to rent and watch movies.


Click here to read more about the Netflix debacle.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What You Don't Know About Social Media (But Should)

When it comes to social media there is more mis-information than there is fact-based knowledge.

Ask yourself, what do you know about social media and why do you think you know it? Did you read a blog about it? Was there any research or analysis provided to back-up the information or was it merely someone's opinion disguised as expert advice?

The fact is, social media is a varied landscape. It is difficult if not impossible to make any blanket statements about social media for the simple reason that is used a multitude of different ways by millions of different people. How people use social media varies by region, dialect, country, state, community, topic and personal style.

If social media were a one size fits all service I seriously doubt it would be so popular.

So, the next time you are working toward a specific social media goal thinking you have all the facts you need, consider employing the services of a social media consultant, or at least, double-check your facts before you proceed.


Governments easily monitor and censor social media
The internet is much harder to police than capital-intensive media such as television, newspapers and radio. With these older media, intelligence authorities can more easily detect broadcast or printing locations. It's not as simple to monitor a digital environment where anyone with a laptop, bandwidth and the requisite education can create his or her own media network by blogging, tweeting or streaming.

In 2006, my colleague Adam Fish and I were working in Kyrgyzstan, which maintained a Soviet-style approach toward policing media outlets and phone communications. We were surprised to learn that, partly because of the country's need for foreign aid, authorities had agreed to relax internet regulation in exchange for assistance. We also learned how hard it was to monitor internet users who were widely dispersed, in some cases using proxy servers and IP-address-scrambling technologies to evade surveillance.

As our research proceeded, we found a small blogosphere emerging in Kyrgyzstan, linking activists and opposition politicians with one another and with sympathisers throughout Central Asia, Russia and the West. The activists understood tat the internet would hardly be sufficient to oppose the regime, but they also found that social media helped them communicate, building ties that fueled at least part of the revolutionary leadership that toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010.


Click here for more myths about social media.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs And Social Media

Looking back on the role Steve Jobs played in the advancement of personal computers and mobile devices in general it is easy to lose sight of his contributions to social media.

After all, if we all weren't walking around with an internet capable device in our pocket we might not be so inclined to use social media. It is my belief that if Apple hadn't rolled out the uber-successful iPhone we would not have seen the mobile devices arms race we saw over the last few years and the social media marketplace never would have had a chance to grow.

It is difficult to gauge to full impact of Jobs' influence in the digital landscape because his reach extended much beyond the hardware his company developed. It reached into the creative minds of the people who sued his devices to improve their efficiency, productivity and finished product; it reached into the darkened corners of offices and print shops, rejuvenated the print and photography industry and made color and design an integral part of the computing experience.

Steve Jobs was more than just the founder of Apple Computers, he was a visionary in the arena of digital technology and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes....

Click here to read more of Jobs' own words and watch the video of his speech.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Avoid Mistakes to Keep Your Business Looking Good

Social media is important for any business to thrive at this point, but it is vital for businesses to not forget social media mistakes can hurt relations with customers as much as it can help.

Individuals are not the only ones who can ruin an image via social networking websites. Tweets especially can be misunderstood if not written clearly in the less than 140 messages that anyone can see. Sensitivity and clarity are two of the most important aspects to remember when using social media.

Otherwise, you could end up like Kenneth Cole whose insensitive tweet about Cairo quickly became one of the most popular tweets during the revolution in Egypt. Cole and his company will forever be remembered for his insensitivity by some.

We've had some epic social media failures. Anthony Weiner is not the only one who didn't give enough thought to the unintended recipients of his private information. A Canadian woman lost her disability benefits when Facebook vacation pictures contradicted her claims of debilitating depression. Divorce lawyers now frequently monitor Twitter and Facebook posts to find dirt on their clients' exes, to be used in alimony and child custody negotiations. One mom even lost custody of her children because her Facebook profile showed she was spending too much time on Farmville. And not a day passes without a handful of people's poor social media judgment getting them fired (for posting party pictures on alleged sick days, for example), or simply not hired (most employers shy away from candidates whose profile pic includes a bottle of tequila in each hand, Cinco de Mayo or not).

Companies, even those with stellar public relations records, often make similar social media gaffes. Consider this tweet from Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) during the height of the revolution in Egypt: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://www.bit.ly/KCairo -KC." Unsurprisingly, the insensitive remark was re-tweeted like wildfire, drawing contempt from thousands.

In all of the above cases, the blunder occurred because of a failure to realize the breadth and depth of social media. Your boss, your constituents, your customers, and yes, even your ex-wife's divorce lawyer are all connected to you.

Read more about "The Simple Way to Avoid Social Media Failures" by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feel Like Your Business Is Dying? Social Media Could Be the Answer

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but it is about knowing how to use it. Marketing through social media can make a successful business even stronger or give a dying business a boost.

Businesses can also reach other businesses that could benefit them through supply or other ways. Social media is great for networking as well as marketing.

Social media is a way for a business to reach lots of customers in a free setting to promote their own products. If you market yourself well with social media, your business will soar, but the same can also happen in the opposite fashion.

What matters most for a business is its public reputation. Build great products, build a good brand and see your business flourishing as the word spreads. On the contrary, if customers are unhappy about your product or services, your reputation is bound to take a public beating.

Social media is a double-edged sword for businesses. It can do wonders to enhance your reputation in quick time and it can help revive a brand’s tarnished image. Likewise, if a dying business doesn’t do anything to prevent its downfall; social media can often unknowingly prove to be the last nail in its coffin.

Read more from the Smedio article by clicking here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Business Owners: A Way to Update All Social Media in 7 Minutes

Social Media in 7 Minutes is to serve as not only an online trainer for those trying to keep up with social media sites but for those who would like to update all social media accounts from one website.

Users visiting SMI7M now are asked to get on a waiting list. The allure of the website is saving money on having a social media manager and being able to update social media accounts in just 7 minutes a day.

The website is targeted to small business owners and managers as a way to get a handle on social media in a small amount of time. It combines the ease of a social media dashboard that can be updated in a few minutes with online tutorial videos about social networking websites like Facebook and Google+ that are being updated constantly.

Social Media in 7 Minutes (SMI7M), the revolutionary online training program designed to not only educate small business owners on how to apply social media into their marketing plan, but also to provide a practical tool which will allow them to implement their plan in just 7 minutes a day, is being released to the public on Saturday, October 1, at http://SocialMediaIn7Minutes.com. SMI7M was developed by Black Box Social Media, LLC (BBSM). BBSM is a social media marketing for business consulting group who works with higher end clients, such as former Reality TV Stars, Professional Sports Teams, International Motivation Speakers, Gurus, Infomercial products, etc... The goal of creating SMI7M was to provide small businesses with the opportunity to understand, create, and implement an affordable social media marketing plan that works in today's tough economic climate.

SMI7M is unique in the fact that the video trainings are constantly being updated to adapt to the ever evolving dynamic nature of the social media industry. So when Facebook makes a change to it's processes, SMI7M updates its videos accordingly.


Click here to read more about SMI7M.