Archive for “April, 2010”

Social Media Roundup for April 30,2010

How’s this for an Internet throwback

Hats off to Mashable for finding this awesome Geocities-izer tool. The site lets you enter any website into the tool and spits out what the page would have looked like as a Geocities page back in the day. Check out The New York Times website Geocities-ized – complete with music!

Most Americans know Twitter, but few use it

A new report released by Edison Research reveals that Twitter awareness among Americans has been growing since 2008 with 87 percent now familiar with the tool, only slightly trailing Facebook’s awareness of 88 percent. Facebook continues to be the dominant social network in terms of usage with 41 percent of Americans maintaining profiles on the site whereas only 7 percent are tweeting.

The research also reveals that Twitter users are 3x more likely to follow brands on Twitter than on other social networking sites, and that less than half of regular Twitter users post updates, although 70 percent of these same users post status updates to other social networking services like Facebook.

Over sharing in 140 characters

We’ve all been victim to our Facebook friends and Twitter followers posting tidbits of “too much information” online. No one needs to know that you’re tweeting from the restroom, no one. The Huffington Post has put together a slide show summary of some of the worst Twitter TMI incidences – most of them from over sharing celebs.

Chatroulette inspires artists

Visual artists are taking to Chatroulette to let their creative juices flow. Check out this video of one talented user speed painting another user in various poses.

Social Media Roundup for April 23, 2010

Facebook continues it’s quest to takeover the web

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some big changes at the f8 Facebook Developer Conference this week. We learned that Facebook Connect and Facebook Lite are getting the chop and that a whole slew of other changes and features are coming down the pipe. Most notably, Facebook revealed the new Open Graph API which will make it easier for sites and apps to share information about users in order to tailor specific offers and features to each user’s interests.

In usual fashion, all of these changes come with privacy concerns for Facebook users. Mainly, Open Graph’s ability to store user information for longer than 24 hours (unlike Facebook Connect) means that it will be accessible at anytime. Time to revisit those privacy settings.

Volcano stranded passengers get social

Iceland has been making headlines with the eruption of  it’s volcano Eyjafjallajokull, spreading vast amounts of ash into the air and disrupting air travel around the world. Stranded passengers took to Twitter and Facebook to get travel updates from airlines and connect with other stranded passengers to try and organize alternate routes home. The Twitter hashtag “#ashtag” garnered over 55,000 mentions in just 7 days.

One couple grounded in Dubai even got married via Skype in an effort to save their wedding day.

Silver lining for this Apple Employee

Gray Powell, the Apple employee who left his iPhone 4G prototype behind at a German beer bar in California which lead to a major scoop for Gizmodo, can now lick his wounds aboard a business class flight to Munich. In a open letter posted on Twitter, Lufthansa offered Mr. Powell a free flight to Munich. It seems like a random gesture but Lufthansa recently opened a Bavarian Beer Garden Business Lounge in Munich so German beer seems to be the common theme.

iPad costs this buyer a lot more than money

Social Media Group & Digg Co-Author whitepaper: Best Practices in Online Conversational Marketing

At Social Media Group, we work with our clients to deploy programs to add scale to social media efforts. We’ve had some amazing results with DiggAds, so we teamed up with our friends at Digg to co-author a brand spanking new whitepaper: Best Practices in Online Conversational Marketing to share the core tactics for success in this emerging space.

From the whitepaper:

Even though media and communications technologies are changing quickly, smart marketing best practices still hold true. Great marketing has always been a conversation; a conversation that companies need to listen to so that they can learn how to join in the discussion appropriately. More and more, that dialogue directly involves brands, including yours and your competitors. Digg users are already bringing you into their conversations on their own. For example, 166,000 pieces of content about the iPhone, 10,000 about Nike and 19,000 about IBM have been submitted by users over the last three years.

The fact that people interact, share and create content with their families, friends and communities is a core foundation for social media-fueled digital communications. The Edelman Trust Barometer tells us that  recommendations or content from “people like me” are trusted almost three times more than your marketing materials.

It is also true that generating earned media takes work, but is so worth the time and investment because earned media is such a credible social object and asset to the brand. Companies spend gazillions of dollars creating whiz-bang digital properties for marketing campaigns.  All too frequently, these high-quality assets aren’t given the right kind of support from paid media to drive interaction and engagement with the customer.

Sixty-two percent of advertisers say their traditional ad channels are not working as well as they have in the past.

We need new approaches to drive intent and consideration and conversational marketing to add scale to our social media and digital marketing programs. And for the love of Pete, in doing conversational marketing we must remember what we know to be true about social media – we listen first, we enter conversations to add value and we participate respectfully in an honest and transparent manner.

Over the past while, our team here at Social Media Group has been experimenting with various approaches and platforms to add scale to social media campaigns. One of these experiments was with DiggAds, in their closed pilot phase last year. We learned a tonne and had a blast generating some pretty cool results.  Chas Edwards, publisher and chief revenue officer at Digg, Maggie Fox, Michele Husak, Director of Communications at Digg, and I put our heads together, had great chats about insights and trends and wrote up “Best Practices in Online Conversational Marketing“, a whitepaper to share with you.

Please check it out and let us know what you think.

White House: Twitter is Hard!

In this article from the Politico blog, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs explains that writing for Twitter can be an incredible challenge, “It takes an amazing amount of discipline to write out all of what you want to say in 140 characters or less.”

He’s absolutely right, and I’m reminded of the famous quote from French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal, “I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

What’s your greatest challenge in writing for Twitter? How has it changed the way you write?

Social Media Roundup for April 16, 2010

Twitter announces Promoted Tweets

Twitter has been making all kinds of headlines this week. Some interesting stats coming out of Chirp! reveal that Twitter’s user base has grown to 105 million registered users with 300,000 new users registering every day. Twitter also says  it’s receiving  600 million search queries per day, which helps us understand the reach of the company’s new Promoted Tweets platform. Virgin America has already jumped on the Promoted Tweets bandwagon to offer deals and steals.

Twitter: The  saga continues…

The Library of Congress announced it’s acquired the entire Twitter archive. Every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in March 2006 will be archived digitally. That’s a lot of tweets!

Twitter also announced its new Points of Interest feature this week. Twitter users will be able to click on a place name, view it on a map and read through a stream of real-time tweets of what’s happening in the area.

Foursquare Cops

Last week Foursquare announced it was cracking down on fake check-ins by verifying phone GPS signals to see if users are actually where they say they are. This week, the Foursquare Cops have emerged to bust fake check-in culprits.

Facebook Fans worth $3.60 each

Social media management company Vitrue released a study that values Facebook Fans at $3.60 each in earned media for large brands. Vitrue analyzed 45 million fans and found that on average the fans to wall posts ratio was 1:1. Of course, not all brands are created equal and some fan pages yielded ratios that were higher or lower, but this valuation gives us some insight into the worth of Facebook fans.

Google adds drag and drop file attachment

In addition to all of the recent enhancements to Google Docs, Google is showing Gmail some love too. Gmail users can now easily drag and drop file attachments in Firefox and Chrome without having to browse for files. And, you can now send out Google Calendar invites right from Gmail. Multitasking just got easier!

Promoted Tweets: Experiment Now!

Yesterday’s big news that Twitter is finally unveiling a revenue model has been greeted with a flood of digital ink. “Promoted Tweets“, or “paid placement” of advertiser’s content in user’s Twitter streams will work like this:

“Promoted Tweets… will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Later, Twitter plans to show promoted posts… based on how relevant they might be to a particular user.

In other words, it’s like Google AdSense in that as an advertiser you buy keywords and as a user you are served up paid messaging that is (theoretically) along the lines of what you were looking for. This format puts brands in a position to be a part of the conversation by inserting them in a user’s Twitterstream. Twitter will also be measuring what they are calling “resonance”, a mashup of nine metrics, among them impressions (eyeballs), shares (retweets), engagement (@replies) and CTRs (clicks). If a Promoted Tweet doesn’t meet a certain level of resonance, it will be dropped and no longer served up to users. I’m a little iffy on that last part, however, because to me it dis-incents the creation of compelling (successful) content and just encourages advertisers to throw whatever at the wall to see what sticks (ie: f your content sucks and simply adds to the noise, who cares; you don’t have to pay for it) I have a feeling that last could end up being a problem for Twitter, because as we know, spam kills all networks, and this does encourage spam.


image courtesy of AdAge

So – jump in or wait it out? My esteemed colleague at the Dachis Group, Peter Kim, suggests waiting it out, because “Advertising on social networks has a poor track record.” I’d like to very respectfully disagree and/or qualify that statement. Using traditional advertising content and approaches on social networks has a poor track record, but in our experience with programs across a number of paid conversational/social marketing platforms, social ads have an incredible track record by any standard. In some cases we have seen CTRs as high as 4%, with averages around 1%, for much of the content we have tested (that’s a 10-40x improvement over traditional display).

Experimentation is the key to innovation, but you need to remember that it is a scientific process, methodical and seeking to prove a thesis. In our work with paid conversational marketing, we do A/B variable testing on images, text and content to see what resonates best with any given audience (and each platform has its own peculiarities), nimbly adapting and learning if we start to observe trending in one direction or another. All of our pilots have been followed up by detailed reporting and analysis that has surfaced incredible insights, providing us with roadmaps for success across a number of platforms. Because of our disciplined approach to experimentation, we have “cracked” the factors for success and exceeded average platform performance by a wide margin in each of our pilots.

Who needs experimentation? Every advertiser who feels that their traditional display/print/broadcast is becoming less and less effective as a means of gaining our attention.

Last time I checked, that was pretty much everyone, and wouldn’t you prefer to figure it out before your competition does?

And now I’m going to tease you about an upcoming announcement. We’ll have some news about our conversational marketing initiatives next week that I think you will find incredibly valuable. Watch this space for more details.

Social Media Roundup for April 9, 2010

iPad hits the streets

With the release of the iPad in the US market this past weekend, Apple’s done a great job silencing its critics, who thought that the new device’s name left something to be desired and inspired this parody. The new tablet has the usual online suspects developing apps specific for the device, not to mention some very innovative fashion statements.

And in other Apple news…

iPhone users all around the world released a huge sigh of relief when Apple confirmed yesterday that they’ve added multitasking to its mobile operating system, along with a number of other features. The new OS will be available this summer for the iPhone and iTouch, and later in the Fall for the new iPad–though developers can get a head start here. Tech Radar has a great roundup of all the features of 4.0 to give the rest of us our own head start.

HuffPo monetizes Twitter before Twitter does

This week the Huffington Post launched Twitter editions for a number of their 30 sections, including Tech, Business and Politics. The sections now feature curated tweet streams of prominent personalities, which users can subscribe to. HuffPo is then selling ad space within the stream as another revenue model for the popular news blog.

Social Media Roundup April 2, 2010

Facebook switches “Fans” for “Likes”

An Associated Press story tells us that Facebook will no longer use the term “become a fan of” in favour of the more colloquial and direct “like”. The terminiology change erases one of the few remaining distinctions between personal and brand interactions on the leading social network. It will be interesting to see if something as simple as more friendly language will increase consumer’s engagement with Facebook’s Fan pages.

Report issued on Social Media Ads that work best

Mashable summarizes a report from Psychster Inc. and AllRecipes that pitted various types of online ads against each other. Not surprisingly, there is a bit a gap between ad types that are good at selling (banner ads, emails) versus ads that are good at engagement (Corporate profiles with fan options and widgets). Read the executive summary here

YouTube Facelift

If YouTube seems a little bit different than the last few days, don’t worry it isn’t an April Fools joke (see below). Overall the video watching experience is a little less cluttered, but still has access to the same information as before via pulldowns. Most notably, we can say goodbye (and good riddance IMHO) to the 5 star rating system in favour of the simpler Like/Don’t Like model. According to MediaPost the re-design has increased time on site by 7% and increased video playback by 6%.

The Ten Plagues of Social Media

Social Media Insider writer David Berkowitz pushes a seasonal analogy a bit far with this one, when comparing the Plagues of Egypt to the top ten mistakes in social media. Personally, I can’t make the connection of how a plague of lice can be compared to campaign-based thinking, but most of the points are valid.