Weekly Social Marketing Links: August 11, 2009

Each week, the members of Powered’s marketing, business development and product teams pick a news article, blog post or research report that “speaks” to them. With that article, they need to come to our weekly staff meeting prepared to give a 120 second update on what the article was about and why they found it useful. I’ve been a little behind in my updates recently so you’re getting a few weeks worth in one fell swoop.

Links are below:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)
I enjoyed reading the article, Desperately Seeking Personal Brand, which talks about how you can tell if a social marketing “expert” is really a true guru or pretender.

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Marketers Like Twitter More Than Consumers Do
Interesting stats between the different views of marketers and consumers re: Twitter. While marketers see Twitter as a platform that is here to stay, consumers either don’t have an opinion or think it’s somewhat useful or dead. Both marketers and consumers feel it’s not a good platform for advertising or promoting products, which is interesting considering we get a lot of questions about using Twitter for just this purpose.

I do agree with the article that Twitter can be useful for awareness efforts, but I don’t think that by promoting your business you will generate leads or new business from Twitter. Twitter is about relationships. It’s about connecting with people that you find interesting. It’s about people…not about businesses. And if consumers don’t know or don’t care about Twitter, then it begs the question – Are marketers wasting time and energy in trying to figure out how to use it to propel their business?

DP Rabalais (Marketing)
In doing competitive intelligence this week I cam across an interesting story about Passenger and how they’re helping Mercedes Benz tap into 20-somethings (some current, but mostly future customers) help shape their future product offerings. Definitely worth the read if you get a chance.

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Fortune 100 CEOs & Companies: Social Media Use & Statistics

Good article on how CEO’s at top companies use social media, and also how companies are using tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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I liked this post by blogger, Mack Collier titled Why Many Marketers Struggle with Social Media because it does a good job of succinctly calling out where traditional marketing and advertising is relevant vs. where SM is beneficial to companies. My favorite quote:

If you’re Burger King and you’re looking to influence whether I go there or not, use plain old marketing. It’s just fine. It’s the right tool for the job. So is advertising. You don’t HAVE to use social media for that.

But, if you’re Burger King and you want to understand me, to get what’s really going on inside my head, and know what we have in common, then THAT is where social media can be useful. Talk to me. Get to know me. Ask me about me and the things that aren’t about you.

Doug Wick (BizDev)
The danger of being an innovative start-up that is a little resource-challenged is that your innovations can be easily imitated. Facebook has been slowly learning from Twitter and incorporating their features while Twitter struggles with problems like infrastructure that Facebook solved long ago. This article does a nice job of showing where the endgame for Twitter might be, now that Facebook has acquired another sophisticated Twitter-imitator, Friendfeed.

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My article this week is Virtual Worlds are Getting a Second Life. Some interesting stats about the rebounding explosive growth of virtual worlds (especially among youngsters), and how they have been faster to develop revenue models than their 2-dimensional social counterparts like Facebook and Twitter. I would guess that is related to the fact that Facebook and Twitter ultimately deliver stickiness through the exchange of content (an activity that is complementary to our real lives), where 3D simulations can expand the possibilities for other social behaviors – such as commerce – more naturally since they do not complement, but instead emulate, our own reality.

Jay MacIntosh (BizDev)
Women are more relational and nurturing while men are more transactional…at least that’s the theory from a study by RapLeaf. http://digg.com/u3AQJa I’ve always been fascinated by how women and men think and behave differently. To see it in action, pay attention to the dynamics the next time you’re in a group setting (children or adults). You’ll likely see female energy more focused on understanding others and connecting with them by validating their experiences and feelings. On the other hand, male energy is usually more focused on being understood by others especially in terms of what we know and our past success. How do these differences show up in social media environments? Though I don’t have the data to support this…yet, I’ll bet women use “friending” features more than men, while men participate more in things like reputation management. Anyhow, something to consider when talking strategy with clients.

Bill Fanning (BizDev)

Bill’s been out doing some major sales stuff but time to get him back on the “article” wagon. ;)

Don Sedota (Product)
This is a good list from Jay Baer on 11 Timely Social Media Takeaways. It’s basically a short-list of 11 recent social initiatives or planned initiatives by companies/brands and a key takeaway from each. My favorite is the one on Lane Bryant and their recent announcement of a “Plus-Sized Community” for women. It’s a great example of striking an emotional chord with the customer for a brand that on the surface may not seem to be a great social candidate. Lane Bryant is also hoping to leverage member questions/comments for the purposes of product innovation which seems to be an increasing trend.

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In the spirit of interesting stats and prospective customers potentially finding Facebook Connect as an attractive demand generator, here’s a post from Brian Solis on up to date Facebook stats . Unfortunately, he doesn’t mention the source of his information but he says that the statistics will be used in his next book so take that for what it’s wo
rth. Anyways, some highlights that could be used to sell prospective clients on the attractiveness of Facebook/FBC as a demand generation source include:

  • More than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • The average social graph equates to 120 friends
  • 120 million users log onto Facebook at least once a day
  • 15,000 and counting websites, devices and applications have implemented Facebook Connect since its launch in December 2008

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I found this article pretty interesting, Please Don’t Follow or Friend Me, posted by Steven Hodson on the Shooting at Bubbles blog. It talks about how the concept of “friends” is different across different social networks and whether being someone’s “friend” on one social network is an obligation to accept that person as a “friend” on all social networks. A good quote from the article that sums it up (and I tend to agree) is “The richness and value of the Friending Economy comes from the quality and closeness of your ‘friends’, not the number of them. By blindly reciprocating we dilute the value of our ‘Friending’ not just for ourselves but also for those people who do decide to follow or friend us.”

There’s also an excerpt to another thoughtful post in the article’s sidebar (near the end) called “What Have You Done for Me Lately – Keeping Score in Social Media” which is similar in spirit but speaks to the viewpoint that just because you’ve followed someone, re-tweeted their comment, linked to their blog post, etc. doesn’t mean you should hold them in debt until they return the favor. The payback will be eventual and long-term, and in the end everything evens out.

April 29: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

As I mentioned in our first Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links post, I’ve asked the Powered marketing, business development and product teams to pick one news article, blog post or research report a week that “speaks” to them. With that article, they need to come to our weekly staff meeting prepared to give a 120 second update on what the article was about and why they found it useful.

My goal is to share this content on a weekly basis. Here’s what our fourth week netted:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)

Paying homage to Twitter this week since I am making a concerted effort to tweet more and become more educated on best ways to utilize it both professionally and personally…couple of interesting articles:

7 tips for the Perfect Twitter Profile
Love these tips as most on twitter don’t follow them (I’ve found)….
1. Use your real name (hard to find you if I don’t know your ‘handle’)
2. Use a real picture (see the avatars all the time)
3. Think SEO when writing your bio
4. Include a URL
5. Consider a custom background
6. Don’t protect your updates
7. Take it slow

Twitter Confesses: Most Users Don’t Return
This is a very short article, but thought it very compelling. I can see why folks would not go back after using Twitter for the first time, but there is a lot of debate out there on these numbers and why people defect after the first time, so take it FWIW.
Twitter continues to grow at a rapid pace, and yet new research from Nielsen Online indicates the microblogging phenomenon faces an uphill battle in maintaining consistent use by millions of its users.

The research firm found that more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month. During the past year, Twitter has only maintained a 30 percent retention rate. In other words, the mass of new users isn’t large enough to make up for the large group that is defecting or losing interest.
For good measure, Nielsen compared Twitter’s early days to that of MySpace and Facebook. Even when those two social networking sites were just emerging, their retention rates were twice as high as Twitter’s, according to Nielsen data. Both Facebook and MySpace now enjoy a retention rate of 70 percent today.
DP Rabalais (Marketing)
My article of the week is not mind-blowing, but definitely relevant to our Targeted Sales Strategy. Short article on how the Big 3 US Automakers are embracing Social Media.
Doug Wick (Business Development)
This is a good article from Greg Verdino where he discusses the developing language among marketers that are referring to social media as “earned media” vs. the more traditional “paid media.” He illustrates how we aren’t really going far enough in just talking about different types of media – because media as a word still has the connotation that the message is controlled by the marketer. Greg talks about how we should be seeking “earned attention” – and that focusing on anything else as a marketer within the social web is taking your eye off of the ball.
Bill Fanning (Business Development)
This week’s article is titled, How to Breathe Life into your Loyalty Program, written by Robert Manning (VP of client services for Schematic).

As I was reading this article, I was pleased to hear him basically repeating Powered’s philosophy of “give before you get”. His premise is that an effective loyalty program is good at building real relationships with people by giving them value. Not just following up with folks 9 months after purchase to try to sell them something else, but really listening to the customer, understanding the individual and providing a means for them to share their experience with your brand.

While the idea of hard rewards are nice, that will not build a strong relationship by itself…often times that builds a desire to get more points, not necessarily brand affinity. Case and point, I do everything I can to get AA miles so I can save money on personal travel (by the way, that’s getting harder and harder these days) while the fact of the matter is, I’m not a huge fan of the brand!
Don Sedota (Product Management)

There was a lot of press yesterday (and some internal conversations on Yammer) about the new Facebook Open Stream API which will allow developers to pull in Facebook’s activity streams for use within their own 3rd party applications. This article on Mashable does a good job of summarizing the announcement.

While Facebook Connect essentially allows 3rd party apps to push out their site content to the Facebook news feeds, thus enabling communities to extend its site content reach and facilitate word-of-mouth marketing (i.e., demand generation), the Open Stream API allows the consumption of Facebook content within a 3rd party site.
As a result, we could strategically leverage the Open Stream API (in concert with Facebook Connect) within our client communities.
Specifically, the OS API allows the 3rd party site to filter out comments, “likes” and stories on a per application basis. If I’m not mistaken, this means that we could track “likes” and comments that are generated from the content stories posted from the Facebook Connect facilities on our sites and could also track comments, “likes” and stories generated from the brand application on the Facebook side. In the context of our current offerings, this would allow us to keep track of Facebook conversations that occur around community content that was pushed out via Facebook story feeds.