Monthly Archives: November 2010

How to Use YouTube to Market Your Business

When you think of YouTube you probably envision mindless videos of dancing cats, babies that bite their brothers, or epic schoolyard battles. What you probably don’t know is that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world right now. Yep that’s right; they are behind Google and considered a search engine of sorts. More and more entrepreneurs are realizing that marketing with YouTube is an excellent way to promote their business.

If you’re considering adding marketing with YouTube to your own small business marketing program, here are a few things you’ll need to know:

  • Setting up a YouTube Channel 

When you sign in to YouTube the first thing you need to do is set up a channel. This will allow visitors to subscribe to your content and get updates whenever a new video is uploaded. It also provides you with your own little place on the web to upload as many videos as you like. It is something you can refer people to who are new to your business.

To the side of your videos you will have a short user profile. This is where you can direct users back to your blog or website. This is a highly effective means of getting traffic to your site. Regardless of what sort of business you are in you are likely going to get a good number of website visitors from YouTube. Creating your own small business marketing YouTube channel is akin to creating your own television channel would have been twenty years ago. The only difference is there are a lot more choices these days so you’ve got to keep it interesting.

  • Introductory YouTube Video

After you have signed up, registered, and set up your channel it is time to start making those videos. Silly gimmicky stuff gets people going on YouTube and a little novelty never hurts. Keep in mind, however, that you are making a video for small business marketing purposes; your video is intended to introduce people to your company, so keep the novelty to a moderate level.

Though you want to keep things pretty professional don’t be afraid to talk about personal things and to keep it light. Don’t include any high pressure sales messages, especially in your first video. These days, consumers respect a business person who will talk to them like they are people. They like to know who you are and what you stand for and not just see you as another faceless mega-corporation.

  • Recurring YouTube Videos

After you have set up a decent introduction, introducing yourself and your company, you can start uploading videos that are more content based that include a subtle sales message. You want to keep all of your videos short, if you can. Two to three minutes is standard, but for a small business marketing video with an educational message, four to five minutes might be necessary. If you can’t get your content into a four minute video, try separating it into several segments.

Remember, your YouTube video should not be one long commercial. Your prospects have a problem and you want to introduce them to your solution. Try to embed your advertisement into something that is meaningful and informational. You might consider using YouTube as a form of tutorials on how to use your product, safety advice for your product, tips on using your particular solution, etc. I’ve even seen a few businesses create their own reality show. The sky is the limit.

  • Add Tags and Annotations

Annotations and tags are an important aspect of distributing your YouTube video, especially if you’re using it for small business marketing purposes. Annotations appear on the screen in textual form throughout the video. This is a good place to insert humorous comments about the video, which viewers love, or remind viewers of you web address.

Tags are basically search phrases. These are the terms that you want to be connected to your site. Though a few general terms are alright, be certain to include as many specific phrases as possible. This will improve your rankings and your chances of having your video found by your prospects who are searching for your solution.

YouTube has become an excellent tactic to add to your small business marketing arsenal. It’s free to get started and relatively easy to set up. The most time consuming aspect will be creating your videos, but it just takes a little time and ingenuity to get the ball rolling. So go ahead and give marketing with YouTube a shot.

  • Check Out Our YouTube Channel

Want to see what a YouTube channel can do for your own small business marketing efforts? Have a look at what we’ve done with our own channel – we use it to present tips that small business owners can implement to improve their own marketing tactics. Check it out right here http://www.youtube.com/karenscharf.

Take a look at VerticalResponse’s channel, VRtube for more ideas on how you can market your business with YouTube.

Courtesy of VerticalResponse.com

 

About the Author:
Karen Scharf is the founder of Modern Image Communications. Her company provides services that include business and marketing plan development, newsletter publication, copywriting services, graphic design, info-product development and strategic planning.

View Karen Scharf : ArticlesProfileWebsite

5 Email Marketing Trends

Courtesy of IMediaConnection

I hear you — it’s tough to think about next year’s marketing campaigns when you’re wading hip-deep through the flurry of emails you’re sending (and receiving!) for the holiday season. But the end of the year is also the beginning of a new one. It’s a time to take stock of your email program and take a fresh look at the trends that have been building in email marketing. Here are five I’ve seen building in momentum, and how savvy marketers are going beyond baseline lip service to what everyone is talking about to making real improvements to their email marketing programs.

1. More social media
For those who dove into social media from the get-go, it’s hard to believe there could be more to be done. After all the hoopla, who isn’t using social media in conjunction with email to build stronger relationships with customers?

A lot of marketers in a wide range of organizations, that’s who.

Many heard about Twitter or Facebook, and maybe even opened an account for their business, but they just didn’t get it right away. So they delayed adding social to their marketing mix in the hopes it would just go away. But the pressure from others who do get it is rising, so we’ll be seeing more of those little Twitter and Facebook icons littering the bottoms of email messages.

As for those email marketers who have more social media experience, they will need to start analyzing how social and email are feeding into one another, and how they can prompt social action in their email messages. Instead of merely including icons, they will have specific social media calls-to-action in their email messages explaining what exactly will happen when recipients click on those icons, and what the benefit will be when they do so. They’ll also work harder to ensure that their social and email strategies are complementary, not the same old stuff from different sources.

Conversely, they’ll be working to add apps or tabs to their social sites so they can capture the email addresses of their fans who may not want Facebook to mediate their relationships with their favorite brands.

2. More consideration of mobile
It used to be that email on a cellphone was about business. Give them enough info in the subject line so they don’t delete it immediately, and you’re good. Increasingly, though, the phone isn’t just the place where people sort through email to be read later, but the place where they actually read and react to it.

Some email marketers would like to ignore mobile rendering altogether, thinking that the “read web version” link they put at the top of their emails takes care of that problem. Others are beginning to recognize the issue but do only limited testing. By “limited testing,” I mean they look at the message on their own iPhone, see that it actually renders with itty bitty images, and decide it’s even better on the iPhone, while ignoring the fact that the call-to-action is so tiny it’s unreadable.

Smart marketers will not only test how their emails look on smartphones, but how usable they are. Can a mobile user actually see the “wow images” or smart copy? If they do decide to take action, what then? And is it better to send everyone the computer version, the mobile version, or to ask recipients if they want a mobile-optimized version? There are no canonical best practices for email in the mobile space just yet; I’ll be looking for the results from marketers in multiple verticals.

3. More welcome and triggered campaigns
Most senders know recent subscribers are more active and engaged with their email marketing lists than those who have been around a while. Yet despite this knowledge, they still tend to treat them equally, sending the same content and offers to brand-new subscribers or recent purchasers as they do to recipients who haven’t acted on an email in two years.

I’m already seeing more marketers take steps, sometimes small, toward understanding and serving that new cohort of addresses differently. As email triggering capabilities become easier to use and available in lower-cost platforms, more marketers will try at least one message that targets new subscribers or recent customers differently.

The more advanced email marketers will take what they know about those new customers and dazzle them with their very best, employing a series of messages that will vary based on how engaged each subscriber has been and encouraging them to even stronger interaction. These welcome programs will wring every cent of ROI from these newbies while everything still looks fresh and new, and minimize the pain of a spam complaint.

4. More reactivation campaigns
Marketers won’t only be treating new subscribers differently, they’ll be looking at the old timers with a more critical eye.

Sending email is undeniably cheaper than sending snail mail, and that low cost has made some marketers lazier about pruning their email marketing lists. What’s a few cents to send an email? But those cents add up to big bucks if you’re emailing to thousands or even millions of people who have tuned you out.

As marketers look to trim costs, they’ll be examining their lists more carefully and trimming out what might be deadwood. The typical marketer will send the same message to all the non-responders and will leave creativity behind — free shipping, free white paper, more of the same information that puts customers to sleep.

The savvier marketer will work a little harder and look a lot more closely at what those recipients did respond to in the past. Then they’ll use those tactics to remind “sleepers” of the value of their offering.

Those smart marketers will also sort through the data to discern those who are truly dead versus those who are alive and kicking and just interacting with their brand in a different way that isn’t immediately apparent through email stats. Maybe they are really engaged but just not via direct email clicks — maybe they are picking up the phone, clicking through your Facebook feed, or, prompted by your email, visiting your website directly without bothering with a click-through.

5. More experimentation
Due to restructuring at many organizations, the people who are now doing email aren’t necessarily the same people who did it two years ago. They may not know why their program was designed the way it is, or they may know but don’t care.

Video and music and email? Nobody’s doing that! Let’s try it out and see how it goes! Dark backgrounds and amazing HTML styling? Bring it on! Email is a great place to try fresh approaches and offers because the audience is already interested in what you have to say and more inclined to let you know their opinions one way or another.
It’s a given that the results of this experimentation will be mixed. Some marketers will discover great new ways of connecting with their customers, while others will be excoriating their customers for not fully appreciating their creative genius. As with everything on the internet, your mileage may vary. A tactic that works great for one audience will flop for another.

The smart marketer will be open to seeing how customers respond to new messaging and modalities, but they won’t bet the bank on them. They’ll use extensive split testing to measure how receptive their customers are, and they’ll look beyond the email to other metrics to measure success.

A bonus trend
Here’s a trend that won’t die (although it should) — industry analysts prematurely hailing the death of email. Twitter, Gmail Priority Inbox, Facebook Messages…they all presage email marketing’s passing. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing more of these predictions in the coming year, and there’s little doubt they’ll be wrong. Like everything else on the internet, email marketing is changing and evolving. Marketers who keep doing the same old thing year after year might kill off their own email marketing channel, but email itself will continue to bring prosperity to marketers who nurture it.

Written by Wendy Roth, senior manager of training services for Lyris Technologies.

Fascinating Social Media Facts For 2010

Courtesy of SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

Social media is not just a social instrument of communication. It is not all about people sharing ideas and thoughts with other people. It is the creation and exchange of ‘User Generated Content’. The ability to transform broadcast media monologues into a social media dialogues that spread, sometimes, faster and wider than television, radio or print. Social Media when compared to year 2009 shows a fantastic growth in terms of people participation, penetration, user-ability, business and more.

Now, we are almost at the end of year 2010, and therefore it is time to study and understand some of the Social Media facts and trends that were evolved and followed over the year. Scouting through the web has brought together the following list of Fascinating Social Media Facts. Most of these facts are based on surveys (online or offline) over a sample size, these are also mentioned to ensure that we get the perspective of each of these facts.

General Facts

1. Australia has the most number of established users of social media in the world, followed by USA and UK.

2. In terms of the impact of social networks on advertising, word of mouth is the popular option with 78% of customers trust peer recommendations on sites. While, only 14% trust advertisements.

3. Advertising has also been impacted greatly because of social media with only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive return on investment.

4. Facebook, Blogspot followed by Myspace are the top sites visited by under 18s.

5. An average user becomes a fan of 2 pages every month.

6. 24 out of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing declines in circulations because the news reaches users in other formats.

7. 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to user-generated content.

8. *In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, 90% of participants know at least one social networking site.

9. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries,72% of participants of the internet population are active on at least 1 networking sites. The top 3 countries part of at least 1 network site was Brazil (95%), USA (84%), and Portugal (82%).

10. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, users of social networking sites are saturated. Connected people feel no need to further expand their membership on other social network sites.

11. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, on an average, users log in twice a day to social networking sites and 9 times a month on professional websites.

12. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, sending personal messages is the most popular online activity. The top 5 activities online are sending personal messages, watching photos, checking status, reacting to others’ status, and uploading pictures.

13. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, people have about 195 friends on an average.

Source:

• *Online sample survey of 2,884 consumers spread over 14 countries between the age of 18 to 55 years old by Online Media Gazette.

Facebook Facts

14. Facebook has over 500 million users.

15. If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest country.

16. An average Facebook user spends about 55 minutes a day on the site.

17. An average Facebook user spends about 6.50 hours a week on the site.

18. The average Facebook user spends 1.20 days a month on the site.

19. Facebook’s translation application support over 100 languages.

20. There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)

21. Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events

22. Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

23. More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

24. ** In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, Facebook is studied to have the highest penetration. The top 3 sites include Facebook (51%), MySpace (20%), and Twitter (17%).

25. **Over 300,000 users translate the site through the translations application.

26. **Over 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.

27. **Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites are integrated with Facebook.

28. **There are over 100 million active users accessing Facebook currently through their mobile devices.

Source:

• *Online sample survey of 2,884 consumers spread over 14 countries between the age of 18 to 55 years old by Online Media Gazette.
• ** Statistics from Facebook press office.

YouTube Facts

29. The most popular YouTube video – Justin Bieber, Baby ft. Ludacris has had over 374,403,983 views

30. ** YouTube receives over 2 billion viewers each day.

31. ** 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube by users every minute.

32. ** 70% of YouTube users are from the United States.

33. ** More than half of YouTube’s users are under the age of 20.

34. ** To watch all the videos currently on YouTube, a person has to live for around 1,000 years.

35. ** YouTube is available across 19 countries and in 12 languages.

36. ** Music videos account for 20% of uploads on YouTube.

Source:

• ** Statistics from YouTube press centre.

Blogger Facts

37. There are over 181 million blogs.

38. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands.

39. ** The age group for 60% of bloggers is 18-44 years.

40. ** One in five bloggers updates their blogs every day.

41. ** Two thirds of bloggers are male.

42. ** Corporate blogging accounts for 14% of blogs.

43. ** 15% of bloggers spend 10 hours a week blogging.

44. ** More than half of all bloggers are married and/or parents.

45. ** More than 50% of bloggers have more than one blog.

Source:

• ** Statistics from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009.

Tweet Facts

46. 54% of bloggers post content or tweet on a daily basis.

47. 80% of Twitter users use Twitter on mobile devices.

48. There have been over 50 million tweets in 2010.

49. The 10 billionth Twitter’s tweet was posted in March 2010.

50. **There are over 110 million users of Twitter currently.

51. **180 million unique users access Twitter each month.

52. **More than 600 million searches happen on Twitter every day.

Source:

Box Hill Institute: Box Hill Institute (Social Media at Box Hill Institute)
• **Statistics from Twitter and the Chirp Conference.

LinkedIn Facts

53. Of the 60 million users of LinkedIn half of them are from outside US.

54. By March 2010 Australia alone had over 1 million LinkedIn users.

55. 80% companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.

56. **Every second a new member joins LinkedIn.

57. **Almost 12 million unique visitors visit LinkedIn every day.

58. ** LinkedIn has executives from all Fortune 500 companies.

59. **1-in-20 LinkedIn profiles are accounted by recruiter.

Source:

• ** Statistics from LinkedIn press centre and SysComm International.

Wikipedia Facts

60. If $1 was paid to you for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $156 per hour.

61. *Wikipedia has the maximum number of articles at 3 million articles. This is followed by, German (1.08 million), French (958,000), Italian (697,000), and Spanish (608,000).

62. **69% of users edit Wikipedia to fix errors.

63. **73% of Wikipedia users edit Wikipedia because they want to share knowledge.

64. **4.4% editors of Wikipedia’s are PhD’s, 19% of the editors hold master degrees.

65. **Bad weather usually results in more number of updates in Wikipedia.

66. **13% of the editors on Wikipedia are women.

Source:

Social Media Today
• * http://www.axleration.com/15-interesting-facts-about-wikipedia/
• ** http://pochp.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/surprising-facts-about-wikipedia/

Foursquare Facts

67. Over the last first year of Foursquare, it has more than half a million users, 1.4 million venues, and 15.5 million check-ins.

68. * Foursquare is five times larger than Gowalla.

69. * Foursquare is growing 75% faster than Gowalla each day.

70. **Foursquare passed the 3 million users milestone in August 2010.

Source:
• *http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/07/foursquare-gowalla-stats/
• **http://www.crunchbase.com/company/foursquare

9. All Sources

Online sample survey of 2,884 consumers spread over 14 countries between the age of 18 to 55 years old by Online Media Gazette.
Danny Brown Resources
EduDemic
http://www.axleration.com/15-interesting-facts-about-wikipedia/
http://pochp.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/surprising-facts-about-wikipedia/
http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/07/foursquare-gowalla-stats/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/foursquare

About Writer: 

Sorav is a young entrepreneur started his Internet Marketing career at the age of 17. Sorav is amongst the pioneer of Social Media & Digital Marketing in India. He writes Social Media and Digital Marketing Blog and conduct Social Media Training and Workshops across various cities over the globe.  Connect with Writer Sorav Jain on Twitter: @soravjain,  FacebookLinkedIn

About the Author

Sorav is a qualified Masters in International Marketing Management from Leeds University Business School (U.K) and also alumnus of Loyola College, Chennai the finest institutions renowned globally. He started his career at age of 17 as SEO executive and Freelancer content writer. From Leeds University Business School he has been awarded with the Best Market Research Presentation Award, Leadership Award, Class Champion Award 08 and many precious accolades

Will Twitter’s new ad model work for marketers?

by Michael Estrin, IMediaConnection

A few years ago when Twitter was in its infancy, company officials kept the m-word (monetization) at arm’s length. Brand marketers, agency social media gurus, and anyone with an email address were all welcome to set up an account and start pinging away in 140 character bursts. But the idea that Twitter could be — or would be — a paid media platform was something the company just didn’t talk about.

Still, without formal ad opportunities, some brands got Twitter almost right away. Others, it seems, are still wondering what happened. Over at Twitter, times have changed. In late September, The New York Times reported that the company was rolling out a new advertising model. There are no homepage takeovers or glitzy rich media banners (yet), but Twitter is now offering advertisers the opportunity to buy followers and insert themselves into trends.

“Twitter suggests accounts that people should follow, based on their interests, and will use the same algorithm to suggest accounts that advertisers pay to promote,” the Times article stated.

Advertisers pay based on an interaction with the Twitter post. An interaction occurs when a user clicks on the link, forwards the post, or replies to it. The Times cited Dick Costolo (Twitter’s then-COO, now the company’s CEO), who said people have been clicking these ads at a rate of about 5 percent. So far, about 40 companies have paid to advertise on Twitter. Next year, Twitter says it plans to open up the platform to a wider group of advertisers with a system akin to Google’s AdSense. Right now the idea of advertising on Twitter is still relatively new, so we asked some leading social media experts to weigh in on the topic, and what this means for marketers.

Awareness at 140 characters per second
If it’s happening now, it’s happening on Twitter. Like it or not, that’s become a truism of our world. Want the latest information on political strife in Iran? You’ve got to go to Twitter. Want to know what everyone thought about the “Mad Men” season finale? Twitter. Chilean miners? You guessed it — Twitter.

Twitter’s title as the go-to destination for the most up-to-date information in an increasingly buzz-driven world is, from a marketing perspective, an absolute gold mine. What brand wouldn’t want the opportunity to influence customers inside a clearing house for hot information, trends, and ideas? So when you talk about the opportunity to raise your brand’s awareness in terms of “promoted tweets” or — even better — “promoted trends,” you really can’t beat Twitter right now, says Patrick Boegel, director of media integration at Media Logic. But there’s a catch, and it could be a big one.

“Beyond tapping into awareness, [Twitter’s] impact might be questionable,” Boegel says. “There are two parts to the equation. First, finding a topic: Twitter recognizes as having enough activity to be a promoted trend. Secondly, whether or not users are logged into Twitter via the web, a Twitter app, or a third-party application. If a user is on Tweetdeck for desktop, great promoted trends are still visible, but on a mobile app such as Seesmic for Android it is not there. For the average advertiser in the entertainment world, that’s not a big deal. But if you’re attempting to purchase more than topical awareness, you may be losing valuable portions of the Twitter user base simply because of how they access the service.”

While Twitter has been combating this fragmentation by trying to get users to come back to the site or use its mobile app, another potential pitfall also lurks on the awareness front, Boegel says.

“Users’ first reactions tend to be curiosity, but when we step outside of our marketing hats and try to be objective as consumers of information on the other side, we all know it becomes easy to put on the blinders and tune information out,” Boegel explains. “If you are in a larger, nationally available or ‘several major cities’ event-based business, the success potential and reach is certainly huge right now. A year from now, my guess is that first-wave marketers will have to work twice as hard to achieve the same results they are seeing in the initial stages.”

Is it worth your money?
There’s no question that a lot of people use Twitter, and there’s no question that Twitter has a tremendous ability to take a message viral. But Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE, says he isn’t certain that Twitter ads will really deliver value to marketers, even though he sees the platform as a fundamental part of social media strategy for all of his clients.

“The Twitter ad packages currently presented are not going to give clients the most bang for their buck,” Shapiro says. “We equate promoted tweets with banner blindness. Once the gimmick wears off, it becomes that much harder for consumers to click. Twitter is an amazing marketing platform exactly because it is a free tool. The most successful Twitter campaigns have not been through ad spends but through creative marketing ideas, from offering discount codes, exclusive products, customization, or engaging content. We’ve found that our clients have much greater success and sustainable results investing $100K on an ‘ideas’ campaign than on a one-day Twitter trend promotion.”

Are you thinking of your buy in the right way?
If you’re buying followers on Twitter, it’s easy to say that you’re buying just that — followers. That is, you’re buying the ability to put your message in front of somebody, and hopefully influence them on an ongoing basis, or at least as long as your campaign lasts.

But what exactly does that mean? The answer depends on how you think about the media buy. And according to Jim Spinello, SVP of marketing and communications at rEvolution, it means using Twitter as a foothold for making a connection.

“If your advertising model is to buy, place, and move on, then Twitter is probably not the right investment,” Spinello says. “Any buy on Twitter must be an engaged buy. It’s not like buying a banner ad or broadcast commercial. Buying on Twitter is all about creating a dialogue and continuing the conversation.”

Spinello’s advice: Think of a buy on Twitter as a sponsorship.

“Buying on a platform like Twitter could be thought of in terms of buying a traditional sponsorship,” Spinello says. “There’s the cost of entry, but you have to invest/spend to activate your buy in order for it to be worth the initial investment.”Of course “activating” your buy means that after the initial media spend, you have to ask: Then what? What will you do with these followers? Will you offer them a real world opportunity? Will you engage them in a conversation that exceeds a 140-character limit?

The point, according to Spinello, is that an ad on Twitter can bring people to your brand, but what you do after that will determine the real value of the exchange.

Don’t ignore the audience
Twitter is not Facebook, but there is an obvious comparison here if we’re talking about “flipping the switch” from zero advertising to some paid media. I’m not going to go into the details of the ongoing hiccups as Facebook tries to sell both its users and advertisers on ads and the data collection that makes those ads relevant. But I will say that the last round was just plain weird, at least as it played it in my News Feed. On the one hand, I saw posts from friends who don’t work in digital. I consider these friends to be smart, informed people. They were sharing — on Facebook and with no sense of irony! — angry comments about the “revelation” that advertisers were using their personal information to target them with more relevant ads. Articles by surprised reporters in dozens of well-respected newspapers seemed to fuel this latest awareness as well. But of course, on the other hand, I also have a lot of friends who work in digital. They too replied to this story with a collective — so what? Actually, the response was a little more like, “And this is news, how?”

For a variety of reasons, Facebook hasn’t been able to successfully explain to users that there is advertising on the site, and that it is often informed by what the user does on the site, and what the user tells the site. Like it or not, this seemingly simple misunderstanding represents a big disconnect, and it’s that disconnect brands should be cautious of when they “flip the switch” on Twitter, says Chris Pitre, a social marketing strategist at IDEA.

“Clients should tread extremely carefully when integrating paid advertising into a highly conversational medium with a known low tolerance for spam and heavy promoting,” Pitre says. “Clients that would be interested in advertising on Twitter would have to first know their audience and their audience’s preference and perception of Twitter advertising. Pending those findings, I’d find a less obtrusive way to enter the client’s brand on conversations happening on Twitter.”

That said, Pitre isn’t sour on Twitter at all. In fact, he’s all in favor of a smart execution that leverages Twitter’s unique capabilities.

“For example, if the ad could be personalized to the user querying Twitter and act as a way to continue a natural conversation between the brand and the user, that would be a smarter way of integrating the ad,” Pitre says.

Although, he adds, “I’m not sure if Twitter plans on allowing for certain levels of customization and personalization within [its ad platform], but I could imagine things getting exciting there, if not hotly debated among industry pundits.”

But for Pitre, the big takeaway is that a brand should have a very solid understanding of how its target audience perceives advertising on Twitter before the brand starts paying for followers.

It’s A Twitter world
While pundits can debate whether Twitter ads will work for marketers (or perhaps, how best to make them work for marketers), the reality is that marketers need to take note of the digital sand shifting below their feet. Reacting to Twitter’s recent redesign, which has been a big part of bringing ads to the platform, Chris Ebbesen, imc² strategy director, blogged that “the splinternet is inevitable.”

Tech jargon aside, Ebbesen’s point is that if the internet as we know it is becoming a series of “walled gardens”(a popular topic on the pages of Wired these days), then marketers need to be ready.

“They have to follow their customers into these new gardens, but when they do, they have to adapt their approach for that medium,” Ebbesen says. “Facebook and Twitter are collaborative in nature: a bunch of people talking to each other, trading content and ideas as a form of social currency. Marketers have to think about the engine of these mediums and optimize their strategies and ideas to fuel that engine. They have to shift toward creating ideas and stories that are told across different devices and platforms, with each ‘chapter’ of the story being engineered to take advantage of the medium’s unique value offering. They have to provide social currency to be exchanged between friends.”

In concrete terms, Ebbesen says that should mean an end to the practice of repurposing content and messaging (if you still believe there’s a difference) across multiple platforms. Instead, marketing is going to have to get a lot more granular.

Whether that means advertisers will be keen to buy ads on Twitter down the road is likely an open question. But whether it’s paid ads or free media, the message from Twitter to marketers is that the time has come to get serious about big ideas in 140-character packages.

7 Steps to Avoid Disaster When Your CEO Starts to Tweet.

Courtesy of Rob Rose and IMediaConnection.

I’ve been chewing on a couple of recent articles recently about CEO’s and social media.

The first is a study conducted by PR firm Weber Shandwick called “Socializing Your CEO”. That study found that a shockingly low percentage of CEO’s maintain their own social media profile. They go on to say that “removing Wikipedia [entries] leaves the online CEO space rather barren – only 36% are engaged through their company websites or in social media.”

The accompanying whitepaper goes on to prescribe 6 “Rules of the Road” in order to socialize your CEO. The one that caught my eye was #4 “Develop a C-suite social media strategy”. They prescribe that “c-level executives should strategically select social media outlets to get the company point of view across…”

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

 

Then, the second piece is an article in Harvard Business Review called “What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy?” This is a piece directed at C-Suite executives extolling the benefits of leveraging social media and providing an outline of why it’s so important to both them and their company.

Really? Didn’t we just finish our brand’s social media strategy? Okay… sigh… File/New/WordDoc…

I think I Want To Twit
We’ve all been there. We’re happily jamming – mid-morning in the office. The Starbucks Venti latte just kicked in – and we’re in the zone. The new White paper is just awesome. The analytics report just came in from the Web team and we’re rockin’ it. The PR agency just called and the analyst event is all set and under-budget. Even the VP of Sales just called with nothing but praise about the new demand generation program.

Okay, maybe that last one is a bit much….

Anyway, we’re having a great morning – and then it happens. There’s that soft rapa..tapa..tap tap (shave and a haircut… two bits) knock on our door and there he stands; the CEO of the company. “He never comes down to this end of the building. Why is he here?” you think as you fumble to turn down Pandora, and blurt out just a little too loudly.. “oh.. hey there.. Hi… How are ya..”.

He holds up a rolled up copy of the latest Harvard Business Review magazine in his hand, and waves it like a wand. “I think….” he says in a tone that’s not quite a question, but not quite a statement either, “that it’s time for me to start tweeting and blogging. You know…. So, let me know how we do that.” And with that, he’s gone before you can even say “um, yeah okay”.

Ready. Set. Tweet.
So, according to the Web Shandwick study, some of the main reasons that CEO’s aren’t as socially minded are because

…they’re not convinced of the ROI
…they’re worried about perceived risks of engaging with consumers directly
…and they concerned about real risks of legal and investor relations issues.

So, assuming that we’ve got those three things covered – what are some of the best practices we can start with to set up our new “engager-in-chief” so that he or she has the best chance at success.

7 Steps To Avoid Disaster

1.Understand the “why” first. Get a common ground with your CEO to understand how he or she will measure success. Unlike the corporate brand – you (or they) may want to be very careful about the following/follow strategy or the content of the blog. The tools that they will utilize and what and to whom you want to say it should be carefully thought through.

2.Easy does it. Your CEO does not need to compete with other accounts for content velocity. It’s perfectly okay if the CEO tweets once per week to start. It’s okay if they blog once a month. Or, if they’re frisky – once per day. But, if possible, it’s better to ease into it than bombard with content.

3.Whatever you do – don’t ghost Tweet or Ghost blog. If they’re not prepared to compose their own Tweets and/or blog posts, then they shouldn’t be doing it. You need to set the expectation with the CEO that this is not something they should just “try out” and then delegate if they get tired of it. This is a marathon – not a sprint.

4.Leverage it. Done well this will be an amazing new conduit for your organization and your content marketing efforts. Don’t let it stand in isolation. Integrate it into the other corporate social media channels. Bonus points for showing how far your extending the CEO’s content into the marketing message.

5.Yes, they can work ahead of time. If they want to compose a few tweets or blog posts while they’re on that flight to London – that’s great. In fact, creating an editorial calendar and working together to make sure those tweets or blog posts are timed well is a great way to get ahead in case they get busy with that quarter-end sales scramble.

6.But, don’t automate it. Even though there are lots of people automating Tweets – and most find that it’s perfectly acceptable for brands to automate some level of Tweeting – your CEO should not have Tweets emanating from Hootsuite, as she is speaking at the opening ceremony of the customer appreciation event.

7.Listen & Measure It. Unless you have *that* kind of CEO (and you already know if you do), it’s almost a certainty that you’re going to need to devote some bandwidth to watching @Replies, blog comments or the blogosphere in general to monitor the reaction to the content. Make sure that there’s an effective listening process, a measurement methodology – and most importantly a way for the CEO to react to content that’s being generated from their tweets/blog posts.
That last one is important – because remember with this new blog or Twitter account, you’re now opening up a direct channel to the CEO. More than replies or comments, you’re likely to get pro-active requests through this channel than anything they’re used to (job requests, partnership requests, sales calls etc..). You need a policy and a method of reacting to both the good and the bad for these requests.

We all know that social media is changing the way we do business – and how it’s affecting our personal brand strategy. Just know that the C-Suite is likely to want to get in on these trends – and this is a good thing. We can be the kid who’s parents tell them they’re “digging” their favorite rock band (and thus ruining their music forever). Or, we can be the leader we want to be – helping our CEO and our company transform into new avenues of communication.

And, you? Has your CEO gotten onto the Social Media train yet?

News Corp Talks About MySpace: “Current Losses Are Not Acceptable”

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

By Doug Caverly WEBPRONEWS

To be clear: we don’t mean to spread rumors or alarm anyone. But MySpace employees might want to consider setting aside some extra money and updating their LinkedIn profiles, as one News Corp. exec hinted during an earnings call that a drastic cost-cutting action of sorts may occur.

A large round (or two) of layoffs is one possibility. A sale or even shutdown of MySpace doesn’t seem to be out of the question, either. News Corp. COO Chase Carey made the situation sound quite serious.

As reported by the AFP, News Corp. COO Chase Carey told investors late yesterday, “We’ve been clear that Myspace has been a problem.”

Then Carey continued, “The current losses are not acceptable or sustainable. Our current management did not create these losses but they know we have to address them.”

Finally, in terms of setting a timeframe for whatever move News Corp. will make, the COO hinted, “I think it is something we look to judge in quarters, not in years.”

It’s hard to imagine MySpace could just go dark; to people of a certain age, it feels like the site’s been around forever, and it still has lots more users than many other networks. At the same time, MySpace has clearly lost the numbers game to Facebook, and the site’s reputation/image has had better days.

Courtesy of WEBPRONEWS

4 experts on how to turn social media into sales

Courtesy of Social Media Today.

One of the enduring questions in the social media landscape is: Can we really use social tools to move the needle financially? That topic was met head on Tuesday evening at an event in San Francisco titled How to Turn Word of Mouth and Social Media into Sales.

Here are some takeaways from the speakers’ remarks at the sold-out gathering:

Who: Becky Brown, Director of Social Media Strategy, Intel

Comments: The brand advocacy program is a huge part of how we measure social media success at Intel. We listen to influencers who are talking about Intel. The company uses two main social media tools: Radian6 to measure sentiment and Objective Marketer to manage campaigns. “Be resourced,” Becky said. “Use employees and advocates and agencies.”

She said it was important to use listening tools “to find people who are not your brand advocates, who are negative advocates.” And take it on yourself. You cannot ask an agency to read all your posts for you. You cannot get college grads to handle your Twitter account. These are real customers talking about your brand, so engage with them directly. “I dream of a day when I have a team dedicated to positive and negative responses” on these networks.

(Disclosure: I’m a member of the Intel Insiders social media advisory group.)

Who: Tony Lee, Vice President of Marketing, TiVo

Comments: Summed up the credo of Silicon Valley well: “If you’re not failing quickly, you’re not doing an interesting enough experiment.” Take chances. Launch multiple programs and initiatives.

TiVo stands traditional marketing on its head with its decision to incentivize and reward its long-time customers over newcomers just coming into the showroom floor. “We now give our best deals to our best customers.” (Yay! I’ve had two TiVos since 2004 and wrote about the company in my book Darknet.)

“Your customers aren’t stupid. There are times when you need to listen. If a customer is screaming and rude, others will understand. It’s OK to ignore people who are rude.”

Who: Rob Fuggetta, CEO, Zuberance

Comments: Rob cited a company that assayed customer loyalty with the “ultimate question”: “How likely are you to recommend our brand or product to a friend?” Customers responding 0-6 were considered a “detractor”; 7-8 a “passive”; 9-10 an “advocate.”

Great advice: Rob told brands to involve customers by inviting them to respond to questions and “make it easy for your advocates to engage with your brand.” He pointed to a campaign by HomeAway, a vacation rental site, and said that its success lay in interactions with their community — “we just gave them a way to connect” — rather than offering giveaways or free T-shirts.

He pointed to a lawsuit just brought against TripAdvisor, which was sued for defamation because, the litigants alleged, the hotel guests posted ‘inaccurate’ reviews. Audience reaction? Overwhelmingly on the side of TripAdvisor and the unfettered flow of opinions, right or wrong.

He talked about a $20,000 investment by ClubOne that led to a $180,000 return — 69 percent of participants in a 14-day free offer brought a form into ClubOne to try out a membership, and 15 percent of those people purchased memberships. You can measure with great specificity the results you get from social marketing.

Final words of wisdom? “Put in $1 and get $10 back” by launching a word of mouth campaign that stokes genuine conversations about a product or service. “This is earned media, not paid media,” where fabrication and marketingspeak hold forth.

Who: Michael Brito, Vice President of Social Media, Edelman Digital

Comments: Michael underscored the difference between a brand influencer and an advocate. “Advocates are talking about your brand even if you ignore them. Influencers, for the most part, require incentives.” They offer insights into a product in exchange for a quid pro quo, such as access to write a story.

It all comes down to trust. Edelman issues an annual trust barometer, where publishers and journalists are high on the list (first time I’ve heard that in a decade!) while marketers are not. “If you look at your advocates across the Web, their reach is much higher than being featured on front page of TechCrunch,” he said. Listening and doing nothing is worse than not listening in the first place.

About the Author: J.D. Lasica is a consultant, strategist, public speaker and author who is considered one of the world’s leading experts in social media. He is CEO of Socialmedia.biz, a consultancy that offers strategic business services. He also runs Socialbrite.org, a learning hub and sharing community for nonprofits. CNET named him one of the 100 top media bloggers in the world. You can follow him on Twitter at @jdlasica.