Archives For Marketing Tips

You would think the track record of social network migration (i.e. users emigrating from Compuserve to AOL, AOL to Friendster, Friendster to MySpace, more recently MySpace to Facebook) would have established a trend of cyclical change which we marketers would anticipate and embrace. But for some reason it seems like our clients and peers are always surprised when online behavior changes, new destinations gain traction, and popular networks lose daily active users.

A new survey by Piper Jaffray offers the latest news bite that will have our industry and clients asking us questions about social marketing programs on current and emerging socnets.

Via Buzzfeed:

Facebook is the “most important” social media site for about 10% fewer teenagers than it was a year ago. The teens surveyed are less interested in Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr and Tumblr, too. Of the major sites included in the survey, only Pinterest has grown. (Instagram was not included in the survey in Spring of 2012). This suggests something bigger than a shift away from Facebook; it hints at what could be the beginning of an across-the-board teen rejection of traditional social networking as a whole. But where are young people going? The survey includes some notable write-ins, which are presented almost as a footnote.

But they might explain what’s going on:
piper graphic

The sites that are either ascendant, holding steady or holding relatively strong are feed-heavy and profile-light; the sites that seem to be hit hardest are those that have a more traditional, MySpace-y structures, centered around a detailed profile. (Tumblr is the odd exception here.)

The biggest “write-in” services aren’t really social networks in the way Facebook is a social network. Snapchat and Kik are messaging services. While they might be able to draw teens’ attention away from Facebook, they have little funcional overlap.

This data measures sentiment, not usage stats. If this data is solid, though, we should see it reflected in an teen exodus from traditional social networks.

While I strongly believe Vine and disposable media socnets like Snapchat, Kik and Poke satisfy important emerging consumer behaviors, we shouldn’t discount the effectiveness of mass socnets like Facebook and Twitter – just as we don’t discount the effective of mass media channels like television and newspapers to meet specific client needs. Particularly with Facebook’s new targeting offerings, we can now laser target client messages like never before.

In summary, depending on your brand’s measurable objectives, you should recommend and utilize the most appropriate channel to best meet their audiences.

What works today may not work next year, and I personally think that’s AWESOME.

Research:
“Taking Stock with Teens” study (pdf)

Bonus links:
The New Yorker: Delete This When You’re Done
Are disposable media platforms like Snapchat and Poke the future of social media?

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Check it out: How the U.S. Army Is Using Bloggers

Cross-posted from Social Studies

I’m here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles ignoring the beautiful palm trees and weather in favor of sitting inside and listening to compelling speakers present on the latest digital, social and interactive marketing trends.

Tom #1: Data-Driven Insights
I was impressed by the opening Social Media Business Summit keynote from Tom Webster at Edison Research, who leads exit-polling for elections, among other things. Tom’s focus was on ways to sort through sheer amounts of data, research, studies and trends.

Tom says social media is great for casual listening but isn’t quantitatively effective in driving research and insights. Essentially, social media is great for asking questions but isn’t the best at ascertaining answers.

Tom has found that reframing issues and questions allows for brands to achieve better answers. Rather than asking, “What do you want,” he suggests asking “How can XX make your life better?” Then brands can track those answers and map out a strategy. Notice, this doesn’t say rely on broad trends or generic studies.

While it’s fine to acknowledge the latest eMarketer hype, Tom says all the data coming out about the best time of day to tweet, publish a blog post, or the best place to place a link in an article makes him cringe. He says these types of question assumes that there is obviously a best time or a best place.

But what if it is an incorrect assumption these can or should have obvious results? Instead, Tom recommends conducting scientific studies to confirm or disconfirm these assumptions.

Data for “content creation” is inherently incurious, he says. It takes time and disconfirming things to find the right answer. And Tom uses the word “incurious” as a vulgarity!

For example, a study came out that showed press releases distributed at 1 a.m. were the most effective. This study spread like wildfire across the social web and quickly became folklore and accepted as fact. But this study made an assumption that there actually is a best time to distribute a press release, and (according to Tom) the people sharing the results of this study were relying upon flawed “science.”

Instead, Tom recommends marketers “do their own work.” Rather than align strategy with another organization’s research or logic, he suggests analyzing where one’s customers are, determining what motivates them and driving your own research.

Tom #2: Mo-Money, Mo-Mobile

Another compelling session was Tom Hayden’s session on mobile engagement. Yes, another Tom. My schedule picking strategy was to only attend presentations from guys named Tom (or Thomas or Tommy), and I succeeded.

This Tom says marketers should focus on mobile behavior and not mobile technology. When you think of mobile behavior, consider what we do, how we live and why we use mobile in our lives.

Tom says humans are not designed to sit for long periods of time, to stare at screens full of synthetic illumination and host prolonged conversations through text. Mobile allows users to more natively incorporate brand integration into our normal lives.

Mobile integration is evolving to the tipping point (50 percent of users will have smart phones by January 2012). But when a new user acquires a smart phone for the first time, they aren’t installing FourSquare and Instagram. Rather, they are using it for what they are familiar with from their “desktop past” — email, web surfing and possibly chat.

And that web surfing? It’s mostly search. Tom says 70 percent of mobile search ends up in an offline action within two to three hours. Again, this goes back to mobile behavior, not the technology. Desktop surfing is rarely integrated with an offline action. This was a key takeaway for me as I consider mobile strategy for clients.

Below is Tom’s outline of mobile friendly sites and mobile ready sites:

What is mobile friendly?

  • Condensed content (4-10x reduction of desktop site)
  • Navigation limited to 2-3 actions beyond the landing page
  • Quick load time (you have less than 30 seconds)

What is mobile ready?

  • Responsive design (device detection and customized content based on user)
  • Data feed (API – location, device, A-B testing, time/date) with CRM and/or profiling platform)
  • Cross-platform tested (iOS, Android, RIM, Windows, Palm and across multiple years and OS updates)

Another variable to consider when planning mobile programs is that fact that humans are not only staring at screens less, they are typing less. Touch screens are harder to type but easy to facilitate face to face (e.g., FaceTime, Skype, facilitating an IRL meet-up). So we’re moving back to a preference of face to face while lessening our focus on the written word.

Of note, this is why people put “sorry for typos” on their mobile signature. Tom says we’re apologizing for bad technology and subconsciously will shift to avoid it. I know personally I have significant issues typing on my iPhone and iPad, and that’s why I’m actually typing this post on a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad.

Tom showed Forrester data that illustrates barcode scanners are the fastest growing app right now — beating weather, games, navigation and music apps. As native QR apps come out in operating systems, this is a technology that is happening and won’t go away anytime soon.

Humans are comfortable with the cameras on their phones and will understand how to scan a QR code as that technology grows. However, it’s important to include multiple mediums to reach the masses (URL, SMS, QR, etc.). Tom recommends including opportunities to scan, text and click in communications with potential or current customers, then keep good track of the metrics to adapt campaigns.

I asked a question about mobile commerce and its adoption. Tom says that even though Google Wallet and other start-ups have pioneered the space, there are technological barriers PLUS human behavior barriers that will delay widespread adoption of using your phone to purchase goods on a consistent basis.

Specifically, retail stores have one kind of credit card scanner that can scan every single brand of credit card, but the acquisition of unique technology for mobile commerce is complex and expensive. I personally think barcode technology will be a good stop-gap — allowing anyone with smart phone to scan and buy something, billed back to their phone plan. I guess we’ll see!

What’s your strategy for navigating data overload and trend-based laziness? How are you rethinking mobile strategy for a changing culture?

Leave comments over at Social Studies

I was quoted in a two-page Chaska Herald feature on civic government communications discussing the opportunity of utilizing social media:

The highs and lows of social media

Social media is a powerful way for civic government to connect with its social-savvy citizenry,” wrote Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of digital strategy for Weber Shandwick. “The city of Minneapolis uses Facebook and Twitter to announce snow plowing. Stillwater residents promote community garage sales via Facebook. Shakopee posts video from their music in the park series on a city YouTube channel. The Chaska Police Department uses Nixle to send SMS text alerts about breaking news in town.

Jumping on the Bandwidthwagon

Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of Digital Strategy for Weber Shandwick, would agree for the most part, but he still has some constructive criticism for the city.

“Like many organizations and businesses, the city of Chaska jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon, but hasn’t had a strategic communication and community management strategy to ensure updates are timely, questions are answered and that the page adds value to its fans,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Podhradsky gets that, acknowledging, “We gotta be better at this.”

While critical, Swan also understands the challenges cities like Chaska face.

“To be sure, Chaska government officials have plenty on their plates, and in an era of limited resources, we taxpayers want them to prioritize their efforts,” he wrote. “Yet, in many cases, a dormant social media profile is worse than a non-existent one … It’s of-ten difficult to justify return on investment in moving resources into social media, but the opportunity cost of not participating in conversations about your community can be high.

I also put together a “5 Social Media Trends to Embrace/5 Social Media Trends to Ignore” sidebar that ran within the feature.

Five social media trends to embrace

* Online monitoring of what people are saying about your community

* Social community building and engagement with two-way conversations

* Real-time event coverage (photos/video/news) on social channels

* Social focus-grouping, letting your online advocates get involved

* Live streams of public meetings with real-time chats

Five social media trends to ignore

* Establishing social media channels without a content and community management policy

* Outsourcing social media management to vendors

* Editing Wikipedia, which is against site policy for affiliated organizations

* Focusing so much on ROI that you miss out on the conversation happening today

* Google+, which hasn’t yet set guidelines for non-humans

It was a fantastic round-up by the Chaska Herald with stories on the faces behind city social channels, the role of public safety in social and interviews with social channels from Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Chaska, School District 112, Carver and Carver County. They should enter it for an award. I’m serious.

Valeria Maltoni posed the question:

You’ve just closed the elevator door, and the CMO asks you “What’s so great about this blogging thing?” Obviously, it’s a pretty broad topic — but you only have 10 floors to the lobby.

What do you want him to remember when the door opens?

Here’s what I would say:

Read others’ responses here.

What would you say?

I’m in the July issue of Minnesota Business talking social, ROI, CRM and more.

That picture is something else. :) — Read the whole article here.

I’ve been MiNterviewed

December 16, 2009 — Leave a comment

Lee Odden over at TopRank sent me some future of marketing and PR questions, and I answered the heck out of them, including comments on online reputation management, social media measurement, tips for getting started with listening/ engagement strategies and more.

Read the whole thing here.