Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Resolution You Can Stick To!

Forget these resolutions. Make one you can stick to!!
With 2011 right around the corner, it is the perfect time to make a new year’s resolution for your social media efforts!

Let’s say you’ve got a few accounts started and have been maintaining it for a few months. You might be asking yourself, now what? Just keep tweeting? Just keep posting information? Wrong. It is easy to just keep passively maintaining accounts on various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). After you get a few accounts up and running there are three words that should immediately come to mind.

Monitor. Measure. Tune.

Don’t have a new year’s resolution yet? Here is one that you can actually stick to! Make a resolution this year to monitor, measure, and tune your social media strategy frequently.

At a minimum, every few months you should assess your progress in social media (e.g., look at growth in followers, comments, responses, etc.). Then, tune your marketing plan based on the feedback to optimize goal achievement. Reevaluate and adjust your social media marketing plan to account for the ever changing nature of consumer tastes and the social web. For example, if the number of followers on your Twitter account is declining, you can adjust your content to more closely match your target market’s interests. If the number of responses to your tweets is declining, you can adjust your strategy by asking a question at the end of each tweet that inspires people to respond. In short, planning and executing a social media marketing campaign is a never ending cycle. You should constantly monitor and tune your strategies to maximize the impact of your campaign.

Here you will find more information on the topic: 
(Notice: the last step for the social media strategies is monitor, measure, and tune) 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Prediction: Facebook will not be the only game in town!

PREDICTION: Facebook will not be the only game in town come 2011; be ready to take advantage of marketing opportunities on new social networks!

FYI: I realize this is longer than my usual post, but bear with me. Facebook's recent domination means I have a lot of ground to make up.

The infamous leak of 100 million Facebook user pages in July of 2010 caused a scare among users and created what may turn out to be a golden opportunity for potential competitors. A security researcher, Ron Bowes, created a script that downloaded the information that users chose to make publicly available from the Facebook User Directory. Hence, this alleged leak was actually nothing more than the collection and publication of user information already made public by 100 million Facebook users.

Facebook also suffers a host of other privacy concerns including: (1) Facebook’s complex security settings leaving users unaware of their personal data being public, (2) hackers have repeatedly defeated Facebook security to harvest user information, (3) a growing number of Facebook applications provide easy access to member data, and (4) Facebook’s own connect buttons make user information readily available to other sites. The net result is that user privacy on Facebook is virtually nonexistent. With security being brought to the forefront of users’ minds, it is an ideal time for a security-conscious social network. One prime candidate, although still in Alpha, is Diaspora. This new social networking site touts the not so subtle security slogan, “Share what you want, with whom you want.” They stress user ownership of all content shared with friends. Other social networks are in the works for release in early 2011 as well, like Google Me.

If history proves anything, Facebook’s ‘monopoly’ is temporary. Looking at the last decade alone, there were two cases in which the public feared a company was ‘taking over’ the internet. In early 2000, people panicked that AOL was taking over. Ultimately, AOL faltered, chief among the reasons was a single-minded focus on mining the then lucrative Internet dial-up access business. MySpace is another example: officially launched in 2004 and by 2005, MySpace was the king of the Internet, with a base of nearly 80 million users. News Corp. purchased MySpace in 2005 and immediately tried to monetize it by inserting advertising into nearly every aspect of the user experience. MySpace peaked in 2007, with 150 million users, but due to the barrage of ads, it plummeted to 109 million users by mid-2010. The moral of story is that Internet titans come and go.

BOTTOM LINE: Why should this matter to businesses? The answer is simple. 

Keeping an eye on these emerging social networks enables a company to be in on the ground floor, seizing market share, and reaping profits from a growing customer base. Given the large user base Facebook has acquired, businesses should continue to market there, but remain vigilant for other valuable social network marketing opportunities. The importance of diversification in marketing efforts also holds true for social media marketing. Focusing marketing efforts entirely on Facebook could prove to be a dangerous strategy in 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twitter Tragedy - Must walk before you run.

The idea that all you need to do is create a Twitter account for a business and tweet occasionally, is a dangerous one. While measuring an ROI on social media marketing can be difficult, that doesn’t mean you can or should forget about setting goals. As an example, the apartment complex I currently reside in launched a social media campaign back in August, “We’ve gone social!” and they promoted their accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) with fliers and t-shirts, which was not a bad start. But as the last few months passed by it became evident that they did not create any goals for their Twitter page.

So how do you avoid tweeting 174 times and get not a single follower? You establish definitive and measurable goals. Social media marketing goals include: improving brand awareness, search engine rankings, relevant site traffic, and conversions performance (e.g., sales for a product or service), as well as reputation management and engaging with consumers.

The challenge for some of these goals, such as engaging with consumers, is to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). The following are examples of SMART goals for four popular types of social media: image and video sharing sites, social networking sites, blogs, and microblogs (Twitter).

Image and Video Sharing Sites:
  • 30% growth in the number of images or videos viewed within four months
  • 10% increase in the number of subscribers to your channel or stream within four months
  • 20% increase in average rankings of images or videos by viewers within four months
Social Networking Sites:
  • 20% growth in the number of friends within five months
  • 30% growth in the number of comments within five months
  • 40% growth in the number of posts and comments in discussion groups within five months
  • 20% improvement in the ratio of posts to comments (i.e., visitor's comments/posts=conversions) within six months
  • 40% growth in total number of views within six months
  • 10% growth of RSS subscribers within six months
Microblogs (Twitter):
  • 20% growth in number of followers within 30 days
  • 30% growth in the number of retweets (message amplification) within 30 days
  • 10% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) of the links posted in tweets within 30 days (Hint: Observing which types of links garner the highest CTRs can help you tune your tweets to provide what your consumers with links they are interested in and, hence, further improve your CTR.)
  • 5% increase in Web site conversions (e.g., sales) from tweet links within 30 days
Avoid wasted effort by establishing definitive and measurable goals.