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Killing Google

google-.jpgToday, I am featured on Louis Gray's fantastic blog with a post that I've been working on called "The time is right to kill Google (if they don’t kill themselves first)". The post comes out of a couple of experiences I have had with the company at a time when user loyalty and customer service should be paramount. Click here to read the post, and if you don't subscribe to Louis' blog I suggest you do!

[Update:] Some great comments on Louis' blog as well as on the FriendFeed thread. Check em out.

If you're visiting here from Louis' blog, welcome to Techno//Marketer. I hope you stick around!

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Virtually extinct or a comeback kid?

Mark Goren (PlantingSeeds.ca) must have been reading my mind this morning. I've had the following blog post sitting in the queue for a while, but he made me think about it with his message:

Picture 5.png

What is the future of virtual worlds? When is the last time you opened Second Life? Do you even have it installed anymore?

51F79D83-C52E-4F39-8456-76A0BE830610.jpg

It is completely out of the digital marketing conversation at this point and not without reason. Massive hype lead to major investments and disappointing results. Social media has picked up the hype-baton and left virtual worlds in the dust.

Personally, virtual environments are only a small, occasional blip on my radar screen. I do keep tabs on new innovations, but it would take a very targeted client with just the right demographic to get any benefit from participating.

I almost smacked somebody the other day for even mentioning Second Life. This was the big digital marketing idea a couple of years ago for many agencies. It has since been replaced by the Facebook page, followed closely by the YouTube channel and the Twitter profile. Admit it, you know I'm right. Strategy is boss now and we can do better than this.

That said, I think there is a ray of hope. Primarily I think that group events have the most potential to succeed. From conferences to trade shows to presentations, virtual environments have a level of engagement that you can't get on the conference call. With the economy going the way it is, this may be a more attractive option to some companies to get in front of their clients in a rich environment and without the up-front investment in time that cost SecondLife so many users.

What are your thoughts on virtual worlds? Take the poll below:


[Feed readers, click through to the post for more information.]

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Talking with Danny Kim

9232129A-9EBC-4367-A48A-4578F3A24717.jpgOne of the highlights on my trip to keynote the IDG "Next Generation Marketing" conference in Seoul, South Korea was having an opportunity to stop by the Fleishman-Hillard office (my employer) and meet our team there. I presented the same keynote to our internal group and was pleased to see a lot of nodding heads around the conference room. These ideas are truly global!

As a wrap up to my day, the team invited in one of South Korea's top bloggers, Danny Kim. Danny is a published author, tech blog-father and all around great guy. Our conversation varied from blogging experiences to PR pitches to presidential elections. Here is the video that the fine folks in the office put together with some of the highlights. I hope you enjoy.

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Moving Feedburner to your Google account

FeedBurner-256x256.pngA couple of nights ago I logged into my Feedburner account and saw a message that I needed to move my account to Google. Feedburner, for those of you who don't use it, is the most popular feed measurement service in the world. It tracks subscriber numbers over time as well as base metrics.

If you're familiar with what Yahoo! did with Flickr, this is the same thing. They are forcing all users to transfer their Feedburner.com accounts to their Google account. If you don't have one, you have to create one or lose your stats. I had a bit of trepidation on doing this given Feedburner's notoriously flaky record of late, but I decided to take one for the team and document what happened.

Here is a video demo of what you can expect:


[Feed readers, click through to the post if you cannot see the video]

UPDATE: This graphic was not working in the video above, but here is what the new subscribers/reach chart looks like. (Interesting to note that this is done in Flash now and cannot be viewed on an iPhone or other mobile device.)

Picture 4.png

UPDATE 2 (1/24): After a six day drop in subscribers, my numbers bounced back to where they were before the switch. Engagement numbers (the blue line) seems to still be a bit off.
Picture 37.png

Keys to understand:


  • Google has good reason to do this and hopefully will allow the service to remain free of bugs
  • Email subscriptions get a huge boost now running on the Gmail mail servers
  • Feed number will fluctuate "for up to a week" after this transition takes place (I am down from 2800 to 800). They say this will bounce back
  • Subscribers should not see a change
  • You don't have to change any code, it redirects for you (and will for the life of the product per Google)
  • You must do this by February 28, 2009 or you risk losing your subscribers
  • Google has removed all metrics beyond subscriber counts. If you want pageviews, visitors, inbound links, etc. you need to set up Google Analytics or another comparable package
  • From what I've seen on the Google Feedburner forums, there is a complete lack of support so we're left to guess and worry
  • We don't really have a choice, do we?

[UPDATE:] If you are using MyBrand, there are some hurdles you should be aware of. Click here to read more. (Hat tip to Ed Healy)

Any other questions, just let me know.


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Transparency in 140 characters

iStock_000003551768XSmall.jpgOver the past couple of weeks I have seen a number of people on Twitter who seem to forget that transparency extends to micromedia platforms. I think we've been through this drill with blogs and social media profiles, but the need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

Let's take a look at the challenges that micromedia presents to marketing folks, when to disclaim, guidelines of what counts as needing disclosure and what to do.

The need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

The challenges

There are only 140 characters: A lot of people are trying so hard to get every single word into their messages that adding a note for transparency's sake falls off the radar. Tweets look much more like text messages at this point and it's going to get worse. KNIM?

Twitter is asynchronous: People begin listening and stop listening when they want. We jump in and out of conversations. If you only disclose something one time, someone may not see it and be under a false impression. Better to be safe than sorry.

[Update] Context takes effort: The two previous issues compound the difficulty of providing context. It is more an art form than a process and everyone needs to learn for themselves. Just remember, people are reading your stream of thought over time and possibly out of order. Will they get what you're saying and know what your involvement is?

When to disclaim

When you talk about a client: If you talk about a client for any reason, in any way just add the tag [client] to the message. Yes, it's an extra eight characters, but it is highly important. The risk to not doing this is looking like an idiot to your peers and looking underhanded to the broader community.

Picture 3.pngWhen you stand to gain from what you say: Robert Scoble recently got caught "red handed" by my friend Louis Gray. Scoble mentioned the Amazon Kindle in a Twitter message (he has 20,000+ followers) and linked to Amazon using his affiliate link. Thus, any sales would give him revenue. I have no problem with him doing it, but he should have been more transparent (or naked if you will). [Note that I did not use my affiliate link.] This is relatively new to micromedia, but could be simply noted with the tag [AD]. It is still to be seen if this could be successful.

Fictional users: If a user is created in support of a campaign, it should be disclaimed when not clearly fictional. Entertainment characters like the Mad Men Twitter users would be an exception. I am sure we will see more of this in the near term.

WOMMA Guidelines

When you send a message on Twitter et. al. you are driving word of mouth. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some very good guidelines on disclosure that dovetail in nicely to new formats.
Honesty of Relationship
  • We practice openness about the relationship between consumers, advocates, and marketers. We encourage word of mouth advocates to disclose their relationship with marketers in their communications with other consumers. We don't tell them specifically what to say, but we do instruct them to be open and honest about any relationship with a marketer and about any products or incentives that they may have received.
  • We stand against shill and undercover marketing, whereby people are paid to make recommendations without disclosing their relationship with the marketer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations that state: "When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience) such connection must be fully disclosed."

Honesty of Opinion

  • We never tell consumers what to say. People form their own honest opinions, and they decide what to tell others. We provide information, we empower them to share, and we facilitate the process -- but the fundamental communication must be based on the consumers' personal beliefs.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding testimonials and endorsements, specifically: "Endorsements must always reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser. Furthermore, they may not contain any representations which would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated if made directly by the advertiser."

Honesty of Identity

  • Clear disclosure of identity is vital to establishing trust and credibility. We do not blur identification in a manner that might confuse or mislead consumers as to the true identity of the individual with whom they are communicating, or instruct or imply that others should do so.
  • Campaign organizers should monitor and enforce disclosure of identity. Manner of disclosure can be flexible, based on the context of the communication. Explicit disclosure is not required for an obviously fictional character, but would be required for an artificial identity or corporate representative that could be mistaken for an average consumer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding identity in endorsements that state: "Advertisements presenting endorsements by what are represented, directly or by implication, to be "actual consumers'' should utilize actual consumers, in both the audio and video or clearly and conspicuously disclose that the persons in such advertisements are not actual consumers of the advertised product."
  • Campaign organizers will disclose their involvement in a campaign when asked by consumers or the media. We will provide contact information upon request.

What to do

When in doubt, disclose. If you are talking about a client or making direct profit just add a tag at the end. Don't just add it once, but each time you mention it.

Would you add anything to this?

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Marketing imperatives for 2009 (free eBook)

AEB6B71C-CCA7-4F88-BD8A-42352B2099D8.jpgMy good friend and blogging role model Valeria Maltoni has done it again. Valeria has created a free eBook written by 12 marketers (myself included) about our execution imperatives for 2009. There are some new voices and fresh thinking inside and is absolutely worth a read.

Here are some quotes from the book and links my fellow co-authors:


  • "Basic metrics you can initially use to match up before, during and after sales deltas are frequency, reach, and yield"
    - Olivier Blanchard, The Brand Builder, @thebrandbuilder
  • "There are three imperatives for execution programs in 2009 - start with measurement, create content for the open Web and for mobility"
    - Matt Dickman, Techno//Marketer, @MattDickman
  • "The foundation and core of what social media is, consists of the five C's. Conversation, community, commenting, collaboration and contribution"
    - Mike Fruchter, My Thoughts on Social Media, @Fruchter
  • "With social media as a platform for participation, people can behave the way they were hardwired to behave in the first place - humanly, tribally"
    - Fancois Gossieaux, Emergence Marketing, @fgossieaux
  • "Social media enhances marketing efforts as an additional indirect communication channel"
    - Beth Harte, The Harte of Marketing, @BethHarte
  • "Companies with greater social intelligence have stronger bonds with employees and customers, and that translates into revenue"
    - Lois Kelly, Beeline Labs, @LoisKelly
  • "Change ensures our own livelihoods - new opportunities and trends to capitalize upon, unique products and profit centers that merit development, robust innovation to leverage"
    - Christina Kerley, CK Epiphany, @ckepiphany
  • "Social media interaction allows us to have… well, interaction with our customers. It lets us see them as people instead of statistics and it lets us hear their voices"
    - Jennifer Laycock, Search Engine Guide, @JenniferLaycock
  • "Goals absolutely must be built on business objectives"
    - Amber Naslund, Altitude Branding, @AmberCadabra
  • "A proper social media education is more than just learning new tools. The most important lesson we can impart is the necessity to think 'humans'"
    - Connie Reece, Every Dot Connects, @ConnieReece
  • "Social media isn't causing problems, but it is revealing them. And the problems aren't new; they've been around for a while"
    - Mike Wagner, Own Your Brand!, @bigwags
  • "The secret of success in social media is a product or a service that people actually like and use"
    - Alan Wolk, The Toad Stool, @awolk

Take a read and let me know your thoughts. What are your execution imperatives for 2009?

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Twitter icon mystery revealed; early adopter advantage

Picture 2.pngThis may not be news to many of you, but it was bugging me and I had to find out authoritatively from the powers that be at Twitter. (Thanks to Alex Payne for helping me out.) Have you ever wondered how that little cluster of icons is ordered on your profile page? I've heard lots of speculation from "the top influencers are higher on the list" to "It's the order they added you as a friend".

The truth is simple. They are displayed in the order that the person joined Twitter. Early adopters have an advantage here in that many people find new people to follow by surfing through those clusters. For example, Twitter's founder @jack will be at the top of your list if you follow him. If you just joined, you may never make it unless the person who is following you isn't following many other people.

As it is possible to sort people by ID through the API, it would be a cool experiment to create a Twitter user timeline in Flash using the profile images. If you're game, take that idea and run with it!

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Inside//Out: QR codes

QR.pngWouldn't you love to drive people from your physical world marketing efforts to the web in real time? Who wouldn't? This has been a dream of marketers since the popularization of the web and technology is starting to catch up. QR (or quick response) codes are, quite simply two dimensional bar codes. The codes were designed in Japan for the auto industry and they remain popular today.

In marketing, QR codes have started to pop up sporadically in ads and catalogs. I did a post on this technology in 2007 which you can read here. In that post, I noted that this was a potential technology for marketers to leverage in the future. To be blunt, this is still in the future, but the trend is one that is coming quickly (though it may take another form). The ability to grab information and go will build momentum over time.

The entire system works by taking a picture of the code with a cell phone camera, decoding the symbol on the device and taking an action. That action can be directing someone to a URL, passing them a phone number, giving them marketing copy or sending them a text message.

Here is a demo of the technology in this edition of Inside//Out

[Feed readers, click through to the post if you cannot see the video]

Pros:
  • Quick and cheap to create
  • Simple and compact design
  • Able to be placed on myriad surfaces (paper, cloth, etc.)
  • Convey complex information to mobile customers

Cons:


  • Lack of consumer education about how QR works
  • Hardware/software readers are scarce
  • Lack of adoption in the US

Key Takeaways:


  • QR should be used for nothing more than a test/experiment at this point
  • The ability for mobile users to get complex content very quickly is a major trend
  • Scanning codes, text message response or the next generation of this idea will push the need further
  • You already see this in real estate in major markets using SMS
  • Integration between physical marketing and digital marketing will continue to converge using new technology

Have you seen these in mainstream ads? Would you consider using them in your campaign? Are you looking at SMS response? Let me know!

There are a number of readers out there. I use the NeoReader on the iPhone. The Kaywa Reader is probably the most popular.


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We bring good memes to life

If you live in Cleveland (or follow the NBA at all) you are sure to know about LeBron and his pre-game chalk hurling ritual. Basically, he walks to the scorer's table, gets a handful of chalk and launches it into the air in a huge puff of smoke. Very dramatic. I've seen kids around Cleveland pretend to do this in the street and grown men demonstrate it in line for lunch (I am not kidding).

That's why I love this ad from Wieden which plays on this insight and the experience and is right in line with the brand.

To go along with that, Nike has this LeBron ad when you enter downtown Cleveland. Note the smoke at the top of the photo.

8FB3D772-CB92-4239-9FE8-C6230623553A.jpg

This goes to my post about being ready to pounce. This is a more public example, but the execution is terrific in what could have been a lost opportunity.

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Three keys to better listening

iStock_000000564491XSmall.jpgAre you listening, I mean really listening? Over the past month and a half, I have been running a poll in the sidebar on this blog asking people "How do you listen in social media?". I want to share the results of this poll with you as well as some observations that I have regarding the responses.

First off, 85 total unique visitors took the poll (see final results below). While that's not a huge number it is pretty solid. Far and away Twitter was the top listening tool (75%) followed by Google alerts (48%). After that, Google search and monitoring tools came in with 16%. The "other" category was next followed up by Technorati at around 6%.

Picture 14.png

Key takeaways from the reader poll:

  • Twitter is a great tool, but you have to make sure your audience is there. If you're listening in the wrong place, you're missing the point.
  • Google alerts are also great to have and easy to set up. However, they often miss content that needs to be picked up in other ways.
  • Google search is also very easy, but has the same problems as Google alerts (duh). It's also a little too overwhelming unless you do an advanced search and limit the timeframe. (Don't forget you can subscribe to a search's RSS feed to keep updates manageable.)
  • Monitoring tools are very helpful at making sure you see the whole conversation. They do, however, suffer from the same faults as Google alerts. There is just too much data to manage effectively. It takes a human to process it.
  • Technorati, though low on the list, does still serve a valuable roll and can catch blog mentions before other means.

Three keys to better listening:

In order to do this right, follow these keys to better listening online:
  1. Find your customer and spend your time there. While Twitter is great for some brands, you will find that message boards, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, etc. may hold the majority of your customers. If you're listening in the wrong place you're not doing any good.

  2. Use technology to speed the process. Instead of watching Twitter for 12 hours a day, subscribe to the RSS feed for your keywords on Twitter Search. Do the same with keywords on Google and your Technorati page. Check this a couple of times a day. On top of that, you can overlay that information on top of the monitoring tools.

    Big tip, I've seen monitoring companies sell their services as the end-all of this area and they are not. This requires a human being who knows the industry and company to make it worth while.

  3. Create your active listening plan. Listening is a good first step, but a lifetime of listening without action is not going to move the needles that you need to move for your business. Creating an plan for what to do with the information you learn is key.

    I wrote this post in February of 2007 on active listening and it still holds true today. This quote sums it up:

    "Agile marketing companies are leveraging new technology to create real, one-to-many and many-to-many conversations. They are using the outcome from that interaction to make meaningful, remarkable, relationship-enhancing changes that impact their clients in a positive manner. Are you listening?"

Be sure to answer the new poll question for an upcoming post. Do you have (or advise your clients to create) a social media policy for employees? Let me know your thoughts!

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The Face of Facebook Global Report - Q4 2008

C50791CC-025A-467E-8A51-5144D7AD930D.jpgFirst off, let me apologize to you for not publishing this monthly as promised. It was taking me around 15 hours to compile and edit the PDF each month and it was just overwhelming. I'll keep publishing it on a quarterly basis as a blog post moving forward. Thank you for understanding!

As always, I use the data that Facebook provides from their advertising management system. The actual numbers may be larger, but we're marketers and these are the people who can be marketed to.

Key Takeaways:

  • The fourth quarter of 2008 saw a 27.55% increase in the total population of Facebook going from 100 million users to 138.6 million. That's a larger increase compared to past months on this report.
  • The US is still the largest segment of Facebook at around 42 million users. This is 282% greater than the next closest country (the UK)
  • Italy and Romania had over 400% gains on Facebook leading the pack while the US led by total population gain at 9 million new users
  • Norway and Canada have the largest percentage of their total populations on Facebook (over 25% each)
  • South Africa was the only country to lose population in Q4
  • Macedonia and Oman were the only new additions in Q4 2008

Top 25 Countries by total users

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, UK, Canada, Turkey, France, Italy, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Hong Kong, Norway, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, India, Greece, Finland, South Africa top25bytotalpop.png [Click image for larger version]

Top 25 countries by highest % of total population on Facebook

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Norway, Canada, Denmark, UK, Chile, Iceland, Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, Puerto Rico, US, Luxembourg, Maldives, New Zealand, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, UAE, Switzerland, Belgium, The Bahamas, Colombia top25bypercentpop.png [Click image for larger version] *Note: This chart uses the total population of each country (not the online population)

Top 25 largest Q4 % gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Italy, Romania, tunisia, Slovakia, Indonesia, Spain, Argentina, Czech Republic, Uruguay, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Iceland, Ecuador, Macedonia, Oman, Belgium, France, Turkey, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Austria, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Morocco Q4_pct_change.png [Click image for larger version]

Top 25 largest total gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, Italy, turkey, France, UK, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Chile, Denmark, Indonesia, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Venezuela, Colombia, Greece, Hong Kong, Serbia, India, Mexico, Finland, Malaysia Q4_total_pop_gains.png [Click image for larger version]

Raw country population data for Q4 2008

*Note that Macedonia and Oman are new additions to Facebook for segmenting purposes and don't have Q3 data.
Country Q4 2008 Q3 2008
Argentina 2,254,200 936,540
Australia 4,327,920 3,650,260
Austria 258,780 144,800
Bahrain 50,660 42,360
Bangladesh 198,780 135,220
Belgium 1,666,340 833,600
Bolivia 184,920 150,480
Bosnia 198,660 90,720
Brazil 209,100 155,600
Bulgaria 136,980 79,300
Canada 10,851,420 10,025,320
Chile 4,152,060 3,477,540
China 220,620 196,200
Colombia 3,636,320 3,226,980
Costa Rica 73,100 55,080
Croatia 491,240 300,500
Cyprus 109,420 78,660
Czech Republic 176,660 75,900
Denmark 1,778,440 1,174,500
Dominican Republic 115,680 91,800
Ecuador 130,860 105,700
Egypt 821,760 838,480
El Salvador 67,360 51,540
Finland 920,960 656,780
France 6,595,300 3,382,840
Germany 1,255,480 817,620
Ghana 53,880 36,780
Greece 1,000,320 639,340
Guatemala 93,960 76,980
Honduras 54,180 41,660
Hong Kong 1,456,740 1,111,580
Hungary 90,260 63,700
Iceland 120,520 57,700
India 1,072,080 807,040
Indonesia 898,360 321,980
Ireland 401,280 308,100
Israel 895,520 663,240
Italy 5,582,980 1,035,900
Jamaica 64,780 49,560
Japan 213,420 170,080
Jordan 266,700 211,700
Kenya 130,920 105,120
Kuwait 105,160 91,520
Lebanon 414,240 378,580
Lithuania 41,800 29,880
Luxembourg 87,400 49,480
Macedonia 78,180 0
Malaysia 851,240 591,880
Maldives 33,880 31,220
Malta 45,820 36,160
Mauritius 57,060 40,620
Mexico 1,439,580 1,174,600
Morocco 369,660 214,180
Netherlands 351,540 283,700
New Zealand 534,320 433,360
Nicaragua 29,560 23,740
Nigeria 212,780 145,000
Norway 1,455,080 1,315,880
Oman 24,240 0
Pakistan 376,800 286,340
Palestine 69,660 55,660
Panama 236,200 219,760
Paraguay 19,200 11,440
Peru 295,620 208,560
Phiilippines 390,700 233,300
Poland 194,960 113,900
Portugal 84,760 61,860
Puerto Rico 541,640 455,160
Qatar 67,840 54,820
Romania 56,300 10,760
Russia 122,780 94,100
Saudi Arabia 325,860 265,740
Serbia 557,480 266,120
Singapore 740,220 539,660
Slovakia 138,120 46,060
Slovenia 184,120 86,640
South Africa 920,860 1,022,240
South Korea 113,940 86,500
Spain 2,591,640 1,031,780
Sri Lanka 154,780 96,500
Sweden 1,697,100 1,242,240
Switzerland 1,122,900 609,640
Taiwan 112,840 84,780
Thailand 168,840 109,980
The Bahamas 43,900 24,280
Trinidad and Tabago 136,080 94,300
Tunisia 239,600 66,440
Turkey 7,924,640 4,087,640
Ukraine 41,400 26,860
UAE 485,540 358,560
USA 42,017,280 32,923,620
UK 14,922,560 12,662,320
Uraguay 198,160 89,320
Venezuela 1,872,840 1,456,420
Vietnam 39,120 26,580

Does anything surprise you on this? Anything else you would like to know?

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Five big social media contradictions and how to manage them

iStock_000002248298XSmall.jpgWhat's fast to build, slow to grow and needs constant attention? No, not a Chia Pet. It's social media! I've given this post a lot of thought over the past couple of months as I talk with executives and marketers who are discussing their entry into the social media space. Some are skeptical, others are passionate. Most have incorrect pre-conceived notions that are contradictory to the way things actually are. Ironically, most of these contradictions have been used as selling points in the early days of the space. So, here we go.

Contradiction 1: Fast setup, slow build

Yes, it is true that you can create a blog in less than five minutes. However, a five minute blog is going to have the same marketing impact as letting an 2-year-old create your brand identity. The physical build of a blog will take months to get right. It needs to be professionally designed or at least customized to look unique.

That, however, is the easiest part of blogging. The real build comes in building your community. It took me around 8 solid months of posting 4-5 days a week to really start making traction. Only around a year and a half in did I start to feel like I was making an impact.

Tip to manage: Look around at people who are successful here. Look at companies like Zappos, Dell or Comcast and see how they use it. Look for other companies in your space and seek out what they are doing. Ask experts, people are very accessible here.

Contradiction 2: Cheap up-front, financial marathon

I think way too many companies think of social media as an inexpensive alternative to pricey paid media options. On the contrary. The physical build/setup/design/etc. is in line with traditional digital implementations (think website/microsite). The real investment comes in the personal time necessary to make an impact. The build is just the tip of the iceberg.

Personally, I estimate that I spend 3-4 hours a day on this blog and within my online space. That's reading, commenting, writing and thinking about digital marketing and social media. That's on top of my workload and travel.

Let's say you have a community evangelist to work your digital marketing as well as social media. There are around 260 work days a year. I am a proponent of companies dedicating AT LEAST 2 HOURS A DAY to do this right. (Obviously, the more time spent the better.) Take agency rates of around $150/hr and that works out to around $78,000/year minimum just to manage the work. More time = more chances for engagement = a better chance for success.

Tip to manage: Look at the people/companies who you admire and ask them how much time they spend. Do your own estimations. Look a the content they're creating and estimate what it took to build. You have to show that this requires a continued commitment from a financial perspective.

Contradiction 3: Open/transparent/mashed-up meets legal and regulatory

While the spirit of social media and participatory marketing is open and extensible, there are real fears that MUST be addressed with the legal team. The best way to do this is to address them head on. Legal teams have been trained to defend brands, stop "unauthorized use" and do it quick. That doesn't fly in this space, it backfires.

Extending marketing and customer service into social media requires the full commitment of the organization at all levels. Everyone needs to be comfortable with the strategy and be kept aware of the execution. If this doesn't happen, it can lead to big trouble.

Tip to manage: There are a ton of examples here. Look at Scrabulous for example. The best idea is to sit down with legal and draw parallels to help them put this in a framework. Can you compare traditional media outreach to blogger outreach? Can you compare your phone reps to your Twitter reps? You can and you should.

Contradiction 4: Creating real estate turns to building on other people's property

Up until social media, digital marketing has been all about creating real estate. Websites, microsites, Flash demos, webinars, virtual offices, etc. Marketing around these spaces required volume to be successful. Email lists were crucial, online ads drove volume and measurement supported these tactics.

Social media is about finding where customers already exist and finding ways to add value within that space. Solving problems, crowdsourcing product and service development, creating cool applications, etc. all add value. Customer service may be the silver bullet in this space. Measurement needs to adapt to your business. Throw out the standards and find what matters to you, then measure it.

Tip to manage: Again Zappos, Dell and Comcast are case studies in the making here. Think about how Nike+ shifted the paradigm of tracking runner's progress and extended it to widgets, Facebook apps, etc. The iPhone is another example where you can add value and get the marketing benefit.

Contradiction 5: Unlimited opportunities to engage, finite places to make real impact

There are literally thousands of places to engage with your customers online. The challenge for brands is to find out where they are, how they move and what they find of value. The other challenge is to dedicate resources to support customers in the places that make sense while limiting waste. Facebook is a great platform to use if you add value to your customers through your marketing. However, if your customers aren't there it's a waste. If you don't see that they shift to a niche network on Ning next month you will continue spending time and begin wasting money.

Listening is key to keeping the pulse of your audience. It lets you see changes in location, sentiment and identify memes that resonate in real time. It lets you be able to pounce and that's key.

Tip to manage: Follow big brands and follow personal brands too. Look at how Chris Brogan engages with his community and grows his business. Look at how Mario Sundar advocates for LinkedIn. Watch Guy Kawasaki extend his business and build new ones (seemingly) on the fly. Watch Jeremiah Owyang redefine what it is to be an analyst while helping to empower an amateur analyst army. See Gary Vaynerchuk kill it every day and inspire everyone he touches like in this video:

What contradictions would you add? Any other examples that people should pay attention to beyond the ones I noted?

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Two tips on building microidentity

iphone.jpgLittle things are the new big thing, right? Well, in keeping with that notion, I wanted to share a couple of little tips on online identity. Whether you're a blogger or a corporation, these two items go a long way. One is very old school and the other is as new as new can be.

New school: apple-touch-icon.png

This one I found out when my lovely, amazing wife bought me an iPhone for Christmas. Thanks dear!! Through the iPhone you can add a blog/site to your menu just like an application. If you do this without following the next steps, however you get a very generic, non-identifiable icon. It looks something like this:

Picture 11.png

Not impressive, not readily identifiable. After a bit of digging, however I learned how to add an icon to replace the generic default. To do this you'll need to create a PNG file that is 158x158 pixels. Here is the one I created:

apple-touch-icon.png

Now, rename that file to apple-touch-icon.png and upload it to the root directory on your website (meaning it will be at https://www.yourdomain.com/apple-touch-icon.png). The iPhone/iTouch does the rest. It resizes and rounds the corners and adds that shiny love to the image.

UPDATE: Here is a quick video overview of how this one works.

[Click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Old school: favicon.ico

Depending on how geeky you are, you may or may not know this little file. The favicon.ico controls the tiny logo/headshot that appears in the address bar for a site when you visit (see below). It's a small differentiator, but that's okay.

To create this file head over to this site. From here you can create one from scratch or upload an existing image. Keep in mind the output is around 15 pixels square so make sure you use something simple. Once you have the file, you need to upload it to the root directory for your site. (Ping me if you need more info on this one.)

Shows up in the address bar in your browser

Picture 8.png

Shows up in tabs when you have them open

Picture 9.png

Shows up in your bookmarks to help them stand out

Picture 10.png

These are both easy tactics to implement can make a big difference in user experience and usefulness. Feel free to add Techno//Marketer on your iPhone and let me know your thoughts.

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The age of Facebook vs. MySpace: January edition

iStock_000005753573XSmall.jpgWhat does the real population of Facebook look like? How does it compare to MySpace? This is the latest edition of my look at social networks and their populations from a marketing perspective.

All numbers in this post are US-only and are collected using each site's advertising management systems so they are up to date and accurate from a marketer's perspective. (Who wants to talk about populations that can't be reached by marketing? Not me.)

What you need to know right now:

  • MySpace's total population is down 4% in the US
  • Facebook now for the first time has more people ages 36-45 than MySpace, soon will overtake 46-50 as well as 31-35
  • Facebook's over 30 growth is still booming at around 24% per category
  • Facebook's under 30 growth was stagnant
  • MySpace still dominant in HS and college age groups

Facebook Overview:

Facebookhad fairly consistent gains across most age groups, however for the first time I see slowdowns in the under 35 population. Surprises include:
  • Less than 2% growth in the 18-21 and 22-25 year old groups (down from approx. 22% gains over past 4 months)
  • 13-17 year old growth is under 8% and the 26-30 year old group gained just over 11%
  • Facebook is 56.89% female and 43.11% male

MySpace Overview:

There were some surprising shifts in the population of MySpace this month. Of note:
  • Overall, the US population on MySpace dropped by 4.16%
  • 26.87% drop in the 36-40 age group from November's numbers
  • 32.93% drop in the 41-45 age group from November's numbers
  • 40.65% drop in the 46-65+ age group from November's numbers
  • MySpace is 52.71% female and 47.29% male

MySpace down 4%; Facebook under 30 stagnant; Facebook finally overtakes MySpace in 36-45 populations

January's look at the real age of MySpace vs. Facebook (US)

Totals.png
Click to enlarge image.

Here are the actual December-January numbers:

AGE RANGEFacebookΔ last monthMySpaceΔ last monthoverall variance
13-175,593,200+7.21%17,072,104-2.94%305%
18-2110,802,300+1.24%20,326,180+1.89%188%
22-257,703,340+1.87%13,029,345+3.32%169%
26-305,966,040+11.19%10,528,581-5.70%176%
31-354,123,740+18.27%4,958,016-15.37%120%
36-403,055,720+23.90%2,843,813-26.87%93%
41-451,580,460+26.74%1,577,310-32.93%100%
46-50963,900+23.88%981,911-40.65%102%
51-65+1,416,820+23.41%7,030,912-7.51%697%

Other key takeaways and burning questions:


  • These numbers represent all total users who can be reached through each site's advertising systems (not all active users)
  • I'm continually interested in the Boomer audiences on these sites and how they engage
  • MySpace's reporting system has been on the fritz, we'll have to see next month's numbers to get a real sense of the space
  • MySpace skews younger than Facebook, engaging more of the highschool population
  • Will need to look at Facebook under 30 numbers next month to see if the growth remains slow

What do you think? What other networks are you investigating? The demographics and targeting options on both sites let you reach your audience in targeted/tailored ways.

UPDATE: Data sources: If you're curious, here is where the data comes from on both sites.

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