Archive for December, 2011

Some writers would have you believe that Social Media is already dying, we’re all sooo tired of it and that external forces are making it all so difficult and oh of course Google+ has no chance because no one even knows about it….what a load of rubbish! Below is an extract of a recent article on mashable.com, (a usually enlightening read) it came under the headline Social Media Exhaustion – seems the writers are a bit exhausted themselves and stuck for anything interesting to say over the Christmas period!

Facebook will break the 1 billion user mark in 2012, but its numbers have flattened out in the U.S. Twitter is growing; it may have as many 450 million users, but no one knows how many people are really active users. Google+ is growing steadily, but is still well behind the two most established networks and much of the public is unaware of its existence. There is the now persistent, with good reason, backlash against mobile phone usage in cars and on streets.”

“In general, more and more people seem to be re evaluating their social and digital existence.”

“That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.”

Facebook numbers are flattening in the US!?!? Oh yes hitting 1 billion is a definite sign that we are getting exhausted with it all (remind me how many people there are in the US??  Has this author ever heard of market saturation….) and no one knows how many active users Twitter has?! Come on! The same could be said for any SM service.  Then this article is critical of Google+ for being “still well behind the two most established networks and much of the public is unaware of its existence” – well this really does take the biscuit!  Google plus only launched in June and already has an independently estimated 62 million users, adding 625,000 users daily!…I could go on, but see our previous article about Google+ it’s way to important to one of the most powerful companies on the planet not to succeed…  And of course we’re re evaluating our social and digital existence, that’s the nature of the beast – it’s a new thing (relatively) obviously we need to adapt!

Now if this article had said that many of us need to manage our use of social media better because of the rise in SM obsession / addiction and that we need to be aware of personal Social Media exhaustion then I would have been a supporter, perhaps mashable/ the author could offer some useful strategies…

Speaking of which here’s a good related article from The Telegraph – Why I’m taking a break from Twitter

Graham Knowles Digital Guerilla RAW Media Group

 

The truth is – Social Media will continue to grow and evolve in 2012, there may be some unexpected happenings (very likely, judging from recent history) and there will be some less surprising things, such as the inevitable growth and success of services such as Google+ . Thank you that’s my ranting over for today!

Peace be with you all and go the Robin Hood Hacktivists!

Author: Digital Guerilla – Sydney

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Download all of your Facebook files…SCARY!!! Do you remember everything you’ve said or done on Facebook? Well they do! And now you can download the file that they keep on you!

Ok so this isn’t that new, but most people I talk to still have no idea about this and many other important elements of using Social Media.  So, when you click the “Download a copy of your Facebook data” link, be prepared for some surprises! Your data includes:

  • Any photos or videos you’ve shared on Facebook!
  • Your Wall posts, messages and chat conversations!
  • Your friends’ names and some of their email addresses!
Graham Knowles Digital Guerilla Sydney

But what else do they keep record of? What aren’t they sharing with you? What information about you are SM providers using to profit through?  Here is some information that is worth keeping in mind:

Copyright: Who Really Owns Your Photos, Video and Media?

A lot of organizations and people maybe surprised to learn that when you post media such as videos, songs, and photos to social networks like Facebook and YouTube, you grant them (and sometimes their partners) a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license, to use your work, reproduce it and distribute it including for promotional purposes. And guess what? Because it’s royalty-free they don’t have to pay you a dime even if they used footage of that awesome video you directed in one of their TV ads. Check out YouTube’s terms on section 6C (similar clauses can be found on many network’s terms of service). And guess what, they don’t even have to notify you that they used it.

Your Brand Or Profile Photo Could Be Used For Product Endorsements Without Consent

It seems that Facebook maybe thinking about giving third party apps or networks the right to use your name or pictures in ads in the future. If you dig into their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, it contains a tiny clause and a link about your right not to appear in third party ads. It then leads you to another link and after a while you finally see a clause that says “Facebook does not give third party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads. If we allow this in the future, the [privacy] setting you choose will determine how your information is used.” This could have a huge impact on nonprofits, brands, and people who could potentially be used in ads; serving as endorsements without ever realizing or granting the company or even political campaign permission. Check your settings now!

Privacy Issues

As new features are rolled out, some networks like Facebook make changes to the community without your consent and input. Facebook has riled its community up several times over the last few years by releasing new features and sharing people’s personal info without notifying them properly. To make matters worse, they have forced people to search for the settings that allow them to opt out to maintain their privacy. Why does Facebook do this? Probably because founder, Mark Zuckerberg believes that that there is no privacy on the Internet. And while Zuckerberg has a point, (if you don’t want something public, don’t post it online) enough users think that they have a right to keep their data private and the FTC thinks so too! In November of this year, the FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said “Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users. Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy.

How Your Personal Data Is Used

Every time someone signs up for Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube they give away their personal data and rarely question it. This data is stored and used for marketing purposes. That’s how marketers are able to do such niche targeting on platforms like Facebook. Over on YouTube they “may record information about your usage of the site, such as the channels, groups and favorites you subscribe to, which other users you communicate with, the videos you watch, the frequency and size of data transfers, and information you display about yourself as well as information you click on in YouTube.” Put simply, YouTube records and monitors every little thing you do on their network.

Now as a marketer, you probably like the idea of doing such niche targeting. I do too. But individual users often don’t realize how this data is being collected and used. Social networks should be transparent about the data they use for marketing purposes and not bury layers of privacy related links filled with legal jargon that very few people will be able to interpret. Sometimes when I read these privacy statements, I think they may as well have posted it in a 3-point font because no one will really understand it unless you studied law, and in particular Internet law.

No Clear Laws To Protect People From Online Harassment

“An estimated 40% of data being pushed onto the web is coming from social networks,” according to Sean Golliher, who founded and writes for the search engine marketing journal SEMJ.org. And while a lot of the data is everyday chatter of people sharing information, we have all heard the horror stories of people being cyber stalked or cyber bullied.Unfortunately the legal system is still struggling to understand the legal implications of technology, the Internet and social networks. Today there are a lot of old laws on the books that the legal system relies on and it is not adequately protecting people from online harassment.

For example, for “over a period of more than 18 months, Buddhist leader Alyce Zeoli received 8,000 harassing and threatening tweets from William Lawrence Cassidy. In 2010, Zeoli reported the harassment to the FBI and pressed charges. In mid December, a US federal judge dismissed the case, saying that “uncomfortable” speech on sites like twitter is protected by the Constitution, according to Annie Urban who blogged about the case on the Care2 News Network.

“The judge in the case appears to misunderstand the nature of twitter. He noted that, unlike a “telephone call, letter or e-mail that is addressed to and directed at another person,” the postings on twitter (a “bulletin board”) could simply be turned on or off (source: New York Times). While it is possible to block people on twitter (just as you could block a particular phone number or e-mail address), there is nothing stopping that person from creating a new account and continuing the harassment. Twitter is, in fact, very much like a telephone call, letter or e-mail that is directed at another person,” said Urban.  

Secret Algorithms That Claim Who Is Influential And Who Isn’t

To feed the obsession with social media, products like Klout have been developed to supposedly measure social influence. These vendors claim that if you give them permission to access your data, they can determine your influence by looking at your tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, who is following you, etc. Here’s the problem. 1) Many of these vendors have proprietary algorithms so no one has any clue what they are truly measuring. 2) You can’t divorce offline influence from online.

Some of these vendors like Klout have collected information about people that they were never authorized to collect –including information about minors. How could this happen? Up until early November, Klout would score registered users Facebook friends and Klout’s algorithm could not tell who was a minor.

My advice. Be strategic and focus on what matters most – finding and cultivating the people who care about the issues you are working on whether that is 2000 people or 200,000 people.

Here’s how to get your Facebook data file:

How can I download my information from Facebook?

You can download your information from the Account Settings page.

  1. Click the account menu  at the top right of any Facebook page
  2. Choose Account Settings
  3. Click on “Download a copy” of your Facebook data
  4. Click the Download button on the following page

Because this download contains your profile (timeline) information, you should keep it secure and take precautions when storing, sending or uploading it to any other services.

 

Author:  Graham Knowles @RAWTimes

Another great article on Blogging Strategy from Social Media Examiner check it out…

 

Is your business working with bloggers?

Do you blog?

This article examines new research that shows blogging is here to stay.

Like many social media tools, blogs have seen a steady increase in numbers and influence over the last several years.

Read the whole report…. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/7-reasons-to-rethink-your-blogging-strategy-new-research/

 

Here’s a great review of Tech Trends for 2011 compiled by a group of UK Telegraph journalists.  Obviously Hacktivism being at No. 1 is the most profound element and one that we at The RAW Media Group all celebrate and fear in possibly equal portions (haven’t measured!), but that’s the beauty of the evolutionary and revolutionary times we live in!  Sometimes scary is good!

The most interesting appearance is that of Google+ being at No.2 here, considering it’s the new guy on the block.  But these journo’s obviously see what we see (have a look at my previous post) – ignore Google+ at your peril!

 

Anonymous and LulzSec: tech trends of 2011 - rawsocialmedia

1. The rise of hacktivism
This was the year in which hacktivism entered the mainstream thanks to a brief and chaotic digital crime spree by LulzSec, a media-savvy offshoot of Anonymous, a more po-faced and political group. Over 50 days in May and June, LulzSec breached security systems and crippled websites of major corporations including News Internationaland Nintendo, and government agencies, such as SOCA and the CIA. The attacks were accompanied by press announcements and Twitter boasts brimming with nautical humour. As quickly as the group emerged, it disappeared, as alleged members were arrested. British suspects awaiting trial include a 19-year-old “recluse” from Essex and an 18-year-old from Shetland. But it is clear hacktivism is here to stay as something corporations and governments must be wary of as cyber security moves up the agenda. Sony suffered arguably the most damaging attack of the year, when 77 million PlayStation Network users’ personal details were accessed by hackers, forcing the firm to shut down for three weeks. It has been estimated the incident, which Sony has linked to Anonymous, cost $170m. Later in the year we witnessed the influence of hacktivism in the real world, as the Occupy protesters adopted Anonymous’ rhetoric and Guy Fawkes mask.(Christopher Williams)

2. Google+ launches in a bid to rival Facebook 
When Google co-founder Larry Page took over the company as chief executive this year, he prioritised achieving a decent social strategy above all else – making all staff’s bonuses dependant upon it. Google+, a new social network aiming to steal Facebook’s users and mindshare, was the result – launching in June. Despite claiming it has more than 40 million registered members, the company will not reveal how many of those are active. Further confusion came when Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, told The Telegraph a few weeks ago that Google+ was not a social network which competes with Facebook. However, all evidence points to the contrary. Next year it will be make or break for Google’s latest social project. (Emma Barnett)

Google’s Android operating system has been taking over smartphones for a number of years, but in 2011 it passed the tipping point when more than half of all sales were Android. With 10 billion appsdownloaded and a growing range of mobile phones and tablets on the market, it is set to grow and grow. If anything, however, 2011 was not about a continuing numbers game: the latest products are available across a huge range of prices, from Tag Heuer’s decadent Link to bargain products from Huawei and ZTE, and it is also saw the launch of new operating system Ice Cream Sandwich – although the Galaxy Nexus is an impressive device, it’s the improved design of the software that should make the major impact. That makes Android feel like a suitably premium experience to rival Apple, and with the “face unlock” feature, Google is also demonstrating that it’s leading in innovation as well as polish. (Matt Warman)

4. RIM on the rocks
The riots in August provided a good demonstration of the role technology now plays in virtually every major news event. It quickly emerged that troublemakers were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, an instant messaging service popular among youths, to organise and encourage disturbances. The private and yet viral nature of BBM “broadcasts” – messages designed to be repeatedly forwarded – posed an intelligence challenge to police. The Met later admitted in Parliament it had considered shutting down internet services in an attempt to control the flow of information, but had balked at the legal challenges. Senior officers also told MPs that they had used some intelligence gathered from the BBM network to prevent riots in some places. RIM was called to account for the role of its services in the riots, as were Facebook and Twitter, by the Prime Minister. It quickly became clear that threats of new police powers to restrict the internet during disturbances were just that, however. The pressure the riots put the BlackBerry brand under was as nothing compared to a self-inflicted crisis in October. Web browsing, instant messaging and, crucially, email services collapsed across the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for more than three days. As RIM remained virtually silent, users grew more frustrated. The unprecedented outage was eventually explained by a cascading hardware and software failure at RIM’s British data centre. (Christopher Williams)

5. It’s not a tablet market, it’s an iPad market
If 2010 was the year that Apple proved the sceptics wrong and showed just how much demand there is for the iPad, then 2011 was the year the competition realised just how hard an act it is to follow. It was hard to keep count of the number of ‘iPad killers’ that were released this year. The Asus Transformer and Sony’s S and P tablets had their fans but there were no queues around the block to buy them. Meanwhile,HP’s TouchPad and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook have been such failures that both companies are still sorting out the mess. The strongest competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, is according to Apple a ‘slavish copy’ of the iPad, hence the intellectual property lawsuits the iPad-maker has been filing against it around the world. Regardless of the patent battles, the Galaxy Tab has not put much of a dent in Apple’s market share either. It is not clear whether the tablet market will be like the PC market, in which Apple is a small player among many providers, or whether it will be like the MP3 player market, in which Apple’s iPod was never beaten. One thing is certain: what we have right now is not a tablet market but an iPad market. (Shane Richmond)

 

 

6. The patent wars rage
In 2011 the fiercely-competitive smartphone business turned nasty. The tit-for-tat patent infringement claims that were already simmering boiled over in a bewildering series of court battles around the world, with all of the major players involved. The most intense fight was between Apple and Samsung. Apple claimed its Korean rival’s Galaxy range “slavishly” copied the iPhone and iPad and successfully banned sales of devices in Germany. The pair are now locked in legal disputes in 10 countries. In August Google said it would pay $12.5bn for Motorola Mobility. The price was considered high but compared to rivals the search giant lacked armour in the patent wars, and the acquisition would provide it. It emerged after his death that Steve Jobs reserved special enmity for Android, having previously worked closely with Google. Showing how high stakes are in the smartphone business, he told his biographer “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” The legal quagmire has sucked in at least 21 firms, including all the major manufacturers, big software firms such as Oracle and patent “troll” companies, who exist only to extract licensing fees. Calls to reform the technology intellectual property system grew through the year(Christopher Williams)

7. The beginning of the Ultrabook era
When Apple launched the Macbook Air, some critics initially dismissed the super-thin, lightweight computer as a rich person’s toy, encapsulating a triumph of style over substance. As soon as consumers got their hands on them, however, it became clear that the appeal was significant. Why then did the likes of Dell, Sony and Panasonic produce similarly light models, or even try to? For years, walking into a retailer looking for a really nice looking laptop meant walking out with a Mac. Finally, in 2011, Intel’s cajoling – and $300million helping hand – persuaded manufacturers to give it a go. The result is the Ultrabook – products such as the Asus Zenbook and (unofficially) the Samsung Series 9. These attempts to turn the PC into a real object of desire are likely to meet with real success next year rather than this, but their debut in 2011 meant, for the first time in a long time, users could look at a PC as an object of desire. (Matt Warman)

 

8. A new tech bubble 
This year has seen several large consumer technology companies float and a growing number of huge valuations. This has prompted widespread talk of a new tech bubble forming. A series of high-value Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) have already happened this year, with the likes of the profit-free digital music service Pandora floating for $2.6bn in June and LinkedIn going public soon after with a market valuation now touching $9bn. The new generation of the internet is here. Gone are the days of the information web – it is now all about the social internet and companies like Groupon and Zynga are the new hot tickets for investors. However, the potentially biggest ever consumer technology float is still on the horizon, with 2012 expected to be the year Facebook finally goes public with a predicted valuation of $100bn. (Emma Barnett)

9. The year of the ebook?
Plenty of people unwrapped Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader last Christmas and that showed as ebook sales continued to grow. At the beginning of 2011, Amazon announced that ebooks were outselling paperbacks at its US store. In May, the company confirmed that it was selling more Kindle ebooks than hardbacks in the UK. The company expanded its Kindle range in the Autumn with two new ereaders and a tablet computer, the Kindle Fire. So far only the cheapest of the new Kindles has been released in Britain but there is a good chance that the others will follow next year. Meanwhile, WH Smith began stocking the Kobo ereader and gave it a strong marketing push and Waterstone’s is working on an ereader of its own. Add to that the availability of ereader apps for most smartphones and tablets and you have a situation that is set up for very healthy growth. (Shane Richmond)

 

10. Rural broadband finally gets on a roll
Plans to get broadband into Britain’s rural areas finally kicked off in 2011 – the announcement of the first allocations from Broadband Development UK (BDUK) mean that councils are currently working out how to secure whatever additional money they need and beginning to tender for work that will actually get faster connections out to remote areas. Cities got a boost too, BT’s own Race to Inifinity connected a host of very rural exchanges, and the company continues to roll-out its national upgrade. Next year, more than half of the UK will finally get on to superfast, and BT has even brought forward many of its own plans, as well as hiring ex-servicemen to deliver them. Cynics argue that the latter is a political bid to get more favour from Government, but at the very least it’s an astute one. The BDUK process itself, however, has not been without problems: some companies believe it favours larger competitors and incumbents unfairly. It’s difficult, however, to see what else the organisation should be doing, given the nature of European regulations and procurement law. Mobile broadband, despite some recent and inaccurate headlines, is still on track to deliver services initially in 2013, with subsequent roll-out speeds dependent largely on operators. If the 4G spectrum auction is further delayed, however, real-world delays may become inevitable. In both circumstances, timetables are increasingly tight. But it would be mean to dismiss Government aspirations for the ‘best broadband network in Europe’ as unrealistic yet, especially as there’s no universal standard for measuring that claim. (Matt Warman)

The same as she did to Santa!

 

More clear, practical and positive advice on SMO for small business “How Can I Market My Small Business Online?” 

The most recent and most respected Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by Social Media Examiner was as ever very enlightening. However being retrospective, it fails to cast much of glance into the not too distant future, sure it tells us marketers that we will be using Facebook and YouTube more, the future is video and that those of us who are serious about developing Social Media strategies are going to spend more time looking into Social Bookmarking.

This is not meant to be a criticism of what I view as a really valuable piece of info….but not one mention of Google+ at all, not even a footnote? Seems many Social Media companies are in something of a denial state about Google+ .

Let’s be clear as the New York Times bestselling author Chris Brogan puts it “Google+ is a game changer”

It is clear to anyone in the industry (or it should be!) that if a company with the financial firepower, online influence and development experience that Google has, wants to change things in the Social Media market, we had better take them seriously. We’ve all being selling the benefits of SEO and all the clever flicks and tricks to bump your brand up the Google food chain for years. Well Google just picked up their football and have decided to go start their own game! Have you noticed that Facebook pages, Twitter, Linkedin profiles no longer appear at the top of searches? No they have been deliberately disadvantaged. You want to be visible to Google you better make sure you have a page on Google+

In November of 2011 Google introduced Google Plus Pages for businesses. So why should you consider a Google Plus Page, after all, you have a lot on your plate and you really weren’t counting on having to dive into another social media platform.

It’s not rocket science:

Google is one of the most powerful companies online. They don’t own just one of the popular search destinations, they own the two most used search engines! – Google and YouTube. Can you really afford not to pay attention?

Google is committed to being social. They have the analytics to show that traffic from social sites converts better. If anyone has mega-data on online consumer behavior, it’s Google. They’ve tried a few things that didn’t work – just take a look at Google Buzz. The problem with Google Buzz was that it put privacy at the risk of their users and consumers were furious. The issue with Buzz was the clash it caused in private worlds. Google quickly apologized, pulled back, and announced a settlement. They donated $8.5 million to Internet-privacy groups as a way of showing good faith.

Google sends traffic. It’s still being proven but clearly there is value in Google Plus pages for the above resons. By just creating a Google+ profile you create an inbound link to the website that the page represents. Inbound links are becoming more and more important when it comes to search engine marketing.

Can you really afford not to participate, knowing just those three things?

Mashable recently published the following Q&A with Chris Brogan author of Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything.

Google+ was unveiled in June and introduced brand pages just last month. How have you explained what the new social network changes or how it works best when it hasn’t been around for very long?

It’s pretty easy to explain. Google+ posts sent to “public” rank fairly well in Google search results. You can’t get that with Facebook or Twitter these days. If almost 70% of people start their online trek to your website via search, then that’s fairly self-explanatory. Second, Facebook works on a “closed” and insular “who you know” model, whereas Google+ works on a “what you’re into” model. It’s much easier to prospect in B than A.

The title of your book says that “Google’s Social Network Changes Everything.” Can you be more specific?

Absolutely. I wrote about 200 pages of more specific. But for you? I’ll boil the ocean: Search is probably the biggest reason it changes everything. Second, a very wealthy company (Google) is pushing Plus to be a very powerful effort to change the way we share information on the web. They’ve spent money on commercials during many mainstream events, and they’ve changed up many of their disparate applications and processes to point harder toward Google+. They’ve really quickly moved towards building a social backplane that is a lot more functional than any other social network.

What about the opportunities for brands on Google+ is different than those on Facebook or Twitter?

Brands can share better than on Twitter, because the visual appeal of Google+ pages encourages more clicking. Brands can host hangouts and have deeper interaction than on Twitter. Because Google’s search features are far more robust than Facebook, the opportunity to prospect and find more potential community members is much better.

Should brands approach their presence on Google+ differently than how they approach it on other social networks? And if so, how?

Brands should strongly advocate the individual employees as well as the brands on Google+. There are restrictions to what a brand page can do, so the opportunity is to have really strong personal brands do some of the heavy lifting in building community. Scott Monty at Ford and Jennifer Cisney at Kodak are great examples of this.

How many different brand representatives did you interview for the book? What was most surprising to you about the way they are using Google+?

I spoke to a handful of people representing brands, and did a lot of research on others. Probably the first and most interesting surprise I had was how often Michael Dell, Chairman of Dell Computers, uses Hangouts to communicate with people live and in real time on the site. Beyond that, I wrote the book in early days, so the case studies were still developing.

What is the most creative or effective way that you’ve seen a brand use Google+?
I’m really impressed with how Intel has built specific sharing circles for the different types of content they intend to share, but if I could only choose one, I really like how The Corcoran Group showcases all kinds of interesting things around New York City. They make their page so interesting that you just have to check in quite often.

Which brands do you consider to have the top Google+ pages?

I like Intel, Corcoran Group, Alure Home Improvement, Red Bull, Ford, and Kodak.

Google+ has a fraction of the number of users that Facebook has and is dominated by users who work in the technology sector. Do you think Google+ will ever catch up to Facebook in terms of its reach?

This is one of the silliest questions people ask me. Facebook has been around for years. When Facebook first became publicly available, MySpace had a gazillion users. When AOL was at the top of its game as a community platform, there was no such thing as MySpace. Don’t worry about counting users. Google has far deeper pockets than Facebook and several dozen applications that are all useful to business. I’m not predicting that Google+ wipes out Facebook, but the comparison is silly. A few months of Google+ compared to a handful of years of Facebook is not a decent comparison.

Author: Graham Knowles @RAWTimes
Resources: Mashable.com marketing.about.com socialmediaexaminer.com

It’s commonly viewed that Social Media Marketing is about the 1-1 conversation. In this video John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing and author of the books Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine, shares great tips for small businesses to get more out of social media. He also identifies the key social media trends to focus on to make your marketing simple and effective in bringing in more money.

For some reason these videos didn’t want to embed in yesterdays post so here they are…very powerful messages!

Socail Media Revolution 2011

http://www.socialnomics.net/ Part of the world’s most watched Social Media video series; “Social Media Revolution” by Erik Qualman. Based on #1 International Best Selling Book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman. This is a shorter version that includes new social media statistics for 2011.

Did You Know 4.0

This one is now 2 years old, it is so powerful, but imagine how out of date it is already?!?! includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit http://mediaconvergence.economist.com and http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com.

The proposal to use social media within a business context often comes from the bottom up.  We all know that the younger generations tend to be more comfortable, knowledgeable and skilled in the use of the raft of social media sites and tools.  Therefore it is no wonder that the idea often comes from someone who may not naturally be considered to have deep understanding and experience within the business.  New ideas, as ever, can be threatening to some, inspiring dramatic changes, opening businesses up to reinvention and overhauling entire operations. I remember being told by an employer that email was a ‘stupid waste of time’ and that it was too risky to store any of our client records on a computer!  Understandably many managers and employers can be sceptical of social media (fools!) because many people are terrified of change (point them in the direction of “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spender Johnson).  But in business, like life itself, change and relative risk should and must be embraced.  Most of us in business didn’t do it for an easy life without challenges, we did it to push boundaries, establish new and exciting innovations and to have a wee adventure along the way (did I forget to mention making shit loads of money? Surely that goes without saying!). 

Talk to a many about social media and they will still tell you that it’s just a tool for narcissist geeks or students that have nothing better to do than share what they had for breakfast, how many times they scratched their arse and what their watching on the TV – all true but that’s a fraction of the power and application of SM! Many of us eat, sleep and breathe social media marketing – and we are still the tip of the iceberg, most businesses have not yet dipped their toes in the SM water, by the time many do, we’ll have moved on!

This blog is not trying to be the definitive argument, we all need to be creative and come from our own angel but the following is full of mind blowing statistics about the power of social media. It starts to get people to question their three wise monkey’s approach to the topic and may help to convince your colleagues, clients or even friends that social media investment pays.  I doubt if you are reading this blog, on this website, that you are one of the sceptics, but hopefully the video clips combined with a few applied ideas about how you could use these powerful tools in your business will convince your bosses to prioritise social media alongside the more traditional marketing tools.

Watch the video >> Social Media Revolution 2011  http://youtu.be/3SuNx0UrnEo 

http://www.socialnomics.net/ Part of the world’s most watched Social Media video series; “Social Media Revolution” by Erik Qualman. Based on #1 International Best Selling Book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman. This is a shorter version that includes new social media statistics for 2011.

There are still many marketers, many businesses thinking – how can this really help us? We’ll be covering the topic in more depth in future weeks – but since this is my first post for Smart Insights as their social media maven (sorry Social Media “Strategist”) I thought you might like a little bit of background.

The emotional arguments for social media

If the YouTube clip is not convincing enough, let’s see what a number of experts have to say on the topic:

“The old ways of marketing are dead – and being safe is now too risky” Seth Godin, writer, marketing guru amongst other things

“Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” Jeff Antaya, chief marketing officer of Plante Moran

“Social media is not a fad, but a paradigm-shifting toolset” Deborah Hymes

“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter – and getting smarter faster than most companies .”   The ClueTrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual – Locke, Levine, Searls,& Weinberger

The business arguments

If your bosses are still saying that social media may be powerful but its not a priority for your business, how about an argument based on lead generation and bottom line results? Stelzner’s 2011 study neatly summarises the benefits of social media. He says:

The number-one benefit of social media marketing is standing out in an increasingly noisy world. A significant 88% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Improving traffic and subscribers was the second major benefit, with 72% reporting positive results.”

In Stelzner’s study he found that more than half of marketers indicated a rise in search engine rankings was a benefit of social media marketing. As search engine rankings improve, so will business exposure, lead generation efforts and a reduction in overall marketing expenses. More than half of marketers found social media generated qualified leads. The findings are summarised below.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingReport2011.pdf

Another study published by Hubspot shows significant customer acquisition success by companies using blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Source: State of Inbound Marketing Report – http://bit.ly/aewfHr

And those figures are broken down further still to prove social media success within the B2B as well as B2C sectors:

Source: State of Inbound Marketing Report – http://bit.ly/aewfHr

I’ll leave you today with one more video that questions whether social media is a fad. This is another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. It was completely new in 2009 but still full of mind blowing facts, but yes already way out of date! Includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit http://mediaconvergence.economist.com and http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com.

Watch the video >>  Did you know 4.0  http://youtu.be/6ILQrUrEWe8