Posts Tagged 'Twitter'



The Problem with the Social Web

Competition is a good thing. Burger King is across the street from McDonalds. Chipotle sits a few hundred yards from Moe’s, Sprint and AT&T offer virtually the same thing. At the end of the day it’s about choice and personal preference that decide whether we go for the hamburger or the hamburger, the buritto or the buritto, or the phone or the phone. Sure we might get a recommendation or suggestion from someone, or we might be motivated by some type of incentive-but ultimately, you make the choice to choose…

Two years ago my friend Jason Breed and I created Hashtag Socialmedia- a tweetchat that revolved around talking about the business of social media. We patterned the chat around the rise of tweetchats that had distinct hashtags associated with them-our model came from Sarah Evans and her #journchat, which at the time was virtually the only tweetchat out there.

Her idea became our idea. But with additional bells and whistles and a different topic. The same but different. What drove both were the variety and types of people that participated. Was it a form of “Me-too”-ism? Maybe. But we weren’t competing for the same eyeballs and ears, so it didn’t matter. We took the basic concept of a tweetchat and made it our own.

In the larger picture of the social web though-there is Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and blogs. Those are your so called starting points in social and then everything else sorta falls into lockstep behind them. I’m generalizing blogs, but if you insist, I could go with WordPress, Typepad and Blogger.

The point is this.  Right now we are stuck in the Me too phase of social. I see things being created that are offshoots of the basic premise of connecting, sharing and communicating-but nothing that is transformational. Nothing that is altering the way people do business.

If anything, I still see the adoption of social media taking longer than I expected.

Consider the following statements:

“We have a blog, come read it and find out cool stuff about our company”

“Come join our community and learn more about us”

“We have a Twitter account, follow us we may say something insightful”

“Come see our Facebook page and fan/like us”

“View our Youtube videos and share them”

“Download out mobile app and receive valuable benefits”

“Register for our email newsletter and print coupons”

See what I mean? We’re all drinking from the same well. Doing what we’ve been told works.  We’re all in the same bathtub and the toys in the tub are the same one’s that were there last week, last month and last year. Any new additions to the tub will be the same “type” of bath toys that are currently available, but nothing really new that may spur me to take two baths in the same week!. I know, what a ridiculous analogy-but my point being that I’m afraid that we’re stuck right now and it might be awhile before we become “unstuck”.

Recently I read where, First it was AOL, then it was Microsoft, then it was Google and now it’s Facebook. I’d say that was pretty safe. But look how different each was from the previous NBT.

It’s safe to easily sit here and say that Facebook is “it” right now, but also with the aspect of Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube  being variants of a solid basic notion that Facebook understood early on which is this:

All of those above mentioned platforms all have a solid foundation of “ease of  sharing, creating, connecting and communicating” at their core. There is no mystery about that. Sure, we’re exploring different ways that those can be exploited-but nothing really different. It’s “Here’s what you do, here’s how they work, the rest is up to you”- Now go do it.

The mystery is in what’s next. We obsess on it. But I will say this- We don’t need another Facebook. We don’t need another Facebook competitor either. We just need a better experience-but right now I don’t know what it looks like or where it’s going to come from.

Neither do you.

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Does Twitter Work?

About once a week I usually get the question, “How does Twitter work? or What’s the deal with Twitter?” And yet throughout the course of a week as well I will also hear the following:

  1. Twitter doesn’t work
  2. How can people spend so much time on Twitter
  3. Twitter has no value

Then couple that with the following from Business Insider and one might really start to question it’s actual value.

There are 56 million accounts on Twitter following 8 or more accounts. There are only 38 million following 16, and just 12 million following 64.

To the casual observer, this all might mean that Twitter is a complete waste of time. To that I say that’s fine, I’ll keep using it for as long as it’s still available. For me, Twitter is invaluable. I’ve made deeper and longer lasting connections to my peers because of it; and because of that, because of those networks, it not only opened a lot of doors, but it also helped me get my current position at E & Y.

If you have doubts on how to use Twitter and still think it’s not worth it,  listen to and watch Tom Martin’s Slideshare presentation on getting a job using social media.

For those that use Twitter and use it as a platform for media consumption as well as sharing and connecting with peer networks-I imagine their opinions of it will be completely aligned on the pro side of it being completely beneficial to them doing their jobs.

Throw the numbers out.

 

 

How Accountable are you with your Social Media?

Recently the spate of social media faux pas’s would tend to make one wonder if putting yourself “out there” is really worth it. The novice I’m sure is wondering that, as well as the expert. Why all of a sudden are people not caring or simply not thinking about what they tweet or what they say on a social network? This thought is what drove the following deck that I will be presenting this weekend in Orlando

Brands are still not taking Twitter Seriously

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not nitpicking. But let’s talk about social media icons. We’re starting to see them on everything. Specifically the Twitter and Facebook icons. Just because we see them, doesn’t mean that those companies are “social”, that they are engaged, fully engaged or partly engaged. We can easily call it social media lip service, but when I checked the Twitter presence of some of the top 100 global brands according the Businessweek-engagement was little or none, and in a lot of cases, the brands didn’t even possess the Twitter handle.

For example, @Disney has over 140,000 followers and yet has only tweeted 210 times. I know it’s Disney and they might not have to care about Twitter, but that’s not the point. It’s 2011 and brands are going all in when it comes to social. Just look at this years Super Bowl Ads. This might be the year social takes the Super Bowl by storm.

Check out @Samsung 2500 followers and… a total of 8 tweets.  Meanwhile they have over 200,000 fans on Facebook. Was this the strategy they were told or did they come up with this internally? Should I give them the benefit of the doubt in regards to when they  launched their (new) social identity? Is it a work in progress? Take GAP, over 50,000 followers and yet a mere 400 or so tweets…

You’re probably saying it’s just Twitter, but for brands, Twitter makes more sense than it does for the casual user. It’s a better fit and it’s an opportunity.

With that said, I would like to say to brands, “Don’t be social because you have heard you need to be”. Yet we know that’s how some operate. Why not attach a strategy with some (not many) achievable decent KPI’s to your social initiatives? Weave your Twitter activity into your daily routine  the way you check email dozens of times per day.

Hey Brands, don’t hoard social, own it. Yet I know major companies that either go out and do nothing with their Twitter presence or worse, squat on their Twitter handle  so that others don’t it. For example. @Budwesier, @L’Oreal, @Heinz, @Colgate, @Chanel, @Wrigleys , @KFC, @Avon , @Adidas, @rolex , @Hermes, Tiffany, and ING, all get an F.  Hello strategy? You might be thinking or actually they might think that they don’t need to bother with Twitter-Guess what? Twitter is free and Facebook is free and the barriers of entry and engagement are absurdly low.

What a lot of companies fail to realize is that we consumers will search for them, or they will eventually come up in search because of a question, a customer service issue, or because prospects want to see who they are. We will click on your social icons. Then we’ll come to our own conclusions. Search and social are not strange bedfellows.  Your social results and personas will come up high in search and if you and your brand are coming up short, it’s an opportunity lost.And if you are there, don’t sleep walk through the chance to engage with your customers.

Social without a purpose is a waste. Brands who put the Twitter and Facebook icons on their site or on their marketing collateral with nothing to really show for it, is not very smart. Of course I also think having search results where a brand and its associated products does not come up on page one or position one is a major transgression, yet some major brands miss that opportunity as well. Positive search results are a win and always will be. Bad search results can be devastating.

Control the social aspects of your brand.

7 Tips for Staying on Top of the Social Wave

Often times you have to step in it to realize you are in it. With social media, you would have to have lived in a cave on an island in the Pacific to not know how ubiquitous it is. It’s permeating every part of our daily lives. With that being said, here are 7 “things” you should be aware of as we go forward in this digital world that can carry you and your company towards Web 3.0.

1) Look for more content to be produced by “others”. This means look  for the rise of the professional content creators masking as citizen journalists. They will blur the lines so much-you won’t know where the value lies. We used to marvel at UGC, but what is it when large organization start to pass their content off as UGC? Think of Wal Mart or Astroturfing. Know the difference between “real” UGC and professional content.

There’s a reason why Twitter is killing Facebook in CTR rates. Marketers are realizing that Twitter is a consumption vehicle for content and thus they are catching on in continuing to push out content- but they realize they must disguise the content in a way that is appealing and doesn’t seem hook ladened.

2) There will be a continued increase in the value of communities but you will also see more splintering of those communities into niches. Face it, we all have a niche, and connecting to those people via an online community, certainly drives a good portion of our searches. Knowing that people are searching for their tribes will help you in your understanding of market segments. Focus on focus-Want to grow your product? Find the niche, it’s there.

3) Mobile will be THE social platform.The global mobile market is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2015. What are you waiting for? Your competitors? What are you doing about it? Get serious about mobile.

4) Social data will determine your next move in your future business engagements, don’t ignore it-Social data will be driving consumer engagement.

Companies are mining the social web to build dossiers on you. Information posted publicly on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums and other sites is fair game

5) Engagement strategies will be different on every channel because of the data returned from #4. Don’t assume that your social strategies will be the same across all BU’s. Each has it’s own nuance and needs. Be mindful that your social solutions will be different-understand their capabilities and their deliverables.

6) Mitigating loss of control in social media will continue to be underserved and undervalued. What seems to be common is that people don’t do anything from a crisis communication and loss mitigation standpoint until after things hit the fan. Create your social media worst case scenario plan, don’t wait.

7) Search will still rule, but social search will drive future customer engagement. How are you currently addressing the fact that people will be using a mobile device and could be doing searches through their social network of choice for products and service and companies? For starters, think local and then learn how it works.

If there were a way to etch these in pencil, I would do it. Things change so quickly in the digital social media world that nothing is finite and everything is fair game. But as an organization, agency or marketer trying to make heads or tails over what might happen-this is as good a snapshot as any to start from.

The Ambient Conversations of Twitter

Last week I wrote about the diminishing return of relationships on Twitter. The gist being that what we call our network on Twitter is very loosely constructed and defined. This week, I want to focus on the ambient nature of most conversations in Twitter.

Here’s a quick short definition of ambient: “of or relating to the immediate surroundings”.

The New York Times referenced this “nature” on Twitter  by another name- “Ambient Awareness”, essentially saying that Twitter promotes — the feeling of incessant online contact…Yes and No. This feeling of connectedness via conversation does abound but it is almost one way for every one. You see here’s the thinking. I tweet, you read. Right? But, you only read if you are are currently staring at your screen right then. Sure you can peel back the time line to a certain extent-but the point is this:

There are conversations and then there is the rest of what is happening on Twitter.

The rest of what is happening is the self promotion or the marketing of one’s self or company. I know there’s more but talk to enough sage users of Twitter and that is what they will tell you. From a conversational standpoint, how many of those (conversations) are really happening? And to what depth and extent?

A lot of you are still big believers in the conversational benefits of what Twitter can do for a business and I am too for that matter, but the ability to rise above the noise takes a deft touch, a solid working knowledge of Twitter tools and applications, and an ability to understand how they are best utilized.

Without that foundation,  you’ll just swim in a sea of ambient awareness.

Twitter Isn’t Really a Network Anymore…

In the early days or say the first year or so of Twitter’s life it really was a way to get to to know people. The motives were pure. Twitter provided a way to get to know people. You could build a network.  Conversations were abundant. As the number of people exponentially grew, the number of “real” conversations exponentially decreased. Sure people still talked to each other but the conversations changed.

Why?

Because the perception and usage of Twitter changed without anyone really doing anything internally to change it. First the perception changed by the notion that the more followers you had, the more relevant or important you were. So when perception changed conversations were altered. It became a race to add people and not talk to them. The network or the notion of a network was altered.

Second, the usage changed from  a vehicle or platform for dialogue, to a vehicle or a platform to talk at people. Call it the great migration of marketing to Twitter. Relationships were not as important as a RT of a link. A funny thing also occurred along the way as well. The early adopters also fell into this trend as well. In fact if you ask the developers of Twitter, they themselves will tell you that Twitter is a media consumption platform. We all use it to push content.

That’s too bad.

Though the people that I follow on Twitter is not that large a group (About 850) I would like to think that I know 100 of them pretty well and could call them, have a cup of coffee with them, or sit down to dinner with them. Could you say the same?


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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