Connect2elect

I just came across a pretty cool tool to help shuffle through all the clutter that will be heading our way between now and the election of our next president. Neighborhood America has provided this free tool to any and all, and you can find it here Connect2elect

5 Social Media Marketing Tips You Cannot Ignore

As social media marketers race to all things social these days, a lot of them go in with blinders on, assuming that they can learn it on the fly. All they see are the massive amount of numbers flocking to MySpace and Facebook and they want a piece of that. But before they jump in here are 5 things they better not ignore as they attempt to slice up the pie.

1) If you think you are going to just bum rush your social network with product before establishing yourself as a “Playa”, you better think again. You will have zero “street cred” if you go in talking about this product, or this company or how great this service is. If you do that from the get-go, you might as well be playing an instrument under water.

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2) Target a niche, not a specific social networking site. One of the most foolish things would be to just assume that you are going just “go to MySpace” and set up shop. With that mindest, you might as well bid on the top spot for the term “mortgage” in Google Adwords. You’ll burn through about $300,000 in one day,you’ll have a ton of clicks and zero conversions. Because you were not targeting the right term, the right people and the right niche. The same holds true for marketing in social networks. Find your people!

3) You better know what you are doing. This applies not only to social networks but all forums in which people have an opportunity to speak to a large group of people. You have to realize that WORDS HAVE POWER if used the wrong way. There is usually some individuals who have more power based on longevity or whatever and you really don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.  Once you have developed a comfort level with the people in the network, and them you, then you can start to pitch a little bit.

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4) Don’t underestimate the power of your profile. Contrary to what some might think, a profile will tell a lot about you, what you do, and how well you do it. When creating the profile, be honest but also be humble. There is nothing worse than reading about how great someone thinks of themselves. But there is nothing wrong with success either, You need to strike a balance. Doing it right, will have people wanting to know more about what you do. It’s another way of promoting yourself with subtle ease.

5) Blog about it. Blog often and blog alot. But make sure that instead of selling, you’re telling. There is nothing more viral than blogs, especially if they are good. An extension of your social network persona, will be your blog. If you take it serious, then your network will realize that you take what you do, serious. Be an expert, but also be someone that your social network can rely on for anything. they will find you through your blog eventually.

If you do these things, along with about a dozen more smaller things, then you can set up your business and  yourself for a happy coexistence in the burgeoning social network marketplace. If you don’t so these, you’ll join the other millions of people with empty profiles and blogs with 2 posts in 2 years. It’s your choice.

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So do you have any suggestions to anyone who might be considering marketing in social networks? Let’s hear them!

Baby Boomers and Social Networks.

So we have MySpace and Facebook and LinkedIn and a smattering of other social networking sites out there, but what’s out there for the wired boomer?  How about Eons? I’m not so sure about the name. But maybe that’s intentional? Eons sounds like a nightclub. You know the kind that’s only around for about 3 years and then is reinvented into a country saloon… Almost sounds somewhat presienct..  So before we spell the demise of Eons, Let me digress. Eons features sections on fun, love, money, body – and obituaries, among others. True to the demographic, you won’t be seeing obit notices on MySpace any time soon.

Founded by Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor, Eons.com caters to the 50-plus demographic, aiming to become their MySpace and Facebook, writes Reuters. “These are people who want to spend money to save time rather then spend their time trying to save money,” Taylor is quoted as saying. The site offers interactive games, news on entertainment and hobbies, a longevity calculator and an obituary database that sends alerts when someone you know dies. Note: If I’m starting to send obit notices to friends about friends who bit it in their 50’s, then it’s time to put away the bong and lace up the cross-trainers.

The site creates associations between members with similar goals, some of which, such as “take a trip to Hawaii,” will serve as leads for marketers, writes ClickZ. Site partners hoping for such leads include Verizon, Hyatt, Liberty Mutual, Harrah’s Entertainment, and Humana.

Eons.com also offers standard display ad units as well as high-level sponsorships and targeted contextual placements. Its “Cranky” search engine, which uses Ask.com technology, allows users to rate search results, some of which will be vetted by human editors.

Another Boomer site is Boomj. I’m not sure if that’s pronounced Boom-J or is it Boomja? nevertheless  this site seems to have a little bit more going on than Eons. Here is Boomj’s description:

The name BOOMj derives from the two primary audiences we serve: the Baby Boomers Generation and Generation Jones – both born during the big 20-year, post-World War II boom in births from the mid-1940’s to mid-1960’s.

  • Baby Boomers were born 1942 to 1953; we associate their youth with Howdy Doody, Davy Crocket hats, and later, Woodstock and Vietnam War demonstrations.
  • Generation Jones, born 1954 to 1965, is a newer concept and name that represents the actual children of the sixties (more wide-eyed than tie-dyed); Jonesers were weaned on The Brady Bunch and Easy Bake Ovens and later were the teens of 70’s heavy metal, disco, punk and soul.

At this point it still remains to be seen whether these will actually work in the same fashion as some of the larger more notable social networks. The question is do Boomers want to spend time sitting in front of the pc making friends or would they rather be out in the clubs throwin down? It really does boil down to how the Boomer nation has adapted and adopted to social networking.  Social networking is more an extension of Gen Y and even younger as yet to be named generations.  Boomers with exceptionsl power and influence however may choose to keep it simple to the extent that their cell phones and email are what they consider as being wired in todays culture, Boomers will make a determination very quickly whether Eons and Boomj is for them or not.

Britney Spears’ new compelling song titles

Taking branding to the next level and the fact that her name was searched on a cumulative 14 million times last month. Britney has released her new album art. A quick note. a) albums don’t exist anymore and b) CD jewel case art is almost non-existent as well. So having said that, we can always steer towards a crotch shot if need be. So without further ado, here are the titles of her new songs. Beware the spelling and the emotional depth  of these tracks amazing. In parentheses are the authors comments.

1. Gimme More (Of what? )

2. Piece of Me ( which part, we’ve seen most of it already)

3. Radar ( Something she could use for her camera friendly friends)

4. Break The Ice ( Something needed when she sees her kids)

5. Heaven On Earth ( The current state of her affairs?)

6. Get Naked (Enough already)

7. Freakshow ( Any time she leaves the house)

8. Toy Soldier ( Her perception of the war)

9. Hot As Ice (Seemed like a good idea for a song title)

10.Ooh Ooh Baby ( Seemed like a really cool title for a song, dontcha think?)

11.Perfect Lover (KFed?)

12. Why Should I Be Sad (Let us count the ways)

Facebook is white hot!

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook has a valuation of $15 billion. That’s fifteen billllion dollars, I’m quoting Doctor Evil there.  Why is it valued so high? Every day Facebook adds another 100,000 users. It has 35 million active users and underneath that it has over 6 million active user groups.

According to the WSJ, Facebook is going to make close to $30 million this year. More incredibly Facebook costs nothing to use. So this begs the question, how is it going to make 30 mill and why is it valued so high? The answers are traffic, data, and advertising. Similar to what Google has done with AdWords, Facebook has the built in luxury of 35 million users with deep data points to pitch. The  other reason why the valuation is so high is that what makes Facebook so attractive is that the data is essentially user data.

Google Adwords relies on keyword contextual data but Facebook can get down and dirty. If it wants to go after sophomore high school students in Trenton, New Jersey, it can. Or lets say, college graduates from UCLA from 2004,  that hail from Long Beach, it can do that too. It has the ability right now to target by age, gender and location. Eventually it will be able to automatically target  its users based on the personal information that users have supplied.

What we don’t know is what the finished product of Facebook will eventually be. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that it could be 30 years before we finally see what the last iteration of Facebook could be, and that it could be very different from what it is now. It’s amazing that when he started Facebook, he was 19. His initial intent was to create a site that showed you who was in certain classes at Harvard, so that you could make a more than educated decision of what classes you wanted to take and with whom. Amazing how something that started out as a mere tool or app for a college campus has turned into a social networking phenomenon. It reminds me of Napster.

I’m sure what a lot of people are thinking, or rather a lot of marketing people are thinking, is how they can get in the slipstream of Facebook. What this means is, how can a marketer create a business that is a direct result of the creation of Facebook? Google has spawned the creation of 1000’s of companies that are around because of Google. I’m sure we can expect the same thing with Facebook.

What do you think will happen with Facebook? Are you a part of Facebook? Do you use it regularly? What will the landscape of social networks look like in 2 years?

Mobile Marketing won’t work until…

I just took part in a poll on LinkedIn in which we were all asked how often we used our mobile device as a browser. The answers were generally that the screen was too small, the load was too slow, and it was entirely too difficult.  Now a portion of the respondents did say that using the Safari browser on their iphones did make it easier, but that was on the iphone only. Which leaves the other 95% of mobile users out in the cold.

Which leads us to all of the wireless carriers right now who are touting their phones access to the web as being so easy to use and how fun it is to connect to get the latest scores, the latest news etc etc.  The problem is website capability suited to mobile devices, Wifi speed compatible to mobile devices and mobile devices compatible to the web in regards to connection speed.

If we look at what has happened within the last 2 years we can see that we are moving there quickly. But right now, the general consensus is that most people do not surf the web using their mobile device simply because the expereince is a pain in the ass.

Let’s also not forget the hidden charge that most wireless carriers tack on above and beyond what you are charged to use your phone as…. a phone.

Here is a typical but more technical explanation of why most people do not use their phones as browsers:

iPhone browser is good, but still needs work. I do use it quite a bit, but it can sometimes be frustrating because its easy to miss links (maybe my phone has an offset issue?) and some sites just put too many images up. EDGE is definitely too slow to be useful for browsing so a wireless connection is a must. And Safari’s support of Javascript seems to be limited so some AJAX type sites don’t work well. The embedded applications like weather, stock-quotes and google maps work great.”

What I like though, is this comment from Greg Harris, CEO of Mobile Visions:

I am not a typical mobile user since I am in the mobile industry, so I will comment on when I use it as a consumer.On my iPhone, I use the browser 90% of the time that I use the actual phone. It has changed mobile web browsing completely, and will produce a major shift in how we view the mobile web going forward. They have set a new standard for manufacturers. I mostly use our iPhone RSS reader to catch up on my blogs and news.

I do not use the phone, the email & sms suck, and I rarely use the iPod.

A better indication would be my Blackberry. While still mostly a phone, and email device, I use the browser about 20% of the time I am using it. Many people don’t use the browsers because they do not know of useful, fast loading mobile web sites that they can access. (We’re working on that.)

There is no question that mobile web browsing is moving beyond the “emergency” stage. Admobs is serving billions of ad impressions. Social networks are appearing every day, and useful mobile web applications are being developed. 

As the bandwidth and handset capabilities improve, and the quality and availability of the content grows, there will continue to be a major shift.

So we know where it’s heading we just need the carriers and the sales people and the marketers to be straight up with the consumers and let them know that yes you can surf the web but it’s not going to be the same as on your pc. And that flip phone we just sold you for free, won’t work nearly as well as this $500 Treo or Blackberry. Even then, We are also going to charge you an additional fee to surf the web and not all of your favorite web sites will be available on your 2×2 or 3×3 screen as well. It might also take some time to load so be patient. 

Do you think the message is mixed to consumers? Are mobile devices primed for public use of the internet or are we still in the infant stages? Is it fair to tell consumers that they can surf the web to their hearts content, when it really might not be the case? Is it fair to charge for a service that really does not work well on the majority of phones? How should social networks be used on a mobile device?

Alot of questions, but the reality is we are going there whether we like it or not. The laptop will be transformed shortly to the kneetop. And the cellphone will be a complete extension of who and what we are, it will be our connection to everything that we know.