10 lessons Twitter should have taught you in 2009

You know we’re all amazed at the power of Twitter and the numbers don’t lie. I know I am. But if Twitter went away tomorrow what would you do? How would you adapt? As we have all seen when Twitter does goes down for any prolonged amount of time, the silence is deafening. Some migrate over to Facebook and still others bounce over to friendfeed. But at those times, if you just stop for a moment you notice some things, actually a few things.

This morning I was thinking about those things and then some, and in those times you have to gather your thoughts quickly. Here’s my take on Twitter and real time conversations. Did you notice these things?

1) Our need for real time communication is insatiable

2) Our desire for a platform or a “place” that supports real time communication is what has fueled growth on the internet over the last 12 years.

3) The more focused these type of platforms are, the more successful they are and possibly you!

4) Simple wins

5) Plurk wasn’t simple.

6) LiveFyre will have potential

7) Friendfeed is not the alternative you think and neither is Facebook.

8. A premium level can exist but value has to trump the bells and whistles; And you won’t use it unless everyone else is.

9) The premium level has to have 99.9% uptime in order for you to trust it.

10) Yes, real time instantaneous communication is a great thing for businesses, and an awesome networking tool, but the real power will lie in its ability to bridge the gap with the customer. And the customer needs to know that they have this channel to access where they can get real answers from real people and get real results in….real time.

In the end,  I think Google still might win. If you look at this past year, Sidewiki and Google Wave were and are diamonds in the rough for real time communications, they’re just waiting for you to figure them out and…  given that those 2 came out in 2009, know that Google is not done, never forget that.

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2010 will be the year of…

For companies and corporations, I’d say that 2009 was the year of listening and learning what social media is and what social media can do. But you know what? Yes 2010 will be the year that a lot of companies start to put rubber to the road, but the fact of the matter is that 2010 will be the year of…

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2010 trend predictions in 140 characters

For the last three years Taly Weiss has been putting out a pretty cool end of the year predictions slide deck. This year she did something different and asked an esteemed group of individuals to “tweet” their predictions. In other words, she wanted the predictions in 140 characters or less, so that she could tweet or re-tweet them. Smart. So what do you think of the predictions? How accurate are they and  how realistic?

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This weeks #socialmedia tweetchat topic: Advancing the Discussion of Social Media & ROI

Return on Investment or (ROI) is one of those terms that has been mis-used by all in 2009.  As we look to 2010, how can we get back on track.  We know there is going to be a strong influx of interest in social media projects by companies.  In fact, a report from econsultancy and bigmouthmedia suggest that 86% of the 1,100 companies surveyed plan to spend more on social media in 2010 and 13% plan to spend the same amount.  The report is further detailed here. With all this investment in 2010, will any of it be tied to ROI or will it be looked at as non-financial impact?

We stated that the term ROI is widely mis-used.  Here’s what we mean:

This is NOT ROI:

  • The return of my Twitter usage is 2009 is 1,637 followers.
  • I increased the page views of my website by 300% on an investment of $120.
  • I increased my brand awareness by putting better content on my blog.

The actions above relate to non-financial impact on a business.  For more information on Impact on Business we did a post a couple of months ago here.  What seems to happen is that we take what is a financial term (ROI) and mix it around with investments in media measurement or listening tools or other social media tactics that are a part of non-financial metrics like building relationships, brand management or engagement.  While these are all necessary and they do require an investment, the results are almost always non-financial.  Therefore, if you are in front of executives and trying to attain funding or approvals, they will be interested in financial returns as measurement.  While redefining the terms to meet your specific needs may be fun or even cute, no one is going to sign up for ROI when it means Return on Interest or Return on INgagement.

So what is ROI?  The accepted definition of return on investment is very straightforward: gain from investment minus cost of investment, then divided by cost of investment.  In other words, recruitment, engagement, interactions, listening are all very important pieces of the ROI equation however until that customer or prospect does something (ie: make a purchase) there is no financial measurement.  The exception to this is the relation to cost savings realized by an investment.  A great image of this was done by Olivier Blanchard:

roi1

Another important piece of the ROI pie is about actuals.  ROI is not about what we think is going to happen, it is about what happened.  Or in the words of Olivier again, “It’s not about potential, it’s about actual performance.”  So ROI is not a forward looking statement, rather it is backwards looking results.  So if you are looking for a quick refresher, check out this widely viewed deck on ROI here.

You may have guessed already on who could possibly by moderating this much needed discussion on ROI.  If you guessed Olivier Blanchard aka “The Brand Builder” then you are correct!  Olivier has long been a recognized and sought after practitioner and speaker on the topic of social media ROI.  He brings a very clear yet in-depth understanding to the topic and we are thrilled to have him moderating this chat with us.  The topic and question this week are as follows:

Topic: Advancing the Discussion of Social Media & ROI

Q1: How can strategy & planning can impact ROI?

Q2: What are the steps to integrate SM across a business?

Q3: What is the difference between measurement & ROI?

Please join us this Tuesday 12/22 for the weekly chat event at 12 noon EST.  The hashtag for this event will be #sm39.

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Social Focus in 2010-Which side of the fence will you be on?

I’ve been thinking pretty hard lately about the choices we make. What drives the conversations that we have with the people that we come in contact with everyday on the various social media platforms? What are the forces behind the decisions that we make for ourselves and on behalf of our clients? Those thoughts are broken down into a simple graphic.

10 social sites for your week

This weeks selection of  social sites cover the gamut from social media monitoring to a few juicy blog posts on community, strategy and real time search, to a couple of new social networks. Have any I should add? Lemme know!

1) Check out Zoho, It appears that Zoho offers everything from a business solutions standpoint to a new set of tires. (Just kidding on the tires)

2) 46 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools Free is good

3) Free is really good. 7 Essential multimedia tools and their free alternatives

4) From the SEOMoz Blog –How To Monitor & Track Google’s Real-time Search-Pay attention to this, it’s going to loom large.

5) Daily Mugshot is fun. Change the wrapper on your personal brand every day!

6) What is thankfulfor? It’s your personal gratitude journal. It’s also a collective gratitude journal, for all of us. Very cool and simple.

7) A strategic plan has a better chance of being successful when it’s easy to understand, easy to find, and easy to share. With that being said check out this post by Ben McConnell

8. Shiv Singh talks about Ken Burbary’s Social Analytics Lifecycle. I agree with Shiv on this, I like where it’s going and it is certainly a work in progress, but I would add consumer and influencer insights as an input as well too.

9) Check Daniel Eden’s Vinyl Art work out. This could definitely be a present for someone you know.

10) Share your experiences through Gowalla. I haven’t played with this to any degree yet, but I do like the UI.


20 social media predictions for 2010 that might actually happen

I’ve been asked a number of times already to provide some predictions for 2010 in the social media space. What I find interesting is that oftentimes we haven’t followed through on the predictions from the last 3-5 years, so I thought, “let’s put a list together in which the predictions have a better than 50% chance of happening”. So here goes.

1) Facebook will change their privacy settings again. This would appear to be a lock.

2) A large public company will misstep in its usage of social media and the social media community will use it as an example along with Motrin and Dominos and nothing else.  Again, another lock.

3) Google will create a social app that creates a lot of buzz on Twitter and then it will slowly fade away. Think Side-Wiki and Google Wave.

4) Seth Godin will piss someone off with something he wrote or did that goes completely against the grain. There will be viral tweets about it, Seth will explain, tweak, and everyone moves on.

5) Someone will create a customer complaint video that will go viral-again. The company either reacts quickly and they’re applauded for their swift action or they don’t and they’re hung out to dry by a social media flash mob.

6) A large social media darling start-up will be acquired, and dozens more will fail and dozens more will be created.

7) Twitter will continue to evolve into a self-promotional vehicle. In the beginning it was all about the convo, then it morphed into echo, and now it’s all about the promo.

8. Another 5000 apps will be created for the i-phone. No Brainer here right?

9) Brands will continue to say that they are social, but it will be in name only.  Why? Because they still don’t know what they’re doing and are afraid to admit it.

10) 40 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube every 30 seconds.

11) Chris Brogan will be attacked again on someone’s blog for essentially doing absolutely nothing-again

12) You will see the consolidation of some large agencies into the mega-digital agency.

13) UGC will more and more be the driving force in online advertising since it costs nothing. Somewhere a light bulb will go on.

14) The FTC will continue to focus on paid bloggers and recommendation engines. This is not over.

15)  On Twitter, authority will continue to be defined by influence which will be inversely proportional to popularity

16) A Twitter business model will emerge and it may just be the model we all love to hate-advertising.

17) The argument around the ROI of social media will not end-nor will the incessant amount of blog posts surrounding it either.

18) Large scale social media aggregation projects will continue to pop up, with the thinking that “that” is what the people really want, it’s not.

19) Social media case studies will start to appear that are less accidental in their success, and more purposeful in strategy, implementation and measurement.

20) Taking umbrage with those that call themselves social media experts will continue.

21) What do you think is possible in 2010?

Hopefully you’ll see that some of these were created purely for fun and others I truly believe have a realistic chance of occurring. Only the next 12 months will tell. Happy Holidays everyone.

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3 Reasons Why Viral Video Inspires

First I want to tell you that I’m encouraged. You’ll understand why after you see these videos.

1) Let’s start with TED. I have tweeted in the past why you should start your day with a TED video, and here is testament to that reasoning.

2) Prepare to be awed and amazed at the fearlessness in this next video.

3) and this one..humans creating and playing.

You see, as we head into 2010, the human spirit for creating and sharing and expressing and pushing the envelope of what is possible in this world will always trump the bad in those that are hell bent on destroying that spirit.

This weeks #socialmedia tweetchat topic: The Future of Socialnomics

social-media-revolution

Social media: The most important change in business or the biggest waste of productivity?  Looking back, 2009 brought about some better examples of the value that social media brings to businesses yet social is still very much an unknown quantity to executives and hard to execute by practictioners.  In short, it comes down to the economics of social media or, Socialnomics.

In order for social media and social networks to be truly transformational in the corporate world, they need to show value.  Many of the efforts of 2009 were experimental while there were a few glimmers of hope including Ford Motor Company and the acquisition of Zappos (a buisiness built almost entirely on social media).   We have discussed the need to move from campaigns to conversations and the importance of hiring an agency that has the skills to best serve your company.  For a better understanding of some metrics, Erik Qualman has put together a widely viewed video on the idea of socialnomics. Socialnomics 09

Most of the digital experiments using social media for businesses has happened on two primary consumer networks: Twitter and facebook.  In looking into the future, what will be the goto networks next year?  What does it take for these networks to entice companies?  It’s apparent that size does matter.  How about quaility though.  Does it matter if the digital network has elements of quality without the quantity of users?   Consumers are using social networks to connect with old friends and get access into “a day in the life of” whoever they follow.  Will that be enough in the future though?  What will consumers require out of their digital interactions with brands?  So many questions and not enough answers.

To explore the value and economics of social media we went to the source.  Charlene Li has been the source of information for many of us since her days at Forrester, her bestselling book Groundswell and now with her company Altimeter Group.  Charlene has influenced corporate executive boards for many years and this week we have an opportunity for her to help shape this discussion.  So what does 2010 and beyond bring for the industry?  That’s what we will discuss:

Topic: The Future of Socialnomics

Q1: What social networks will prevail in 2010?

Q2: How will consumers use them in the future?

Q3: What will the value metrics look like for consumers / businesses?

This week’s chat will take place Tuesday December 15th at noon EST.  Follow along using #sm38 or on our Live site.

10 social sites, posts and tools worth checking out

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My Twitter stream is my RSS.  Below is a compilation of sites that make me better at what I do. They cover the gamut of posts, tools and resources that someone new to social media or not, should investigate and bookmark and then share with others who might benefit.

1) This first post title 30 top blogs for social media updates is pretty good, simply because there were a few blogs (not many) that I did not know about. As well, the post also contained some links to other worthy posts.

2) If You Care About Search, You Must Care About Social Media and I do. This post rocks it contains video interviews with Vanessa Fox-pay attention to her video, she brings up a lot of solid valid points about search and social- As well as Lee Odden who stresses that you cannot ignore the intersection of search and social.

3) Check out the rankings of the Big Money Facebook 50 of the best brands utilizing Facebook. How many are you fans of?

4) A couple of weeks ago Shel Israel did an interview with E-consultancy promoting his new book Twitterville. If you don’t know who Shel is, Google his name. Pay attention to the examples Shel mentions in the interview.

5) Neoformix is a cool data visualization site, which for me helps in dumbing things down for yours truly so that I can sometimes understand them better.

6) Check out the 11 players in this post on the  brief history of social network enterprise collaboration tools How many did you know about?

7) Sally Falkow is really a smart person, she recently cranked a pretty sweet slide deck

8. I’m a big fan of the Inbound Marketing University (IMU) they offer free marketing retraining programs for marketing professionals—as well as marketers between jobs—looking to gain new skills to get ahead in the competitive workforce.

9) Here’s a quick one, How popular is your website in the web 2.0 world?

10) Lastly I thought this was cool, monitor Twitter lists for keywords with Listimonkey

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