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After we had the amazing opportunity to run some questions by Shel Israel yesterday, we thought it would be a good idea to quiz some local social media and digital marketing fans with regards to the year that has passed and what they expect in 2010. These are people who use social media for business and in their personal lives, truly immersing themselves in the field. Read on for some great mini interviews!
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Mike and the Penguins are huge fans of Shel Israel and his fantastic book – Twitterville, so you can imagine our excitement when Shel agreed to answer some questions for the blog! If you are a Social Media fan/marketer or just curious please make sure you read Twitterville , we cannot stress enough how useful and enlightening it is.
Read on for our questions with Shel:
2009, what a year huh? The word on everybody’s lips was Recession and the doom and gloom surrounding it. The past year may be one that many will choose to forget but for us Social Media enthusiasts it was a year that saw advances and innovations like never before, advances that have helped to change marketing as we (used to) know it and given people that chance to demand more from their favourite brands, companies and services. 2009 truly saw the creation of a instant two way relationship between consumer and marketer. Some have taken note and built strong over-arching social media strategies, whilst others have decided not to engage or even listen and have felt the brunt of the people!
The success and failures have been big – some of the top stories based around social media can be read in this blog from Chicago Now - , these are the big stories that made headlines but for me the true success stories are the smaller businesses making use of platforms such as twitter to great effect.
In my local area (Edinburgh, Scotland) I have been impressed with Moo Cafeteria and their great use of tone of voice in their tweets, one that reflects their ethos and atmosphere. Their mix of fun tweets and business orientated content makes them a joy to follow. I have to give much respect to Heart of Midlothian FC who were the first Scottish football club to embrace twitter, using it to direct fans to new content, competitions and in recent times updating fans on how the adverse weather may be affecting fixtures. I could go on with the mentions but I could be here for a long time! I think Scotland is embracing twitter and I am glad to be watching many of the businesses and individuals who are blazing the trail!
What Awaits us in 2010?
It is important to consider the social media outlets and the level of competition amongst them, whether that be video services such as youtube or metacafe , social networks such as facebook or myspace or microblogging services such as twitter (will a serious twitter competitor emerge?) these platforms (and the rest!) are involved in a battle for your time and as marketers we have to love that. These venues will be striving to give businesses more options for interacting with their customer bases, I can see new and improved social network advertising options that cleverly blend with the overall social communication lines. The social media service providers need to start making money soon, expect to see major changes (some good, some bad) to the way they work sooner rather than later.
The facebook ad model has flaws but I think the basis of a really effective tool is there. Even with this in mind I cannot emphasise enough my feeling that a well constructed social media strategy that uses the listening power of social as a foundation can offer you way more than using budget on socially targeted ads.
Why target a person based on keywords when you can listen to what they are actually saying about your business and address them in a customised way? You don’t even need to sell to them at any point (if they are talking about you they are more than likely already a customer or considering becoming one), go softly and build a relationship, it will benefit both parties more in the long run. Remember, take on any criticism or complaints head first, be seen to help and ensure any issues are resolved! Sorry, that went a little off track there, but the main thing is to analyse every new option out there and make sure it suits your needs and fits in with your strategy, do not use something for the sake of it!
What about the adoption of SM within your business? I feel that 2010 will be the year when those who have not yet implemented any kind of SM strategy will sit up and take notice. Who is going to facilitate that? You, the people that live and breathe it on a daily basis, the people that understand SM the most are the people that use it the most! You learn by doing and it should be the same for business (with a sensible level of prep!).
But my Boss Wants to see the $$$!!!
It is clear from speaking to many business owners/decision makers that they need to see ROI from social activity. Usually they state that they want a monetary return on any marketing activity, whilst they understand the importance of brand awareness they cannot allocate resource based on that alone. This comes down to education, it is amazing how many people get bogged down in cash ROI and fail to see that they can set their own ROI metrics that can be achieved directly with SM activity.
The sheer volume of information, theories and evidence based around business and social media means that you have the power to influence the people within your business and help them to understand the value. It will be a long hard slog in some cases but worth it in the long run. If you need the Social Penguins to come round and do some convincing let us know!
Social Media in business does not stop at customers, it has many a worthwhile use internally, allowing people to collaborate, communicate and share information in a fast and efficient manner. Does your business use any social media internally? Companies should be looking to use SM for the benefit of their staff and the business and in turn their customers. For great examples of internal use of twitter I cannot recommend ‘Twitterville’ by @shelisrael more! It is a great read for all SM heads! A great way to assess what you can gain from using SM internally is attempting to draft a Social Media Policy for your company, give it a try.
People on the Move
Smartphone adoption is at a high and with the roll out of 3G accelerating, marketers have to ensure that mobile is at the forefront of their thinking at all times. This represents a huge opportunity to harness the power of social media and use it to influence consumers at any point of the day. Sit on any public transport vehicle and you will see a high percentage of people using their phones to search/communicate and engage more than ever before. Never before have marketers had the power to expose themselves to customers and potential customers at more points during the average person’s day. The social media venues are well aware of this and the technology of apps is constantly being adapted and improved to allow users to communicate with their social media circles at all times.
The practical nature of this is fantastic for business. A user can be on the high street shopping and before they buy a new dress, can take a photo of them wearing it, upload it to facebook/twitter etc and instantly receive opinions. Consumers are researching and gathering opinion more than ever before, mainly because they have access to more information at any time they want it. So many people have said to me that there is no way that a mobile app would suit their product or service, I have disagreed many times and asked them to think beyond their actually product but more towards what it means to their customer, once they do they can see the advantages of a mobile presence. This does not stop at apps though you must ensure that your web content is easily digestible and sharable on phones and other mobile devices. Think what you like to do on your mobile web and apply it to your business and make it work! Make it simple and efficient. We live in a new exciting world of the split second, don’t waste time!
It Is Nice to Share!
Once upon a time if you found something you liked whilst ‘surfing the web’ you would pop a link to it in your (most likely!) hotmail email and send it on, this was your only option and most of us did it a lot! Now we have social bookmarking and the options to share in many a new way and this is a trend that I think will continue to grow in 2010 especially in a mobile capacity. People can use services such as stumbleupon to alert their friends to content they love instantly, that content could be your new product or a great review of your new product (of course it could be a bad one, but take the rough with the smooth yeah? If it is bad, open up comms!). It is incredibly important to allow the user to share your content at any point, reagardless if they are on your official site, using a mobile app or interacting on one your social network presences. This can be achieved simply by using an interface such as the Mashable example below. Build it and they shall share!
The number of places online that a user can share their info is staggering, it is worth researching these and getting used to using them!
Well folks that is that for this post, hopefully it was an interesting/useful read. Mike and the Penguins could have gone on forever but we know you are all busy people!
All the best for 2010!
Mike, Penelope the Penguin, Dave the Penguin, Cynthia the Penguin and Kevin the Penguin.
They pestered me and pestered me and I have given in! You can become a fan of Dave the Penguin here!
Get involved in the discussion boards, upload your favourite Penguin photos and just generally have fun and learn!
Our intrepid reporter Dave the Penguin yesterday attended the Big Mouth Media Social Survey Summit (in conjunction with econsultancy). He had a great time and wanted to share some of the facts from the survey results. The survey had 1100 respondents of which 458 were client side and 522 came from agencies/suppliers. The survey was across various industries including financial services, retail and publishing.
- When it comes to Social Media activity, 64% stated they were ‘experimenters’
- 73% were looking to gain brand awareness from SM alongside 71% wanting increased engagement
- 61% of individuals see it as a tremendous opportunity whilst only 31% would agree that their organisation believes the same
- When it comes to tactics employed 78% were using twitter,
- 65% facebook (and other networks)
- 60% have video content and 47% a brand blog
- 39% were engaging in social bookmarking (digg, stumbleupon).
The highest function of the above was for listening and buzz monitoring
- With regards to Resourcing – 90% more time is being taken up by SMM than one year ago – no real surprise there, Dave would have bet his next batch of halibut on that one!
- Watch out agencies – only 42% stated they were happy with the SMM knowledge levels within agencies/suppliers
- Now the nasty Budget part – 31% are not using any for SMM purposes
- Half are spending up to 10% (hey big spenders!) on SMM
- 25% feel they have gained tangible value from SMM
- 60% fell they have gained ’some’ value
- Now on to every Penguins’ favourite – Twitter
- 31% see it as a tremendous opportunity
- 50% are open minded
- 13% see it as a major risk (and are also scared of pink fluffy bunnies with bows in their hair)
- 62% of those surveyed publish new content pointers via twitter
- 27% are using it as a customer service tool
- 50% have an overall company profile with 28% having separate profiles for individuals
- So what are their main Barriers?
- 54% state a lack of resource
- 34% a lack of understanding (they need to employ some Penguins!)
- 20% blame a lack of ‘buy in’ from senior figures
- 23% think their company culture is a barrier
So that is a brief summary of the stats for you all. Dave stated that it was a very informative day and that he feels there is a ‘real appetite for progress’ amongst the people he waddled up to and had a chat with (the Penguins have electronic voice simulators, a bit like Stephen Hawkins but they sound a little cuter) but does feel there is a need for further engaging education across the board. Stats are so important to us marketers so to get a real views from a decent and diverse cross section is great.
The full report can be downloaded from www.bigmouthmedia.com