212, 2011

Videographic: The World of Social Media

By |December 2nd, 2011|Industry News|

In need of some good stats and figures as we finish up 2011? Here is a nice video put together by the folks at Videoinfographs. Not a huge fan of the music, but the transitions are nice and it provide some good statistical updates from other infographics and videos released earlier this year.

2709, 2011

More Facebook updates, more haters.

By |September 27th, 2011|By Ryan Battishill, Latest News|

If you haven’t heard by now Facebook has rolled out a series of new updates and there are more to come. With each update comes a ridiculous amount of uproar and hate. I came across a graphic from a friend’s post and couldn’t help myself from creating a response. Below are my visual thoughts.

Click here or on the photo to enlarge

Interested in the original? Check it out here.

3006, 2011

My Klout Journey, 30 points in 30 days: Week 1 recap

By |June 30th, 2011|By Ryan Battishill|

Klout has quickly become the defining metric of online influence. In the last year, Klout has been adopted by thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and now LinkedIn users to identify their online reach and influence. Today, businesses and organizations are recording scores to offer special incentives to those influencers of their brand or product category. Beyond using the score on a consumer lever, I also see future employers including your score as another credential for evaluating you on a job, especially in social media. Acknowledging that your Klout score is becoming more useful than just a fun number to brag about to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, I wanted to take a step in the right direction by seriously evaluating myself online today and where I hope to be in the future.

I set out on a 30 day journey to ultimately grow my online network, enhance my digital personal brand and increase my online influence (Klout score). Like with any success, it comes with the expense of an investment. Being as busy as I am, I knew this wouldn’t come easy, so I laid out a few ground rules that I’d hope to keep in mind each week to help me reach my goal.

  • Don’t just broadcast, engage: I’m not going to simply import an RSS feed to my accounts. I want to have a conversation about the information I’m sharing.
  • Join the conversation: Start or participate in at least one chat or group discussion a week. This is a great way to build your network and easily be recognized as an influencer in the areas of interest you hope to tackle.
  • Share relevant content: I need to not only publish relevant content on the topics that I would like to be known for, but retweet and share valuable content as well.
  • Maintain follower to following ratio: Don’t just go out and follow everyone in the world. Maintain a consistent and well-balanced ratio. From what I hear, staying as close to 1:1 is best.
  • Be myself: At the end of the day it is me and I want my personality to show through. I think this is one of the most important things you can instill into anything you do.
  • Prioritize my channels: Each channel has different capabilities, so it is not only important to prioritize them, but also strategize how you will use each one.

By the numbers

After the first week I think I’m on the right track! Here is a look at my progress from June 21st – June 28th

It is exciting to watch Klout unfold into this new standard of online influence. Unfortunately, there is no practice test or golden set of steps to follow to attain a high desired score. I will continue to evaluate my performance and share any best practices that I come across. In the meantime, if there is anything I’ve missed, please let me know, it is still early in the game!

To figure out your Klout score visit http://klout.com and sign in with Facebook or Twitter. Next connect your accounts and your off and running. Log in each day to re-evaluate your score and help others by giving them +K on topics they influence. As you gain topics, encourage users to do the same.

Goal

By July 30th, I have hope to achieve:

  • Klout score: 59
  • klout Style: Specialist
  • Twitter followers: 500
  • Topics: marketing, social media, graphic design, branding, web design
1904, 2011

Mobile Marketing and Usage: Statistics and Facts for 2011

By |April 19th, 2011|Industry News|

Technology looks to trump technology once again. It’s hard to believe that less than 5 years ago we were beeping friends in public with our Nextel phones to let them know we wanted to talk. The beeping soon went to texting where we had to click in upwards of 4 times on the same key to get the character we wanted. Remarkably, the Qwerty keyboard showed its face making texting and multi-tasking that much easier and quicker. Today, we are using touch technologies, streaming movies, mapping workouts with our GPS, listening to music, scanning our social environments and looking up the latest review at the restaurant you’ll be eating at this evening. The crazy part about it is that you are probably doing at least 3 of those things all at once! Mobile technology has changed more in the past two years than I could have ever imagined. At this point the smartphone seems like it can do just about anything and it wont be long until it holds a dear place in our lives as our main device of choice.

Now, lets take a look at where things are heading. Below is an infographic from Microsoft Tag that highlights some key statistics on how people are using mobile phones in 2011. Heres a quick breakdown: Over 1 billion of the worlds 4+ billion mobiles phones are now smartphones, and 3 billion are SMS enabled (weirdly, 950 million mobile phones still don’t have SMS capabilities). In 2014, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage and already in 2011, more than 50% of all “local” searches are done from a mobile device. 86% of mobile users are watching TV while using a mobile phone, 200+ million (1/3 of all users) access Facebook from a mobile device and 91% of all mobile internet use is “social” related.

It will be interesting to see how marketers react to the growth of mobile. How are you adopting to the new technology and including it in your marketing mix?

1901, 2011

Obsessed with Facebook: Statistics & Facts for 2011

By |January 19th, 2011|By Ryan Battishill, Industry News|

It seems like just yesterday that I registered for my exclusive Facebook account for my school. In actuality, that was over 6 years ago! In that 6 years time, Facebook went from a dorm room idea to a multi-billion dollar company that has fundamentally changed the way we communicate today. The social network continues to impact the lives of others and now more than ever, help businesses foster relationships with consumers in ways that were unheard of before. The growth of Facebook has been truly astonishing, but where do they stand today?

Heres a little something extra by Alex Trimpe, a student at Columbus College of Art & Design. His piece, The World is Obsessed with Facebook, shows some interesting stats about Facebook use in 2011 and goes great with the infographic below.

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook from Alex Trimpe on Vimeo.

Lets take a look at a beautiful infographic thanks toOnline Schools. Heres a breakdown the data. With over 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth, with over 250 million of them (over 50%) who log in every day. The average user still has about 130 friends, but that should expand in 2011. 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. The 35+ demographic is growing rapidly, now with over 30% of the entire Facebook user base. The core 18-24 year old segment is now growing the fastest at 74% year on year. Almost 72% of all US internet users are on now Facebook, while 70% of the entire user base is located outside of the US.

 

Where will the social network be 5 years from now? Or for that matter, simply a year?

505, 2010

My Foursquare Adventure: Satchel & Bullwhip Not Included

By |May 5th, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

It’s only fair to actually try out a service for yourself before offering your opinion on it. So that is what I set out to do on one of the fastest growing topics in the social media world, geo-location. After reading articles on this subject, primarily focused on Foursquare and Gowala it was time to give it a try. So on Monday, April 26th the journey was started…and ready to be tracked.

Courtesy of Foursquare

I decided to go with Foursquare primarily being the larger of the two (based on an article I found on mashable.com). Setup was simple (since we have short attention spans) with entering basic user info and connecting through FB or Twitter. The program set itself up to recognize which of my friends were already using the application (a whole 4 of my 302 friends, just recognized the influencers in my peer network!). Then it had me invite up to four other friends if I felt it was necessary, so I did. Once my profiles were synched together (FB, Twitter and LinkedIN) I was ready to start. Well once I decided to leave the house.

It was only fair to document my Foursquare usage to properly give my opinion on it. The one glaring point is that I am a boring person that really does nothing important (besides work/gym) during the weekdays. It wasn’t until Saturday and Sunday, that I got to use Foursquare for its true potential; to let my three friends who use the program (and all the FB friends-until I turned that feature off) my exact whereabouts for a point in time. I have to admit I can see how it can become rather addicting since it turns the most mundane tasks into a much needed trip. I was unlocking new destinations left and right, mostly because I was not visiting your normal hangouts for the program’s base demographic.

I’m still waiting to see the true marketing potential, such as geolocation coupons and deals, but I also need to get out more…The journey continues

2704, 2010

Trend Tuesday: Relationships rule.

By |April 27th, 2010|By Ryan Battishill, Industry News|

With the growth of web-based social networks and a desire for transparency, trust and peace-of-mind messages, it shouldn’t be surprising that relationships rule these days in marketing. Like in life, relationships are everything. When you build relationships with consumers, you also build a band of brand loyalists that can become your most powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing, brand advocacy and brand guardianship. Building these lasting relationships with consumers is far more powerful than making a quick sale and turning your head to the next individual. Marketers and communicators are understanding the importance more and more and are starting to leverage the social web to interact with people around the world and build relationships that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago.

It wasn’t long ago that business relationships were generated from networking events and face-to-face interaction such as trade shows. However, in today’s technology driven world, relationships are commonly built by using the tools of the social web. The Web has created a whole new way of building relationships, and we (as marketers) are no longer forced to focus on traditional (or monologue) marketing, where the marketer only talks to the customer. Which usually results in the customer to react and say something along the lines of “I am or am not interested.”

This new way of connecting to customers is exactly the same way we do with our personal relationships nowadays. That is, we utilize different communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Come on, is it not easier to drop Aunt Betty a wall post rather than picking up the phone to be ear strained for an hour. This same technique applies to business, where by using these connection points you get to build a conversation. Would you want to talk about the simple and strategic messages that are created? You have short quick messages in real time that are focused on a single idea, not run-on like the phone call with Aunt B. Get to know your customers likes, interests and address them personally and strategically (via your message or medium of choice) about any issues they may be experiencing. Utilize this information to strengthen the relationship which in turn will help create better (and quite possible more) influencers among their social networks and potentially even create/design products and services they might want.

Step outside your comfort zone and get personal with your existing and potential customer base. It will not only change the way your business is viewed, but will bring you much success from the ambassadors you create.

1404, 2010

It’s not the size of your BLOG. It’s how you use it.

By |April 14th, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

When you hear the expression “all the cool kids are doing it”, do you think of snap bracelets and Vanilla Ice? Maybe even Thundercats and Punky Brewster? (If so, you’ve just been dated, as well as me). But for companies all the “cool” ones have blogs. If this was a party, it would be Apple, GoDaddy, Southwest, and many more, we can even make an exception for Ford Motor Company (think Wooderson from Dazed and Confused). It’s one of the simplest tools each company can use is the blog. This handy little piece of communication allows companies the opportunity to reach customers, industry leaders, employees and the almighty media. It allows sharing your vision of the company, looking for potential feedback, best practices and even can help battle negative perception.

Before you rush into setting up your company blog (slow down there Ricky Bobby), it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research on your competitors blogs (if they are smart enough to have one), maybe pick up a book about blogging from Amazon (or Borders-they need the sales) and even looking at Technorati to see who has the best blogs out there to give yourself something to aim for (besides Sarah Palin). Your blog is only as good as writer(s) though (I grant myself an exception), so you will want to make sure the person (or people) contributing are knowledgeable about your company and the industry. Your CEO is probably the best primary voice of your blog. Take into consideration Southwest Airlines, their CEO Gary Kelly, posted a question on the Southwest Blog about possibly changing the seating arrangements which “die-hard” Southwest customers came to love. This possible change erupted into hundreds of comments ultimately resulting in the company keeping their current seating policy. This was smart, take the idea to the people, the ones who in the end are putting dinner on your employees table and paying for that Ice Rink of a engagement ring (did you go to Jared?) you just bought your future ex-wife.

It’s a medium that allows you to be yourself and candid, share your thoughts and expect feedback. You may not like all of it but if you can’t learn from your customers you’re doomed to fail (I’m looking at you NBC-your time is a ticking). Speaking of NBC, blogs and their viral appeal helped bring back Chuck (I was one of the many –according to the ratings- who never seen it). It was a grassroots movement started by those who embraced the show and fought for it. We live in a time where this is going to happen every day and products that were once gone are back because of the revolution of the devoted followers that took to their blogs and bitched long enough and loud enough for the change to work. So…what do you want to blog about in hopes of bringing back? (And do not say George W. Bush or New Coke).

504, 2010

The Truth about Tweeting

By |April 5th, 2010|By Katie Foley, Industry News|

What are your thoughts on Twitter? It seems as though all of the cool kids are doing it these days. Don’t get me wrong, it is great for telling all of my followers what I ate for lunch, what I am currently jamming to on my iPod and my plans for the weekend (because I am sure they are all extremely interested), but is it really beneficial for companies trying to expand their business? The fact that Justin Bieber has been one of the top trending topics for more than two weeks can make me think one of two ways: a.) he has a great publicist and Twitter is a marketing gem or b.) the majority of Twitter users are females age 11 to 15. I was able to answer my own question with some brief research on the average Tweeter’s demographic from Quantcast.

As you can see, the average Twitter user is not a pre-teen Bieb-aholic, so I’m going to go with option A and say that Twitter must be pretty darn useful (and/or Justin Bieber is a much bigger deal than I thought). Twitter seems to be a great social marketing tool for businesses, but the real question is how can you utilize Twitter to make it beneficial for your company? I found the following nine tips in an article by Jason Snell at macworld.com and I believe they highlight the best strategies for company tweeting.

  1. Don’t automate it
  2. Be conversational
  3. Follow people who are relevant
  4. Make sure your people are on Twitter, and refer to them
  5. Answer your mentions
  6. Search for your name
  7. Consider creating sub-accounts for sections of your business or customer base
  8. Use Twitter to ask your customers questions…and get good answers
  9. Be a good Twitter Citizen—help your followers and they will help you

Good luck and happy tweeting!

3103, 2010

To FaceBook or not to FaceBook? That is a marketer’s question.

By |March 31st, 2010|By Ken Ashburn, Industry News|

Since the emergence of Facebook as the Social Media titan, it seems that everyone is eager and ready to offer insight and ideas on how their brands can use the medium as a launching point for increased brand awareness and potential sales. The article titled Why Your Brand Needs to Be on Facebook Now is intelligent, thought out and also misses the mark, not completely though. The author Dallas Lawrence (found on Twitter: @dallaslawrence) displays what seems like a call to action for all of those who are on the sidelines waiting to hop aboard the social media train. Like a group of investors waiting to see what happens after a short sell for stock. His three ways to get you’re your brand started on Facebook is on mark. It certainly makes sense to see who in your company is affluent to the medium and “savvy” enough to offer genuine insight and ideas to help the company create a positive image. This could be why we are seeing a younger group of executives that “excel” in the field of social marketing. Because they are the ones who grew up with it, helped define it and ultimately made it what it is today.

So, does every brand need to be on Facebook (I’m sure Facebook says yes because Mr. Zuckerburg wants a jet)? Facebook offers the opportunity for people to “talk” about your brand both directly and indirectly. You can create corporate pages and fan sites, but do they have inherent value? Can you sell the idea to your board that the awareness of your company is up because your solar panel fan page has 760 fans (and you have over 1500 employees)? Case in point, a pickle, that’s right, a pickle has more fans than Nickleback.

Facebook should be held for brands that look to speak directly to its core customers. It should be used by companies to look for insights into product development and marketing. Facebook is an excellent tool for data mining with a plethora of information that people share with one another. There is more value if you have REAL people backing your company and making the connection with customers, not just a company page or fan page.

We have to remember that what made Facebook so popular in the beginning compared to MySpace was that it wasn’t riddled with ad banners, home page takeovers and superstitial. The irrelevant ads that sit idle on the right hand side hold little to no value. But if you can actually create a connection with your page, allow interaction with customers and deliver the goods…Then you do belong on Facebook.