Using Social Media Strategically (Source: emarketer)

As marketers become more comfortable and more experienced using social media, they move from the trial phase of their marketing efforts toward strategic use of the channel. While the largest group of marketers is still somewhere in between, according to the “2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report” from MarketingSherpa, about one-quarter of social media marketers have made it to the strategic phase of their efforts.

Gaining maturity means improving the ability to tie objectives to specific metrics. Marketers in the strategic phase are significantly more likely than those in earlier phases of the process to measure their success across all objectives. An increase in Website traffic was the No. 1 objective targeted and measured by all marketers.

Social Media Marketing Objectives that Are Targeted and Measured by US Marketers, by Social Media Marketing Lifecycle Maturity, November 2009 (% of respondents)

“Defining specific objectives for a social marketing initiative is only half the battle. The other half is aligning those objectives with corresponding metrics,” according to the report. “This alignment is important because it enables an organization to measure its progress in achieving the objectives and proving ROI.”

MarketingSherpa found that retail and e-commerce marketers were more likely than any other industry to be increasing their social media marketing budgets next year, followed by publishing and media. Education and healthcare lagged, with less than one-half of marketers in the industry planning to up social media spending in 2010.

Change in Social Media Marketing Budget in 2010 According to US Marketers, by Industry (% of respondents)

Most social marketing dollars (60%) next year will go toward staff salaries for activities such as blogging, content development and monitoring of social channels. Another two-fifths will be spent on outside help from agencies, consultancies and service providers.

Harnessing Active Brand Advocates (Source: emarketeer)

With brands turning more to earned media—the additional free exposure that a brand gets when consumers talk about a brand—they depend on motivated consumers to act as advocates. A survey conducted by Synovate for word-of-mouth ad network PostRelease investigated just how likely Internet users are to do that.

The most common word-of-mouth activity reported by respondents was helping a friend or family member with a purchase decision, but more than two-fifths also said they had shared advice offline about information they learned on the Web. Significantly fewer Internet users posted their own ratings and reviews online, and only about one-half as many shared links to articles or reviews about products.

Online and Offline Social Media/Word-of-Mouth Activities of US  Internet Users, by Gender, November 2009 (% of respondents in each  group)

Participation in most of the social media and word-of-mouth activities was highest among younger adults, almost one-half of whom gave in-person advice based on online information. Respondents ages 18 to 24 were also more likely than older Web users to post ratings and reviews, share links, and have a blog.

Online and Offline Social Media/Word-of-Mouth Activities of US  Internet Users, by Age, November 2009 (% of respondents in each group)

PostRelease also broke down respondents according to whether or not they participate in online forums, which about one-fifth of those polled did. Forum participants were significantly more likely to take part in all the activities queried. Notably:

  • 65% of forum contributors give advice offline based on information found online, compared with 35% of noncontributors.
  • 66% of forum contributors post online ratings and reviews, compared with 16.8% of noncontributors.
  • 43.6% of forum contributors share links to articles and reviews, versus 12% of noncontributors.
  • 20.6% of forum contributors publish a blog, compared with 2.1% of noncontributors.

Users of forums, who are already actively engaged in online social activity, make for “enthusiastic consumers and influential brand advocates,” according to a statement by Justin Choi, president and founder of PostRelease.

The Vitrue 100: Top Social Brands of 2009 -#1 is Iphone

Extract from the Vitrue Website (www.vitrue.com)

2009 certainly marked the tipping point for social media with Facebook crossing 350 million month active users worldwide (100 million US users) according to “Inside Facebook”, December 2009.

Adoption of social media by marketers has also followed suit,  as eMarketer cites the percentage of the Fortune 500 not using social media has dropped dramatically – from 43% now to only 9%.

Forrester is also stating that social media marketing is projected to grow at an annual rate of 34%, faster than any other form of online marketing (US Interactive Marketing Spend 2009 to 2014 Report issued Summer 2009).

So what does all this mean as we head into 2010?  Marketers are adding social as a foundation into the marketing mix and need the infrastructure to manage their increasingly robust presences. TV spots are now tagged out with Facebook URLs instead of corporate web sites and point-of-sale call to actions now direct you to fan them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Marketers get that social works. So with this in mind we established The Vitrue 100 to help bring credibility and clarity to this emerging space. The Vitrue 100 helps provide the industry with overall trends. We issue the list to highlight the most social brands and help demonstrate the value of social media marketing.

Some thoughts on this year’s list:

  • Overall provocative mix of blue chip brands – cross category from CPG to auto to electronics to retail
  • iPhone still reigns supreme, second year in a row as the most buzzed about brand on the social web
  • Game consoles dominate the top of the list Wii #7, Xbox#9, PlayStation #13, Nintendo #21
  • Biggest gainer this year was Adidas, also NBA, Nike, MLB, Nissan, Victoria’s Secret, HP, KFC all made impressive gains, check out The Vitrue 100 from 2008 here
  • Luxury brands on the list this year with good representation – Gucci #27, Louis Vuitton #81, Prada #88 and Burberry #94
  • Media brands make up 8% of list – CNN #3, MTV #4, ESPN #23, CBS #32, ABC #33, Turner #36, Fox News #56, NBC #68 – perhaps illustrating our socialization of their content
  • Cosmetic brands under represented missing outside of Avon at #97 as well as travel brands as jet Blue was the only airline to make this year’s list
  • Sport brands make sense to be so prominent too as people are very passionate NBA #5, NFL #12, MLB #29, NASCAR #43, NHL #46
  • Restaurants also make sense – people talk about where they want to eat – Subway #50, McDonald’s #62, Krystal #63, KFC #66
  • Automotive vertical well represented – Mercedes #17, BMW #20, Ford #24, Honda #25, Ferrari #27, Toyota #38, Audi #45, Kia #53, Porsche #55, Jeep #56, Dodge #57, Suzuki#61, Volkswagen #67, Chevrolet #80, GM #85

Take a look and let us know what you think.

Methodology
The Vitrue 100 is the result of Vitrue’s daily analysis of over 2,000 popular brands on the social web.

On July 1, 2009, we refined the SMI’s algorithm in our continual efforts to reflect the the social web.  See more details here> http://vitrue.com/smi/

The Vitrue SMI report is an easy to understand measurement of a brand’s online conversations. Based on our patent-pending technology, index scores are comprised of various online conversations from status updates to multi-dimensional video sites. The Vitrue SMI score provides a snapshot in time to help make sense of the overwhelming amount of measurable data.

We derive the Vitrue SMI by reviewing popular social media sites. We update the Vitrue SMI once daily. Our sample set represents different dimensions of social interactivity:

  • Social Networking – general sharing
  • Video Sharing – high engagement of viewing time and authenticity of dimension
  • Status Updates – aka Micro-Blogs; key influencers who chatter and actively push content
  • Photo Sharing – social meta data
  • Blogs – general blogsphere, commentary mentions

The index numbers are not intended to be used in absolute terms; rather, they provide a numerical basis to compare the social media prominence of two or more terms. We frequently update the algorithm based on changes in usage patterns, overall traffic and social network results.

The changing world of online conversations results in significant movements up and down for brands. The Vitrue 100 was determined by averaging the SMI scores for each brand across each day in December 2009. To further clarify, “annual” based on grouping of pull done once a year as the first Vitrue 100 was done December 2008 and we wanted to measure year over year. The result is a ranked list of the brands which are most talked about on the social web.

Some powerhouse technology brands were omitted from the list as they provide the backbone of many social networks.  While Google, Facebook and others are top brands, The Vitrue 100 is measuring companies that are using social technology, not those who are the technology.

The Vitrue 100 of 2009

  1. iPhone
  2. Disney
  3. CNN
  4. MTV
  5. NBA
  6. iTunes
  7. Wii
  8. Apple
  9. Xbox
  10. Nike
  11. Starbucks
  12. NFL
  13. PlayStation
  14. Adidas
  15. BlackBerry
  16. Sony
  17. Mercedes
  18. Microsoft
  19. Samsung
  20. BMW
  21. Nintendo
  22. Best Buy
  23. ESPN
  24. Ford
  25. Honda
  26. Ferrari
  27. Gucci
  28. Nokia
  29. Major League Baseball
  30. Dell
  31. Coca-Cola
  32. CBS
  33. ABC
  34. iPod
  35. Mac
  36. Turner
  37. Nissan
  38. Toyota
  39. eBay
  40. Amazon
  41. Victoria’s Secret
  42. Nutella
  43. NASCAR
  44. Disneyland
  45. Audi
  46. NHL
  47. Red Bull
  48. Verizon
  49. Intel
  50. Subway
  51. Hewlett-Packard
  52. Puma
  53. Kia
  54. Fox News
  55. Porsche
  56. Jeep
  57. Dodge
  58. Pandora
  59. Walmart
  60. Zappos
  61. Suzuki
  62. McDonald’s
  63. Krystal
  64. T-Mobile
  65. Skittles
  66. KFC
  67. Volkswagen
  68. NBC
  69. Sprint
  70. Pixar
  71. Motorola
  72. IKEA
  73. Pepsi
  74. Cisco
  75. REI
  76. LG
  77. AT&T
  78. Converse
  79. The Gap
  80. Chevrolet
  81. Louis Vuitton
  82. Toys”R”Us
  83. H&M
  84. Philips
  85. General Motors
  86. Pringles
  87. Visa
  88. Prada
  89. Panasonic
  90. IBM
  91. VH1
  92. Hulu
  93. Oracle
  94. Burberry
  95. SEGA
  96. Sears
  97. Avon
  98. Jet Blue
  99. Lacoste
  100. Comcast

About Banning Social Media (source: Searchenginewatch.com)

Banning social media in the office is almost becoming trendy lately. It reminds me of the 1984 movie “Footloose,” where a town banned rock music and dancing.

In today’s version, instead of starring Kevin Bacon, perhaps either Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter) or Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) could star in the lead role. Just as we now look back on “Footloose” as being rather silly, the same will probably apply to these social media bans.

“USA Today” reported October 22 that 54 percent of companies completely block Facebook, whereas another 35 percent apply some form of limits. That leaves only 11 percent that don’t put any limitations on Facebook use in the work force.

Why does this feel like déjà vu? Probably because a few years ago many companies banned Web mail (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.) in the work place. A few years before that, companies banned the Internet at the work place.

And it’s not just companies that placed these types of bans; teachers often ban mobile phones in the classroom as well. Is this the right thing to do?

Banning social media at work is:

  • Analogous to banning the Internet.
  • Analogous to banning the phone because you might make a personal phone call.
  • Analogous to banning paper and pens because you might pass a note that isn’t related to class or work.
  • Could potentially signal to workers and future recruits that your company just doesn’t “get it.”

Wasting Time on Facebook Actually Makes You More Productive

“People who do surf the Internet for fun at work — within a reasonable limit of less than 20 percent of their total time in the office — are more productive by about 9 percent than those who don’t,” according to Dr. Brent Coker, from the Department of Management and Marketing at The University of Melbourne.

Before we dive back into the workplace, the teacher example is an interesting dilemma to review. Some phones have such a high pitch ringer that the teachers can’t hear them while the students’ younger ears can hear them. But, is this really a technology issue, question, or problem? Or is it a historic problem that teachers have been wrestling with since the first school opened?

Whether a student is whispering, day dreaming, sleeping, passing a note, doodling, or sending a text, it’s all the same thing. The teacher isn’t reaching them. Recently, Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s chairman, said for his first four years on the job he was looking for new critics, when all along he should have been looking to produce a better product or store experience.

Capturing students’ attention has been historically difficult. The teacher’s task isn’t an envious one. However, the really good teachers have been able to overcome the hurdles presented them.

If you ban today’s technology, does it solve the problem? Probably not. Also, texting is probably less intrusive than whispering, or passing notes, as it doesn’t affect the others in the room as much.

Also, a good student might suffer as they may be potentially looking up something on their mobile browser that the teacher is covering to either fact check or see if something visual clicks with their brain in a way that’s better than how the teacher is attempting to explain it. Or, if they have already grasped the concept, why shouldn’t they be able to learn something else new and exciting at their fingertips?

Some teachers may benefit by leveraging this technology in the classroom; students have grown up with technology. Rather than being lectured at, they’re used to dynamic interaction with various technologies and sources to provide possible answers.

It also depends on the age of the student. This is applied more easily to college students than say middle school students, where anything that could possibly distract attention from the teacher isn’t good (it’s also another reason why our teachers should be paid more as it’s one of the most difficult jobs around and now teachers have the added challenge of keeping abreast of new technology).

MORE: http://searchenginewatch.com/3635528

Ideas for How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR (Source: Hubspot)

Ideas for How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR

  1. Engage your CEO in social media. Social media is a great way to have a conversation with your market and make and mange connections with prospects, customers, bloggers and other influencers.  But for a CEO, the typical routes to social media can be hard.  Especially if you are a larger or global company.  A CEO typically has little time to write a blog or answer lots of messages and friend requests on Facebook.  I cannot tell you how many CEO blogs I have seen with only 1 or 2 posts because the CEO never had time to update the blog after the first couple entries.  But, Twitter is limited to 140 characters per update, so it is all about short thoughts and comments.  If your CEO can send a text message, they can use Twitter from anywhere in the world as a marketing and PR tool.  Twitter is actually perfect for CEO or founder who is always on the road meeting with people and who has some interesting opinions on your market.
  2. Keep in touch with bloggers / media. It is really easy to follow someone on Twitter (see below). And you’ll be surprised how often they decide to follow you as well.  In fact, I have lots of people I consider “famous” in the marketing and PR worlds following me.  In my opinion, this is a way easier way to connect with influential people in the media than calling and emailing them.
  3. Monitor your company / brand on Twitter. A while back we noticed that Guy Kawasaki mentioned Website Grader on Twitter.  Well, of course we had to let him know a bit more about Website Grader and maybe ask if he would also blog about it?  The result was this blog article on Website Grader which drove a good amount of traffic and leads.  (See below for a cool tip on how to easily monitor people talking about your company on Twitter.)
  4. Announce specials, deals or sales. If you are a retailer or anyone who often has special offers, you can use Twitter to announce these deals instantly to a large audience.  You know those commercials from Southwest Airlines about that “Ding” application you could download and would then alert you about specials on flights?  Well, Twitter can be used as a kind of free version of that.  Dell and Woot have done just this type of marketing, with a lot of success.
  5. Live updates on events or conferences. If you participate in a large trade show or run your own corporate event, you can use Twitter to announce last minute changes, cool events that are happening (“Just announced, David Meerman Scott book signing in the exhibit hall until 11am”) and more.  It is a great last minute marketing tool.
  6. Promote blog articles, webinars, interesting news and more. Its really easy to post a link to something in Twitter, and I often post links to blog articles on this blog, or other news articles relevant to HubSpot.  A good idea is to post articles on other websites that are relevant to your business, like a customer success story or other PR coverage.  If you have other content that is appealing to your audience like a free webinar, post links to those too.

Using Twitter for Marketing & PR – A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Sign-up and post a profile. Visit Twitter and click on the “Get Started – Join” button in the middle.  The rest is simple enough that I think you can figure it out without my help.
  2. Write some updates. The beauty of Twitter is that the 140 character limit is the great equalizer – I am about as good of a writer as Shakespeare on Twitter.  Post a link to a news article you liked with a one line comment, mention an interesting thought you had, or tell everyone what you are cooking for dinner.  Just write something.
  3. Make friends. Making friends on Twitter is pretty easy.  Just surf around the web on your favorite blogs, people’s Facebook profiles etc, and when you see a Twitter box that tells you what they are doing click on it.  That will bring you to their profile and then you just click on the “Follow” button on the top left and you are now following them.  Most of the time they will then follow you back, and the audience for your 140 character insights will have grown by one person.  You can get started by following me: Mike Volpe on Twitter.  You can also click on the people that other people are following to find more people to follow.
  4. How to post URLs. Twitter is based on 140 character updates.  If you have a really long URL, that doesn’t leave much room for  Most people on Twitter use www.TinyURL.com to take a long URL and make it short.  Give it a shot if you have a long URL that you want to market on Twitter.
  5. Monitor conversations about your company. Even if you don’t join Twitter yourself you can monitor what people are saying about any person, company or brand.  This is quite useful from a marketing and PR standpoint.  Twitter has a search engine that lets you do just this.  For instance, here is a list of everyone who is talking about HubSpot on Twitter.  You can subscribe to these searches by RSS to keep yourself updated.  Another tip is that you can “follow” all the people you find talking about your company (just click on their username to go to their profile).  If they are talking about your company, they would probably be pretty happy that someone from the company wants to follow them.
  6. How to “chat”. Using the @ symbol before someone’s Twitter username is how people have “conversations” in Twitter.  This makes their username a link to their profile so other people can follow the conversation (sort of).  For example if you wrote “@mvolpe thanks for the cool blog article about Twitter today” that would be a way of telling me you liked this article. Try it out.  It’s not IM (instant messaging), but it is sort of like a publicly broadcast IM service.

Any Links Between Search and Social ? – (Source: Search Engine Watch (SEW))

By Liana Evans, Search Engine Watch, Sep 14, 2009

Social media isn’t just using Digg and StumbleUpon, as many SEOs would have you believe. Then what is the link between SEO and social media?

There’s a huge link, but it isn’t a "link" in the form of connecting one site to another — it’s something more basic than even the common hyperlink. It’s as simple as this: being found.

Even on social sites, you want to be found. People may not know your name, but if they’re searching for a great bistro and you aren’t listed in Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Yahoo Travel, you might never be found.

Controlling your name by having a Web site is smart. However, how many people are really searching for your company’s name? Unless you’re a household name like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, McDonalds’ or Hershey’s, people most likely won’t find your products or service by your name in a search engine these days.

Want to know more: The Link Between Search and Social – Search Engine Watch (SEW)

What Is Social Media and Social Media Marketing?

Talent imitate, Genius Steal !!!

What Is Social Media and Social Media Marketing?

 

Let’s take a look at both.

Let’s put them in terms that will be easy to understand.

Social Media is “internet real estate” that is a collection of internet sites that have social functions on the site that allow people to:

1) Communicate with each other.

2) Develop New Relationships and join communities like facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, and Myspace.

3) Connect with people with the same interests and discover many new ideas and possibilities.

4) Share their thoughts, pictures, videos and ideas.

5) Grow in a manner socially that they may have never had the chance to do before.

Social Media sites, or Web 2.0 as it is also known, is a powerful system of Connection that allows people to Connect, Construct, and Converse on many levels in the Social media-sphere.

There are many ways to do this.

CONNECT.

You can connect on just about any level with blogs, wikis, social
networking sites, micro blogging sites, news sites, social bookmarking
sites, and podcast and LIVE streaming video sites.

The list is endless.

You can CONNECT via personal emails, writing on social pages, and
even joining groups and commneting on blogs. It is truly amazing what
the Social Media arena offers the Professional as well as the person
that just like the idea of connecting with others.

CONSTRUCT.

You can Construct new friendships and new relationships with social
media. You can do this by “be-friending” people and joining their
“circle of Influence” which allows you to contact their friends as well
and ask permission to become their friends too. This gives you the
ability to Construct a solid online friendship that many times is tkakn
offline and what we call “localized.” You can meet them in your own
town if that is where they live.

CONVERSE.

Conversation is one of the main keys to Social Media. Talking to
people that you know- and people that you barely know- about what they
want to talk about as well as yourself. You do this with many different
tools- such as blogs, posts, direct messages, notes to people, audio
and videos posted, as well as plain old email through the social site
system- like what the social media site Facebook has.

Conversation is the key to contributing to the community. And there is a secret to the process:

TALK ABOUT THEM!

And share with your friends new ideas and possibilities that you think are of Value. You do this with “tweets” from twitter, “notes” from facebook, “vids” from Youtube, podcasts from mp3s, and emails from LinkedIn.

There are currently over 3,500 social sites- and growing. These
sites offer hundreds of millions of people that have joined them, and
thus hundreds of millions of possible new connections and conversations.

The 4 “Social Media Platforms” ™ for Social Media are:

1) Social Networking Sites: like facebook, Plaxo, Myspace, LinkedIn, Friendster, and Black planet.

2) Video and audio sites- like Youtube, Revver, Metacafe, and Godtube- plus podcasts sites like Podcast alley.

3) Blogging and Text sites– like WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, Twitter, and Squarespace.

4) Social Bookmarking Sites– like Digg, Reddit, Mixx, and Stumbleupon.

And what new software developments are coming in the future?

Many are on the drawing board, and we will see new sites popping up daily.

The MAIN reason that I see that Social Sites are so popular is the CONNECTION factor to:

People.
New ideas.
Possibilities.
Entertainment.
Education.
Marketing.

What is Social Media Marketing?

It is the process of engaging Social Media sites for Branding, Messaging, Teaching, Exposing, and Connecting to possible new prospects for the product and business.

It is different though than traditional marketing, as traditional
marketing relies on linear communication and where the corporation
determines the market flow.

In social media, the communication is less linear, and the social
community determines much of the market flow. Right now, over 50% of
all Fortune 500 companies are using social media for their business.

Impressive.

And it is growing.

Social Media is perfect for Marketing in 3 ways:

1) Getting your Brand known and exposed to a whole new grouping of people.

2) Using it to Communicate with your prospects and current customers- for customer support and product info.

3) Building new Relationships with other businesses and
people to create a community that shares the enthusiasm for your
products and business that you do.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing is
in it’s infancy and will be for a few more years, as it morphs and
continues to transform into something that has yet to be seen. many are
saying that Social Media will take over traditional media. That has yet
to be seen, but the possibility is there for sure in the future for Social Media Marketing