Will the Social Media Bubble Ever Burst? Boomers Say They are Just Getting Started!

19 07 2009

The world of social media networking sure is fascinating. We enjoy reconnecting with friends over Facebook, writing recommendations for colleagues on LinkedIn and viewing/sharing videos with friends on YouTube. But how long until the public feels lost in a sea of social media possibilities? How long until companies stop trying to reinvent the social media wheel?

While the answer to that question remains to be seen, one thing is for sure – not every emerging media platform will have “marketing stickiness” and therefore succeed and be sustainable in the long-term. In fact, among Wall Street Journal’s list of venture-backed shutdowns this year are emerging media start-ups such as TeeBeeDee, a social networking platform similar to Facebook for people over the age of 40.

Aimed at reconnecting the Baby Boomer generation, TeeBeeDee simply did not attract enough users to its site. According to the Wall Street Journal, TeeBeeDee “at its peak was receiving less than 200,000 monthly unique visitors and nine million page views, but the site would need 5 to 10 times bigger than that to be sustainable. As the article also suggests, TeeBeeDee attributes it failure to a poor business model that did not raise enough awareness and funding for the site. But why do you think that not every social networking channel succeeds?

In the case of TeeBeeDee, I believe that attracting users within the Boomer demographic towards a generationally segmented social networking site was their biggest challenge. Unlike Generations Y’s (18-25), who are pre-dispositioned digital natives who may be more ready and willing to branch off into different sub-communities based on niche interests, the Boomer demographic needed to connect to users at a broader level.

Take for example, Facebook, a social networking site that Boomers are increasingly embracing to connect to their children, extended families and long lost friendships. In fact, according to Mercury News of Silicon Valley, Baby Boomers are embracing technology at a higher rate than do Generation Ys.

The fact is that Baby Boomers are just getting started with harnessing their inner social media prowess. Check out what Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor has to say about Baby Boomers on Social Media.


Is Social Media Putting a Damper on Your Productivity?

15 07 2009

They say time flies when you’re having fun, but is social media putting a damper on your productivity and overall time management? Whether it’s for academic, professional or personal use, it is not a secret that emerging media technology can consume a great deal of your time.

If you are a marketer seeking to enhance the performance of your brand through digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and wikis, I would not be surprised if you are may be struggling to keep up with the dynamic nature of today’s digital landscape.

In fact, according to this recent Social Media Marketing Report, “A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week and 39% for 10 or more hours weekly. It is interesting to note that 9.6% spend more than 20 hours each week with social media.” The report also goes on to explain that there is a direct correlation with the length of time marketers have been using social media and the amount of time they commit to it each week.

So, how do you keep up without getting consumed? Here are my top 5 recommendations:

1. Block out time on your schedule dedicated to reading/responding to posts, Google Alerts and other pass along media notifications. Whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch break or late at night, it’s important that you don’t disrupt the fluidity of your day to day activities, unless necessary.

2. Evaluate the social media channels you are using. Ask yourself why you are using a particular social media channel. Is it consistent with your goals and objectives, whether personal, academic or professional?

3. Prioritize. Which social media tools give you the most impact? Be sure to spend the most time with the social media channel that gives you the most value in interactivity and positive exposure.

4. Go mobile. Utilize your personal data device such as a Blackberry or iPhone and download widgets/applications that allow you to manage social media tools from the convenience of your phone, without ever having to log on and lug around your computer with you.

5. Consider applications that manage multiple social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter Updates. For example, did you know that you can set-up an auto-update to Twitter with a Facebook application? Read this article to learn more about more ways you can manage the dynamic Facebook/Twitter duo.

As easy as it is to get caught up in the social media hype and excitement, it’s important to remain equally cognizant of the impact digital media exposure has on your work/life balance goals. And remember that despite how much you want to keep engaging the online community, it’s also okay to take matters offline.

Cyberspace Property Rights: Is it Even Possible to Protect Your Content?

14 07 2009

In a capitalistic society such as the one we live in, economic prosperity is often stimulated by growth and incentivized through monetary compensation for sound investments in one’s work. As a result, it would only make sense that the online community recognize and reward those who spent the time and resources into successfully building/transferring their brand presence online.

From an integrated marketing communications perspective, there must be a balance between making our branded assets accessible to the public for viewing and protecting it from redistribution, especially from manipulative sources seeking to profit over the success of others.

A New York Times article explains that “information doesn’t want to be free; only the transmission of information wants to be free. Information, like culture, is the result of labor and devotion, investment and risk; it has value.” Clearly, the protection of copyright laws is essential in the maintenance of brand equity. But with the proliferation of new emerging technologies such as blogging, RSS feeds, YouTube and Wikis, how can these property rights truly be protected? Is it even possible?

I invite you to view the following video from Creative Commons, a licensing organization that provides a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists and educators. It allows the authors of the online community to “signal freedoms” to share, remix, or do both with their online content. According to the video, Creative Commons offers a total of 6 licenses, which allows owners to restrict access such as commercial usage while still allowing viewers to engage in the alteration/remixing and sharing of their work – all for free. In fact, since its inception in 2002, over 150 million objects were licensed through Creative Commons, including music artist Nine Inch Nails and the White House, under Barack Obama’s current presidency.

NewsGator: The Corporate Alternative to Facebook at Work

12 07 2009

If you’re company has a SharePoint 2007 portal, then consider Newsgator Social Sites. According to the NewsGator Web site itself, “NewsGator Social Sites extends Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with social feedback (i.e. bookmarking, tagging, commenting), social networking, and community functionality by leveraging the SharePoint platform and social computing services.”

Since these are all things that peak my interest, I decided to check it out for myself by signing up for their free webinar. I wanted to learn about what NewsGator and other companies are currently doing to maximize Web 2.0 technology for internal collaboration. And, it’s interesting stuff!

NewsGator is a behind-the-firewall social computing platform used for collaboration. It includes all aspects of Web 2.0 third generation technology, which includes blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, social networks, tagging, social bookmarking, people profiles and mash-ups.

If you and your co-workers are using external emerging media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and external blog services to collaborate, you may want to consider the following risks (provided by the webinar) that these emerging technologies pose to your company. According to the webinar there exists:

• Very few business-related functions/features
• Employees don’t want to mix fun/personal profile with professional life
• Different countries gravitate toward different social networking sites
• Security and privacy concerns
• Difficult to integrate other internal systems
• IT Support challenges

NewsGator, in partnership with Microsoft SharePoint 2007 tackles all of the above-mentioned risks. Check it out for yourself!

Are Young Professionals Taking Advantage of LinkedIn?

12 07 2009

According to the LinkedIn site itself, the professional networking site has over 43 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. In fact, a new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second and about half of its members are outside of the US. What does the LinkedIn demographic look like?
BusinessWeek defines LinkedIn members to be the following:

“All about business. More males than femals (57% to 43%). Highest average income, at $89,000. More likely to have joined the site for business work, citing keeping in touch with business networks, job searching, business development and recruiting as top reasons. They like news, employment information, sports and politics. More likely to be into the gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis. Excluding video game systems, they own more electronic gadgets than other social networkers, including digital cameras, high definition TVs, DVRs and Blu-Ray players”.
Does this mean that there is no place for active engagement for young professionals under the age of 40 seeking to advance their careers? If you are a young professional under the age of 40 reading this, what have you done lately to bolster your career prospects on this professional networking site?

LinkedIn PR Manager, Krista Canfield, recommends the following:
1. Study the people that you admire.
2. Tailor your profile to look similar to the people whose careers you want.
3. Research people you are scheduled to meet.
4. Ask for advice and give advice through LinkedIn’s “Answers” feature.
5. If you want to increase your Google-ability, set your profile to public and choose
a vanity URL. Some people even include this on their email signature and
business cards.

Not familiar at all with LinkedIn? View this video to see how LinkedIn can help your professional networking career.

Measures on How to Best Engage a Mobile Media Audience

10 07 2009

Unlike TVs, the radio or any traditional media outlet, mobile media users are always connected, which means that the hardest thing to do from a marketing perspective will be to keep users engaged as repeat viewers and satisfied loyal customers. To do this, marketers must set clear goals and objectives for each mobile media campaign. But how? Let’s start with what key insights we already know.

Key insights on the effectiveness and receptivity of a mobile marketing campaign are linked directly to the attitudes, perceptions and feelings of an individual. The ability to capture the following measures is therefore a critical part in learning how to enhance brand performance.

INFORMATIVENESS: What can mobile users learn that is useful, beneficial and relevant to their personal lives and interests?

IRRITATION: It is important to evaluate how quickly mobile media users get to and navigate through your campaign. According to CreativePro.com, “it is more important than ever to keep viewers on your site, click, click, clicking for as long as possible. And one of the best ways to keep them there is to make sure they always know where they are. This is where good navigation comes in…”

PERSONALIZATION: For mobile media, personalization helps in establishing credibility, security and relevancy for the user. It identifies the customer as an individual and shows a higher level of customer service through customization from the organization.

Want to learn more about the power of mobile media? View this video interview on how to monetize mobile media campaigns for your business.

Nobody Beats Facebook, the Most Effective Pass Along Media to Date!

4 07 2009

Friendster, Facebook, Wikis, Blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter… the list goes on! With so many to choose from, which is truly the most effective pass along medium for marketing communications use? Facebook.

Originally known as the social networking tool for students, Facebook’s membership has grown to include anybody and everybody seeking to join. The only requirement? An email address.

So why Facebook? Here are six reasons:

1. Many avid Facebook users don’t see the need to sign up for a Twitter account simply because of Facebook’s popular status updates, which appear on the Facebook homepage mini-feed.

2. Facebook is also the #1 photo-sharing social networking site that allows you to “tag” photos of users — a feature currently being offered by Flickr and Picasa.

3. Unlike MySpace, the Facebook page layout is cleaner, more secure and interactive. This has especially been more apparent since Myspace has recently been criticized for spam being sent to users.

4. Facebook marketplace operates very similarly to online classifieds such as Craigslist.

5. Facebook allows you to manage a social events calendar, invite users and send group updates

6. Targeted advertising — User information on Facebook such as sex, birthday, school, relationship status and interests allow advertisers to choose the exact target audience for their marketing communications campaign.

What are some reasons that you love Facebook over other social networking sites? Check out these two videos on the Facebook cultural phenomenon and its growing popularity…