Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Attention Retailers: Facebook & Twitter Visitors Spend More Online Than Average Internet Users

comScore released some hard-hitting facts and figures on the state of the US Retail Economy in the First Quarter of 2010.

Before I delve into highlighting the takeaway, let me start with these two thoughts if you’re not sure you want to read on:

Two Myths –

A)     Social Media audience is all young people with no money

B)      Low ad clickthrough rates means low performance

Two Facts –

A)     Social networking site users spend 1.5x more online than the average internet user

B)      CPMs on social networking sites 5x less than average Internet CPM

The Low-Down on the State of Our Economy –

1)      e-Commerce continues to gain share of retail spending (and peaks in colder seasons), reaching 8.1% by end of Q1-2010

2)      e-Commerce sales in Q1-2010 were up 6% compared to a year ago (travel up 2% and non-travel up 10%)

3)      e-Commerce showed double-digit growth for the first time since Q2 2008.

4)      Strong pre-Easter sales in March this year, where buying dropped a month later in April.

5)      Website visitation grew 12% in April versus a year ago (though some large retailers experienced in single- to double-digit declines in unique visitors in April).

6)      “March surge in spending was propelled by savings, which drove the personal savings rate down to 2.7% of after-tax incomes, the lowest level since September 2008.” – Associated Press, May 3, 2010

7)      “If one subtracts the stimulus effect and the boost from changing inventories – also a temporary factor – there’s been no recovery at all. Growth in the first and second quarters of 2010 would be zero.” – WSJ Blog, May 15, 2010

8)      U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis just revised GDP down from 3.2% to 3.0% for Q1 2010.

9)      Economists say it takes about 3% growth in GDP to create enough jobs just to keep up with population growth. Growth would have to be about 5% for a full year just to drive the unemployment rate down by 1 percentage point.” – Associated Press, April 30, 2010

10)   Consumers have found themselves “trading down” to cope with decreased spending power; instead of buying their favorite brands, they cope with other less-expensive brands; the degree of impact varies by product category

11)   The use of Coupons is coming on strong, where 29 million people visited a coupon site in April 2010 (led by coupons.com, retailmenot.com and eversave.com)

12)   Consumers choose “Free Shipping” as their most important cost-saving measure, followed by sale items and no tax.

13)   The larger the retailer, the more attractive the incentives such as free shipping & discounts are.

14)   Men are much more likely to buy from pure-play retailers (i.e. single-channel retailer like Amazon.com)

15)   Flash Sale sites like IDEELI.com, GILT.com, HAUTELOOK.com and RUELALA.com continue to grow and their users spend several times more than average online.

16)   23% of Twitter users follow businesses and retailers to find special deals, promotions or sales, or use Twitter for product reviews & opinions.

17)   Some retailers like Teleflora (48%), Levi Strauss (33.5%) and SnorgTees (29.6%) are spending relatively more on Social Media display advertising.

18)   It’s official: Facebook & Twitter visitors spend more money online than average.

(Courtesy of comScore‘s State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in Q1 2010 presented by comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni)

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Fortune 100 Companies Favor Twitter Over Facebook

SEOmoz Social Media Marketing

Image courtesy of SEOmoz’s Social Media Marketing Guide

The Affinitive blog talked about a “land grab” is happening on social media. If I may develop on this idea, I think an “attention grab” among consumer brands is fully out the gate. Imagine thousands of brands are trying to get your attention on TV, Radio, Newspapers, magazines and now – social media.

Twitter and Facebook are clearly surging as the strongest players in this great battle for attention—voted by Fortune 100 companies to say the least. According to a recenty study by Burson-Marsteller and Proof Digital, Twitter has now become the social media platform of choice among Fortune 100 companies. 54% of companies are active on Twitter, versus 29% on Facebook and 32% on corporate blogs. (Twitter experienced 3-digit surge in user growth this year, active user growth is projected to reach 18 million by end of 2009. Click here to read about Facebook growth.)

If you look at the activities companies have on these three platforms, they are actually pretty similar:

  • Distribute news and updates about their company
  • As an extension of their customer service
  • Announce marketing promotions (promotions/deals/contests)
  • Part of employee recruitment/human resources efforts (job postings)

Give or take, job postings probably don’t happen on corporate blogs as much as they do on Twitter and Facebook, and same thing for deals and promotions, which appear much more frequently on Twitter and Facebook, but not on corporate blogs.

Twitter and Facebook share various common characteristics but companies are clearly jumping onto Twitter at a much faster pace than onto Facebook. According to the study, 25 of the 54 companies that are active on Twitter are also active on Facebook. Although no specific reasons were discussed on the study as to why stronger engagement is found on Twitter vs. Facebook, there are some identified challenges about the ease of Facebook adoption from a corporate perspective:

  • Facebook page setup requires time for organization and optimization
  • Users need to get used to the fairly complex layout to find their way around
  • Opt-in applications require users to grant access or connect
  • Users are less likely to provide immediate response as they do on Twitter, which is built to capture real-time gut-reactions
  • Side-bar advertisements and highlights on Facebook compete for attention

I think I can come up with more reasons, but that’s not the point here. Just like any business, companies are looking for quick and lasting ways to engage customers on a regular basis as frequently as possible. The brand has to be front-and-center, and the conversations should be the core. Twitter provides for that and makes it easy for people to hop on and use. One doesn’t need an hour to learn how to use Twitter, but Facebook can be quite involved if you want to take advantage of its full suite of features and functions.

Then again, for those who have spent enough time on Facebook and have benefited from the dynamics it offers, Facebook is still one of the most loved inventions for the connection-craved generation and brand-saavy customers…it surely has my attention and the attention of my 150 friends.

Webinars are IN, but keep common faux pas OUT

Webinars are IN these days, in case you haven’t noticed. And Twitter and Facebook names are becoming popular leave-behinds from presenters to continue their dialogues with the participants post-webinar. Preparing for a highly-engaging and interactive webinar is not much different from preparing to present like Steve Jobs. How do you keep your webinars informative, relevant and engaging? How do you make sure your audience doesn’t tune you out 5 minutes into the presentation? Here are a few webinar faux pas we can try avoid:

  • Starting your webinar late – like 5 to 10 minutes late – making attendees wait or drop off.
  • A moderator who has very little knowledge of the presentation content and offers no insight on the value and background of the presentation and fumbles through the transition from one presenter to another.
  • Presenters are not cued properly to begin their presentation, causing awkward silences on the line. (Need a better moderator!)
  • Loud or monotone presenters 
  • Webinar application doesn’t allow you adjust the volume of the presenters from the listening end.
  • Unsynchronized audio and visual presentations – shouldn’t they be tested prior to going live?
  • A presentation with non-working audio and requires you to dial in via phone to hear the presenter. (Why bother with a webinar?)
  • Questions or raised hands that aren’t responded to or addressed. 
  • The webinar goes on forever, say more than 40 minutes.

Some must-have and considerations:

  • A knowledgeable, communicative and assertive moderator.
  • Presenters who can present effortlessly with high energy and the right tone (and volume).
  • Iron out all the technical kinks prior to the webinar.
  • Rehearse, test and dry run your webinar at least once before you go live.
  • Keep your presentation under 30 minutes – most people’s attention span is much shorter than that.
  • Provide audio AND visual in one application. (This is 2009, not 1999.)
  • Engage your audience and be interactive! Answer questions as they come in (or acknowledge incoming questions and hold them until the end of the presentation).
  • Poll your audience to gauge their business needs, interests and inclinations.
  • Summarize lessons-learned and calls-to-action.
  • Make your presentation memorable, buzz-worthy and viral.

Seek Out Your Customers, Be Where They Are: Engage and Be Social

Figuring out my "social" prioritiesWhere are your customers hanging out these days? Chances are social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. (And if your customers go to three particular tradeshows a year, and only those three tradeshows, make sure you’re there also.) With the time and resources people are spending online, everyone’s trying to figure out a way to monetize the relationships they have. But before we go into monetization, let’s think about relationships for a second.

I always think the concept of “following” vs. “followers” on Twitter is revolutionary – you’re not just friends or colleagues with people who follow you or who you follow, but you’re actually cultivating a clout – a group of followers – while you become another person’s following.

What do you do with your followers? And if your followers happen to be your customers, what would you do differently in your interactions with them online? Chances are, you will interact with each person fairly equitably. Every Tweet is posted instantaneously on every follower’s status page, so your communication with any one person is shared and displayed. (Unless you go the route of DM – where you Direct Message the person; but what’s the point of DM if you can email each other.)

So what’s the insight here? Social media compels marketers and business owners to behave differently from before – every decision and point of interaction made is in relatively full view of other people (some competitors, too). The relationship-building process becomes open, rather than competitive, i.e. you’re no longer an exclusive commodity to your customer and neither is your relationship with your customer an exclusive one because your customer can be followed by Nth number of people just like yourself.

The open nature of online communication brings us to rethink the way we’ve been doing business or marketing our products and services. Our engagement with each customer is now driven and fostered by relationships, not by hardselling or advertising. And these relationships require commitment – a commitment to continually engage our customers in meaningful and reflective conversations, continuous service/product improvement and deeper relationship building. And some of these relationships may translate into better performance or financial rewards, while others may not. (Charlene Li of Altimeter Group recently released a study on the breadth and depth of the 100 most valuable brands’ engagement across 11 different online social media channels http://www.altimetergroup.com/2009/07/engagementdb.html )

So when Topsy (a Twitter-based search engine) said on its blog today: Influence is the New Web Currency, I think that ties right back to what we’ve been saying about relationships, engagement and open communication – the three elements that make influence possible.

Instead of figuring out what our customer loyalty index is, maybe we should ask, “What’s our influence index?” to be more relevant, engaging and social.

Resources:

1) Measure your social media influence: Take the Engagement Survey http://www.engagementdb.com/Rank-Yourself

2) Check out the brand engagement report at http://www.engagementdb.com/Report

Assessing high and low commitment levels of social media tools for your business

Are you getting your daily dose of social media in the right proportions?

Stumbled upon this wonderful pyramid posted by Lee Aase on his SMUG blog. I’m drawn to the two arrows in particular – one pointing up as the Commitment level, and another pointing down as the Quantity level. If you’re interested in Lee’s observations, check out his blog. But here I have some added thoughts as to the implications of the different tiers of social media activities.

Courtesy of Lee Aase and Valeri Gungor

Courtesy of Lee Aase and Valeri Gungor

Does the higher commitment level always yield higher gains? I’m not sure. I think both the quanitity and quality of gains can go up and down the pyramid, depending on what types of gains you’re looking for.

Via Twitter, some recruiters are finding candidates while some candidates are finding jobs. Level of commitment – pretty low. Tweeting a job listing is not rocket science, and may take as little as 5-10 seconds to do. For the candidates, the amount of time required to click through the link, read the job post and respond to the job might not be all that much different from checking a job post on Careerbuilder or Monster. However, the advantage of responding to a tweet is that you’re building instant rapport with the tweeter, i.e. the recruiter. That rapport can be further developed via more tweets going back and forth. That’s where social networking begins.

Using the same example of job listings and job search, let’s take a look at the interactions between Twitter and Blogs. Checking different blogs to keep abreast of the latest job postings take a much higher level of commitment, and I’m not sure if people post job listings or talk about the jobs they’re hiring on blogs so much. However, via blogs, one could end up landing on more job postings with links on the sidebar, inspiration from the blog posts, or identifying names and company names mentioned on the blogs, but the level of engagement is more significant and the commitment to keep checking back is undeniably higher than checking into Twitter.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? Yes, blogs require a higher level of commitment, but the lower level of commitment required by Twitter might not yield any worse results than blogs.

If you’re a company thinking where and what social networking sites you want to be involved with, then consider this: Twitter might not be as scattered or schizophrenic as one might think. The next time someone says to you Twitter is not fitting for your business, that it’s a tool for young people only (which by the way it’s not true at all, see the latest Comscore study on the changing demographics of Twitter users), ask them why they say so, how they can apply the tool for your business and make it work, and what commitment level is required. You might be surprised by how much low-level commitment tools can offer you.

What the heck with the hackers? Twitter and Facebook got hacked this morning.

This was no Live Free or Die Hard starring Bruce Willis, but some large-scale hacks took place this morning on both Twitter and Facebook. The exact time the two sites went down was unclear, though Facebook was back in business much sooner than Twitter. My routine in the morning is to log into Tweetdeck while I wait for my work emails being uploaded. After several failed attempts to load tweets up on the deck this morning, I tried log into www.twitter.com but the site was said to be not found. Damn those hackers! Surprised and confused, I moved onto my emails but felt unsettled about the “denial of service” of two of the world’s largest social networks at the same time.

I looked up “hackers – computer security” on Wiki: A hacker is a person who breaks into computers, usually by gaining access to administrative controls. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground. Proponents claim to be motivated by artistic and political ends, and are often unconcerned about the use of illegal means to achieve them.

As I read on, I discovered a few things I didn’t know about hackers before, quoting Wiki: Several subgroups of the computer underground with different attitudes and aims use different terms to demarcate themselves from each other, or try to exclude some specific group with which they do not agree.

So great! Hackers disagree among themselves that means we have both good and evil hackers. There are the “White Hat” hackers who are non-malicious hackers who hack to test their own computer security systems…I can bear with that, since all major corporations employ professional “hackers”, otherwise known as computer/network secruity experts, to safeguard their business infrastructure and critical data.

Then there are the “Grey Hat” and “Black Hat” hackers. As their names suggest, they’re either borderline illegal or outrightly illegal by committing vandalism, credit card fraud, identity theft, piracy, or other types of harmful activity.

The last but not least category are the “Hacktavists” – who are probably most closely associated with this morning’s attacks on the two world’s largest social networking sites. Though unconfirmed at this point, this type of large-scale attacks reportedly began occurring back in July when a series of cyber attacks were launched against computer networks in South Korea and the U.S. by North Korean hacktavists, i.e. cyberterrorists. Today’s attacks on Facebook and Twitter were alleged to be instigated by cyber warlords between Russia and Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state).

I’m not trying to speculate who the hackers are out there and what their motivations are (although one may find on Twitter today some Tweeters making speculations and calling out hackers’ names), but be darn clear that our lives are never the same as before – Twitter and Facebook have become an integral part of our social and global identities and we’ll band together to fight for the freeodm to say what we want to say and when we want to say it on those sites.

I never realized until this morning that my life has never been the same ever since Twitter and Facebook. When I couldn’t connect with my fellow marketers and friends, I felt attacked…but victory sided with the open and just. Thanks to the hard work by our Twitter and Facebook guardian angels, who quickly brought the sites up again after a couple of hours. You guys did a heck of a job!

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What not to tweet if you want to save your reputation, life and overall well-being

Tweets get around. To avoid social media gaffes, here are some examples of things you DON’T want to put on your social media network from Twitter to Facebook to MySpace:

1) I have a serious hangover from a party last night
2) I have depression
3) I’m about to kill someone
4) I’m on a job hunt – help!
5) The company I work at sucks
6) I just got a ticket for reckless (drunk) driving
7) The alimony I’m paying to my ex is dragging me down
8) Any financial advice for someone in serious debt?
9) Just got dumped by my ex…
10) I’m seeking a relationship…contact me if you’re interested

You get the point. Emotions, money issues and intimate sharing are best kept OUTSIDE of your social media network.