HR in the age of social media

iStock_000001943264XSmall.jpgI am far from an HR specialist, but I often see companies who are struggling to adjust to the age of social media. On the flip-side, I see a few companies who understand this shift and take advantage of the possibilities.

We're operating in a difficult economy, surrounded by a shifting, unsure world. HR practices of yesterday are not possible to maintain. Leaks happen, employees are building personal brands and creating content that is (like it or not) related to your company.

As challenging as this is, it also is an unprecedented time to use social media to engage and acquire the best talent in the world. It takes a clear strategy, a solid focus on what works and the follow through and commitment to make it work.

Here are some successful, and unsuccessful lessons from social media. What would you add?

ON VIDEO

Don't create a staged, inauthentic video that makes you look silly (I'm talking to you Bank of America)

Don't post a video that you wouldn't want to have used against you for the rest of your agency's life (Agency.com Subway pitch aka "When we roll we roll big")

Do create a video that allows people to see who you are, how you operate and do it in an authentic way (One of my favorite videos from Connected Ventures will either implore you to run away or apply immediately)

Picture 9.pngDo give the world an insight into your culture using the tools of the trade (I always enjoy the Critical Mass Always in Beta site which evolves as they need it. Through video, photography, new applications, Twitter and more they engage their customer and recruiting audiences in an authentic way.)

ON TWITTER

Don't think that people who you are laying off/disciplining/promoting/hiring/etc. will keep quiet, don't think their peers won't find out from Twitter first. Once it hits, the message (right or wrong) spreads very quickly.

Here are some layoff announcements on Twitter:

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Do be proactive, honest and open (Zappos is a great model for this. They missed some funding and the CEO sent a Twitter message linking to a blog post with more info. Some employees made a video to help people cheer up.)

Here is the original message from Tony, the Zappos CEO. Note, you could see all of their customer and employee reactions in realtime at twitter.zappos.com

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I could go on and on with other platforms, but this should get the conversation boing. How are you using social media for HR? It's has the potential to be an amazing sales tool or it could be a repellant for new talent. Would you know? Are you listening and engaging?

Let me hear what you think!

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Wrap up and thoughts from Seoul South Korea

EB85E237-F44D-486D-A160-E10D523498BC.jpgIt was a whirlwind four days in Seoul this week, so I wanted to share my thoughts on this before I forget. I'm writing this from the airport in Tokyo waiting for my flight back to Newark.

First, here is a quick video with some thoughts as I recorded them yesterday.

The IDG conference was pretty incredible. Hopefully you have had a chance to read the posts from Tuesday and Wednesday to see what I mean. I consistently told the organizers that they had created a conference that was on par with any I have been to in the US. Between the conference and having the opportunity to spend time with the Fleishman team in our Seoul office I noticed a number of similarities to the US as well as some differences.

Some Similarities:


  • The financial crisis is global and is on the top of everyone's mind
  • Everyone gets that social media is a huge growth area
  • Everyone is confused as to how to measure it effectively
  • Companies are trying to find the balance between offline and online media and are trying to break down marketing silos
  • Video and mobile are exploding across the globe, but have to be used strategically

Some Differences:


  • Strong cultural differences in Korea impact everything
  • Most US companies fail in Korea (Google has around 1% market share in search here) because they localize, but don't fully immerse themselves in the culture
  • People demand fast service both on and off line
  • Koreans are very tech savvy, highly connected and love to meet in person
  • I found people very hesitant to ask questions in presentations
  • Mobile is ahead as far as services and quality, but devices are extremely expensive here (telecom companies control the pricing and keep it high)

Best thinking:


  • Bruce Haines from Cheil Worldwide had a number of gems including "banning the word digital" because it's all marketing. He also stressed the need to think across channels and formats to have the most impact, breaking down silos and develop the best message(s) tailored to the right audience.
  • Gerry Gouy from MTV was great on and off stage. His view from the entertainment side where he is seeing advertisers spend more money across fewer channels was key. He also mentioned that mobile is still not working at this point and most advertisers are looking to reach a 25-34 year old sweet spot through TV and online.

Here is the Slideshare of the keynote address I gave. I'll be adding audio to this over the next couple of days.



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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Sung Lee, VP MySpace

5D968294-ECAB-4B97-9D47-88585C69E7B0.jpgSung Lee is the VP of Operations for MySpace in Asia. Her presentation focused on the ways in which marketers should approach social network marketing.

Key takeaways:


  • Social networks are bigger than you think
  • People, brands and artists are able to create their presence on the web
  • The online experience is offline as well in the form of events, etc.
  • MySpace has 118M unique visitors with over 51% growth in the last two years
  • 12M of those users are in Asia Pacific
  • 70K videos uploaded daily
  • Self-expression, connection and discovery drive social networking
  • Driven by the "me" economy
  • Social media is redefining the marketing channels and the media mix
  • Reasons for friending brands; 29% notice of events, sales, offers / 28% recommended by a friend / 23% want to associate with them / 23% discounts, coupons, samples / 11% want to support the brand
  • Key stages of social network marketing: Create a community -> Cultivate relationships -> Build long-term CRM
  • Pass along from a peer drives 34 times the pass-through and 20 times the purchase intent versus ads on MySpace
  • Five steps to build momentum know the audience, keep it real, empower the audience, enable dreams, leverage the power of the platform
  • Cartier example drives traffic to download songs, MySpace allows for scale across languages and geography
  • Questions to ask yourself first: do you know your audience, can you customize the creative, do you have engaging assets to share, are you willing to continue an ongoing dialogue
  • Platforms are expanding into mobile and will continue to become more prevalent over time
  • Personal connections with the brand is the differentiation strategy for MySpace over Facebook
  • MySpace is relatively new in Korea, but is growing exponentially


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Chang-Il Choi, LG Household and Healthcare

18CB5939-CBF9-480E-ACA3-239CD8431C17.jpgChang is on the consumer research team at LG's Household and Healthcare. He focused on product design, evolution and innovation. Internal and external forces help companies innovate.

Key takeaways:


  • Customer research in Web 2.0 is the focus of Chang's presentation
  • Creation of new products requires creative customer involvement
  • Internal customers - inner creative staff and researchers
  • External customers - expert customers and other business experts
  • This helps companies break inertia and myopia internally and to use external inertia
  • Look at current and customer competitors
  • Find competitive advantages in design, quality, ads, etc.
  • Trendspotting is necessary - possibly looking at restrictions and overcoming them
  • Cross-pollinating teams will help drive new ideation for products
  • Involving the right outside parties can help lead to more innovation where not expected - need to identify the lead users
  • Experts in other industries can help find new insights that apply
  • Darwin's theory of evolution was spawned from diversity and this is what is happening in technology today - more options let us see this evolution
  • The milk industry shows us the evolution of product/package design - calcium milk, skim, coffee creamer, etc.

Here is an example Chang mentioned from Japan for a new drink called White Coffee from Kirin (better know for their beer brewing in the US). This shifts the consumer from traditional views of coffee/packaging. It could work or backfire.

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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Jessica Kim, CEO Shout Communications

Picture 40.pngJessica Kim is the CEO of Shout Communications and is talking about word of mouth marketing in the Web 2.0 era. Shout is doing a large amount of business in blogger relations and building content for distribution.

Key takeaways:


  • WOM - consumers providing information to other consumers
  • WOMM - facilitating conversations between customers
  • Communities are tight knit and highly influential in Korea and beyond
  • Offline WOM is converging online, spreads faster and reaches farther
  • WOM requires content to be created for pass along
  • Creator -> Sender -> Receiver (consumer)
  • 4Ps for WOM -- 1) Product (quality of the content has to be high), 2) Place (where content is distributed blogs, Flickr, YouTube, Daum, Naver, etc. influences what content must be created), 3) People (people can see through fake viral content, need to be transparent, hire credible/knowledgeable people who have hands-on experience), 4) Public trust (
  • The question of trust is key and also is distributed in the online community
  • In Korea, influencer marketing is strong - often power bloggers or community operators
  • Social media allows influencers to strengthen their power, build power and connect
  • In Korea, Facebook and MySpace are very limited because CyWorld has such a big head start
  • Bloggers have the most influence, a small subset are power users
  • Influential bloggers (Power bloggers in Korea) (Charisma bloggers in Japan) have trust and are subject matter experts
  • Obviously, do not try to control, force or exploit bloggers, it's about relationships
  • Bloggers need to be able to write a natural review, have experience, have interest that allows them to write in line with the content on the blog
  • Respect the creativity of the bloggers to give their take
  • Overt influence backfires when the final product comes out
  • It's all about relationships, building them long term means giving bloggers a voice inside the company (beta testing, etc.), needs to be win-win
  • Not blog marketing --> Blogger relations
  • Make sure your interests are aligned with the blogs
  • Meet the bloggers in person - point of differentiation
  • Create a long-term relationship roadmap
  • Use vendor-neutral language
  • Metrics in blogger relations are different than traditional ad metrics
  • Look at pass-through from origin point to new outlets (embeds, links, etc.)
  • Measure each blog with metrics (Technorati, page rank, Yahoo blog rank, Daum widget blog ranking (Korea), BIKO ranking (Korea), etc.)
  • PR measurement trends are adapting to digital space (x3, x5, x7 depending on space) and will stabilize over time


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Jacklyn Lim, SVP AmorePacific

Picture 38.pngJacklyn Joung Ah Lim is the SVP of Marketing Strategy and Planning at AmorePacific (a global beauty products company). Her presentation is on the role of Consumer Behavior Knowledge. Jacklyn spent about 20 years in the US with various consumer products companies include Motorola.

Key takeaways:


  • Changes in product delivery is changing marketing
  • Businesses are spanning categories, channels, geographies and consumers
  • Changing consumer trends: experiential, well-informed, self-preservation, quest for health and wellness, self-obsessed, search for authenticity
  • Need to provide product that matches these trends (though many overlap)
  • Consumer behavior (brad patterns): multi-brand usage pattern, multi-channel shopping, dabbling and sampling, verbal and demanding with frequent brand switching
  • How to win -- focus on the consumer
  • Approach to an emotional category - consumer segmentation and loyalty management
  • Segments look at myriad factors - media consumption, rational v. emotional, spend level, country of origin, information engagement, involvement, etc.
  • Form micro segments to manage portfolio and design the consumer experience
  • Look at demographics, lifestyle, channel behaviors, product needs, media consumption, etc. to form unique profiles
  • Take micro segments and apply them to the business (design, R&D, channel planning, communications)
  • Loyalty management is the second key to delivering value
  • Consumer grading - segmentation based on purchase value
  • "Mileage program" - beauty points across channels add value
  • Look at product value across the consumer's lifetime
  • Each change in life allows for an opportunity for them to migrate, need to track how many defect to another brand



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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Bruce Haines, COO Cheil Worldwide

Picture 37.pngBruce Haines is the President and Global COO of Cheil Worldwide. Bruce just relocated to Seoul and brings a traditional advertising perspective to next generation technologies

Key takeaways:


  • Global economy is having an impact on all marketers
  • Changes are happening rapidly
  • Consumer messaging bombardment is increasing
  • The consumer is boss and has more power then ever - choice is fueling consumer power
  • High quality and excellent value is needed
  • Consumers want a choice of 4-5, they think there are 10-12 and there are really 25 total options
  • Clutter and media fragmentation are growing
  • Marketers have to find ways to connect and thereby break through without interruption, instead engaging them
  • Proving ROI is mandatory and is the accepted benchmark for the C-Suite to gauge the effectiveness of a program
  • ROI can lie as can all metrics
  • Look at the ROI between McCain and Obama. McCain has a much better ROI if you look at dollars spent, but Obama won. That's what matters.
  • Example - Cadburry's Gorilla spot - moved Cadbury to become a "cool" brand which was laughable a year ago - how is this measured?
  • Platform combinations deliver value
  • Consumers don't think in silos - marketers still do
  • Delivering integrated communications is key
  • Brand decisions are intuitive and not rational - information about brands are processed at very low attention/involvement levels
  • Brand reputations are derived over time, there is no source of that feeling, it's almost by osmosis
  • Brand decisions are emotional, brands have body language as do humans, every interaction counts
  • Long-term thinking about branding is mandatory
  • Assessing ROI in a vacuum without taking into account the impact of the brand is ill advised
  • Ad Age quote on advertising ROI - "either the impact on the brand has to be ignored, which seems incorrect, or it has to be put in as an assumption, which makes the analysis suspect"
  • Instead of the death of advertising, it's had a rejuvenation
  • Creativity is key and where we add value
  • Right media choices at the right time is key
  • Beware of "lies, damned lies and statistics"


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Gerry Gouy MTV Networks

Picture 36.pngI'm here in Seoul South Korea (after 21 hours of travel over the past day). It's 9:30am on Tuesday here in Seoul and I'm going to bring you the best points from the IDG Marketing 2.0 and Beyond conference.

I'm speaking tomorrow as the opening keynote and I'll post the Slideshare deck here tomorrow. The presenters are partially in English and partially in Korean, so it's the first time I've used a translator and they've pulled it off very well.

Key takeaways:


  • There is not digital media, it's all media
  • Viacom global youth study found three groups, the most interesting is the "Golden" age group
  • Golden age of youth - People age 25-34 continue to consume music, gaming, etc. in the same way they did when they were teens
  • Golden age groupers are more financially stable as well as happier about who they are as individuals
  • 25 was found to be the ideal age that youth around the world to aspire to
  • Biggest global trend is a flight to quality
  • Move to more traditional platforms that deliver their needs
  • Deals usually span 3-4 media platforms, not 7-8
  • Examples of mobile campaigns that are well executed and truly integrated are lacking
  • ROI on mobile is tougher to get to
  • Video is a huge opportunity on mobile - paid content is very tough to pull off on mobile - ad supported content is the way he has seen success
  • Samsung integrated campaign www.thephotographicadventuresofnickturpin.com immerses you in the experience with very light branding
  • Eagle Eye film - TV/online/mobile
  • British Airways - MetroTwin - Focuses on the similarities between London and New York - provides recommendations and matches you with a person/venue in the other city
  • Convergence within distribution platforms is a key factor
  • Music is a chaotic industry and is a portal to see the future of media. There are no set rules anymore.
  • Broadcast and online is HOT.
  • Credit crunch is hurting true integration. Digital was an afterthought. More advertisers pushing for true integration between broadcast and online. Mobile is left out.
  • Mass audiences are going away on single platforms, they're reached through 360 programs across multiple channels


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Over one billion served

That's right readers, just a couple of days ago Twitter received its one billionth update. The image below shows where it stands at the time of this posting.

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Let's think about this, because the velocity and volume here are staggering.

Some questions to think about and talk around are:


  • If Twitter is not even mainstream, the growth could be exponential. How can we handle this much data? RSS only helps so much.
  • There is a massive amount of information here, a majority of which is just noise. How are you finding the signal?

What other questions does this bring to mind for you? What do you think?


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I've got Seoul

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Next Sunday morning I leave for Seoul Korea to speak at the IDG Next Generation Marketing Conference. I'm giving the opening keynote address on the topic of global marketing trends and then moderating a panel discussion with peers from YouTube, Microsoft, Chiel Worldwide and MTV. It's going to be really fascinating to talk to people there and see how social media is taking hold. There is a huge interest in "web2.0" at this conference and I am interested to uncover if the definition changes on the other side of the globe.

Korea is one of the most connected countries on Earth and I will be paying particular attention to the state of mobile marketing/technology and adoption of social media across countries. I'm going to do a lot of video and take a lot of photos and turn the blog into a real journal over the course of next week to share as much as I can about the culture and the shape of marketing there. It'll be a bit of a time difference (14 hours ahead of US eastern time) so bear with me.

If you have questions or are curious about anything in Korea related to marketing or technology let me know and I'll help you out. If you happen to read this blog and you live in Seoul let me know and we can meet up.

* Photo credit Tyler Durden


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Talking about micromedia with eMarketer

CD926A16-5657-45FB-82FC-2C44FA326F08.jpgWhen you think about leading research and thought leadership for the digital/social media space, eMarketer is sure to come to mind. I was honored when they asked me to participate in a new series of interviews with online thought leaders for their Total Access offering.

The interview really touches on how I see micromedia, how it can be best utilized, what is takes to keep it running for marketing and the real power behind it.

Special thanks to the team at eMarketer for allowing me to post this premium item in its entirety. Click here to download the PDF.

I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think.


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Inside//Out: Yammer

7A740759-0D67-40BE-9E3A-1E5CE0129350.jpgWhat do you get when you take Twitter, make it private and add some security/privacy restrictions? You get Yammer. Yammer is a private micromedia community where businesses or organizations can sign up for their own "private" network. This is not the same as installing something behind your firewall, the information is on shared servers and could be a liability depending on your industry. If you need it protected and super private then check out identi.ca.

Use is the same as on Twitter and Yammer has released decktop, BlackBerry and iPhone apps. It does not, much to my dismay, integrate with Twitter or any other existing network. For me, this is a killer as I cannot keep more than a few accounts active and still add value.

Yammer burst on to the scene on September 10 when it won the top prize at the TechCruch50 competition. The opinions were split at that time as well. Some people thought they just copied Twitter and put a spin on it, others thought the spin they put was a large enough point of differentiation to give it top prize. I'll let you decide.

Here is a quick video tour of Yammer:

[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

My key takeaways:


  • The potential for knowledge management is tremendous; aggregating links, identifying trends and business development identification are just a few of the major points
  • If your company is new to this space, this is an easy, low-cost entry point that allows some control
  • Lack of tie-in with other services is a hinderance to the super-connected who would most likely have championed Yammer (it's not too late guys)
  • Portability and device support is on par with anyone

I asked about Yammer on Twitter yesterday and here is what people had to say:
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What are your thoughts on this? Are you using it? Did you try it and abandon? What would it take to succeed with your business?


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Best ROI from digital marketing

A few weeks ago I launched a new poll in the right column on this blog asking you where you were seeing the best ROI from digital marketing. I wanted to share the results as I think they're telling of what I am seeing in this space. If you're curious, this is where those votes came from geographically.

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As you may expect, search engine marketing leads the pack. Social media marketing, however, came in second with 27% of the responses followed by email marketing. This was a little surprising to me in that social media marketing is showing proven ROI when up against email and search. Those were two of the early leaders in getting dollars from marketers and have solid track records where ROI is proven (versus traditional ad spending).

I also think it's how you're quantifying the return. Is it new connections, sales driven from social media outlets email acquisitions or conversations? I a new world of marketing, there needs to be new measures of ROI. What are you using?

Websites were surprisingly low on the list of ROI at only 12%, less than half of social media marketing. I think more people count a website as a cost of doing business and are looking for other ways to extend their brands. What do you think? Does this surprise you?

If you're curious, this is where those votes came from geographically.

Does this echo what you are seeing in your business? Dare to share?


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The pop-up community phenomenon

iStock_000006184805XSmall.jpgWhile the goal of most marketers in social media is to build long-term communities, the enabling technologies have made pop-up communities a powerful force. Pop-up communities happen spontaneously in most cases and grow through the viral nature of social media hooks. They use social nets, blogs, tagging, video, IM, etc. to grow organically until they reach critical mass to catapult forward.

The Obama sign watch: An individual in Portland, Oregon had their Obama sign stolen from their yard twice. They decided to live stream the sign and invited people to come and watch the feed (you can see it below). At any given moment you can find hundreds of people watching and chatting on the UStream channel.

Social objects: Pop-up communities happen on a small scale around social objects. This can be seen most clearly in You Tube videos that get a large viewership, drive comments, start conversations and grow through social media outlets.

Obama girl has over 10 million views and nearly 53,000 comments. It his the mainstream media and became the topic of many conversations.

Even Charlie had his day with 55+ million views and nearly 85,000 text comments and 180 video comments. The clip has been embedded, shared and otherwise passed along millions of times.

Presidential candidate sites: Before this election cycle, the current presidential candidates had little of their expansive social media platforms in place. It makes you wonder what will happen when the election is over. What I have seen before is that they become a ghost town. I am hopeful that each candidate, regardless of the outcome, will continue to engage their supporters for the long haul.

Sporting events: Major sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup are examples of pop-up communities. They appear a few months before and disappear once the events are complete. The next time an event happens, they start from scratch.

If you visit the Olympics site today (located here) you will notice that is seems abandoned, and it is. That is the nature of the pop-up community. The other end of the timeline can be seen on the 2010 World Cup site that is ramping up for their time in the sun.

Long term transformation
The question for marketers is how to transform a pop-up community into a long-term community. The answer to the question comes down to the intent of the individual. If there is a long-term interest and passion from the person or people at the center of these communities they can survive. The topic will have to evolve to maintain relevance and keep adding value, but it is entirely possible.

The question for marketers is how to transform a pop-up community into a long-term community.

Marketers need to be aware of this phenomenon and learn that, like all new marketing, they are not in control. Smart marketers are learning how to cultivate these communities, add value in a smart way and maintain relationships over the long term.

What pop-up communities have you seen or been involved in? How did it start and what happened to it?


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Brand engagement in social media

I just saw this new report from eMarketer about the presence of brands in social media and what consumers expect from them. Of note is that 34% of people think brands should engage and interact regularly, 51% think brands should engage, but only intereract when requested. Only 7% thought brands had no place in the social media landscape.

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I think this does not take a number of things into account including the value-add to the community, the quality of the offering and the level of participation (being a member of the community vs. just being there).

What do you think about these numbers? Are they low/high in your opinion?

[UPDATE:] See a similar study conducted by Cone (disclaimer: Cone is also part of Omnicom Group).


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The key is ROI

iStock_000005509580XSmall.jpgI've said this for years, and I think every digital evangelist wakes up in cold sweats every night thinking about it. ROI in the digital space (SEM, social media, e-commerce, campaign sites, email marketing, etc.) is measurable, accurate and accountable. You know your digital ROI for every dollar spent, but if you're spending offline, you really have no idea what you're getting. I've seen the equations that publications use to guess their reach and it's total BS. I've also heard radio DJs exclaim that they really have no idea how many people are listening.

I can say this all day long, but I think Gary Vaynerchuk (who I met at Blog World Expo and is even more fantastic in person) does it with his unique passion, so here you go. Enjoy, and if you don't follow Gary's blog and watch his videos please make it a point to do so.

Are you moving more dollars online? Are you seeing more pressure put on magazines, newspapers, radio and TV to deliver? What are you having success in measuring for clients?


I'd love to know what you think.


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Inside//Out: TweetDeck

Picture 17.pngToday's video takes a look at an application for managing your Twitter-stream more productively, TweetDeck. One of the biggest challenges that I have in using Twitter is keeping up with the sheer volume of messages. I've tried a number of solutions to make sure I don't miss any messages/conversations, but TweetDeck is the best I've tried to date.

Have a look for yourself:

As more and more content is created, it's crucial to identify ways to keep up with it and keep ourselves sane. Google Reader is my other "must have" info management solution.

What applications/services do you employ to manage all of the content?


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The age of Facebook vs. MySpace

iStock_000005753573XSmall.jpg [Update: New November stats available here] This is a continuation of my look at social networks and their populations from a marketing perspective. When it comes to this arena Facebook has most of the buzz, but MySpace still has the volume. As strategic counselors to our clients, it is important to make qualified decisions about the vehicles we use as part of a campaign.

MySpace has become the red headed step child of the social media world as Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn have continued to gain popularity and support. But, what does MySpace really look like and how does it compare?

I was able to pull comparison numbers for the age of both networks and some interesting patterns emerged. Take a look at the following graph that shows MySpace in blue and Facebook in red.

The age of MySpace vs. Facebook (US)

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Click to enlarge image.

MySpace has more people in every segment (nearly double across the board), but a couple points stand out:

  • The 13-17 age group on MySpace is four and a half times larger than that of Facebook.
  • Every age range between 18 and 50 is close to double on MySpace what it is on Facebook.
  • The 50+ group on MySpace is 10 times larger than on Facebook, that is a 1000% difference.
  • The 50+ age group on MySpace is nearly one quarter the size of the entire Facebook community.

Here are the actual numbers:

age range Facebook MySpace variance
13-17 4,943,960 22,618,106 457%
18-21 9,957,600 20,326,180 204%
22-25 6,833,380 13,029,345 191%
26-30 4,282,200 10,528,581 246%
31-35 2,402,720 4,958,016 206%
36-40 1,503,640 2,843,813 189%
41-45 727,880 1,577,310 217%
46-50 473,240 981,911 207%
65+ 703,020 7,030,912 1000%

Takeaways and questions:

  • These numbers represent all total users, not active users so take it with a grain of salt.
  • I don't have growth numbers on MySpace so it's tough to gauge its vitality at this point.
  • MySpace has a huge number of Boomers in their community. I will watch this demographic in coming months.
  • MySpace skews younger than Facebook, engaging more of the highschool population.
  • Populations between MySpace and Facebook (18-50) mirror each other in terms of population trends.
  • Both sites offer ad targeting

What do you think? Are you still considering MySpace for campaigns? The demographics and targeting options let you reach people in tailored ways. I do think that the marketing options on MySpace are very limited and that's one hesitation that I have personally. 

 

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Should your company blog?

iStock_000004684908XSmall.jpgThere are a lot of blog posts out there about whether companies should create blogs of their own. Blogging seems to be an entry point that most marketing people can easily wrap their heads around. For me it's always come down to five questions and the answer to all five has to be yes. Those five questions are:

  1. Are you listening to your online community? - Are you spending a minimum of two hours a day searching, reading Google alerts or using a monitoring tool like Radian6?
  2. Do you have something unique to say? - How will you differetntiate yourself from other blogs and other companies? This could be your people, the information you publish or other forms of thought leadership.
  3. Are you willing and able to say it? - Can you talk about your industry and are you willing to put it out there?
  4. Are you willing to be challenged and criticized? - This goes with the turf. You have to be able to facilitate conversation in a respectful manner to grow a community.
  5. Are you willing and able to dedicate the resources to succeed? - People always underestimate this one. A good rule for this to succeed is to have one person dedicated to the success of your strategy for a minimum of 4 hours per day (2 hours of which is listening and commenting). That is one half of a full time person's week. Have staffing plans in place as you grow and start realizing your success.

Here is a visual decision tree that I use to see if clients/readers/individuals should create a blog. I'm a visual person and these help me think things through.

So, should my company blog?

blog decision tree.png

My caveats:

  • Identifying a voice is a next step once you're past this point
  • I know not everyone should create a blog, but it's what companies "get"
  • A blog is not always the ideal entry point with every audience, audience analysis will tell you more

What are your thoughts on this? Would you add any other questions? Do you think any of these are not necessary? Let me know what you think.


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The Face of Facebook; free eBook (volume 2)

fofb_cover_250.jpgNew updates for volume 2 (August-September 2008). Download the updated report here (3.9Mb, PDF).

As a marketer and blogger, there is no shortage of noise about Facebook as a marketing platform. One of my struggles has been to decipher what is accurate and what is mis-guided hyperbole.

I took it upon myself to get some answers using Facebook's own ad targeting system and I created this comprehensive eBook for marketers to give you a snapshot of what the real face of Facebook looks like on a Global and US level.

The report answers the following questions:


  • What country populations are growing the fastest?
  • What US age groups are growing fastest?
  • What does the global population look like on Facebook?
  • What is the age/gender breakdown of the US Facebook population?
  • How many US members are over the age of 25/30/40?
  • What marketing options can I use to reach my audience?
  • How much is it going to cost to reach them?

Download the report here (3.9Mb, PDF)

Here is the SlideShare version. It's easiest to see in full screen mode.

This is a report that I will be updating on a monthly basis to show how the population is changing and how marketers can respond. Is there anything else that you want to see?


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Global Facebook growth (Aug-Sept)

facebook_logo.jpgI am prepping my update to the Face of Facebook eBook on Monday and wanted to share the first set of comparison growth data with you. As I do this for a longer period of time, this will become more valuable.

Here is a look at the top 25 percentage changes month over month.

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(click for a larger image)

Here is a look at the top 25 in terms of the actual gain. You can see Chile's huge gain of over 1,000,000 users.

population_change_top25.png

(click for a larger image)

Here is the actual data from the charts above. You'll notice that Ecuador is new to the site this month, hence the 100% gain in users. Argentina nearly doubled their userbase in the past 30 days. Uruguay and Belgium saw 60%+ gains.

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Look for the updated PDF on Monday afternoon. It will have a number of new information as I can now show growth (and some contraction in certain cases).


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Trend spotting through visualization

A few months ago I came across an interesting site that takes RSS feeds and creates tag clouds (a map where the words used most appear larger) from the content it finds. I want to share how I've been using this service as a competitive advantage.

When you read a blog, even if you read it consistently over time, it is hard to see trends emerge. This tool makes it very clear what has a person's attention. Take a look at the following examples with blogs I read often and see if the cloud matches your perception of what you think they write.

Techno//Marketer:
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My del.icio.us feed:
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Conversation Agent:
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Logic+Emotion:
Picture 5.png

Louis Gray:
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Web Strategist:
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Seth Godin:
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I hope this adds a new option to your toolkit and helps you to see things differently.


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Age of Conversation redux

When I took part in the first Age of Conversation project I never could have expected how rewarding it would be. To have contributed to a book with 100 other authors was great, but to have raised money for a great cause was amazing.

This year's book is destined to be even more spectacular. 275 authors are taking part in this new conversation, "why don't people get it?". Personally I wrote about the evolution of business models in the new digital economy. I can't wait to read the rest of the author's views.

Check out the amazing list of authors below:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem



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The face of Facebook - a comprehensive eBook for marketers

Picture 12.pngAs a marketer and blogger, there is no shortage of noise about Facebook as a marketing platform. One of my struggles has been to decipher what is accurate and what is mis-guided hyperbole.

I took it upon myself to get some answers using Facebook's own ad targeting system and I created this abridged eBook for marketers to give you a snapshot of what the real face of Facebook looks like on a Global and US level.

Click either of the links below to download this 25 page eBook for free:

High-resolution eBook (3.1 Mb) | Low-resolution eBook (944 Kb)

Picture 15.pngThe eBook answers the following questions:


  • What does the global population look like on Facebook?
  • What percentage of the 90 million users are outside the US?
  • Which countries have the highest percentage of their total citizens on Facebook?
  • What is the age/gender breakdown of the US Facebook population?
  • How many members are over the age of 25/30/40?
  • What options can I use to reach my audience?
  • How targeted can I get in order to avoid waste?
  • How much is it going to cost to reach them?

A couple of interesting points that struck me:


  • 25.33% of Canadians are on Facebook compared with 9.47% of Americans and 0.01% of people in China
  • The US has the highest number of users on Facebook at nearly one third of the total user base
  • There are more women than men in every US age category
  • 84.07% of US Facebook users are under 30 years of age
  • There is a distinct "long-tail" pattern when you look at the adoption levels of countries

long_tail_country_small.jpg

This is a report that I will be updating on a monthly basis to show how the population is changing and how marketers can respond. Is there anything else that you want to see?

UPDATE: Jeremiah Owyang has a great post today on new "engagement ads" from Facebook. Will definitely keep you posted as these roll out into beta.

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Wham, bam, "thank you" spam

iStock_000002155325XSmall.jpgOnline etiquette is a fine line. Etiquette in social media is an even finer line still. I've noticed a particularly annoying trend emerge over the past couple of months and I wanted to bring it up to get it out there and get your take on it. It's thank you spam.

I am seeing thank you spam more and more as people connect with me in social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Here's how it plays out on Twitter.


  1. A person follows you on the service and that sends you an email
  2. You click on the email and go to their Twitter profile page
  3. After vetting the person to your satisfaction you follow them back
  4. Shortly thereafter you receive a direct message from that person with a greeting and link to their site
  5. This direct message lands in your email and SMS (depending on how you set it up)
  6. You are summarily annoyed

The reason it is annoying is that I am not asking for the pushy marketing message. I checked their profile, clicked through to their link and followed them. I don't mind people sending direct messages saying hello (though a short reply would suffice and not hit me visa SMS or email), I think it's quite nice. However, the push to a link turns it from a conversation to a sales pitch. This same type of pitch happens to me on Facebook and LinkedIn too. Those people are quickly blocked and/or decoupled.

I try to interact with people online as I would with you in person. The real life example of this type of introduction is when you go to an event, meet someone and they are immediately telling you all about themselves (usually while looking around for the next victim), not listening to a word you are saying.

Just so you can see what I am talking about, take a look at the following direct messages that I've received over the last month+. The images and names have been obscured to protect the individuals. (They know who they are.) Keep in mind, this is the very first contact that I am having with these people on Twitter.

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What are your thoughts on this? Am I off base? What are your Twitter/social media etiquette tips?

UPDATE: Loic Lemeur is also seeing this trend.


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