Archive for December, 2010

postheadericon Just Some Inspiration For Your “Addiction”

Are we really addicted to social media? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now. I mean think about it, every morning when you wake up what is the first thing you do? Update your Twitter? Check your Facebook? All of the above? During the course of your day how often do you login to your social media pages? Once, twice, twenty times? If so, then you just might have an addiction. But not all addictions are bad right? Or is the saying “too much of a good thing can’t be that good after-all” really being truthful?

I recently came across a pretty amusing and amazing video that pokes fun at the thought of social media addiction. Maybe this video can answer some of those questions and provide some kind of clarity on the borderline of addiction and obsession.

Enjoy!

postheadericon Online Shopping Outdoes Itself This Holiday Season

Black Friday has come and gone and the holiday season is almost done all together, so many wonder exactly how well did online business perform? Statistics have rolled in answering just the question and more. It’s evident that the internet, and social media specifically, have played a major role in the way web users communicate and shop, so how much of an impact did these methods actually make on this year’s holiday season compared to last year? Apparently this year online patrons increased business revenue by 16 percent compared to last year, by opting to research and shop online as opposed to in-store. In fact according to Coremetrics online, shoppers spent more this year with the average order total at $190.80 compared to last year’s $170.19 average transaction amount. That’s a pretty nice increase! PayPal even analyzed consumer spending during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and analyzed another big increase of overall 27% online spending compared to 2009.

This chart exemplifies which brands had a bigger buzz on Twitter and had high performances during Black Friday. Retail stores like Walmart and Apple performed exceptionally, taking the forefront in the running for brand activity during the holiday season. Even online charitable contributions increased from 2009 by 45% according to PayPal reports.

With the results of Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day sales and purchases one can only imagine how the years to come will outdo these current numbers. Is that people are getting hip to the idea of convenience and accessibility now. There was once a time where no one even knew how and where to begin with online shopping but with the help of social media and mobile advertising people is starting to get wiser and realize that this is the beginning of a new generation of consumer behavior and interaction. So now instead of trying to survive the hustle and bustle of getting up early just to be at your favorite store before everyone else, you can sleep in, enjoy your day without the hassle. The click of a mouse on your computer or a button on your phone, retail therapy will be so much sweeter.

postheadericon Can Celebrities Raise Awareness Through Social Media Campaigns?

We use social media on a daily basis for means of communication and sharing our thoughts, feelings, and happenings; but another good way to use social media  is by spreading a positive global message. Recently for World Aids Day numerous celebrities did that exact thing. In hopes of bringing awareness to the global aids crisis, celebrities like Alicia Keys, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian, Lady GaGa and so many more took a vow of social media silence, in an effort to raise funds for the “Keep a Child Alive” organization. They promised not to reappear to their social networking accounts until the goal of $1 million was reached.

Alicia Keys co-founded the ‘Keep a Child Alive” charity and orchestrated the marketing campaign in an effort to bring awareness to the impact of aids in the world and our children while focusing on getting treatment and care to patients. In an effort to draw attention to the campaign, she assembled a team of A-List Hollywood elites to begin their “digital death” on World Aids Day and even released controversial promo pictures of the stars posing in coffins symbolizing their “digital death” in hopes of raising awareness and money for the cause. They encouraged their fans to buy back their favorite celeb’s digital life by making a donation via text.

I, for one, thought this was a pretty good social marketing strategy considering the influence these celebrities have on their fans and even general public opinion. It was a creative approach to reaching the public and persuading them to donate money to the charity, especially since fans look forward to reading real time tweets and status updates from their favorite artist or entertainer regularly. I know I do. So why did such a cool and creative campaign fail at getting their donations within their goal time frame?

Unfortunately there was still something missing to boost the campaign’s momentum because it has been looked at as a failure. Although they raised the $1 million goal, it didn’t come easy or as fast as everyone predicted.  The target goal was expected to be achieved within a day or two but after five days and only $300,000 donated, there was worry.  Finally, billionaire and philanthropist Stewart Rahr matched the public’s fundraised donation of $500 thousand which helped the organization reach its $1 million mark.

There has been debate about what exactly caused the campaign to fail; it’s been speculated that the initial minimum donation amount of $10 may have been too high for fans which prompted the amount to be reduced down to $1. Another theory is that instead of taking a vow of digital silence, they should have talked more informatively about the cause and donated some of their own money to generate their goal by their 1-2 day deadline.

Regardless of how long it took, the purpose of the campaign was to digitally raise their goal of $1 million in an effort to continue aiding those who are infected with the aids virus and they accomplished just that. The effort was very commendable and I’m sure a great learning experience for Ms. Keys and the Keep a Child Alive charity.

I guess the questions isn’t so much, “Can celebrities raise awareness through social media” but the real question is “How”? What do you think about the “Digital Death” campaign? What could celebrities have done differently with social media to raise more money in a shorter span of time?

postheadericon 2011 Internet Marketing Trend Watch

So the year is already almost over, and whew, how fast it came and went right? At the end of the year it’s only natural for people to become motivated and inspired to do things differently in the New Year that’s vastly approaching, and that even includes business marketing strategies. 2011 seems pretty promising with new digital marketing trends for brands to adopt in an effort to increase their performance and of course ultimately their ROI. Why don’t we just take a peek into some of the predicted trends that could possibly take over and maybe even change the way we use the internet to advertise, sell, and purchase?

  • The whole “engaging with your customers” revolution has begun, and I love that this is going to be more sought after by businesses. I’ve always been able to appreciate a company who actually shows interest in their customers and don’t just only see dollar signs. You can expect to see companies reaching out to consumers whether it is through social media, follow up phone calls and cards. When it comes down to it, it really does make a difference on whether your customer will remain loyal to your company or not. Often times consumers can become emotionally attached to a brand, and as we’ve mentioned before customers look for [other than the product and service quality] reliability and honesty when choosing a business to represent their needs.
  • Expect to also see an increase in mobile device use for advertising, email marketing, purchasing and many other web marketing tactics. We’ve already seen a glimpse into the evolution of the mobile phone with their apps for everything you can think of, but with accessibility to the World Wide Web and social media through your device, it’s only made it somewhat easier for companies to come up with new and innovative ways to market their target audiences on the go. This is not only smart but convenient.
  • Micro-blogging and blogging isn’t dead yet especially with sites like Facebook and Twitter who will continue to rule over every other social site, I’m sure. I think we can confirm now more than ever that social media isn’t going anywhere, so I’m expecting to see more social platforms develop and groundbreaking enhancements for how we use these social networks and how effective they can be from a business perspective. I do hope to see more companies [especially smaller ones] to join the social media world that already haven’t. These sources are not only outlets that will help company heads the opportunity to interact and engage with their customers but it’s also a creative outlet for businesses to win over consumers and promote their brand’s identity through their own management.
  • Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing will only continue to take over the web with new search improvements to make our search life more convenient and beneficial. In a constant battle to top each other and win over users, we can expect some changes that will probably merge with social media so that web users will eventually only need to go to one site to get their social fix and do some retail research all at the same time. Not to mention optimization of performance, conversion rates, and search engines with the integration of various online tools.
  • Prepare to also see a change in buying trends, consumers will research and shop online a whole lot more, especially during the holiday seasons. People are starting to realize that it’s no point in waking up at dawn just to be at a store to hopefully get the product you want. While it helps to physically be in front of that product or meet face to face with a consultant, new online approaches to these same factors have made it simpler and a lot more tempting to just sit in the comfort of your own home, on your own time and shop without long lines, traffic and to avoid stepping out in inclement weather conditions even. Just the click of a mouse will soon be able to handle everyone’s shopping desires. Imagine that!

While these are only a handful of trends, these are perhaps the heavy hitters and most important of the laundry list. It’s inevitable that there will be many digital marketing changes so it’s safe to say that we should expect more companies to jump on the bandwagon and reap the benefits of the endless opportunities the internet world has to offer for both the company and the consumer. I foresee a whole lot more convenience, creativity, and effort in the digital marketing realm. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to see what happens next!

postheadericon Time Names Mark Zuckerberg “Person of the Year”

Mark Zuckerberg is no doubt the most powerful person in social media and the most interesting person of 2010, or at least that’s what Time magazine thinks. This year they bestowed 26 year old former Harvard student and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with the honor of being named Person of the Year. With the release of the highly successful movie “The Social Network”, which is based on Zuckerberg and his controversial journey to create the social site, and after Facebook reached its 500 million members mark this past summer, I agree with Time magazine.

I think it’s safe to say that things haven’t been the same since Zuckerberg introduced us all to Facebook, and then naturally came the beginning of a beautiful digital and social revolution. With the overwhelmingly positive and socially addictive outcome of Facebook, you still can’t help but to ask, “Where would the internet world be if we didn’t’ have Facebook, or any social media platforms for that matter”?

Six years ago Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, an addictive and socially influential social networking site from his college dorm room. Of course then it was titled “The Facebook”. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 or 7 years, you have seen and heard about Facebook when you turn on the TV, listen to the radio, open a newspaper and of course search the web. And even those of you out there that have yet to obtain an account with the most popular social media site [Must I remind you about its 500 plus million members?] to date, it’s a pretty good chance you still know all about the site and its influence on our generation.

While some of us may have their own reasons to agree or disagree with Time’s choice to make Mark Zuckerberg “Person of the Year”, the magazine shares with its readers their exact reason and motivation for honoring him with the title:

“For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year.”

With such a popular site of close to 600 million “friends” who share their life experiences and most cherished moments like births, deaths, photos, breakups and even make ups, it’s no doubt that Facebook has transitioned from a simple social site built for us to connect with others to becoming a lifestyle for so many. It is the second most visited site worldwide [Behind Google] and users spend over 700 billion minutes per month visiting the site! See what I mean by it being “addictive”?

And in case any of you were wondering just how successful Zuckerberg has become after the launch of his monster of a creation, we’ll put it to you in dollar terms, his personal fortune has soared to 6.9 billion this year and the company itself is worth $23 billion! Not too bad Mr. Zuckerberg, not too bad at all.

Do you agree with Time magazine’s decision?

postheadericon Social Media Wins During Election Season

While social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t actually replace traditional voting methods and polling, you can’t deny how paramount its impact can be during election season. During the political race, Americans use methods of social media to “Like” a political candidate, create a fan page, and share or update information regarding the elections. Arguably this can be seen as the modern approach to the tradition of posting a sign out on their front yard in an effort to promote and support their preferred candidate.

Social media platforms are an imperative source for getting people to get out and vote, especially for our younger generation of voters. By interacting with their members, Facebook gets involved by asking if a user has voted and for those that haven’t or need to find a location to vote there’s a tool that can inform them on the closest voting poll in their area. FourSquare also offers an application for users to share with their community of members that they’ve voted and can receive a limited edition “I Voted” badge for it. Site users can also find their nearest poll in the location finder on the “I Voted” app page. I can expect to see more of these apps created throughout the social media world and naturally, enhancements to these features will follow, once again making social media a great asset to its users.

Social media is not only great for the voters, or soon –to-be voters, but also for the candidates too. Besides the fact that you can get a feel for  the most popular candidate through social media measurements and online polls , these platforms provide a more accessible voice to a candidate’s loyal voters and those they are trying to convince. Not to mention, sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to micro-target, which means you can narrow your target audience search down to age, city and state of residence, race, etc. This can be very convenient for a political campaign when a candidate wants to target certain demographics they may be lacking support from.

A candidate can also do quick and convenient damage control through social sites after a slip-up or mishap they are afraid may make national news. Social platforms provide that outlet for politicians to try and clean up a mess and hopefully get their side of the story out there while connecting to their supporters and even those who may scrutinize. This is where they can show their true self, express themselves on a more personal level with the world, and conveniently maintain some kind of management over the public’s opinion.

Below are some Facebook stats that will give you an idea on the impact social media can have on a political campaign and even public perception.

Facebook Ratings: Election 2010

Ranking political candidates by their fan counts

Overall | Senate | House | Governors

Overall – Fans

1,458,165
Democratic Fans
51,632
Independent Fans
3,482,253
Republican Fans

Senate – Facebook Ratings

10
Democratic States
26
Republican States

House – Facebook Ratings (featured races)

64
Democratic Districts
127
Republican Districts

Governors – Facebook Ratings

13
Democratic States
23
Republican States

Top Candidates by Fan Count


Type State Candidate Fans Daily Growth
Senate AZ John McCain (R) 716,958 722(0.10%)
Governor AZ Jan Brewer (R) 345,425 554(0.16%)
Governor CA Meg Whitman (R) 207,818 1219(0.59%)
Governor TX Bill White (D) 153,391 369(0.24%)
House MN6 Michele Bachman (R) 139,603 709(0.51%)
Senate FL Marco Rubio (R) 134,822 2173(1.64%)
Senate SC Jim DeMint (R) 122,664 913(0.75%)
Senate NV Sharron Angle (R) 108,811 306(0.28%)
Governor CA Jerry Brown (D) 98,573 1248(1.28%)
Senate KY Rand Paul (R) 85,858 980(1.15%)

Source:  Facebook Ratings- Election 2010

postheadericon Keep This in Mind When Designing Your Site

When designing a memorable website there are many elements you should consider. Appearance, Navigation, Content, and overall site performance are significant components in the building process of your company website. You should consider what exactly it is you want your consumers and site visitors to take away from your site so that you know what to tell your web designer beforehand. I guess you can call it your blueprint. This will make the design process a little less complicated.

Making sure your website is user friendly is the first step in the process of designing your site. You want to make sure your website is easy to navigate by not allowing your site to be cluttered with graphics that will reduce allotted speed time. You also want to make sure that whatever content that comprises your site isn’t overbearing and is of quality. Let’s get real, a lot of visitors don’t read each and every word on a website, they skim and scan, so it’s good to not overwhelm web users with too many words and to make sure the words you do use are intriguing enough to keep them focused on your brand and no one else’s.

By having an attractive website, users will instantly receive gratification and confidence in the company they are viewing. It’s easy to become awed by an attractive website and ultimately makes you want to know more about the company and who these fabulous people are behind the meticulous design of their site. Using creative and large images are eye openers alone. Experiment with different color schemes and make sure everything looks neat and organized. If the company is honest about its design and appeal then they must be honest about their products and services, right?

Users don’t want to have pop up pages for each category of every section from a scroll bar of groups. Does that make sense? Of course not. When you visit a site, you want to be able to navigate to and through different areas of the website’s information departments without worrying about a bunch of different windows that take up your whole tab bar or multiple browsers. This can be an instant discouragement, and you don’t want that.

These are just some brief and simple components to take into consideration whether you’re designing your very own website. Either way, it’s significant to brainstorm your ideal website before putting it into action. After all, this site will represent your company and what you stand for. May as well think it through carefully and make sure your visitors are satisfied enough to visit again, and again…and again. Maybe they’ll even want to become a loyal customer. Now there’s a thought.

postheadericon Web Design vs. Web Development: What’s So Different?

Most commonly people believe that web design and web development are just two different terms for the same thing. Well, not exactly. It’s understandable why you would think this way considering they both go hand in hand, have many similarities, and you can’t really have one without the other. But they aren’t the exact same thing.

Web design focuses on the visual aspect of the website, the appearance. After all the key word in Web Design is…design. It’s basically a given but at the same time there is a little bit more that can go into design that also compliments Web Development. While web design can also involve basic coding like html and css web designers also utilize graphics, basic art and other design tools to produce a creative website. The design of the website also involves the smoothness of its navigation, the chicness in the appearance and the balancing of the two.

Wed Development is an elaboration of web design. Again the two go hand in hand, so while the design aspect is focused on the display of the site, development is what allows the design to be generated through codes, programming and other various elements. The web development process is what keeps the site running adequately.

In a nutshell you see the main differences between the two, and while they are pretty similar, they still each have their own identities and play different roles in the process of developing a website.

This picture is a great [and hilarious] approach to distinguishing the differences between a web designer and a web developer. Enjoy! [Image via www.sixrevisions.com]

postheadericon Could Skippable Ads Slow Down Internet Marketing?

Lately if you’ve watched one of your favorite shows online or a video on YouTube you’ll see an ad, or a few. Some of them are skippable, but some aren’t. These online ads can be great for advertisers but for the viewer maybe not so much since all we want to do is watch our program right? Light bulb! Well YouTube has come up with a new plan to provide a choice for viewers to watch a certain ad or skip the ad all together while at the same time the advertiser isn’t charged. So, worst case scenario: people skip all the ads. But what kind of an effect will this have on the advertisers? Will people really pay attention to the ads if you give them the option to view or not to view or will they just become obsolete?

This new feature is not just a feature, it has a name: True View. This system allows viewers the choice between watching an ad out of a selection of three or you can skip the ads all together. Or for longer streamed videos you can choose to watch the initial advertisement in the beginning of the video to avoid any “commercial breaks” during the stream. Now this may sound pretty cool for users considering they will have more control over what ads they watch and how many but how does this really affect the advertisers and the companies? Has anyone considered that? I mean after all we have to stick together! [Wink] If anything, hopefully this will provide motivation for marketers to think outside of the box and come up with fresh and creative ways to make viewers want to see their ads. But on the flip side advertisers will not be charged for non-viewed ads. Another positive theory is that brands may have an easier time measuring their online presence through the amount of views and behavioral trends among web users.

So this could go one of two ways, either really good or really bad. I guess only time will tell and we’ll just have to watch and see…literally.

postheadericon Facebook Marries Social Media and Email?

On the heels of the announcement that Facebook recently made about their integration with email and social media, many are wondering how effective this can be for their business. If you think about it, social media and email make up about one-third of total internet utilization, so why not join forces with each other to create a more convenient way to stay on top of both social media platforms?

This week Facebook announced the launch of their new email messaging service and I’m sure this sounds like heaven for many advertisers and marketers. According to the Facebook promo video, “…the new messaging system is designed to capture all forms of communication with a single person in one place”. So could this really mean that the time has come for Gmail to vanish? Well apparently some  theorize this and even label this new Facebook service the “Gmail Killer”. Uh Oh.

Check out the Facebook prom video here!

Now after watching that, how you do feel about this new collaboration? It seems pretty smart, possibly effective and definitely convenient. Could Facebook be on to something here? Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point within the next decade we had only one endlessly accessible platform where we can communicate with each other, and maybe even without the help of a computer.  Either way, I predict that with sites like Facebook and Twitter, the next chapter in the evolution of technology will definitely be a game changer for users, marketers, and businesses around the globe. Even possibly with just one click of a button. Now that’s a thought.