The Social Media Revolution Will Not Be Televised But it Will be on Your SmartPhone

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Random Acts of Progress

Social MediaSocial media, social media, social media: it seems like social media is all anyone ever talks about anymore when it comes to online marketing, or even marketing in general. These days, it’s practically more common to hear spokespeople say, “Visit us on Facebook at ____” than it is to hear them say “Visit us online at ____” or “Call for a free catalog”. With so many people talking about social media and clamoring to be in the front seat of the social media bandwagon, it’s hard to sort out exactly how social media has already affected businesses, and what changes might be expected for the future.

Almost one in five human beings on the planet who have access to the internet have a Facebook account. Meanwhile, there are 65 million Twitter posts each day, and 2 billion YouTube video views per day (Source: However, what does all of this mean for the way we conduct business? Furthermore, how will social media continue to evolve in 2011? Here are a few ideas about the changing face of social media, and what it means for both marketing professionals and the bottom line of businesses everywhere.

As a culture, we have experienced several profound shifts in the way we receive and process information about our world. The first shift was from word-of-mouth gossip to slightly more reliable newspapers, an era that lasted until television took hold and men like Walter Cronkite helped us to watch and interpret the news of the day. In the last several years, the shift has clearly been away from television and towards the internet. TV news is scrambling to hold onto its piece of the pie by offering online video, blogs, Facebook pages, and ongoing Twitter conversations. However, the next step is from the computer to the smart phone.

At the moment, only 21% of mobile phone users own smart phones, but this will change in 2011. According to the Nielsen blog, the US market will have more smart phones than feature phones by the end of the year (Source:

Social Media and the Smart Phone revolution: other facts marketers should know

1. According to its forecast, IDC says the number of downloaded mobile apps is expected to increase from 10.9 billion worldwide in 2010 to more than 76.9 billion in 2014. In addition, worldwide mobile apps revenues will experience similar growth, surpassing $35 billion in 2014.
2. Email access is declining for computers, but rising for iPhones
3. Close to 40% of Facebook users access the social network through their phone (Source:
4. 200 mobile operators in 60 countries are deploying and promoting Facebook mobile products (Source:

To join in the rush to integrate Social Media with Smart Phones, businesses need to do three things

1. Make sure that their existing social media is mobile-friendly.
2. Test web and video content on mobile devices.
3. Successfully communicate to their customers what available apps and other mobile goodies they have available, and make it readily accessible.

Broadcast Yourself via Social Media

[4thwebvids video=”Pblj3JHF-Jo” embeddedHeight=”295″ embeddedWidth=”480″ autoplay=”false”]

YouTube’s longtime slogan, “broadcast yourself”, will be more relevant than ever as online videos multiply like overactive rabbits. Video content online has taken off in the last two to three years, but in 2011 expect it to get even bigger. October 2010 alone saw 5.4 billion video views worldwide, including 2 billion views on Facebook. (Source:

Businesses forget about YouTube as a social media outlet at their own peril. Just as companies that were painfully behind the times in the early 2000s claimed they didn’t need a website, companies today will fall behind the times if they don’t have a YouTube channel, or some other way of promoting video content and integrating it across multiple online marketing channels.

Facts about online video every Social Media marketer should know

1. Nearly half of business executives age 40 and under report utilizing video to help them make decisions about vendors – this number will only increase as 20 somethings and 30 somethings climb the corporate ladder (Source:
2. 90% of videos watched online are watched on YouTube (Source:
3. The average consumer watches 182 online videos every month (Source:

What does this mean for businesses? If they don’t have video on their website now, they will by the end of 2011, unless they want to look like a dinosaur.

The World Will Be Different in 2011, But the Same

As Mark Zuckerberg told Time in his Person of the Year interview, humans “parse data” via the algorithm of relationships. That is the key fact, he says, that has made the social networking revolution possible. People don’t want an internet full of strangers; they want the internet to feel as cozy and safe as their living room.

Zuckerberg sees the future of Facebook as an entity that is more and more woven into the very fabric of the internet. If he’s right, one day online users might surf to a site like, and instead of seeing comments on news stories by strangers, comments by their Facebook friends might pop to the top of the list.

As the Person of the Year honor and recent Golden Globes for The Social Network clearly demonstrate, Zuckerberg’s way of approaching the internet have struck a chord with the citizens of the digital world. Social media has fundamentally changed the way we think about everything – from how we keep in touch with grandma to how we buy new shoes – but what hasn’t changed is why social media is so popular. Ultimately, it is Zuckerberg’s insight that we “parse” the world through our relationships with others that is the golden goose laying the golden eggs of social media marketing.

Businesses that want to succeed with social media marketing in 2011 must always remember this basic fact: fancy Facebook landing pages, high-quality videos, and constant Twitter updates are not what their customers are looking for. What they are looking for is a way to connect, a way to interact, a way to feel like they “know” the people they are buying from. In other words, businesses would do well to keep in mind that the first, most important word in “social media marketing” is still, and always will be, “social”.

8 Common Online Marketing Mistakes

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Random Acts of Progress

Digital Marketing MistakesThe promises online marketing seems to offer are many and great: measurable results, laser-beam accuracy in targeting specific demographics, lower costs than television and newspaper advertising. Nevertheless, some marketers who have jumped onto the online marketing bandwagon aren’t seeing the kind of results they had hoped for in their company’s bottom line. What’s the problem? These online marketing firms are probably falling victim to one or more of the most common mistakes in online marketing. In the course of this article, we’ll sketch out 8 of these common online marketing mistakes, with hints on how to avoid them.

1. Online Marketing Firms Leap Before they Look

By far the most common mistake online marketing firms are making are leaping before they look. That is, marketers are diving into forums such as Facebook, YouTube channels, AdSense, and other forms of online marketing without first forming a cohesive strategy for their online marketing agenda. As a result they end up with disparate, incongruous online marketing that confuses customers about their brand rather than building on that brand.

Online marketing is a completely different world, and it is as big and as important (or it will be soon) as any other media channel. Just as a marketer would never dare to release a series of television spots without a very clear idea of how they would use the spots to shape perception of the brand and tie in to other marketing efforts, they shouldn’t dare to leap into online marketing without a clear, cohesive online marketing strategy.

2. Tricked Into Thinking They’re Too Old to be Smart

A white collar professional with experience in sales and marketing who now owns her own real estate firm recently confessed to me, “I don’t have a PayPal account. I think I missed the age cut-off.” Too many marketers “of a certain age” view are stuck in the view that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, and therefore they must rely upon the young, hip, chic online marketing firms who make lofty promises about campaigns that go viral and engage millions of viewers.

Don’t be intimidated by online marketing, and don’t rely solely upon online marketing experts who pat you on the head and say in a patronizing tone, “Don’t worry your pretty little head over how it works.” Instead, take the time to get educated and deepen your understanding on who’s actually engaging different types of online content, how they’re engaging that content, and what actions they take after they see an online marketing campaign – just as you would with any other marketing genre. Online marketing is a brave new world, but there are plenty of tour books and guides who can teach you the ropes, no matter what your age.

3. Online Marketing Firms Abandon Email Marketing

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter would very much like marketers to believe that the age of email is over, but this is not true. In crafting an online marketing strategy, don’t ignore the power of email. It is still a major player when it comes to getting consumers to take action.

4. They Prostrate Before the Shrine of Google

Google is powerful, there’s no doubt about it. Putting a company’s website, or alternate domain names related to that website, into the first few slots on Google’s search engine results page is still the best way to get free, qualified website traffic.

However, just getting high marks on Google isn’t enough to convert traffic into sales. That takes good content and clever marketing messages.

5. They Prostrate Before the Shrine of Facebook (or Twitter)

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is the new Big Man on Campus, but just as online marketing firms shouldn’t put all their eggs in the one basket of Google, neither should they put all their eggs in the basket of Facebook, or for that matter Twitter.

Social media is powerful when used correctly. Again, though, without carefully, deliberately linking social media to meaningful marketing calls-to-action and the rest of a marketing campaign, social media is just another online marketing red herring. It is time for marketers to relearn the lesson that their efforts on Google, Facebook, and Twitter only work when combined with other well-honed marketing components.

6. Their Blog’s a Bore

Content, content, content – content is king online, right? Content is where keywords are artfully sprinkled in. Content is what you feed the insatiable, Little Shop of Horrors search engine known as Google. Content is ultimately what brings people to the site.

But does content bring people back to the site? It doesn’t if the blogs and articles are boring and too obviously self-promoting.

Content is a place to impress and intrigue consumers, not a place to jam in as many keyword phrases as possible and tell the same old story with each blog post. “We’re great. We offer these services. Did we mention we’re great? These are the services we offer.”

Good content isn’t mere product promotion, and blogs shouldn’t tell the same story, slightly re-phrased, again and again. Compelling content is educational, fresh, humorous, controversial, confident, and/or a little bit of all of those things. This is the content that online marketing firms should be creating.

7. Online Marketing Firms Forget that Brands Still Matter

Online marketing is still essentially about brand development. Good online marketing firms still evaluate every online campaign against how it will shape the brand. Multiple online marketing channels aimed at slightly different audiences sometimes lead marketers to stray from their brand’s main message and confuse consumers. A confusing brand is a brand that will not profit.

8. They Fail to Reach Connectors

Campaigns go viral not because they reach a lot of people; campaigns go viral because they reach the right people. The online world’s connectors are like the matchmakers of the 21st century. With a grin and a pat on the knee, they wink and say, “You will absolutely LOVE this one.” They aren’t necessarily the people who have the most Facebook friends or Twitter followers. They are people who have influence amongst their friends and a passion about a certain product or online campaign. Campaigns that don’t spur these connectors or influencers into actions are campaigns that should be declared dead on arrival.

Will online marketing live up to its great promises? For some companies, it already is. For other companies, it’s failing abysmally. The problem is not the online world itself, but the marketing strategies (or lack thereof) that marketers are applying to the online medium. Start examining your own online marketing efforts against the eight common mistakes above and make changes accordingly.

Facebook Sun Sinking? Twitter Star Rising?

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Random Acts of Progress

Here’s today’s Facebook / Twitter riddle: What number do you get when you combine the populations of the states of Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Kansas, and Kentucky? Answer: Seventeen million, or the number of Americans who use Twitter (Source:

Granted, proponents of Facebook scoff at the number 17 million; after all, Facebook boasts 500 million users, making 17 million look like a very small number. Meanwhile, social media experts like to complain that despite the number of Twitter accounts, many of them are not considered “active” like Facebook. They are accounts held by people who rarely tweet. Twitter and Facebook and the Egyptian Crisis Some have even claimed that Twitter was strictly a 2009 phenomena, and that Twitter is entering a long, slow decline that will eventually lead to its extinction as another internet species that just didn’t work out. (Friendster, anyone?)

However, Twitter is paying no attention to the naysayers; it is continuing to grow and continuing to prove itself a relevant part of the social media landscape. As one example of its relevance, residents of Egypt and other countries in the Middle East have been using Twitter to quickly disseminate information about the Egyptian crisis and general political unrest there (Source:

Twitter naysayers might also be interested to learn that Twitter activity is growing, while Facebook activity is falling off. In recent months, Facebook has faced a 22% drop in time on the site per person, per day. Facebook has also seen a 26% drop in uploaded photos per month (Source:

In February 2010, Twitter hit 50 million tweets per day. In September 2010, that number had risen to 90 million tweets per day. In January 2011, Twitter reached 110 million tweets per day, with 200 million registered accounts.

Twitter’s growth isn’t limited just to the United States, although certainly Twitter usage continues to rise overall in the US (especially in western states – see the Hubspot link above). Just recently, Twitter added Korean to the languages users can tweet in, and as a result they experienced a 3,400% increase in Korean language tweets in 2010 (Source: Twitter is also rapidly gaining ground in Japan.

New accounts, tweets, and languages aren’t the only signs of growth at Twitter. In an era where even Silicon Valley is experiencing massive layoffs, Twitter actually doubled the number of its employees between December 2009 and December 2010 (Souce:

For Businesses, Twitter Followers Might be Better than Facebook Fans

The statistics mentioned above aren’t the only ones marketers should pay attention to. Even though they may not be tweeting about it, Twitter users are following brands far more rabidly than any other social media users. Consider that 49% of Twitter users follow companies or brands, but only 16% of social media users overall follow companies/brands. In fact, people using Twitter are three times more likely to follow their favorite brands with Twitter than Facebook users (Source:

A report by ExactTarget reveals even more interesting differences between Twitter and Facebook users when it comes to interacting with brands. Here are a few of their findings:

• 37% of Twitter users say they are more likely to purchase a brand after becoming a follower, versus 17% of Facebook users
• 33% of Twitter users say they are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a follower, versus 21% of Facebook users
• 49% of Facebook users said they were not more likely to purchase a brand after becoming a fan, and 47% said they were not more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan
• Daily Twitter users were twice as likely to purchase a brand than daily Facebook users


Twitter may become more popular than Facebook thanks to Smart Phones

Expressing yourself with 140 characters or less is especially convenient when you’re using a phone to do the expressing. With small screens and still maddeningly small letters, not to mention the occasionally annoying predictive text, the less you have to write with a mobile device, the better.

As more and more people turn to their mobile devices, tablet computers, and smart phones as one of their main sources of internet access, expect Twitter usage to grow even more. Already, 63% of Twitter users are accessing social networks through their phones (Source: Since smart phone sales are expected to dominate the mobile device market in 2011, Twitter is likely to also win big.

Facebook fans: Don’t Leave Twitter Out

Although more than half of Twitter users don’t tweet themselves, this doesn’t mean they’re not reading the tweets of the people or businesses they follow. As the numerous statistics above show, average Twitter users might not be contributing much to the conversation, but they are certainly listening in.

Marketers and business owners should keep this in mind when they consider which social networks they use to actively promote their brands. With Mark Zuckerberg on the cover of Time magazine, it might be easy jump on the Facebook bandwagon and forget about Twitter. Instead, Facebook marketers should reconsider their Twitter strategy and figure out how to get the most out of each 140 characters.