Top 10 latest trends in Social Media Marketing.

social-media-peopleTo face Social Media exponential growth, or should I better say explosion, and to help keep up with so many new sites, services, apps coming-up every day, helping businesses connect and engage more directly with customers, I thought I will take a step back and try to point you to what’s in my view are the Top 10 latest trends in Social Media in a Marketing perspective.

1- Large Enterprise adoption of social media platform: America’s Fortune 500 havefortune 500 twitter accounts increased their participation in Twitter, from 35% in 2009 to 60% in 2010, and 56% have a Facebook page, according to a yearly report from the Center for Marketing Research.

2- SBM adoption of social media platform starts growing: according to research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, 34% of SMB companies (less than 1,000 employees) use social media, 10% is allocating 30% of their marketing budget to social media, and 13% will spend more on social media next year.

social media growth3- Audience Growth: According to The Nielsen Company, global consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from year before. Teens and young adults spend more and more time on social media, and now older people (50 to 65 years old) represent the most growing population of social media users. Facebook already has over 500M users and growing exponentially everyday, and over 150M twitter users, and growing even faster. Social Media becomes more popular, and social business becomes a play that companies marketers can’t ignore anymore.

4- Corporate Policies: Result is many companies are now setting up official company  guidelines, policies and best practices for usage of social media tools and services, specially when representing the company via social media.

5- Like in Real estate social media is now about “Location, Location, Location” (see my blog on that topic) –With latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses. Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps.

6- Social Media becomes more and more Mobile: Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year. social-media mobileAdvertising & Mobile advertising is becoming a major source of revenue and a BIG business for social media platforms. The detailed personal information they detain on their users coupled with location based services is a dream come true for any marketer and advertiser. Facebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

7- Social Commerce & Mobile Payment is a growing trend in social media and social business world, offering the ability to make purchases and micro-transaction from mobile apps, mobile social media platforms and social gaming, embraced by major finance players as Visa, Paypal etc..

8- Email marketing is becoming more Social: Recent acquisitions like Constant Contact acquiring NetShellMail and Exact Target acquiring CoTweet are good examples of this new trend, merging email marketing with social media, and the emergence of a more interactive marketing platform to engage with customers..

9- Another new trend is Group Buying: Groups in a social network can get discounts or group rates on products or services. Social sites like Living Social and Groupon are focusing on this market, a new business model for retailers and local stores.

social-media-ad metrics10- Finally Analytics and Return on Investment measurement has become increasingly critical for marketers to analyse and justify their return on social media marketing investment. More and more tools are available and in the future the winning social media platform will be the ones with the best analytics tools.

There are of course others trends in Social Media, some more specifics to specific countries, population, industries, businesses, and this new area of marketing-Communication is evolving so rapidly, trying to predict the future is often more like guessing, so pragmatically, as a marketer take advantage of those latest trends to optimize your social media marketing strategy and tactics.

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Who is going to win the Mobile OS battle?

We live in an interconnected world, and first we should mention that our communication world is changing in several ways:mobile_os_array_jan2010

– We are using more and more mobile devices,

– We are using phones less for voice and more for data and Apps, or phones are getting smarter,

– On internet, we are moving quickly from “searching” to “getting”, meaning from using a browser or search engine to using Apps.

Therefore mobile Apps are the future, and the impact is huge on the Operating Systems (OS) technologies and market as smart phones OS may be competing or threatening traditional OS.

A recent survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator about the mobile device market reveals some very interesting facts and opinions, please note this is not about devices shipped but about Apps developers interest as Mobile OS platforms:IDC mobile OS platforms

– Today: Apple iOS leads the way as the platform of choice for Apps developers, followed by Android, and others rivals are far away that order: RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone7, WebOS, Symbian…see chart “Very interested”

– 88 percent believe that Apple offers the best app store

– 74 percent feel that iOS is the least fragmented platform

– Being an open platform is an advantage for Google Android vs Apple iOS (however being Open does seem to be such an advantage for Symbian!)

– Despite being presently the leader in shipping smart-phone units, Symbian OS generate very low interest for developers.

– It is also interesting to note the tight link between the Smartphone and Tablet OS perception and results for a same vendor.

– Recently: During the last six months, developer support for Android and iOS IDC mobile OS opportunityiPhone has been relatively stable, while interest in iOS iPAD has grown sharply, BlackBerry & Windows Phone 7 are recessing, Symbian is lagging.

– Tomorrow: Android appears as the OS with the best potential and is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,”

– Android is also leading the way beyond mobile smart-phones and tablets (i.e. home entertainment platform, Connected TV). See chart “Windows of opportunity”.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the smart-phone market and even more on the tablet market, as new products are being announced but not yet deployed, and new players may be emerging and therfore there is a lot of questions in the air:

1- With Apple and Google clearly leading the way, can RIM keep up the pace ?

With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the announcement of Blackberry Advertising Service, its future BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform, and a new web based platform for developers, not to forget RIM’s strong customer base on the large enterprise market, for its security and its integration to corporate applications and middleware, RIM is expanding its strategy but also expanding the battlefield on a mass-market ground, and it will be a hard and challenging fight.

2- Will Symbian survive ?

Once the Eldorado of the Open Source OS platform for mobile devices, attracting developers to develop on a common platform across multiple systems, Symbian Foundation seems to be on its way out, with Samsong and Sony-Ericsson abandoning the sinking ship, leaving only Nokia as a top tier vendor to support it.

One way to survive may be for Nokia to purchase it, which would be a win-win.

Meanwhile Google Android has the support of all major device manufacturers and is now the leading Open Source Mobile platform.

3- Do we want or need a facebook OS ?

With rumours floating around about Facebook working with INQ on the development of two smart-phones supposed to be running on the Android OS , but really customised to integrate closely with Facebook, the questions raise: does it really make sense for Facebook to launch its own smartphone and does the market really needs another mobile OS ?

Certainly developers do not want another mobile OS! And what about you, Facebook fans and me ?

As a Facebook user I can just open an app on my smart-phone and directly contact my friends and social network, and by the way, the more it goes the more I do that instead of calling or sending an email or an SMS…Times are indeed changing.

But in the future Facebook may want to compete with Google Voice, Apple and Microsoft on the Voice and Video over IP, and Location-Based-Services for mobile ads for a more complete offering…which is why they are investigating this option.

What plays in favour of Facebook is their 500Millions+ users (and growing quickly) and the incredibly rich profile information they have on their users as any information they share becomes a component of Facebook database which they can access, analyse and leverage, a dream come thru for any marketer. And that game is all about leveraging user information to target marketing campaigns and sell ads, right. But that’s another story.

Add-on Apps facetime4- Who is leading the “add-on apps” and usage?

A recent study from Zokem shows Android clearly leading the way with 42 minutes per day spent (or face time) on “add-on apps” as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype etc Please note Apple iOS was not part of the survey and user still spend more time on core apps than add on apps. See chart.

5- What are the most demanded APIs ?IDC mobile OS APIs

Based on IDC/Appcelerator study:

For Social Networks: Integration of mobile apps with Facebook is THE key priority (65%) , followed by Twitter (60%), way ahead of Foursquare (22%).

For Mobile Advertising: Apple iAd is dominant followed by Google AdMob (36%)

For Mobile payment: Apple iOS (49%) and Paypal (48%) payment are most supported as mobile commerce enablers.

Other trends: Geo Location based services are more demanded than Google Maps, and push notifications more than mobile web browsing.

In conclusion, based on developers feedback and on the way mobile device market is evolving, I see clearly AnMobile-OS-Logosdroid winning the mobile OS market.

However Apple iOS will remain strong, thanks to its loyal “fans” base and its innovative spirit, and RIM will survive, thanks to its enterprise customer base and technology driven culture. Symbian will be out of the race –except if took-over by a manufacturer as Nokia-, and others players as Microsoft, MeGoo, Kindle etc, and others Linux OS will have a hard time grabbing any significant market-share.

 There is no room for more than 3 mobile OS on a mature market.

The remaining question is When?  IDC predict Android will be #2 most popular mobile OS by 2013, I would guess #1 by 2013, but who am I ?

MarCom-NeXt Pocket Guide: successfully engage in Social Media Marketing

social-media-mktg-plan

Social media originally started as a tool for friends and family to keep in touch, and has now moved also to the business community for Companies to engage discussions with their customers, partners and others organizations.

Large Enterprises, as well as SMB in a smaller scale, are adopting Social Media as a new wave of Marketing.

Based on recent reports and studies, the top benefits of Social Media Marketing are seen as (in this order):

– Branding: Generating exposure for the businessSocial Media Marketing Benefits report 2010

– Word-of-Mouth: Extending audience, raising awareness, increasing traffic

– Discussions: Engaging discussions & building relationship/partnership

– Revenue: Generating leads or sales

– Cost: reduce marketing expenses

Marketers have high expectation of Social Media, often and wrongly perceived as a free or low cost, easy to launch and deploy, not resource consuming tactic and they could be disappointed by the results and return in investment if they do not use best practices; It could even be a failure and damage your brand or business if not well executed and then abandoned after an unsuccessful try.

So, based on my own experience, here are few tips to successfully engage in Social Media Marketing:

1- Define a clear strategy

2- Secure executive sponsorship

3- Clarify Goals & Business Objectives: Talk or Listen, raise awareness, engage discussions, generate leads, drive sales & revenue, foster loyalty.

4- Integrate Social Media as one marketing tactic of your marketing mix

5- Document metrics

6- Target your audience: understand digital audience behaviour, develop social media map, identify and engage the influencers,

7- Define content, aligned with your objectives and aligned with corporate marketing messages

8- Select appropriate social networks, based on your goals and audiencSocial Media Marketing Tools Report2010e: Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube or others videos sites, Social Bookmarking sites etc… (see chart)

1- Select appropriate tools: management tools, short url tools, analytics tools, maximize digital assets distribution

2- Allocate dedicated assets and resource, experts to provide content, be the Voice and participate in relevant discussions,

3- Define and document some Social Media Guidelines for people participating to your social media activities, bloggers, and all employees,

4- Design your Social Media image, theme, tag line and main message: name, gravatar, banner, theme, colors, page

5- Launch and deploy your Social Media tactic and tools

6- Start Talking and empower consumer advocacy, tell the story, but also let the others tell the story about you

7- Listen to your Audience, monitor the market conversation

8- Engage discussions, be very responsive, show appreciation, gather market intelligence

9- Promote and advertise your Social media presence (via your web site, email marketing, newsletters, blog, webinar, print…)

10- Leverage your network: employees, partners, customers

11- Grow and maintain you LIST of friends, followers, Fans …

12- Maintain the relationship, keep the momentum, keep communicating regularly and intensively, keep on building and growing,

13- Tie all your Social Media and web presence all together and keep the Buzz growing,

14- Track and measure qualitative, quantitative and competitive results using analytics tools, document lessons learned and communicate monthly reports, understand the impact and do what it takes to improve your ROI.

social-media Social Media are platforms for interactions and relationships, not just a branding or advertising platform, it represent a fundamental shift on the way we communicate and make decision, so take advantage of it, build et develop new relationships and partnerships.

Jump on The Social Media Bandwagon, Start Talking & Listening, Start Engaging Discussions with Social Media.

Do you speak Social Media ?

Do you know what OED and NOAD stand for ?

The New Oxford American DictionaryThey are great institutions: they stand for Oxford English Dictionary, and New Oxford American Dictionary.

Editors define OED as: “The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.”

Therefore we can consider OED and OAD  are recognized as the best guardians and witnesses of the evolution of the English/American Languages which somewhere is just the translation in words of the evolution of our society and way of life.

We all know that email, and even more text messaging and instant messaging has been changing not only the way we communicate but also  the way we write (specially the way our kids write!), but I just want to catch your attention on another impact of new technologies on our language.

If you have any doubt of the importance, impact and adoption by the public, as well as by corporate community, of Social Media and Social Networking, here is a fact which may help open your eyes and convince you.

The new words added in OED  2009  release, now part of common language, relevant to Social Media / Social Network  included:

  • Hashtag – noun: a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets.
  • Tweetup – noun: a meeting or other gathering organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter. [from tweet + up on the pattern of MEETUP]
  • Unfriend/defriend – verb: to remove from one’s ‘friends’ list (e.g. on a social networking website)
  • Tag cloud – noun: a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content, typically using colour and font size to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.

And a few more related to our Techie Digital World:

  • Freemium – noun: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
  • Slashdot effect – noun: action to slow down or crash a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.
  • Minute mentoring – noun: a system of advising aspiring professionals based on the format of speed-dating.
  • Paywall – noun: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
  • And a few more in March 2010: Data center / data centre, Server farm, USB Drive, Ring tone…

And, oh, by the way, sign of the times, the new edition for these two dictionaries are available as iPhone apps !

So do you speak fluently Social Media ?

And if so, guess which words will be the additions to the next release?

#2- Is my digital Avatar changing who I am ?

  

What does Your Avatar looks like ?

 

 With our “profiles” being created across the internet on social media and social networking and sharing web sites, such as Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, twitter, flicker, MySpace, Bebo, Windows Live/MSN, Picasa, YouTube, SecondLife (and thousands other, in 2D or 3D) and containing so much of our personal information about what we think, what we do, what we like and don’t like, who we are or who we want to look like, we are creating a digital twin of ourselves, an “Avatar”, and our human identity is evolving.       

If you are reading this blog, it means you probably already have a digital identity, and the more information we put about ourselves, about our identity, our family and friends relationships, our day-to-day life activities, our professional endeavours, photos of our “moments”, we are duplicating our memories and really giving birth to a digital persona, getting more accurate by the day.       

Many people don’t even really give to that digital persona the kind of privacy they use for themselves in real life, others are just getting aware of the risk involved and are starting to enforce the privacy settings available on these social networks.       

Interesting enough, your “friends” also contribute to the avatar by tagging you in photos, videos, and  by commenting on yourself or your thoughts, which give an additional light, about how others perceive you, and may sometimes reveal more about you than you would like.       

These avatars are more and more commonly used by vendors and research firms to do some marketing research and surveys, to target, market, sell or buy some stuff, to investigate before hiring someone etc…       

However the most interesting fact is the impact the avatar can have on some of its creators, as it can take a life on its own, diverging from what its creator really is, or just giving a different profile by accentuating some of its characteristics, and as a reverse psychology may end up changing the way he is and who he is.       

As a result, digital identities can transform the way we communicate, the way we socialize, the way we project ourselves, it is certainly already changing our society and may be event in the end the way we act and who we are.       

So, What does Your avatar look like, and is Your Avatar changing who You are ?