Earlier this week I had lunch with a colleague who is in marketing for a publisher in the East Bay. As we traded war stories and marketing strategies, my friend asked me - "Are you guys doing anything with social networking?" I had to admit, I have no Tweed cred.
On the heels of this admission, I came across this latest 5 minute online video on the changing face of how people use the Internet.
Setting aside the cool soundtrack and the flashy graphics, what are the implications here?
The evidence is overwhelming that social media is a tsunami of change for how people interact socially. Even President Yudoff tweets. But what are the implications for organizations like ANR?
- We should be concerned about what bloggers are saying about us. (Do we know what bloggers are saying about us?)
- Social media can be a powerful tool for organizations like 4-H and Master Gardeners that rely on volunteers and where there is a high level of social involvement.
- Units that play a role in disaster response (like fires and oil spills) or have breaking news can benefit from tools like Twitter.
- Organizations that post information frequently, or have changing information can benefit from RSS feeds.
- Tools like Twitter and Facebook can put a more human face on large organizations among certain demographic groups.
Social Media Marketer is one of the fastest growing job titles. But is the use of social media as a marketing tool effective?
Once again, Jakob Nielsen has some answers with a study about the effectiveness of distributing content through social media and feeds.
It's an interesting study, and it points to the key issue with using social media for marketing - "business messages that appear in a context that is permeated by social messages."
Top annoyance? Too-frequent postings -- marketing messages crowding out messages from your "real" friends.
RSS feeds were viewed as more trustworthy than social messages.
The study was conducted in two rounds, three years apart, so they were able to track changes in use over that time period - and the findings are surprising.
The summary as well as a link to the full report can be found at Nielsen's Alertbox site.
A couple of articles of note I thought I'd pass along:
First, Gerry McGovern has an interesting post this week about the relevancy of page views. While I don't think any of our folks are engaged in this kind of metric abuse, it's a useful caution about reading too much into Web traffic statistics.
And there's an interesting article in today's New York Times about the hottest new job among the Twitterati (their word): social media specialists also known as professional Twitterers (My word. Is that a word?) to attract and engage younger customers. Perhaps what's more interesting that this article is in the Style section, rather than the Business or Technology section.
David Pouge of the New York Times must be reading my blog.
Today's column is part two of his exploration of Twitter.
I've received a number of e-mails in the last few days about Twitter.
For the uninitiated, David Pogue of the New York Times has written a column about Twitter. I'm an avid reader of Pogue's column, and once again he doesn't disappoint. Here he presents a balanced look into Twitter in his usual humorous style.
"Why should I Twitter?" Decide for yourself . . .
Some examples of Twitter at work.
Check out the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension's Twitter page
Aside from use during emergencies, the jury is still out with me.
Tell me how you've used Twitter.
Last week, I talked about some traditional marketing methods that you could use to increase traffic to your site.
This week, I had planned to talk about Web 2.0 tools you can use to market your site. But, after a spirited discussion with Dave from the Web Action Team, I thought a better post (and Dave agrees) would be to talk about a few of the sharing tools available on the Web, and what they do.
First, what is Web 2.0 anyway?
Web 2.0 generally refers to using interactive and social networking tools rather than static copy to communicate. Blogs are one example of a widely used Web 2.0 tool. MySpace and YouTube are also good examples of Web 2.0 - these sites build online communities and allow online sharing.
A Web 2.0 site that I visit regularly in my non-ANR life is Pattern Review. This is an online community of fashionista home sewers who comment on all things sewing - especially, as the name implies, patterns. This site is successful because it has a large online community constantly adding to the content.
Dave is working on a site for the Master Gardeners similar to this model that will organize and rank Frequently Asked Questions. In the start-up phase, this site will be accessible only by Master Gardeners. But in the future the content could become part of a public information site.
Now, on to the sharing tools. If you read a news site, you've likely seen icons like this:
The Linked In, Facebook, and MySpace icons prompt you to log in to your account where you can then send a link to an article to all of your contacts. If you're not familiar with Linked In, it's a business- networking site, built on the Facebook/MySpace model.
Digg, Mixx, and Yahoo! Buzz are social news sites. These are similar to the social bookmarking sites. Here individuals join communities of similar interest, then submit news stories, videos, photos, and podcasts. These items are then voted on, and gain page rank based on the number of votes.
I talked about Twitter in an earlier post about trends.
Here's where the discussion with Dave comes in -
When do these tools work?
These sharing tools are most effective for sites and blogs that have regularly updated content, and the site covers a topic of general public interest. If your site meets these criteria, these kinds of tools will work for you.
That said, if you're successfully using one of these tools - I'd love to hear about it!