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Twitter vs Facebook and the fight for the crumbs…

19 03 2009

A few weeks ago, @kblucy did a quick poll in her Capstone class for students majoring in Communication – 4 out of 84 students are actually using Twitter.  They are all on Facebook or at least 90% of them. Twitter what? No, it’s just the fastest growing network these days. Maybe it’s generational. Or it’s how we use it but we see  Facebook slowly sending MySpace to a shelf and Twitter is thinking about doing the same to Facebook after refusing $500 Million from same. It didn’t  take long for Facebook to turn around and let ‘Fan Pages’ (companies, celebrities…) be able to update their ‘status’ (just came out last week) which Twitter does. Things are certainly heating up… some talk about collision.  

Have you heard of MyYearBook.com? Tagged.com?  Tumblr.com? Hi5.com? Bebo.com? … hmm, no? People have different needs, live in different places and use all those tools for different reasons. Depending on your marketing strategies, using those different platforms will have more or less returns.

I thought I’d give a bit of a run down of the different networks we use in our practice and why we use them. But before we go there,  I want to say that Personal Branding and Business Branding are colliding. Those students are increasingly growing their personal digital footprint on places like Facebook or MySpace. They will soon be working for corporations and companies. How will their personal representation affect your brand? Why bother sending a resume when you can find everyone online? If they are not online, I would be worried for you though.

Social Networks:

– MySpace: Still the largest network, your brand needs to be there and somewhat active especially if your target market is in the younger age bracket. We still see low traffic from this platform.

– Facebook: Its clean look and super organized way to manage your contacts and relationships has definitely worked wonders. It is driving good to moderate traffic, better in the consumer space.

– Linkedin / Plaxo: By nature, they were designed for more professional purposes. I find that Plaxo has been a more open platform in terms of using RSS but the traffic volume coming from Linkedin is higher. Linkedin was web-based from the start and definitely has the biggest market share. Since the fall, Linkedin allows you to update your company profile and help link personal identities. I mostly find those networks powerful to find people and be found.

– Twitter: with 812% of traffic growth, it’s still a small network but indeed posing an interesting threat. The main clue here is ‘Conversation’. Engaging in Twitter means that you can engage better with people and customers that you would not encounter otherwise. The big bonus: you can search real time conversations about products or brands… It’s a very powerful brand monitoring tool [Search.Twitter.com]  – You can also organically reach people or brands without the limitations of the Facebook fortress 🙂

– Hi5 and Bebo have been growing very fast respectively in UK/Europe for Bebo and Latin America for Hi5 but are still cumbersome platforms to use with limited RSS connectivity. As you can see, Twitter totally passed those networks during the fall of 2008.

So what now? Being on all the main social networks as a person or a brand is somewhat necessary but if you need to focus on a few only, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are the best bets, at least in North America.

Remember that Google Search is still your best bet for driving ‘semantic’ traffic and generating web leads to your company website. SEO (search engine  optimization) and CPC (AdSense) campaigns are good methods but you’re limited when it comes down to increasing brand trust. Blogging remains the best way to increase better qualified leads in your web pipeline.

Finally, remember that YouTube generates more search volume than Yahoo itself since fall 2008 , so if you can invest, make sure to get into video – blogging.

Cheers!

@yannr

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CPA, CPC vs. Social Media Engagement – It’s like going to another country.

23 07 2008

Have you ever been to France? They speak French over there, they argue a lot and are extremely social around food – I know this because I actually lived there 25 years :). Well, engaging in Social Media is like visiting France’s back country where CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per action) are like visiting Paris. Which one is the authentic ‘France’?…We’re talking quality vs quantity when it comes down to social interaction. Am I being too abstract here? It’s like in hi-density marketing — you’re just trying to hit as many potential clients as you can (a bit like the ‘Metro’ / Underground in Paris) — you end up with a low return and you damage your reputation with everybody through spamming. Your message is not intended for them anyway. BUT WAIT! If their friend or acquaintance had sent the message to them, the return would be much greater! It’s common sense really. So are you ready for quality or are you satisfied with a 1% return on your banner ad campaign or your direct mail? That’s 99% wasted time and energy!

A couple of years ago, everyone was buzzing about social networks even though they were skeptical about how to use them. Now everyone is still buzzing about them but it’s a bit like a burning stove.

Here are 5 handy hints for engaging with social media:

– Set Your Objective: Design your TAG cloud before you start [or just redesign, it]. The TAG cloud is your objective – you can’t blog about everything and be relevant to everyone. Do your research, analyze the competition and most importantly, see how much the tag cloud (keywords) is being talked about in the blogosphere – Do you want to look like this?

– Generate Ideas: Medium size businesses rarely have the time or money to spend on lengthy articles that may (like never) be published in a magazine…nor do they have at least need an $8000 to $15,000 per month PR budget. Not to mention the fact that traditional media gives you a difficult to measure return. BUT HEY! YOU have customers – get them to engage with stories around your product, podcast using Pamela and Skype, get a passionate employee to create video interviews…This is social media, not ABCnews – Then put them on Youtube and start linking it your blogs 🙂

– Be Personable and Personal: What matters to you and them may often be more about you – people care about you online if you let them get closer andengage them on social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter and and so on.

– Do It the Real Way: Social media engagement is about real people – not cold banners and cold push marketing. It takes time, yes; Social Media is not a quick fix. It takes time like any good relationship, but then the rewards are long lasting and repeat business is the name of the game. It’s like going to France again – be real, try to engage – step out of Paris where everyone lives like a rabbit 🙂 Okay, Paris is beautiful, but you get my point.

– The Mirror Again – Bring your 500 customers onto current social networks – many are probably there already – Have you thought of creating your own network? Ning.com maybe what you need then!

– Blog, Blog, Blog: RSS Marketing is efficient only if it is regular, and you connect your media tools (Flickr.com, Youtube.com, Slideshare.com …), your networks (Linkedin, Facebook…), Microblog (twitter, pownce)…etc well.

Here’s to an engaging life together!
Yann