Category Archives: social media

What the F**k is Social Media (One Year Later)

Social media is no longer just a new marketing experiment. Nor is it just a hot fad. 3 out of 4 Americans and 2 out of 3 worldwide web users are on it. Yet, corporations still only think of it as a marketing tool. It is much more than that. It’s a chance for business to communicate with its fans; to create, build and satisfy new audiences; it’s a chance to brand. Yes, all those things. But that’s just on the business side. It’s also a chance for listening, sharing, exchanging with fans, who will in turn help promote you more.

So why the f**k is social media so important? This updated report from Marta Kagan really explains it well.

Get on it.

Motivations For Using Twitter

Twitter’s growth in the past 6 months has been remarkable. For most of the two years prior to November 2008, it had between a million and two million active users. Since November, it has grown to an estimated 8 million users as of last month and is poised to top 10 million users by the end of April.

Last week’s Ashton Kutcher vs CNN follower battle (won by Ashton) and Oprah’s “Welcome to the 21st Century” tweet should give Twitter all the publicity it needs to convert into a mainstream social media tool. Due to all this explosive user growth, many tracking experts predict that Twitter will reach 100 million users within the next year, placing it in MySpace usage territory.

What exactly is the motivation for people to join and use Twitter? What is causing all this excitement about micro-blogging at 140 characters or less?

MarketingProfs (Allen Weiss of USC’s Marshall School) just released a new study of Twitter followers and identified the primary motivators for using Twitter. It’s not really about obtaining the most followers. It’s not really about saying something brilliant to the world and getting responses.

What it’s really about this: “It’s cool to learn new things from people.”

As reported in Mashable:

People use Twitter for all sorts of reasons. But what are those reasons, exactly? Is it about marketing, gathering intelligence, connecting, community? Is it for social reasons?

In a word: Yes.

Twitter may be used as just another lead-generation tool. Or it may be about connecting with new friends. But above all, people on Twitter are truly motivated by learning new things and getting information real-time, as it’s developing.

Screw You Recession: Using Social Media With Brands — Virgin Mobile

Traditional brands have had a hard time figuring out social media. They are used to old marketing models where they keep firm control of the message.

Create a brand phrase or concept and then repeat it millions of time on whatever media platforms, getting as much exposure as possible. The adage “If they say it often enough, it must be true” has been the prevailing wisdom for decades. The hoped-for by-product? “Gosh, if they are willing to spend so much money to tell me something about their product, it must be true…so I’ll buy it.”

All the traditional ad markets have softened: TV, newspapers, radio, magazines. And the projections for the next few years look tough.

For decades, consumers have been sold, pitched, cajoled, and almost guilted in buying products through the magic of marketing and advertising.

Why are the ad markets hurting? Psychologically, making a purchase satisfies many possible things: taking care of a need; a want; a desire; or for preventing something they fear. That is no different today than from previous generations. Traditional media still “sells” needs, wants, desire and fear-fixers.

It’s just that today’s consumers want more than simply being told to buy something before they make a purchase.

They want to engage.

They want to hear from other consumers to validate their own thinking about the brand choice.

They want their own voice heard.

So far, traditional brand marketing has been slow and inconsistent in its success using social (or user-generated) media for marketing.

Remember the user-generated Dorito’s Super Bowl TV ads?

What about the GM’s Chevy Tahoe SUV ad contest?

Just in the last few weeks, Skittles set the Twitterverse afire by changing their main brand homepage to their Twitter profile, then to their Facebook profile. To help their customers “Interweb the rainbow”, users create custom “garageband-like” audio themes using various Skittles audio clips. What did it get them? Lots of social media hype, more than 630,000 Facebook friends (M&M’s Facebook site only has 25,000 fans)…and an increase of their web traffic by more than 1,325% the first day it launched the campaign.

So can a brand do well by saying “Screw You, Recession”? One is trying…and using social media to do it.

Here’s a site blending social media merged with an established brand. Go to and it comes from the new thinkers over at Virgin. Virgin tends to embrace marketing experiments; I think it’s worthwhile to check it out. Tying in recession concerns with younger people, it’s a blog with a heavy user comment section, simple Virgin Mobile advertising and various topics sections on money, living, fashion, going out, tech and more. Plus they Twitter and Facebook it tying it together.

The impact: How can you (the consumer) screw the recession? You need your cellphone. Screw the recession by using a Virgin Mobile cellphone.

They’ve done some cool research through the site on their users.

As reported this week in Virgin Mobile press release of their JD Power study:

“Virgin Mobile Canada has created a mood meter that ranges from “Everything Sucks Huge” (red) to “The Recession Ain’t Getting Me Down” (green). The five-stage colourcoded system shows that – this week – young Canadians are on Yellow Alert (“Sorta’ Freaking Out Right Now”), which means:
* Biting nails – 72% are anxious about their future
* Brand disloyalty – 41% have given up a brand they love
* Show me the value! – 52% are open to trying value brands
* Chic-onomics – 88% have changed their shopping habits
* Recessionistas – 42% are making “noticeable sacrifices”
* Unemployment – 42% fear being unemployed
* Politics – 57% say they don’t believe a change in government would change anything
* The Simple Life – 75% want a simpler life.

The Mood Meter looks exclusively at the impact the recession is having on young people’s (17-35s) lives, how they’re feeling about the state of the economy and what the recession means to them. It’s also a barometer of their thoughts and shopping habits, as well as their feelings on how brands are behaving. See Virgin Mobile’s”

The only thing they miss is not tying it into their Virgin Radio sites. It’s a natural partner.

Cross-platform connection on contemporary consumer demands, needs, desires or fears…with the consumer front-and-centre contributing and sharing the content.

The audience (listeners/customers) are the drivers…all we in media have to do is provide the proper vehicles for them to get where they want to go and what they want right now.

That’s how brand marketing can use social media to its advantage.

What Is Twitter? A Quick How-To In Plain English

Did you know that of all adult Internet users in North America, one-in-three maintained a social networking profile last year (according to Nielsen Media Research? Despite its sudden rise in popularity, lots of people are still asking “What is Twitter?” (now the #3 social networking site on the web).

Twitter, as twitheads know it, is a micro-blogging website where ideas can be shared with friends (or “followers”), 140 characters at a time — from your computer or smart phone. Some think of it as a tool that bridges the gap between your social profile (like UnHub, Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn) and your blog. Others think of it as something that shares “behind-the-scenes” thoughts in real-time (where I’m at, what I’m doing right now).

So, what is twitter to me? I see it as the today’s smarter form of old-school “water cooler talk”.

It’s collaboration and shared conversation, like seeing and participating in Seth Godin’s “Tribes” concept as it happens.

And a great way for brands to take care of customers (by listening).

Additional media trend watchers even think Twitter could challenge Google in the search business, because Twittering is real-time search.

In business, it can be a great way to boost your company’s online brand reputation, build your business and establish a closer interactive link with your customers.

However, advertisers still view social as an experimental business model, which means traditional media remains a little slow embracing it.

Twitter is whatever you want it to be. A public “instant message” forum, a professional marketing or PR tool, a job hunt assistant, or a buzz monitor on what’s hot right now. It all depends on the network you build of people you follow and who follows you.

Most major news sources (both national and local) are there for breaking news and web updates (@CNN, @ABCnews, @CBSnews, @NBCnews, @CBCnews, as well as online sources like @DrudgeReport, @HuffingtonPost, @The Daily Show, @The Colbert Report, @The Onion, @Gawker, etc.).

Celebrities are doing it (@Aston Kutcher, @Demi Moore, @Jimmy Fallon). Celebrity impersonators are doing it (a sexy fake @Megan Fox or a drunk @Lindsay Lohan). @Paris Hilton doesn’t use it as much lately; maybe that’s because gossip blogger @Perez Hilton is now there (with 240,000 followers).

Marketing gurus (@Guy Kawasaki, @Chris Brogan) are doing it. AOL’s founder and creator of the Instant Message is tweeting instead of IMing (@Steve Case). Major brands are doing (@Skittles). Even @Barack Obama was doing it on the campaign trail, helping him build up grass-roots support.

So what exactly is Twitter? View this simple explanation video below and get twittering:

Even NBC’s The Today Show shows you how to do it:

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Tweet on!

Tribes and Brand Building…Plus Seth Godin about Twitter

Twitter just jumped its total number of users in the last couple of weeks — from 6 million to 8 million — due to more mainstream media coverage (The Daily Show, morning radio shows, newspapers, many others). Leading “Tribes” maven and Senior Purple Cow Seth Godin refuses to tweet. To find out why, go to the 9:15 mark of this Ted 2009 conference interview (February 5, 2009):

Whether or not you use Twitter, social media needs to be part of your modern marketing plan. To marketing messages to have impact today, they need to feed into consumer’s needs for convenience, connection, community and control. They want to be fans and to share through positive word of mouth. The key is provide content for your brand’s most passionate users to help spread the word and praise.

That’s how you get customers in your store today.

Marketing Sherpa says in a recent survey that over 90% of companies believe social media is most effective in building brand reputation and awareness, with direct marketing objectives falling into the second tier expectations.

Spotting upcoming social networking trends is important in the world of word-of-mouth campaigning. Brand enthusiasm is an essential ingredient when building brand awareness. It immediately has the strongest potential of converting into sales and extended customer loyalty.

Just as Seth Godin believes. You may not see him posting Twitter…but, believe me, he loves seeing his fans tweet about him and his books.

Hey, if you are a fan of this article, tweet it!

Social Media: Something Positive Has To Happen

With all this blogging, twittering and online yelling at strangers, something positive has got to happen. Right? As this great social media graphic shows, it must be true. Yes…?