Take That, Twitter!

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Take That, Twitter!

 

Take That TwitterRecently a picture of the Earth and moon was taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from 6 million miles away.  In a brief article regarding the picture, Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute said, “This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe.  We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves.”

This picture not only made me think about our Earth’s place in our giant universe, but also about my place on this Earth.  As in: what I do with my life that actually makes a difference.

I work in social media.  I’m no NASA Astronaut, but I enjoy what I do, have good relationships with my clients and colleagues, and get to participate in Best Tasting Guacamole contests (in case you were wondering, guacamole prepared with strawberry chunks won the top prize).  But when I take a moment and sit back, I ask myself, “Am I making a difference in this world?  Is anyone other than my family and friends actually going to care when I’m gone? Is MTV going to have a weekend marathon in my honor showcasing all my best work ranging from Thriller to Beat It to Billie Jean?”

What do I spend a lot of my day doing?  Facebook… LinkedIn… Twitter… wait a minute, Twitter!?  I’m 25 years old!  I only have 75 years left to live!  Given that it takes me 2 minutes to come up with a good tweet and that I tweet roughly 20 times a day for my clients – 250 days per year – that means I’m spending 10,000 minutes on Twitter! That’s 167 hours!  That’s one week!  That’s seven entire days!  I SPEND A WEEK PER YEAR TWEETING!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Take That TwitterWho cares what I’m doing!?  Who cares what other people are doing?  I’m about to have 12 million (more) girls hate me by saying this, but why are there 12 million people following Justin Bieber!?  What is wrong with our society??  What happened to the privacy in our world?  Why do people want other people to know what they’re doing every single, solitary, waking moment of their lives?

Recent Justin Bieber tweet: Got love for everybody today. #MUCHLOVE.

Wow. My life is now complete.  I can rest assured tonight knowing that the Biebs loves me.  Guess what? 12 million people just spent 30 seconds each reading that.  I’ll do the math for you – that’s over four thousand days’ worth of time.  That’s just sick.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Twitter can be very useful in a variety of ways.  Helping hurricane and natural disaster victims, raising money for a needy family or cause, finding missing children and animals, and any other tweets that can help those in need are exactly the kind of tweets that everyone should be trying to contribute to on a regular basis.  But it just doesn’t seem like we have enough of that.

I wish I had an extra week in my life to donate my time to something that I care about.  Maybe I could help build houses with Habitat for Humanity for orphans in Mexico.  Maybe I could be the Big Brother for a sorrowful boy who recently lost his father to a drunk driver.  Maybe I could help foster animals who were left in a box on the steps of a local firehouse.  Maybe I could do anything that could help anybody in need.  Maybe I could actually have other people besides my family and friends that are going to care when I’m gone.

Facebook runs the world.  Twitter runs the world.  Google runs the world.  They’re all amazing in their own respective ways for knowledge, resources, businesses, clients, family, friends, and anything you can imagine, but in my opinion, they do not run the world.  You run the world.  I run the world.  People run the world.  Take an hour a day, turn off your computer, turn off your phone, and do something.

Anything.

Editor’s Note: Splash Media works closely with The Samaritan Inn, a comprehensive homeless program that helps willing people gain dignity and independence.  Please feel free to visit http://thesamaritaninn.org/ and find out how you can help today.

SplashCast: Social SnapTags, The Next Phase Of Mobile Marketing?

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Social Snap Tags – Are they the next phase of mobile marketing?

No doubt you’ve heard of QR codes, those squares with the maze-like designs that are showing up on all manner of products these days. Users snap a picture of one with a smartphone equipped with a QR code-reading application, and they get sent to websites or platforms with special content from a business or brand.

But a Denver-based company, SpyderLynk, says it has something better – Social SnapTags, a product that’s being called “QR codes on steroids.”

SpyderLynk CEO Nicole Skogg talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the big differences between Social SnapTags and QR codes, the data they provide to businesses, and the future of mobile marketing.

To watch more interviews with leaders in the social media industry, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/splashmedialp.

20 Something Bloggers Summit: The Future of Social Media and Blogging

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An online community known as 20Something Bloggers, a group of young individuals at the leading edge of the blogging and content marketing space, gathered for the weekend of Aug. 19-21 in Chicago for the inaugural 20Something Bloggers Summit. This annual event focuses on sharing the bountiful knowledge and experience of some of the most successful individuals and companies participating in this new form of online conversation. 

The summit session topics ranged from strategies to lay the foundation for your blog and its readership, to more advanced tactics, such as how to best utilize relationships with other related bloggers, and how to collaborate to spread your message into new online communities through guest blogging opportunities. One of the largest conversations, though, and one that we found very insightful for businesses embracing the social media and “Web 2.0” concepts, focused on getting the most out of the community that surrounds your brand online.

Facebook “Likes,” Twitter “Followers,” and blog readers are often the first thing that someone views when evaluating a social media marketing campaign, but the more pertinent information for businesses in the blogging and social media space is how are your “Fans,” “Followers,” and readers interacting with the content that you are sharing with them? Are they engaged? Are they sharing, reposting, commenting, and enjoying your message? A true evaluation of success in this type of marketing is found not simply in the volume of your community, but in the level of engagement with your audiences. Many companies are employing “Brand Ambassadors” to help spread the word and become the face of their organization online and at events, but the idea of a “Brand Ambassador” doesn’t need to be quite so formal.

If you are creating remarkable content, and truly engaging with your audience on a personal level, you can often find customers within your online community who are already acting as ambassadors for your brand. Each time they share your content, write a review, leave a comment, or “Like” your posts on Facebook, they are publicly endorsing your message to be seen by their own group of friends and followers. Over time, you will even discover individuals within your community who have become somewhat of a fanatic for your brand, and have become a leader within your community . These are the individuals who can truly help share your brand’s message with the world. Include them in contests, connect with them on your page or through Twitter, and let them know that you appreciate their support, and even ask them for feedback.

It’s not often that a brand can obtain honest feedback and interaction from one of their real-world customers in an environment that is comfortable for everyone. Use this to your advantage! Instead of simply broadcasting your message to your followers, take the opportunity to find out what they want to see. If you take what you learn from your community, and adapt your outlook based upon what your customers want, the overall health and activity within your online community will be the true indicator of a successful social marketing strategy.

If you have yet to take the “leap” into social media for your business, I will leave you with a final thought that stemmed from Jenny Blake, one of the keynote speakers at the 20Something Bloggers Summit. Think about where your brand is now. How would you feel if your business hadn’t made any changes by this time next year? Would you be happy, or would you feel like you’ve missed some major growth opportunities? Most traditional marketing tactics haven’t changed much over the years, and many businesses sticking to those tactics are either finding themselves in just about the same spot as they were last year, or they are finding that their strategies are falling behind the times. Social media is changing on nearly a weekly, if not daily basis, opening up new pathways of connecting with customers on a level never seen before in traditional marketing. Start thinking about how you can use these pathways to help your business grow, and join in the conversations that are already happening with your customers online.

Rory Ellis is a Social Media Manager at Splash Media.

Facebook Adjusts, Adapts and Keeps Social Media Marketing In Its Sights

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Lost in all the news that sent out literal and figurative shock waves last week – a rare East Coast earthquake, Steve Jobs’ resignation, Hurricane Irene – were the latest announcements from the largest social network on the planet. And while the Facebook news may initially look like white flags or “me too” responses to certain competitors, businesses shouldn’t assume that the top name in social media has given up on new ways to leverage its massive user base for marketing.

Facebook said it was discontinuing its Places and Deals offerings, while also announcing better, more targeted options for who you’ll be sharing your content with on the network. Yes, the latter news comes in direct response to the new Google + social network and its much-discussed Circles sharing option. But as Splash Media social media manager Adam Robinson put it, “Facebook said ‘Touche’!’ We can do the same thing.”

Facebook now allows inline sharing settings, without having to travel all the way to your Settings page. And did somebody tag you in a photo? Now you get to approve it before it shows up in your Profile. For that matter, your options for having content or tags removed from Facebook have been made clearer.

“At the core of every successful business is the ability to listen to its customers – or in this case, users – and give them what they want,” Robinson said. “In Facebook’s case it was more control over your content, and not how Facebook wanted to share your content. Facebook is now getting that their network is not theirs at all, but each and every user’s.”

All that lends privacy credibility to Facebook as it seeks to count more businesses among those users. Yet the other big news from the company – dropping its Places feature after a year, and its Deals experiment in five cities after just four months – has so far been categorized as Round One losses against the leaders of these particular business-centric categories; Groupon in daily deals and Foursquare among location-based services.

Facebook was quick to point out, however, that its Check-In Deals survive this process. And it still has Facebook Ads, Pages and Sponsored Stories, which at this point are much more potent ways of showcasing a business to the company’s millions of users.

“If you have a product taking up development resources, with only 6% of all Facebook users using Places, it makes sense to kill it and focus on features that offer more value – and in the end, more time and use of Facebook – to Facebook users,” Robinson said. “It makes much more sense to retool and for both Facebook and businesses to allocate those resources to features, marketing strategies and tactics that are effective and generate more use and sales.”

What do you think about these Facebook decisions? What’s the immediate and long-term impact on social media marketing? Please share with us in the Comments section below.

Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses: Stories You May Have Missed, August 26, 2011

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Two kinds of earthquakes rattled the world this week: the kind that actually involves the earth moving, and another that changed the landscape of the technology industry. In both cases, you probably learned about the news first on Twitter or Facebook, so there”s one more shake-up for you – social media just keeps on rockin” the way you get your news.

Wednesday”s 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia and felt in the media capitals of New York and Washington D.C. immediately filled Twitter feeds with first-hand accounts of the initial tremor.  Lauren Dugan of AllTwitter.com details how Twitter broke the news faster than traditional media outlets and the U.S. Geological Survey”s website.

As it became clear that damage was relatively minor and there were no casualties, the coverage in social media for some devolved into a snarkfest as West Coast earthquake veterans chided northeast corridor newbies for making such a big deal of the quake. (Time will tell if this particular East Coast-West Coast feud will rival that of Notorious B.I.G. vs. Tupac Shakur.)

That was just the mid-afternoon of a wicked Wednesday for social media. After the stock market closed, Steve Jobs announced he was resigning as Apple CEO, sending all those tech-lovin” early adopters of social media racing to their MacBookPros, iPads and iPhones to spread the news and comment on Jobs” impact – including yours truly, of course:

As written here previously, Jobs also influenced social media marketing thanks to the popularity of his company”s portable devices. Jobs was a CEO rarity: an executive who was the most powerful advocate for consumers in the tech industry. Jobs made sure his products were easy enough to use by those normally intimidated by technology, and stylish enough to be must-haves by folks who didn”t know they wanted iPads, iPods or iPhones. So businesses and brands now deal with customers who are that much closer to them and that much more empowered thanks to Apple”s technology.

Major tech influencers were sharing their thoughts on Jobs” tenure at Apple first on Twitter and Facebook, and then were booked by mainstream media outlets to basically repeat what they had just told their social media followers. Again, social media leads the media world.

Now there”s a major hurricane roaring up the East Coast. Check for yourself this weekend and see how quickly social media scoops everybody else with updates.

Feel free to continue the trend and share your thoughts on Jobs, social media”s impact on breaking news, and anything else that”s on your mind as August winds down. And please consider the following social media marketing news-you-can-use from this week:

Google Begins Its Assault on Facebook Likes

Laurie Sullivan of how Google”s new social media platform is starting to flex its recommendation-engine muscles for brands.


Keeping Your Social Media Communities On Target

Adrian Lee, writing in ClickZ, passes along handy tips for taking charge of social media conversations on your platforms of choice, whether they be forums or Facebook fan pages.

Building A Facebook Fan Page From The Ground Up

You”ve made the decision: your business needs to be on Facebook. Now what? Shortstack CEO Jim Belosic shares ways to get things started in this Smart Blog On Social Media post.

Have yourself a great weekend. If you”re in Irene”s path, we hope you stay safe and if you have any hatches, batten those suckers down nice and tight.