RockMelt: Fusing Web Browsing, Social Media – and Marketing
I learned a long time ago that when Netscape co-inventor Marc Andreesen launches any new product or service – or throws his considerable venture capital clout behind any new product or service – it’s wise to pay attention. Netscape, after all, was the web’s first browser, and Andreesen sits on the boards of many an influential tech company, including Facebook.
So it makes complete sense that RockMelt, Andressen’s new tech effort which launched Monday, blends web browsing and social media. You need a Facebook account to log on to the beta version, and the browser interface features the simplest way yet to integrate your need to find stuff on the web and your favorite online destinations/contacts. On the left side of your screen is a vertical strip with your select friends, and on the right are icons for your social networks and favorite websites.
Of course, for our purposes here, imagine those icons on the right featuring business websites or Facebook Pages/Twitter feeds for companies. And imagine those people on the left of your screen sending you recommendations for where to eat, where to shop for whichever item you’re looking for, or sharing a preferred doctor/lawyer/auto mechanic.
RockMelt has certainly pictured all those possibilities – the company includes them in its introductory video.
Toby, a recent college graduate who says he moved out to San Francisco to work for RockMelt, takes you through a tour of the browser’s features, and there’s a definite consumer-to-commerce theme in the video. Toby doesn’t get to miss a “zombie pub crawl” at his former favorite drinking establishment in the Midwest thanks to social video; he uses RockMelt to find apartments, and finds out he lives “on top of some dive bar that had turtle racing on Wednesday nights.” Video of said turtle races (the term “racing” used in the loosest sense) is included.
“I like meeting new friends..we share our favorite restaurants,” Toby says. He types in an Italian eatery and adds in the Yelp comment box, “I recommend the chicken parm.”
I haven’t seen a more vivid and succinct example yet of the importance of search engine-optimized browser results, monitoring mentions of your business online, establishing social network presences for companies, and the million-horsepower recommendation engine that is social media. I have no idea if RockMelt will ever succeed; it’s tough to launch a new browser when the roots for Internet Explorer/Firefox/Safari run so deep. But when RockMelt says it “brings it all together,” it’s not just talking about blending browsing and social media – there’s also a message for small/medium-sized businesses searching for ways to integrate their digital marketing goals.
Can location-based services truly go mainstream now, thanks to the tweaks introduced this week to Facebook Places? And can Deals, the social network’s take on incentives/loyalty/giveaways tied to Places”check-ins” give Groupon a run for its coupons?
SplashCast host Renay San Miguel moderates a debate with Splash Media social media specialists Nichole Luna and Michael Witt over how Facebook’s new mobile strategy plays into small/medium business marketing goals, and whether or not Mark Zuckerberg’s company has come up with another Facebook feature “fizzle.”
Are Twitter, Facebook and YouTube Ready for B2B Prime-Time?
The stars seemed to be aligning this week for discussions about social media, in our social media minute, and the business-to-business world. Splash Media principal and co-founder Chris Kraft was invited to talk about content marketing in a B2B Magazine webcast on Thursday, Oct. 28th – the same day that Mashable’s Ben Parr wrote a great post titled What The Future Holds for Social Media B2B Marketing.
The bottom line from both Kraft’s presentation and Parr’s data-rich post is that yes, Virginia, there is a place for social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube as businesses try to sell to each other in a much narrower and more targeted way than the consumer space. Parr particularly cited Cisco’s social media manager Autumn Truong’s belief that video and mobile applications will come into play very soon as effective forms of communications for reaching the right people within companies.
There’s social media marketing, and then there’s social media “noise.” What’s the difference? Nichole Luna, Splash Media’s senior social media specialist, talks with SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the opportunities and potential challenges that await companies committed to joining the online conversation about their brands.
Apple is already one of the top enablers for all the social media magic that happens in the world. How many times do you – or someone you know – update a Facebook status from your Mac? Tweet about an interesting news item from your shiny new iPad? Upload an iPhone 4 photo to Flickr? The company’s easy-to-use software and stylish products combine with the instant ability to share with friends and family – not to mention business colleagues or potential clients – to help drive social media’s mainstream acceptance in both the home and the office.
Now, after seeing Facebook and Twitter gain such momentum, Apple and Steve Jobs have decided not only to join those social media, but perhaps beat them at their own game.