Social Media: Internal, external or who to use?

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Internal or external resources, agencies, consultants or publishers? Many companies still give the responsibility for social media to the hands of the existing marketing and communications teams. A new study by the public relations agency MS&L and PR Week shows that companies leave it to these teams to handle the activities. Only 5% said they outcource the social media planning and execution to external agency partners.

It is still interesting to see which companies are addressed to get the responsible for their social media activities…
– 21% direct marketing agencies
– 20% ad agencies
– 17% digital agencies
– 16% PR agencies
– 12% media buying and planning agencies

In the online survey with 262 marketers taking part, 47% of those with social media programs handle social media activities using in-house resources. Some companies are hiring their expertise: 13% stated additional staff was recruited to handle the conversations.

Most companies understand the impact for business. The reason why companies make it a business critical topic becomes clear when 79% agree social media management and reacting in real-time to customer needs is a competitive advantage. 26% encourage their employees to share social media input for the company’s benefit. The effect on R&D is in between the lines of the result that 33% of companies have changed their products or marketing efforts based on feedback they’ve gathered from social media.

Interestingly enough Social Media education comes from…? Kids (26%)! – Coming in as third important source after internal discussions (46%) and vendor sponsored conferenes and webinars (33%), says the report. This result actually comes at the same time as a study by Nielsen Norman Group that comes to a similar conclusion. Kids are not even 10 years old to tell us more about the Internet than we might know but still get confused by advertising if it is directed towards them.

Spot On!
Social Web experts argue the aspect of a cultural shift – handling social media is a challenge for the whole company and all departments – be it HR, R&D, Sales, PR, Marketing or Customer Service. If we look at who is responsible when the social media business is outsourced, it becomes obvious that traditional agencies are the leading edge of the social media activities. Sometimes, I am asking myself, if companies like business consultants (whole company approach), strategy consultants (business model apporach) or even publishers (experts in audience building) could not be a better partner for making social media strategy work.

Curious to listen what your ideas about that might be…

Reloaded – Personal Web Manager

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One of my most popular posts was my vision of the personal web manager. Most of my friends or business cotacts even thought that my next business follows this idea and invitations to next web generation events followed.

And yes, I still think and know from C-level executives that it would solve one of their biggest problems when getting engaged in the social web: Having more time when they need it in the future while staying in contact and up to date in the social web world!

Now the vision of the personal web manager is reloaded. Gina Trapani tries to „work against“ the idea in her post Work Smart: Mastering Your Social Media Life with a new solution named „funneling“. And thus, she brings the value of my personal web manager vision back to live. Most comments go against her vision and obviously, I have to disagree as well.

Nevertheless, watch the video and maybe rate her funneling against the personal web manager…

The problem of personal productivity versus being a „perfect“ social median remains unsolved. Vision are there, the world wants this problem to be solved and someone will realize the personal web manager business model in the future. Don’t you think?

The future – is paid service the ‚old‘ paid content?

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paid-content-locked1The idea for this post came with the following idea. What is paid content and what is paid service? Would you know the difference?

So, if a news site charges for an amount of time, for an amount of activities or clicks, and not exclusively for mere access to a news site, are we still talking about paid content then? Or will this become paid service?

OK, CoTweet gave the kick off for this post. Although I am still using Twitter, I have thought about CoTweet for a while as it is a good Twitter CRM tool and offers more opportunity to handle multiple accounts with multiple people. Yesterday, the company announced to launch an enterprise edition as a paid service version – probably in order to monetize their business model. The new enterprise program plans to start with $1,500 per month.

Among the first booking clients that will use the fee-based service are top companies like Ford and McDonalds. They profit from the new paid service offer in terms of benefits for data storage, usability and analytic features versus pure conversational options. And CoTweet makes way -and becomes another test- for Twitter to launch their commercial accounts soon.

Now, I don’t want to discuss whether it makes sense to start the paid service era. As in my eyes the need for paid service offers is definitely evident if content will still be valued the way it deserves to be valued. Content production costs time, resources and fees for service partners. It costs money. And somebody has got to pay the bill…

No wonder, Murdoch openly discussed the idea of removing the News Corp sites from Google’s index in the following interview. He wants to make money with ‚his‘ content.

And as a consequence Hulu, a joint venture of Murdoch’s News Corp. and NBC Universal, just recently thought about the launch of a paid service subscription offer.

Spot On!
In my eyes, the future of content monetization will be some kind of fee-based subscription model for those web businesses that want to survive. The question remains: Which model will the users finally accept? Paid content or paid service? But it is not as easy as you might think. As paid content could become paid service in the future – no matter if indexed on Google, or not- are we not talking about a new word for the same idea: Getting money for content value.

Curious about your views…

IBM study: The end of advertising is near – as we know it…

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eu-social-mediaSometimes studies come back too late. When I was the host of the dmexco social media panel ‚Show me the money – effective ways to advertise‘, I would have loved to talk about these study results.

IBM did a global study where more than 2.400 consumers and 80 advertising experts were asked about how they think the advertising world is changing. And they start their presentation of the study with the following words…

The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did. Increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked. Our research points to four evolving future scenarios – and the catalysts that will be driving them. Traditional advertising players – broadcasters, distributors and advertising agencies – may get squeezed unless they can successfully implement consumer, business model and business design innovation.

Why is this study so interesting? Well, there are different topics to talk about. Companies are shifting budgets more and more to the digital world – and not only in the States. But we also know that social media is on the rise. But what we do not know is, how to define the budgets that marketers spend with social media. Are these called advertising dollars – and will these be called the same way in the future? Will these advertising dollars be moving into PR budgets?

Why PR budgets? Because social media is all about the dialogue – the antithesis of a monologue like advertising. Social media is more, it is even a multilogue (company to customers and customers amongst customers). And this is how IBM argues the change…

Attention: The consumer are in control of the sales process. They define the way they receive, perceive and appreciate advertising.

Creativity: The value of advertising comes from the new ‚digital natives‘ that create content for their peers, work with new ad revenue-sharing models (e.g., YouTube, Crackle, Current TV) – all based on new technology. The professional does not rule the process, it will be the semis.

Measurement: Mass reach gets replaced by a new wave customers demanding more individual-specific and involvement- based measurements.

Advertising space:
In the ad sales process the Traditional intermediaries will be made redundant by efficient exchanges

Spot On!
A lot of interesting (and researched) thesis that might become true for the future of the advertising industry. One thing is for sure: Advertising is a one way street – not a dialogue. The company wants the customers – who decides himself if he wants to be addressed by the ad. The truth is that we do more sales by talking to each other, right? Social media will become the new form of lead generation, and lead generation is based on customer service (not on clicks!) which is the basis of building trust – formerly generated via advertising.

Nevertheless, TV did not kill the radio star. But can social media kill the advertising industry?

Hey, Twitter wants to make money…

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twitter-moneySome month ago, Twitter founder Biz Stone told us that he sees ‚tools not ads for revenue“, planning with commercial accounts for the future. And in this Reuter article he announces to start with monetization efforts by the end of the year. Now, he seems to realign his monetization strategy…

Now, after having changed their Twitter terms and conditions last night, it seems that Twitter introduced a new system of rules as well as more options for advertisers, users and Twitter itself. It seems as if they are preparing their monetization

In his post, Stone makes three changes that will have important relevance to the new Twitter monetization strategy:

1. Advertising
Twitter has the right to book advertisements, meaning to place ads on Twitter pages – if in streams or just on the background is not quite clear yet. The terms and conditions were changed accordingly. To some respect this is quite surprising as Stone mentioned some months ago that advertising is not his prior interest for monetization. He also said that it gets on users nerves and none of his employers has a deep insight in the advertising industry.

2. Ownership
Twitter is clever and starts a smooth approach towards changing the terms and conditions on this point – not like Facebook that got flagged by their users when doing so. But in terms of advertising, there is a big point in it. Although the tweets belong to the account-holders, Twitter takes the right „to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).“ This gives Twitter a good starting point for targeted advertising opportunities which might become part of their monetization strategy.

3. Spam
Spam is out and -with the introduction of the new terms and conditions- officially forbidden! This is big change for the spam account holders. We all know that there are some of these spam accounts in our follower list and if we clear it up, we might loose probably 10-20% of our follower list. but who does it once he/she is over 1000 followers? So, if your company sends advertising messages to dead spam bots, you should be more careful from now on. Sanctions against spam could become expensive and won’t be positive for the reputation of your business. And it is not allowed to sell followers (probably as of the uSocial business). All sanctions resulting in a permanent-ban.

Spot On!
What does all this mean? Twitter wants to make money. Hey, who is surprised? The whole bloggosphere has been wondering why they did not do this earlier. Who expected something different? Tweets will be shorter (100 words instead of 140?) as ads need some space to create a message. And a lot of people will unsubscribe and wait for the next big revolution.

What is your view? Will you kill your Twitter account just because a media business is trying to make money? Will you be advertising on Twitter once they have a business model for it?

The virtual dollar – the future of web monetization?

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money-sepiaAccording to a survey by the market analyst firm Frank N. Magid, the market for virtual goods will grow in 2009 to a volume of 1,8 mio. dollars. One out of ten Americans has spent real money in return for virtual goods in 2008. And we are not talking about pennies like in the advertising industry. The people that have spend money for virtual goods said they have invested up to 100 US dollars or more. The average invest is somewhere at 30 US dollars.

No surprise: The group around ‚Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games‘ (MMORPG) is the most willing target group for virtual goods. Nearly half of this group of ‚gamers‘ spent money for levels or items. Another quite obvious target group is the iphone user who spends money for apps (28%) and the members of social networks (27%).

One of the biggest success stories for virtual goods is probably China and their popular social network Tencent’s which has a special focus on virtual goods and its power on monetization. And if we look at the gaming industry, we can also find Internet Gaming Entertainment that is doing well in offering virtual goods services to collect and receive new game levels and items.

If it is Facebook selling virtual presents like nice flowers, beer glasses or kisses in the format of an icon for one dollar. Or let’s say the social network Hi5 with their casual games section. Money becomes virtual coins and you can easily spend it for a game of dart or for a video wall in your own virtual room on Smeet. Or let’s think about Second Life that is selling virtual ground in a virtual world for real hard dollars and some years ago made Ailin Gräf rich. She became a real-estate tycoon on Second Life – and thus, she became rich in the offline world.

Spot On!
This all reminds me of the good old Tamagotchi days. We were taking care of and feeding virtual animals in order to keep them alive. I am asking myself if this is a possible business model for social networks. You can buy your personalized virtual Tamagotchi and place that on your Facebook account, your iphone or your HTC mobile. So, everybody in your social network can see how you care about your ‚best friend‘ – and how open you are to the virtual dollar…

Hey, why don’t we have that virtual Tamagotchi already?

Let me know how you see the future of virtual goods. And may be you want to share some ideas that would be really thrilling for companies to think about. Curious what will be coming up with…

Kevin Spacey explains David Letterman Twitter

23.07.2009 von  
Kategorie Daily Top 3

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Kevin Spacey and David Letterman gave the perfect show act at Letterman’s Late Night show on CBS TV. And suddenly these guys were talking about Twitter … pinging verbal tweets to and fro. And then, Kevin Spacey finds the perfect business model for Twitter. Okay, maybe a bit expensive…!?

David Letterman: Did it cost you money to be on Twitter?
Kevin Spacey: (scared) No, it does not cost you money…
David Letterman: I don’t know how you…
Kevin Spacey: …(amazed, shaking his head)…
David Letterman: I don’t know how it works.
Kevin Spacey: A penny for every letter. It’s so expensive Dave…
David Letterman: I don’t know anything about it.
Kevin Spacey: Are you on Twitter?
David Letterman: No, I don’t know. I can’t afford it…

Spot On!
If Twitter costs something? Yes, it does – a fortune of time, Kevin could have answered. But … ah, his answer is much cooler. Just enjoy it!

News Update – Best of the Day

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All social media platforms are looking for ways to monetize their business. Jun Loayza writes about five business models for social media start-ups.

Politics and good Twitter case studies – in no way possible? Yes, it is possible… Just read the post about Rep. Laura Brod in the US.

Will advertising and sponsorship of objective journalism survive? What’s the future of newsrooms focusing their traditional news business? Former president of CBS News, president of the Newspaper National Network and CEO of Air America Media is talking on the content crisis.

10 general questions on web monetization 2.0

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Brainstorming… ! This is a project which needs your help in order to start saving the future of the web in all its facets…

A post for you, me and all of us platform owners, web maniacs, companies, advertisers, affiliates, social medians and web workers to do some brainstorming and share some thoughts on the future of monetization.

In a lot of discussions, talks and chats with partners, clients and friends, we came across these questions. It is time to find some answers…

Please, tackle this project with me and give as much feedback as possible. We all want to participate in the future of the web. So, let’s do some work…

10 Questions on web monetization 2.0

What if…
1. … all companies respect that platform owners (social networks, media publications, portals, etc.) start their web activities in order to monetize their business like they do?
2. … web platform owners never had started using the measurement argumentation versus the former print world?
3. … companies accept that web platform owners start their business model to earn money – not just to be a service provider?
4. … web platform owners never had started the price competition in order to ‚drag away‘ clients from each other – resulting in cpm values of cent amounts?
5. … companies had not overrated the measurement options and tried to buy ROI value (leads, orders & revenue) only – than simply the ‚best price‘?
6. … web platform owners never had started cpx payment, let’s call this ‚performance payment‘, but were using the old advertising model: ‚pay for play‘?
7. … companies suddenly stop advertising the ‚pay for play‘ way and just strive for performance payment?
8. … web platform owners need to go for ‚free-mium‘ or premium service payment for users, as they cannot afford to run their business any longer without the support of the ad industry from the last 5 years?
9. … companies could finance, sponsor or take over the costs for those ‚free-mium‘ or premium service payment for certain target groups?
10. … finally, we users all understand that without web platforms owners generating any revenue, the internet is nothing more than a shell without pearls?

Pick a question, share your views and posts and give us some answers.

Looking forward to your comments…

Dead or alive? Some philosophy on the future of blogging…

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Last week, there was a lot of talk on the future of blogging, online – and offline at ‚online-minded‘ events. The coincidence crossed my way that last week some of my closest friends (no bloggers by the way) were sitting together, discussing heavily on why blogging is the future of media – and obviously micro-blogging as well. The conclusion we came up with can be found in the ‚Spot On!‘ at the end of this post.

Let’s give the word to the blogging experts and their thoughts first…

A kind of an ‚inner circle‘ had dinner at TheNextWeb09 and was brainstorming in a relaxed atmosphere on the topic if blogs are dead. Now, Andrew Keen shares this controversial conversation with us and quotes on his blog Hermione Way, founder of Newspepper: “Blogging as we know it is dead”. The co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, sees more of a different new approach for blogs and the way people will handle blogging in the future…

“Blogs will become aggregation points” (…) “They will become our personal hub. Places where we store all our personal media content such as our flickr photos and Twitter posts.”

Especially when we think of micro-blogging, this seems to be the state of mind for a lot of the Twitterati – and some also do it vice versa in a (sometimes self-referential) cross-promotional way.

But, are Mullenweg’s thoughts not interfering with the business model of bookmarking sites, websites such as Mister Wong, Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati or others, someone may ask? So, is the future of micro-blogging a mixture of bookmarking with the positive effect that you share personal or follower content with friends and followers?

And finally, let’s listen to the words of David Tokheim, Six Apart Media, top manager of an American blogging service provider…

“The lines are becoming blurred between a standalone blog that might be created on TypePad or Blogger or WordPress and blog content that’s created by The New York Times.”

And eMarketer defines blogging today this way…

„…today’s (blogs) are about two-way conversations that take place on many fronts: independent, standalone blogs; social networks; e-commerce and mainstream media sites; and micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter.“

Obviously, times for blogs are changing. The former definition of blogging as a personal expression using an easy self-publishing tool has gone lost on most of the blogs. It seems that blogs are becoming mainstream as a modern format of publishing in the meaning of creative thought sharing … So, we may be asking ‚Why?‘.

Spot On!
Now, reading all these opinions, my answer and view on blogging is more a conclusion that goes in the direction of Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati: “You’re also seeing mainstream media coming in the other direction by adding blog content”.

Being an online publisher for more than 10 years now, there are coming different memories to my mind that bring my vision on the future of blogging to you. Memories from past days where the following „unwritten editorial manifest“ counted, using the good old editorial questions (and old silicon brand slogan) …

who cannot write professional is meant to leave the pen in the bag, better stop expressing opinions open wide and keep their mouth shut. – Now, most of the blogosphere has forgotten pens exist, publish excessive, express great visions and are not even physically meant to keep the mouth shut.
what intelligent brains cannot control in their minds or ’scribble‘ in books was not worth to be mentioned as it lacked the only format of intellectual value proposition: print. – Now, the web is crowded with blogs (and will be even more in the next decade) offering more intelligent content output in not more than 500-750 words but hundred times more trendsetting, enlightening and progressive than some theses.
when choosing the ‚right‘ content management system (cms) was key for the success of online publishing. – Now, there are content management systems, called blogging tools, comparable to former publishing cms systems, leveraging an individual’s mind to the status of a well-rated publishers level.
where long, grey-haired editors with black, stand-up collar long-sleeves or flashily-dressed outfits were the only valid authority of the written word. – Now, we have casual-dress code at Tweetups, meet calling cards of the blogosphere in jeans giving advice on stage to white-collar professionals and suits. University education turned upside down…
and why the individual, the economy and the industry is not publishing? Media experts were doing it much better, more professional, well experienced and with heart and soul. – Now, the world is overwhelmed how complex, creative and informative individuals, employees and companies find ways to be heard by the world, their target group and their customers – just by (micro-)blogging.

The glory of blogs has just been brought to life. Blogging is alive – different from its beginning, sure. But the future of blogging has not even started being perceived as the leading new format for digital portals, magazines, newspapers, custom-publishing, or even digital TV broadcasts. And there will be companies and individuals becoming new famous publishers with their blogs that we don’t even know yet.

This is my take on the future of blogging and I love to hear other views…

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