Sales and Social Media? Feedback is the key!

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We have heard that 1 in 3 of the younger generation will their online shopping via their mobile phones. Now, another study shows the power of recommendations around the holiday season. Mr. Youth did some research among 4.500 shoppers and found how Social Media could become the game changer in Christmas shopping in 2011.

Some key findings… and marketers better listen up now!

– 80% of Social Media users who received feedback did a purchase afterwards
– 66% of Black Friday sales were a result of Social Media interactions
– 52% of Social Media users are willing to pay more for brands they trust
– 36% of Social Media users trust brands that have a Social Media presence

How about you? Are you relying on your friends, fans and followers recommendations this holiday season?

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger’s work?

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Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The „Pay a Blogger Day“ is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the „Pay a Blogger Day“.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to „donate“ for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: „Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.“ One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the „Pay a Blogger Day!“ on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission „Give something back to bloggers!“ A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the „Pay a blogger day!“). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, „plusers“ and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say „Thank you“ and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

Studies: The internet is more important than water…?!

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Can we access the internet if we have nothing to drink anymore, if our water is poluted? No, we can not! Sometimes, adults should ask themselves about, and quickly start to re-think, the values that they hand over to our kids. I am happy to have spoken with mine about this topic last year around the Blog Action Day 2010

Some weeks ago, I have written about a UK study from the London Science Museum made clear that UK people rather prefer to have sunshine and internet connection than clean water. Now, Cisco comes up with a similar study.

The Cisco study states that one in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as fundamental human resources such as air, water, food and shelter. The study is based on the second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report. It examines the relationship between human behaviour, the Internet and networking’s pervasiveness across 14 countries in the world (United States, Canada Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, Australia).

Mahesh Gupta, Vice-President, Business-Borderless Networks, Cisco (India and SAARC), said in a teleconference on Thursday that about 33% across the globe and 95% Indian college students and young employees admitted that Internet was as important in their lives as water, food, air and shelter. The internet has become a crucial important thing in peoples’ lives. More than half of the respondents (62% of employees and 55% of college students) said they could not live without the Internet. They see it as an „integral part of their lives“.

From a face-to-face social perspective, it is also quite amazing to see that people had indicated that Internet was more important to them than meeting with friends, dating, or listening to music. Like in the UK study, updating Facebook seems to be of the highest priority – higher than socializing. Gupta stated that within certain countries 91% of college students and 88% of employees globally had Facebook account and check it on a daily basis at least once. Furthermore, seven of 10 employees have „friended“ their managers and coworkers on Facebook, and 68% follow their manager or their work colleagues on Twitter.

From a hardware point of view, mobiles rank highest as their important technology device, as high as being „the most important technology“. Two-thirds of students and 58% of employees felt that a mobile device (laptop, smartphone or tablets) was the most important technology hardware in their lives. Young employees in the UK (74%), India (71%) and Australia (66%) ranked highest when it comes to the importance of mobiles devices.

Spot On!
The study also shows some trends that other industries should watch out for. When two of five students have not bought a physical book (except textbooks) in two years, this is a clear message to the print industry. And when 2 out of 3 choose Internet connection over cars, the it becomes clear why concepts like BMW Drive Now and Smart Car2Go become popular. However, the new trends also need to be watched from a distraction point of view when being online.

Let’s hope they don’t forget to drink some water…

Criminology and Law Enforcement Officials Using Social Media To Fight Crime

20.09.2011 von  
Kategorie Daily Top 3

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For years now, the world has become a very high-tech place, and just like with everyone else, criminals are also becoming more astute and coming up with more technological ways to break the law. Ever since the Internet started seeing widespread use, Criminology and law enforcement officials have been playing catch-up to try and monitor all of the offenders that are currently on the web. Now, as social media has taken hold, it seems that officials now have a new tool in fighting crime.

Social media has allowed the world to become interconnected and interface with one another through the digital format of social media. More and more of our connections are going through online forums, but it’s also having the side-effect of keeping track of everything we say. Law enforcement agencies around the country are beginning to realize the power of social media for their own purposes.

Police blogging has become relatively popular lately, and it’s beginning to allow police stations across the country to keep up on the events of the day. Many people are already familiar with the police sergeant sitting at the registry desk, but now a station can keep track of Twitter feeds, blogs, and updates. It offers officials and the public a real-time way to see the crimes that are being committed in their area. These blogs are publishing crimes and arrests and keeping track of the real-world activity through online avenues. This is becoming a very useful tool to keep an open dialogue and exchange of information between citizens and police. Average citizens can also post on these blogs to let police know about what’s going on and it’s quicker than a phone call.

There have been sites where people could go online and see the latest wanted criminals, but now different law agencies are beginning to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to update and keep people aware of local criminals that are at large in their area. The great thing about social media is that it’s instantaneous, and officers can keep the public aware of what’s going on up to the minute. This has been done through fan pages as well as local and district specific pages. Their usage has become more fine-tuned over time, and it’s increasing in regularity. It’s another example of how much social media is changing our everyday lives.

Many aren’t aware of the term, but social media stakeouts are becoming a popular tool to find criminals in every background. Some social media advocates argue that this has become a sort of invasion of privacy but police and law enforcement officials aren’t hacking into anything, they’re merely listening in. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s given police the ability to track important information and search real-time for offenders and key words and phrases that are of particular interest. This social media monitoring is a preemptive measure that’s getting a lot of attention. There exists the possibility that these social forums could be abused by officials but there’s no doubt that it has helped them to keep up with the times.

It’s not clear as to how much control different offices of enforcement really have over our personal and social media accounts. There’s been a lot of speculation over Facebook’s complicity in working with companies and governments and sharing personal information. Currently, it’s only through accusations. People are worried about “big-brother,” but it’s essential that we give our law enforcement officials the tools they need, within reason, to combat crime in an evolving society. Otherwise, we could run the risk of giving criminals a better ability to curtail the law and hurt others.

This post is a guest post from the Davenport Institute.

What is Social Media? – Famous quotes from the istrategyconference Amsterdam

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After the first day of the istrategyconference in Amsterdam, I briefly wanted to share some insights in how Twitter caught some famous quotes about „What is Social Media?“. The people who brought these quotes up in their presentations, or the people that (re-)tweeted those might forgive me if I am not quoting and linking back to every single tweet, or Twitter account where it came form.

Why I am not quoting? Apart from having to listen to Power Point presentations, the challenge for presenters and moderators is to attract the attention of a crowd. And for the audience it is becoming more and more some massive workload to do multitasking, and participating an offline event in a 2.0 manner. A thought I have explored in a German post, and definitely need to translate when I find the time for it.

„Sometimes it makes you mad to listen to speakers and keynotes, write tweets, and respond to mails and Facebook at the same time. Not to mention blogging… How do you handle this?“ A question I asked my friends on Facebook today. And I know from studies that multitasking is becoming more difficult the older we get, and that we are only able to do maximum two things at the same time. I don’t know how you see this but participation 2.0 is nearly impossible if you want to be share the way people would love you to do it.

This is just a random collection of different quotes that shows how Social Media was defined at the conference. Maybe you add some more quotes…?!

„Social Media is like sand: you can play with it and have fun but sometimes it gets into your underwear and becomes very annoying.“

„Social Media is like gardening: the real hard work starts after the seeding and planting.“

„Social Media is like … a dance with the right music (content) and partner (fan). It never needs to end!“

„Social Media is like an icecream, it’s delicious, everybody wants it, but it melts if you are too slow.“

„Social Media is like teen sex. Everybody wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done its a surprise it’s not better.“

Spot On!
In the B2B SocialMedia panel, which I had the honor to moderate and talk to Ed Bezooijen (Citrix), Paul Dunay (Networked Insights) and Menno Lijkendijk (Milestone Marketing) I also mentioned a quote that I think is going to be the main challenge for B2B marketers in the future. The relationship of content, distribution and perception which was (and in my eyes still is) the advantage of publishers to other content producers and curators. Publishers have all three of these as main pillars of their business…

„Content = King – Context = Queen – Community = The Empire“

If you see it different, tell me. If you like it, do so. If you want to add something, go ahead…

PS: THX to a great team from istrategyconference in Amsterdam for the good organization and the diner yesterday night.

Is the future of positive social approval changing?

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Almost two years ago, I have written about the development on Twitter that positive comments are not rated in a way they should (in my eyes). Those days I asked the question if the RT (Retweet) becomes a killer for the positive blog comment. Many people tapped my shoulder virtually and agreed with my observation.

In some way the RT „button“ is similar to Facebook’s LIKE button. It is a given opportunity to automize a process of agreement. And I am asking myself if Facebook’s LIKE button -launched one year ago- has the same „negative influence“ on our positive comment on reviews in the future. Although it was meant to give its members an easy way to show approval for products, services, content and thoughts. I am coming back to these thoughts as I stumbled upon an interesting local study.

According to a recent study released by CityGrid Media, conducted by Harris interactive, that did some research on Web properties focused on local merchants, consumers prefer the “Like” button to writing a positive review for a local business. The study polled 1,006 adults in the U.S. over the phone between March 16 and 20.

OK, this is restricted to local only. But do we doubt that there is a difference in the regional and global attitude and behavior of humans? Especially as 52% of respondents said they visited more than two websites before visiting a local business, and Google plus Facebook were the most popular first sites those people accessed.

The study states that 20% of respondents say they show support for local businesses by clicking the “Like” button for that business on Facebook versus 13% who write reviews. The offline way is still the most successful method according to the study. The verbal way of telling a friend was the most popular method (75%). Not surprising as most of the consumers are still more listening than telling.

However this is just a local research, I asking myself if this s a good development, for us, for retailers, for brands and for the Social Web in general. Bearing in mind how much our written reaction on products and services influences our buying behavior, I think, it is not good if only the negative comments get (negative) credits while positive comments and reviews just find the automated, lazy „push a button“ credit – no sentiment, no conversational reward, no tapping on the shoulder virtually…

How do you see this development?

News Update – Best of the Day

28.04.2011 von  
Kategorie Daily Top 3

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Is Social Media a sales tool for retailers? A study by Forrester Research and GSI Commerce says Social Media has almost no influence on online purchasing behavior. The survey shows that social media rarely leads directly to purchases online — less than 2% of orders were the result of shoppers coming from a social network. The question is what the ideology of Social Media is for companies… and there are examples like Threadless that can deny such studies. If retailers see it more like listen-to-act approach, pre-selling, sensitising and serving their consumers, then they will be successful in also selling through Social Media.

C-Level is engaging in Social Media! A recent study by Useful Social Media – State of Corporate Social Media 2011 – gives us some compelling charts that describe the trend how the C-Level increasingly gets into Social Media.

Although the European managers are still not completely behind the Social Media vision, the following chart suggests that it won’t be long until European senior C-Levels understand the advantages of Social Media.

How does the future of shopping look like? Mobile will definitely play a massive role for the consumer 2.0, or 3.0?! Where can I get the best bargains? Which company or retailer has the product I want in stock – now and not in 5 days? Sumi Das explores the „ultimate personal shoppers“ of tomorrow.

News Update – Best of the Day

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Some day sago, I have written about the changing atmosphere since social media monitoring companies are moving into the CRM sector. Andrew Hunt discusses the issue if „Sales is killing Social Media?“ and explains how B2B sales is changing from both sides: Customer are at least „spectators“ according to a Forrester study. The question is when companies are changing their sales process to a „listen and engage“ model for the old „speak and push“ format, where he refers to an interesting insight from OgilvyOne about the future of selling.

A recent Penn State research claims that updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other real-time content sites could be worth more than 30 million USD a day, or nearly 10.9 billion dollars a year, to advertisers. The study was based on separating duplicate searches from unique search terms. Then, the research determined the value of the real-time search terms by using Google Adwords Traffic Estimator.

Start the day with a smile and don’t invest in the wrong portfolio… Nice commercial from Invesco.

5 stairways to „Why should we use Twitter…?“

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Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

This is one of the question, I still get asked frequently by many friends, fans and business decision makers in webinars or seminars: „Why should I (or we) use Twitter?“

The answer is so simple, so obvious, so broad. Just as broad as the opportunities and chances that are opening up when people listen to Twitter.

Twitter is like a stairway to a modern social personality which is self-defining, enlightening and inspirational…

I listen so we are…
I follow so we can rate and like…
I get followed so we show interest in lives…
I learn so we see peoples‘ latest thoughts, visions and ideas…
I share so we keep people connected as a never running dry fountain of inspiration…

This is why I use Twitter and why you, your company and your employees might do so as well. And why I manage my Twitter account myself, and don’t let anyone else manage it – no matter if private or business. Or as Twitter says in their new video… „Follow Your Interests. Discover Your World. Twitter“.

Do we have to talk about „conversation“…?

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It’s the basis of humans living together. It’s the essence of people getting in touch with each other…, and finally doing business together. It builds the fundament of collaboration, of cooperation. It’s the breath of the age of social. What is „it“…? Well, it’s not rocket-science. And still it seems to be the never-ending challenge for companies, for brands, and especially for people who are running the business. It is… conversation.

„Often I wish people understood the word „Conversation“ – To start a successful collaboration we must learn to lose fear of networking.“

Do managers really have to talk about „conversations“?
Yes, we do! Don’t you agree? And we all know why. We are getting sad about the way managers (don’t) encourage themselves to engage in conversations. How often do managers not respond to a written letter? How often did they not pick up your phone? How often have they not replied to emails? How often not shown any reaction to Facebook, Twitter and the likes?

Hello managers – wake up! There is somebody trying to have a conversation with you? You cannot argue what somebody wants before having listened to them, can you?! Ignoring is so easy and it happens so often. You can do better. You can participate. And your words have significance when you take part in a conversation.

How will traditional managers get new inspiration? How will they generate new connections? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Do brands really have to discover how to do conversations?
Yes, they do! They need to figure out what they want to be: person or economic construct. Active or passive conversationalists? Motivator or creator? Former sender or modern vendor? Brands might build a consitent dialogue but only value their opinion, playing according to their rules. Listening is where relevance brings brands back in the driver’s seat, and not making them sit still and beg that the driver (who ever that consumer is) knows the way towards to the targets.

Productivity, creativity, innovation, thought-leadership and ROI counts for brands. This M&M philosophy often goes straight against lose conversation. Brands have been shaped and formed around formal structures (organisations and meetings), planned grouping (= not Groupon but agendas), lead work-flows (step-by-step approach). In earlier years, conversations came with a coffee break, some biscuits, a cigarette on the floor. Conversation today comes with an email, a tweet, or a status update on LinkedIn at your desk. And they appear different in character and tonality, „the conversation mode is changing“ as Eric Schmidt called it at the DLD11 in his augmented humanity speech.

How will brands find innovation in the future? How will brands get response to products and services? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Do companies really have to reinvent the human dialogue?
Yes, they do! Companies are made from (and made by) people. People always had not enough time in their lives. Conversations cost time. Time builds trust and drive efficiency. Email took us time, too. We had to learn how to communicate online. Not now anymore. We know how it works. It is just a different platform or technology every crucial department of your business will be using in the future, called Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Quora or blogs. They will control our marketing efficiency, our sales opportunities, our upscale, our revenue sheets. And we won’t even know, when we don’t embrace and value the conversation on the social web.

Power to „processes, people, potential and possibilities“ means opening up our mindset to a new way of conversation. A way that shows the value of starting the talk. A way that shows clients how companies rate their review, input and sharing of brand messages and product conversations. Customer just want to get the feeling that it is not a maschine out there they are buying from. They want to see the personal human touch that makes mistakes, laughs about themselves and answers when getting questions.

How will companies renew their strategy, their tactics, their visions…? How will companies build products that their customers want? Yes, conversation is the answer…

Spot On!
Conversations are the basis of your future business-strategy, as well as your web-strategy. This is nothing new, you knew it before. Companies have them multiple times every day. Brand can get engaged in them every minute on a day in the future. And you even more. Every minute you can have the chance to have conversations today. The only difference is that conversation is also happening online – not on the phone, not via fax, not via mail, not on the floor, or in meetings. You just have to embrace conversations… it is that easy.

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