Archive for social networking

A lot of the blogs I have been doing of late have been centered on Twitter, so why stop now? However, this will probably the last Twitter post for… well at least a few weeks.

I don’t think there is any question as to why many media outlets are having financial problems. They simply do not understand the new media. I read an article from News Factor called Top Media Execs Wonder How Twitter Will Make Money and I couldn’t help laughing.

What is interesting about online media is that is requires technical proficiency and creativity. Its a medium that requires new ideas and new ways of thinking.

“I think it’s a great service. I just don’t think it’s a natural advertising medium,” said Diller, who heads online conglomerate InterActiveCorp.

John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp., also believes Twitter will be hard-pressed to sell advertising on its messaging service without alienating users. Twitter’s best bet, Malone said, probably is to simply get people so addicted to the service that they might eventually pay fees.

But see this is why newspapers are closing and magazines are reducing circulation or like PC Magazine, no longer in print media.

Media executives want to know how Twitter will make money and I look at Twitter and think how can it not?

First off, clear your head of advertisements. Push that to the curb. The bulk of the Twitter using populace probably wouldn’t click on a link or even consider flashing banners, ad links, sponsorships, etc. Although I have a few ideas how they could get advertising to work lets look at the main things Twitter can do.

The acquisition of a company like Tweet Later. Tweet Later has a long list of features that are very useful for a lot of Twitterers. If Twitter doesn’t purchase this company they could develop these tools on their own. The addition of the professional tools for a small fee. Malone said that Twitter needs to get people so addicted that they might eventually pay fees… silliness. According to their site, Tweet Later service has  more than 100,000 users. The service is about 30 bucks a month and users, especially business and marketers, use it. If Twitter picked it up and 10% of the users paid for the tools, Twitter would be looking at ~$140 million a year.

Twitter could produce a system of development tools to software companies for easier interface. The toolkit would be free, but could include a support channel for a nominal monthly fee. Or have the toolkit cost a certain amount of money and add support fees to it. The Twitter modding community is already quite large and the vast array of tools for Twitter is one of its main features, if programmers had even more access to Twitter controls that market could become even larger than it is now.

Twitter could offer a la carte services. They could have the Tweet Later tools, maybe a UI like TweetDeck or Twirl, etc and make it so you can say grab five “power” features for $5 or 15 features for $9.99. By making it user choice as far as the features you get for the fee, users can purchase what they need, making the population of paying customers larger. Heck, Twitter could even make a marketplace so users can see everything Twitter has to offer and all of the tools other companies have, free or fee based.

Now back to advertising. Twitter can make gateway ad landing pages if they wanted for all URLs that are clicked on from tweets. Personally, I wouldn’t like it, but it wouldn’t make me stop clicking on links I find in tweets considering roughly 80% of the links I have clicked on have been very useful.

I am not really going to mention the other ideas I have because this is becoming quite a long blog, but I hope people see the potential is there without too much work for Twitter to become quite profitable and they can do it without advertising or mandatory subscriptions like the pedestrian media magnets believe. Principles here can be applied to any industry as well. You find what people want and you give it to them in the best possible way and in doing so you provide a great service and the customer will be happy to pay for it

Categories : Marketing
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It might not come as a surprise that many of the world’s top CEOs still are not onboard with the whole social networking thing. What is most interesting though is the percentage of CEOs who don’t care. 2 CEOs from Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies have Twitter accounts. Does this mean that Twitter has no future in successful companies? You make the call.

According to Hitwise research, Twitter sends traffic to social networks. In fact, it can almost be considered a social networking search engine. Search engines send less than 10% downstream clicks to social network sites, while Twitter drives around 20% of its visitors to social networks. So what does this mean? If you have a blog, wiki, Flickr, Facebook account for work you should have a Twitter account as well. It therefore follows that the development of your Twitter network, you can develop your social networking platforms.

Building and Developing Your Twitter Network

Twitter networks go though stages and when comparing these stages it is not unlike cultivating a garden. When growing flowers you don’t dump tons of fertilizer and water on them, you slowly nurture them over the course of weeks if not months. Making a successful Twitter network requires time, but it does not require a large amount of work.

The first stage of your network is getting your initial 50 to 100 followers. Your account should include your picture or your company logo (if this is a company account). Your Twitter profile page should be linked to your most important site (personal blog or company site; index page, basically whatever is on your business cards). Promote your Twitter account by adding the profile to your forum, blog, and email signatures. This right here is the gift that keeps on giving. If you are already a prolific writer or social networker you don’t have any extra work to do in this aspect. When you do add tweets make them useful and timely, but do not over do it. Having no tweets and then slamming the channel with 30 tweets in a row is overkill.

Now that you have your followers it’s time to keep them. Take an active role in those who follow you and those who reply to your tweets. Follow those who follow you, if they link to places then go ahead and read them. This is all about common courtesy and since they are trying to hold on to their followers as well, you will probably find something useful. If you especially like the link, the link to it with your blog. This is networking after all

On a special note, using cool scripts to update Twitter is nice, but those who follow you on Twitter probably follow you on other social sites and having something spam multiple sites can be a put off. Essentially it tells your network they aren’t worth your time to address. If you want consolidation, then by all means using something like Ping.fm, but post separate messages on your different sites, even if you are posting about the same thing, make different messages. The extra steps will be rewarded.

Now the final stage, is basically maintenance of your Twitter network and using it in constructive ways. I want to stress that Twitter is two way street. If you want value out of Twitter you need to put value in it. Up until now, we have been interested in gaining Twitter followers and keeping them. As you go you have been discussing things that you are doing with your company, while providing useful information about yourself, your company, and things you find interesting. Now is where we kick it into high gear not just for your site, but for your followers.

How to Use Your Twitter Network

Your Twitter network should be mutually beneficial. At its most basic, Twitter can be used to direct traffic to various links and in this manner send traffic to your social networking sites. This is the obvious usage and if you are using Twitter than you should be taking advantage of this facet. However, there are many more uses to Twitter and all of them can provide quite useful for your business.

Twitter can be used to bounce ideas and brainstorm. This is especially good when you are using a private Twitter network (say for your company or maybe for a professional network). The ability to bounce off ideas around the world from something as convenient as your mobile is a very powerful thing. Along with brainstorming there are many project platforms such as Hudson that have Twitter plug-ins. So you can be alerted when a new build or version of your project is done and then talk about it with your network.

You can use Twitter to perform research. Marketing, product, technology, and company research can all be performed using Twitter in either a private or public network format. You can also use it for QnAs of which there are many examples that have worked wonders.

Most blog software allows tweets to go straight to the comment section. Blogs are already a hot topic for linking from tweets, with a little modding you build a symbiosis between linking a blog in tweet allowing you network to discuss the blog in tweets.

Twitter can also provide the ultimate in transparency in customer and company feedback. Say you had a server and you had 50 clients on it. You give them all a twitter account to hookup to, for the sake of being generic we will call it Server110. Now all your clients on that server are on the Server110 channel. If the server has a problem the technician can tweet an update here saying the server has a hard drive problem. Other people can do an @Server110 and say tweet about a support problem. In this manner, a constant line of communication between the technician and the clients is opened.

Lastly, if you watch the news, by now you know that Twitter is a great means to provide live coverage of events.

I hope by now, if you weren’t of the opinion already, you are all beginning to see the power of Twitter and why this is not something that a successful business should blow off. Instead, I challenge you all to develop your Twitter networks and find new ways for one of the fastest and most convenient ways to communicate in the world today. And while you are at drop me a line at my Twitter account, David_WHM.

Categories : Social Media
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It might not come as a surprise that many of the world’s top CEOs still are not onboard with the whole social networking thing. What is most interesting though is the percentage of CEOs who don’t care. 2 CEOs from Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies have Twitter accounts. 2! Only 19 have Facebook accounts and NONE have a personal blog. Pretty astounding figures really.

So why haven’t they started using social networking and why should they?

Well the obvious answer to the first part of this question is that they don’t see a need to. Business as usual is working just fine so why “waste” time on something that may or may not work or may not give a proper ROI for their energies?

The not so obvious answer would be how would you go about doing twitter or facebook? This is quite a serious question. Do you have multiple twitter accounts for business partners, customers, staff? What can you talk about, what can’t you talk about? If you make a channel that is exclusive how do you dictate who is allowed in or not? How can you make it compliant with various regulations, security and legal protocols?

I have often read articles where authors say, these guys need to catch up with the times, and CEOs who don’t use social networking are behind the times, but most authors fail to see how much effort, time, and even money would go into social networking when it comes to businesses of that scale. The bulk of CEOs who do use social networking are tech companies, startups, and SMBs. Startup companies can put social networking into their business culture instead of trying to fit it in. SMBs don’t have a bulky company policy to get in the way. And tech companies, well we are the industry that created this stuff, we better damn well be using it.

Should CEOs use social networks? I say yes, but with addendums. But that is an article for another time.

Categories : Commentary
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Apr
24

GeoCities: Fall from Grace

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Purchased in 1999 by Yahoo! GeoCities was one of the largest free web hosts in the world. However, GeoCities has closed its doors. No fanfare, no large announcements, GeoCities went down without so much as yelp.

In the past two and a half years however, GeoCities has definitely fallen making its closing innevitable. In 2006, GeoCities garnered 18.9 million unique visitors. In March of this year however, only 11.5 million unique visitors.

it is interesting to think that GeoCities was one of the founders to social networks. It offered a place of individuals to create personal pages, it had neighbordhoods (community sections), and like Myspace was a place for younger generations to hang out.

The irony of this situation is only underscored by the fact that GeoCities was inevitable destroyed by social network sites. Even though it was one of the founders of the movement, GeoCities failed to keep up with the times. It would have been quite easy for GeoCities to move towards blog hosting. But it was not meant to be and now GeoCities is no more.

Categories : Commentary
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A new study has come out on the popularity of social networks. Not surprisingly, social network users are becoming more prevalent. The study found that 35% of all Internet users use social networks and the bulk of those users have multiple social networking accounts.

All though the main reason people use social networks is still to keep in touch with friends (89% consider it one of the main priorities of use), business usage is increasing. In fact, the majority of social network users have multiple profiles to separate work from their personal lives and work contacts from personal contacts.

Also not surprising, younger adults have a higher percentage of use. 75% of 18-24 year olds and 57% of 25-34 year olds have at least one profile.  30%, 19%, 10%, and 7% of 35 – 44, 45 – 54, 55 – 64, and 65 years old an older have a social network profile respectively. Women and men have an equal chance of use

MySpace is still quite popular with 50% of all social network users having a profile. 22% use Facebook. 6% use LinkedIn, and only 1% have accounts with Youtube and Classmates.com

The study found that privacy rated the highest amongst older users who preferred to keep their profiles private.

Social Network use was 8% in February of 2005 and has been steadily rising. The largest jump in use was between May and August of 2008 where usage saw a 15% increase.

Categories : In the News
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