Archive for January, 2009
I have been getting a lot of DM’s about the earlier Consumer or Prosumer post. The consensus was, ok but “what do I do now if I see that I am old school’? and “How do I change it”? First, I commend you for your honesty (more business leaders needs more humility when it comes to examining their business model and accepting that changing to a social media system is going to be disruptive to the current one in place, but it is critical) and second, you ask very good questions.
As those of us who run businesses, we find ourselves in the most anxiety filled time in modern history; along with that, there are a couple of obstacles we have to acknowledge first before proceeding. Today’s climate is hard on us as business leaders, with uncertainty at every turn, the complexity of adjusting to new demands, increasingly shorter product lifecycles, competition, etc., there are the facts., which can lead some to succumb to the “eat or be eaten” mentality. Ahh – what to do??? Please step away from the ledge… slowly…. thank you. Here are just a few helpful suggestions, to see things from the Prosumer’s perspective that may help us tweak our operation and get us on the right path without having to do a lot of heavy lifting:
Well, which is it? How do you view customers and your relationship with them amidst this great shift in consumer behavior?
“What is the difference between Consumer and Prosumer?”, you may ask. Is this just semantics; more Internet ‘mumbo-jumbo’ or propaganda to keep us as business owners in the dark as to where our marketing dollars are disappearing to? You ask very good questions!
By definition, Consumer is: “One that consumes, one that acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership” or put another way, “A heterotrophic organism that ingests other organisms or organic matter in a food chain.” It’s all about the sale, who cares about the person. Ever been on the other end of that? Wow, what a selfish, demeaning view of our valued customers, definitely web 1.0!
Now a Prosumer is: “One who is converse to the consumer, denoting an active role as the individual gets more involved in the process.” That’s right, we are interested in others 1st, sharing, giving, earning their trust. Hmm… you mean customers have feelings? Opinions? They are not just mindless “organisms” who just “consumes” matter? (Yuck – who would want one of THOSE in your store.) You better, if you want to have a store in the near future.
In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organize an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity. The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.
Fast forward a year, and on February 12, 2009, 100+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water.
This is a big deal. Today, Mashable announced a global media partnership with Twestival to help ensure this is another success, where 100% of the funds raised from the campaign will go directly to support charity:water, a non-profit organization that aims to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. This evening, SMCKC met to discuss particulars and had enjoyable time. Thanks @joey96, @markvanbaale, and @smptoday. (We missed you Cindy!!!)
Find a list of all the cities around the globe hosting a 2009 event at http://twestival.com/
I have been chewing on this for some time and is partially the reason why I have chosen to attend SOMA, because I want to really understand this, and I have also grown cold to much of the empty advice out there, along with all the spam I get promising me that I can “Use Twitter to make Millions Today!” or “From Facebook to Your Checkbook in 30 minutes!”, (Yuck, I am making myself sick.)
So, I was happy to see this important subject on our agenda in class last week, and we began dissecting this idea, and will further this week.
The session started off with a truism; “What you can measure you can manage, and what you can manage get’s done.” Obviously, we know that. To be effective as a social media consultant, more is needed than just getting 1,000’s of people on your wall, page views, video downloads, popularity rankings, or the number of DM’s you get each day. It’s about measuring personal interactions, what method of user-generated content is working and which isn’t, then adjusting. Online consumer response and market interaction is much more dynamic than the old school ways of SEO, they just don’t work. (BTW: clarification – SEO and social media – not the same thing)
Finally approaching release, I was able to get a beta of the new version of Twhirl and compare it with another tool I like TweetDeck. (You can get on the beta of 0.8.8. here). Already today, in about 12 hours 2000 (yes, 2000!) from more than 30 countries have downloaded the preview version of our new Twhirl.
For a comparison of Twhirl and TweetDeck, this article is pretty balanced in it’s side by side analysis, even though in the end (prior to the enhancements in 0.8.8., Twhirl still was the leader).
Obviously today, was a busy day for my friend and founder of Twhirl, Loic Le Meur and the whole team @seesmic.com and yet he was able to send me this video message of how it went today before he boarded a plane to Europe. You are the man, Loic!
In my SOMA class today this subject came up and I think after considering the topic thoroughly it’s an important one to talk about. Considering that Money Talks and many budgets (or “Google dollars”) have been frozen due to the economy and fragile financial outlook with the Dow up and down like a yo-yo, as IM professionals, it merits some discussion so I am posting it here for your consideration.
First, we know that specifically targeted, well thought out PPC campaigns often can jumpstart a new site or service. Second, we also agree that we have all used PPC and have had mixed results (this is important since often we are spending some else’s money). So, although PPC is important in the traditional SEO/SEM realm, (and despite Google’s ongoing and changing statements in support of them) CTR reports are revealing that for the dollars spent, this is not very efficient way to allocate marketing budget dollars. Also, it’s important to know that this should not surprise us since suspicions of this are nothing new. In fact, many who specialize in PPC campaigns have been noticing this for some time, like Don Lim who wrote a spot on article on this back in November 2007 entitled Google AdSense losing its effectiveness?!
If you know me well, I do not get involved with politics, nor talk about it. This post is simply stating some facts, and the gross reality that social media is extremely powerful, and no doubt helped Obama into the White House. Before we get into those details, I thought I would have some fun first to show how different the White House web site looks today compared to 2000. Below are snapshots of the White House web site back in February 2000, and what it looks like today, January 20th, 2009.
What to look for? First, take a look at this miserable, yet effective for the day, web site for the White House in 2000. It accomplished everything it was supposed to for the day. Amazing when you think this was only 9 years ago! No contact us button, no interaction, just a few links, but it worked for the times.
Now take a look at the 2009 White House web site, you see any changes? Of course! Obama has stressed he wants a “transparent” administration, one that is based on feedback, and interaction, and had ordered the new WH site to reflect that. So take a look at the “Social” aspects of this site, I have highlighted them in red.
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As you already know, the spring 2009 semester for the Social Media Academy’s leadership certification starts this Friday, January 23rd. Xeequa issued a press release yesterday that has already been picked up by most major news agencies. Also, it was kind of them to spotlight us in the testimonials section. We have already received a number of inquiries and the classes haven’t even started, it is great to see the interest and we appreciate all the tweets and emails, keep them coming! What a nice way to start the work week.
Just a few years ago customers had little choice or options available to them when it came to educating themselves on specific topics. They would search for ways to have discussions with industry ‘experts’, pay for subscriptions to ‘leading’ publications and really absorb whatever information they could get their hands on from vendors or associates to form some sort of idea of how to proceed properly in their area of interest. Many times, we all felt this, we had too little to go on, spent hours searching and not satisfied with the results, finding too little specific information to help us.
Well, times have changed! Today we all get educated through the "Social Web" by reading blogs, checking our social networks, join forums, participating in groups and virtual communities, and a host of other pipelines to keep us connected with our trusted friends and colleagues, those whose opinions matter to us. In fact, an area Tim and I see exploding, is the creation of vertical SMN’s, specific to a niche or target group.
For example, pictured to the left here is a social community we just finished for Stephanie Moore Photography. She is thrilled with it and has already a growing membership of individuals who share her passion for photography.