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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Eggs In Social Media Baskets

Is Social Media worth the cost?  Social media is a two-way communication medium and use it effectively businesses need to invest in listening capabilities that capture the activities of their existing or potential customers online.

This more often than not means a subscribing to a specialist engagement dashboard / console, such as Radian6 ($US600 per month - video below), and employing dedicated staff to monitor the Buzz and respond.



Radian6 Promo


Recent research of 10,000 online shoppers by ForeSee Results suggests that the ROI (Return On Investment) for more traditional forms of advertising is better than social media.

As the methodology of this survey is not fully explained it would wise not to take these results at face value.  They do however provide a contrary view to the usual social media argument. Not everyone has achieved success through their social media strategies and some of these results could help explain why.

Forsee results found that more visits to retail / ecommerce websites are influenced by more traditional marketing tactics than social media. Promotional emails (19%), search engine results (8%), and Internet advertising (7%), all had more influence.
UK Respondents

US Respondents
In an earlier post I talked about the importance of email - "email remains a potent weapon in the digital marketing arsenal".  This study would seem to bear this out.

Customers and prospects prefer to receive email communications and according to the study, a very small  8% of online shoppers responded that social media was their preferred way to interact with a retailer.

 Even though just 8% said social media was their preferred method, more than half of all respondents indicated that they would be willing to connect using some form of social media.

Facebook was a clear winner (40%) while Twitter registered only a 4% preference

The other thing to remember  is that many businesses still don't know how to use social media effectively to promote their brand or online offering.  Social media awareness varies greatly between countries.

If customers are not used to finding social media options embedded in a web site and/or used by a company, then it is hardly surprising that they show a preference towards the tried and true email, website and snail mail.

I certainly would not right off social media on the strength of this study but it is a reality check.

At a recent roundtable conducted by a UK agency, MyClicks.org.uk,

"the majority of the participants, around 75%, were satisfied with their use of social media tools, including social networks, online video, blogs and podcasts. Around 30% stated that social media would be a key element in their communication strategy when preparing 2011 budgets, with the remainder preparing to continuing to ramp-up their presence using these channels to a greater or lesser extent."
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Monday, 7 February 2011

The Science of Social Media

I have been following Dan Zarella's postings for quite a while.  The actual science of social media debunks mnay of the myths that have grown up around it.


The Science of Social Media
from HubSpot


The above is Dan's The Science of Social Media presentation given to Harvard students.

And an article in the New York Times points out that the debate as to whether social media is an art or a science is raising some interesting facts:

"It turns out that the way information spreads online is often more complicated than viral transmission, in which one person passes a link to, say, a YouTube video directly to another person. As with political topics, people often wait until a number of friends or trusted sources have promoted an idea before promulgating it themselves.

The structure of a social network — for example, whether it is made up of close friends and colleagues or of like-minded strangers who follow Lady Gaga — can have more influence than the size of a group, researchers say. "

While we are at it, here is a summary from Arik Hanson of social media trends that may surprise you:

Facebook

 - 75 percent of Brand ‘Likes’ on Facebook come from advertisements. (Mashable)
 - More than 250 million people use Facebook Connect every month. (Facebook)
 - College-aged kids (18-24) made up the fastest growing segment of users on Facebook in 2010. (AllFacebook.com)
 - Chicago was the fastest growing city on Facebook in terms of usage in 2010 (Houston was a close second). (AllFacebook.com)
 - During the average 20-minute period in 2010, there were: 1,5870,000 wall posts, 2,716,000 photos uploaded and 10,208,000 comments posted. (AllFacebook.com)
 - Indonesia has the second largest population on Facebook

Twitter

 - Since April, Twitter has gained 40 million users and a 62 percent increase in mobile use of the platform (Source: ClickZ)
 - From December 2009 to December 2010, users with a biography listed on Twitter increased from 31 percent to 69 percent. (Pew)
 - Friday at 4 p.m. ET: The most retweetable day/time of the week. (via Dan Zarella and HubSpot)
 - 48%: The percentage of Twitter users that either never or rarely check Twitter. (The Next Web).

General

 - The average American Internet user watches 30 minutes of video online per day [40 percent increase over 2009] (comScore) Compared to 5 hours of television per day
 - 22 percent of Fortune 500 companies now have a public-facing blog that has at least one post in the past 12 months (comScore)
 - 4 percent of adults on the Internet use location-based services (Pew Internet Research)
 - Social networking site usage grew 88 percent among Internet users aged 55-64 between April 2009 and May 2010 (Pew Research)
 - In 2009, social gamers bought $2.2 billion in virtual goods; Predicted to increase to $6 billion by 2013. (NPD Group)
 - 75 percent: The percentage of U.S. iPad users that are interested in seeing videos within magazine ads on their iPad. (eMarketer via David Erickson)
 - The change in social media use among Baby Boomers 55-64 rose from 9% in Dec. 2008 to 43% in Dec. 2010 (Marketingcharts.com via David Erickson)
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