Since your waiting…check out the tabloid rack

grocery-store-magazine-at-checkout-aisle-lo-res82% of Facebook’s photo traffic is driven by only 8% of the photos it stores.

Seems like a royal waste of technology, energy, and money to store that 82% on the same  technology that stores and delivers the 8%. That is the challenge in front of Facebook.

Facebook cannot delete any photos, so how do they cost effectively store billions of them?  It’s not that simple, because cost-effectively usually means slower in the digital storage world, and slower storage means longer wait times for those old photos to load. Are we okay with that? We wait in line at the grocery store. Sometimes for several minutes – unheard of on the internet – talk about abandonment rates.  In Facebook’s case, we are not talking minutes…more like seconds, so the question is, what to do with those seconds?

Stealing a page out of the grocery store playbook, why not sell the space / time? We flip through tabloid, home improvement, and health magazines.  We may even through a pack of gum, or bag of chips in the cart, just because we’re “captively” waiting.  What if Facebook used those precious seconds to share trending topics, news headlines, or, dare I say it, advertising?

Who would have thought slower data storage could create a marketing opportunity?

Disclaimer:  I’m also a corporate blogger for Seagate’s The Storage Effect, so my affection for storage technology is apparent.

Making “friends” is no different in the B2B world

trust_equals_reliability_plus_delightHere is a question that has been asked and answered over and over again: How do we leverage social media for B2B marketing?
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This week I have been discussing with peers this very subject around marketing to technology professionals. The initial strategy presented was to simply find some heavy hitters in the IT space on Twitter, via blog searches, LinkedIn groups, and start listening, learning, and then engaging. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, there are thousands of “IT influencers” all over the web, so where do we even begin to start?  Do we look at the number of followers?  Blog retweets? Blog volume? The task became quite daunting very quickly.
Time to get back to the core of what we are trying to accomplish.  What is the objective, and what are the goals for using social media for B2B marketing?  It all points back to each of our individual initiatives.
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  1. Prioritize:  Don’t think too broad, hone in on a specific initiative or subject.
  2. Focus: Narrow the scope to each initiative’s core message or topic.
  3. Search: Do some preliminary web searches and social media searches for each topic area to find the key discussion areas, bloggers / influencers, etc.
  4. Segment: Focus on no more than 5-10 influencers per topic, and do not automatically default to the major influencers like analysts. Instead, focus on bloggers that work for companies in your target market segment, or run their own segment related blog.
  5. Listen: Start compiling discussion topics, comments, etc. to learn what the hot buttons are, where your value prop fits, where you could add real value to the conversation.
  6. Engage: Begin posting comments on related blogs and in social media to establish a relationship and with the influencers you have identified and fellow readers and commenters.
  7. Contribute: Build upon those relationships by providing information and content that informs, educates, even entertains.
  8. Share: Leverage influencers content into our own online articles, blog posts, tweets, etc. and link back to them as the source.
  9. Schedule:  Carve our an hour or two of your day to dedicate to listening, engaging, contributing, and sharing.
  10. Measure: Track using analytics, refine where needed, and stick to it

Keep in mind, this takes time, patience, and dedication.  It may take 3-6 months to establish a trusting relationship with influencers, because it’s not about traditional marketing. It’s about making new “friends” that trust what you say, with a mutual respect for each other’s opinion.

Isn’t that what being “friends” is all about? It’s no different in the B2B world.

Related Stuff:

Having a Priority, Plan, and Purpose for social

I am as guilty as the next of just throwing words on a screen, clicking publish and hoping for the best.

What kind of strategy is that? What good is the effort in creating if you are not sharing and learning.  The best way to share and learn is social, and social, apparently feeds search.

Thanks to  of Everything Technology Marketing for sharing this great infographic. According to Holger, “TastyPlacement (a SEO and digital design agency in Austin, TX) has created a great infographic based on a study to explore the relationship between social media activity and organic search engine rankings.”

I’ve been trying to formulate a personal strategy for social. What do I use for what purpose, for what audience, at what level of consistency, and to what end? When you have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress, Storify, and countless others at your disposal, information like this helps with the priority, plan, and purpose for social. It’s not everything, but it’s a start.

Key takeaways:

  • Google+ : Use it more…and be creative and compelling
  • Facebook: Stay the course, and be more creative and compelling
  • Twitter: Be consistent, dedicated, and communal…and be more creative and compelling

Bottom line: the impact of doing nothing is only going to grow more apparent.

[Infographic] The future of marketing? Blogging & Social Media

Another picture of “social media use” among small businesses. Like I said in my last post, statistics are nice, but let’s explore how businesses are really using social media, not simply what social platforms they choose. This infographic starts to paint the picture a little clearer…

Judging from this picture, is it safe to assume it’s mostly about identifying and attracting, or predominantly the awareness stage of the buying process?  What about meeting the needs of the customer through the other stages? I am sure there are activities geared to the evaluation, decision, purchase, and support stages, but, again, what and how?

Perhaps the 43% that will be blogging are the ones planning to meet those needs in the other stages?

Why social media “usage” isn’t enough for me

  • An artist uses a paintbrush to create a work of art
  • A chemist uses a microscope to create a vaccine
  • A carpenter uses a hammer to create a home

Usage is just a means to an end. It’s not the key to success. The same holds true for social media, especially when it comes to how brands use social media.  For individuals like myself, I use social media to make connections with old friends, to make weekend plans, to stay in touch with family a thousand miles away, to meet new people that share the same interests.

A recent study by Constant Contact revealed that “73% are currently using social media, and among that group, 80% reported that their usage of social media marketing has increased in the past 12 months. Of the 27% not already using social media for marketing purposes, 62% said they will be using it at some point in the next year,” according to an article by Information Week.  Another article by eMarketer reports that “In 2011, four out of five US businesses with 100 or more employees will use social media marketing. That’s a dramatic change from 2008 when just 42% of companies marketed via social media.”

Stats like these somewhat annoy me, because I really don’t care about usage. I care about what these companies are making or creating using social media, and I don’t mean #followers or fans, website traffic, search rankings, or even leads.  What I mean is real change, real results. This goes back to one of my earlier posts: Social Media Goals vs Objectives.

Some companies use social media to create a means to provide customer service. A company like Storify use social media to create stories. Those are the topics that most interest me, that make me think outside the box on new ways to “use” social media. Stats are nice, but they don’t really present anything other than a market opportunity.

Do you have some social media “createage” stories. Feel free to fill in the blanks.

  • _____% of companies use social media to create _____________ .
  • _______________ company uses social media to create _____________.

Click here for more of my take on social media.

Create or die by Hugh MacLeod: http://gapingvoid.com/2009/04/07/create-or-die/

Why Storify is all about “conversation curation”

I love this quote…

“The online social landscape today sort of feels to me like search did in 1999. It’s a mess…Everything is decentralized… As a user, I spend far too much time weeding it all out to find the few gems of real content from people I care about. And I end up missing a lot of important content that I want to know about.”  – Michael Arrington Tech Crunch

It’s true. It’s virtually impossible for individuals to take notice of everything, and equally as difficult for brands in social media to ensure their message is being heard, by the right people. One product that may help messages get through and help consumers find what they want is Storify (now in public beta).  You have content curation services like Scoop.it, Curated.by, Trunk.ly,  Redux, heck LinkedIn has one as well called LinkedIn Today.  The way I look at it is Storify is a “conversation curation” tool that enables “storytelling” (as Storify puts it) in the eyes of the consumer with engagement by the brand.  Storify defines themselves on their FAQs page as:

“Storify is a way to tell stories using social media such as Tweets, photos and videos. You search multiple social networks from one place, and then drag individual elements into your story. You can re-order the elements and also add text to give context to your readers.”

Content is everywhere on the web and in social media. We are bombarded with content one by one on Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Blogs, etc. For me, I scan headlines and take a deeper dive into the pieces that grab my attention, or cater to what is already within my stream of consciousness. But sometimes, I want to know what people are saying about a product, service, or brand in general.  I do what almost everyone out their does…Google Search. And what comes back?  Typically more content organized one by one, and my entire process of reading headlines and diving in to the ones that catch my attention starts all over again.

I think Storify has an opportunity for brands to do the work for us, while maintaining the impartial, unfiltered opinions and ideas we crave in the social environment. Why? It’s simple:

  • People love stories
  • Stories evoke emotion
  • Emotions drive behavior

And isn’t that what brands ultimately want from consumers – behavior?  Think of the countless stories you could empower your customers to tell. In some cases they are being told without you having to do anything. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. The beauty is that brands have the ability to “curate” these conversations where the story is unfolding and pull in ideas and opinions from other storytellers, engage with the storytellers, and literally either rewrite the story, or make it that much better.

And a bonus – its SEO friendly, so it may just be that much easier to find.

What stories have you helped tell?


Image by: http://www.fightpink.org/healthy-living-tips/create-a-supportive-life-story.html

How to avoid social mood swings

“Marketers overestimate the percentage of customers who want anything to do with brands in social media in the first place, and they get the motivations wrong.” – Patrick Spenner – MLC Wide Angle blog.

Marketing Rule #1:  Understand your target audience!

This is true for any marketing endeavor you embark on. Failure to understand what your customer wants and needs is the kiss of death, especially when it comes to social media. Many of us have had the experience in companies large and small of executives, management, or even non-marketing / corporate communications employees saying, “we should do more social media…get on Twitter and Facebook today.”  Earlier I wrote about social media goals vs objectives and talked about the differences and why objectives seem to be what everyone is missing here. A failure to outline the company’s objectives for using social media and making a commitment to what the customer or target audience needs ultimately leads to wild swings in attitudes towards social media (much less any sort of marketing endeavor).

They’re like  social mood swings

  • We need to be on Twitter. Setup an account and push our news…  Done
  • How many followers do we have? 500!
  • Let’s get that up to a 1,000 by the end of the month. Run a contest.  OK
  • Now how many followers do we have? 1100!
  • Great!  What’s our sales uptick from using Twitter?  Zero
  • Forget it…it doesn’t work.

Okay, this is a total generalization, but the fact is that without an objective that aligns to customer or target audience needs, social media will do nothing.  The owner’s objective in this scenerio was to increase sales, but he did not take into consideration that the customer (his followers) were not at all interested in product promotions. They don’t use Twitter as a resource to purchase. They use it for something entirely different. Figuring that out is the first rule of establishing what your social media objectives are.  Heck it’s the first rule of figuring out what any marketing objective is.

The point is that to avoid “mood swings” get a solid understanding of what your target audience needs, and whether social media is the best tool to meet that need. If it is, you better stick with it and commit to the program. Otherwise, your mood will change (again).

For more insight, read: Patrick’s “Lessons from the Hype Machine