Boomer Blogging: It Doesn’t Hurt Much!

Standard

At the beginning of our journey exploring emerging media, I indicated that I would be candid about my struggles and successes while learning to blog.  Being a bit older and less tech-savvy than traditional students, I expected a significant learning curve.  This expectation proved a reality, as I spent numerous hours blundering through settings; adding links or pictures; connecting my blog to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; reblogging; creating a Gravatar; and even mastering the elusive “widget.”  However, it was fairly painless…I promise.

With the assistance of good ole Google, I’ve found many helpful resources online.  (I do hope “Nicole on the Net” gets a nap so she can demonstrate web skills without yawning.)  For the most part, my friends and associates have little or no experience with emerging media.  However, they have been great cheerleaders as I stumbled through, and we’ve had a lot of good laughs in the process.

I must say that the blogging learning experience and Emerging Media 619 course have been truly fun and challenging.  In fact, it was so much fun that I plan to continue blogging throughout my Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program.  I do hope you will tune in from time to time to see what’s happening in IMC and what flashy new tech skills the Boomer is boasting:)

Advertisements

Standard

Lindte

There are lots of companies out there that have no presence on social media. Some of them are not there because of fear. Those fears are real though and most companies may not want to admit it (do you like to admit your fears). I would say that what the company fears most is the ability to control their brand, control of their message, and consumers will speak up (could be negative).

People will always say well you know they are already talking about you (feel free to roll your eyes). That may not even be remotely true. Really have you given them anything to talk about? No, well they probably not talking about you, let’s not get paranoid. However if you can get them talking about you, you just might be able to steer it and use it as wind in your sails.

With the internet you now have…

View original post 454 more words

The World is Watching Your Every Mobile Move

Standard

Purposefully packaged with the convenience of mobile devices and associated apps, users many times unknowingly accept something that may not be part of a healthy diet – cookies.

The snippets of computer coding known as cookies track user’s Web activities.  The data collected is aggregated and employed to generate consumer profiles utilized to enhance targeted marketing pitches based on a person’s implied interests.

These methods can be very effective.  Even those of us calloused to Web ads take notice when our fav things seem to magically appear alongside the content we are reading.  It can hardly be coincidence that while I’m searching the Web, the distinct red Macy’s star appears with a variety of black boots by my favorite brands scrolling by…

Stop for a moment to consider the personal information stored on your mobile device. Now consider the integration of your mobile device with social platforms, bank accounts, email accounts, calendars, GPS, and your contact lists.  Think about your photos, online bill pay, your exact location and personal text messages.

How secure is this mass of information?  Who has access to it?  For what purpose(s) will it be used?  Will it be sold to others? Do you diligently read the Terms of Service Agreement accompanying mobile devices and applications to determine if you are comfortable with the level of privacy, or just “accept” the terms because “everyone else is doing it?”

While efforts are being made to improve online privacy, you may be surprised to learn the answers to some of these questions.  The Federal Trade Commission recently set a precedence with its record fine of $22.5 million after a researcher at Stanford University revealed that Google had overridden Safari web browser’s safeguards designed to prevent outside parties from monitoring Web surfing activity without a user’s permission.

Last year, it was discovered that Carrier IQ’s software on both iOS and Android devices on AT&T and Sprint networks captured keystrokes and sent details back to the carriers.  Sparked by the Carrier IQ incident, the Mobile Device Privacy Act (PDF) was introduced.  If passed, the legislation will make it illegal for companies to monitor device users without their expressed consent.

As mobile technology advances, privacy concerns abound.  At what point will our privacy become more important than the convenience and entertainment offered by these devices?

Mobile Marketing: Speed Does Matter

Standard

In a 2009 article, Brian Morrissey discussed how measurement is changing with digital media. “Instead of impressions, they are putting more weight on time spent with a brand, downloads of applications and their spread, and user-initiated views and videos.”

In the rapidly changing world of digital media, are these criteria for evaluation the most relevant in 2012?  Consider the convenience now offered by mobile mediums.  The mobile consumer typically expects to complete transactions as quickly as possible.  For example, I “like” Amazon.  Its mobile site is easy to navigate, offers one-click purchasing, and I can count on Amazon to deliver my product(s) promptly.  Measurement of Amazon’s success cannot be based on the length of time spent on the site.  In fact, the opposite may be a better indication of a positive experience.

When measuring the value of digital media, one must first determine the goals.  What is the company trying to achieve?  A 2011 study by iContact, Calculating Your Social Media Marketing Return on Investment, polled 414 customers to examine their challenges and goals related to social media marketing.

The three top social media goals identified were:

  1. Strengthen brand
  2. Generate sales
  3. Acquire contacts

Though all of these goals are typically part of the sales process, each would be measured differently.  Strengthening brand may be evaluated by social media reach, engagement, and sentiment (positive or negative).  Acquiring contacts may be measured by the number of followers and friends.

However, generation of sales, which may initially appear straightforward, is very difficult to truly calculate.  Often the consumer is moved through the “pipeline” of the sales process, progressing through a sequence of steps.  iContact offers the following example of a typical sales sequence.

  1. Visits your website
  2. Follows your brand on Twitter
  3. Views several tweets and downloads a white paper that was discovered via Twitter
  4. Visits your website to learn more
  5. Signs up for your email
  6. Becomes a paying customer

The burning question becomes what percentage of impact on the sale may be attributed to social media?  What is the ROI for Twitter in the example sequence?  Can it be accurately calculated?

An integrated approach to marketing recognizes that interaction with consumers is spread across many channels, making it difficult to measure the impact of specific parts because it is the synergistic blend that yields the result.

Standard

Lindte

Okay so I got an email this week (someone read my blog and sent me an email and no comment go figure) and well I’ll paraphrase. I’m old and I have a business and I see I need some of the social media stuff, but having not grown up with it where do I start? Well that is a great question might I add and the simple answer it depends on where your clients are? I know right, if only we all knew that we would make millions.

Well if you a small business and you want know your customers then ask them. Your a mediums sized business randomly selects some customers and ask them and same goes with bigger businesses. Sample sizes can be smaller than you think to get a good feel for your customers. I know it just doesn’t seem that easy but it really is. Your…

View original post 733 more words

How to Get Some “Twits” on Twitter

Standard

Well, well, well….

Here I am in the last two weeks of Emerging Media class and I have 5 Twitter followers.  No, make that 4 Twitter followers.  Apparently the porn lady “unfollowed” me when she noticed I was not going to reciprocate and I follow Joel Osteen and Fox News…

I’ve not felt so unpopular since my date to the senior prom got drunk and did not bother to show up, leaving me with a sympathy picture with the prom queen’s date.  At least he was good looking and the out-of-town relatives receiving photos had no idea he did not even come close to going to the prom with me.

Enough traumatic flashbacks.  How in the heck does one generate Twitter followers?  Facebook was easy.  Stick a photo out there.  Invite some “friends,” and voila – you have an online party.

Twitter…not so easy.  So, I did what all smart blondes do, and I googled “how to increase Twitter following.”  Some companies want to sell me tools to get followers.  I’ve heard of buying friends, but buying followers?  I don’t want them that badly…but I would probably stoop to a photo with the prom queen’s date again.

I found some good suggestions, but I’m not sure how well they will work for me.  The CEO from Social Media Today provided 5 worthwhile tips.  He suggested:

1)  Don’t spam or sell. – No problem.  I don’t have any addresses to spam nor merchandise to sell.

2)     Be a resource.  Social media is becoming the place to get news and info on favorite or most interesting topics. – No problem.  If you want to know about Boomers blundering through learning about emerging media or peri-menopause…I’m your source!

3)     Engage.  Respond to tweets, questions, comments. – No problem.  Obviously, I’m not shy.

4)     Be active.  The more active you are, the more you show up. – Okay…I need to work on this one.  7 Tweets, with two being about my fav things (my son and chocolate ice cream), does not qualify as active.:(

5)     Be personal.  Don’t be afraid to be transparent.  – No problem!  You know I was stood-up for my high school prom.  Is that personal enough for you?

The Social Media Today guy had good tips, but still, I don’t have any followers.   I was beginning to think I didn’t belong on Twitter, so I googled Twitter demographics in hopes that they would be different than the surprising avatar sex demographics I learned about on my flight to San Francisco last month.  (See my “Brow Lift” post for details.)

Twitter demographics were a bit surprising as well.  I learned I’m from the wrong city in the wrong country and have too much education to be an average twitter “twit,” or whatever the appropriate name for Twitter folk is…  I need to move to Caracas, Venezuela, take a pay cut, and drop out of school.  The good news is I’m the right age (turns out “twits” are middle-aged) and the right sex, as over 60% of “twits” are women.  No gender change necessary.  That’s a relief.

Hummmm… So what’s a gal to do to generate a Twitter following?  Any suggestions?

Starbucks Melody Sings Off Pitch

Standard

What relationship, if any, should a brand have with independent brand advocates hosting unofficial blogs?  Influential brand advocates provide free word-of-mouth advertising, expanding a company’s reach and providing valuable validation from an unbiased source.

However, companies do not control these voices.  While they may enjoy the fruits of positive interactions, they must endure the fallout from the bad.  Like other relationships, what began as something sweet and healthy carries the potential of turning bitter over time.  Perhaps the relationship is salvageable…perhaps not.

Take for instance the September 28th bipolar posts on Starbucks’ Melody’s unofficial blog.  According to Melody, and I do not doubt this claim, she has poured more than three years into blogging on Starbucks’ behalf.  She reportedly did this not at Starbucks’ request or for compensation, but because she loved the brand so much she felt led to share her passion with the world.

This was all well and good for Starbucks as Melody developed a large and loyal following.  All appeared hunky-dory until Melody endeavored to raise funds for a charity she supports.  She wrote directly to Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO,  requesting a donation for this cause. She was disappointed, to say the least, with the response.

Starbuck’s public relations department responded with a refusal and reminded Melody that she needed to go through them with any communications.  This did not sit well with Melody, who felt she was entitled to go directly to top management with her requests and that perhaps Starbucks owed her something (like support for her preferred charitable cause) for her three years of blog advocacy.  Her response was an angry blog blasting “Howard” [Starbucks’ CEO] for not even caring that she was a real person with real feelings that had poured her life into Starbucks.

Not knowing the full story or Starbucks’ policies for charitable donations or the background of the charitable organization, it is not possible to fairly evaluate Starbucks’ response.  The intention of this exploration is not to determine if Starbucks should make a contribution to the charity, but to look at the expectations of the brand advocate blogger.  Clearly, Melody thought she should be able to approach top management directly because of her history of promoting the brand – though this was a personal decision, not a contractual relationship with Starbucks.

Are unofficial brand advocates entitled to special considerations from the companies they endorse?  Do brands have an obligation of reciprocity with unaffiliated bloggers who choose to promote the brand without corporate backing?  If so, what guidelines or policies govern these expectations?  Chime in and share your thoughts…