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  • WeAreVSocial 12:25 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blog, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Social Media – Predictions for the rest of 2012 Part 3 (of 4) 

    Part 3of 4

    Over the last few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s happening in the ever-changing world of social media, its biggest sites and mind exploding statistics.  In our last blog post we mentioned some of the emerging trends within the industry and some of the main sites that have witnessed the most dramatic changes since the start of the year.

    In this blog post we will examine the emergence and booming popularity of Pinterest detailing its unprecedented rise for contention to claim world domination in social networking space.

    Image

    Pinterest Takes Off

    For anyone that hasn’t heard of Pinterest yet, it’s a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website allowing users to create and manage theme-based image collections. The site’s mission statement is to:

    “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

    …..Quite a nice mission statement, but where did this social network come from?

    The development of Pinterest began in December 2009, and the site launched as a closed beta in March 2010. The site proceeded to operate in invitation-only open beta.

    Founder Ben Silbermann said he personally wrote to the site’s first 5,000 users offering his personal phone number and even met with some of its users. Silbermann wanted to get under the skin of Pinterests early adopters, gathering as much intelligence possible on the overall ‘user experience,’ taking into account any suggestions and recommendations to improve it.

    Nine months after launch the website had 10,000 users. Silbermann and a few programmers that operated the site out of a small apartment until the summer of 2011, then it started to get big.

    Pinterest is currently ranked the 3rd most-popular social network in the U.S., behind Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian Hitwise.  A new report from the researcher shows Pinterest got 21.5 million visits during the week ending Jan. 28, a nearly 30-fold increase over a comparable week in July.  These numbers are astronomical for any website and social network, so who’s logging on and using the site?

    Not surprisingly, the site skews female with a 60/40 ration of women to men visitors, mainly because a large number retail and fashion brands have embraced the site, using it as a place to showcase their collections and products.  In contrast Google+ has a 60/40 split of men, the vast majority being single, quite frankly we can’t explain this!

    From examining user visits, Experian rep Matt Tatham says Pinterest beat its next-closest competitor, LinkedIn, in total visits in February. Tatham says the rankings by total visits for March are as follows:

    Facebook: 7 billion

    Twitter: 182 million

    Pinterest: 104 million

    LinkedIn: 86 million

    Tagged: 72 million

    Google+: 61 million

    The report, which tracks visits rather than unique visitors, is based on web traffic and doesn’t factor in visits from mobile sites therefore  its validity may hold some discrepancies.  Over 50% of Facebook users now log in through a mobile device and the same type of users could be using Pinterest.

    Why has Pinterest become so popular?

    Beyond the data is seems like the Internet culture is obsessed with pinning.  But why is this the case and why this social network?

    They say a picture paints a thousand words and it’s from using this simplicity that Pinterest has been successful.  The design of the site makes it simple to navigate and users can scroll down through content with minimal effort and distraction.  The images take up the majority of space and comments and re-pins are kept neatly under each image with any action buttons remaining hidden until they’re scrolled over, very nice!

    Digital hoarding may have a lot to do with it. On Pinterest, we have free license to create an entire board dedicated to “golf-clubs” for example. If we like it we can pin it. Similar to Facebook, Pinterest relies on users to generate content.  The more content that is updated the more users will visit the site. Users can come together in communities to share images and insights based on what they like, symbolising a basic form of ‘social unity.’

    Critics suggest there’s the notion that Pinterest combats social media fatigue.  Facebook and Twitter presents users to constantly be subject to ‘check-ins’ or multiple status updates and tweets on a daily basis.  Pinterest frees users from worrying about updates or images they wish they hadn’t  been tagged in, thus giving users piece of mind so ‘that’ picture of them sat on the photocopier at the Christmas party won’t surface again.

    On the flip- side, there’s the argument that a new form of social networking is simply replacing one addiction with another.  Are we bored of the regular updates, tweets and tagging or simply looking around for something new in the social spectrum to occupy ourselves?

    Overall it seems the reason Pinterest has risen to social media stardom is due to its functionality, clever use of positioning and differentiation to other sites.  It will be interesting to see how the Worlds fastest growing social network materialises over the rest of 2012.  Will its popularity continue to rise in such a way that it gives the likes of Twitter and even Facebook a run for their money? Who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see………….

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  • WeAreVSocial 12:12 pm on April 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blog, , , , Customer Service, , Entrepreneur, , , , , , Research, , , , ,   

    Social Media – Predictions for the rest of 2012 Part 2 (of 4) 

    Part 2 of 4

    Over the last few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s happening in the ever-changing social media space, its emerging sites and key trends.  In our last blog post we mentioned some of the emerging trends within social media. We’ll now examine other key trends that are having an effect on the industry and also the main sites that will see some dramatic changes over the coming year.

    Social media strategies will take precedence in 2012

    2012 will be the year most businesses start to turn the corner in embracing and understanding social media and using it more strategically.  The rise of social media in recent years has forced businesses to develop a presence on the most popular networks but they haven’t been using it to its full potential.

    Having a controlled approach to social media with a clear strategy and action plans will ensure businesses are meeting their objectives through the social networks.  Most strategies will form a benchmark on which to tailor and manage their social media efforts but will be fairly incremental due to the changing nature of social media.

    Along side social media strategies there has been an ever increasing demand for social media policies.  Although many organisations are aware of the benefits social media can bring to them, they are also aware that social media can present many risks.  Social Media Usage Policies present clarity and clear guidelines on the etiquette around social media.

    Making employees aware of simple do’s and don’ts helps to manage activity, giving employees confidence in using social media and mitigate any potential risks that may be presented to the individual or the organisation if using social media incorrectly.

    Advanced Analytics will be more readily available

    A lot of what we call social media analytics is actually social media metrics, which consequently is a lot of data telling a story of the past with great data visualisations.  Advanced analytics are now being performed in large agencies, brands and social networking sites with data analysts and scientists with advanced degrees in statistics in computer science doing the work.

    Image In 2012, there will be social media analytics companies realising more simplified versions of the analytical tools targeted for the smaller agencies and brands to perform similar, less complex analytical functions.

    Facebook growth will generate unique Facebook marketing experiences

    In 2012 Facebook will hit one billion users and it will draw a huge amount of hype around the network.  Such hype will mean businesses will need to be more creative and strategic with their fan activity.

    Facebook is getting crowded, and those businesses/brands that create unique user experiences will stand out from the masses.  These experiences will step from more sophisticated, third-party app and expanded live video capabilities and greater flexibility with page customization will play a big part as fan engagement become the most vital components for Facebook success.

    Competition for Google+ will rise

    More competition is arising within the social networks and Google+ has one sole aim, to dominate the market.  The unique circles feature is breaking down the barriers to mixing work with pleasure signifying you can use on network for your social and business contacts.  It’s functionality also make it very easy to share content with more targeted audiences, but how successful will this new social networking site be?

    Image

    In order for Google+ to compete with the Big Guns it will try to add features similar to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and try to further develop its functionality.  Out of these, the social network that will come on top will be the one that listens to their users or in Facebook’s case, use its financial power to keep ahead of the competition…………. for now.

    YouTube takes the Lead

    A big prediction for social media can be boiled down into one word: ‘Video.’  YouTube is gone through some big changes recently and although the network is only six years old it has a lot in store for 2012.  Its most recent design layout changes look extremely familiar to Facebooks Live Feed function, initiating that YouTube wants to behave like a social networking site.

    Image

    The YouTube audiences will now have more fun, engagement and interaction while on YouTube.  The more activity you have and receive from your videos, the more opportunity your content gets viewed and go viral.  The network itself is becoming high intuitive by displaying relevant and related content in an efficient manner, as well as starting feuds with the big TV Networks as they blur the line separating ‘offline television’ and online entertainment.

    This will lead to higher standards and expectations from the average YouTube viewer and leave those who are resistant to using video in the marketing behind.

    …our next series of blog posts will examine what we can expect in the next 12 months and a few predictions on where we believe the emerging social media sites are heading.  Our next blog post will examine:

    • The rise and success of Pinterest
     
  • zaffvsocial 3:27 pm on June 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blog, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Etiquette is Etiquette! 

    Etiquette is Etiquette whether it’s on a social platform or physically meeting up with people . Good ‘real world’ networking etiquette should be exercised on social media platforms, more so on LinkedIn which is predominantly a professional’s site so behaving professionally should come as easy as falling off a log.

    Simply, social media should be seen as a event that you are attending and like any event there will be people gathered in a number of separate groups having a variety of conversations; as you pass them something engages you and you stop to have a conversation. Some conversations continue after and outside the event, some individuals are interesting enough to exchange cards with and look forward to meeting at another event while others fall by the wayside.

    Don’t be the obnoxious oaf who just interrupts rudely, feigns interest, throws their card at you and is gone.

    Have you any nightmare stories to share??

    I’ve had a few over the years. I’ve had the obnoxious oaf at physical networking sessions and increasingly this has also happened on LinkedIn. People who I don’t know have just wanted to connect, out of the blue, so that they can blatantly sell their wares, throw their card at me!

    So what do I do when someone, whom I don’t know tries to connect…I send them a message politely asking them how we know each other, where we met, as  I have a policy to only connect with people whom I know, have done work with or am doing work with. This tends to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Colleagues who use the same approach as me say it works extremely well for them.

    But what if you want to connect with someone who’s a second or third level connection but falls out of your own policy, perhaps someone you want to do business with or connect for Brand alliance / association or even because this person is a thought leader in your field…then what should you do?

    Well LinkedIn is great for this, see how you connect and work through the people whom connect you to the 2nd – 3rd level contact. Pick up the phone and ask if they can introduce you. Try to remember ‘what’s in it’ for the person you want to connect with you when you are making this phone call.

    Please share your experiences, what works for you?  How do you deal with these individuals?

     
  • zaffvsocial 1:20 pm on March 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blog, , , , , , , , ,   

    Where’s the revolution? 

    So if the ‘Facebook revolution’ has the power to change the political landscape of the world, what impact will it have on private equity?

    Tyrannical regimes that once saw people as flies to be swatted into the dust of history have had to bow down in front of the might of numbers swelling up against them. Do you need to rethink your business strategies to understand exactly where your power base needs to be positioned, to plot a course that can read the maps of the new terrain…?

    So you are the grand poobah of all you see, you’ve worked hard and long to get to where you are, taken your organisation on a journey along a path that, although challenging at times, you’ve been able to understand the mechanics at play; you’ve been able to identify stakeholders and probably labelled them as ‘Key Stakeholders’ when determining your strategies.

    You’ve labelled them as ‘key’ because of the power that they have held over the successes of your future  so how do you identify your ‘key stakeholders’ today when the isolated voice of yesterday, today, has the power to gain momentum against your plans for tomorrow.

    How does you’re business incorporate all the best that Social Media has to offer whilst mitigating the vulnerabilities? Not by bolting on Social media as a fashion accessory but as a medium to listen, engage and define the future sustainability of your being…? I would really welcome your feedback and thoughts, thanks.

    My train of thought for this blog came from Carlyle Rubenstein’s article in a New York Times publication.

     

     
  • Michael Ham 11:57 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bio, Blog, , , , ,   

    Dead behind the eyes… 

    This was an interesting ‘turn of phrase’ which came up when a marketing consultant we know described a certain ‘celebrity’.  When they were presenting an awards ceremony for a charity, they presented very professionally, but when you spoke with them they lacked any substance or interest; when you looked them in the eyes there was no ‘soul’ or life behind them…which got me thinking…

    Your presence on social media platforms could easily be described in the same way.  If there’s nothing behind the façade, and by that I mean evidence to back up what you’re saying about yourself (and your business), is your profile dead behind the eyes?

    Your social media profile will be far more attractive and compelling if you add some ‘substance’ and ‘soul’.  You can say some great things about yourself, but can you back it up?  Traditional marketing activities have done a great deal this way, pushing out information…with no engagement.

    Presentations, news on your website, press articles, blogs, case studies, video etc., add more credibility, depth and ‘soul’ to your façade.

    If you are seen to be giving advice, hints and tips, referencing others, it all adds up for the reader and makes you more engaging, interesting and compelling to follow, and ultimately, people will trust you.  To quote Chris Brogan, you’ll become one of the “people who use the web in a very human way to build influence, reputation, awareness, and who can translate that into some kind of business value.”  Become a Trust Agent.

     
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