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

    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………….

     
  • Michael Ham 2:16 pm on November 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Collateral, , , , , ,   

    Do you get any business benefits from using Twitter? 

    This was a question posed in a discussion in a group on LinkedIn.

    Here’s some thoughts I shared with the group…

    Twitter is great as a ‘signposting’ system to guide your followers to valuable information…such as a Blog, PR, news, video, new website etc. It’s hugely powerful for searching out conversations on specific topics.  It’s also great for searching for mentions about your company…

    Twitter is also great for promoting events; sharing your LinkedIn status; asking for help, the list goes on…

    I’d also add that you need to understand the different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.), and the ‘netiquette’ for each one:

    Keep your message simple – Your audience doesn’t have time to read long and complicated messages. A complex message is hard to understand and to remember and hence it is less effective.

    Customize it – Every social networking site is different and hence has different expectations of you. The way your Facebook audience thinks is completely different from your audience on LinkedIn. So make sure to customize your message according to the place where you are going to present it.

    Make it about them – Your content (messages) on social media sites should focus on the needs of your target audience and how your products/services can benefit them. The best strategy is to write your messages in second person. Use words like “you” and “your” and make them about their problems and needs.

    Promote in the right places (fish where the fish are) – Make sure that you are promoting your message in the right place at the right time, to the right audience.  LinkedIn is probably not the best platform to promote a music event, you’re  probably better going to Myspace for that. Similarly it is hard to find business partners for your new venture on Facebook, maybe you should try LinkedIn.

    Reach out at the appropriate time – The best time to reach out to your audience is when they actually need you – like while making a buying decision or need some latest information about the industry.  Avoid bothering them with your promotional messages again and again as it will frustrate them and they will start hating your company.

    Twitter is an art.  Social media is an art. And like any other art, the more you practice (and the more you listen rather than broadcast), the better you will become.

     
  • zaffvsocial 5:17 pm on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Collateral, Leisure,   

    Are you missing the Social Media Boat? 

    Traditionally you’ve only shown the world your business face, a face that you’ve taken time and effort to prepare. The make up’s been applied and possibly some airbrushing has taken place before you’ve taken that picture to be displayed on your company web site.

    Today just your face isn’t good enough; the world wants to see behind the gloss, they want to get to know the real you they want to hear your beating heart and see your soul and with the advent of social media they can because even if you’re not opening yourself up, someone else most probably is; it may be a competitor or a disgruntled ex-customer or it could be an ex-employee, business partner etc. etc…So…what do you do?

    Are you ready to allow that level of intimacy? Where do you begin?

    Well hopefully not like some people that I met while in Spain, earlier on this month. The beginning of the month saw a big leisure industry conference on the Costa del Sol.  Now normally I wouldn’t have gone but on its second day an industry speaker was going to be talking about ‘Social Networks’ – …how can the industry tap into social media opportunities…

    So I had to go; the conference candidates recognised that Social Media offered a great deal of opportunities to their industry and I did hear of some good use of the platforms but overall it left me feeling…this is what came to my mind:-

    Go back before the advent of television, when radio was king. You turned on the radio and heard a company’s jingle selling you soap…

    The television comes along and the same company thinks great! and puts the same advert on TV, exactly the same…purely audio.

    Would you say that this soap company had missed the true potential of the extra benefits that television could deliver?

    It’s just the way I felt, at the conference, when I heard that a slick video from the leisure resort would be more powerful than a grainy video uploaded by a customer complimenting the said leisure resort…someone was missing the boat!

    The only benefit that this decision offered was to reduce the cost of pushing information out.

    The true potential of social media remains its’ power to engage audiences and have the audience exhibit your wares.  The ability to engage with the outside world in real time two way communication and use this knowledge to deliver customer experiences that are not what the customer wanted but what the customer is wanting now! (Not an exhaustive list).

    Business:   ‘So Mr. X, here is my product, based on expensive research done 12 months ago that was defined through a marketing strategy six months ago which resulted in this product at the a price that was set at…’

    Mr.X:        ‘My preferences changed three months ago…shame your expensive research wasn’t done then…’

    So my question is…

    Are you missing the Social Media Boat?!

     

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

    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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