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  • WeAreVSocial 12:12 pm on April 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Customer Service, , Entrepreneur, , , , LinkedIn, , 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
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  • WeAreVSocial 4:40 pm on April 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , LinkedIn, , Monitoring, , , , , , ,   

    Social Media – Predictions for the rest of 2012 Part 1 (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.  Since January it’s hard to believe so much has happened in so little time. Image

    At the start of 2012 there was huge speculation around the impact of social media and how it would impact organisations over the next 12 months.  Social Media is now no longer in its infancy stages as it connects individuals and businesses in ways we previously didn’t think were possible.

    If businesses haven’t embraced social yet, they’re falling way behind their competitors that are finding they can use it for a whole range of different processes from business development, marketing and communications, to market research and recruitment.

    Recent articles conclude that 2012 will be the ‘year of social media’ and with Facebook revenues growing rapidly, from $777 million in 2009 to $3.7 billion last year, what will the future hold for the Worlds most popular Social Networking site and social media in general?

     

    Businesses consolidate Social Media

    As the social media landscape has become more crowded in 2012, businesses will carefully place more efforts on putting their social media activity where it matters to their business and replace the mantra of ‘be everywhere.’

    What used to be simply LinkedIn and Twitter is now Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  On top of this there are more speciality networks like Foursquare, Yelp and Instagram that are proving their ‘business worth’.

    Due to such increase in platforms and choice, it would be very easy to put a lot of time and resources into the wrong platform.  From a business perspective it is essential to focus on where you will get results; this may not be as simple as just having a LinkedIn and Twitter presence for your business.

    Emergence of Video and Photo Networks

    Photo and video-based social interaction will flourish.  The rise of Instagram  and Viddy signify that users are growing more demanding towards multi-media where a picture (or video) speaks louder than 140 characters, or indeed a few thousand words.

    Given the fact that the camera on your smartphone is almost as good (if not better) than your actual camera, the multimedia-driven social networks are here to stay and are becoming an emerging force for brands in 2012.

    We’ve become accustomed to Twitter # tags and Facebook icons appearing during TV programmes and on the end of television commercials, additionally we’re starting to see YouTube icons appear with them.  With such an emergence of these readily available and mobile friendly networks, these are becoming more the norm.

    With Facebook recently acquiring Instagram for a cool $1 billion, this suggests that the Worlds largest social network is using its financial resources to keep ahead of its competitors by acquiring the markets most promising social sites and tools.

    …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 social media and the main social sites are heading.  Our next blog post will examine:

    • More key trends within the current social media market
    • The top social sites that will see the most dramatic changes over the coming year.
     
  • Michael Ham 4:39 pm on September 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charity, LinkedIn, , , Raise awareness, ,   

    ‘We are a charity…how can LinkedIn help us?’ 

    A question that was raised some time last year and again just recently, so we thought we’d share some ideas through our blog.

    LinkedIn isn’t a platform for marketing and campaigns which is how Facebook and Twitter have been used to great success for charities and third sector organisations.  LinkedIn is however hugely powerful, and used to great success, to research and engage in discussion with target audiences in the corporate world.

    With regular LinkedIn usage by nearly 50% of the UK professional population, there is a huge opportunity to tap into and engage with a corporate audience.

    The end goal may be to convert participants into supporters/partners/donors, however in the first instance it is used to make them aware of who you are and what you do (from both an individual and organisational perspective).

    LinkedIn profiles hold a lot of information about people; what they read, who they know, where they have worked, what their passions are. Charities and third sector organisations who want to know their (potential) donors/partners and supporters better use LinkedIn; and this can be very targeted and specific.

    In terms of some simple direct uses:

    • LinkedIn can be used as a great tool for staff recruitment;
    • Promote charity events (through the Events feature, and to promote across networks);
    • Raise awareness and engage audiences in LinkedIn Groups;
    • Tap into networks of CSR professionals.

    The key thing with LinkedIn is to replicate your ‘real-world’ network and build further by pulling on your extended network.   Whilst building your network, you need to be active in the right places, with the correct frequency, and with the right collateral.

    If your current corporate supporters ask how they can help (which they do) then ask them to help promote their work with the charity to their trusted network.  It costs them nothing to retweet or like a LinkedIn post(s) about the charity.  It is also an ideal opportunity to promote their own CSR credentials!

    CAUTION: Avoid direct approaches for contributions!  Raise awareness of your cause through subtle updates about how you help people; key facts and figures; ask for help…and so on to captivate your audience and get them to buy into and support your cause.

    Less than 5 minutes of activities per day doing the right things can be highly productive.

     
  • zaffvsocial 3:27 pm on June 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , LinkedIn, , , , ,   

    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: , , , , , LinkedIn, , , ,   

    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 2:16 pm on November 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , LinkedIn, , , ,   

    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.

     
  • Michael Ham 2:25 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , LinkedIn   

    What’s the use of using LinkedIn’s ‘Company Follow’ feature? 

    That’s a question I was recently asked when people saw my status update on LinkedIn  recently and the fact that I was following certain companies/organisations.   When I was working in recruitment, this would have been a fantastic feature for me!

    When you follow a Company, you can be notified when:

    • Employees join, leave or are promoted
    • There are new job opportunities
    • the Company Profile has been changed

    When could this be interesting?

    1) If you are in sales or purchasing, you might like to be informed if your contact person changes position or leaves the company. You can then ask to be introduced to the person who gets their previous job so you can continue to easily work together.

    2) If you are in sales and it was not possible to do business with a company because of a certain person, you might have a new chance when that person changes position or leaves the organization.

    3) If you are looking for a new job, you can be informed when your favourite organizations posts a job.

    4) You can receive timely client/potential client updates as they happen rather than hearing about them well after the event…

    And the list could go on…

    How to set this up?

    1) Go to More > Companies

    2) Type the company or organization you are interested in

    3) On the Company Profile Page you see “Follow company”. Click it.

    4) Now you see “Stop following” and a small arrow. Click that arrow and choose “Notification Settings”.

    5) Fine tune which updates you want (see the 3 options already mentioned in the beginning of this post) and how you want them delivered (via “Network Updates” and/or via daily or weekly email).

    This is a very nifty and relatively recent upgrade to LinkedIn’s Company feature, and if you look at LinkedIn’s own company profile, you will see what other upgrades and modifications will be coming soon to the mainstream.

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

    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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