Social Media Users’ Interests and Expectations Vary by Network [Stats]

If you’re thinking of committing precious time or marketing dollars to social media, a new study from online advertising network Chitika offers some useful insights and may help ensure that your message is reaching the right audience. It shows that users’ interests and expectations vary sharply depending on the platform they’re using.

Based on a sample of over 287,000 impressions, the study examined outbound traffic from four social sites. Researchers learned that nearly half of the traffic (47%) that Twitter generates goes to news sites — Twitter users’ interest in news outpaces that of Facebook users by nearly 20%, apparently making it the most popular social network for news junkies. On MySpace, users seek out celebrity gossip and video games — and MySpace is the only site in the sample that doesn’t refer a significant amount of traffic to news destinations. Celebrity/entertainment is the only genre in the top 5 of all sites, demonstrating that many of us are very interested in exploits of the rich and famous.



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Social Media Users More Likely to Buy From Brands They Follow

People who follow a brand on Facebook or Twitter are more inclined to shop that brand or recommend it to others, according to a new report by Chadwik Martin Bailey. The study, released on March 16th, showed that consumers were up to 67% more likely to recommend or buy products from a brand after following it on social networking sites.

The survey of over 1500 consumers showed that the top reason to friend a brand on Facebook was to receive discounts, followed by simply being a customer of the company and a desire to show others that they support the brand. Twitter users were more likely to follow a brand to receive real-time information and preferred offers; only 2% of respondents followed brands on Twitter to show their support.

The study also revealed negative consumer attitudes about brands that aren’t engaging in social media. When asked, “What does it say about a brand if they are not involved with sites like Facebook or Twitter?” they said:

  • “It’s EXPECTED that a company have some digital face – whether it’s on FB or Twitter I don’t know – but they need a strong electronic presence or you doubt their relevance in today’s marketplace.” (Female 50-54)

  • “Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure in a more interactive method.” (Male 35-39)

  • “It shows they are not really with it or in tune with the new ways to communicate with customers.” (Female 18-24)

  • “If they’re not on Facebook or Twitter, then they aren’t in touch with the “electronic” people.” (Female 55-59)

“While social media is not the silver bullet that some pundits claim it to be, it is an extremely important and relatively low cost touch point that has a direct impact on sales and positive word of mouth,”  said Josh Mendelsohn, a vice president at Chadwick Martin Bailey. “Companies not actively engaging are missing a huge opportunity and are saying something to consumers — intentionally or unintentionally– about how willing they are to engage on consumers’ terms.”

What’s your take? Have you followed a brand on Facebook or Twitter? Why?

(Images: Chadwik Martin Bailey, eMarketer)

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Facebook CEO Bares All, Embraces New Privacy Settings

While privacy gurus, security firms, and users try to decipher the implications of Facebook’s new privacy settings, at least one person is embracing them: Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

zuck_f

Zuckerberg, who is usually extremely private, has opened up his profile so that anyone can see his wall, events, and photos. And what’s in the CEO’s profile? His photo album is pretty benign; Valleywag has posted their favorite images. It appears that he’s a fan of the Killers, The West Wing, and Taylor Swift. And his wall shows he actively uses Facebook’s “like” and commenting features.

Nothing has the potential to irritate the legions of Facebook users quite like a mammoth site update. Facebook says the new privacy settings make it easier to control the information users share (even though it’s really about increasing traffic and visibility). The reaction to the privacy changes was mixed. Zuckerberg’s blog post got the thumbs up from over 48,000 users, and the comments section of the Facebook blog was loaded with praise for the new rules. But there was also a lot of complaining and a brewing backlash. Instead of being thankful for having more control, most users are just confused by the changes. Those who aren’t confused are angry — or an unfortunate combination of both confused and angry.

(Remember when Facebook rolled out a minor redesign of its status feed in October? Lots of Facebook users were pretty angry then, too.)

TrueSlant’s report suggests that Zuckerberg doesn’t understand the new settings, which is highly unlikely. It’s more plausible that he’s trying to show everyone else that there’s no harm in opening up. He would certainly look hypocritical if he kept his profile limited to his friends. So opening up his profile was a smart, premeditated move — he’s leading by example. But it’s not likely to sway Facebook users who are skeptical that openness is in their best interests.

Have you adjusted your privacy settings? Do you think Zuckerberg’s move will convince Facebook users to open up? Please leave a comment!

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6 Ways Social Media Can Enhance Your Business

Social media is the new face of the Web. Just as the Internet revolutionized information sharing during the 1990s, social media is radically altering how people communicate and share information today. If you want to succeed on the Web, a solid social network presence is required. Search engines like Bing and Google have recognized the power of social media, opting to include updates from Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites in their search results. Optimizing your business for social media is quickly becoming a must to gain top SEO ranking.

Here are some of the ways the power of social media can help your business:

  • Understand your audiences: Social media facilitates direct one-on-one interaction with your target audiences. This can help you better understand their needs, enabling you to develop more effective, targeted marketing strategies.
  • Enhance brand awareness: Social media can help you communicate your brand identity and create awareness among your audience. The more that people have a credible image of your brand, the more likely it is that they will keep your business top of mind when they evaluate products and make purchase decisions.
  • Promote your products and services via word of mouth: Social media is the new word-of-mouth marketing channel. Because of the personal nature of the communications between individuals, it’s generally true that product information communicated in this way has an added layer of credibility. If one happy customer makes a favorable comment about your company or its products and services, many other people will notice and are likely to share the information with others.
  • Keep your audiences up to date about your company: People probably don’t visit your Web site every day, but they definitely engage via their social networks on daily basis. To keep your audience updated about the latest events and happenings in your company, it’s important to make the information available on social networks in addition to updating the news/current events section of your Web site.
  • Manage your reputation: You can track social media channels to see what’s being said about your company and its products and nip potential problems in the bud. (See #2 in 5 Steps to Developing a Meaningful Social Media Strategy.) The nature of the back and forth dialogue on social networks enables you to engage and turn around negative reviews and comments — this communicates that you listen to your customers and value their input, and acts to enhance your reputatuion.
  • Share your content virally: When you share something on social networks, it’s not just your immediate connections who read it. If they like it, they will spread it to their networks as well, which increases your reach to a much larger audience. From sharing a link on Twitter, posting a a story of Facebook, or bookmarking on Digg, Delicious, or Reddit, social media has the power to spread your content on massive scale.

How are you using social media to enhance your business and drive its growth?

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New Socialnomics Video: Social Media ROI

The folks at Socialnomics have just released another amazing video: Social Media ROI. It offers some terrific examples of how companies and organizations are leveraging social networks to drive business growth and brand awareness. It lays out the case for social media engagement and how it can help you achieve success.

Marketers continue to struggle with how to measure social media. Instead of trying to determine Return on Investment, they need to quantify a new kind of ROI:  Return on Involvement.

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NHL: Great Use of Twitter Lists for Branding, Outreach

Wondering how to use Twitter Lists to support your marketing strategy? Let’s take a look at the National Hockey League’s use of this new feature to engage its fans.

National Hockey League
Image via Wikipedia

As I described recently, Twitter Lists enable you to easily follow a group of users who have been grouped together by other Twitter users. Selecting people to include on a list is an endorsement of the value of their contributions.

The NHL has taken this concept one step further by leveraging lists as a crowdsourcing tool. Here’s what they did:

Yesterday morning, they tweeted

nhl-twitter-lists

Tweets flooded in from their 115,000+ followers. There are now 20 lists for users to check out, which is unfortunately the upper limit. (Twitter may want to rethink this in general, but especially for brands trying to reach out to their customers.) While the NHL waits for approval from Twitter to add more lists, some can be found here at the account of Michael DiLorenzo, Director of Social Media Marketing and Strategy for the NHL. In addition, the NHL’s Twitter account is now part of more than 800 user-created lists.

Quite a success story. The NHL’s effort has enabled it to collect customer data and helped its fans to connect with each other. The response from fans definitely shows how Twitter Lists can be a major resource for companies and organizations seeking to reach out to their constituents.

Related articles:

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Saturday Social Marketing Round-Up

Here are some must-see posts about social marketing for your weekend reading pleasure:

234 social media marketing examples
Image by Pete Kim via Flickr

Do you make these Top 11 mistakes with your social media?
Social media can be seriously profitable for your business. “It’s the secret low cost marketing weapon used by the leading entrepreneurs. But, it can go horribly wrong if you make these mistakes…” explains today’s 30 Days of Social Media contributor, Meredith Collins. She identifies 11 mistakes that you don’t want to make.

Social media marketing: In search of an opt-out
Lines are being drawn between email and social media marketing, but not all elements have obvious correlations. Here’s why the unsubscribe doesn’t directly translate to social media.

Social Marketing Is Rooted In The Brand
Your brand is something that lives in the hearts and minds of people out there, and in that sense social marketing is the purest expression of branding.

Utilizing Social Media for Exposing Your Business Website
Social media is a wonderful way for business owners who already have great content on their websites to expand their reach further with marketing their products.

A quick check-up for your social media marketing plan
This little quiz (which you technically can’t fail as we have not devised a scoring system for it—yet) should help you identify the areas where your organization/team is strongest and weakest with respect to social marketing.

Introducing Google Social Search
Google Social Search plugs into your Twitter and FriendFeed accounts and sifts through content based on what people have been talking about. This seems like another function that’s moving you closer to Google Wave, with everything happening seamlessly in one window of information.

Google Social Search Introduces New Opportunities Within SEO
Google has launched a new experimental feature in Google Labs that searches your social circle in addition to your regular Google search results.

Is Social Media Marketing a New Requirement of SEO?
Here’s an interesting question worth a minute of pondering for any SEO practitioner: “[I]s it now a necessity for an SEO to have practical social media skills?”

Strategies: Which social networking site is best for your small business?
In the olden days – say five years ago – it was enough for a small business to market its services with advertising and public relations. But in the last few years, an avalanche of new opportunities has cascaded on the Internet in the form of social networking sites. These sites give entrepreneurs more opportunities to get the word out about their companies, but they’ve also made many of us feel overwhelmed, trying to keep up.

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