Social Networking Sites Breakdown: Whose Using Which Network

User Activity Comparison Of Popular Social Networking Sites
Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com Web Design Company

Young Gen Y Doesn’t Want to Be Friends

Free Mall Girls Riding on The Escalator Creative Commons
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Brands flocking to Facebook in order to connect with young consumers got some bad news last week from Forrester Research. According to a new report authored by Jacqueline Anderson, Forrester’s Consumer Insights Analyst, a mere 6 percent of 12 to 17 year olds wants to be friends with a brand on Facebook. The percentage increases to 12 percent of 18 to 24 year olds wanting to be friends with a brand.

According to Anderson, “Many brands are looking to social media as a strong digital channel to communicate with these consumers. But research shows that it is important to consider more than just consumers’ propensity to use a specific channel. Almost half of 12 to 17 year olds don’t think brands should have a presence using social tools at all.”

There is a silver lining for brands. Although young Gen Y’ers may not want to be friends, 74 percent of them are using “social networks to talk about products with friends and make recommendations.” Are you listening to them?

Twitter Followers or Facebook Fans: Which is better?

Facebook
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The answer is Twitter according to research from ExactTarget. According to the study and reported on by Social Media Today, “Twitter followers are more likely to induce advocacy and future purchases” than those on Facebook. Social Media Today reported that “according to their data, 37% of respondents were more likely to purchase from a brand after following them on Twitter as opposed to only 17% of those that “like” a brand on Facebook.”

When the respondents were asked if they were more likely to recommend a Brand after following them on Twitter, 33% of Twitter followers were more likely to recommend a Brand compared to 21% of Facebook fans.

What has been your experience?

NPR Twitter User Survey says…

Are You Afraid of Bloggers and Social Media? Maybe You Should Be.

Tweet.
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Are you or your Brand afraid of bloggers and social media? Well, maybe you should be–especially if your brand is still sitting on the side lines and not listening.  Jessica Gottlieb , a powerful voice on the Internet and a mom blogger,  recently wrote two excellent posts “Five Simple Steps to Bringing a Brand to their Virtual Knees” and  “Six Tips for Brand Managers Who Might Be Afraid of Bloggers” . Gottlieb is that “Jessica Gottlieb” that started the “#MotrinMoms” backlash on Twitter in November 2008.

Gottlieb expressed her displeasure with Motrin’s ad campaign that she and others felt wasn’t supportive of new mothers and  in a series of tweets expressed that “picking on new mothers is vile.” Her tweets set off a reaction that reverberated across Twitter and then the Internet and finally the mainstream press and it wasn’t until Monday that Motrin finally responded to the moms they were trying so hard to connect with but by then the damage was done http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/17/motrin-mothers-groundswell-by-the-numbers/ .In just a weekend, the mommy bloggers had mobilized and expressed their anger in their own blogs, on Twitter, on FaceBook where they created a “Boycott Motrin” Group, on YouTube where they added their own videos, as well as on Flickr. That same weekend the controversy was picked up by mainstream media including the New York Times http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/moms-and-motrin/?scp=1&sq=Motrin%20Moms%202008&st=cse

The title alone of the first post should get your attention if you still think you can sit social media out. In her first post, Gottlieb clearly lays out the steps of how anyone with a blog and or a Twitter account and a handful of followers can take aim at a corporation. Jessica’s steps consist of:

1) Timing is everything: Large corporations close up in the evenings, and many are completely checked out on weekends. If you post something critical of them on a Friday evening, you have a two to three day head start on your buzz versus theirs.

2) Ask readers to take an action and report back: When you post about the evil corporation be sure to ask your readers to do something other than just read. Ask them to call or email (letter writing campaigns have gone the way of the brontosaurus).

3) Track and share the momentum: Set up a google alert. If you’re asking people to say #xyzstinks then you will want updates as quickly as possible so that you can support people who write #xyzstinks. As people are writing be sure to share it in public forums like Twitter, Stumbleupon, Facebook and Digg.

4) Go multimedia: Really, multimedia doesn’t mean internet, TV and radio. Multimedia (in our frame of reference) means text, audio and video. Post your message to your blog, to cinch, and to YouTube.

5) Get redundant: Stay on message and repeat it ad nauseum. I recognize that after a day or so it’s unlikely that you will care any longer, but stamina is everything. Constant blog posts in every blog you contribute to are key. Repeat steps one through four tirelessly.

As a PR professional, I recommend that companies pay attention to all of these steps but also take a closer look at step 1 –“Timing is everything.” Companies still naively think that if they have bad news that they are required to release they need to drop it on Fridays after the Stock Market closes. Depending on who you are and what you have to announce that just won’t fly anymore. You may think you are  pulling a fast one on the traditional press that follows your company but you won’t be pulling a fast one on the bloggers that work 24/7.  In addition, the tradional press may also spend the weekend digging up more to include in their story. And like Motrin, you might end up with quite a mess on your hands before the weekend even wraps up.

Maybe you might be thinking that since your company is B2B you don’t need to worry about a possible “groundswell” catching up to your company. Sure you want to bet on that? Jessica’s steps can be used just as easily to target B2B companies as easily as they can be used to target B2C companies.

If her first post gave you pause, then her second post “Six Tips for Brand Managers Who Might Be Afraid of Bloggers“  can serve as a road map to get your company moving. Gottlieb recommends:

1. Build Social Capital early and often: The best way to make sure you never have a big problem with bloggers is by participating in their discussions before the drama.

2. Do not hand social media over to interns: Interns are adorable, and I recognize that businesses need them for things like answering phones and fetching coffee. However, when your intern is in charge of your facebook page you’ve just handed the keys over to someone who was probably delivering pizza last month.

3. Monitor your brand round the clock: Small businesses do it, because they have to. You need to also. It doesn’t have to be one person, but at the barest minimum a google alert with YourBrandHere and boycott, sucks, or criminal as a keyword will keep you informed of a tempest brewing.

4. Respond truthfully: One big criticism of of the Motrin fiasco is that the apology wasn’t sincere (authentic).

5. Don’t participate if you don’t have the resources: Really. I honest to goodness recommend that brands stay out of social media if they aren’t going to make it part of their business. Do not set up a facebook page and then let it sit there. If you want to protect your name online buy your URL’s, take your twitter ID’s and just park them. Don’t invite a conversation you won’t show up for.

6. Just be yourself. Social media isn’t about your brand, it’s about you.

Building social capital is critical and without it you won’t be able to build a good relationship with the community your business needs. It doesn’t mean pushing out non stop information about your company and products. It means “listening” first to the discussions in the communities you are looking for a home in. It then means offering useful information to that community or better sharing the information of the other community members first.

I also “love” that tip # 2 recommends that companies not turn over social media to interns. In the last year I have heard a number of companies –including PR companies– either talk about their plan to turn “social media” over to an intern or who have already done it and it always leaves me aghast. Just because an intern has been on FaceBook longer than anyone over 25—and that is because it was originally a college only community– doesn’t mean they have the expertise of company, customer, products or the industry you are in.  Would you really send your intern in to close a deal with a potential customer you have been chasing for years or to represent you to the technology reporter you want so badly to cover your company? Then why would you do it in social media?

One other tip I would offer is “transparency”. Gottlieb mentions in tip #4 being authentic—truthful. It is also important to remember in social media that people don’t want to talk with a logo. They want to talk with a person. If you’re tweeting say who you are right up there in your profile. If you have to talk behind a logo try to persuade management to add your name on the Twitter page so your followers can more easily engage with you.

Read the full posts. They are excellent.

Still afraid?

How to quickly check your Facebook privacy settings

If you are at all concerned about your privacy on Facebook–and you should be– then you might be interested in a nifty bookmark  tool by ReclaimPrivacy.org I came across today via Mike Melanson of ReadWriteWeb . According to Mike:

The bookmarklet (essentially a snippet of Javascript that executes from your browser bar) assesses your Facebook settings in a number of different areas. It looks at personal information, contact information, friends, tags and connections, known applications that leak personal information and whether or not your friends can accidentally share your information. It also checks whether or not you’re currently sharing information via the controversial “Instant Personalization” that was unveiled last month at f8.

The bookmarklet is easy to install and this is what it looked like after it ran a scan on my own Facebook privacy settings.

Yikes!

To see if your Facebook account privacy settings pass, all you need to do is follow these directions from Mike’s article:

To run the bookmarklet and see how private you may or may not be on Facebook, simply follow these directions:

  1. Drag this link to your web browser bookmarks bar: Scan for Privacy
  2. Log in to facebook.com and then click that bookmarklet
  3. You will see a series of privacy scans that inspect your privacy settings and warn you about settings that might be unexpectedly public.

How to select Facebook privacy settings

Five Social Software Predictions from Gartner

Twitter
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2009 saw an explosion of growth in the use of social media by business users. According to Mark R. Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner “A lot has happened in a year within the social software and collaboration space. The growing use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook by business users has resulted in serious enterprise dialogue about procuring social software platforms for the business. Success in social software and collaboration will be characterized by a concerted and collaborative effort between IT and the business.”
Gartner’s report, “Gartner Reveals Five Social Software Predictions for 2010 and Beyond” makes five predictions about how social networking will transform business in the coming years:

By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.
“The rigid distinction between email and social networks will erode. Email will take on many social attributes, such as contact brokering while social networks will develop richer email capabilities,” said Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner. “While email is already almost fully penetrated in the corporate space, we expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services.”

By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.

The huge popularity of the consumer-microblogging service Twitter, has led many organizations to look for an “enterprise Twitter”, that provides microblogging functionality with more control and security features to support internal use between employees. Enterprise users want to use microblogging for many of the same reasons that consumers do to share quick insights, to keep up with what colleagues are doing, to get quick answers to questions and so on.

“However, it will be very difficult for microblogging as a stand-alone function to achieve widespread adoption within the enterprise. Twitter’s scale is one of the reasons for its popularity,” said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president for Gartner. “When limited to a single enterprise, that same scale is unachievable, reducing the number of users who will find it valuable. Mainstream enterprises are unlikely to adopt standalone, single-purpose microblogging products.”

Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail.

When it comes to collaboration, IT organizations are accustomed to providing a technology platform (such as, email, IM, Web conferencing) rather than delivering a social solution that targets specific business value. Through 2013, IT organizations will struggle with shifting from providing a platform to delivering a solution. This will result in over a 70% failure rate in IT-driven social media initiatives. 50% of business-led social media initiatives will succeed, versus 20% of IT-driven initiatives.

Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.

As we move toward three billion phones in the world serving the main purpose of providing communications and collaboration anytime anywhere, Gartner expects more end-users to spend significant time experiencing the collaborative tools on these devices. For some of the world, these will be the first or the only applications they use. The experience with these tools for all who use them will enable the user to handle far more conversations within a given amount of time than their PCs simply because they are easier to use.

Just as the iPhone impacted user interface design on the desktop, the lessons in the mobile phone collaboration space will dramatically affect PC applications, many of which are derivatives of decades-old platforms based on the PBX or other older collaboration paradigm.

Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.

Social network analysis is a useful methodology for examining the interaction patterns and information flows that occur among the people and groups in an organization, as well as among business partners and customers. However, when surveys are used for data collection, users may be reluctant to provide accurate responses. When automated tools perform the analysis, users may resent knowing that software is analyzing their behavior. For these reasons, social network analysis will remain an untapped source of insight in most organizations.

You can read more about the report here.

24% of US Small Businesses Now Engaged in Social Media Survey Says

American small businesses are pushing the limits on new ways to improve efficiency in the prolonged downturn, including a steady increase in social media adoption according to results of a study from the Small Business Success Index™ (SBSI) sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business . The SBSI reports social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent in the last year.

The SBSI found that nearly one out of five small business owners are actively using social media in their business. Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles. The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement, including identifying and attracting new customers, building brand awareness and staying engaged with customers.  Sixty-one percent of the respondents indicated that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.

Yummy
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“Social media levels the playing field for small businesses by helping them deliver customer service,” says Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “Time spent on Twitter®, Facebook® and blogs is an investment in making it easier for small businesses to compete.”

Small business owners use social media to attract new customers:

  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months

Small business owners still have concerns with social media:

  • 50% of small business social media users say it takes more time than expected
  • 17% express that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet
  • Only 6% feel that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it

To download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success, visit www.growsmartbusiness.com.

Has your business adopted social media? What is your company doing? What have been the results so far?

What are the Best Tech Products of 2010?

My iPhone Apps
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Michael Arrington, founder and co-editor of TechCrunch and the world’s fourth-most-powerful blogger, according to Technorati, has released “2010: My fifth Annual List of the Tech Products I Love and Use Every Day.

According to Arrington:

This is a simple list of the tech products that are an integral part of my day – work or play. Some have withstood the test of time and I just can’t live without. Others are newcomers that have captured my imagination.

I use most of them every day, or nearly every day, and I would not be as productive or happy without all of them. There are now 24 products on the list.

Arrington writes that TechMeme, Skype and WordPress are the only products that have been on his list for all five years. The entire list of products  follows:

  • Android
  • Animoto
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Facebook
  • Gmail
  • Hulu
  • Kodak Zi8
  • MOG, Pandora and Spotify
  • Scribd and Docstoc
  • Skitch
  • TripIt
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • Yammer
  • YouTube

What tech products do you love and use everyday?