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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Twitter Restricts Use Of Its API, Could It Charge Next?

In Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter on February 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Twitter will stop whitelisting applications to its API. What does that mean in English?

Developers can build applications on top of Twitter, like TweetDeck or Klout, by using its API to pull in its data. Some apps take in a lot of data, and up until now Twitter would allow them to be “whitelisted” to use the API more intensively. Now they’ve announced to developers that they will “no longer grant whitelisting requests.” Apps that are already whitelisted will keep their privileges, but if you were waiting until today to apply, tough luck. (Via Regular Geek)

Twitter says if you’re unhappy about it you should try to work harder to make do with the new limitations.

Why could that be? (Bear in mind we’re just speculating here.)

They’re having problems scaling so they want to cool down the API for a while. Most of the activity on Twitter is via the API, since most people use Twitter through apps, whether it’s Twitter’s own apps or third-party apps. Twitter hasn’t said that’s the reason, but Twitter’s scaling difficulties are legendary and this might be the reason. In which case, the move could be temporary.

Twitter has a big enough developer ecosystem now, thank you very much, so it’s going to stop supporting the rest. That’s what Regular Geek thinks, writing they’ve “essentially … decided that they have had enough support from the small developer.” We’re doubtful that’s the explanation — platforms like Twitter are always in competition with other platforms for developer support. And with oodles of cash in its coffers, Twitter can afford to keep supporting developers.

Maybe Twitter plans to charge for its API? That’s always been rumored to be a future business model for Twitter. Right now they’re focused on advertising, but the first time they made money was by charging Google and Microsoft for access to its “firehose”, meaning all of the tweets in real time, and they still do that. As companies like TweetDeck are starting to build a real business, maybe Twitter wants to charge for heavier access to its API.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-restricts-use-of-its-api-could-it-charge-next-2011-2#ixzz1DfWPE77F

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Lloyd Blankfein’s Secret Facebook Feed

In Facebook, Social Media, Social Networking, Web 2.0 on January 12, 2011 at 4:26 am

According to a Bloomberg report, despite their firm’s recent investment in Facebook, many Goldman Sachs employees aren’t familiar with the workings of the social-networking site, since it was until recently banned in the office for productivity reasons (and most Goldman employees are, naturally, so focused on minting money they never managed to create profiles on their own time). Which is why, the news service explains, an executive recently held a special training session to walk them “through the basics” of Friending, Liking, and Making Sure You Save Your Drunk House-Party Photos As Private. That they expect us to believe this shareholder-pleasing nonsense is, frankly, an affront to our intelligence. This is Goldman Sachs. They’ve secretly been on Facebook the whole time, stalking and super-poking and creating complex derivative packages based on everyone’s Likes list. How do we know? We took a screen-grab of Lloyd Blankfein’s news feed right before new security measures were put in place.*

Goldman Facebook

*Many thanks to the fine people at Slate.

What NOT to Do When Advertising on Social Media

In Branding, Business Solutions, Facebook, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter, YouTube on January 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Note: This article was originally published on Open Forum.

Facebook Deals, Groupon Stores, Foursquare, Gowalla — small business owners can take their pick when it comes to advertising through social media. It takes more than signing up on a few sites to pull in the dough, however.

Savvy retailers know how to use social media tools to their advantage while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

Make sure you’re being smart about how you advertise by not making these errors:

Making Rewards Too Difficult for Customers to Earn

Let’s say you own a hair salon and decide to offer a discount to the person who “checks in” the most often at your shop by a certain date. Word spreads quickly and before you know it, someone has won the coupon and that person continues to be your most frequent customer. The problem is no one else can beat that person for the reward.

If you have a business that requires foot traffic, advertising deals to your most loyal customers can be a useful tool. However, if you make it too difficult for others to earn that reward, they might just go to another salon. A smarter approach would be to offer a variety of ways for customers to win rewards, such as by checking in a certain number of times or by fulfilling other conditions. Here are some suggestions from Foursquare and Facebook Deals:

  • Check-in Specials: when a user checks into your venue a certain number of times, e.g., “Foursquare says you’ve been here 10 times? That’s a free drink for you!”
  • Friend Deal: offering discounts to groups of people when they check in together.
  • Charity Deal: create a Charity Deal to make a donation to the charity of yours or the customer’s choice.
  • Wildcard Specials: requiring your staff to verify some extra conditions, such as customers showing a badge on their smartphone before receiving the special discount.

Failing to Offer the Right Rewards

Perhaps you opened a diner but it’s in a remote location. You decide to reach out to your local community by offering special deals on Foursquare but the response has been minimal. What did you do wrong? Foursquare recently introduced a tool that allows businesses to customize their deals according to a range of real-time data about their venue and their customers. The stats include the number of unique visitors who checked into a place via Foursquare, the time customers arrived, the male-to-female ratio and which times of day are more active for certain patrons. Business owners can also offer instant promotions to try to engage new customers and keep current ones. Not all social media sites offer this feature. For other ideas on how to gauge your customers’ preferences, see the next point.

Not Addressing Customers’ Complaints
Ignore customers’ comments at your own risk. The arrest of Vitaly Borker, owner of DecorMyEyes, is an extreme example of what can go wrong when customers are mistreated. “When people can openly talk with, about, and around you, screwing them is no longer a valid business strategy,” said Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? Rather than ignore or attempt to hide your customers’ complaints, engage them through a blog or Twitter account. Dell learned its lesson and now offers IdeaStorm, a site that lets customers discuss and vote on ways for Dell to improve its products and services. Starbucks offers a similar approach called My Starbucks Idea on a website and Twitter.

Figuring out what works best for your company can take some time, but with creativity and research, the benefits can be worthwhile.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-not-to-do-when-advertising-on-social-media-2011-1#ixzz1Ag8FQvwd

 

In Business, Early Birds Twitter Most Effectively

In Business Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter on December 17, 2010 at 2:56 am

Companies can work wonders before Twitter’s vast interactive audience of consumers, but it’s best to start slowly and build credibility

By Shel Israel

Like so many others, Lionel Menchaca, Dell Computer’s chief blogger, thought Twitter was “fairly worthless for business” when he first looked at it in March 2007, but trying new social media tools was part of his job. Menchaca opened an account and started posting links whenever he posted on Direct2Dell, the company’s oft-praised corporate blog, where he serves as principal author.

The results exceeded his expectations. When he posted a link on Twitter, people clicked on the URL in minutes. They commented often—and at Twitter, rather than on the blog. They were the first viewers to spread word of his new blog posts. Twitter moved fast and sent his words further than any medium he had previously encountered.

But that turned out to be less than half the story. Listening to others turned out to be even more valuable than distributing what he wrote. Menchaca discovered that by using the Twitter Search feature, he could monitor and sometimes join conversations about PCs. “Tweeters,” as they call themselves, regularly posted links to relevant content he might otherwise have missed.

Menchaca’s experience is far from unique. Businesses, ranging from the largest multinationals to home-office practitioners, often come for one reason and are surprised to find greater value in some other aspect they hadn’t considered. The surprise plus can bring help in marketing, sales, recruiting, feedback, support, sales or just getting closer to geographically scattered networks (as has been the case with IBM.)

Business uses for Twitter are proving to be as diverse as those for the telephone or e-mail. They generally break into two categories: ways to follow customers and ways to increase efficiency.

RECRUIT CLIENTS AND SOOTHE CONSUMERS
Companies are joining Twitter for the same reason politicians attend the funerals of famous people: It’s where they can find their constituents and hold close, informal conversations with them. For example, CrowdSPRING, a tiny Chicago-based startup, uses Twitter to find buyers and sellers for its online professional graphics marketplace. (Business buyers declare what they want to see in a new logo or website and then, on average, 70 designers bid on each project.)

Conversations start in Twitter and then spread beyond the platform’s seamless boundaries, rapidly reaching customers, vendors, recruits, and partners in a wide variety of markets. You can find potential customers on Twitter and perhaps snag a sale. You can also find conversations with consumers who are unhappy with your products and assuage them quickly and publicly.

Twitter may owe its blastoff to the dive the economy took. Microblogging became a much-discusssed option just as businesses began axing marketing, advertising, and public relations budgets and reducing their participation at conferences and social networking events. Because of those cuts, companies understood they still needed to reach out to customers. Twitter turned out to be a less-expensive and more efficient way to achieve this.

Twitter works well with other social media platforms, such as blogs, video, and audio podcasts, creating a whole new kind of interactive integrated communications solution. It is proving not just faster and cheaper—but more credible. Surveys consistently report that people tend to trust their Twitter friends more than formulated company messages. Users increasingly rely on one another for tips on what to buy, watch, read, or listen to.

While Twitter shares similarities with phones and e-mail, there’s a major difference: It works best in public. Anyone can see real people in a company trying hard to help.

AVOID ONE-WAY, TARGETED MARKETING
Comcast, North America’s largest cable carrier, has a 10-member Twitter support team. Tens of thousands of tweeters witness employees trying—with customary success—to help customers. Conversely, consumers do not witness call-center conversations and the greatest failures among those interactions tend to make the most noise in the marketplace. Surveys show measurable improvements in Comcast’s customer satisfaction ratings since the company began using Twitter for customer service.

Of course, Twitter is no elixir. Companies who try to use the tool as yet another marketing arrow in their quiver—one that mostly carries targeted, one-way messages—usually fail.

While Twitter has had remarkable results in times of crisis, companies that jump in just when an emergency is breaking have joined too late. Their customers don’t know they are there. It takes time to establish your credibility in Twitterville and you need to understand how it works before that credibility gets tested.

It also takes time to understand how this deceptively simple-looking tool works. Nearly everyone I interviewed in my recent book mentioned how confused and disoriented they once felt. According to Twitter founder-CEO Ev Williams: “People are pretty much clueless when they first try Twitter.”

A smart business will start early. Nearly every company cited in the accompanying slide show stumbled and fumbled for a while before they discovered how Twitter could help business in many ways.

Shel Israel is author of TWITTERVILLE: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods (Portfolio 2009

Social Media Revolution [Video]

In Cloud Solutions, File Sharing Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Viewing, Twitter, Web Development on December 15, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Statistics so alluring that it leaves the viewer wondering why some even consider social media to be a fad. It is certainly not the social media companies themselves, media companies or agencies that are leading people down this social garden path. Actually it’s people’s thirst for information, friends, acceptance etc (and a plethora of other sociological and anthropological aspects) that is resulting in people driving down more like a seven lane superhighway at breakneck speed resulting in these unprecedented engagement levels.

And when you are driving down a motorway and see a lorry parked side on in an adjoining field with a large ad on the side, do you remember the URL or phone number on the ad when you arrive at your destination? (If you’ve written it down whilst driving – shame on you!)

Yes, you nearly cash into the car in front of you trying to read the ad or slowed down so much that the motorcyclist behind you is now headbutting your number plate, but that’s just it. You read it and it’s gone. No hook, no memory. It’s a bit like an ad on the London Underground using an SMS number as the call to action.

Four Ways Social Media Will Change Television

In Adobe, Cloud Solutions, Facebook, Google, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter, Web Development, YouTube on November 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Read the full post at: http://gigaom.com/video/four-ways-social-media-will-change-television/

By Michael Wolf

At NewTeeVee Live, Robin Sloan talked about how Twitter is fast becoming the global TV watercooler. Certainly, the power of Twitter to facilitate real-time conversation during live viewing — as illustrated by Sloan — is impressive. As I discuss in my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), there is no doubt that the broader integration of social media like Twitter into and around TV content is creating new opportunities in four areas: viewing, measurement, curation and commerce.

Let’s take a look at each.

Social Viewing

While the early social viewing implementations have largely been Mystery Science Theater 3000 knockoffs, the real action for viewing parties is at Twitter. The network’s real-time nature allows for interaction and surprise for fans who want to engage with others during the live-viewing experience. This isn’t to say that Facebook won’t show up at the shared viewing party, though.

Measurement

Sloan’s presentation displayed fascinating visuals on how Tweet activity changes in live show windows (for example, the chart below, which shows Tweet activity during the first episode of this season’s Dancing With the Stars). This is a gold mine of information for brand marketers and TV execs looking to understand, down to the minute, how people react to different parts of different shows.

Source: Twitter

Curation

While curation is a big topic on the consumer web, it really hasn’t hit the video world yet. Startups like Shortform and Redux are beginning to enable curation of video content, but it won’t be long before personalized video channels will be created for TV viewing. This means not only do we get to look forward to creating our own channels someday, but may have to suffer through some media personalities becoming their own broadcasters.

Commerce

Much of the hot startup activity in the web world in 2010 has been all about commerce on the computer screen, but it’s logical to think as connectivity goes to the best screen in the house, social commerce will also become social TV commerce. Imagine a social overlay on top of a QVC channel or even a lifestyle channel with a highly desirable demographic. The ability for a brand to offer a TV-based “Groupon” type offer and that also allowed a person to share with their own social graph could be highly compelling.

The Real Value of Social Media

In Social Media on October 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Oct 12, 2010 –
This is a story about whether social media actually works to sell your small business to new customers. As a “digitally-savvy” customer, I was recently presented with the personal challenge of finding a service provider to work with in two entirely different industries. The first was an accountant, and the second was a builder for a home improvement project. How did I go about finding the right providers to work with?

The first place I started was search – but for local providers it didn’t turn out to be that useful because there were too many results and no way to really compare them. Instead, I found myself using a combination of polling and browsing my social network for suggestions, and resorted to the decidedly traditional method of finding phone numbers and calling these businesses directly.

The most interesting discovery of this process, though, was that the real value of social media was not in the initial phase of my search, but in the decision making process once I had alternatives for who to actually work with.

Here are a few lessons from the businesses I ended up working with in terms of how they used social media as a part of their pitching process to seal the deal:

1. Organize your portfolio. It is easy to forget the power of many social media tools to be supporting your business in something other than a promotional way. What if you used a photographic tool like Flickr to organize private galleries where you could access samples of your previous work from anywhere? When I met with the builder I chose, this sort of virtual portfolio was a key tool in how he described his business and past work to me using an online gallery form of social media what was not publicly available, but easy for him to access.

2. Share your philosophy (and differentiators). One of the things that attracted me to the accountant that I chose was their approach to educating their clients. They believe in conducting webinars, sharing presentations and generally taking an open approach to teaching customers and potential customers about bookkeeping and accounting. Their philosophy is that educating their clients helps their bottom line. To me, this indicated that they had a real expertise and that they were connected to a network they would share it with me instead of just billing me extra hours to do it themselves.

3. Encourage your promoters. If you do good work, chances are you have some strong customers who can serve as promoters for your business. One of the key behaviors that many are using social media for is broadcasting a question to their network so they can gather recommendations for providers to work with. I uncovered the builders of my project this way by asking for recommendations through Facebook – word of mouth, enabled by social media. You may already ask your best customers to recommend you to their friends and family, but extending this into social media to have them recommend your page on Facebook or incentivize them to share their experience of working with you on their social network can lead to more referral activity in the virtual world – where many of the first questions or requests for referrals happen anyway.

4. Work your own network. You are likely already connected to more people than you realize through your own personal network. Do you use LinkedIn? This was an important tool for me as I came to a short list of accountants to call in my area, based on “once-removed” relationships with people I am just now getting to know better and a simple search for the keyword phrase “CPA.” Make sure that your profile has the right keywords so your 2nd and 3rd level connections can see what you do and the services you offer. A friend of a friend on LinkedIn might become a customer.

In my case, both of the service providers I chose had novel ways of using social media to build awareness, increase their findability, demonstrate their philosophy and helped them to close the deal with me. I did speak personally with both of them and request samples of their work, so this real life evaluation component did not “go virtual,” but social media still served an essential role for both of them in landing a digitally savvy new client – and it can for you too.

*****

Rohit Bhargava is the author of the best selling marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide to how to use personality as a secret weapon to promote your business. He believes every opportunity is one that can be used to improve your skills at marketing if you pay attention to the situations you’re faced with – like his recent quest for a new accountant.

Google Is Determined to Crack the Social Code

In Facebook, Google, Social Media on October 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm

New York Times, October 17, 2010
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

Google has been stunningly adept at devising computer algorithms to help people search the Internet. But when it comes to building features for social networking, the company has been much less effective.

And changing that is one of the company’s biggest business challenges these days.

Google depends on having its finger on the pulse of the entire Internet, and maintaining its status as the primary entree to the Web. But as people spend more time on closed social networks like Facebook, where much of the data they share is off limits to search engines, Google risks losing the competition for Web users’ time, details of their lives and, ultimately, advertising.

“Google’s made a lot of money helping people make decisions using search engines, but more and more people are turning to social outlets to make decisions,” said Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, a technology research and advisory firm. “And whenever people make decisions, there’s money involved.”

Google has been trying to create social components, most recently with Buzz, a service that gives Gmail users the ability to share status updates, photos and videos. But that, and earlier efforts, have not been hugely popular.

Now the company will try again, with tools to be unveiled this fall, said Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. Although the details remain murky, Mr. Schmidt and other Google officials sketched a broad outline of their plans in recent interviews.

Some of the tools are still being developed, they said; others will add features to existing products, like search, e-mail, maps, photos, video and ads.

The company plans to “take Google’s core products and add a social component, to make the core products even better,” Mr. Schmidt said.

But some wonder whether Google understands enough about social connections to create the tools people want to use.

“Google’s culture is very much based on the power of the algorithm, and it’s very difficult to algorithm social interaction,” Ms. Li said.

For example, the introduction of Buzz in February caused a wave of criticism from privacy advocates and everyday users, because it automatically included users’ e-mail contacts in their Buzz network. Google quickly changed the service so that it suggested friends instead of automatically connecting them.

Before Buzz’s release to the public, it was tested only by Google employees.

“There is some belief at Google that their DNA is not perfectly suited to build social products, and it’s a quite controversial topic internally,” said a person who has worked on Google’s social products who would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

“The part of social that’s about stalking people, sharing photos, looking cool — it’s mentally foreign to engineers,” the person said. “All those little details are subtle and sometimes missed, especially by technical people who are brought up in a very utilitarian company.”

Google has a social network, Orkut, but that never took off in the United States, although it is popular in Brazil and India. There are also Google profiles, which let people link Google to LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, so that information their friends have published online can appear in search results. Only a small percentage of Google users have created these profiles.

And as Facebook gains in popularity, it grows as a threat. Google sites, including the search engine and YouTube, get more unique visitors than Facebook. But in August, for the first time, people spent more time on Facebook than on Google sites, according to comScore, the Web analytics firm.

Some people are beginning to turn to their friends on Facebook for information for which they had used Google, like asking for recommendations on the best sushi or baby sitter.

Through a new partnership with Microsoft, an investor in Facebook, the things your friends like on Facebook can show up in the search results from Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.

The threat goes straight to the bottom line, too. Facebook is increasing its sales of display ads with images, which Google is counting on as its next big business.

Google has assembled a team of engineers to work on social networking, led by two executives who worked on Buzz — Vic Gundotra, vice president for engineering responsible for mobile applications, and Bradley Horowitz, a vice president for product management overseeing Google Apps.

“Google, as part of our mission to organize the world’s information, also needs to organize and make it very useful for you to see the interactions of your friends, to participate with them and benefit,” Mr. Gundotra said.

The company has also been piecing together a puzzle of social networking companies, technologies and engineers. It acquired Slide and Jambool, which made apps and virtual goods and currency for social networks, and Angstro, which built tools to exchange information among social services. This year, it bought Aardvark, to which users can post questions that are answered by individuals, and invested in the gaming company Zynga.

But the new project will not include a big gaming element, despite previous reports, said a person who has worked on the products.

“Google’s a pretty serious place,” Mr. Schmidt said. “It’s hard to see how we could end up as becoming a significant gaming or entertainment source. It’s much more likely that we would become an infrastructure for those sorts of things.”

Whatever Google does, its officials said, it would not build a Facebook reproduction that requires users to re-enter all their personal and social data. “I think that there is social networking fatigue,” Mr. Horowitz said.

The stakes are high, because people increasingly go to friends on other sites, like Yelp, Facebook or Twitter, with their search questions. For example, Ms. Li of the research firm recently asked her Twitter friends where to shop for clothes for her middle schooler and got answers from people who know her and her child.

“In the past I could have gone to Google and that would have been a huge advertising opportunity for Gap or American Eagle, but Google never had a chance to see my intention,” she said.

The potential for social information reaches beyond search. Facebook’s most popular feature is photo sharing and tagging friends in pictures. Picasa, Google’s photo-sharing service, is not nearly as social.

Ads also have the potential to be social, when people share and comment on them. Neal Mohan, the Google vice president in charge of display ads, said that by 2015, three-quarters of display ads will be social. But Facebook already allows users to do this. Knowing the information people share on social networks — like their age, gender and the restaurants and musicians they like — could also help Google direct ads more effectively.

Larry Yu, a Facebook spokesman, said his company expected competitors large and small to emerge but was focused on building a valuable service. Privately, though, Facebook executives have said that their biggest worry is that Google will prioritize a Google profile page over a Facebook page in search results.

Yeah, they’re low budget, but user-generated videos get results

In YouTube on October 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm

By: Social Media Influence

Here’s some inspiring news for low-budget filmmakers and cash-strapped brands looking to get noticed. A new effectiveness study of online video shows that user-generated videos are in many ways as effective as slickly produced TV commercials, news that would hardly surprise your typical YouTube addict. Could this spell the end of the expensive commercial shoot?

Maybe it’s too early to boot the creative team, but the findings of the study do suggest that marketers have been underestimating the persuasive power of user-generated video. Says Frank Findley, Vice President of comScore ARS, one of the co-authors of the study: “The results of our research suggest that user-created video is a format that not only yields promising persuasive executions, but does so in a way that complements traditional forms of media. When advertisers think of user-generated content, they mostly consider the impact of creative going viral.”

In other words, here’s a strong retort for those moments when the brand manager asks of the agency: “can you make me a viral?” Instead, it turns out, offering your customers a superior product and a compelling narrative has the potential to be even more persuasive than a handsome man on a horse.

We should point out that the co-author of this report is EXPO Communications, a video production outfit that helps brands produce product reviews. In other words, they know quite a bit about effective product reviews.

One of their clients had this to say about the findings of the study:

“It’s no surprise that consumers can persuade each other, but it is surprising that in consumer-produced video, people are naturally exhibiting behaviors that years of research have found to be persuasive in professional television commercials,” said Joe Torpey, Director, Digital Marketing for LG Electronics USA, Inc. “Brands are only beginning to uncover the value that lies in giving consumers their own voice on the social web.”

Asians are HUGE in Social Media

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

SINGAPORE – ASIANS are muscling their way into traditionally Western-dominated social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Internet blogs, prompting major players to sit up and take notice. With more than 220 million bloggers in China alone and nearly three out of five people in Singapore having a Facebook account, Asia is presenting a huge commercial opportunity for online advertising. Social media guru Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific director of Ogilvy Public Relations’ global social media team, said regional users were jumping on the social media bandwagon at a faster rate than the rest of the world. ‘Asia is… the most exciting part of the world for what’s going on in social media,’ he told AFP on the sidelines of a social media forum in Singapore. Facebook launched an Asian sales office in Singapore this month in order to to be better placed to sell ads to companies aiming for the region’s consumers. ‘The Asian market’s a very, very big market for us,’ said Blake Chandlee, Facebook’s commercial director for regions outside North America and western Europe. ‘It’s an enormous opportunity for us.’ Chandlee said Asia was the fastest-growing among Facebook’s geographical markets, or ‘theatres”, despite restrictions on access in China.