Socialmedia Catalyst

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Web Influence

SMM Campaign we love – Ford Fiesta

A majority of business outlets are recognizing the role of social media in today’s net-ridden world. The much talked about Ford’s Fiesta campaign is an apt example of this trend.

What they did was simple: Their experiment was about inviting 100 “social agents” (members of the public) to drive and review Fiesta for six months, and share their experience with the world. They had them promote the car through different social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube and blogs.

For the Fiesta Movement campaign, Ford organized the World’s Largest Tweetup by bringing together friends and family of the selected test drivers. Also, the Guinness Book of Records has marked this as the World’s Largest Tweetup.

The main touch-point of the campaign was the Fiesta Movement website, which serves as some sort-of aggregator that gathers the different content being produced on the different pages the agent’s author. On the Fiesta movement website, one can track missions, watch videos produced and read more about the agents.

Many social media commentators agree that this campaign was a huge success. The 700 videos produced by the agents have generated 6.5 million views on YouTube, and there have been more than 3.4 million impressions of Fiesta Movement on Twitter. Even photos taken by the agents have been viewed more than 670,000 times.

More first hand experiences on this blog.

Social media network, the next film critic?

Avatar, the magnum opus of James Cameroon, could be the most successful film ever in the world in terms of revenues. It has also been a very big hit in India where generally Hollywood movies take time to be accepted by the audiences.

Moksh: I would partly attribute the success to the rave reviews on social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut and others. It meant that the social networking sights were loaded with the personal views of the movie-buffs who saw it in and immediately uploaded their comments on these sites especially Twitter.

Daksh: The euphoria that has ensued resulted in massive revenues at the box office. Similar can be the case with 3 Idiots. The movie was discussed threadbare and there were no-holds barred discussion where it was dissected and bisected from all the directions. A critic would surely have not done in such a detailed manner. But does it mean that the role of critic as making or opinion or marring the reputation of a film is coming to an end? It seems so but it is happening slowly but surely.

Moksh: Twitter has already made its presence felt as a medium of communication that is bringing reviews of the films in a more personalized manner and is invoking a chain of communications around it. So, is it ominous signs for the art of critique for a film? The wind is flowing in that direction.

Daksh: The discussions on the social network sites that is emanating is between those who incidentally belong to the category that forms the first week’s crowd for a movie, the fate decider of a movie so to say. If they have decided to discuss the movie threadbare on their own without bothering about the review that an official designate reviewer may have put on the newspaper, a TV channel or a website, it indeed would mean that democratization in the process of movie viewing would come into play. A viewer would be more guided by the review put up by a fellow review instead of being swayed by the review that is put up by a professional reviewer.

Moksh: But the debatable point in this development would be, whether the trend would continue for other movies as well, or it would be a passing phase? Would the same sense of participation in the same magnitude become a part for all the films that are released in India? It would indeed be a tough task, as everybody, i.e. those who want to participate would have to watch the movie to chip in with the comments. Rottentomatoes.com and imbd are websites which has loads of writers giving fair review for a movie.

For the film fraternity, it could be a bonanza, as more and more people may be viewing a movie, and could it mean that the official group of a film promoted on a social network site be accorded the privilege of viewing a movie before it is released to offer their comments and discuss the issue threadbare. This could be a sort of Paid PR activity.

Why social networking sites have become so famous?

Daksh: I was wondering as to the reason for people to use these sites and what do they do for so long on social networks, the biggest discovery happened? Pictures, bingo. People just love to look at pictures. That’s the killer application of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people’s profiles.” Why the popularity of photos? People who post pictures of themselves can show they are having fun and are popular without having to boast

Moksh: Another draw of photos (and of Social Network sites in general) is that they enable a form of voyeurism. In real life there is a strong norm against prying into other people’s lives. But online enables “a very delicate way for me to pry into your life without really prying”

Daksh: yes, also I found out that there are radical differences in gender use of sites. The biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.

Moksh: This seems to be a real big surprise: A lot of guys in relationships are looking at women they don’t know. This is true more in western world than conservative Asia. It’s an easy way to see if anyone might be a better match. Online networks act as cover.

Daksh: Social networking gives access to people who you would find difficult to meet on a very frequent basis. Moreover the geographical barriers and we get to know the various things happening with your friends and acquaintances in their daily life.

Moksh: A very different question is raised by my friends. Does social networking reduce the interpersonal skills of children who prefer interacting with friends online than in person? I completely disagree to the same. It is a new form of communication and it changes with times. There are pros and cons to it and it is as yet a grey area which will be explored in times to come.

Are social networks here to stay? Is it a revolution?

Clubbing was a decade old form of social networking. Today people tweet their thoughts for the world to see. In between, we’ve had instant messaging, MySpace, Facebook and blogs.

Social networking technology is changing the way consumers, investors and traders interact and share information. However, all companies are struggling to find ways to show how the trend is actually adding to the bottom line. Almost every industry has seen the influence of social networking.

Moksh: Online social networking is here to stay—the only change will be in what form it takes. It isn’t just a fad. However it needs to keep on coming up with innovations. The content and the features will have to be kept updated very frequently for the consumer to retain interest in the same.

Daksh: yes, apart from this, more interactivity between the website and the user will go a long way in him being loyal and an evangelist for the site to a new user or even an existing user. I think the young generation get bored very easily and thus the secret to success for the network would be real time innovation, as Moksh said. It is very difficult to be logged in your site when he has plenty other options just at the click of a button.

Moksh: people ask me whether social networking would take advertisement away from the conventional media. The answer is that no media can be indispensable, ever. Period.
Each media compliments the other and social networking isn’t any different. The only thing that might happen is that initially till the media is new and people have not experienced it, some amount of content will go to it. But in the long run, it will all even out.

Daksh: people in India don’t buy or sell stuff online which I think could be a small drawback in terms of leveraging the media for trade purposes. Advertising is fine but not trade. Also the internet connectivity in India is very low which could act as a barrier. Stringent laws by the government will help trade and as people’s confidence in the system increases, more use of social networks will happen.

INTEGRATING SOCIAL MEDIA INTO MKTG COMMUNICATIONS

The newest kid on the block always gets the eyeballs and attention with respect to what it does. Same is the case with the social networking sites which have taken the world by storm. Experts predict it to be the next big thing. Only time will tell whether it will but it doesn’t stop people from taking big bets on it.

What started out as a forum for like-people to exchange views and opinions and start type of online club has turned into a marketing arena for marketers to get each and every pounce of it. The huge response social network sites have got and the type of audience available to the marketers unprecedented before has resulted in them researching how to leverage it. However there are concerns whether they should be clubbed with the other forms of media or should be kept separately due to the type of audience.

Moksh: Integration with existing marketing strategy or not? For me it doesn’t matter, what matters is how we tap this market. If our goal is the same, then I think we should integrate it since it would give a holistic picture and there would not be duplication of activities.

Daksh: Integrating it will help more since the objectives are same. However the technology and information for this media is developing and thus the quantity of budget allotment would differ from product/ service to product/ service. E.g. Telecom players such as Vodafone or Airtel or Idea who spend huge budgets would not mind spending on social media but low spenders and who prefer focused marketing would be circumspect till the actual response of social media is known.

Moksh: though social media is a bit different from internet marketing, the basics remain the same. i.e. banner ads or classified ads or search based ads will be the way on social media. Social networking websites cannot force neitizens to click on the banner ad.

Daksh: I think social media scores over other forms of media in a way that it is interactive. Thus the consumer is more likely to read and understand the product. Thus I would say that it is more focused and the target market is much more under the microscope.

Points to be considered before determining the SEO Strategy:

Steps to help you in preparing the SEO strategy for the website or in the process of preparing proposal for the SEO works

Age of the domain: The first process is to determine the age of the domain and document it. The domain age is a factor that Google search engine uses to determine the trust of a domain.

Index Status: Checking the index status of a website will in help you better understand the website visibility in search engines. Make sure to check the website index status in Google, Yahoo and Live and document the number of pages indexed in each search engines.

Backlinks: Find the number of inbound links for the website in Google and Yahoo. Further I would suggest analyzing the backlinks to understand if it is through active or passive link building.

IP Neighbors: Check out the website neighbors using the reverse IP lookup and make sure that it doesn’t have any bad neighbors. If the website has a dedicated IP then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Blacklist IP: It is important to ensure that the IP of the website is not blacklisted in anti-spam databases. If so I would suggest contacting the host to find out the possible reason and requesting them for an alternate

Canonicalization: Canonicalization is the process of picking up the right URL for a website. Technically search engines treat it differently. In the site analysis process it is important that you check the alternate URLs for the website and ensure that your website has single persistent URL.

Alternate URLs: Webmasters/Site owners have a habit of booking multiple URLs/domain extensions for their website. If all these points to the main website then it would result in website duplication. Make sure you identify all the alternate versions and redirect them to the main website.

Search Engine cache: The cache version of a website will give more information on the website. Check the text only version of Google cache of the website homepage which will let you know critical information on the links from the homepage, content in the homepage which can be crawled. This will help on design, navigation and usability analysis.

Black hat: In this process make sure you analyze thoroughly to ensure that the website doesn’t implement any black hat techniques like cloaking, hidden text etc.

Traffic Estimation: A rough traffic estimation on the website that you are about to optimize will let you know information on the number of visitors that the website drives in before you start with your process. Further MSN audience intelligence tool will be handy.

Tips to succeed in long term in Social Media:

Building a social media presence is much more a marathon than a sprint. There’s plenty of content to develop, place and promote, and there are lots of relationships to build. The social media marathon requires commitment, persistence and lots of patience, the type of mental endurance needed to complete a 42 km race.
Commit to do whatever is necessary to succeed, and pace you, so that you don’t injure yourself or get burned out during the process. This principle is behind most great achievements.

“Start off slow and taper down.” Bob’s mantra counters our natural tendency to come “out of the gate” at full speed and keep running — our human egos at work. How does all this translate into long-term social media success?

Here are seven ideas to help you develop the mindset of a marathoner:

1. Make a serious commitment to do whatever is required to attain your social media or web marketing goals. This is an absolute prerequisite.

2. Get yourself a mentor. As I now like to say, “The ultimate shortcut is doing it right the first time.”

3. Don’t wait until the conditions are perfect for launching your campaign. I’ll always remember what some one said, “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going”.

4. Join one business networking site at a time and take the time to master it. Social networking sites can be intimidating at first. Learn a new feature, practice it, and go on to the next.

5. Start out blogging once a week. It’s hard to begin, especially if, like me, you’re not a professional writer. You can increase your posting frequency later.

6. Realize that there’s a steep social media learning curve. Do not quit. So many people join Twitter or Facebook or begin blogging and quit shortly thereafter.

7. Don’t forget about the “social” in social media. Get to know a lot of people and have a blast!

How can you provide value and make Facebook work better for others?

1. Engage the reader. Ask him questions about his business. Show interest in them, and they will show interest in you.

2. be gracious. Thank them for being a follower. Thank them for friend-requesting you. Always say thank you.

3. Reciprocate. Return the tweet by commenting on one of their tweets or blog posts. Tell them you like their site, their profile picture, etc. Say it and mean it.

4. Create Passion. Write and link to content that not only will interest the readers, but will also interest you. Readers can tell when you’re writing about something that you’re mildly interested in and something that you have a passion for.

Being a part of a social site needn’t be about who ate lunch where or an outline of your daily habits because that is what is happening with twitter. Add value to your pages and keep the readers coming back for more by giving them that value. Write about interesting topics. Write about unusual practices. Blog about changes in your company’s industry. Blog about blogging and how it has helped you online.

Whatever you find that adds value to your online presence, use it to its maximum and your readers will fill in the rest of the puzzle. Build it and they will come

Supporting Youth Engagement for social networking:

By providing just a taste of how social technologies have altered the architecture of public life, it is critical for educators to understand how mediated publics are shifting the lives of youth. There are very good reasons why youth use them and encouraging them to return to traditional socialisation structures is simply not feasible. Let us look at offering some concrete advice to educators about how to think about the new media and how to engage with youth directly.

1. We should recognize that youth want to hang out with their friends in youth space.

Although most adults wish that formal education was the number one priority of youth, this is rarely the case. Most youth are far more concerned with connecting with friends. Their activities are very much driven by their friend group and there is immense informal
learning taking place outside of school. Learning social norms, status structures, and how to negotiate relationships of all types is crucial to teens. While most adults take these skills for granted, they are heavily developed during the teen years. In contemporary society, this process primarily takes place amongst peer groups.

2. The Internet mirrors and magnifies all aspects of social life.

When a teen is engaged in risky behaviour online, that is typically a sign that they’re engaged in risky behaviour offline. Troubled teens reveal their troubles online both explicitly and implicitly. It is not the online world that is making them troubled, but it is a fantastic opportunity for intervention. What would it mean to have digital street outreach where people started reaching out to troubled teens, not to punish them, but to be able to help? We already do street outreach in cities – why not treat the networked world as one large city? Imagine having college students troll the profiles of teens in their area in order to help troubled kids, just as they wander the physical streets. Too often we blame technology for what it reveals, but destroying or regulating the technology will not solve
the underlying problems that are made visible through mediated publics like social network sites.

It’s also important to realise that the technology makes it easier to find those who are seeking attention than those who are not. The vast majority of teens using these sites are engaged in relatively mundane activities, but the ‘at risk’ ones are made visible through mainstream media. In this way, both the technology and the press coverage magnify the most troublesome aspects of everyday life because they are inherently more interesting.

3. Questions abound. There are no truths, only conversations.

Over the last year, dozens of parenting guides have emerged to provide black and white rules about how youth should interact with social network sites. These rules though fail to protect youth. Rules motivate submissive youth, but they do little to get youth to think through the major issues. Conversation (not lecturing) is a key and it needs to be clear that there is no correct answer; it’s all a matter of choices and pros and cons.

Are we in Public domain or Private domain on social networks?

Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo are all over the internet and today’s youth are spending a lot of time using these sites to make friends and does time pass.
How is public life changed by social technology? How the properties of meddled
publics like social network sites different from unmeddled publics? We have to explore the social dynamics of meddled public life in order to help marketers understand their role in socializing.

The difficulty:
It is difficult to define what is public and what is private. Especially in technology circles, these terms are seen as two sides of same coin. A more liberal definition suggests allowing the two terms to sit at opposite ends of a pole, giving us the ability to judge just how public or private a particular event or place is. Unfortunately this too seems ill equipped to handle the disruption of meddling technology. What it means to be public or private is quickly changing every moment.

Today’s youth are being socialized into a society complicated by shifts in the public and private. New social technologies have altered the underlying structure of social interaction and information dispersal. They are embracing this change. Meanwhile, most adults are frightened. They do not understand the cultural shifts that are taking place and as is always the case, they don’t like or understand the happenings.

This leaves educationists in a peculiar dilemma. More conservative educationists view social technologies as a product of the evil, which corrupts and destroys youth.

Their turn a blind eye to the happenings and hope that the moral panics and chaos that surround the social technologies will just disappear. A third group of educationists are emerging – those who believe that it is essential to understand and embrace the new social technologies so as to guide youth through the difficult situation prevalent at present. This path is tricky because it requires educationists to let go of their pre-existing assumptions about how the world works. Furthermore, as youth are far more flexible at adapting to newer technologies through which these changes are taking place, educationists must learn from their students in order to help them work through the challenges that they face.

Educationists have a very powerful role to play in helping smooth the cultural transition that is taking place. We just hope that they take on the issue with all force.