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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Insight into social media in Asia

In Business, Marketing, Social Media, Taiwan on 2011/02/03 at 2:22 PM

Have you ever wondered how people in different countries use social media? Have you ever thought the impact of social media might not be as massive in Asia as in the States?

I had the fortune to meet with the EVP of Yaffe Group, Michael Morin, to discuss how people adopt social media in countries like Taiwan or China. As we chatted along, there are several insights I would like to share:

  • Different Internet user behavior
    Chinese-Internet-Users-infographicWith increased amount of Internet users from China or any other Mandarin (or similar dialect) speaking countries, the whole world is giving more emphasis on this huge opportunity-land has yet to come. However, many companies have ignored the fact people use Internet differently than how we use it here in the States (or Europe). For most of the people in the States, AIM & MySpace is probably a high-school thing to be addicted with, but in Asian countries there are still many types of chat rooms and forums such as MSN, QQ, and even a unique terminal-based bulletin board system (BBS). Those platforms are very popular among people aging from 16 to 40 years old. They use online channels to chat, listening/downloading music, playing games, or reading news and blogs. That whole different user behavior is likely to change how companies / brands utilize Internet channels and to format their messages. (Source: 

    Chinese Internet Habits vs. the US)

  • Platforms & channels aren’t connected & integrated as much as those in the States.
    Nowadays you probably have seen Facebook or Twitter icon popping up everywhere from print materials or TV commercials. As the rise of social media, marketers who are used to traditional channels have to learn how to embrace and utilize these new channels and start conversing with customers. In Asia, however, things are seemingly different: each communication channel is still exclusive in its own purpose and content. Take one of the largest BBS in Taiwan, PTT (telnet://ptt.cc), for example: the site currently hosts 150,215 visitors, with the diverse user coverage from current students to graduated alumni. The user number might be far less than that of major social media sites likes Facebook or Twitter. But imagine 90% of the universities have their own BBSBBS-PTT-Taiwan-social-media-sites, and almost every student is active in more than one forums on BBS, the power of this channel can easily be multiplied. However, companies and brands rarely get the chance to get into this channel and I believe part of the reason is topics discussed in BBS are students-oriented (whether being tips of certain classes or information about studying abroad). Information covered can still be broad enough for individuals but too narrow to get in for advertisers or marketers. In short, I think “localization” & “exclusiveness” are still very common phenomenon in many communication channels in Asian countries. And that is why they aren’t integrated with one another.

  • Branding & engagement is still an undefined expertise.
    Many of advertisers or marketers in Taiwan or China might disagree with me on this, but in general, I do not believe local companies (whether as big as Foxconn or as small as mom-and-pop shops) understand what PR / marketing / advertisement is about. Let alone social media, branding, or engagement with customers. Yes, you might still see fancy TV commercials or shiny billboards in municipal cities like Taipei, Beijing, or Shanghai. But look more closely, the majority of brands advertised are global brands like Sony, Pepsi, or McDonald. You can get a glimpse of what I am talking about by this Top 10 Chinese New year TVCs (http://www.campaignasia.com/Article/246863,top-10-chinese-new-year-tvcs.aspx) and you can probably tell the difference of messages delivered in Asian countries (China, Taiwan, Singapore…etc) between those here. “Families and friends” are more emphasized in commercial messages (“exclusiveness”, echoing my second point above), and less focus on corporate images or brands. Creativity is another factor influencing how companies or brands portray themselves. According to Tim Broadbent, AdAgeChina, that “Ads are mainly used to convey product facts. They are more likely to show a demo of the product composition, together with multiple product messages. They are less likely to use humor or music, and, crucially, fewer appeal to the emotions.

The usage of Internet and the number of people with higher purchasing power in Asian countries might be increasing, but to engage with customers with various social media channels, companies there still have a long way to go.

Where’s your social gold mine? Facebook or Twitter?

In Business, Marketing, Social Media on 2010/10/15 at 2:00 AM

Nowadays there are a lot of articles discussing the value of your audience in social media sites. Even though Scott Stratten in his latest book claimed “social media isn’t for ROI, it’s for relationship & conversation,” the demand of numbers, return on investment, or even “how much we can cash out of social media” will forever and ever be an ongoing process for digital marketers or those who want to combine their business with online presence.

Forbes recently posted an article comparing social networking value between Facebook Fans versus Twitter Followers. The finding is that your Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands (37% versus 21% Facebook friends) and recommend brands to others (33% versus 21%) than your Facebook friends. Interestingly enough, Advertising Age, around the same time, featured Eventbrite’s eCommerce result nurturing social networks to drive sales leads. According to the case study, Facebook share generates far more dollar value than the same action on Twitter (Facebook $2.52 versus Twitter $0.43).
Social Commerce
Based on Forbes article & AdAge case studies, I came to this conclusion:
When it comes to possibility of recipient action: Twitter > Facebook 
When it comes to the value per recipient action: Facebook > Twitter

Most of us agree social network has tremendous potential whether promoting brands or driving sales. (not just a bunch of geeks connecting with each other in cyberspace and give those platforms some fancy names. But if you do, you can stop reading now :P) The challenge is, it’s still new for marketers or digital strategist to develop some metrics measuring the value & the cost or each platform.

So which platform is better than the other? To answer this question, I don’t think we should merely look at individual case studies or numbers just because there are way too many variables. I suggest that you ask yourself these questions first:

  • Who is your target audience?
    If you can confidently give me an answer, then ask yourself:
  • Where are your they? Are they only use social networks to complain about bad customer service or are they avid adopters of the technology or applications?
  •  

In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter are two vary different network with very different types of users. To tackle your promotional campaign successfully, you have to at least understand who those users are. While Facebook may have dozens of games & applications to use entertaining or attracting visitors, your customers may not use Facebook for entertainment purpose or simply have no interest “liking” a brand via Facebook over a Farmville reward.

After figuring out your customer behavior & properly segmenting them, you can then look at your offer to see if that would be a relevant draw to the customers.
Personally I like to keep a list separating Facebook & Twitter and matching my strategy towards the uniqueness of each platform. You can try making one yourself.

comparison between Facebook & Twitter

Strategy-wise, I do believe whichever platform you end up using (or both), your campaign has to be connected with your brand.
If your business is about fundraising or nonprofit activities, don’t create a game and ask users to play to win some awards. If your customers don’t even know what a retweet is, don’t tweet about your weekly promotion and put a “please RT!” verbiage at the end of each tweet.
Also, utilizing visual icons or images is always a good action applicable anywhere. People in general like to be pleased in their eyes and I do believe Facebook, in this circumstances, stands a better chance than Twitter. But you can still discover various ways to make your brand “pop,” like NewTwitter’s video functionality.
 
To sum up, discovering your social network gold mine requires sophisticated customer segmentation and relevant campaign. Patrick Vogt, chairman and chief executive of Datran Media also a constant contributor of Forbes article said, “Perhaps a successful social media strategy is not about figuring out the monetary value of a Facebook fan vs. a Twitter follower, but instead involves understanding each social channel and the native advantages of both.”
 
But personally, whether you are my Facebook friends or Twitter follower, you all mean a lot to me.
 
Now, what’s your value assessment for your social network and how do you measure the effectiveness? 

 

Stop Marketing & Start Engaging – takeaways from @unmarketing book tour Detroit

In Inspiration, Marketing, Social Media on 2010/09/29 at 1:41 PM

It all starts like this on UnMarketing. “Scott Stratten is the president of UnMarketing. Between blah blah blah and blah blah blah…..”

If you haven’t had a chance to read this Canadian guy’s marvelous insight about social media and modern communication, please read on my takeaways from his presentation last night. Scott is great, sharp, insightful, and…hilarious. And he absolutely shake my head with his ideas of social media and how to communicate.

Here are some ideas Scott threw at Detroit last night:

  • Social media ROI – “Forget about ROI. Social media sucks in conversion but rocks in building relationships & engaging conversation.”Takeaway: You have to watch Scott’s animation when he talks about ROI. Besides laughing at the idea of companies or #sm gurus using statistics to prove how important this new communication medium is, I was sort of relieved the concept Scott proposed, that neither Twitter nor Facebook is a shortcut for relationship. The 140-words-limitation might force us to make content more effective, but the key lies in how you use these social media tool, not to sell, not to blast, but to engage and talk.

    But again, as an in-house marketer, I get freaked out while being told the ROI is going to suck at any tool or medium being used. So there, I contribute to one of my favorite article about social media analytic tools http://www.dailybloggr.com/2010/03/social-media-monitoring-tools-analytics/ (sorry, Scott!)

  • All the social media channels should enhance one another. Build platform first, and establish individual stream for each platform.Upon writing this, I can still hear Scott screaming in my head, “Please, do NOT feed your tweet with Facebook status!” The difference between each platform (limitation of words & how people use it) reflects the complexity (and beauty) of communication. Some people like to read concise & straight-forward messages, (Scott’s recommended tweet length: 120 words) So when the person sees the unfinished tweets and has to click on the link, then being directed to facebook status, the communication flow has been interrupted.

    Takeaway: create unique content & feed the platform on purpose. Nobody likes to go through more than one platform to have a normal conversation.

  • Consistency is the secret of success in social media

    Again, among all the content frequency myth, Scott points out he hasn’t blogged for more than a month (confirmed. His last blog is back in Aug 2010) and he doesn’t want to blog for any of the SEO purpose. “Want best SEO for your blog? Then write awesome content!” Hopefully my blog about UnMarketing book tour is qualified as a half-awesomeness 🙂
  • Sometimes you just have to polarize

    I guess the concept scare lots of people as we all try our best to manage our online reputation. As we cater to more readers, customers, the core value of products or services gets diluted. This is a scary part for me too but I guess practice makes perfect. If you have some advice taking a stand and embracing all the feedback, please do share
  • Liking auto-tweets? Please don’t.

    We all want others’ attention or feedback but that doesn’t mean we can manipulate the way how communication works. True, if you set up your tweets to go out 3AM in the morning, people in the other side of the world more likely to read your blog or even comment on it. And chances are they will retweet or exchange ideas. But what happens after 5 minutes (action taken time after a tweet)? Nothing. (because obviously you’re asleep) This kind of communication drop does more harm than help to your content strategy because it ruins the flow. You may still be able to follow the stream and answer the questions, but the vibe has already been missing.

Overall, quite an eye-opening experience hearing a successful tweep talking about his strategy and passion. I remember times I tweet like a maniac and then just wait to count followers or Klout. Those times have gone, gone to the fundamental idea Scott has been pounding us on, again and again, that social media doesn’t speed up the purchase cycle, doesn’t all of a sudden win you a thousand new customers, it’s simply a great channel to start relationships.

How do you like to use social media engaging your readers?

Social Media for a Good Cause

In Inspiration, Social Media on 2010/09/16 at 2:29 PM

Let’s start off with a question: What do you use social media for? 

I believe we all have different reasons. While some people, like me, use it for information and engagement, others use it for a better cause. Like Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) use his TV blog & tweets to shout out voices in our society that are rarely heard or gotten any attention.

Quite a few media & companies like Ford and YouTube have already jumped in sponsoring Mark’s roadtrip. Hoffington Post yesterday wrote an article about Mark empowering homeless people with social media. Mark’s presentation at Metro Detroit also had tremendous feedback. All in all these responses meant one thing – people, including you and I, are using social media for a good cause – to make the world better. 

While few are as talented as Mark, we can still contribute our efforts or influence for a good cause 🙂

  • Food Banks: There are quite a lot of food banks around. The one I started going to is called Gleaners– they bag hundreds or thousands bags of food each week and distribute them to families who can’t afford buying food for their children. Use your foursquares checking into these places and invite your friends to serve.

  • Retweets: Mark has now set up a site called “We Are Visible”with a list of “How To’s.” Read his article, RT those invisible people’s voice, and spread the words.

  • Slow Down, and Explore: There are many things / people in our society that need our attention. And you’d be surprised how much impact our little effort can bring if we are willing to explore and listen. So next time, instead of rushing into metros heading home, try to take a walk in the neighborhood and talk to people. If they have a story that needs to be multiplied, write a blog about it or tweet it. For social media is more than just a channel, it should be a connector bringing people’s distances closer. 

 

How to Live & Breathe Social Media

In Marketing, Social Media on 2010/07/09 at 12:32 PM
First off, KNOWING WHO YOU ARE, or at least why you are here tweeting or blogging about stuff others might be interested.

For me, as I call myself a “SEO/SEM/Social media enthusiast,” I use the whole social media-sphere for personal branding & connections. Many small businesses, corporate, or even retails have different goals utilizing social media, but from what I’ve seen, most of them do so just because they feel social media is becoming a trend and they HAVE to hop on. But think about this, how can you get your audience excited about you / your business when you don’t even know what you are doing?

Then DETERMINE WHAT IDENTITY YOU WANT TO PRESENT to the social world. According to Gigya and Infographic, people tend to trust different identities on different sites. (Source: Mashable) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen some “exotic” tweets and wondered why these aren’t on author’s personal blog. When I started my romance with Facebook in 2006, LinkedIn in 2008, and Twitter in 2009, I pretty much distinguish their function to be “personal | professional | information.” However, I find making the separation purely black-n-white is almost impossible. If you have a good strategy differentiating identity between these sites, please do share 🙂
What else?

  • EXPLORE INTEREST & PROFESSION. BE A HUNGRY READER – If read your posts, can I tell what profession / interest you have? While profession determines mostly the content you share, it’s your interest brining your character to life. I constantly read articles on Read Write Web, Search Engine Land, Inc, TechCrunch, Mashable, Wired, Business Insider, and AdAge. I constantly tweet about SEM/SEO, entrepreneurs, marketing, advertising, and PR – partly is what I do, and partly is what I want to do in the future. At the same time, I’m also interested in multi-cultural stuff, recipes, fashion, and travel. Rarely do I talk about those hidden sides of me, but once in a while you can see me unlock another badge on foursquare while I explore around the world. You’ll be amazed how many people in social media are connected with you because of these interest or information you share.
  • (1) ASK QUESTIONS (2) LISTEN (3) CONVERSEPardon me if you find my observation over-generalizing: many people JUST like to talk about themselves, in real life, and in cyberspace. Don’t get me wrong, it is great having the ability to tell your own story, but I doubt many of you enjoy reading lots and lots of tweets/posts about how great the person/business is and feel like answering a cold-call from some telemarketers. So I follow this sequence: first I ask questions (what do you do and how you utilize social media…etc), then I listen to others’ story (because I genuinely am interested in their story), and I share my ideas and probably a little bit about myself in the conversation.
  • STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. SHOW UP – I am NOT a shy person. Period. But from time to time I find myself stuck in the corner of a social event or don’t even know how to start a conversation. I still remember the 1st social media event I attended, Future Midwest, that was only about 3 month ago. I went by myself, picked the last row (partly because I need outlet for my laptop), and didn’t even start a conversation until I met Kathleen. But ever since I tried to be active in all the related events like tweetea and #SMCD. From those events I oftentimes have be invited to some wonderful parties (just 2 weeks ago I went to this #ilovedetroit video contest party. It’s simply amazing seeing many people gathering positive efforts for Metro Detroit) What I am trying to say is: were it not for my first baby step, I would have missed opportunities getting to know some brilliant people like Dave Murr, Brandon, Hadi, Adrian, and even some folks down in Chicago like Drew, Jeff, and Elyse. There are many other entrepreneurs, marketers, and bloggers who have enlightened my day by a short tweets or an entertaining article. Social media site is just a beginning, or a bridge, connecting to real-life experience and great minds.
  • PERSISTENCE IS THE BEST POLICY IN SOCIAL MEDIA – Last but not least, be patient & persistent. There will be times when you see absolutely no conversation or conversion heading to your way. There will be time when you FT job completely takes away your energy. But remember why you are here and how much inspiring conversation or great people you can happen to meet or have a conversation. When you make social media part of your life, you ARE, living & breathing it.
  • For corporate & small business utilizing social media, read Brian Solis article
    Also read: 5 Tips on How to Create an Effective Online Portfolio

“Never Mind the Valley, Here’s Our Moto-Town, Detroit”

In Inspiration, Marketing, Social Media, Tech & Trend on 2010/04/19 at 3:49 PM

Inspired by Future Midwest conference last weekend. 2 day. 13 sessions. ¥ ideas & sparkles generated within and beyond.

Before attending the event, I’ve always been reading Read Write Web‘s “Never Mind the Valley” column and wondering when and how Detroit is going to be the next city. In this past conference, still had no answer to my question, but I know Detroit will. Not a Michiganer from the beginning, but after watching a great clip http://vimeo.com/11021663 displaying the rise, fall, and rebirth of Detroit, I can’t help but to be proud of being in Midwest. Whatever people from the east or west coast might think, this cornfield is gonna have something big happening.

Aside from the inspiration, there are indeed some very hardcore strategic concepts from various great sessions:
– Moving from acquisition to retention is key to the business. (via @joejaffe “Flip the Funnel“)
– Everything is no longer the way it used to be (ain’t we surprised about that!) Public Relations (and any types of marketing, in my opinion) becomes a two-way mutual relationship. As much as marketers would like to create buzz, we are no longer in control of the relationship. Our customer / audience just gonna say what they want to say. (Takeaway – so grab your seat or oxygen mask & be prepared!) (via Beth Harte @BethHarte)
– Realize & plan for social analytic lifecycle: discover, analyze, segment, strategize & integrate, and execute. Utilizing data mining & analytic tools (Trensmap, MediaBank…etc) (via Ken Burbary @kenburbary)
** Ken’s fantastic presentation is now available at http://kenburbary.posterous.com/consumer-insights-and-analytics-that-drive-di
– Being a challenger brand (I suspect Scott was suggesting local startups & entrepreneurs to brand themselves as a challenger, agreed?) requires different approach, grounded brand idea, study outside of category & other challenger brands, and finally building identity via social media. (via Scott Huaman @scotthauman)

At the end of the conference, although physically exhausted from all the learnings & “networking” (Ok, I said that, I am actually trying hard to put myself out there to be sociable because I am that shy), I am emotionally invigorated by these two very specific speaker that I wish myself live up their spirit & philosophy from now on.

Sam Valenti, a Michiganer, an entrepreneur, and a lead-thinker. Just like all the other presenters, he shook up our minds during his “permeable Brands,” presentation, but it was his last slide that said, “the scariest thing, for me, is not dying. It’s the thought “oh shit, I wish I’ve done…” instead of “oh shit.” before I die” 
I was so lucky talking to Sam soon after his presentation. Great guy – simply love him & his motto.

Blagica Bottigliero‘s story telling melted me, and I’m sure her presentation inspired just as many people at Future Midwest. A Michigan girl in big city like Chicago, Blagica touches every aspect of life, career, and relationship with her lovely heart & intelligent mind. I most certainly am going to check out her http://www.galsguidesummit.com/ from now on 🙂 (Note to self: start embracing life by traveling by myself!)

All in all, success. Kudos to the great team behind the scenes, kudos to all the people who make the event, kudos to all the tweeps who spice up the session, and kudos to myself –  shy as always but surely found her survival way in social media jungle. Like my Twitter name says, @evyfindstheway, right?)  

“I’ve seen the future, and it works!” It certainly works at Future Midwest!
(Sorry Ben for stealing your favorite quote from Michael Hanlon. Ooops!)