October 2011 Social Media Roundup

Study: How People Spend Their Time Online (Infographic)
Metrics firm Experian studied how people spent their time online in the United Kingdom this August. (Experian gathers the data they use from Internet Service Providers' anonymous usage logs, so it's based on actual consumer behavior rather than surveys). Based on this actual usage, Experian has created an infographic that visualizes 3.4 billion hours of Internet usage as one hour on a clock. Social media usage accounts for 14 minutes of the hour, outranking (9 minutes), shopping (5 minutes), news (3 minutes), and business (2 minutes). Their data also showed that Facebook was still the clear market leader in social media, half of all social media activity.

Google+ Now Open To Everyone Over 18; No Brands (Yet)
Google's fast-growing Google+ came out of beta testing in September. It is now believed to have about 50 million users, and growing. Google+ continues to be restricted to people over 18 years old. So far, no date has been announced for the addition of business components to Google+. This is a good time to join Google+ and gain familiarity with a platform sure to be important to marketers and business people generally. Several new pieces of functionality have been added, including the ability to make group-video Hangouts available to up to 1,500 spectators. Google Docs can now be easily added to a Hangout for collaborative editing by the participants. Google+ has added built-in search, allowing users to find people and to search keywords, a key piece of functionality for marketers and others interested in leveraging the platform. Circles, which are user-chosen groups of people, can now be shared with other users. For instance, someone could search for as many franchise owners as possible, add them to a Circle, and make it public, allowing anyone to follow those users.

"What Would Google Do?" Now in Paperback
Jeff Jarvis's modern classic, "What Would Google Do?" (subtitled "Reverse-Engineering the Fastest-Growing Company in the History of the World)" is a study of what sets Google apart from other companies. His big idea is that what Google does and how they do it can be understood as a guide to how other businesses and organizations (including governments) should approach problems and opportunities in the 21st century. As Google has been uniquely successful, they obviously understand technology and business, and they're obviously doing a lot of things right. The book is now three years old, and much has changed since it came out. The epic rise of Facebook (150 million users in January 2009 when the book came out and 800 million today), Google's well-publicized stumbles with Buzz, Wave, and other products, and growing skepticism about Google's "Don't Be Evil" slogan, have changed the environment. This still is an essential book to read to understand today's business world. It's a lot of fun to read, too. Jarvis is a provocative writer.

Facebook's New Timeline (Video)
Facebook has announced a radical revision of the current user profile interface called Timelines. It represents a new way for users to collect and present information about themselves from all parts of their lives, not just the stream of immediate content that Facebook has offered up to now. Timelines is not yet generally available, but developers can register for a preview. Reviews have generally been very positive. Here's a video demo of the new Timeline features, from The Chris Voss Show.

Social Media Brand Positioning
Where will the most people see information about a brand? That's an important place for brands to be, but it's just as important for them to know where people want to interact with their brand. A study from Edison Media and Arbitron found that 80 percent of U.S. social media users who engage with brands online prefer to do so using Facebook. (Twitter clocked in at 6 percent, and LinkedIn at 3 percent.) The study shows that while the majority of a brand's target market may be on Twitter, engagement is much higher on Facebook.

Free Images for Use in Corporate and Personal Projects
Photos and other images make a huge contribution to livening up websites, newsletters, and social media. However, finding sources of free images to use without copyright restrictions can be difficult. This new service from FreeDigitalPhotos.net may be just what you need to spruce up your image.

B2B Buyers Use Smartphones in the Buying Process
Mobile Web use continues to grow rapidly. Having a mobile-friendly website or a dedicated application is becoming a need for many businesses, not just those serving consumers. A recent study by the University of Dayton School of Business Administration, found that 59 percent of B2B purchase decision-makers have used their smartphones to research products and services.

Business Travel Still Necessary, Even in an Increasingly Digital World
Learn tips and tricks from Mitch Joel, a well-known expert on social media marketing and online business through his blog posting, The New Business Traveler. Joel, a successful agency owner who is also in high demand as a speaker, does a lot of traveling. Also, while you're in his neighborhood, take a peek at his podcast, Six Pixels of Separation and other postings from one of the best sources of timely and provocative information about Internet marketing.

Public Relations and Blogs: There's No Substitute for Relationships
PR firm Ketchum invited a group of bloggers to a in New York City, where they would enjoy a "delicious four-course meal," a discussion with a analyst about trends, and an unexpected surprise. The surprise turned out to be that the four-course meal was not cooked at the upscale They were served frozen lasagna made by ConAgra's Marie Callender division. Needless to say, they weren't happy chompers. As this article by social media and content strategist Jay Baer points out, bloggers are not experienced, cynical reporters who understand the games PR firms play, but instead are "...time-starved, suspicious, and persnickety." Good advice on how to interact with the bloggers who cover your industry and increasingly influence your customers.

Facebook Offers New Tools To Help Marketers
A new dashboard with detailed measures of the reach of individual Page posts, an API (application programming interface) that exposes this data for custom use, and a new ad unit that lets companies build Facebook ads out of Page posts are the latest Facebook has created for marketers who use that platform. These new offerings will allow brands to have much better insight into how customers are engaging with them - and what brand doesn't want that?

Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or daniel@daniellieberman.org.

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