Social Media Roundup - February 2012

Employees on social networks
Determining social media policies for the workplace is especially difficult for franchisors, who have both corporate employees and independent operators to consider. On the one hand, allowing employees and/or franchisees to use social media can provide great word-of-mouth, build online relationships, keep people at all levels of the organization up to date, and show that a company is progressive. On the other hand, it's hard to control what people talk about online, thus difficult to tell if employees' or franchisees' time spent on social media affects the system and brand positively or negatively. This piece is a good rundown of the pros and cons of social media use inside a businees and may help you decide on best practices.

How to get more clicks on Twitter
This infographic sums up Dan Zarrella's findings on the factors that increase click-through rate, probably the most important measure of success on Twitter. Zarrella ("The Social Media Scientist") studies things like what time of day and day of the week to tweet for the best results, as well as specific words to use, length of messages, and number of times to tweet in an hour. This is a concise, data-driven look at how to use Twitter effectively.

Video interview with Chris Brogan about Google+
This video is a great introduction to the fast-growing Google+ social network. Chris Brogan is one of the most influential bloggers and speakers on social media in the world today. He explains how a business can use Google+ posts to get better search rank in Google, shares his own strategy for Google+ use, and talks about the power of Circles to help sort out the different kinds of messages a business might want to send. If you haven't looked at Google+ yet, scope it out: it has now attracted more than 100 million users. This video is a good place to start. (Brogan is also the author of the book, Google+ for Business: How Google's Social Network Changes Everything.)

Pinterest for business
Pinterest, "the" new, hot social network, can be described as a social, visual bulletin board. This video gives some pointers about how businesses can use Pinterest as a way to spread visual links to their products or services on the site. Pinterest grew from 0.17% of referral traffic in July 2011 to 2.5% in December 2011, and to 3.6% in January - beating Google+ and YouTube and coming in just behind Twitter. It's time to take a look at this new platform for social sharing.

"Viral Friday" shows the week's 5 most popular viral videos
The Viral Blog website selects the most popular videos and commercials of the week, ranked by popularity, viral impact, and spread. Check in with Viral Friday each week to find out what people are watching and sharing. Getting a video to go viral is definitely not something that can be planned, but it's certainly worth looking at what does and learning from it. You can always hope...

YouTube streams 4 billion online videos every day
As Google provides new versions of YouTube for smartphones and television sets, and offers more professional-grade content on specialized channels organized around different types of content and performers, video streaming is up 25% in the last eight months. Sixty hours of video are now uploaded every minute, up from 48 hours per minute in May 2011. YouTube now generates $5 billion in revenue annually.

"4 P's" for marketing Fact: U.S. mobile commerce sales (including travel) grew to $6.7 billion in 2011, an increase of more than 90% from 2010. Learn how to grab a piece of that with the 4 Ps of mobile marketing (Place, Price, Promotion, and Product) - complete with "Actionable Marketing Tips" for each from the author,Heidi Cohen. Here's an overview:

  • Place - Customers must be able to find your business easily when searching on their smartphones and tablets, and on the platforms they're using (e.g., Google Places and Yelp).
  • Price - Today's customers use their smartphones to check the prices at nearby business and online to see what others are charging for the same goods or services you're offering. These customers are ready to buy, so make your prices available online too, and be ready to offer them your best price.
  • Promotion - As noted, customers in your store use their smartphones, and are ready to buy. So make sure your best offers and current promotions are online, where they'll see them.
  • Product - Customers want information right now about the products (or services) they're lookiing for. They frequently find advice from online customer reviews, so know what's being said about you online.

Say hello to the new Vimeo
Popular video site Vimeohas redesigned its service from the ground up. New features include bigger videos, better browsing, more privacy control, advanced search, and more. Members can up here for the new features as they roll out in the next few weeks. Vimeo PRO for business costs $199/year, providing another channel to get the word out on your brand.

Facebook #1 social network in 127 countries
World maps of social networks show the dominance and continuing growth of Facebook. At the end of 2011, Europe had the most Facebook members (223 million), followed by North America (219 million) and Asia (202 million). Russia and China are the most notable places Facebook does not (yet) lead all other social media channels in membership. Facebook has more 800 million users worldwide and is expected to reach 1 billion soon. That's a lot of eyeballs.

Twitter is a living, real-time focus group
The Tostitos "talking bag" commercial that ran extensively during the January 2nd college football bowl game extravaganza was the subject of some impromptu, on-the-couch research by social media and content strategist Jay Baer. Using social monitoring software, Baer found more than 500 tweets mentioning the commercial on January 2nd and 3rd. Of those, 142 were negative, 190 neutral, and 180 positive. Frito-Lay gathered hundreds of responses to its ad nearly in real-time. While "sentiment analysis" is an inexact science at best (the author and his colleagues basically had to score the tweets by hand), this is a powerful for brands to learn what's happening with their messaging. With the results so close to real-time, marketers could even tweak their on the fly (several variants of the "talking bag" commercial were shown).

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