Internet auction site and the online payment service have seen huge growth, mainly because of their respective apps but surprisingly also because of the development of PayPal.
In the first three months of this year, the net income for eBay was up by 20%. This then resulted in revenue of $2.55bn.
EBay is coming to the conclusion of its three year business plan to achieve more and develop the business.
PayPal have also started the year strongly, partly because of the developments with eBay have boosted the number of transactions that PayPal have completed on their behalf. The number of PayPal registered accounts also grew by 16%, which excludes their eBay motors division.
The online market place, according to PayPal has grown by 8%. Smartphone’s, Apps and better internet access are also influencing this growth.
Perhaps one the key thing that we can do with any social media platform is to monitor the engagement, interaction, and ultimately feedback from our customers and our audience. Effectively perusing interaction is a good thing as this might improve your page rank, and help to develop loyalty to your business and brand.
Don’t fall into the trap that many businesses do that it’s only using big brand terms. As much as you want to have your ear to the ground when monitoring comments about your business and your brand, it is essential that you monitor product comments or service experiences as well. Developing a strong brand presence is great but the brands foundations are the products and services that are provided. These have to be monitored as well.
Even a negative comment can be turned into a positive result provided the comment is actioned quickly and convincingly. This will show that you are prompt and willing to help.
The tools that can be used are as follows:-
A Twitter Search is a great way to get an overview of what people are saying on Twitter. The search can be filtered and tweaked to make sure that the data that is produced is accurate and relevant. The search can also be done based on geographical areas, so there may be places locally that show positive tweets and vice versa.
Another approach is using Google Alerts, this is a content service that updates the user if there is a post online on a news board, blog or a forum. The user is contacted when the post is made based on the search terms that are set on the Google Account.
A new service that can be adopted is called the tweet deck. This deck has the facility to monitor many social media websites. This saves time as you will not have to sign into multiply accounts, particularly as we have mentioned any negative comments will need to be handled immediately. Plus, any offers, business news, photos and links that you want to post will land on all social media sites with tweet deck, instead of posting them on all the sites individually.
Apple is very good at making improvements and updates to their systems and software, and from a consumers point of view we seem to be regularly surprised each time. This is just what the consumer wants but is this improvement the same with the production if its hardware?
Recently the iPad2 has been released. It’s had more kit and was physically altered in comparison to the first edition. The iPad 2 was thinner by 33% (not that it makes much difference), lighter, it had faster processors and was easier to hold. It had a front and rear facing camera with a tyro axis sensor.
Reports show that the iPad 2 is used more than the iPad. The iPad was used between 2-5 hours a week but the iPad 2 is close to 15 hours.
The original iPad was criticised for being too heavy, too big and not fast enough. Despite showing a great sales performance when it was launched, is the original iPad old news? Has the iPad 2 rectified all the issues that the original had?
Apple has created a better tablet computer that is generally better, the browser is better with text and image rich websites loading and displaying faster, negotiating through and between apps is better and it is a smoother and the iPad 2 is used more in and out of the home. So, it may be significantly better than then the iPad but could netbooks and laptops be under threat here?
When the original iPad went on sale it was priced from £429, the iPad 2 is priced from £399. Could that mean that it is better and cheaper? Many industry experts state that this is an upgrade that can’t be ignored.
Would you upgrade yours?
Famous beer brand ‘Becks’ has recently launched a digitally led pub crawl campaign in celebration of its Arts Labels.
Over the years artists have been commission to use the beer label as a blank canvas to create limited edition are labels. Now 8 of the limited edition art labels will be on show in 8 different pubs as part of this art crawl.
Customers wanting to take part can access the details, map and list of the pubs joining in the crawl from the Becks website.
There are eight pubs involved and each pub will represent one of the Arts Labels. Players who use their mobile to check in at the pub on Facebook will enter a draw to win a limited-edition print of the art works or free beer. They are also given the opportunity to listen to an exclusive audio interview with the artist.
Backs is also encouraging UK art college students to design a new art label via the Beck’s Vier Facebook page. The 6 chosen winners will then be displayed on a mural in east London.
The crawl ends on the 28th April
With more and more people turning to the internet for so many essential and non essential duties, the internet is developing into the first point of contact. Managing a brands online presence might appear to be a bit of a military operation. However, you can challenge these concepts and turn them into a positive aspect that will improve your online marketing strategy. So, the three biggest challenges are talked about below.
As we perhaps all recognise, we get hundreds of marketing messages thrown at us every day. The main issue that a brand has is getting noticed. As with all brands, the larger your brand is the easier it is to overcome this exposure issue. A strong brand icon/logo has an instant connection to a service or a product that stands out on a search engine results list. Plus, as a strong and reputable brand you may have links to your website from customers that have already experienced your services and have made comments on your brand that could help your search campaign.
For the lesser brands that are normally just online based, the efforts to promote brand awareness are a far bigger challenge. First of all, getting noticed is difficult, if you do achieve this then you have to engage and interact with them online. The way to improve this is to find an appropriate strong position for the website. This will involve monitoring SEO and collecting search results. The SEO will be a critical cog in the website; the more affective this is, the stronger the brand, just like traditional brand management. The website with SEO is essential to building brand awareness in connection with Online Brand Management – this will then engage with customers and forces a mental link from the brand to the service or product.
Using SEO is a strong start towards managing an online brand. However, there are more aspects that have to be combated. One of the other aspects that need to be managed is control, or perhaps the lack of control. The lack of control over content that is published about brands that is established and unknown is another key issue.
The number of forums, blog platforms, and even review platforms is always increasing and what is written on one is normally copied onto another. What customers write and post on these websites is beyond the control of any brand manager/team. So, is this impossible to eradicate? Yes, is the short answer.
However, as a part of the strategy, there should be allocated time that includes reviewing the review sites and the forums to make sure that there are no negative or damaging comments. If they are found, it is good practice to investigate the claims and make sure that they don’t happen again and attempt to rectify the problem. On the flip side of that is to thank those that have left positive comments/posts to add creditability to the brand name.
Forums as opposed to review sites tend to be more locally based and concentrate on an individual organisation. They are crucial to be reviewed as a massive amount of feedback can be discovered (both positive and negative), including the type of consumers that their brand attracts, what they feel they need in addition to what is currently offered and also data for new markets and innovations. So, being registered on local forums would be a part of the strategy.
Blogs take a slightly different twist on things as the content that is posted is traditionally by industry experts or perhaps the trend setters in a specific market. If the content on the blog is negative it will persuade others to take on board these negative comments. It is massively important that the blogger is contacted and explains the content – this must be handled and changed while investigating the evidence.
Any negative reputation will not go away over night, stats show that if you have a bad experience you will tell more and write more about it in contrast to a great experience. The perception of a brand that occasionally receives poor comments; this has to be offset by long term positive comments. When the positive posts and comments are submitted they should be embraced and recognised.
Developing a business profile is a great way to increase awareness. Unfortunately, there can also be danger at your door, as an online business profile can be duplicated in your business/brand name with no need to verify them. This will affect business and your brand if this happens. If it does this may cause more bad content on review sitse and forums against your brand name that has nothing to do with you.
Keeping a close eye on business directories is important. The business directories details need to be accurate; otherwise you will be missing enquiries and potential business. Making sure you are aware what websites your business details are on i.e. Yell.co.uk, is good practice so that they can be reviewed and made sure they are right. Plus, if you have to change addresses or a sales email address you don’t have to search for these sites, because you already have a list.
Finally, people have the ability to interact on social media with one-another, but it is also used for checking out brands. Let’s be honest – that was going to happen anyway. The brands do have the facility to edit the post and comments on a public domain of social media. Social media is a good platform as long as the content that is posted is accurate and interesting. Perhaps including top offers, amusing office pictures and the occasional embarrassing charity events, as long as the audience is entertained this will increase brand awareness and brand trust.
Without trust, the marketing message that is shown is nothing and is never going to result in a purchase. The level of difficulty does vary depending on the status of the business (established or unknown). Trust can be encouraged by having a very simple and transparent order process that includes a process line. Each page should have a contact number or a chat window for assistance and a statement that highlights their data protection procedure after the order is placed.
Once these areas have been improved, you will see a gain in orders and revenue. The next stage is to embed a customer’s loyalty to your brand. The internet has made it very easy to shop around and compare. So, when the brand identification and awareness is growing, how are you going to defeat the shopping and comparison and build that loyalty?
LinkedIn is a social networking site that connects business professionals together. It has been running for 8 years and has over 100 million registered members. The idea is that the service will generate interaction, engagement and a connecting network with colleagues and counterparts in similar industries. So, it is a social networking site for professionals.
Normally when the words social networking are stated we instantly think along the lines of Facebook or Twitter, but LinkedIn is not at the same level as these 2 larger established sites.
There could also be the discussion that offline networking could be a thing of the past, with more avenues to connect to people over the web. While traditional networking is something that we do automatically and is very positive in building relationships with fellow workers and with people from other organisations, social media/networking is still needed to complement this face to face approach.
If you are on Facebook and Twitter do you need to be on LinkedIn? Well, you could do but there is a danger and you may have to proceed with caution. Before all traditional networking disappears, don’t lose the ability to communicate face to face as that is proven to make a better impression. Also, with other social networking sites there tends to be a massive time requirement that makes it work to your expectations. This again is dangerous and time has to be monitored.
With all social activities – that includes online and offline they occasionally need reeling in. This is the same within LinkedIn. As much as a social network can provide a full brand exposure, it will not make sales for you.
In summary, you should be LinkedIn. However, don’t rely on it just because it’s a more professional networking site. This platform needs to be blended into all the others to get a really good network of your industry and other related organisations.
In a step to become multi-channelled, French Connection has launched its first mobile app for the iPhone.
The app was launched on Friday 11th March and can be found on the iTunes store. The app will allow users to view the full clothing range and make purchases.
French Connection announced their intention to introduce apps across TV, social media and mobile last September. It is part of their strategy align online payment and communication channels.
Digital director at French Connection, Jennifer Roebuck, said: “The cloud-based app model means that all data is in one place to power real-time functionality for our customers and overcome potential integration issues. For example, someone can start browsing online on their computer in the morning, try on in store at lunch and then checkout on their mobile to avoid queuing at the tills.”
French Connection employed the services of mobile agency, Answer to create the app. As well as being able to view clothes and buy them via the app, users can also connect to their Facebook profiles meaning you can ask your friends what they think about items you are considering buying.
The news follows the launch of their fully operational Facebook app in February.
Google has continued to branch out from its focal point of search by buying BeatThatQuote.com, the UK price comparison site for £37.7m.
BeatThatQuote launched in 2005 and has become one of the fastest growing comparison sites recently. Whilst they do offer a general shopping comparison service, they specialise in comparing prices of financial products such as insurance and loans.
Google did dip their toes in the water last year by running a trial product which let users compare credit cards. However, this acquisition is a big step into the comparison market and shows clear intention.
I’m sure Google will come in for criticism following this buy out. Complaints were raised last year against Google suggesting that they were biased towards their own interests when returning search results. In fact, the complaints have led to an investigation by the European Commission to determine if Google has abused its position.
No details have been released on how or whether BeatThatQuote will change its operations.
Sony Ericsson had a huge success with social media last year and has no plans to let that slip in the future. They intend to display product information through rich media using ‘insightful editorial’ to grab customer attention.
Remarkably, Sony Ericsson increased its Facebook fan base from 300,000 to a staggering 3.9 million during 2010, making them the 40th largest brand.
Ben Padley, VP and global head of online and CRM at Sony Ericsson, said: “Our fan base used to be more male and techie, but now we’re more of a lifestyle brand with universal appeal,” he said. “Our challenge is to engage the superfans at the same time as the new entrants.”
Sony Ericsson plan to profile their fans and match them with specific content and then offer them unique opportunities such as visiting their offices.
Padley went on to say: “Our goal for 2011 is to keep promoting our solid hardware. We’re investigating augmented reality, product tutorials and social media commerce opportunities.”
Skype are going to introduce a new conference calling service that will allow multiple users to talk at the same time, see each other via online video and share files. The new service is scheduled to be available towards the end of this year, and will be included into the revised revenue based strategy.
This strategy is all about money, because there is a very high majority of the 145 million registered members / users of the Skype service that don’t pay. This no pay percentage is not because they refuse to or just have not paid, it’s because one of the services that Skype offers is completely FREE.
The corporate business market and the video conference calling service is the market that Skype is going to target, but that won’t be easy. Despite having a partnership with Citrix Software Company and a live Skype audience, Skype will be in competition with Cisco System’s WebEx and Microsoft’s Live Meeting.
The FREE service allows 2 people to communicate and meet online on their computer screens. The revised version that will be called Skype for Business, will allow multiple users to be engaged in a conference call and share files.
This Skype for Business unit has received a lot of investment to maximise its expansion effort. The functional aspects of the service will be very simple and immediate; there will be an icon to begin a meeting and a contact list of people you can invite into the meeting.
There have been no indications as to what price the Skype for Business package will be and there is no concrete launch date. However, Citrix wanted to ‘let people work anytime and from anywhere they want to work and communicate’, so use Skype for Business.
Blog Posts Calendar
- Is the Internet going to be the television replacement?
- Google to Launch Cloud-based Music Service
- Skype is in demand but not from members or users.
- You may have the content right, perfect images and a great customer journey on your site, but is it quick enough?
- 4.3.3 is available for download, now Apple can’t track you…(for as long!)