Discussions are at the beginning and being totally specific is going to be difficult, but according to reports from good sources, Skype is hot property. There have been no public releases to its members or to the public; however you might not have to wait for long.
A partnership deal for Skype is not something that has been talked about before. This time the reports involve giant businesses. Google and Facebook are considering separate bids to get their hands on the video conferencing service.
If you were Skype what would you do (assuming that the bids were identical)? Would you take the Facebook partnership and combine the instant chat with the additional feature of running live video connection as well or the Google bid and generate more members and more business users using your services.
As we know from previous blogs, Skype has a lot of members, but the percentage of members that actually pay for Skype services is very low. This poor revenue stream may not be solved with a Facebook partnership – it could increase the number of members but not the percentage of paying members. On the other hand Google with the PPC and SEO services that are very business related, could boost revenue when offering conference video calling features to a business audience.
This deal could be very important to both parties (Google and Facebook) particularly as Google is losing ground against Bing and Facebook could continue its domination of the social network. Google could also integrate the Skype services onto its Google Android Phones as well.
As mentioned this is an early report, so we will have to wait and see. In the meant time what, would you do?
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.
According to substantial evidence including spend and research by industry leaders, video marketing shows the fastest amount of growth online.
Stats show that video advertising grew by 40% in 2009 and held its pace through 2010. This pace is set to continue through 2011.
The pace is now being recognised more and more by marketing companies, in conjunction with the social media and the receptive multimedia audience. Marketing teams without a video campaign will be left behind.
Video marketing has many benefits hence its popularity. The video marketing is easy to target demographic or behavioural sectors. Promoting a brand identity/recognition is very well received by the audience. The online presence is enhanced, with more traffic from the social corner of the internet.
Any modern online business should invest in a degree of video advertising to connect with a new audience as the online video becomes an increasingly powerful tool.
You may or may not know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. YouTube over took Yahoo in August 2008 for the number 2 spot.
Brining you up-to-date, YouTube is owned by Google but this has had no influence on the figures, YouTube has almost 20% of the US search market and it contributes to 30% of Googles owned sites search total.
Despite not being known as a search engine, there is evidence that people are researching and looking for information through this search feature. Plus, there are thousands of users optimising their videos to be listed under the natural listing results. This then opens the door for international exposure and a great method to promote brand identity at a very minimal cost.
That’s the theory, and the practice is very good as well. Research shows that during November 2010, 34.7 million UK internet users watched 6 Billion videos. On average there are 6 videos watched per session. These stats also include content from the BBC and VEVO. This user engagement is seen as a growing market, this market in the future will include more high definition videos.
These high definition clips will be accompanied by business videos as they incorporate video marketing into their marketing budgets. Brand identity will be the big winner as businesses reach out to a massive social following. Video is a very social medium, so management teams will have a difficult job blending the marketing message into a social audience.
Back in the day, YouTube was perhaps a website that you would click around in your social time. However, there will be more marketing campaigns showing with its current content. While clicking around, stats also show that users will leave a comment on the site about the video that we have just watched. The comment ratio is about 1 in 3, 1 comment per 3 clips watched. So, these comments then start to form a blog or forum.
Perhaps making a video for your brand or even a special promotion does not fit in the existing marketing budget; there is also on YouTube the option to advertise on posted videos. The evidence, 23 million users in the UK watched 5.3 million video ads during November. If a video is not possible, a spot of video advertising might be.
The key point is that video marketing is growing and is likely to keep growing; video demand is a large social requirement. With the right video or advert banner, you will be able to see the rewards of the social nature of video.
Google and Facebook are the two biggest brands in the online world and have been very successful over the last few years. What lengths do large brands and businesses go to in order achieve the top positions? Surely that won’t compromise privacy!
There is evidence that both parties have relaxed other more professional matters in which to achieve their current popularity and usage. You may think that they have got where they are by using good intelligence, a good marketing strategy or a great innovation. This is perhaps so but they have been caught doing something else that is not one of these things.
Starting with the largest social networking website Facebook, that recently made their goals very clear, all of the web should be a social platform. This as it sounds is ok for all of its present registered users, but did you know that they use complex privacy settings to do this. These settings meant people were starting to transmit more information than was initially intended. The benefit for Facebook is that more users were able to discover other users.
There is an argument that the whole idea behind a social networking site is that you can connect, discover, share, and play with others. If your privacy settings are at the highest point – you would be almost undiscoverable and that defeats the point. The privacy settings were introduced in May of 2010 and Facebook state that the settings were accurate, comprehensive and easy to understand. However, there were many industry experts that did agree with the user friendly settings, but there are massive holes left open so that members’ public profiles were publicly visible.
Google on the other hand has a lot of data to run the market leading search engine. This was the beginning of the Google Empire that now includes maps, checkouts and email accounts. Then, Google decided that they were going to have a crack at the social networking arena by launching Buzz. This launch attracted great interest – even from the European Privacy Commissioners. In Googles attempt to get the Buzz Social Networking off the ground like a space shuttle launch, it linked 170 million Gmail account holders into the launch without their permission, they had not checked that the email account holders wanted to be involved. The Commissioners spotted it and Google moved very quickly to reverse any actions after a mountain of criticism.
Several months later, Google were back in a similar boat again. When generating the Street Map view that is included into the Maps facility, there was a problem. While the vans had been taking the images of the streets it was also collecting personal data that was on thousands of unsecured wireless networks. Google apologised and called their actions a mistake. Much debate then rumbled around the word and Google’s reputation was again tested, but in their defence they stated that the networks should be secure and offered more training to its engineers.
So, is will the privacy monster be woken in 2011?
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.
Within all marketing plans/budgets, all aspects have to be considered. However, the debate that has been raging for some time is all relating to SEO and Social Media. Occasionally, reports are published that highlight the fortunes that people have earned via a specific SEO plan and the new market audience that is attainable via Facebook or Twitter.
Most experts believe that social media does have a potential to generate new business. The audience is massive with a very low cost to connect to them; you can create your own brand and investigate new opportunities. However, will the social media improve your website? Or is it better to invest your funds and time in SEO campaigns?
Experts believe that social media is not at the moment, a real enhancement to your website for a number of reasons:-
Targeting traffic is a key part of any marketing plan and unfortunately social media is generally not as good as SEO. With social media there is a very high click away percentage. On the other hand with SEO the target market is very focused and defined so enquiries are relevant and convert better in to business. As much as the internet is on all the time, so are the search engines that will provide lots of traffic with good investment. The equivalent time spent on social media will not produce the same results.
In terms of negativity, SEO won’t work against you, even if your SEO technique is relatively poor. Major social media platforms do leave open the door that bad press can walk through that will leave you either red faced, embarrassed or even low on visitors. Also the social media is prone to attacks and so it can’t be considered as bullet proof. If subjected to an attack – a lot of marketing efforts can be destroyed in seconds.
There is a maintenance issue that also has to be considered in this mix – because there are many social network sites including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, you will have to update all of the websites that you decide that you are going to use because the impressions need to be even. There is a multi post option but you will still need to check that the post is accurate. Any none relevant posts could be damaging and leave you relying on good relationships across many forms that can’t be guaranteed. In contrast there are many good search engines and with a good SEO, rewarding rank will be very easy to develop without external factors being in the way.
Social Media is a developing and dynamic, users do spend a lot of time on these types of sites. However, it can be very volatile as users can change between websites almost instantly and so reducing the relevance of the marketing message that is being displayed. What’s in today is not in the next day. SEO should always provide a site with strength, structure and a bold position to improve rank within the main search engines.
Let’s not get confused, this is not a social media put down. Social media will develop and be more rewarding but as we have seen it should not replace SEO. They are two separate channels and should be kept this way. It needs to be considered but not prioritised.
Currently social media websites are receiving more visits than any other website. Recent figures show that Social Media delivers around 3% of its traffic to retail websites.
The 3% highlights that social media has influenced or persuaded a few people to click away from the social media site to the retail site; the main reason for this is because of brand identity. They were on the social media website and click from this, on to brand logo or a marketing message that is of interest – therefore landing on the retail site.
What might retailers take from this? The obvious point being there is positive connection between the social media and your website. However, is there enough of a connection between the two before any marketing investment is added? Do marketing teams feel that this new market of social media is still in its beginning stages and still needs to mature before the marketing budget gains another addition headed Social Media?
So, while this medium is very powerful and has a huge audience, there is still an obstacle when linking the social networking site and the retail website. So far, brand awareness seems to be the best link. This is a clear message that any social media advertising has to be linked in to the existing marketing as the brand name or logo is very receptive to the social media audience.
To involve social media into your Marketing spend – your strategy needs to be integrated with SEO, PPC and any promotional emails. Running a social media campaign in its own will not be fruitful.
Lets not deny that there is a new audience that can be targeted, but there is no real guarantee of clicks and ultimately sales. While we admit that any good strong online marketing campaign needs to have a blend of SEO, PPC and appropriate positioning, at present social media does need to be considered and have an amount of spend for exposure, but must not be relied upon for conversions or sales.
Technology blog The Next Web, recently indicated that Google are moving into social networking with the release of Google Circles in May. The reported also stated that Google Circles will offer video, photo and message sharing.
Google has responded immediately to deny that they are embarking on a new social networking site. Chris Messina, a developer for Google, said he didn’t know anything about the rumour at the SXSW conference.
Even if the rumour were true, we doubt that Facebook and Twitter will be overly concerned. Google’s previous social network attempts (Google Buzz & Wave) failed to steal any of the market away from the 2 main social networks.
Due to a lack of take-up Google decided to drop Wave last summer. Within days of dropping Wave Google announced the acquisition of Slide, a social app company.
Google already operate their Orkut social network which is popular in India and Brazil and has over 100m global users. However, they have never been able to crack the English speaking countries or Europe.
This follows our article last month in which Google and Facebook were believed to be at war on a buyout of Twitter.
Should companies that use Facebook and Twitter to advertise have their adverts screened as they already do with traditional media? The advertising that is done offline is monitored by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but online social media adverts are not. From March/April 2011 both online and offline campaigns will be monitored by the ASA – what impact will that have on a business message or website.
The ASA rules cover all statements on a website that can be interpreted as marketing even if they are not positioned or linked in an advert. Prior to this point, the ASA where only able to check out the content and the intent of paid for ads that were placed online.
Since 2008 the advertising watchdog received in excess of 4,500 reports and queries about appropriate text on websites, but unfortunately they could do nothing about it. The watchdog did notice that the reports and complaints from the online adverts were very similar to the public reports from viewing advertising in TV, National Press and on the Radio. The ASA spokesman stated that this new power will allow them to change and turnover a lot of issues that are put in front of them. The overall rule is that the UK advertising code states that all none paid for statements must not harm, mislead or offend, just like paid for adverts were in the beginning.
The ASA will primarily search for harmful, misleading or offensive details on the .co.uk domains. However, many .com domains will also be reviewed such as Facebook. The difficultly is that an advert on the internet can be visible for 1 week or 1 minute, cause widespread harm or be misleading (particularly on a sales add), then withdrawn.
User content that is posted such as Facebook is not going to be investigated but the ASA will examine company adverts. If a company ad on a social networking site is in breach of the advertising code, the ASA will incorporate a name and shame process.
However, all intentions so far seem to be in the best possible nature. The ads have to be clean and appropriate and clear when delivering their message. However, with Facebook and MySpace growing and companies utilising the massive audience, the enforcement of the code might be difficult. If you are deemed as non compliant the results could be very damaging. There are talks about excluding companies from any advertising medium including search engines and PPC campaigns.
So, ask yourself this, are your marketing messages ASA compliant?
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!)