Apps like Snapchat illustrate change in communication for youth

When I first started college back in 2006, one of the most exciting aspects for me was getting my own college .edu email address. Having that meant I could join older friends on Facebook, and I could not wait to be able to have a Facebook account.

Things have changed quite a bit in the last seven years since then. Now it’s not college students who are excited to join Facebook, it’s middle schoolers and those under 13. And Facebook is beginning to lose even that age group.

Because of this, it makes perfect sense for Facebook to begin buying mobile app services like Instagram. Most recently, Facebook attempted to purchase Snapchat for $3 million but did not succeed as Snapchat explores other offers it has received. On the flip side, it also makes sense for Snapchat to refuse the offer, seeking ways to stay as “hip” as possible with youngins. Who would have thought Facebook would ever be considered a social network for “old” people?

Apps like Snapchat show a significant change in the way our youth are communicating. They have learned that parents, family and other adults are on social networks like Facebook, leaving little room for a “private” conversation with a friend. For marketers, this is an interesting trend to consider. If a person leans more toward messaging apps like this and less toward social networks like Facebook, this could mean a shift for marketers is on the horizon. This also continues to prove the idea that today’s consumers are much more interested in short communications (think 6 second Vine vids) and have less interest in the more complicated, lengthy communications. 

Personally, I have started using Snapchat to communicate with a few very close friends from college. We send each other goofy pictures but no truly meaningful conversation takes place there, at least for us. However, the future may show us more implications and uses for this app than we could have imagined. 

Do you use Snapchat? If so, in what ways? What uses could Snapchat have for marketers?

My Opinions on “The 36 Rules of Social Media” (Two Months Later…)

This post has been a long time coming. Back in November, I came across this intriguing graphic from PRDaily: The 36 Rules of Social Media. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. While the graphic is a couple months old now, it is worth considering the points it makes. Here are five I thought deserved further discussion. (Although I would love to chat about any of them!)

#2. Stop and ask: Would an actual person talk that way?

For my own work, this is a big one. It is especially difficult because, as an organization, you need to be your brand while also speaking the way an actual person speaks; you must get rid of the “marketing speak” as one of my professors used to say often. The content I work with at my job is often centered around health topics, which can get very confusing very quickly. It is always important to put yourself in the place of your audience!

#3 Everyone says they don’t want to be marketed to. Really, they just don’t want to be talked down to.

This is a big one, not only for social media, but for marketing in general. It is the cornerstone of what modern, strategic marketing is about: Blindly blanketing everyone you can with your message is not likely to get you too far. Drilling down your services and offering them up to people who need them now or will soon in the future is likely to offer more success.

#11 Solve problems for people who talk about you, even if they don’t address you.

I agree with this one, although it often makes me feel like I am “creeping on people. For example, I currently use HootSuite to monitor Twitter mentions of a few important keywords in my geographic area. This means any time someone located within 15 miles of my business’s particular city, their tweet comes up in my feed, and I can view it there. This not only helps me to see when something related to my company’s industry occurs in the local area, but it also helps me to reach out to people who mention my company or have a need. I try not to be too obtrusive for fear of, as I mentioned, “creeping” people out. But because of this feed, I have offered sympathies, compliments or additional advice for a problem. Often there recipient does not respond, but occasionally the person reaches back with a thank you. Finding and engaging in two-way conversation is what social media is all about, and doing that openly is easy with Twitter, which I feel is often considered much less private than Facebook.

#25 The only way to scale word of mouth: Paid advertising.

For the most part, I agree with this statement. Paid advertising can boost engagement and awareness significantly. However, I don’t think it is the ONLY way. I think sometimes there are stories, businesses, people, etc., that are so amazing or so outrageous that they grow by themselves. They grow because of what they are. However, this growth is not the norm and there is no shame in receiving a push. If you aren’t able to get that crowd organically, paid advertising is a technique.

#33 Fans own your brand.

This is another fact that, in my opinion, goes much farther than social media. Branding 101 says that your brand is not defined simply by taglines and logos, although they help to build it. A brand is contained in the minds of those of a community. It’s what an employee thinks in the morning before entering work, and how he or she treats the client that greets him first thing. While we all say that companies own brands and a brand belongs to a company, a brand is actually something that is developed in the minds of the people it affects through the experiences or knowledge they have.

Do you agree with these rules of social media? Do you have something you would add to the list?

A Forward-Thinking Social Media History Lesson

The basic concept of social media is nothing new. We humans literally live for the interactions we have with each other.

However, what makes social media so exciting is how it allows people to keep in contact with so many others in so little time, comparatively. Yes, maintaining social media does take lots and lots of time. But think about how much time it would have taken before then? Think about how challenging it was to keep up with family members and friends and customers and business partners before the internet, let alone social media.

The social media technology advances soared exponentially throughout the year. To prove it, I wanted to show an intriguing infographic from OnlineSchools.org. (Note: I originally found this infographic on Mashable.)

The power of human intellect and technological ability to grow so exponentially really just baffles my mind. Now more than ever, we truly live in a constantly moving and changing world. So exciting! What do you find most exciting about today’s new communication technologies, specifically social media tools?

Using measurement to increase social media’s effectiveness

You’ve heard it in the past: Before you use social media, you should have a purpose.

For businesses, the purpose is probably to build your brand, which will help your profits down the road. For individuals, the purpose might be to network professionally with others or to keep up with lives of distant friends and family members.

No matter why you use social media, you might wonder if you’re using it correctly or effectively. According to a MediaPost article, the vast majority of companies feel they aren’t using social media tools effectively.

The most remarkable finding: just 12% of the companies surveyed believed they were currently effective users of social media, meaning almost nine out of ten respondents relegated themselves to the “ineffective” pile.

In addition, research found 75 percent of respondents didn’t know where customers talked about their companies only and 31 percent said they don’t measure their social media tactics effectiveness. Only 23 percent said they use analytics tools.

Why might this be happening? Part of it could be time issues combined with people not understanding. Many businesses and individuals think just throwing content out on social media will help them achieve their goals.When they do that at nothing big happens, they think their work was ineffective, and probably was. If they don’t change, they’ll continue to be ineffective.

To succeed at social media, you have to bring something useful to your targeted audience. Then, you have to measure that something to see if it ended up being effective. You can then use the results from that measurement to improve future participation.

Here are a few sites I have used to measure my own personal brand and corporate brands:

What social media measurement tools and sites do you use?

Smart Shopping for a Smart Phone: Part 3

After a few weeks or a couple days, the most important moment arrives: the decision moment.

Once you’ve gathered the information you need, organize it (even if only done mentally) as best you can and use it to make a decision. It also never hurts to throw out a last-minute Facebook or Twitter update, saying something like, “I think I’m going to go with @HTC’s Droid Incredible. Thoughts?”

I posted an update like this the day before my purchase and received two responses via Twitter — one from a satisfied Incredible owner who urged me to get it and another from HTC, also suggesting I go for the Incredible.

So, my mind was set. I purchased the Droid Incredible from BestBuy.com and arranged to pick it up in the store, where the Best Buy experts could help me get it ready to go. After overcoming a few hurdles in the activation process, I walked out with my brand-new phone and a big smile.

But your job, like mine, is not over once you’ve purchased. You and I now have an obligation to help others by sharing thoughts and opinions on our own phones and experiences using many communication modes, including social media.

Here are a few ways you can share your buying experience and your opinions on the product you purchased:

  • Answer others’ product-related questions on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! Answers or other social sites.
  • Write a blog post, Facebook note or tweet briefly reviewing the product after you’ve gotten familiar with it.
  • Talk about your experience with family and friends.

How else might you share your experience with others?

Hark! Explaining Social Media Through Christmas Carols

Because it’s “that time of year” (an expression I hate but still use), I decided to take a break from the Smart Shopping for a Smartphone series to talk about something I love most about the month of December: Christmas carols.

The musical aspect of Christmas songs new and old certainly are lovable. However, after listening to a few tunes with my newly trained social media ear, I realized many of the lessons, even the religious ones, could apply to social media.

Rather than choose my own personal top five, I sought the top five or 10 most popular (historically) Christmas songs and came up with:

1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Takeaway: Listen! People are talking. Continue reading “Hark! Explaining Social Media Through Christmas Carols”

Don’t Let Big Biz Have All the (Social Media) Success!

In his AdAge.com article  “Why Big Brands Are Dominating Social Media,” Brian Sheehan raises valid points, saying although we always talk about social media tools being free to use, they do take tons of time to manage, and, as the saying goes, time is money. While Pepsi or Ford or other big brands don’t have to necessarily pay a ton of money for social media tools, they are able to pay a ton of money to employees who manage the conversations taking place through the tools.

It would seem big business brands have outdone small businesses again. While this may be true for right now, small businesses don’t have to sit back while big businesses have all the fun.

Instead,  small businesses can have just as much success, if not more success, on social media by thinking on a smaller, local community level and adding a dab of creativity. Continue reading “Don’t Let Big Biz Have All the (Social Media) Success!”