BuzzRocket's Blog


TEDxGoldstar

I feel so privileged to be a part of the upcoming TEDxGoldstar event being held at Downtown Independent on March 2. This should be an amazing event. They even highlighted me on their blog!

If any of my fellow LA bloggers are interested, TEDxGoldstar is looking for five talented bloggers to act as official TEDxGoldstar Interactive Hosts. Interactive hosts will serve as the eyes and ears of TEDxGoldstar and will be reporting firsthand updates about the event throughout the day. Click here to be considered.

Let me know if you are going to be there. I’d love to say hello.

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Building your brand, social media-style

Social networks are an opportunity to create a unique environment where brands can speak with (not at) their audience. Engagement, brand awareness and fostering the coveted word-of-mouth marketing are all benefits of a successful social media campaign. And while we spent most of 2010 wrapping our minds around the significance of social media, some still have not jumped on board and many have not properly launched their campaigns.

Entrepreneur.com’s Susan Gunelius recently posted these five suggestions for creating an effective brand-building social media campaign.

  • Create branded destinations. Gunelius suggests using free social media options such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to create a core online destination.
  • Establish entry points. Create meaningful content that enhances the user’s experience and gets them talking. In addition to giving your audience a reason to return, new content also helps to increase your SEO.
  • Locate your target audience and bring them back to you. Through a little research, locate your target audience and develop a presence there. Gunelius says joining online forums, blogs and write posts or comment on stories to gain trust from your audience and establish yourself as a thought leader.
  • Connect with influencers. Figure out who’s got the loudest voice online and connect with them. Follow their blogs, retweet, show your commitment and even make an intro.
  • Give more than you receive. Don’t spend all your time pumping out self-promoting messages. Remember this is a social environment. Gunelius recommends the 20/80 rule: “Spend no more than 20 percent of your time in self-promotional activities and conversations, and at least 80 percent on non-self-promotional activities. In time, you’ll see your business grow from your efforts. And it starts with leveraging these fundamentals.”

Punk. Billionaire. Genius.

Congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg, who, today, was named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine. This is a well-deserved achievement for the 26-year-old Facebook co-founder, who in seven short years has completely revolutionized the way in which we communicate. Facebook now boasts more than 550 million users – if it were a country would be the third largest on the planet.

Facebook is so much a part of our lives that it’s become a verb. According to Facebook stats, people spend more than 700 billion minutes a month on the social networking site. Facebook has quickly become the place to not only gather with friends online, but also email, share pictures, stories and get news.

Zuckerberg has had a crazy year. On the heels of the Oscar-buzzworthy film The Social Network, where he was portrayed as a socially awkward, morally questionable hacker genius, Zuckerberg announced he was making a $100 million donation to Newark NJ’s public school system.

More recently, Zuckerberg pledged to donate the majority of his estimated $4.9 million to charity.


The Social Network

One great thing about living in LA is easy access to things such as Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for The Social Network, which I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading. Yep, it’s pretty brilliant and I simply couldn’t put the thing down.

It’s part modern day Citizen Kane, with hints of The Great Gatsby and a little touch of The Secret History (without the murder, of course). I promise no spoilers, but the story weaves around from the early Harvard days of Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin through the development of the social networking behemoth, to the fallout and eventual lawsuits against Zuckerberg.  But this isn’t a movie review.

While the story is truly an incredible tale of greed, genius, power, friendship, insecurity and deception, it also is a reminder that Facebook really has changed the face of how we communicate. I woke up this morning and went through my normal routine of first checking my Facebook account and all the pages I run on the network. But this time I approached it from a whole new mindset, perhaps not new, but one that had been lying dormant and was now reawakened. I truly was overwhelmed by the influence of social media in our lives, especially Facebook.

Maybe Zuckerberg is a thief, an asshole. Maybe not. What is inarguable is his genius. His creation is quickly becoming the foundation of modern communication. The last page of the screenplay, which was written in May 2009, includes a stat in the Title:  Facebook has 180 million users in 60 countries. That was just 16 months ago! Now Facebook boasts more than 500 million users, which is a figure from August 2010.

Everyday people are spending more time on Facebook, using it for much more than spying on an ex, or looking at friends’ vacation pictures. People are using it to effectively market themselves and businesses. It’s a new way to connect to not only your friends, but also customers. It’s become a way to engage your customers, learn more about what makes them tick. This is invaluable to marketers.


“A Better Twitter”

Sadly, I’m not one of the lucky people with access to the dramatically revamped Twitter, but boy do I feel like a kid before Christmas. I truly cannot wait.

Twitter has announced “A Better Twitter,” the biggest change to its interface in a long time … years.  Leaving its comfort zone of 140 characters, the newly re-engineered Twitter will be providing “an easier, faster and richer experience.”

Lucky us! This means several tantalizing features, including new design with a cleaner timeline and a right-hand side bar, where tweets you click on open and can be seen with images, video and more. New Twitter will support embedded images and videos thanks to partnerships with Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, justin.tv, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog and YouTube.

Also cool? Discover-related content. Soon (if not now), when you click on a tweet, additional info related to the author or subject appears.

These new changes, slated to roll out over the next several weeks, are going to mean incredible things for brands on Twitter. For years, Facebook has reigned supreme in social media marketing. Aside from boasting more than 500 million users (Twitter has just under 150 million users), Facebook has allowed users to post pictures, video, notes and events, whereas Twitter has just offered links to such things.

Now, brands on Twitter will be able to offer more engaging messages, with embedded images and video. In short, brands will be able to tell their stories with more encompassing content.

It will be interesting to see if Twitter’s new offerings attract even more users. It also will be exciting to see how marketers use the new features to interact with consumers, and which of them are successful. Already our heads are spinning. Yours?


Facebook Readies for Big Announcement

As Facebook gears up for its big announcement today, nerds like us wait with baited breath. Most expect Facebook will be making the long-awaited introduction of its geo-location services.

The social media giant was supposed to launch this new offering back in June, but Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated in an interview with Ad Age that privacy issues were the cause of the delay and that it was “a very important area, but it’s also a sensitive one.”

But now it seems the day of the much-anticipated announcement is upon us. Geeks, marketers, local business owners – think retailers and restauranteurs – rejoice! What exactly does this mean for us?

Thanks to location-based pioneers like Foursquare and Gowalla, we’ve seen the value of these services. By posting specials and promotions that encourage users to “check in” to establishments, business owners and marketers already are leveraging the users of these offerings to serve as mini, grassroots marketers for our businesses and brands. These check-ins get posted onto the users respective geo-location site pages and typically then onto their Facebook and/or Twitter pages, offering invaluable and coveted word-of-mouth advertising.

And while Foursquare recently confirmed its number of registered users to be approximately 2.6 million, imagine what will happen when the behemoth Facebook, with more than 500 million users, starts offering a GPS-based service.

Ian Schafer best speculated in a May 2010 Ad Age column, “Almost overnight, the ability to easily broadcast your location on and via Facebook will be put into the hands of about 500 million people — 500 million people that retailers and businesses with physical locations will have the opportunity to influence people nearby to visit. This will go from curiosity to one of the biggest opportunities that a marketer can have within a month of its launch as users become more comfortable with the feature.”


Brands Insignificant on Twitter, But They Don’t Have to Be

AdAge recently ran a story titled “Study: Most Brands Still Irrelevant on Twitter,” which covered the latest report from digital marketing agency 360i. For brands and marketers, some of 360i’s findings could be, well, scary. According to the report, an astounding 94 percent of tweets analyzed were personal updates – conversations between friends, information about what users are doing: “drinking a skinny latte @Starbucks!” And 360i’s findings show that more than 90 percent of tweets come from consumers, of that only 12 percent of consumer brands mention a brand.

While this news could be frightening to all the marketers out there who spend countless hours blasting out branded tweets to no avail, this should be seen as an opportunity.

The study also shows that 92 percent of users have unprotected accounts, which makes their profiles and tweets public, allowing anyone to monitor their conversations. A marketers dream.

The study also finds that Twitter is a conversational platform with more than 40 percent of all tweets starting with @, meaning they are directed at someone. Marketers are still talking TO people and not WITH people. Twitter reports more than 100 users that log 65 million tweets a day. 360i points out that Twitter reports 190 million site visitors per month, showing that an enormous amount of people are coming to Twitter to read content, and not conversing.

As BuzzRocket wrote in a previous blog, keep the “social” in social media. A significant factor in running a successful social media campaign is to keep your online activities very conversational.

360i summed it up nicely in their report, “The real value for marketers who participate in Twitter is in creating an ongoing dialogue with consumers that enables brands to become a more meaningful part of people’s everyday lives.”


So Much for Twitter’s Leveling Off

Twitter just shared some of its stats at Chirp, the official Twitter developer conference. And let’s just say, Wow! Squashing many recent rumors of their leveling off, co-Founders Biz Stone and Evan Willams reported rather aggressive growth, stating that there are more than 105 million Twitter users, adding 300,000 a day! These numbers are up 1500% from last year! Other stats include:

  • 180 million unique visitors/month
  • 75 percent of traffic comes from 3rd party applications
  • 60 percent of all tweets come from 3rd party applications
  • Users are posting an average of 55 million tweets/day

For New York Times‘ coverage of the event click here.


Social Media offers deeper dialogue

And the numbers keep growing. Facebook has 450 million users globally, with millions more being added each week. And according to Hitwise, for the week ending March 20, 2010, Facebook is still edging out Google in the US to become the most visited website for the second week running. (Thirty percent of the top 10 visited sites are social networks.)

While social media’s level of popularity may be an all-time high it’s more than just a fad. It’s a new way of communicating. For companies, it’s a way to take their brands to new audiences and engage customers. For years, consumers have been spoken to, now, thanks to social media, conversation is a two-way street, allowing companies to encourage a deeper dialogue with their customers.

It’s important to remember the “social” element in social media. Audiences choose to follow you and in turn, read what you have to say, but they also have the chance to respond. Be ready for praise…and criticism. But don’t be deterred. This is an invaluable tool for promotion, thought leadership, feedback and reputation management.


Social Media Addiction

OK, so reading the Retrevo Gadgetology report did make me feel a little better about myself; that I wasn’t alone in this world. Possibly explaining why I am still single, here is how my social media bedtime routine goes:

  1. Check all Facebook and Twitter accounts for my clients and me
  2. Stalk a couple friends on Facebook
  3. Find something to fall asleep to on Hulu
  4. Jump in bed with iPhone, fall asleep
  5. Wake up at some point in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep for an hour (EVERY NIGHT!)
  6. Turn on iPhone, check all social networks for clients and me. Retweet when possible (people post good stuff in the middle of the night), read Mashable or Perez until I fall back asleep
  7. Wake up at 8, check emails, Facebook and Twitter before getting out of bed, check news as I take the dogs on their morning walk.

According to the newly released study, 48 percent of people surveyed check/update Facebook or Twitter after they go to bed, 30 percent of that saying they check/update the social sites every time they wake up! And it doesn’t stop at night: 42 percent of social media users check/update Twitter and Facebook first thing in the morning. Sixteen percent of morning users said they get their morning news via social media (sorry, Matt Lauer).

The study also found that social media users check Facebook at least once a day and 12 percent check in every couple of hours!

And I guess all of us iPhone users are more social, too. But, like a good addict, I’ll blame someone else for my problems: Apple, you just make it too easy to be social!

Click here to learn more about the Gadgetology study.


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