Social Media Master Class by Andy Larkin of Whatify.org . Follow Whatify on Twitter @Whatify: http://www.twitter.com/whatify Follow Andy Larkin on Twitter @alarkin77: http://www.twitter.com/alarkin77
In 2008 the last major earthquake to hit China was first broadcast on the news by the BBC. They found out about it through Twitter! People were watching videos of the quake on social media sites around the world as it was taking place. In 1988 a similar quake hit China and it took the Chinese government three months to admit it actually happened. In 2008 they did not get to make that decision. The Chinese people told the world through the power of Social Media.
48 hours of video footage uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE! 200 million Tweets posted EVERY DAY! 400 million people on Facebook EVERY DAY! There are two billion people using the internet in the world today and over 50% of them are using Social Networks. So it is fair to say that Social Media is not just a phenomenon. In fact people are calling it a revolution!
There have only been four previous inventions of media in our history that can be classed as revolutionary. First is the print press, giving us the ability to put ink on to paper, to mass produce literature. Second is the telephone allowing one to one conversations over long distance. Then there was the ability to record allowing us to transport and eventually commercialise media. Finally we have radio and television providing one to many broadcasting with audio and video. Each of the above media has limitations. It is either able to create conversation but cannot create groups. Or it can create groups (or audiences) but not allow conversation. For the first time, Social Media, allows us to create groups and conversations at the same time.
As we digitise media on to the internet we are bringing them together into the one place. Now conversations, video, audio, text can be published, shared, discussed and debated like never before. This desire to socialise, communicate and share information between groups and networks is what puts Tweets about an earthquake on to the web.
The other big change is these groups or tribes (as Seth Godin calls them) allow consumers to become producers. With mobile devices capturing images and video consumers are creating the content and publishing it. I can now create my own news, music or movie and have it viewed by thousands! This space where the consumer becomes the producer is where real innovation thrives. One example of this is the mountain bike. A group of passionate cyclists from Northern California decided to make a new type of bike from the parts of other bikes on the market, that was better suited to their terrain. It then took a further ten years before the major manufacturers mass produced what we now call the mountain bike – which accounts for around 60% of the total bicycle market in the US alone. The producers in this market were blind to this and it took a group of passionate consumers to collaborate and innovate this new product. A more relevant example is open source software. Here we have a group of passionate developers spread across the globe who collaborate and produce products which are the main rivals to organisations like Microsoft. These people decided they could provide something better and for free! Without them there would be no choice of operating system or internet browser and they utilise Social Media to communicate and collaborate on projects.
So there is no doubting the impact of Social Media but what does this actually mean for businesses? Are people not just talking about celebs and what they had for breakfast? In 2010 the top conversations on Twitter were about “Gulf Oil Spill”, “iPad”, “Harry Potter” and “FIFA World Cup”.
But as businesses become more involved the content becomes more relevant to them. Over 50% of people on social networks are connected to a company, product or service they like. 36% of content is about companies and their brands 44% of consumers are actively getting involved with brands on Social Media websites Furthermore it is positive comments that have the largest impact on the internet and spread across multiple websites. So where people are just as likely to say something bad about your company - it is the good news that travels the furthest. Interestingly 2 out of 3 employees are happy to promote their own company, yet only 19% are encouraged to do so by employers. So perhaps think about letting your staff do the talking on the web.
Most common mistake I see when people tackle Social Media is to draw a box and say “Right. We need to do some of this Social Media stuff. Let’s set a budget and get started”. Or “Get marketing on the phone. We need to be on Facebook now!” People view Social Media as a separate department or as something the marketing department should take care of as an afterthought. The see it purely as something to raise brand awareness or purely to shamelessly promote there products and services.
When in fact Social Media can be integral to EVERY aspect of your business. It should be viewed as a tool (just like email) and like email, you need to be careful who you send it to and what message you are putting across. Used wisely Social Media can drive your sales, provide technical support and customer service, transform your marketing and deepen your customer relationships. You should be thinking “Where can I use Social Media?” in every new venture and in every day business operations.
The current Social Media Landscape is HUGE! People are publishing, sharing, discussing, collaborating about everything and anything. It is no wonder some business look at Social Media and think where do I begin!
Start small and start by LISTENING! It is no good creating a Facebook account, putting content on there and then after a week running out of things to say – I am sure we have all seen this. So start by listening to WHAT is being said and more importantly WHERE. Using Google Alerts/Facebook/Twitter you can search the content and find out if people are talking about topics relevant to your business. Maybe they are already talking about YOUR BUSINESS! Once you know what they are talking about you can see how to get involved and where to start engaging with your potential customers. Like anything in business you need to research it, set goals, monitor your targets and make sure your content is ENGAGING!
What is Whatify? Whatify is an on-line publication which provides thought provoking articles on business innovation, collaboration and change. Beyond that it is a state of mind. Our aim is to get people thinking...what if I did something different? What if I worked with someone on this? What if I changed this? Our strategy is to use Social Media (and SEO) to increase traffic to the website which will in turn increase our readership and subscriptions. Within four months we have seen 35% of ALL our traffic comes from Social Media websites. Interestingly we do not have an extensive following on sites like Twitter (128 followers currently) but the traffic is still improving – it is all about quality, not quantity. We provide quality content to people who are passionate about innovation so they are happy to tell as many people as they can. The future for Whatify is to increase our following steadily and continue to generate good content – perhaps taking this content to different formats (video and audio) and therefore expanding on to other networks (i.e. Facebook and YouTube).
These are the social media sites currently used by Whatify. Twitter ( http://twitter.com/ ) Whatify chose Twitter because a lot of our contributors were already on there and it gave us a good platform to communicate with them as well as promote them and their article content. LinkedIn ( http://www.linkedin.com/ ) The Whatify team had a good network of local business on LinkedIn so it was ideal place for us to start promoting the magazine and the website. From there we have been able to increase the awareness beyond Dorset and the UK. It also provides a good forum for discussions about article topics - on the LinkedIn groups. Digg ( http://digg.com/ ) and StumbleUpon ( http://www.stumbleupon.com/ ) Both these sites allow Whatify to publish articles which can be read by other members are promoted to gain more exposure worldwide. Another platform for us to increase visibility of each article, build a following and drive traffic to the website. Paper.li ( http://paper.li/ ) This site creates a newspaper from the information you put out on your blog, Twitter or other social media sites. Gives a different look and feel to your content. Slideshare ( http://www.slideshare.net/ ) Allows you to publish and promote presentations. From this site you upload the presentation and can then place it on to your website as well as share it on Facebook, etc.
Hootsuite ( http://hootsuite.com ) Provides a social media dashboard. You can add many accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and post updates to them all from one place. You can also schedule updates for the future and share your account with others to allow them to post updates for you. Also provides a suite of reporting tools to get great feedback on your updates and how effective they are. Google Alerts ( http://www.google.com/alerts ) You this to get emails every time someone somewhere mentions something of interest to you (your company, product, service or industry). Ideal way to keep tabs on what people are talking about and more importantly WHERE they are talking. So you can plan what sites to join and what advice you can offer potential customers. Google Reader ( http://www.google.com/reader ) This is an RSS or news feed reader. Google alerts can be delivered by RSS as can Twitter searches and LinkedIn discussions. So you can add these feeds to your Google reader account and have one place to view all the conversations taking place around a particular topic.
X-MEN Movie franchise released in 2006 accumulated 3 million friends on MySpace in the space of one month. This contributed to the $107 million taken at the box office in the first three days of release. The MySpace page was then updated to sell digital swag and DVD’s. Nokia Used Facebook to target customers aged 13+ in 12 different countries and promote their new map application. Two 24 hour trials resulted in over 1 million downloads in the first week the maps were launched. Nokia also claim this exercise raised brand awareness as a lot of these customers were unaware Nokia did anything other than mobile phones. Dell Were able to generate over $1 million is sales directly from offers and promotions published on Twitter.
Namecheap (Domain anf website hosting) Decide to tweet trivia questions every hour and the first three replies with the correct answer would win a domain name for the year. Went from 200 to 4000 followers on Twitter in a month. Website traffic increased by 10% which resulted in a 20% increase in website sales. The Coffee Groundz (Coffee shop) Reported to be the first business to take orders for food/drink on Twitter. Claims Twitter alone has doubled their clientele who can place an order by messaging them on Twitter – even from inside the coffee shop itself! Wiggly Wigglers (Gardening business) Base in Hertfordshire the owner blogged about her passion for gardening and created the Wiggly Community. Currently has over 4000 followers on Twitter and also have their very own podcast which claims to be “Like the Archers’s...but real!” The Creme Brulee Man This man runs a stand in San Francisco selling Creme Brulee. He only uses Twitter to communicate where he will be and what his flavour of the day is. As a result he has over 12,000 followers. Indium (Engineering) Let fourteen of their engineering staff regularly blog to show their passion for engineering and allow them to connect with their customers at their level. Kinaxis (Supply Chain Management) Created an online short comedy series published on YouTube (starring Kevin Pollack) to raise brand awareness. This has doubled the traffic to their website and tripled the number of sales leads.
In conclusion. Social Media is a tool which allows businesses to engage with customers like never before. But the key lies in the content. It has to be UNIQUE , COMPELLING and ENGAGING. After that...the sky is the limit!
References: Clay Shirky’s presentation on TED – How Social Media can make history http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/clay_shirky_how_cellphones_twitter_facebook_can_make_history.html Seth Godin’s reference to Tribes as seen on TED – The Tribes we lead http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html Charles Leadbeater’s story about the Mountain Bike on TED – Charles Leadbeater on Innovation http://www.ted.com/talks/charles_leadbeater_on_innovation.html Statistics on Social Media provided by Insites Consulting ( http://www.insites.eu/ ) Social Media Landscape image courtesy of http://www.fredcavazza.net/
48 hours of footage uploaded every minute 200 million Tweets every day 400 million people on Facebook every day* 1 billion people using social networks* *Courtesy of InSites Consulting
Over 50% of Social Network users are connected to brands 36% of all Social Media content is about brands 44% of Social Media consumers are involved with brands Note: All these statistics are courtesy of InSites Consulting
<ul><ul><li>an on-line publication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>promoting article content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30-35% of traffic from social media websites </li></ul></ul>Visit whatify.org + follow @whatify on Twitter