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Archive for May 2011

Social Media Cycle

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Funny to stop and think about how Social Media evolved from a couple of years til now.

What is Social Media?

Back when I did my thesis in my Bachelors degree in 2009, about the New Market and the Social Web, I still struggled to find a good definition for Social Media (aka Social Web). We had heard a lot about Web 2.0 at that time, but not enough about Social Media.

That’s cool, let’s all be there!

When Social Media started to act more as a global channel and reach a wider audience, was when brands realized – “UH! That’s cool. Let’s do this!”

We need strategy

After a while, not too long, brands realized they needed to build their own strategy in Social Media. It’s not simply about having a presence, you need a plan – set goals, target your audience, figure out a budget and resources.

Wait, is this right?

Now we are starting to ask questions, such as – Should I really be in Social Media? Do I have enough time and resources? And what about my budget? What is going to be my ROI? What channels are best for my business?

… what’s next?

We are being a lot more critic regarding Social Media nowadays. I believe we’re finally reaching a tipping point. Finally, we don’t need to prove things work. There are a lot of success stories out there. But the key is, does it work for everyone? Is it really going to stick as part of our everyday lives for long? Don’t know. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, the Social Media Cycle hasn’t closed yet.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Marketing, Social, Web 2.0

What’s Up With Social Media And Friends Recommendations?

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Ok. I get it. We trust friends with recommendations more than we trust brands or people we don’t know. That makes sense. But think about how social networks work nowadays. Do we know everyone we’re friends with? A research just came out this past week saying the average 22 year-old in England has over 1000 friends on Facebook. And now you tell me, do we really know everyone we’re friends with? I doubt it.

Google +1

Not long ago, Google launched Google +1 button. As Google itself describes, the button is a “shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” They said you just have to click on it to “publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.” So basically, it’s a recommendation button.

New Facebook page feature

Rumors this week started about a Facebook page recommendation tool, where friends can recommend friends about which pages to like. Yet again, we are trusting our so called friends with recommendations.

Enough with that

Stop to reflect about it. Would you care about what pages your little brother likes on Facebook? Do you really want to get a recommendation from your best friend’s mother? People have different interests, and that’s perfectly normal. I believe that Google +1 can easily become spam if not handled right. I’ve been using the Google+like extension in my browser (Chrome), and it’s been great. Not for the recommendation bit, where I should believe the content my friends have shared is more interesting (cause I don’t), but because this is great for research. I can see how many likes a link has had, which is great to understand the reach and popularity of online content.

What does the future hold?

Saying all that, I still think recommendation is a great opportunity in Social Media. I think it would be perfectly normal for me to get recommendations from my Twitter followers, and you know why is that? Because my Twitters followers are not exactly my friends, but people who share the same interests as me. I wouldn’t follow them if I didn’t care for what they had to say. Recommendations should be about the relationship you have with someone, it should be about sharing and caring for the same things.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Facebook, Social, Statistics

The Replacement Habit

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I’m tired. Everyone keeps saying that books, magazines and newspaper are going to die. Can we STOP with this replacement habit?

If we look back, people used to say TV would kill cinema. Well, I still watch TV everyday and love to go to the cinema on weekends. We managed to keep both. Why? Because they are not the same thing. Each media has its own beauty. I turn the TV on, but I’m not always watching it. When I go to the cinema, I’m focused. Totally different feelings.

Photography didn’t kill paintings. Cinema didn’t kill books. TV didn’t kill cinema. And the web will not kill everything else!

It’s not about replacement, it’s about addition.

P.S. Can you figure out what are the medias in the image above? I know it’s not too easy, but I must say, this actually looks better than I thought it would. I definitely can’t draw, but illustrator helped a bit :)

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Media

Pricing in Digital Publishing

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With all the changes going on in publishing, one of the most common questions asked is how much should publishers charge for content. Truth is that there is not right formula to figure that out. Cory Doctorow, when he talks about ebooks, says that you shouldn’t charge the highest price but you shouldn’t charge the lowest either.

But that doesn’t help us much right? So let’s look at some business models he presented during his talk.

Price Discrimination

You’ll never be able to please everyone. Even if you’ve got a very segmented audience, you’ll have to face different price behavior. For example, coffee lovers. Some will want to pay £5 for a cup of coffee, others will want to pay £1. But you cannot open a coffee shop and start asking people how much they are willing to pay for your coffee, right? Well, Radiohead did it back in 2007 when they released their album ‘In Rainbows’. You might have heard about it, they made more money from the downloads than from the offline sales from their previous album. And only a third of people who downloaded the album chose not to pay anything and get it for free.

In Radiohead’s case, they allowed the customers to choose how much they would pay for the album. This can be extremely dangerous. But you also have examples of businesses that set the price themselves, such as the airlines companies. As Cory mentioned, if you ask around when you’re in an airplane how much people paid for their tickets, you will be surprised. The prices can vary a lot. The airlines carefully handle that, since they know when and who is willing to pay more for the same service.

The issues. There are several issues with using the price discrimination model. One of the biggest is when customers who you’d expect to pay more, end up paying less. And example that Cory talked about, is iTunes. When they started charging $0.49 for the songs, they had a major increase in sales. They were making more profit, since more people were paying. But they decided not to drop the price from $0.99, because if they did, they would loose the audience who was willing to pay more. It gets tricky.

Elasticity of demand

The cheaper, the better. Well, that’s what some people would say. Usually the more you lower your prices, the more people will buy from you. So let’s get back to the airline businesses. Specially here in Europe, the business of low cost airlines is huge. They are known for having the cheaper prices, therefore they’re able to reach a broader audience.

The issues. We usually relate price with quality. The issue there is that your business might be perceived as cheap if you charge a very low price. But this has a lot to do with your segment, and your target audience. If you realize there’s a big demand in the market, and the most important, you’re able to charge a low price, go for it. An opportunity here is to start low and increase after you have a loyal base of customers. This is not easy, your product must be very good and your customers must be able to pay more for it.

Advertisement

We all know this one. This is what’s ‘saving’ most of the publishing business that still don’t charge for any of their content. Advertisement changes a lot depending on your business, it’s not simple to say whether you’d be successful with it or not. But most of the experts out there are saying that advertisement is not the answer. Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, says that “an advertising-only model is very difficult. Of new revenue streams, payment is one of the most obvious to look at”.

Freemium

I’m sure you’ve used this before, it’s all over the web. The business offers you some of their services for free, but charge you for advance features. Spotify is doing that beautifully. They have recently reacher 1 million paid subscribers, which is amazing. This is a smart way to identify your customers and create an established relationship with them, which will hopefully make it easier to turn them into paid users.

So, what is the answer?

There’s no right answer yet. First we need to understand why people would pay for content. The problem is that we haven’t figured out that yet. There’s so much available for free, and most readers don’t understand (or don’t care) about the quality. So right now we should be flexible – try new things, fail and try again.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 23, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Posted in Digital, Publishing

Social Media Interaction

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If you are one of those people who say the number of followers on Twitter and number of fans on Facebook doesn’t matter, you won’t like what I have to say. You will either disagree or I’ll change your mind. We’ll see.

Numbers matter

Fans who don’t see your posts range from 10% to 75%. I know this is a big range, but still, huge. This depends on a different factors, such as interaction with the post – the more interaction you get, the longer your post will show up at your fan’s feed. It also has to do with the amount of interaction your fan previously had with you, if he never interacts with your page, it’s more likely he won’t see your updates. Facebook assumes he simply doesn’t care.

Source - All Facebook http://bit.ly/kmG8dP

 

Fans who like or comment at your page ranges from 0.1% to 4%. What do you think, not good enough? It’s actually higher than average. Jakob Nielsen, a huge name in the usability world, wrote an article about participation inequality. After doing a lot of research, he concluded that in most online communities 90% of members are lurkers, people who never contribute. They might be listening, but they are not collaborating. 9% are intermittent contributors. This group contributes from time to time, but the community is not a priority for them. And just 1%, yeah one per cent, of the community are heavy contributors.

Fans who go to your actual fan page range from 0.1% to 0.5%. Very surprising for those who didn’t know, but users don’t actually go to your Facebook Page. They expect to get everything they need from their new feeds, they are not interested at your page, instead you give them a reason to (aka: an application that offers something valuable).

Do the math

So let’s say you’re a very small and focused business. You currently has an average of 100 Facebook fans, and all your hear people saying is that ‘number of fans is not important’. Well, do the math:

  • 10 to 75 fans won’t see your posts at all.
  • 0.1 to 4 people will actually like or comment at your posts.
  • 0.1 to 0.5 (that’s not even ONE person) will actually go to your page.

So, what do you say?

All that awesome job you did building your Facebook page for this amount of interaction? Not enough! You need more fans, that is a fact! Check my blog post about Facebook Contests for some ideas about getting more fans and interaction.

Did I change your mind? Or do you still believe is not about the numbers? You might not believe the stats, and I respect you for that.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Posted in Facebook, Statistics

My Media Consumption

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I’m sure we’ve all been overwhelmed with information in the last years. Specially for us, who always need to keep updated with the latest information. One day without looking at the news, and we might have missed big time.

Have you ever thought about all the different medias we consume a day?

My day usually happens like this…

  • TV during breakfast. (Yes, you read that right, T-V. I still can’t live without it)
  • Mobile on the bus. (Mainly catching up with emails and Facebook)
  • RSS feed on the tube. (Tip – If you open your RSS when you have internet connection, you can still read everything it has downloaded when you don’t have connection anymore)
  • Web. (That happens for about 9 hours a day, at least)
  • Angry birds / Newspaper. (When I’m on the tube back home, I usually play angry birds on my phone. If I find a lost newspaper, I might read that too)
  • Mobile on the bus. (Mainly catching up with emails and Facebook)
  • Web and TV. (Usually, both at the same time)

So let’s say, I’m probably an average user according to my media consumption. I don’t own a kindle or an iPad. I mainly keep things between my mobile, my notebook (which I can say, is my best friend ♥) and my TV. And sure, it’s not unusual for me to use all three at the same.

Free VS Paid

I usually pay for things I have to. If I don’t, I won’t. I obviously pay for my internet connection, both at home and in my mobile. But other than that, I keep things free. I thought that since I’m young and don’t earn a lot of money, that would be the reason why. But not really. It’s more about personality, than anything else.

The news

First of all, what do we mean by news? Let’s break it down, so it makes more sense. It’s going to be interesting to look at this list in six months time, and see if my resources are still the same.

General News
Facebook (Social)
Twitter (Social + Industry)
Linkedin Today (Industry)
Digital industry & media news (B2B)
Google RSS +50 blogs (aggregator)
– Mashable
– Hubspot
– Social Media Explorer
– Social Times
– The next web
– All Facebook
– Chris Brogan
– Brian Solis
Entertainment (B2C)
Spotify
Youtube
Channel 4
Shopping (B2C)
H&M
Argos
Amazon
Ikea

Conclusion

This was more like a personal exercise than anything else. But I’d urge you to it, it will be interesting to look at it in 6 or 12 months time and see if any has changed (I bet it will). I’ll leave you with a quote, presented to us in class by our professor Tim Tucker:

‘Good technologies don’t eradicate earlier good technologies. They overlap with them—or morph, so that the old and the new may persist alongside yet another development. Think Post-its, printed books, PC’s, and iPads, all in the same office cubicle.’ William Germano, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Posted in Media

Re-defining ‘publishing’ in a digital era

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We’ve been hearing lately that every brand should consider itself a publisher. But what does that mean exactly? What actually is publishing after all?

Message VS Medium / Publishing VS Print

Many people get confused between the terms print and publishing. I’ve read an article from John Battelle, where he explains why of this confusion:

“Back when paper and printing presses revolutionized how humans communicated, we ended up conflating two very important concepts. One was the message – what was being said, and in what context. The second was the medium – the transport for that message. The two became seen as the same thing in printed matter, and the traditional definition of publishing was born.”

This made me think about my communication classes back when I was taking my Bachelors degree, when we used to discuss McLuhan for several hours. And as John talks about in his article, apologies to McLuhan, but in this case the medium is not the message.

Well, theories aside

So… what is digital publishing? John says that “publishing means connecting a community through the art and science of communication. And nowhere is publishing more vibrant – and conversational – than through the medium we’ve come to call the Internet.” I would say that’s a great definition.

In order to succeed companies need to create a dialogue with their customer. Hopefully, this dialogue will then turn into a relationship, generating a loyal customer, who will promote the company through word-of-mouth that will then result in new customers. It’s a cycle where everything depends on communication, the ability to build relationships. And that’s what publishing is about.

What has changed?

Now, first thing is first. We need to think — Who is my audience? How are they going to reach me? There’s so much noise online, you need to do something to stand out and be noticed. Once you are, you need to make sure the reader sticks with you. You content must be interesting, captivating.

After you, as a reader, see something interesting in the web, what do you do? You’ll share it! Most likely on Twitter or Facebook, but even in offline discussions. We rarely keep information we like for ourselves, we have this constant need of interaction. Which is great. Brands love it because you’re spreading the word, and your network loves it too, because that’s the point – give and receive.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 15, 2011 at 1:45 AM

Posted in Digital, Publishing

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