Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends For 2011

If you are in the marketing profession, I think you’ll agree that our profession is experiencing some major disruption.

Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends for 2011 - HorizonWatching The traditional marketing theory and methods I learned at Kellogg Graduate School of Management back in the mid-90’s are still very valid.  Half the battle is still doing the all important work of market segmentation, targeting, and positioning. I still refer to my 7th edition of Phil Kotler’s textbook Marketing Management from time to time (although that book is now in it’s 12th edition!)

However, back in 1995, we had no clue just how much the Internet would impact marketing over the next 15 years.  And the impact has been very significant. The Internet has turned into a game changer for marketing. 

Leading edge marketing professionals understand that they need to learn how to leverage all the new digital marketing capabilities.  It is a great opportunity to build brand value, increase revenues, and cut down on marketing expenses.

So with that in mind, lets take a look at the top trends in online / digital marketing for 2011. 

  1. Marketing Budgets Will Continue to Shift Towards Online.  Customers and prospects are increasingly going online early in the buying cycle to gather information, form relationships, and make decisions about how they will buy.  As a result, marketing leaders must move marketing mix budgets to mirror where the customers and prospects are – online.  Online channels can reach a very targeted audience, are lower cost, and are becoming more measurable.  As a result we should expect the continued decline in the use of traditional media.  This cannibalization of traditional media will bring about new marketing channels, professions, and processes as well as a decline in overall advertising budgets.  Traditional agencies and publishers must transform their businesses to include digital marketing capabilities.
  2. Social Media Marketing Is Maturing.  Those in the marketing profession can sense that we are in the middle of an important transition to the use of social media for marketing purposes.  While the past few years many marketers have been experimenting with social media tactics, in 2011, leading marketing teams will be executing social tactics that are fully integrated into the overall marketing strategy. An overall social media marketing process will emerge that has firms following a never ending cycle of 1)Research, 2) Plan, 3)  Engage and 4) Measure.  Simultaneously, a new set of marketing capabilities are emerging, including Social Listening Research, Influencer Marketing, Community Marketing, and Social Gaming.  These new capabilities will require new marketing marketing professional Career Paths and Education tailored to the new social media marketing realities. 
  3. Mobile Marketing Set To Take Off.  In conjunction with the Social Media Marketing trend described above, the interest in mobile marketing has exploded, driven by the tremendous success of and media buzz around Apple’s iPhone, Google’s introduction of Android, and Apple’s introduction of the iPad.  As smartphone adoption grows, mobile marketing will expand beyond mobile messaging, and make mobile email, mobile websites and mobile applications viable channels in which to conduct marketing.  The combination of new devices, faster networks and new location-aware technology, will fuel this steady march toward greater significance.  Some key mobile marketing trends to watch in 2011 include Location Based Services, Mobile Apps, Mobile Gaming, Event-Based Mobile Marketing, and Augmented Reality.
  4. Personalized Marketing Customizes Messages To Individual.  Expect more personalization capability to be embedded in websites in 2011.  Regular visitors to a web site will see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits.  Marketers will present personalized sites to these customers by organizing information and prioritizing it based on the individual's liking.  Products and services offered on those pages will be pre-configured. “Anonymous” visitors to websites will get customized messages based on referring URL, search terms, geo-location and other insights.  Personalized marketing will be extended beyond the website to other digital channels, including social media marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing.
  5. Social Video As A Marketing Tool Gains Momentum.  Video is an incredible way to connect with people online.  Until the Internet, the only way to get your video message to a mass audience was to pay for a TV commercial.  Today, social media sites and video go hand in hand. Distributing video via your social networks is a powerful way to imprint your images into the memory of your customers and prospects.  Video strengthens the relationships you have with existing customers and it helps prospects get to know you better.  So in 2011, there will be a focus among digital marketing professionals to understand how to make the best use of Video Marketing within Social Media Marketing Strategies and Programs.
  6. Search Engine Optimization Gets More Complex.  Customers naturally use search engines as their primary vehicle to find information on products and services.  But its not a one search engine game anymore as Google’s been joined by Bing in the US market and there are important local players like China’s Baidu and Russia’s Yandex.  On top of that, social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are increasingly becoming an important source for searching.  Add to that search engine innovation, mobile search, and geo-location search and the job of the marketing professional to ensure their brand is on the first page of search results gets so much more complex.
  7. Marketing Analytics Helps Make Sense Of All The Noise.  The explosion of social conversations across the many online channels is providing marketers with a never ending stream of incoming data.  The challenge for marketing professionals is to turn all that data into insights and then develop strategies/actions based on those insights.  Marketing analytics applications can help, but they need to get better at integrating data from all sources (web, search, video, mobile, and social conversations).  Analytic applications will also need to get smarter and more predictive about customer buying preferences based on all that data.   In 2011, I expect to see a focus on the development of advanced analytic capabilities that can identify, analyze and describe patterns within all the information “noise”, giving marketing professionals important predictive insights they can use for making better decisions.
  8. Real Time Web Assistance Connects Buyer With Experts.  Online customers and consumers are some of the most impatient and demanding around.  They expect answers from your online support group right away.  Live chat services allow operators to interact with online customers and respond to their questions quickly, helping you convert web queries into customers and site traffic into transactions.  In 2011 watch for leading edge companies to combine the use of Twitter customer service accounts and the real-time chat services to provide ways of connecting product / service experts with customers in real-time in order to solve customer business issues.
  9. Online Privacy Concerns Continue.  Privacy issues continue to be an important trend for marketing professionals to be out in front of as government regulators have threatened to legislate solutions if the industry does not take action by itself.  Creating a secure online transactional environment is absolutely critical to a maintaining trust in customer relationships.  All it takes is one significant privacy issue to negatively impact a brand.  Privacy concerns from customers have forced brands like Facebook and Google to continually adjust their business models.  As enterprise marketing gets more social and mobile, privacy issues must be dealt with very carefully. 
  10. Digital Marketing Optimization Emerges As A Priority.  The past few years we have seen new ‘islands’ of marketing capabilities emerge within the marketing profession.  We are moving beyond Web 2.0 with all sorts of new channels and capabilities including mobile (messaging, websites, apps), rich media (video, podcasting, gaming), social media (blogs, microblogging, social networks, user generated content), and more.  The state of digital marketing is such that these ‘islands’ are not well integrated into an overall cohesive strategy.  In 2011 expect to see a focus from marketing leaders to focus on optimizing and integrating these separate initiatives into an overall umbrella digital marketing strategy.

So these are the online and digital marketing trends I’ll be watching closely in 2011.  A look through the above list tells you that there is so happening in online marketing.  As it is in almost every industry, Internet technology is totally changing the rules.   

InfoBoom: How Can CIOs Leverage Social Computing?

InfoBoom Mar16 This week I have authored the featured article on The InfoBOOM! community site (www.theinfoboom.com).  The article is written for CIOs, CTOs, and IT Leaders who have yet to get involved in the social media or who are wondering how to implement social computing solutions. 

If you know of any IT leaders, you may want to point them to the article.  It will be interesting to hear from CIOs what their challenges are with this disruptive trend.

About The Article

The article, Opening the Social Computing Door, provides some guidance for CIOs and IT leaders on how they can start leveraging social computing in their careers and for the enterprises they serve.  There is much work to do.  My research has shown that there are a relatively few number of CIOs that are truly demonstrating leadership in the social media today.

I break the article up into four sections

  1. Participating in Conversations
  2. Gaining Business Leverage
  3. Getting Smarter
  4. Jumping In

I provide links to research I’ve done that shed some like on what leading CIOs are doing in the social media and how it can be leveraged in the enterprise environment.   It’s my hope the article helps CIOs and IT leaders get started.  I’d be interested in any feedback you may have. 

About InfoBOOM!

The InfoBOOM! community has been developed via a partnership between CIO.com and IBM.  The site is about a year old and is an online community environment that fosters the free exchange of ideas among experts, midmarket CIOs and technology leaders.   The focus is on giving IT leaders at small and mid-sized firms the insights and perspectives they need on vital issues.  Each week, a new expert is featured and an article is written by that expert that provides a point of view on an important topic.  Then, Jim Malone, Senior Editorial Director a CIO.com authors a complementary or contrarian view.   As a result of the two articles, important discussion and collaboration happens each week on the selected topic.   Thus each week InfoBOOM! fosters open dialogue and contrary points of view between the editor, experts and members.  I encourage you to check out the site at http://www.theinfoboom.com

Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in the Social Media


Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in the Social Media

Yesterday my post here was titled 2009 CIO Award Winners Are Not Embracing Social Media.  In that post I provided the results of some research I did to understand if CIOs and IT Leaders who had received Industry related awards in 2009 were participating in the social media.  I found that those award winners I did research on had not embraced the social media trend.

Today, I provide the other end of the spectrum:  The Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in the Social Media. 

For this post, I set out to find those practicing CIOs, CTOs, and IT Leaders who have embraced the social media with passion.  I scoured the Net to find CIO’s that are blogging and tweeting about issues and events that are important to CIOs and the IT industry in general.  These are the CIOs that are actively creating and participating in discussions in the social media.  They are sharing their experiences and ideas in the public Internet, instead of holding these experiences and ideas to themselves.

In addition to the blogging and tweeting, I was also interested in finding CIOs that were actively building their LinkedIn profile and connecting with others through LinkedIn.  

I found about 65 CIOs during my research.  I then developed a ranking system by scoring CIOs on a number of criteria, including the currency and frequency of their blog posts, the richness of their LinkedIn profile, and their participation on Twitter.  A quick sort by the total score and I have a list of the top 50 as displayed below.

Some stats from the list of 50.

  • 80% of those on the list are blogging on a public website.
  • 92% are actively using Twitter
  • 96% have a LinkedIn profile
  • 66% are on Facebook (note:  Facebook usage did not enter into my scoring and ranking system)

So here is the list of the top 50 CIO and IT Leaders I came up with.  I’ve provided links to their Blogs, their Twitter IDs, and their LinkedIn Profiles.  I encourage you to explore those links and learn from their posts and tweets.  More importantly, I encourage you to  participate in the discussions they are having by commenting on their blogs and responding to their tweets.  Perhaps they will even inspire you to start blogging or tweeting your ideas and thoughts about the important issues facing CIOs today.

Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in Social Media

   

Name

Title/Industry/Social Sites

1

John Moore

CTO, and SVP of Engineering at Swimfish

Industry:  Technology  

LinkedIn:  John Moore

Blog:  John Moore's Weblog

Twitter: JohnFMoore

2

Phil Windley, Ph.D

CTO, Kynetx

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Phil Windley

Blog:  Windley’s Techometria

Twitter: windley

3

Bob Gourley

CTO and founder of Crucial Point LLC

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Bob Gourley

Blog:  CTOvision.com

Twitter: bobgourley

3

Andy Blumenthal

CTO, Bureau of ATF

Industry:  Government

LinkedIn:  Andy Blumenthal

Blog:  Andy Blumenthal

Twitter: totalcio

5

John Halamka, MD

CIO, Harvard

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  John Halamka

Blog:  Healthcare CIO

Twitter: jhalamka

6

Chuck Musciano

CIO at Martin Marietta Materials

Industry:  Manufacturing/Aerospace

LinkedIn:  Chuck Musciano

Blog:  The Effective CIO

Twitter: EffectiveCIO

6

Werner Vogels

CTO, Amazon.com

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Werner Vogels

Blog:  All Things Distributed

Twitter: werner

6

Andrew Hoppin

CIO, New York State Senate

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Andrew Hoppin

Blog:  globehoppin

Twitter: ahoppin

9

Padmasree Warrior

CTO, Cisco

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  n/a

Blog: 
CiscoCTO Blog

Twitter: Padmasree

9

Shawn Riley

CTO, Austin Med. Cntr., Mayo Clinic Health System

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Shawn Riley

Blog:  HealthTechnica

Twitter: rilescat

11

Mark Cummuta

CIO @JobAngels

Industry:  Consumer Services

LinkedIn:  Mark Cummuta

Blog:  CIO Job Search

Twitter: TriumphCIO

11

Dave Fletcher

CIO, State of Utah

Industry:  Government

LinkedIn:  Dave Fletcher

Blog:  Dave Fletcher's Gov. and Tech. Weblog

Twitter: dfletcher

11

John David Son

CIO, Marshall County School District

Industry:  Education

LinkedIn:  John Son

Blog:  CIO Corner

Twitter: JDSCIO

11

Isaac Sacolick

VP, Technology, McGraw-Hill

Industry:  Media

LinkedIn:  Isaac Sacolick

Blog:  Social, Agile, & Transformation

Twitter: nyike

15

Steve Francia

CIO, Portero

Industry:  Retail

LinkedIn:  Steve Francia

Blog:  spf13

Twitter: spf13

15

Tony Maro

CIO for EvriChart

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Tony Maro

Blog:  OssRamblings.com

Twitter: tonymaro

15

Mark A. Silver

CIO, Health Svcs Div., Siemens Healthcare USA

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Mark A. Silver

Blog:  Social Media and Business Insights    
Twitter:
MarkSilver

15

Jim Haughwout

CIO, Neighborhood America (Florida)

Industry:  Consumer Services

LinkedIn:  Jim Haughwout

Blog:  Ex·se·cu·tus

Twitter: JHaughwout

19

Brian Blanchard

Chairman at St. Louis Innovation Camp

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Brian Blanchard

Blog:  Dev Revival

Twitter: BrianBlanchard

19

Chuck Hollis

VP and CTO of Marketing, EMC

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  n/a

Blog: 
Chuck's blog

Twitter: chuckhollis

19

Hubert Vaudaux

CTO at FBA (www.groupefb.fr)

Industry:  Financial

LinkedIn:  Hubert Vaudaux

Blog:  HVaudaux Le Blog 
Twitter:
hvaudaux

19

Bill Schrier

CTO, City of Seattle

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Bill Schrier

Blog:  The Chief Seattle Geek Blog

Twitter: billschrier

23

Casey Coleman

CIO, U.S. General Services Administration

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Casey Coleman

Blog:  Around the Corner

Twitter: caseycoleman

23

Linda Cureton

CIO, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Linda Cureton

Blog:  Goddard-CIO-Blog

Twitter: Curetonl

23

Mike Schaffner

Dir. IT, Cameron

Industry:  Oil & Gas

LinkedIn:  Mike Schaffner

Blog:  Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms

Twitter: MikeSchaffner

26

John McMillen

CIO, Graves County Schools in Mayfield, KY, USA

Industry:    Education

LinkedIn:  John D McMillen

Blog:  Techucation

Twitter: ujdmc

26

Peter Kretzman

CIO/CTO

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Peter Kretzman

Blog:  CTO/CIO Perspectives

Twitter: PeterKretzman

26

Nigel Fortlage

VP, IT at GHY International

Industry:  Financial

LinkedIn:  Nigel Fortlage

Blog:  My Thoughts

Twitter: nfortlage

26

Arun Manansingh

CIO, FusionLatina, LLC

Industry:  Media

LinkedIn:  Arun Manansingh

Blog:  A CiO’s Voice

Twitter: solus72

30

Colin Osburn

CIO at Intelligentz Corporation

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Colin Osburn

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
colinosburn

30

Will Weider

CIO, Affinity Health System

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Will Weider

Blog:  Candid CIO

Twitter: CandidCIO

32

Lev Gonick

VP, IT Services, Case Western Reserve Univ.

Industry:    Education

LinkedIn:  Lev Gonick

Blog:  Bytes From Lev

Twitter: lgonick

32

Ian Cohen

CIO, Jardine Lloyd Thompson plc

Industry:  Financial

LinkedIn:  Ian Cohen

Blog:  The Accidental CIO

Twitter: coe62

34

Paul Cheesbrough

CIO, Telegraph Media Group

Industry:  Media

LinkedIn:  Paul Cheesbrough

Blog:  Paul Cheesbrough

Twitter: paulcheesbrough

34

Stephen Gillett

CIO & GM of Digital Ventures, Starbucks

Industry:  Retail

LinkedIn:  Stephen Gillett

Blog:  The Guild CIO

Twitter: @stephengillett

36

Eric Egnet

CIO, Vitalize Consuilting Solutions

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Eric Egnet

Blog:  In The Know CIO

Twitter: InTheKnowCIO

36

Omri Tintpulver

CIO, Brunico Communications

Industry:  Media

LinkedIn: Omri Tintpulver

Blog:  Omri Tintpulver

Twitter: omri

36

John Suffolk

CIO, UK government

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  John Suffolk

Blog:  John Suffolk – Government CIO

Twitter: GovCIO

39

Chris Marsh

CIO, Aviacode

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  Chris Marsh

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
theChrisMarsh

39

Katherine Coomb

CIO, Morrison Facilities Services

Industry:  Services

LinkedIn:  Katherine Coomb

Blog:  Banking on IT

Twitter: kat_woman

41

Vivek Kundra

CIO, US government

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Vivek Kundra

Blog:  IT Dashboard

Twitter: VivekKundra

41

Dr. Andy Chun

CIO, City University of Hong Kong

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Andy Chun

Blog:  CIO's Blog

Twitter: CityUCIO

41

Eachan Fletcher

CIO, Sporting Index

Industry:  Leisure

LinkedIn:  Eachan Fletcher

Blog:  The Fletcher Project

Twitter: n/a

44

Victor Fetter

Global VP, Dell

Industry:  Technology

LinkedIn:  Victor Fetter

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
vpfetter

44

Peter Birley

IT Dir., Brown Jacobson, LLP

Industry:  Legal

LinkedIn:  Peter Birley

Blog:  CIO blog

Twitter: birlep

44

Robert Carey

CIO, U.S. Navy

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  n/a

Blog: 
doncio

Twitter: n/a

47

Janet Claggett

CIO, Richland County, S.C.

Industry:  Government

LinkedIn:  Janet Claggett

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
cio007

48

Steve Mannina

CIO Cook County Treasure's office

Industry:    Government

LinkedIn:  Steve Mannina

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
smannina

48

Scott Lowe

CIO, Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.)

Industry:    Education

LinkedIn:  Scott Lowe

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
scottdlowe

48

R. Todd Thomas

CIO, Austin Radiological Association

Industry:  Healthcare

LinkedIn:  R. Todd Thomas

Blog:  n/a

Twitter:
thomast360

As you look through the list, you will see that there are more than a fair share of CIOs from Healthcare & Government on the list.  I’m not sure why, but that could be a question for further research.

Business.com: 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study

BusinessCOM SM Report Business.com recently released their 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study.   The objective of the study was to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses.  

The results of the study were based on the 2,948 valid responses to Business.com’s survey during August and early September, 2009 and the report provides an interesting view into where businesses are finding value in social media across different activities and sites. 

The report is organized into two sections. The first section discusses how business people utilize social media today to find business-relevant information.  The second section covers corporate social media initiatives, benchmarking experience with social media for business (both respondent and company), top social media activities and how companies judge social media success today.

Highlights

Nearly 65% of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related matters

Among those using any form of social media to find business-relevant information, the most popular activity is attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%) followed by reading  ratings/reviews for business products or services (62%). The least popular activities are saving business-related links on social bookmarking sites (28%) and participating in discussions on 3rd party web sites (29%).

Major Findings

  • Over 1900 participants in the study indicated that they work for a company involved in social media initiatives. 92% are directly involved in planning or managing these initiatives.
  • On average, these individuals spend 18% of their time in any given week working on these initiatives.
  • 71% of the companies surveyed have less than two years of experience with social media.
  • The average company in the study is currently involved in 7 different social media efforts.
  • Top activities include – maintaining company related accounts and profiles on social media sites (70%), followed by monitoring company-related mentions on social media sites (60%) and maintaining one or more company blogs (60%).
  • 66% of social media initiatives are driven by marketing, followed by 23% by customer support and 8% by product development departments.
  • On average, companies use four different metrics to measure their social media initiatives – web site traffic, engagement with prospects and customers, brand impact – basically awareness and reputation, quantity and quality of leads
  • 80% maintain a presence on Facebook.
  • 56% have a company account on Twitter.
  • A typical company in the study, maintains a presence on three different social media sites. 
  • 47% of companies in the study upload content to one or more content sharing sites. So, although they may have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, some companies may not be regularly sharing content. Over commitment to many social media initiatives at any one time has been sited by numerous case studies as a driving factor behind poor social media performance.  
  • YouTube is the leading business content sharing site; used by 65% of those in the study that share content online.

Report’s Table of Contents

The report table of contents below can give you a feel for the type of information in the report:

  • Beyond Chatting with Friends: Social Media as a Business Resource
    • Who Uses Social Media as a Resource for Business Information?
    • Most Popular Social Media Resources for Business
  • Most Useful Social Media Resources for Business
  • Current State of Corporate Social Media Initiatives
    • Respondent and Company Experience with Business Social Media
    • Top Corporate Social Media Activitie
    • How Companies Judge Social Media Succes
    • Initiative Detail: Managing Business Profiles on Social Media Site
    • Initiative Detail: Participating in Q&A Site
    • Initiative Detail: Using Social Media Monitoring Tool
    • Initiative Detail: Sharing Business Content on Social Media Sites
    • Initiative Detail: Business Content Bookmarking on Social Media Sites

The full report can be downloaded via the following link:  http://www.business.com/info/business-social-media-benchmark-study

Pew Internet: Adults on Social Network Sites, 2005-2009

According to an October 2009 Pew Internet report titled The Democratization of Online Social Networks, 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  This is up from 8% in February 2005.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 79% of American adults used the internet in 2009, up from 67% in Feb. 2005
  • 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 8% in February 2005.
  • 65% of teens 12-17 use online social networks as of Feb 2008, up from 58% in 2007 and 55% in 2006.
  • As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults 18 and older.

Of adult SNS users:

  • 73% have a Facebook account
  • 48% have a MySpace profile
  • 14% have an account on LinkedIn
  • 1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com
  • 10-12% are on “other” sites like Bebo, Last.FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com

Read more in Amanda Lenhart's presentation, which is available for download on Slideshare.

MS and Google: Searching Social Media

Searching for information is so much a part of my job.  Frequently when on an intense research project, I find myself day dreaming of search keyword string being entered into the Google search bar.  But over the past year, I’m increasingly finding myself using other search engines that crawl the social media sites.  I now have a list of about 15 social search engines that I use depending on what type of information I am looking for.

As social computing technology continues to result in growth of social networking and social media sites, searching for content on all these sites is becoming more and more important.  Social search is the next big thing in search engines and over the last week or so, there have been some big changes in the social search marketplace.

Both Google and Microsoft announced deals to improve their search engines.  Both Microsoft and Google both made deals with Twitter to include tweets in their real-time social search results.  But Microsoft did Google one better and announced it will also include content from Facebook. 

Microsoft’s Bing users will will be able to search Twitter status updates or navigate the most popular topics currently being discussed on Twitter via a tag cloud.  Bing will search the last seven days, of content and will be organized into 1) Tweets and 2) Frequently shared links

Google’s Social Search, still in beta, works off your Google profile (you have to opt-in) and prioritizes results from your friends' Twitter feeds, FriendFeed updates, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and Picasa libraries.  For more on Google search, check out this 3 minute video

These announcements signal that the big search engines have recognized the importance of social search to their future. As the social movement continues to grow and people's hunger for real-time content increases, search companies are actively looking to provide the most value and relevant search results.

For more information, here’s some recent articles about social search

Study On Social Media Use By Fortune 100 Companies

PATT2060An interesting study released from an analysis by Burson-Marsteller and Proof Digital of the Fortune 100's use of Key Social Media Channels, including Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages and Blogs. 

The results of the study shows that Twitter surpassed blogging here in 2009 as the social media platform of choice – at least among the Fortune 100.   The study looked at the top 100 companies in terms of revenue as compiled by Fortune Magazine's annual Fortune 500 to understand how active those compa nies were on three key social media: Twitter, Facebook and Blogs.  .

Some highlights from the study include

  • 54% of the Fortune 100 were using Twitter to reach out directly to stakeholders, 32% were using a blogs, and 29% were actively using a Facebook Fan Page to engage.  
  • 21% of companies are using only one of the three surveyed social media channels, and of those companies, 76% are using Twitter over Facebook and Blogs.
  • 40% of companies are not using any social media channels, while 21% are using two channels, and 17% are using all three.
  • 94% of Fortune 100 Twitter accounts distribute company news updates and announcements while fully 67% are at least partially serving a customer service function.
  • Reasons companies use the three social media sites differs.
    • Twitter is most often used for news and announcements (94%), customer service (67%), promotions and deals (57%), and job postings (11%).
    • Facebook fan pages are more consumer focused, with promotions, product information, and philanthropy and community service announcements.
    • Blog content falls into categories of current projects, external initiatives, and community involvement.

For more information, see this post on Burson-Marteller’s site.  And there’s a pdf file available on Slideshare of the report findings:  “Social Media Use by Fortune 100 Companies”.  

Pew Internet: The Social Life of Health Information

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report, “The Social Life of Health Information”, that contains results from a survey on the way people are seeking out health information.   The survey was focused on U.S. respondents only. 

As can be expected, Americans are now turning more and more to online sources for information.   In the past, patients typically called a health professional, their Mom, or a good friend.  Today they are also searching online, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, updating their social network profile, and posting comments.   And many people, once they find health information online, talk with someone offline about that information they have found online.

Some interesting findings from this survey:

  • 57% of respondents use the Internet when locating health information
  • Two-thirds of people that find information online then discuss with someone else their findings
  • 60% of respondents have said that information they have found online has impacted the way they have then pursued treatment.
  • 41% of e-patients have read another person’s commentary or experience about health or medical issue

Also interesting was the finding that "e-patients" – what the authors called people who look online for health info – are more likely to engage in social media in general, compared with other Internet users.  For instance, e-patients are more likely than non-health seekers to have created or worked on their own blog, read someone else's blog, used a social networking site, used a micro-blogging site, and other activities.  Small numbers of people are using social software like Twitter and Facebook.  Mostly these services are used to follow another person’s health issue and then perhaps include their own commentary on the health issue. 

As use of the Internet and social media increases, it's not surprising that more people are searching for health information and participating and engaging in health-related communities.   As these people search for and create their own content, this will put added pressure on providers to embrace social media in order to participate in the discussion.

Read the entire report here: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/8-The-Social-Life-of-Health-Information.aspx.

The Role of Social Networks in the Coverage of Michael Jackson’s death and Events in Iran

Two events over the past 10 days have been announced and developed on social networks before traditional media.  Just last Thursday, the announcement of Jackson death blocked Google research access for queries related to Michal Johnson.  TMZ which broke the story had several outages, and Twitter crashed, and Widipedia seemed to be in temporarily overload.  One of the reasons is that it was a daytime event when people were using their cell phones at work to download the news.  While the scale of the response may be unprecedented, the pattern was not:  News search, reaction, tributes. 

The other major event that was mostly tracked through Twitter was the events in Iran.  A recent article in the NY Times analyzes the advantages and limits of Twitter in this situation.  I am including below some excerpts of this really interesting article.  “Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion. As the Iranian government restricted journalists’ access to events, the protesters have used Twitter’s agile communication system to direct the public and journalists alike to video, photographs and written material related to the protests.

1. Twitter Is a Tool and Thus Difficult to Censor:  Twitter aspires to be something different from social-networking sites like Facebook or MySpace: rather than being a vast self-contained world centered on one Web site, Twitter dreams of being a tool that people can use to communicate with each other from a multitude of locations, like e-mail. You do not have to visit the home site to send a message, or tweet. Tweets can originate from text-messaging on a cellphone or even blogging software. 

2. Tweets Are Generally Banal, but Watch Out: “Tweets by their nature seem trivial, with little that is original or menacing. Even Twitter accounts seen as promoting the protest movement in Iran are largely a series of links to photographs hosted on other sites or brief updates on strategy. Each update may not be important. Collectively, however, the tweets can create a personality or environment that reflects the emotions of the moment and helps drive opinion.

3. Buyer Beware:  Nothing on Twitter has been verified. While users can learn from experience to trust a certain Twitter account, it is still a matter of trust. And just as Twitter has helped get out first-hand reports from Tehran, it has also spread inaccurate information, perhaps even disinformation.

4. Watch Your Back: Not only is it hard to be sure that what appears on Twitter is accurate, but some Twitterers may even be trying to trick you. Like Rick’s Café, Twitter is thick with discussion of who is really an informant or agent provocateur. Government agents have created some accounts to mislead the public.

 5. Twitter Is Self-Correcting but a Misleading Gauge:  Twitter is a community, with leaders and cliques. Of course, Twitter is a certain kind of community — technology-loving, generally affluent and Western-tilting. In that way, Twitter is a very poor tool for judging popular sentiment in Iran and trying to assess who won the presidential election. “

6. Twitter Can Be a Potent Tool for Media Criticism:  Just as Twitter can rally protesters against governments, its broadcast ability can rally them quickly and efficiently against news outlets. One such spontaneous protest called out CNN last weekend for failing to have comprehensive coverage of the Iranian protests. This was quickly converted to an e-mail writing campaign. CNN was forced to defend its coverage in print and online.”

 

 

Other Social Networking Websites

Beyond Facebook, Myspace and twitter, ATT.net had on its front page this week a list of some social networking websites I had never heard of. These show the potential of networking on basically any topic of interest: work, sports, art, books, support groups, generation issues.

SportSymphony – www.sportsymphony.com    Sport Symphony is sports social network intended for amateur and recreational athletes. It allows members to upload and share sports video and images, helps teams find members and members to find teams, assists coordinators with the organization of sporting events, and enables recreational centers to promote and manage sports leagues.
Virb – www.virb.com/  Viirb is an artistic network that proclaims itself to be a community where its members can contribute photo and video media portfolios. Virb allows members to share their interests in a simple online format.

Meetup – www.meetup.com  From Bar-Hoppers in Atlanta to the Web Content Mavens in Washington DC, Meetup has created a place where local groups of any kind can organize face-to-face "meetups."

Eons – www.eons.com   Eons is an online community targeting baby boomers. It offers games, photo and video sharing, groups, forums, and health and fitness information specifically targeting the needs of baby boomers.

LibraryThing – www.librarything.com A site for book lovers, LibraryThing is an online book club that allows you to catalog your books while connecting you with other readers based on similar book prefrences.
Yammer – www.yammer.com Yammer is a corporate social network and productivity tool that allows members to connect and share with people within their company or organization.

Epernicus – www.epernicus.comEpernicus is a professional networking site for research scientists. It allows researchers all over the world to connect and expand their network to help make advancements in their research.

Disaboom – www.disaboom.com Disaboom connects individuals living with disabilities or those caring for someone with disabilities. This support network offers articles, blogs, forums, and health information on a range of disabilities.


CafeMom – www.cafemom.com CafeMom is a social network for moms and moms-to-be. It is a support network connecting experienced and new moms offering advice, how-to articles, and anything that you may need to know about being a mom.

Happy social networking!

More on the Impact of Social Media for Marketers

As Facebook is also dominating my kids’ Internet interactions,  I wanted to follow up on Bill’s blog about social media among consumers with some information from an additional survey on social networking led by Nielsen.   The key point of this study is that participation in “member communities” which include social networking and blogging venues now exceeds email participation and is growing over three times the rate of overall Internet growth.   Two thirds of the world’s internet users visited a social networking site in 2008.  Social media now accounts for almost 10 percent of Internet time, leading by Facebook.   Interestingly, Facebook greatest growth has come from 35-49 year olds and it has added twice as many 50-64 year olds as those under 18.  Growth is strong outside the US as well.  The study goes one step futher, showing the consequences of this shift for marketers:

Publishers need to understand that the willingness of consumers to generate opinion and co-create content represents a big opportunity to increase audience and engagement on their own sites.  They should instigate functionality that enables communities and conversation and participate in the conversation on social network sites. 

For Advertisers, the rise of social media is decreasing portals importance as the value of online real estate is increasingly measured by time spent, rather than pages viewed.   A key reason why advertising on social networks has not been as successful as on the more “traditional” publishers is because social networks serve a dual role as both the suppliers and consumers of content – advertising should not be about interrupting or invading to the social network experience so it should be part of the conversation and messaging should become more authentic and be about adding value.    The search for a model is even more urgent now that social media has broken out of the youth demographic.  The messaging will have to be built on the principle of two way conversation rather than a push model.

For more information:  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/nielsen_globalfaces_mar09.pdf

Netpop: Consumer Use of Social Networks Exploding

Are you finding you are spending more time after work hours on the Internet instead of seeking other forms of entertainment?   More time on the Internet instead of watching TV or renting a DVD? 

In my household, we are all spending more time online and less time watching TV shows and DVDs.  Less time playing board games and more time playing online games.  My two teenage daughters are texting, ‘Facebooking’ (is facebooking a verb?), and visiting all other sorts of social sites.  I have dramtically increased my time with Linked In, Facebook ,and Twitter more the last 6 months.  My wife has not made the transition to social media yet, but I do see her on her laptop using email to communicate, instead of watching her favorite TV shows.  As our family spends more and more time on the computer, I am thinking more and more about stripping the digital TV cable services down to bare minimum.  We can always access TV shows from sites like NBC direct, Hulu, and YouTube.

Curious, I did some research to find if there were any research studies on this. 

Netpop Research recently released a study, "Netpop | Connect: Media Shifts to Social", that shows that the amount of time U.S. broadband users spend online has risen significantly in the last couple of years.   Netpop's study found that time spent social networking has grown 93% since 2006.  This rise means that around a third (32%) of U.S. Internet users' online time is spent communicating. 

So what are consumers spending less time doing if they're tied up in virtual conversation?  According to the study, communication has increased at the cost of time spent on traditional forms of online entertainment, which has fallen 29% over the last two years to just 19% of total online time.  

In an another report “Connect:  Social Networkers 2008” from Netpop published in late 2008, findings indicated that 76% of all U.S. broadband users actively contribute to social media sites in one form or another, and 29% contribute regularly to social

It seems the definition of entertainment online is changing from an "entertain me" standpoint to include hanging out with friends online and sharing opinions and information – socializing.    You could surmise that the boundaries between entertainment and communication are blurring.

This is a disruptive force to those companies that relied totally on traditional broadcast advertising.  Companies must now rethink how they reach consumers.   They must commit more of their online "space" to user-generated content and social media that enables direct communication with consumers.   If companies don't provide these spaces, they will find it harder to track and engage consumers because, suggests Netpop, they will simply go off and create their own elsewhere.  

So companies must figure out how to engage with users on social media sites, give consumers/customers a voice, spend time learning how to listen and learn on these sites, and figure out how to enable their 'fans' to influence others.  With over 40 million Americans now contributing to social networking sites in one form or another, this is clearly a lucrative market for advertisers, but also one that is very different from more traditional online and offline media sources. 

The other question in all of this is how is this transition of family time to social sites impacting the family structure?  How will the families of the future bond if they are all off on their computers socializing with others, instead socializing with family members (playing board games, watching TV shows, etc.).  The burden will be on parents to force family time into everyone’s schedule….and it will be a tough task at that!!

For more information…