Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Being Visible in the Digital World

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Is your business managing its Digital Footprint?

Just the other day I was talking to one of our partners about some new work for one of our clients. He was telling me how he is still struggling to convince a couple of his clients about the need to extend their efforts beyond their site…something I would call expanding their digital footprint.

A digital footprint is the data trail left by activity in the digital world. Information is captured through interaction with web sites on the internet, social media sites, mobile applications, scanning loyalty cards, and the list goes on.

For consumers, your digital footprint is driving how you are being targeted by marketers for their ads, offers, products, and services. Marketers see it as a source of fresh data to help profile and target consumers. And, it can also determine your reputation based on the posts, comments, and images you leave on social media sites.

For your business, a lot of similar factors are involved. However, the stakes are much higher. Your ability to generate sales, keep customers, and attract new customers is impacted by your digital footprint. Your brand reputation is at stake. It can be as simple as your site being found by a search engine to how you respond to an unhappy customer’s Facebook post.

A business needs to have a practical digital footprint strategy and tactical activities that keep your business visible and vibrant in the digital world. So how can you get started? There are simple steps you can take and a host of free tools available out there to help you.

Here are some questions you can answer to begin to develop your digital footprint strategy:

• What are your online objectives?
• Is your site a commercial site or are you building a community? A commercial site is focused on generating sales; helps sell products and services. A community site is place for people to get information, meet, aware of an issue or group…
• How do your customers or audience interact online? Do they frequent social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter? Are they business customers more likely to be using LinkedIn? Do they actively use their mobile phones? How to they find you? How do they find your products, services, or group?
• How can you listen to what is being said about you on the web? There are some free tools out there that can help. Google alerts will allow you to track who is talking about you and where. Twitter Search allows you to see who’s twitting about you. You can try out SM2 by Alterian social media monitoring tool. And the list goes on…
• How can you interact with your customers and followers? See where they hang out. See how you can leave comments and respond to posts.

All businesses in all industries need to examine how their digital footprint impacts their business.

So will you take a close look at your digital footprint and how it impacts your business in the digital world?

Social Scraping

Monday, October 18th, 2010

What are the ethical boundaries?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal got our attention. The article is titled “Scrapers Dig Deep for Data on the Web”.

This article begins by talking about a “break-in” at a web site called PatientsLikeMe in May of this year. A new member was using sophisticated software to scrape or copy information from private online forums. PatientsLikeMe was eventually able to identify and block the intruder. The company did inform its members of the break-in.

It’s a fact of life that there are companies out there actively scraping data from social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Scraped or not, there is a lot of valuable information on social networking sites companies want and will actively seek. The question is should there be limits placed on what information is available for companies to collect or analyze. There are certainly ethical and legal challenges that need to be addressed.

For the ethical and savvy marketers, information from social networking sites can provide a wealth of customer insight. Social networking sites also have become an extension of customer service and support. Some companies have staff monitoring the sites and in some cases are responding to service problems through social media sites. The use of social networking sites and the information from these sites will only increase over time. According to the Winterberry Group, spending on data from online sources will more than double to $840 million in 2012 from spending of $410 million in 2009.

Users of social networking sites expect marketers will gather and use their data. A survey conducted by Webtrends indicates half those surveyed who use Twitter expect brands to use their information. However half also indicated they would leave social networking sites if they became too commercial.

So how do we ensure collecting this information remains within ethical bounds?

The answer may rest with the social sites and the collectors of this information. For example, Facebook is putting a strong effort into data security. It is important for them to lead the way to taking this issue seriously. Nielsen says it no longer scrapes data from sites requiring individual account access unless it has permission. These are examples on both sides of the issue.

Social network scraping can remain within reasonable bounds that protect information that needs to remain confidential. However, it will take the social networking industry leaders to invest in data security and markers to abide by ethical practices. This is yet another stage in the evolution of the digital world. And, unfortunately, there will always be some individuals and companies that attempt to reach beyond the areas of reasonable ethical behavior. It is up to all of us in the digital world to call their actions into question to protect this valuable world of information.

So how are you making use of social networks in managing your business in the digital world?

Adoption of Digital Media

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Four points any marketer should find interesting

In the new, growing and evolving world of digital media, adoption is a critical statistic. Adoption is essentially the use of new media delivery methods supported by technology in the delivery and consumption media. The key players are the providers of the means of delivery (technology), marketers and consumers.

Adoption of digital media by consumer is critical to its success in achieving its goal: Selling More Products!

Here are the four points:

• Adoption of Social Media by Major Brands. According to Burson-Marsteller, 79% of the Fortune 100 use one of the major social media platforms. 20% of those companies are using all four of the main social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, FaceBook and Blogs). 82% are tweeting at least once per week and post to FaceBook on average 3.6 times per week. 50% have a YouTube video account and upload on average 10 videos per month.

• Adoption of Mobile Coupons. Promotional coupons sent by mobile phone are expected to reach 200 million by 2013 according to Juniper Research. Adoption of mobile coupons has been slow to date since they aren’t necessarily any easier to use than paper coupons. However, Target Corporation recently announced it had deployed scanners at its more than 1,700 stores that can read mobile coupons. This initiative by the second largest retailer in the U.S. will help push adoption ahead.

• Adoption of Smart Phones and Mobile Applications. Why are these two lumped together? Smart Phones are the means to using mobile applications. Smart Phones will grow to be roughly 60% of the new handsets sold in the U.S. by 2014 according to Pyramid Research. They are a growing channel for brands to interact with consumers. Projected to be among the top 10 consumer mobile applications for 2012 by Gartner are mobile payments, mobile advertising and location based services. All are key components in adoption of mobile devices in brand marketing initiatives.

• Adoption of New Standards of Measurement. A new media measurement project will be launched in September with the goal of understanding consumer media behavior across all platforms. The “Touchpoints” Initiative”, launched in the U.K. in 2006 is being brought to the U.S. by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement. The data from the study will allow media buyers in the U.S. for the first time look at unduplicated media consumption across all channels.

Okay. So how will adoption of digital media impact how you manage your business in the digital world?