Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Pretty" Social Media Raises the Bar

In late February, Bloomberg reported that some retailers have abandoned Facebook because ROI isn’t there. While some may argue that making money isn’t the purpose of Facebook, the deeper point here may not be the efficacy of Facebook, but the fact that this $6 billion IPO-ster doesn't quite “own the social space.”

Here are two recent developments that suggest consumers are still looking for their perfect socialscape.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that lets users post content to a short-form site that’s rich with short posts, videos, links, and photos. Nowhere near Facebook proportions (yet), Tumblr may well be the future. The company isn’t new – it launched in April 2007 – but as of February 13, this little powerhouse had some 44.3 million bloggers. Six days later, on February 19, Tumblr had 45.1 million users and more than 17 billion total posts.

Popular with teens and college-age user segments, 50 percent of Tumblr’s visitor base is under the age of 25. Moreover, teenagers age 12-17 are about twice as likely as the average Internet user to visit Tumblr, while 18-24 year olds are nearly 2.5 times as likely. To stay in touch with Generations Y and Z, in October 2011 the Obama campaign launched a Tumblr experiment for 2012. [Note: Obama link format is how you find folks on tumblr; for example, I set up at nancyscott.tumblr.com].

Top celebrities on Tumblr include Val Kilmer, Lady Gaga, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, along with celebrity rip-offs like this paen to Ryan Gosling. Writing for 360 Digital connections, Matt Wurst suggests that Tumblr may be the answer to excessive options marred by short attention spans. “No one wants to sit through 1,000-word blog posts .. because words alone no longer tell the story.” Wurst calls Tumblr “a cross between a blog, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook profile.” Still not convinced? Well, maybe if it’s good enough for the New Yorker, it’s good enough for you. Check out newyorker.tumblr.com.

Pinterest went live as an invitation-only website in March 2010. By January 2012, the website was a darling of self-expression for some 12 million enthusiasts who can’t wait to share their idea of visual “cool” with the world. In December 2011, Pinterest made#5 in Hitwise’s list of top ten social networks, beating out Linked and Google+.

Pinterest helps users set up any number of “bulletin boards” to which they can “pin” (that is, embed) photo and film urls from all over the Internet, including their own desktop. Does Pintereest have a corporate application? Writing in AmEx Open Forum, Marketing Strategist Ivana Taylor called Pinerest a “big mover” in the social media space that offers a powerful branding opportunity. “Think of Pinterest as a virtual corkboard that says something about who you are and what interests you.”

For consumers who want to know something about “who you are” without an attached sales message, Pinterest has appeal. In addition, Taylor suggests Pinterest for inspiration, exposure, e-commerce and market research. Savvy Blogging suggests that Pinterest is an excellent way to promote a blog. “Add the ‘pin it’ button to every post and page on your site," Savvy says. "This will make it simple and easy for readers to pin your posts.”

Finally, check Hubspot for their free e-book, “How to Use Pinterest for Business.” This report notes that any business that relies on driving a high-volume of website traffic to increase sales should consider joining Pinterest. Early research indiciates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic that other social media sites, even Facebook.

Red Alert: Currently, a controversy surrounds whether or not Pinterest activity engages in copyright infringement. The Pinterest Terms of Service – particularly the Limits of Liability section – should be carefully studied and perhaps reviewed by an attorney before you engage in this new social media option. For more information, be sure to read Alyson Shonell’s February 28 posting on BusinessInsider.com.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Welcome to the Reformation of Education and Awe

Are you dumbstruck or numbstruck by programmers -- those "geniuses" down in IT who can do stuff that baffles and bullies? Get over it.

You, too, can code. Moreover you can learn how through practical exercises, for free, online -- and even do it with friends, if you prefer. Codeacademy is your place to learn.

I found out about this very cool enterprise reading the TrendCentral newsletter. I realized that an edulution is afoot.

Learning and training, like everything else, is undergoing an "up-end." That which was arcane, will soon be accessible to the rest of us (if we so choose).

Demystification: Where will it take us?

-- scrubbed by marketingbrillo.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Brain Surgery. Yes, You CAN!

Among the many things I didn't know Amazon does, is their forums. Apparently, Amazon is hosting a lot of conversation spots for the diversity of humans (and others) buying their diverse stuff.

Among the forums, I think I've found the best: the forum on do-it-yourself brain surgery. Or as one of the insightful commentators terms it, "cranial correction."

Oh, c'mon. You did look for a writer and a video maker on CraigsList, didn't you? Exactly! So, grab your drill and get crazy!

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

p.s. Kudos to T. Johnson who notes, "Might I recommend watching Fox News. It may not fix the problem at hand, but it will suck your brains right out."

What's A Trend Got To Do With It?

I’ve been a fan of trendwatching.com for a long time. For example, check out their “12 Crucial consumer trends for 2012” here.

Of all the information trendwatching came up with here, I was most struck by the last paragraph of the landing page, which told readers – and marketers – four ways to apply these consumer trends.

That’s what I’ve always wondered: How does a marketer or fundraiser look at a consumer trend and translate it into action?

Here’s the answer: View trends as a way to:

1. Influence or shape your company's vision.
2. As inspiration for a new business concept, an entirely new venture, a new brand.
3. Add a new product, service or experience for a certain customer segment.
4. Speak the language of those consumers already 'living' a trend.

To boost the application even further, trendwatching offers “15 Trend Tips” that offer practical, contextual, specific ways to use trends data to shape your own marketing program.

My favorite? “Don’t worry about timing or life cycles or regional suitability or … “In short, look at trends as opportunities, not threats.

Every predicted or identified“trend” makes a good conversation starter and a tremendous seed for brainstorming. I love #6 on the 2012 list “bottom of the urban pyramid” which points to the growth of the “hundreds of millions of lower-income CITYSUMERS” that offer a whole new market.

Hmmm.. now what can I do with THAT?

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo