Nov 292010
 

Wildfire is an online app which allows users to create interactive branded campaigns.  They focus on contests, such as Sweepstakes, photo/video/essay contests, virtual gifts, group coupons, giveaways, incentive based surveys etc.  Wildfire also helps publish these campaigns to Twitter, Facebook, and to your own website.  According to Jupiter Research: companies that run contests have twice as many fans on their social network pages as those that don’t.  As explored in a previous blog, a Facebook Fan is worth on average $136.38 so the idea of integrating contests into your social marketing plan is important to consider.  Wildfire’s approach encourages virality (I read this word on several sites but I don’t actually believe it’s a real word) – i.e. encouraging users to spread the contest throughout their social network.  Wildfire is affordable for small businesses but can also scale to accommodate a larger company (Pepsi, Sony, CNN, Universal AT&T and even Facebook itself have used the Wildfire app to create campaigns).  Their pricing plans are designed to fit any budget and a simple campaign is very easy to set up.

When considering whether the cost of running a campaign such as this is worthwhile, it might help to consider that more than 80% of all internet users have entered at least one sweepstakes or contest within the past year and 50% enter them at least once a month (Jupiter Research). This high level of interest should have companies considering adding contests into their social marketing budgets.  The flexible pricing is an attractive part of Wildfire.  They offer per campaign pricing, or subscription based pricing for businesses that wish to use their services on an ongoing basis.  A basic campaign with Wildfire starts at $5.00 plus $.99 per day.  For this price you can set up a simple campaign and publish it to your Facebook, Twitter, and Website.  A perfect example for who might want to use this sort of campaign is a small app developer.  You offer a free copy of your app to the winner.  The upfront investment is quite low and potential benefits are high.  It is fair to note, without opting for the higher service level packages, you don’t get all the benefits Wildfire can offer.  For example, you don’t get full analytics on your campaign until you are at the $250.00 level.  This still should not deter a small business from trying a cheaper campaign – as I (and you) well know, results are the most important analytic in the end.  Using ongoing contests is a great way to build your fan base and email list for future campaigns.  Having that customer data can be further scrutinized using analytics once your business has grown to a level where that makes sense.

Wildfire’s different campaign strategies offer you different solutions depending on your business’s goal.  A Sweepstakes is where you gather a lot of entrants and one person randomly wins.  This is a great way to build a fan base and bulk up your email list.  This can also be an effective way to drive traffic to your website or Facebook page and build brand awareness.  It is also a good way to survey your (potential) customers.  Having entrants complete a survey to enter a contest is a good way to find out information about your customers which can be used in future marketing campaigns.

Contests are another option which have a slightly different focus.  A contest is where people submit entries and a winner is chosen based off a jury or audience voting according to the skill of the submission (like a photo contest).  This is a great way to get your ardent supporters to participate in helping build your brand image.  It also builds a sense of community around your brand.  Potential new customers may only be interested in the contest, but you can leave them with education about and strong impression of your brand.

E-coupons are a great way to promote newly launched products or sell off existing overstock inventory.  Wildfire allows for integration of group deals where you can offer larger discounts if more people participate.   Wildfire also can make coupons into a game where you don’t know the value of the coupon (for example between 10-90% off) until you register.  This is a great way to encourage first time buyers and also re-engage former, but now inactive buyers.  Coupons can be a great way to drive traffic to your website.  Even without advanced analytics, it is easy to see what response an e-Coupon campaign generates because you can see your site traffic numbers and see how many customers make a purchase using the coupon.

Regardless of which style of campaign you opt for, Wildfire focuses on how to raise awareness of your campaign in a more viral way.  When you sign up for a contest, this posts to your Newsfeed where others in your network can be exposed.  You can easily share e-Coupons and contest information and invite your friends to join.  Contests can be set up to encourage users to visit the contest page daily so your campaign is constantly showing up in the feed.  This is great for brand awareness, as even if people don’t click, they still see your company name show up in their feed.  If friends of friends choose to enter the contest, it will spread viraly.  Wildfire can help encourage entrants to share with their friends by offering incentives.  For example if you post the contest information to Twitter and one of your followers signs up, you get an extra entry into the contest.  Giving people incentive to promote your campaign for you is key to viral marketing.

Wildfire offers an easy solution to setting up and launching contests in many forms.  It is great for both small businesses an large businesses alike to take advantage of the viral marketing aspect offered by social networking.  Campaigns are customizable and easy to set up.  Whether to promote your brand, gain information on customers, or simply move product, contests are a great solution for getting information about your business spread through a social network.  Wildfire offers an easy and affordable way to get started to see if this marketing avenue has anything to offer your business.

Nov 252010
 

Payvment is an online Facebook app start-up company which allows users to create and operate an eCommerce store on their Facebook page.  The store allows for product searches across Facebook and employs a Facebook-wide shopping cart for accepting payment (through Paypal).  They hype the fact that it takes 15 minutes to get things going and most reviews currently state that its user interface is quite simple to use.  Payvment already has 20,000+ storefronts and over 500,000 Facebook users have shopped for products using the application.  Currently Payvment is still in a Beta stage of development and currently has no monetization channel.  During this phase the service is offered entirely free.  It is free to sign-up, and there are no percentage of revenue fees.  These aspects might change but since the service is new and they are trying to promote it, it offers a very interesting low-cost platform for a small businessperson.  I currently have nothing to sell and registered just in case one day I do, as they said if you register during the Beta stage, there will never be fees (but I digress).  In essence, Payvment transforms your Facebook page from merely a marketing platform for your company, to an actual sales platform.

Payvment is interesting for many reason.  As mentioned in a previous blog (http://eiconnect.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/some-factsstatistics-to-think-about-when-considering-why-social-media-is-important/) the numbers surrounding Facebook user-ship are astounding.   The possible market exposure alone is a good reason to consider Payvment, however they have some other quite clever ideas.  First off, they have designed an Open Cart Network, which allows completion of purchases from any Facebook storefront.  You can add multiple items from various storefronts to your cart, and pay all at once.  They also allow you to add this shopping cart to your own eCommerce website with the same functionality.  This idea is very smart when combating the issue of cart abandonment.  As a former eCommerce manager, cart abandonment was a HUGE problem.  We would spend money and time marketing our site, only to get people to the point where they actually had something in their cart, and didn’t purchase it.  Then after moving on, they may or may not have bookmarked our page and perhaps were lost forever.  The open cart idea prevents this.  If someone adds something from your site, it stays there unless they delete it.  This cart is linked to Facebook (where, as shown by the stats, people spend 1.2days per month) and next time they log in, your item is still there!  This reason alone should cause people to consider implementing Payvment into their eCommerce toolbox.  It is necessary to note, this feature becomes MUCH more interesting if Payvment becomes more widely accepted.  The more people who use their carts, the more likely your product will actually show up again.  If they never come back to a site that uses Payvment, and don’t go shopping on Facebook for awhile you’re out of luck.

Payvment allows you to add a storefront to unlimited Facebook pages and allows you to list unlimited items.  It offers fully HTML customizable home pages and product pages.  There is automated inventory control features to suspend sold out items.  The app also has an image up-loader tool so you can easily display your product images.  It also supports unlimited categories.  Payvment can be set up to integrate with your back end administrative processes as well to help automate this step of the transaction.  There is much to be desired in each one these areas, but its a start and I’m sure additional features will constantly be added if the app really takes off.  Read more here about what users are currently demanding/complaining about http://payvment.uservoice.com/forums/55494-facebook-app

Currently Payvment can only accept payments through Paypal.  This is not so bad, as it you can accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover through Paypal without the necessity of merchant accounts.  It also allows you to accept 20 major world currencies.  Due to Facebook’s large international language support, this platform allows you to reach users from all over the world.  There is some speculation that one day Payvment might be able to take Facebook credits as a form of payment but this is not integrated yet.  Payvment offers not only shipping calculators with quantity discounting for domestic orders, but also for international orders.  This can help truly take your store to a global marketplace.

I believe the strongest aspect Payvment has going for it, is its possible marketing/promotion uses.  Of course Facebook users are many, but Payvment offers some smart ways to give them incentives to make purchases.  If some one becomes a fan or “likes” your page, you can set up automatic discounts on purchases.  This allows you to build a following, who will help promote your store for you.  When someone “likes” a Facebook page, this is transmitted through their feed to all their friends and acts like an endorsement for your product/brand/store.  It also allows you to send them updates on new products and promotions.  A Facebook store could be the final step to converting a fan into a buyer.  There are also sections for reviews/comments on products and share features on items which should help further promote your products using the social media network.  Forbes did a study stating “Facebook Fans are 41% more likely to recommend a brand and 28% more likely to continue using them. Plus a Facebook Fan is worth on average $136.38 and spends $71.84 more per year than non Fans.”  This puts an actual numeric value on a fan.  Payvment offers you a new way to entice new fans to promote and strengthen  your brand.

Payvment offers a very interesting product with many positive attributes.  In many ways it could be compared to a telephone, fax machine, or service like Paypal.  Standing alone, with few users, all of these products are virtually useless.  When a critical mass is reached in terms of number of users, the true benefit emerges.  Through savvy marketing and smart implementation of its product features, I believe Payvment could have lot to offer an eCommerce business.

Nov 242010
 

http://dlvr.it/ Dlvr.it proclaims itself to be the “most powerful social syndication tool anywhere” and they certainly seem to be well on their way to that statement being true.  Dlvr.it offers a Social Media marketing tool to help automate the distribution of your blog (and other content) to all your social networking platforms.  Dlvr.it basically redistributes an RSS/Atom feed wherever you want automatically.  Given the large number of networks, automating this process means all you have to do is create the content, and you can effortlessly update your tweets, facebook status, etc. Other platforms supported are Google Buzz, Tumblr, Linkedin, Status.net, Myspace, and more.  With one program you can simultaneously keep everything up to date.

That’s the basic idea, but Dlvr.it offers much more.  For example, the content you share does not have to be self-generated.  You can select another site to share from.  With my eCommerce background in mind, I will discuss how a service like this could have benefited my company.  We were selling home improvement products online.  For example, we sold faucets, showers, door hardware, ceiling fans, light fixtures, sinks, and many other related products.  We were not a blog site, and had no spare time to actually write our own content, however now I realize that other people out there were actually doing it for us.  I could have used dlvr.it to automate our social networking and deliver this relevant content to our customers, while at the same time promoting our company.

First, I would have to choose related news/blog sites related to the home decor and design.  Perhaps sites discussing current trends and what was most fashionable in terms of style.  I could also find some sites related to installation do-it-yourself.  Furthermore, I could see if any of the manufacturer’s for what we were selling were releasing content on new products or other industry related issues.  The idea would be to compile a list of related content generators and then let dlvr.it go to work.

Dlvr.it allows you to share link posts from any RSS feed you want.  Once you have your list of content, you now can take full advantage of some of the other features Dlvr.it offers.  Dlvr.it allows you to control content flow.  This means if one of the sites I am sharing posts a million articles per day, I don’t end up spamming my followers.  I could set the content to trickle out, perhaps 1 article per day from each site.  Dlvr.it can also be used to schedule what time and day you want the content to go out.  If you know a particular time you will most likely catch your target audience online, you can time your stream to be generated at that point.  This raises your chance of actually being noticed.

You can also use Dlvr.it to filter the RSS feeds you choose to share.  You can set keywords, authors, or tags for the articles you want Dlvr.it to distribute for you.  Often however, some of the content generated may not be applicable.  In my case, a design website might be talking about trends in carpeting.  We didn’t sell carpeting, so filtering out articles that are unrelated is important.  You can also set negative keywords for things you want filtered out.  For example, if the article mentions your competitor, Dlvr.it will not distribute it (this is all based on customizable settings).

Dlvr.it has some special uses when it comes to its interaction with Facebook and Twitter.  With Facebook, you can customize the look and feel of your posts.  You can also post as either status updates, or as shared links.  With shared links, you are able to set your own thumbnail image.  With Twitter, you can automatically add contextually relevant, search-friendly hashtags to every tweet.  Some experts say hashtags are a great way to get your stream noticed.

Last, but significant, Dlvr.it can be integrated to work with Omniture and Google analytics.  You can add tracking tags to your original link, which are optimized to work with these services.  Using your web analytics services can help you track your Social Media ROI.

Dlvr.it is a quite robust tool which can help you streamline your social marketing.  It offers a diverse range of options and tools to help make this process easier, and more effective.  Managing content and easily updating all your Social Networking feeds can be time consuming and tedious.  Understanding and utilizing the available tools is a key for Social Media marketing success.

Nov 242010
 

These stats were compiled by: http://socialmediatoday.com/soravjain/237864/fascinating-social-media-facts-year-2010

1. General Facts

1. Australia has the most number of established users of social media in the world, followed by USA and UK.

2. In terms of the impact of social networks on advertising, word of mouth is the popular option with 78% of customers trust peer recommendations on sites. While, only 14% trust advertisements.

3. Advertising has also been impacted greatly because of social media with only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive return on investment.

4. Facebook, Blogspot followed by Myspace are the top sites visited by under 18s.

5. An average user becomes a fan of 2 pages every month.

6. 24 out of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing declines in circulations because the news reaches users in other formats.

7. 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to user-generated content.

8. *In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, 90% of participants know at least one social networking site.

9. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries,72% of participants of the internet population are active on at least 1 networking sites. The top 3 countries part of at least 1 network site was Brazil (95%), USA (84%), and Portugal (82%).

10. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, users of social networking sites are saturated. Connected people feel no need to further expand their membership on other social network sites.

11. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, on an average, users log in twice a day to social networking sites and 9 times a month on professional websites.

12. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, sending personal messages is the most popular online activity. The top 5 activities online are sending personal messages, watching photos, checking status, reacting to others’ status, and uploading pictures.

13. * In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, people have about 195 friends on an average.

Source:

• *Online sample survey of 2,884 consumers spread over 14 countries between the age of 18 to 55 years old byOnline Media Gazette.

2. Facebook Facts

14. Facebook has over 500 million users.

15. If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest country.

16. An average Facebook user spends about 55 minutes a day on the site.

17. An average Facebook user spends about 6.50 hours a week on the site.

18. The average Facebook user spends 1.20 days a month on the site.

19. Facebook’s translation application support over 100 languages.

20. There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)

21. Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events

22. Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

23. More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

24. ** In a sample survey of 2884 people across 14 countries, Facebook is studied to have the highest penetration. The top 3 sites include Facebook (51%), MySpace (20%), and Twitter (17%).

25. **Over 300,000 users translate the site through the translations application.

26. **Over 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.

27. **Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites are integrated with Facebook.

28. **There are over 100 million active users accessing Facebook currently through their mobile devices.

Source:

• *Online sample survey of 2,884 consumers spread over 14 countries between the age of 18 to 55 years old byOnline Media Gazette.
• ** Statistics from Facebook press office.

3. YouTube Facts

29. The most popular YouTube video – Justin Bieber, Baby ft. Ludacris has had over 374,403,983 views

30. ** YouTube receives over 2 billion viewers each day.

31. ** 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube by users every minute.

32. ** 70% of YouTube users are from the United States.

33. ** More than half of YouTube’s users are under the age of 20.

34. ** To watch all the videos currently on YouTube, a person has to live for around 1,000 years.

35. ** YouTube is available across 19 countries and in 12 languages.

36. ** Music videos account for 20% of uploads on YouTube.

Source:

• ** Statistics from YouTube press centre.

4. Blogger Facts

37. There are over 181 million blogs.

38. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands.

39. ** The age group for 60% of bloggers is 18-44 years.

40. ** One in five bloggers updates their blogs every day.

41. ** Two thirds of bloggers are male.

42. ** Corporate blogging accounts for 14% of blogs.

43. ** 15% of bloggers spend 10 hours a week blogging.

44. ** More than half of all bloggers are married and/or parents.

45. ** More than 50% of bloggers have more than one blog.

Source:

• ** Statistics from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009.

5. Tweet Facts

46. 54% of bloggers post content or tweet on a daily basis.

47. 80% of Twitter users use Twitter on mobile devices.

48. There have been over 50 million tweets in 2010.

49. The 10 billionth Twitter’s tweet was posted in March 2010.

50. **There are over 110 million users of Twitter currently.

51. **180 million unique users access Twitter each month.

52. **More than 600 million searches happen on Twitter every day.

Source:

• Box Hill Institute: Box Hill Institute (Social Media at Box Hill Institute)
• **Statistics from Twitter and the Chirp Conference.

6. LinkedIn Facts

53. Of the 60 million users of LinkedIn half of them are from outside US.

54. By March 2010 Australia alone had over 1 million LinkedIn users.

55. 80% companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.

56. **Every second a new member joins LinkedIn.

57. **Almost 12 million unique visitors visit LinkedIn every day.

58. ** LinkedIn has executives from all Fortune 500 companies.

59. **1-in-20 LinkedIn profiles are accounted by recruiter.

Source:

• ** Statistics from LinkedIn press centre and SysComm International.

 

Nov 242010
 

Because I’m currently in Finland I’ve learning a (very) little of the language.  Ei is the Finnish word for no.  I have a bit of an ironic streak I’ll admit and so first off the meaning is something like “not connect link” – which is of course the opposite of the point of the internet and furthermore the opposite of the point of social media marketing, which thrives on established and establishing connections.  It also is a bit of a play on how everything having to do with the internet and technology is something like “e” this or “i” e.g. eCommerce, iphone etc.  My gravatar image for this blog (shown above) is taken from the Helsinki museum of contemporary art.  It is me in front of a large “Ei” sculpture.  Here’s a side view of the same sculpture.

I’ve gotten some comments about why am I flipping everybody off in the picture above.  It’s also supposed to be a bit ironic and maybe a little provocative.   Since what I really want is to connect with you, this image is supposed to send a bit of a mixed message and make you think about the name a little more.  It’s truly not intended to be offensive! (unless it turns out after we connect, I don’t like you 😛  haha).  Seriously though, I appreciate you taking the time to check out this blog and encourage you to give me as much feedback as possible (comments please!)

Nov 232010
 

(A suitable image for the start of this blog is a photo taken in Helsinki near the opera house at the start of winter.  The interconnectivity of the branches creates an interesting visual representation of the electrical nodes of a web – the snow clinging to only one side of the trees is quite picturesque).

It seems fitting that the first entry of a new blog should set the tone for future posts.  Organic growth may cause divergence from the original course, but setting clear intentions from the start will be helpful in directing this vision through the (inevitable) onslaught of new information and stimuli seeking to change/pervert it.  This blog is first and foremost for me, the author.  I know that must make the reader think “well then why should I bother reading at all?”  I intend to use this blog to learn as much as possible about web marketing.  I hope to explore all available information to further my knowledge on this topic.  I intend to explore new uses for social media marketing and ways to monetize social networks.  The knowledge is something I personally want.  The reason you should read, and why I am putting it up in this format, is because I really want to have a forum to discuss what I learn.  I don’t mind sharing what I discover and I hope in return you will share what you know/think.

The internet is at a very interesting stage in its still relatively young existence.  I don’t think we imagined 5 years ago what the landscape online looks like today.  I think the next 5 years will bring about an exponentially greater change than the previous.  Here’s a kind of old talk, but still quite interesting about the next 5000 days of the internet.

I believe nobody can really know anything other than it definitely will be an amazing ride.  I think the most interesting part is that it feels a lot like the wild west, or the next frontier, or some other cliche.

We have come a long way from 14400 modems (the slowest I remember anyways!).  We have also come a long way from AOL chat rooms being the best way to connect with your friends.  Internet speed is up (sitting here in Finland on a university network it’s incredible), more and more people are online, and social networking is exploding.  In all the glory of its 500 million users, and estimated value of between 40-50 billion USD, Facebook still has not really figured out how to fully capitalize on their position.  They are getting better month by month, but I still feel there is room for game changing ideas.  Furthermore, now that people are readily sharing all of their information thanks to social networking, the rest of the web has still not fully realized how to use that information.  I hope to explore ways to use information shared online to increase user experience on a website, and also translate into higher sales for that site.  I also want to learn more about the latest theories and best practices for social media marketing.  I hope to explore its use in political campaigns, social causes, and for profit motives.  I intend to research different companies and solutions they offer to promote web marketing, data management, and user experience.

Considering the intent of this blog, I have already proved myself to be quite an amateur at least when it comes to understanding blogs in general.  Signing up and getting started was easy, but it appears there is a depth of knowledge needed to be a successful blogger.  This may turn out the be the initial thrust of this blog – as I realize I am hopelessly under-informed about the vast possibilities the use of blogs for marketing purposes.  On a side note, for the record I think the word blog is stupid and sounds like something an alien would say, or some sound someone might make right before throwing up.  I digress – apparently this word has ever growing importance in our world so, love it or hate it, I’m guessing it’s here to stay.