As Google+ supposedly reached its 18 million user mark late last night, critics are beginning to wonder what amenities the social media website will offer within its business profiles.
The search engine giant has deleted most of its Google+ business profiles, which has left many companies and corporations anxiously awaiting Google’s next big idea. So as most revert back to their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, the question on everyone’s mind is whether Google+ will trump Facebook Pages?
Granted, Google has incredible search capabilities that Facebook can’t match, and has even outdone Facebook’s video chat capabilities with Google+ Hangouts. But what can Google+ offer to force social media execs to make the switch?
“Allowing businesses to chat directly with their users will assert Google+’s dominance over Facebook for business functionality,” believes PC World journalist Ilie Mitaru, “It will take us one step closer to customers and companies actually interacting in real time.”
There has also been recent criticism over limited room for creativity on Facebook Page layouts, leaving the social network vulnerable to Google programmers. “To dress up your Facebook Page, you generally need to know Facebook’s FBML coding language,” says Mitaru.
And as the Google-Facebook war wages on, a win is in sight for its consumers. Whether big or small, businesses will capitalize on such competition by having a great social media marketing tool at their fingertips.
In 2007, LG released their first television set with DVR installed allowing viewers to skip show advertisements entirely. The worst financial crises since the Great Depression shocked the nation in 2008, which called for innovation in the media industry. And in 2009 Google, controller of two-thirds of the search market, began using Behavioral Targeting advertising, changing the way the industry defined effective ad campaigns. All of these events precipitated a change in the public relations, media and advertising industry.
First, traditional media performance began to level as digital media took root. Marketers and PR professionals have been more reluctant to engage in digital campaigns because of their negligible reach in comparison to television. Still, Internet is showing alluring promise with its savvy capabilities. Furthermore, PR professionals are slowly coming to recognize the importance of fit of the message, over reach, which is where digital may have the upper hand.
Second, traditional media began to adapt to advances in technology and changes in consumer behaviors. The future of television’s 30-second spot is looking at changes toward interactive commercials, which encourages research on the analytics end about consumer preferences. With Behavioral Targeting, digital advertisers have also begun exploring the effectiveness of relevant ads, or ads that focus on fit, to an interested audience.
Still, these professionals may be stuck in the old frame of mind. Jeff Einstein, digital pioneer of the Brothers Einstein, claims advertisers are focused too much on ineffective reach and do not recognize the potential of message fit.
“In an on-demand media universe the right audience always qualifies and declares itself simply by showing up. But in advertising, getting the right audience to show up is the easy part. The hard part is delivering the brand message once they get there because no one ever goes anywhere for the ads.”
As digital marketing and advertising continues to popularize and industry leaders are looking to gain the edge over their competition, the industry may see a move toward campaigns that aim to appeal to their audience through fit, rather than simple through reaching as big an audience as possible. In the future of this industry, it could very well be the case that quality of fit better predicts campaign success than quantity of target reached.
The Millennial Generation, aged 18 to 29, is a group that has grown up with technology instilled into their everyday routines. They are Internet junkies, multi-taskers, and demand personalized technology. They want to genuinely connect with others online.
Millennials are significantly different from their parents in the Baby Boomer generation in numerous ways. At cause of these lifestyle and fundamental distinctions, marketers are struggling to accommodate to millennial needs. However, Brand Amplitude, LLC, a market research firm, has launched Millennial Marketing, an online concept that provides a series of tools to understand Millennials and research to explain where the future of marketing lies.
Millennial Marketing pinpoints the generation. They are more diverse than the baby boomer generation and have a variety of needs in technology and communication areas. Due to multitasking, Millennials are consuming more media than ever, and they are more dependent on technology. Ninety three percent of American teens ages 12 to 17 go online; a Pew Research Study found that while using the Internet, 40 percent of US Youth ages 18 to 24 watch TV, 34 percent text, and 29 percent talk on the phone.
More Millennials than baby boomers have enrolled in higher education. Approximately one third of male and 40 percent of female Millennials have had some college education, compared with 25 percent and 23 percent of Baby Boomers, respectively. Yet a college education puts students in debt largely due to student loans.
The average millennial debt is $21,500, and 32 percent of Millennials feel they are “barely making ends meet.” Furthermore, there’s pressure to do well financially, but the recession has made it difficult to so. In fact, the recession has played a role in the millennial spending. Almost half of Millennials say they have changed their shopping habits somewhat, and others are questioning the need for an expensive college education.
It’s pretty clear: Millennials have different values than the Baby Boomers. They have been shaped by the recession and demand a higher degree of engagement pertaining to technology. As a result, marketers need to tailor their marketing campaigns to their different mindsets.
Millennials are price and value conscious, and they hold the products they spend their money on to high standards. They are highly skeptical of advertisements having been exposed to them their entire lives, and they use a discerning eye when it comes to purchases. Doing a quick internet search before making a selection is second nature to Millennials.
Without a doubt, the most significant shaper of the Millennials has been the internet. Something that can be both a blessing and curse for marketers is that the Millennial generation is always connected. Not only do they utilize the internet for product or service information, but as a broad communication platform as well. When a baby boomer has a bad experience with a business, they casually complain about it the next time they see their friends. On the other hand, when a Millennials has a bad experience, they share it with 800 of their closest Facebook friends. So how can brand managers channel insight into Millennial’s different lifestyle and values into a successful marketing campaign?
BrandAmplitude, LLC offers advice on how to connect with Millennials and their unique mindsets. First of all, a brand must be authentic. Millennials see right through false claims. Also, a brand must position itself as a necessity in order to appeal to Millennials. Due to the recession, this generation believes that they are strapped for cash and will be far more likely to purchase things they deem to be valuable necessities.
BrandAmplitude, LLC also recommends using social responsibility to appeal to Millennials. On average, Millennials are more socially conscious than previous generations, and they have been prone to use the presence or absence of corporate social responsibility as a tiebreaker during purchase decisions among similar brands. Millenials care that no animals were harmed in the production of a product or that a percentage of a company’s sales are donated to charity.
A brand that the Millennials can connect with needs to be shareable via social media. Due to the fact that Millennials spend a large portion of time on these sites, a relevant brand to them has what BrandAmplitude, LLC calls ‘Social Currency’. This means that a brand is social media compatible and can be exchanged on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Lastly, BrandAmplitude, LLC recommends portraying a brand as an experience. Millennials are more apt to spend their money on doing interesting things instead of having interesting things. They perceive experiences as a form of personal investment.
Even though the Millennials have strikingly different values and lifestyles than baby boomers, it is not difficult for marketers to reach this target market due to their dependency on technology. Marketers simply have to take the time to understand the Millennials and ensure that they are delivering a message that they will respond to.
Rachel Krasnow & Emily Rozanski
The use of social media has revolutionized the public relations and marketing world. According to Facebook, its users spend 500 billion minutes per month on the site sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have reported similar results. Re:NEW Michigan, a trademark of Eiler Communications, conducted a survey in April to further investigate the growing prevalence of social media sites among Michigan businesses.
The survey compared to a similar survey from December 2008. Not surprisingly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all saw dramatic increases in usage in the time period between surveys. The biggest leaps came from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook saw a 28.5% increase in usage, and Twitter saw a 30.3% jump.
A more unexpected and enlightening trend was revealed by the results. Michigan businesses reported heavily using social media websites in seeking news and information.
This is most likely due to news sites directly posting on social media sites or links exist between these social sites and news sites.
Whatever the reason, survey respondents admitted to using Facebook, Twitter and blogs just as often as they use more traditional news sites such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times when they seek news and information. Many even reported using social media websites as their primary source of information.
This information poses the question of what the future holds for this evolving issue, both social media and news information websites. No answers yet, but here are some observations.
The benefits of using social media websites for seeking news and information are obvious. They provide the instantaneous results demanded by people’s quest for instant gratification of information. The large amount of time spent on these sites and the great amount of traffic to these sites is favorable for spreading a story.
But are social media websites sufficient in providing a business with all the information it needs, or are they simply being used to find leads that require further investigation? Do social media websites have the potential to make news information sites obsolete? Re:NEW Michigan plans to address these questions and others involving social media websites in our next survey in October.
CoolHeadS wins the Most Innovative Award at the 2010 Exposure Show at Eastern Michigan University.
Winning the Most Innovative Award was a good start, but it’s only a start,” Tommy Green, CEO said. “Now the mission is getting the product on peoples’ heads.”
Start-up companies are becoming popular among entrepreneurs and experienced business people who have been “outed” from their jobs because of the economy and the implosion of the domestic auto businesses. This is true across Michigan and especially in the Ann Arbor region.
There are many organizations that provide pro bono counsel and services like business planning, investment, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, design, packaging.
CooLHeadS, which has developed its business to the extent it will show its creative new product, which covers heads and neck areas to prevent sunburn on hot summer and fall days, at the 12th annual EMU Exposure and Runway Show at Quirk Hall April 16.
CEO of CooLHeadS Tommy Green explains the firm has engaged the following groups, all pro bono, in his quest to organize and get the firm up and running:
The Sesi Business Plan Competition Committee (Paul Nucci, Richard King, Phil Rufe).
The B Side of Youth (Jack Bidlack).
University of Michigan Business Engagement Center (Nick Miller).
Michigan Manufacturing Association (Michelle Cordano).
“Having discussions helped mold my ideas into well-thought plans for execution,” says Green. “Each individual provided their own vision and insight on the project. “I listened, considered and put into practice. Each perspective gave me a truly different view of how CooLHeadS can become a solid business.”
Other infrastructure groups have developed in the past 10 years around the state are also available to help entrepreneurs — the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Southwest Michigan First. SPARK, The Right Place in Grand Rapids, Tech Town, Automation Alley and its Entrepreneurial Initiative.
Investment wise, the Michigan Venture Capital Association and the five angel investor groups across the state also fulfill key roles for emerging companies as they grow. There are Ann Arbor Angels, Blue Water Angels, First Angels, Grand Angels and Great Lakes Angels.
The Small Business Technology and Development Center guides new businesses through professionals in its 12 regions covering the state with 60 offices and affiliates.
In academia, we have Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan Ross School of Business’s Zell-Lurie Institute and Wayne State’s Tech Town.
The Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, a business plan competition since 2000, provides a great source of guidance through its mentors for new companies.
We have the infrastructure strengths that did not exist 10 years back. Let’s use the groups established to bolster new businesses as we march toward a better Michigan.
Social media (SM) users are relying on the web 2.0 sites for more than just networking these days. Might SM’s greatest contribution be mental health? SM’s use as a therapeutic outlet was studied and explored by Mental Health Camp, a Canadian-based conference in April 2009. This collaborative project investigated SM’s influence on mental health, both from a PR perspective and as a therapeutic outlet.
The all day Camp looked at ways to erase social stigmas associated with poor mental health “one tweet at a time” through social media marketing. Camp presentations and discussions pitched SM as an opportunity to release public service announcements from a personal perspective.
Additionally, presenters positioned SM as an outlet for those dealing with stress and anxiety. In terms of daily relief, individuals can blog and tweet away mental angst. According to Mental Health Camp counselors, mental health ranges from mental wellbeing (e.g. minimum stress, interpersonal problems) and serious illness (e.g. addiction, schizophrenia, anorexia). Mental wellbeing is our focus in this blog. Rather than keeping thoughts and burdens weighing on your mind, why not write a soothing blog or post on Twitter? In this sense, SM is a new age, productive version of the punching bag or stress ball.
Although the Camp concluded in April, online therapy continues on the Mental Health Camp’s website (here) as well on sites throughout the internet. As we have documented on this blog Web 2.0 and SM continue to weave into communication networks in productive ways.
Personally, I find blogging and other SM software both fun and therapeutic. In addition to a quick cure for boredom, networking with friends on Facebook is a great distraction from daily stresses. And when my girlfriend and roommates are sick of listening to my rants about my favorite sports teams, I continue the discussion on the blogoshpere. I know, I know…how pathetic right? Well, the stigmas surrounding these online outlets are quickly disappearing while the benefits are becoming more apparent.
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Leadership &Marketing &Public Relations Tools &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 24 Mar 2009 04:26 pm
“What’s on your mind”? With this simple query that appears on the front page of Facebook profiles, Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had Twitter on his mind for a while now, and struck back at the up-and-coming social networking site two weeks ago. The much anticipated and incredibly hyped Facebook profile changes appeared on browsers everywhere on March 13. How BIG were these changes? As you can see here, the evolution of Facebook’s façade earned Zuckerberg an invite to appear on Oprah. Clearly, dorm room tech geeks aren’t the only ones noticing the social media frenzy.
Where’s all this buzz coming from? Well, Zuckerberg’s changes mark the latest chapter in the clash between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has built its reputation on simplicity since CEO Evan Williams launched the site in 2006. Zuckerberg threw subtleties aside when he joined the 6 million on Twitter with a username of his own (thezuckerberg), apparently researching the micro-blog from the inside. (For those scoring at home, add “Espionage” to the list of professions social media has transformed.) The most obvious examples of Facebook’s robbery: When users sign on to Twitter they are greeted with the eerily coincidental question, “What are you doing?”. Facebook’s revamped look helps companies develop a presence on the site beyond the traditional “Fan Pages”. With Facebook’s improved business-oriented functionality, look for Facebook’s membership to spike in the upcoming months.
In the past six months, Twitter has really found its stride attracting celebrities, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, news agencies, businesses, and even President Barack Obama (username: BarackObama). This diverse, informational, and entertaining Twitter population was growing so much (752% In the last year!!) that Facebook looked to purchase the site last year to the tune of $500million in stock. Twitter and Williams rebuffed the offer, proclaiming that “Twitter is just getting started”. Facebook’s offer and subsequent rejection is even more astounding when you discover that Twitter is not a revenue-generating machine. Perhaps these are the changes Williams’ and his team foresee.
What’s the next step in this titanic clash of social media giants? It’s hard to speculate, but definitely fun to watch. Stay tuned.
About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 20 Mar 2009 03:51 pm
Are you a thought leader? Thought leaders are credible, insightful industry professionals (often heads of companies) with the expertise to comment on industry trends and issues…basically, the leaders of thoughts. This is highly desirable brand position requiring a focused public relations (PR) effort and a commitment to hard work.
Thought leaders provide insight and vision and therefore, are “go to” sources for members of the media often providing quotes and commentary for news coverage. Highly visible examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, Richard Branson of Virgin Megastores, or Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. These leaders provide insight of global scale due to their product’s popularity around the world. It is also possible to carve out a niche for your company’s product or service locally or wherever you define your target market.
A few thought-leadership tips from www.skmarketing.com, a Minneapolis based business-to-business marketing agency:
1. Availability: Respect the hectic schedule of the journalists and other members of the press and return all calls ASAP.
2. Preparedness: As a thought leader, you are expected to possess wisdom and a familiarity with a wide variety of topics in your field. It is advised that you prepare talking points prior to any media engagement/interview.
3. Be Opinionated: Donald Trump might be the best example of this type of thought leadership. Thought leaders are expected to bring something new to the conversation without sitting on the fence. Be bold, compelling and dramatic.
4. Persistence: Create your own fortune through thought leadership tools. Examples include determined press releases, knowledgeable speaking engagements, effective social media, white papers, by-lined articles, and/or case studies.
Eiler Communications has practiced these skills for over twenty years, establishing brand messages and thought leadership strategies for local and national businesses. David Mielke, Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, is an example of a local thought leader Eiler Communications works with consistently. Mielke has established a voice in the business community writing articles in the Ann Arbor Business Review and on www.MLive.com, often times commenting on the current state of business ethics. Mielke also serves on a number of economic and business boards.
So, are you ready to be a thought leader?
What Does Twitter Do For My Business?
According to the IDC (Premier Global Marketing Survey Company)Internet users spend an average of 32.7 hours online each week. That’s close to half the time they spend on any media (70.6 hours), twice the time they spend watching TV (16.4 hours) and close to eight times as much time as they spend reading magazines and newspapers (3.9 hours). The two fastest growing categories are video and social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs, YouTube, etc).
Clearly, attention is shifting on-line for all of our social and business needs.
Abrams Research recently asked over 200 social media leaders at the Social Media Week 2009 conference, what social media site would you recommend your business to pay for
(if they had to)? Twitter beat Facebook by more than two to one. Why? One of the most typical responses was, “ It is the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.”
So, what is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time and is one of the fastest growing communities online. It allows people to send public or private messages in 140 characters or less via the web or mobile phone. Think of it as a Facebook status update on steroids. The idea is to sign up and find people that you want to follow. Once you follow them, you receive updates minute by minute on whatever they “tweet”. A “tweet” is a 140 character or less statement or link to information.
For instance, I follow people that are relevant to my business. By sharing quick bits of information, I can stay connected to them, know their interests and appeal to them for my professional or personal needs. The key is to “tweet” about relevant topics. No one cares if you are having coffee (unless of course you own a coffee business and are sharing your favorite brew). As a Twitter courtesy, if you follow someone they usually follow you back so, get out there and start following and watch your site grow! Think about this. If you send out one “tweet” that directs your followers to relevant news about your business, which directs them to you or your website- you can reach thousands of Twitter followers by the minute.
The key: No one likes a constant sales pitch. Twitter about relevant issues that pertain to your business or your interests. This will position you as an expert and drive traffic to your site.