Aussies face off on social networking

Facial thumb Aussies face off on social networking

Facebook and other social networking sites are all about putting names to faces, but half of Australians do not want them to use facial recognition technology to get the job done.

A national Newspoll of more than 1200 people found 95 per cent of those surveyed believed it was acceptable for airport officials to use facial recognition software to identify passengers on police watchlists.

Some 92 per cent said police should be able to use the same technology to identify people from CCTV footage or videos shot by the public.

But only 38 per cent trusted Facebook with the technology, and 50 per cent said it would be unacceptable for that site to use facial recognition technology to make it easier to tag users in photos posted online.

Story source: www.bigpond.com

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Facebook to trademark the word "face"

Facebook thumb1 Facebook to trademark the word "face"Facebook has moved one step closer in its efforts to trademark the word "face", after receiving the green light from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Office has issued a notice of allowance to the social networking juggernaut, allowing the company to own the word after paying a fee, the NY Post reported.

The trademark will allow Facebook to challenge any of the 89,000 websites using the word "face" in their domain name.

The trademark would cover "telecommunication services, namely providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars".

A Facebook spokesperson would not reveal why an exemption was given to cars.

Several companies are considered to be in the sights of Facebook’s legal department, including Apple over its video conferencing service Facetime and a pornography website called Faceporn.

Facebook has also sued websites Teachbook, Placebook and Lamebook in order to protect the social network’s identity.

Facebook has already been successful in trademarking the words "Like" and "Wall".

Source: ninemsn.com.au

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How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Networks

Consumers do want relationships

The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board.

Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care?

“Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “

According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.

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Another survey, by Edison Research, found that 16% of social network users had friended brands there. And half (51%) had done so on Twitter.

Coupons remain a leading driver of brand interactions in social networks. Learning about sales and new products is also a strong motivator for people to interact with companies in social media. Beyond the tangibles, such as coupons, consumers do gain positive feelings about a brand as a result of their interactions.

Still, social networks are not seen as primary research sources when consumers are looking to buy. Although people are very inclined to take advice from friends and family about products they are interested in, they are not nearly as likely to seek out their social network friends when they are researching online.

According to a study by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group, only 3% of online buyers said they sought recommendations from social network friends first, compared with 57% who started with search engines.

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“More than half of all Internet users now use social networks, and the percentage of social network users who talk about companies, either in organic conversations or on branded company pages, is growing,” said Ms. Williamson. “Consumers do pay attention and they do value positive interactions with companies.

“But while people trust their friends for advice and use social networks as part of their research process, social networks are long way from replacing search, if they ever will, as a source of information leading to a purchase.”

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Is it Really Worthwhile to Market on Twitter?

A new study by Edison Research provides a complex and multi-layered picture of Twitter – along with some interesting data points that suggest it may not be worthwhile for some companies to focus their online marketing efforts on the micro-blogging site.

This, of course, contradicts other studies – at least about social media, not necessarily Twitter – as well as what has become conventional wisdom on how to advance a brand, according to MarketingVOX.The other studies include a small but now infamous study by Vitrue that found one fan on Facebook is worth $3.60 and a Facebook Page with one million fans is worth a minimum of $3.6 million in earned media annually.Then there is a study by Hubspot.com, which found that many B2C and B2B companies are successfully using social media networks to acquire customers, with more than four in 10 companies overall having acquired a customer from four major social media channels.

Brand Aware
The Edison study doesn’t discount the popularity of Twitter – in fact it reports that 87% of respondents have heard of Twitter, compared to 88% who had heard of Facebook. The findings also suggest that Twitter users are hyper-aware of brands on Twitter. The study found that 42% learn about products and services via Twitter and 41% provide opinions about products/services. An additional 19% seek customer support. A grand total of 49% follow brands or companies.

“Twitter users talking about marketing and brands far exceeds the usage on the other social networks,” said Tom Webster, the VP of Strategy & Marketing at Edison (via Social Media Today).”Combined with their above average income and above average education, Twitter users’ propensity to interact with brands make them a huge potential source for Mass Influencers,” Social Media Today concludes.

Does Not Convert into Interaction
Here is the rub: the data also suggests that Twitter users do not necessarily convert brand awareness to usage, Social Media Today says. Although 87% of Americans have heard of Twitter – only 7% actually use it. Compare that to Facebook, where 88% have heard of it, and 41% have a profile, which is a conversion rate approaching 50%, Social Media Today notes.Clearly some companies belong on Twitter – namely brands that are seeking to shape consumers’ opinions and possibly engage them in a conversation.

Who Shouldn’t
And just as clearly some companies don’t belong on Twitter – or at least shouldn’t be spending a significant portion of their marketing budget on it. These include:

Companies that don’t have a mobile strategy or presence.
There is a strong tie between Twitter and mobile, Social Media Today notes, with 63% of Twitter users accessing social networks via mobile phone, and 73% sending SMS text messages multiple times per day.

Mass-market brands with straightforward products.
Gillette is a good example, says Fast Company. Brands such as Gillette that are positioned based on functionality superiority are not likely to benefit from a social campaign, according to a study by Vivaldi-Lightspeed.

In that study, 96% of respondents in the study tout Gillette’s good quality and reliability. At that point, Gillette should take that goodwill and run, the study goes on to say.”Conversation might lead to a discussion of downsides such as price and alternative products,” says Markus Zinnbauer, a director Vivaldi. (via Fast Company).

Small businesses that don’t have a significant online or social media presence.
That group is far larger than one might realize, according to a recent Citigroup study.  Most small businesses today aren’t leveraging the basic online tools readily available to them to help grow their businesses, the study found.

Namely, in the last year 37% of small businesses have not used a website for marketing or expanding their business and 84% have not used e-commerce to sell their products or services. Additionally, 62% aren’t using basic email for marketing their business.Before such a company jumps on the Twitter bandwagon it would be far better off to master these fundamental online marketing tools – particularly email marketing. Local reputation tools such as Yelp would be the exception.

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Social Media Aids Customer Acquisition

Many B2C and B2B companies are successfully using social media networks to acquire customers, according to [pdf] the “State of Inbound Marketing Report” from internet marketing firm Hubspot.

Major Social Media Channels Provide Leads to 4 in 10 Companies

More than four in 10 companies overall have acquired a customer from four major social media channels. Forty-one percent of companies have acquired a customer from both Twitter and LinkedIn. That figure rises to 44% for Facebook and 46% for a company blog.

 

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Social Media Especially Helps B2C
When social media customer acquisition figures are broken out by B2B and B2C companies, it becomes clear that B2C companies generally obtain much more value from their social media marketing efforts. Fifty-one percent of B2C companies have acquired a customer from Twitter, compared to 38% of B2B companies. The difference is most stark in customer acquisition figures for Facebook, which 68% of B2C companies have obtained a customer from but only 33% of B2B companies.

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When it comes to professional social media network LinkedIn, however, the usefulness trends reverse. Forty-five percent of B2B companies have obtained a customer from LinkedIn, compared to only 26% of B2C companies. Figures for company blog customer acquisition are closest in range, with 57% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies obtaining a customer through this channel.

Blog Post Frequency Makes a Difference
Examining company blogs closer, the unsurprising finding is that the more posts a company makes, the more success it will have driving new business. One hundred percent of companies posting multiple times a day on their blogs acquired a customer, and 90% posting daily acquired a customer. This figures declines to 69% for companies posting two to three times a week, and all the way down to 13% for companies posting less than monthly.

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Most Business Blogs Post Weekly
The majority of business blogs in 2010 post weekly (38%). Another 29% post two to three times a week, and 17% post monthly. Only 3% post multiple times a day. Only 58% of companies making weekly blog posts acquire a customer, meaning most companies are leaving a significant tool for customer acquisition on the table.

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Bigger Business Blogs Better Lead Bringers
Business blogs begin generating significantly more leads when they have a median of 24 or more articles posted, according to other research by Hubspot.

Businesses with blog article numbers above this critical threshold are likely to have enough content to make a significant impact on search engines through additional indexed pages and new keywords with which to associate. In addition, other sites are more likely to link to a blog that offers a steady stream of content. Businesses with blogs of 24-plus articles are more likely to be committed to updating their blog frequently and, thus, are likely to generate more traffic from referring sites.

Business blogs that have 0-11 articles posted will generate a median of three leads. Once blogs reach the 12-23 posted article threshold, this median dramatically rises to 10. However, blogs with 24-51 posted articles generate a median of 13 leads, and will generate a median of 23 leads when the posted article threshold reaches 52. This represents 77% lead growth, more than twice the 30% lead growth that occurs when the number of posted blog articles reaches 24.

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Facebook Dismisses Charge Rumours

4561v1 max 250x250 Facebook Dismisses Charge Rumours

Facebook not about to charge

Those of you who are using Facebook will no doubt have heard the rumors circulating about a new charge that is to be supposedly introduced from July 1st and costing around $15 per month, well I got an invitation overnight to join the group “I’m quitting Facebook if we have to pay $14.99 a month” one of the many irrelevant groups you get invitations to every day, well I’m not joining because the whole thing is a hoax.

Back in January the owners of Facebook denied there was an intention to start charging to use the site, below is an official quote from Facebook:

” A spokesman for the company said: “We have no plans to charge users for Facebook’s basic services. Facebook is a free service for its 350 million users.”

So there you have it, it’s a hoax. Just ignore the whole thing.

 Facebook Dismisses Charge Rumours

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Tweetlister for Real Estate Agents

tweetlister Tweetlister for Real Estate Agents

Tweetlister for real estate agents only

It seems that every time I post these days it’s about Twitter, and that is not deliberate, it’s just that there is a lot of information and applications being developed about and for Twitter. Although sometimes there’s a new application that is released that I can’t really see the value in, for instance, a new application for real estate agents has been released called Tweetlister . This is a free application that allows you to create, manage & schedule Twitter friendly property listings. The site allows you to track contacts as well as download them as an Excel report. 

As a part of your social media strategy, this could be a handy tool, however there is more to using and being succesful on Twitter and other sites than just promoting your product or listing. I can name a number of real estate groups that are just promoting listings and as a result have virtually no followers on the social sites. To make this work for you, you need to build a strategy around the engagement of the on line social media user, not just promote product. It’s about sharing information, about providing support and advice for people as they go on the journey of looking and searching for a home or investment.     

Yes, you read right, it is a journey for most people, as they research on line for  properties and agents to assist and help them, ask yourself the question, are you providing that information, are you there on the journey with them, or are you just out promoting a product. 

Use sites like Tweetlister  as part of your overall plan, but remember, the best way to  create a successful social strategy is engage & interact with your followers.

Anyway, you can already do what Tweetlister offers on other sites, so it’s really nothing new. That’s only my opinion of course and if you have a differing opinion, then I’d love to hear it.

 Tweetlister for Real Estate Agents

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Does Size Matter? Not when It Comes To Quality over Quantity

fry iphone 240 Does Size Matter? Not when It Comes To Quality over Quantity

FryPhone

Whilst doing a presentation this afternoon in Perth on social media, the subject of quantity vs quality came up, in relation to the number of followers I and other users of social sites have.  

It’s a really good question, and it got me thinking about this post, strange where ideas come from some times, so is it really about quantity or quality?

Some celebrities using Twitter and other social media have thousands of followers, Stephen Fry, the British comedian, for example, has over 290,000 followers on Twitter alone. Not long ago he caused a major stir in the UK when he wrote about his dislike for the Blackberry Storm mobile phone on Twitter, calling it “Shockingly bad. I mean embarrassingly awful. Such a disappointment. Rushed out unfinished. What a pity.”  After the review had circulated, the BBC accused him of having the “power to kill a gadget”, due to the effect that review had on sales.

Social networks bring like minded people together, and people looking for information will find you via blogs,social sites or even the search engines such as Google, and they will follow you if your information is relevant to them. But, if you set yourself as an expert and try and enter a social community, you had better know your stuff. These sites will sort you out fast if you are a fake, but if you have good quality information and you engage with your followers, they will respond to your posts and information and will follow where you lead them.

So, in my mind, I’d rather follow someone, that provides me with great content that I find useful and informative, than hear about what they had for dinner that night.

I compered myself to another Twitter user I know last night, and got a little disappointed that he had 10 times the followers that I did, but then when I looked at the bios of the followers on each of our sites, one thing really struck me, that was the difference in the quality of our followers. We both provide marketing and technology advice and talk about social media for the real estate industry, but the difference in quality of our followers was amazing. 

So it’s not always about the size of your following, it’s more about the quality of those followers. If you are just starting out using social sites or Twitter, then work on the quality of your information and engage your followers regularly, if you’re good at what you do, they will find you and they will follow you, and more importantly they will go where you lead them.

So, to answer my own question, I believe that size is not always better!

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Grab Your Social Media User Name Before It's Going Going Gone

I’ve just got a colleague of mine to join Twitter and on checking out her Twitter page last night, I was surprised to find that she hadn’t used her own name. I mentioned this to her this morning on our way to the seminar at Fraser’s in Perth and Sarah replied that her name and variations of her name had already been taken. Now, if you are wanting to get into social media or even market on the web under your own brand, it is vitally important that you buy your domain name.

It is now just as important that you register your user name on social media sites as well, because if you don’t someone else will. Being able to use your name to build your profile or brand is vital to your success on the web and you need to ensure that you own it and register it. By having a consistent image across all social sites allows your followers or devotees to find you and follow you, plus it has the added benefit that you don’t have to remember hundreds of user names.

So create a user name, preferably one that identifies you instantly and register it across all social sites, you can use this great web site to check if your user name is available. Some sites will not allow your full name and limit the number of characters that you can have, so create a user name that is consistent and easy to remember.   

Register it on every site you can find, you’ll never use most of them, but at least you will own the user name and this will stop others from high-jacking your name or brand.

If you have popular web site or blog and have lots of followers, there are some users on the web who will try and grab your name and create their own logins, so now you have been warned.

Go forth and Grab it quick before it is gone, gone gone!!

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Invest The Time – Reap The Rewards

eyeballs Invest The Time   Reap The RewardsLast week I spent time in Adelaide South Australia and presented to a number of real estate groups, and it was for me an interesting exercise. Social media is not going to be for every agent or business owner, of that there is no doubt, because each person within the office needs to commit to the discipline of social networking.

It is vitally important that social networking is seen as a long term strategy and not a short term fix. It takes time and commitment to really work social media, to create the handshake and work the room. Traditional real estate marketing models are quickly becoming obsolete as the internet takes over so real estate businesses need to start to think more long term and think about marketing to the customer of tomorrow not just today.

This is the word of mouth brand building of 2020, so when deciding that a social strategy is part of your marketing plan, make sure that all staff are committed to its success. Social media very quickly sorts out the committed members in your office.

So where to start: First of all make sure you put a realistic time line in place,when integrating social strategies into your office, plan to have it integrated over the next 2 years. This allows you sufficient time to get it in place and build on the network.

Decide on who will be your target market - Because this is, in reality, what social media is, a corporate communication strategy for your business, and you need to plan what information will be shared by you and your company/staff.  This is really about people!!

Decide on the objective, what do you want to achieve and more importantly what do you want out of it as a business or sales person. Is it instant leads or sales or is it a long term plan to provide good quality content to your prospective clients, so that when they decide the time is right to buy or sell, you are the business they choose.

Plan your strategy, will it be combinations of social networks or just one, how often will you post to your blog, what type of information will be included and what is your ultimate plan?

Finally, decide on the technology you will use. Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, blogs etc or do you intend to use them all. If so, then make sure you have a plan and strategy in place for each one.

Once you have all of that laid out as part of a corporate communication strategy, then and only then, is the time right to start to implement your plan.

As always, if you would like my help on getting your strategy started, all you have to do is ask or send me an email via this blog.

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