The (Mighty) Future of Selfies

When you think a “selfie” is nothing but a “selfie” (meaning a photo of yourself), then you are still living in the past. The future of the selfie is already here – in various forms. You just need to know where to find the next evolution step, how to make it, and see who can assist your efforts. And even if you want to take it to extremes. There are all sorts of selfies ahead.

Although, I have to admit I have taken some selfies lately, I had decided to leave it from now as of bad (or mad) output. However, maybe I just need to go to the DELL Center for Selfie Improvement. No joke! Well. Maybe.

Dell is always good at jumping on the latest trends in the world of social and sharing. Their new “Center for Selfie Improvement” is meant to help people optimize (if not perfect) the art of the selfie. People shall be trained using different techniques handed down from the very original selfie taker. How this works is explained in this video and on their Tumblr website.

Some people might say “selfies” are just for people with mega egos. Now, if you are a person of that sort, this winning Cannes Lions Innovation Grand Prix might make you happy. It’s a mega Kinetic installation which enabled people to create massive 3D selfies. The installation can transform in three dimensions. It recreate a selfie face from visitors to Khan’s pavilion. The Khan’s building was a 2,000 m2 cube placed in the Olympic Park in Sochi during the 2014 Olympic Games.

MegaFaces: Kinetic Facade Shows Giant 3D ‘Selfies’ from iart on Vimeo.

And if you are living in Sweden or Australia, you might not even want to use the release button from your camera or your smartphone any more for your selfie. Just get the latest app from the guys at Crunchfish then. With their GoCam app (just Apple yet) you can take a selfie with their touchless-A3D-software. Simply raise your hand to “push” the release button.

The future of the “selfie” is weird, unimportant and funny. Well, it just reflects the nature of a selfie, right?

Study: For Boomers Optimism and Social Conscience of brands is key

Marko Greitschus /

Are Boomers trying to be younger than they are? Are they just identifying themselves from a brand perspective with a more youthful mindset? Are they buying the latest product trends of brands? A recent study conducted by WPP’s The Geppetto Group states that adults -especially Baby Boomers- are seeking brands that mirror an optimistic feeling back to them. So in some way the study suggests that Boomers have a more sustainable perspective when buying brands.

The survey polled 200 men and women (35 – 64) to find out what drives this audience towards certain brands and how this might affect the purchasing decision process. The message is: We don’t forget those brands we had when we were young. Our personalities are closely connected with these brands – especially if these brands were associated with positive messages.

“Marketers need to ask themselves if they’re missing the boat when it comes to Boomers. Are they offering them optimism and social conscience, and are they identifying with inherent qualities of their youths? Think of the impact that kind of thinking could have for sports retailers or restaurant chains for instance.” Julie Halpin, Founder and CEO, The Geppetto Group

The study sums up three major findings that are important to know for marketers…

1. 66% of adults are looking for brands that express their personality

For the GenXers and Boomers technology brands express what their personality stands for. Especially if the brands are going hand-in-hand with expressing youthful qualities. Brands like Apple, Dell, Sony and HP were good reflections of their inner selves. And also Levi Jeans are still popular for them, not so much fashion brands like Diesel or Seven for all Mankind.

2. 57% of adults are challenging brands to surprise and delight them

The study finds that Boomers get exhited about brands that for younger generation might come along as boring. For Boomers brands like Swiffer, Keurig and Under Gear can be surprising again, the study reads. On this point I would have loved to get a clearer picture of how the argumentation

3. Optimism and (corporate) social ethics are important for Boomers

Are these values becoming more and more important, the more people experience in life? Is this because you think more about life, the older you get? The study states that brands that incorporate optimism and social responsibility in their messaging score 12-13 points higher for Boomers than for the Gen Xers.

Spot On!
Buying brands people always want to make a statement about their personality. Some to bolster their identity, some to define their personality – some to show off. Brands play a massive role in the process of self-definition in our global value system. If Boomers purchase products we used to think that trust and reliability plays a big role in the purchase process. The study now illustrates that the messages the “In” brands spread out, don’t necessarily reach the Boomers that are more aligned with the brands of the past, and might be embracing optimistic messaging than just running after the “latest and greatest” of the younger generation. For me it also makes clear that the value system of brands needs to be reviewed.

dmexco 2010 – Flashback in Tweets & Quotes

The main message of the dmexco 2010 can be concluded as follows…

Marketers have to face the fast dynamics of a changing advertising industry. The new topics they will be tackling in the future are predictive behavioral targeting, multiscreen targeting, augmented reality as well as mobile device advertising and … of course Social Media.

Facing the social web challenge, this means marketers have to look for conversation with their clients, whilst still being authentic, honest, human, friendly, open, conversational, responsive. Business relevant topics are not meant to cross their minds such as contact management and generation, quantitative ROI measurement or sales-driven aspects – and I am not even talking of lead nurturing. At least from a social media user-perspective…

Respect to all marketeers who can make this challenge happen in the future!

My flashback…?
Doing the co-moderation of the conference program was a very exhiting and interesting job. It gave me the opportunity to talk to great marketers (Sidney Mock, Spil Games and Manish Mehta, Dell Inc.), real thought-leaders of the Internet industry (Russell Buckley, AdMob Inc. and Tom Bedecarrè, AKQA) and just fabulous web personalities (Harry Huj, Pepsico Investment and Dean Donaldson, Mediamind).

As there was not much time to look around the halls and the booths, I would like to summarize the event with the 10 tweets and quotes that represent the value, the mood and the atmosphere of dmexco from my perspective.

1. dmexco 2010: The vision of the leaders via @MkDirecto

Augmented Reality
2. Never heard of “augmented reality”? Check out the Museum of London case study via Kaizenadv

3. Study #iPad Effects: “80 per cent use the iPad predominantly at home” #dmexco #research (translated) via tomorrowfocus

4. Sidney Mock, Spil Games, counts 650 million online gamers worldwide via dmexco (More gamers than Facebook users…).

5. Harry Hui (Pepsico): “Los consumidores chinos se mueven a otro ritmo”. via lpittol85

Social Media
6. Great interview with @ManishatDell (my boss) about the value of social media for #dell from the dmexco conf. via DennisMSmith

7. Joanna Shields: “Marketing develops from a one night stand towards constant connection and ongoing conversations.” #dmexco #Facebook via dmexco

8. Dean Donaldson shows the relativity of the mobile progress, reading out a SMS he received during the Mobile Debate. It tells him how expensive roaming is and explains how ISPs limit mobile opportunities like in the AOL age some years ago.

Future Media
9. The future of the media is mobile. Shame *none* of the world’s design/PR agencies have realised: via Adam Westbrook

10. Tom Bedecarré, #AKQA, is excited about #dmexco: “What a high energy event with so many people!” via dmexco

Spot On!
After sharing my view, I would appreciate to get your ideas and thoughts. What did you think of dmexco 2010? How did you like the conference program or the debate hall concept? What was positive and negative? Did any of you use the blogger lounge? If so, what did you like or miss? Looking forward to your feedback…

PS: Next dmexco?: Cologne, September, 21. and 22, 2011 !

Foto Credits: Horizont

Product strategists think social innovations could increase

If there are more and more people engaging with brands on the social web, the opportunity to collaborate with the social community becomes a lucrative meaning for brands – and their product strategists. These managers could open up a new “external R&D department” when they use social technology in order to increase product innovations by integrating their customers in the process of product creation and development.

A recent Forrester study of 181 consumer product strategy professionals from companies around the globe states that product strategists in companies strive for social innovations. Though Forrester makes clear that social innovation is not yet where it should be from the product strategist’s point-of-view. The study shows the familiar picture that we see in more or less all departments in companies: It is still early days also for product strategists to work with social media. And only some leverage social media in favor of social innovations.

Still it seems to be a big challenge for companies to find their way from being engaged with their customers on the social web to understanding the impacts and chances to social innovation management. This becomes clear when we see that 83% of the companies use social media to drive customer conversation but then not even half of those have product teams that influence product design, creation, or strategy by using social media.

It is also surprising for me to acknowledge that it is not the resources that are lacking. More than two-thirds of the responding product strategists have dedicated social managers or teams. On the one hand, it lacks the right technological connection bridges between the different company departments. On the other hand, when not more than one-fifth have formal policies in their companies for sharing data from social technologies with product teams, the road to succeed with social co-creation efforts seems to be long.

Spot On!
The best way to produce the right products for your customers is to ideally let them inspire a business. In the past, we had focus-groups which were cost-intensive, time-limited and time-consuming. The concept of social creation and social innovation can work on a day-to-day innovation platform. Just think of Dell Ideastorm, MyStarbucksidea, Adobe’s ideas lab or the IKEA Hacker approach. Nevertheless, companies should be aware that customers very often need or want some kick-back for their inspirational efforts. So, in my eyes the point of giving away some form of incentive will be necessary to get such communities started and make them sustainable.

Or will customers in the future co-create for free to receive better product-price-quality? What do you think?

Is Twitter a sales tool?

twitter-dollarIn a lot of talks and meetings with clients I am asked if Twitter is a sales tool. Now, what would you say? The university professor might answer with a Solomonic answer: “Well, it depends how you see it…”. Being a member of the Twitterati it is one of these questions where you have to hold on to your horses in order not to be too excited. The best answer is probably: “Yes, it is… and No, it is not!”…

The why for “Yes, it is”…
Looking at the latest development in the “Twittersphere” it can be said that the micro-blogging service can be used as a push tool for sales promotions meant to generate an upside in revenue. The best examples are accounts from companies like Dell (selling re-furbished IT for 3 mio. USD), Threadless (selling shirts – no numbers released yet) or Zappos (selling shoes – no numbers released yet).

Although we don’t know see any revenue figures of Threadless or Zappos, seeing the follower numbers alone offers the option to sell through the indirect way to this new “distribution list” by keeping up the conversation with new thoughts and ideas gathering engagement – or direct via ‘extraordinary’ offers. Just take a look at my sales statistic or metric, I summarized on the Dell Outlet account and you can evaluate your sales options.

Especially, the aviation industry has used the power of pushing their offers through this new media channel – thus uplifting their revenue figures. Some airlines like JetBlue (called “JetBlueCheeps“) and United Airlines (“twares”) offer cheap seats Twitter sales promotion programs (also for unsold tickets). The companies push their announcements via Twitter and the user -hopefully- listens to their Tweets and needs exactly the route offered.

In Germany Lufthansa has also started with sales promotions via Twitter – and obviously after this test the worldwide Twitter offering is “coming soon”.

The PRO view…
Yes, Twitter is a sales tool as there is no limit in terms of target-group, industry sector, the costs of the product or the product and service itself. Use it as a sales tool if you think your customers or your desired target-group is open-minded, loves last-minute offers or is ready to be engaged via social media.

The why for “No, it is.”
Nevertheless, the way how companies use Twitter to address their target-group with their sales promotions appears like some kind of old “watering can” marketing principle. Is this really time-to-market sales? Can this be called “targeting” which is the modern form of receiving sales promotions? One thing is for sure: Forecasting on such sales push activities is nearly impossible… the proof is in the test. But: once started, there is no way out. Sales promotions on Twitter are relying on the “hope” factor by offering an additional sales channel called “SomeTwitterAccountByOurCompany”.

And sales strategies go against the means of social media anyway. Sales philosophy is “We know what you want and here is your customized offer!” – social media is “We listen, learn and share what our customers want to buy from us!”.

From the airline examples we can learn that the offer is not just positive extra media promotion. It is limited in its sales power in a way that consumers need to be flexible and last-minute offer driven. Sounds a bit like the ebay way of selling…

So, Twitter sales promotions are relying on the “hope” factor by offering an additional sales channel called Twitter account. Some follow as they are just listening to the company or product development, some as they learn from the tweets and some as they want to share common knowledge. Not all followerrs really want to buy something. You are in good company when your company does not want to aggressively buy followers in order to go down the good old spam route.

The CON view…
No, Twitter is not a sales tool but more a customer service tool with the positive side-effect that you can sell indirect by giving good service, helping your customers and solving their problems in real-time. Don’t use it when you think your customers are bound to traditional cliches, rarely take the advantage of accepting fast shopping opportunities and don’t know what social media can do for them.

Spot On!
Generally speaking… – From a followers point of view (in this case meaning customers), there is a positive argument about Twitter sales promotions: Interested customers will follow (=read) the sales push tweet – uninterested won’t, they will ignore it. And customers don’t even have to delete the message like a spam mail. It is dying with the followers timelife stream…

The Critical question to ask are… Do we have a long-time social media strategy or do we just want to “drive” a short-time sales push? What have we done in the past to push our sales revenues? What worked out well? I am sure, if you ask yourself these questions, some more questions on your web strategy in terms of sales achievements will follow…

Am I right…?

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Why do also small businesses need a website? The answer is easy. A recent Nielsen Online custom survey from WebVisible, Inc. shows that if somebody wants to buy a product, 92% do some research online first and then might purchase locally. So, if small businesses do not have a website, these companies are “virtually invisible to these local consumers”.

Launching a product in today’s business scenario is not the easiest effort. So, tips are always appreciated. Here are three tips I found lately that put your prospects in the center of attention. My brief summary…
1. Make it easy for prospects to find and study your new product.
Customers need to be ready – Stop convincing them that they are ready!
“Research by MarketingSherpa shows that customers now find suppliers — not the other way around — in 80 percent of b-to-b transactions. B-to-b buyers like to research, analyze, and make rational group decisions.”
2. Encourage word-of-mouth marketing.
Find VIP editors and bloggers, customers and influencers that your customers trust in.
3. Let your prospects help you figure out your new-product launch message and media mix.
The Dell Ideastorm approach… – Make the “voice-of-the-customer” design, create and promote your products. “Then, use their specific language in your advertising copy as keywords to attract their Google searches, etc.”

The viral video to Guitar Hero 5 is probably causing a lot of talks in the world…

Online Reputation Management bleibt (zeit)aufwendig…

Als ich meine Vision des Personal Web Managers geschrieben habe, dachte ich, es wird sicherlich bald eine solche Dienstleistung des Reputation Coaches für aufstrebende Manager oder stark im Web aktive Persönlichkeiten geben. Derzeit ist interessant zu beobachten, wie sich dieser Plattform-Markt für persönliches Reputation Management in Position bringt.

Es steht eben viel auf dem Spiel: die Bewerbung einer Karriere, die für Nachhaltigkeit einer authentischen und erfolgreichen Persönlichkeit steht. Die Online Reputation wird dabei immer wichtiger für den nächsten Karriereschritt, aber ihr Management bleibt leider trotz unterstützender Plattformen zeitaufwendig. Ein kleiner Überblick…

Bisher galt der amerikanische Dienstleister Reputation Defender als der weltweite ‘Platzhirsch’ im Entfernen oder ‘Geradebiegen’ von bildlich belegbaren Fehltritten oder voreilig getroffenen Statements und Kommentaren, die im Web verewigt sind. Denn, wie wir alle inzwischen wissen sollten: Das Web vergißt nichts – teilweise nur, wenn wir entsprechend nachhelfen. Und so bietet Reputation Defender mit myChild ein Produkt an, das den Ruf und die Privatsphäre des Kindes schon von Kindesbeinen an online schützt.

In Deutschland ist mit my ON-ID eine sehr interessante Plattform am Start, die Online Reputation auf technischer Basis zu handeln, monitoren und optimieren anbietet. Die Web 2.0 Plattform offeriert sehr viele Optionen, das eigene Personal Brand als Visitenkarte (bzw. fast schon im Format eines Online CV aufzubauen (mit zahlreichen Schnittstellen und Widgetfunktionen zu anderen Social Networks).

Am Wochenende erhielt ich nun die neuste Pressemitteilung von Dein Guter Ruf, die mir von meinem Ex-Kollegen Jannis Moutafis zugespielt wurde. Die Nachricht preist die ab sofort kostenlose Suche des (mir noch völlig unbekannten) Reputations-Dienstsleisters an, sowie die Option eine Web-Imageseite zu veröffentlichen. Als Gadget wird der Test „Welcher Online-Typ bin ich“ angeboten, der einem Tips zum persönlichen Reputation Management offeriert (mein Testergebnis siehe Bild).

Hintergrund des Tests: Der Profil Organiser wird hiermit promotet. Dort kann man seine Netzwerk-Profile eingeben und hat diese so im Schnellüberblick und -zugriff. Der vordergründige Vorteil der Übersichtlichkeit, läßt sich mit einem grundlegenden Tip entkräften…

Starte kein Profil in einem sozialen Netzwerk, wo Du nur einen kleinen Mehrwert siehst und evaluiere vorher, ob Du nur aus einer zeitweiligen Zugehörigkeit (Schule, Uni, etc.) oder aus zukünftiger Überlegung (Kontakte halten, Karrierebenefit, etc.) dieses nutzen wirst.

Die Dienstleistungen von Dein Guter Ruf erinnern mich dennoch stark an den Personal Web Manager, denn hier geht es offensichtlich wirklich um den strategischen Ansatz des Reputation Managements mit persönlicher PR-Betreuung. Man bietet vier verschiedene Versionen an: Basis-, Profi-, Premium- und VIP-Manager – von kostenlos bis 129,90 EUR pro Monat. Letztere verspricht sogar…

– Wir legen für Sie Profile in mit Ihnen abgestimmten Portalen an.
– Wir integrieren bereits vorhandene Inhalte in Foren, Blogs, Fachportalen.
– Wir prüfen monatlich Ihre Reputation und liefern für Sie geeignete Portal- und Themenvorschläge.
– Wir führen für Sie geeignete Online-PR Aktivitäten durch.

Insofern wirken die Preise vernünftig und erinnern an das Preismodell von Reputation Defender.

Kurztest: Dein Guter Ruf
Suche: Die Suche ist unbefriedigend. Bei 466.000 Googletreffern zu meinem Namen fand Dein Guter Ruf rund 70. Einige hatten überhaupt nichts mit mir zu tun. Zahlreiche positive, wie Interviews und Gastbeiträge von/mit mir, wurden gar nicht gefunden.
Image-Webseite: Ein Bild kann nicht gefunden, hochgeladen oder integriert werden (vielleicht in einer Bezahlversion?!). Der erste Eindruck eines Menschen zählt – und der Mensch verkauft sich in der Karrierebewerbung über ein persönliches Bild. Man verschickt ja auch keinen Lebenslauf ohne Foto.
Paid Services: Daß man für zahlreiche Funktionen (z.B. Kommentar eines Suchtreffers) im Web 2.0 Zeitlater bezahlen muß, ist irgendwie Web 1.0 Welt. Zumal my ON-ID hier schon diese Funktion ohne Aufpreis anbietet.
Fazit. Unspektakulär, nüchtern, sachlich, nicht personalisierbar – aber vielleicht ist die Form genau das, was zukünftig für das Personalwesen die nachhaltige Bewerbung ist. Wer weiß…

Spot On!
Neben my ON-ID macht sich mit Dein Guter Ruf ein weiterer Anbieter auf, unsere individuelle Online Reputation im Auge zu behalten und zu professionalisieren. Mein Urteil bleibt dennoch kritisch. Die Idee Reputation Management mit persönlicher PR-Strategie zu verknüpfen, gefällt mir gut (schon wegen seiner Nähe zu ‘meinem’ Personal Web Manager). Man müsste es fast einmal einem Test unterziehen, um zu sehen, wie erfolgreich sich die Arbeit für das Personal Branding zeigt (Erfahrungsberichte bitte an mich schicken). my ON-ID ist dennoch derzeit einen ganzen Schritt voraus und bietet die spannendere und zielgenauere Lösung das Online Reputation in der Spur zu halten. Reputation Management bleibt weiterhin aufwendig, vor allem zeitaufwendig, denn am besten wird sie derzeit noch von jedem Einzelnen kritisch beäugt, bewacht und bewertet.

Studie: Kundenkommunikation zu teuer – Optimierung nötig

Daß Kundenkommunikation kostenintensiv sein kann, ist kein Geheimnis mehr. Die aktuelle Studie ‘Reality Check 2009’ des Softwarehauses novomind AG zeigt jetzt, daß Unternehmen mehr als fünf Euro pro Kundenanfrage einsparen können, wenn sie ihre Beratungskanäle automatisieren.

Denn bisher nutzen beraten neun von zehn Unternehmen ihre Kunden noch über die gängigen Kommunikationsoptionen E-Mail, Telefon und Kontaktformular. Bislang bietet nicht einmal jedes zweite Unternehmen FAQ-Seiten an, Live-Chats nutzen sogar nur zwei Prozent.

Die durschnittlichen Kosten im Einzelnen…
– Telefonische Beratung durch einen Service-Mitarbeiter pro Anfrage rund sechs Euro
– E-Mails und die Verwendung von Kontaktformularen pro Anfrage rund sechs Euro
– Live-Chats pro Anfrage zwei bis drei Euro
Die preiswerteste Seite zur Beantwortung häufig gestellter Fragen bietet eine FAQs Webseiten, die pro Kundenanfrage gerade mal etwa zehn Cent kosten.

Spot On!
Natürlich kann nur aus Kostengründen nicht gänzlich auf den Einsatz von Telefon, E-Mail und Kontaktformular verzichtet werden. Entlastung durch stärker automatisierte Kommunikationsmittel nimmt kostenintensive Beratungszeit. Die Effizienz bei der teuren Beratungsleistung per Telefon sollte dabei im Auge behalten werden. Wie bei Social Media und im Verkauf gilt hier: ZUHÖREN! Nur jede zweite telefonische Anfrage wurde korrekt beantwortet, bei E-Mail Bearbeitung nur 28%, besagen die Ergebnisse. Interessant wäre mal Kundenservice via Twitter der Kostenkontrolle zu unterziehen. Schließlich setzen ja schon einige Unternehmen diese Option ein: Dell, Deutsche Bahn, Bank of America, Starbucks, South West Air, Jetblue

Dell: social media business or the just good marketers?

Dell is the social media super-hero these days and one of the most named examples of social media intelligence. At least, if we believe in a lot of blog posts…

Last week, Dell reported in a blog post that their Twitter account @DellOutlet earned more than $2 million US dollars in revenue. Money that can be attributed directly to their Twitter activity. This does not surprise us, having heard that Dell broke the $1 million US dollar barrier some months ago.

Nevertheless, let’s think a minute about the ‘social aspect’ of this Twitter account. The funny thing about it is that Dell is just using old marketing techniques to generate revenue via Twitter.

Or is the use of coupon codes a marketing innovation of the web 2.0 era?

These couopons come flying into my mailbox at home every day – quicker than I have time to throw them in a bin.

“Dell Outlet sells refurbished Dell products at great prices, but inventories fluctuate, making it difficult to know when products are available or on sale. Dell Outlet uses Twitter as a way to message out coupons, clearance events and new arrival information to those looking for Dell technology at a discounted price.” (quote from Dell blog)

Reading this statement, the question is what is the social media strategy? Isn’t this just good old marketing tactics? This Dell Twitter account @DellOutlet is not acting in any way like social media has been teaching companies lately.

“Listen, learn and engage” (Brian Solis) is the value proposition of social media. The customers are coming to you as they have heard about the quality and value of your product, service or business. Then, they buy and do some good word-of-mouth activity via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, rating sites etc. for your business. This is resulting in community building – not a sales channel like the Dell example.

Dell is talking, pushing and selling. It is the good old communication and marketing practice we all know from some years ago.

Why is Dell so successful? It is a matter of simple marketing technics. It follows the old sales intelligence… From more than 650.000 followers, 10% will be real followers (as you just follow when you are in the evaluation process mode before a purchase decision) = 60.500 followers. And if you are lucky company 5% will buy your product in the end = 3.025 users. This tells us about an interesting average revenue of 661,15 US dollar per Twitter client.

Ah, I love sales statistics… though admittedly, these might be taken from the easiest perspective of ROI measurement.

Spot On!
But is this Dell activity really ‘social’? It is the email marketing system – tables turned upside down. Opt-In or follower? Subscribe or unsubscribe is the question… Email promotion or social media promotion? Email spam or social media spam? What comes next in the marketers arena? And, the account is just following Dell accounts… is the client/follower really interesting for them?

Not saying this is not a very clever approach reaching out for clients… well-done, Dell.

Your views much appreciated…

Report says, social networks not used for purchase decisions

Social networks ‘rule’ our days. Nevertheless, their monetization outlooks may be hit by some news, I came across yesterday. A recent study by Knowledge Networks reveals that only 5% of users enter social networks for guidance on purchase decisions in any of nine product/service categories.

Everybody is talking about ways for companies to promote their services, products and brands. It seems that companies cannot exist anymore if they don’t integrate social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) into their web strategy. And seeing the results of the study this seems to make sense. It shows that 83% of all internet users between 13-45 use social networks (47% regularly).

However, only 5% of the respondents say they are influenced in their purchasing decisions and seek guidance from social networks. Also, only 16% are more likely to purchase products from companies that advertise on social networking sites.

“Our findings show that marketers need to be prudent and people-centric in how they approach social media,” said David Tice, vice president and group account director, Knowledge Networks. “Social media users do not have a strong association between these sites and purchase decisions; they see them as being more about personal connection – so finding ways to embrace that powerful function is key. The fact that they are using social media more now than a year ago is a strong indicator that the influence of these sites and features is here to stay.”

Spot On!
The private aspect and the main intention of “staying connected” with friends and family is still the most important feature of social media. When people log in social networks it seems as if they switch to an atmosphere of privacy – and they don’t want intensive ads to interfere with peer interaction. Although the majority of users believe that ads on social networking sites are a “fair price to pay” in return to use the services for free.

People on social networks need to understand that operating a social network costs money and is not altruism business – and social networks operator should make this clear to their target group. Maybe the social networks should give people the option to either pay for access or accept ads, right from the registration process (or group together like the Social Globe). This might be a way to stop the ‘cost free web’ atmosphere…

Companies, to my experience, know that it makes definitely sense engaging in social networks. Nevertheless, there is still not enough knowledge and expertise on why, how and in which way to use social networks. Finding the right web strategy and the appropriate approach on how many and which social network activity makes sense, becomes the biggest challenge for them in the future. Rethinking their marketing, PR and sales processes is a must have to make way for an integration of social media into their company strategy. And Dell has proven that social networks are used for purchase decisions…