News Update – Best of the Day

daily1The best of the day post goes entirely to Gary Hayes social media count and the question: Can companies really ignore social media?

Seen from the text message perspective (sms): Yes, they can… – seen from any other perspective: No, they cannot…!

The most fascinating aspect for me is how many sms go around the world compared to the small numbers of tweets sent. This is a very, very small number… Nevertheless, there are workshop crowded with interested people on a Twitter hype. News corporations publish hundreds of stories around Twitter. The last news that I read talking about sms was at least ten years ago. It shows how long it takes for some technology to become mainstream.

I am sure in 10 years the tables have turned and Twitter or some replacement system or Facebook’ status update will be ‘leading’ the counter. As mobile internet apps will replace the traditional mobile phone features…

PS: THX to Blogtrainer who is always a help when you need him…

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Display advertising is facing a new era. Nicholas Carlson posts a great picture gallery with intelligent comments on the ‘Evolving beyond the banner ad‘.

The advertising industry is shifting more and more budgets from offline to online. One big reason is the massive adoption and hype around Facebook, Twitter an the likes. A paper called “Community and Social Media Study” shows that customer reviews rank No. 1 for increasing sales and customer engagement. Nevertheless, US marketers are decreasing budgets in Q2 2009

AXE has a run in terms of acceptance for commercials – and in general, the creative work is really funny… – and even bad taste can be great taste…

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1This is the news of the day! Facebook is cash-flow positive, has 300 users and their target -as Blake Chandlee, Vice President at Facebook, told me in a call today is- the 1 bio user barrier and that they don’t have plans to go public inthe near future. See Techcrunch for news and comments…

Have you ever thought about how to integrate video into your social media strategies? Heinz ketchup is probably one of the best case-studies that you should make yourself familiar with.

The success of most commercial TV spots depends on the creative element of exaggeration – have a laugh at this Toyota one. Especially, the funny male strategic movement in the end…

Best feature of social networks? The Pick-a-boo effect…

pick-a-booDon’t we love to play this game with kids because we know how happy it makes them… Pick-a-boo. But as adults using social networks: What is it that makes us happy? Some weeks ago, I asked some friends of mine who in turn asked friends of theirs as well as their colleagues: What is the main benefitial feature of social networks? The most frequent answer that came up was the ‘Who has been on your profile lately’ feature which goes along the lines of ‘The Pick-a-boo’ effect.

Now, what does that mean ‘The Pick-a-boo’ effect’? Well, people register in social networks in order to get in contact or connected with peers, (old) friends or humans that are (or might be) interested in them or/and their work. The tricky point is that there are people in the world of social networks we don’t want to contact any longer, in the future or in general. Nevertheless, we still love to take a peek as we wonder if they are still interested in us, what they are up to and what impact is driving their lives. It’s kind of human vanity and curiosity thing. We want to compare ourselves with them, want to check out how ‘sexy’ our online (and offline) reputation is – not only in terms of business life. We want to play Pick-a-boo. We are there and everybody in social networks knows that, but we are not visible all the time. And, we would love not to be visible for everybody when we are looking at people’s profiles who appear not to be relevant for our life. But we’ll pop-up from time to time to stay ‘up to date’.

So, we make us accessible and available in social networks for those who are also users of these networks. As we don’t know the size of the target group of people who is interested in us, we want to find out about it. By this we are making the ‘ego-community’ transparent for ourselves. And most of us ‘social medians’ are eager and would love to know that, wouldn’t we? Some networks have acknowledged this desire of being famous and our nasty habit of being vain. And they satisfy our need and desire for that with great application features supporting this pick a boo effect: status updates, birthday calender or ‘contacts of your contacts’.

No matter if you are a sales person, a recruiter or a consultant. We all want to know how a person looks like after making a call, or attending a meeting or a conference. And we all want to know more about them, either because it facilitates a second conversation or because we would like to recruit someone or sell something. The more we know, the easier the effort. Playing Pick-a-boo has become standard.

The active Pick-a-boo
Let’s identify the active pick a boo effect in social networks. We try to find the person or/and go to a profile page, x-ray the contact or find out details on his mentality, personality or hobbies. So, we take a quick look at the profile and then we are off again. Sometimes, we might be going there for a second or a third time before getting in touch with that person. And the funny thing is: We know that the other person knows that we have been visiting their profile page. Is it because we want them to do the first step. Or we ‘pick-a-boo’ just to let them know, someone is interested.

The passive Pick-a-boo
The passive benefit of the pick a boo effect lies in the feature ‘Who has been to your profile’ application or widget. Although a paid service feature on some social networks (XING and LinkedIn), it is probably the most viewed or reloaded feature of active social ‘medians’, those users who have access to it. Why is this ‘pick a boo’ application so attractive for us? We can…
… receive transparency on the ego-community
… monitor the quantity and quality of visitors to our profiles
… identify our ‘personal branding target group’
… evaluate our job market options
… see how often Google is used for ‘Recruit-Googling’
… see who ‘delivers’ good contacts to us
and finally the best of all parts: Via the passive pick a boo effect, we can contact people and definitely have a starting point for a business and/or private conversation.

Spot On!
Seeing all these benefits of the Pick-a-boo application ‘Who has seen to your profile lately’, it surprises me that the biggest network of all, Facebook, still doesn’t have this application feature. Or will it be coming with the announcement of becoming a paid service platform? We will see…

Curious to hear your view and experience on the Pick-a-boo effect in social networks?

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Sponsorships on retail sites are more likely to convert into sales than clicks on organic search engine results… and visitors will spend more. This is what a new study by Engine Ready.

Another breaking deal is done! Facebook buys Friendfeed… and by doing that also a great real-time search-engine. Twitter refused a deal with Facebook some time ago and said ‘No!’. Now the question is if this was a strategic mistake? Or if their amangers hope for Google to buy Twitter. The future will tell us more…

As usual a very cool commercial video on ‘drugs and driving’ (just in German available but still easy to understand for the world)…

Google's new product list – or the freebie wishlist?

gs-competitionIsn’t it wonderful sometimes. I mean, going on the plane… and going offline. I love it… And this small post is the result of it: obviously online…

The web is seen as the “freebie” media. And although I am seen as the “paid-content-advocat” and should not have done that… I have taken the issue of a magazine called ShortList… as it was a freebie. And all of a sudden, you read a magazine you would never have come across in your life. Yes, just as it is a freebie…

And with these freebies, you often get complete new insights and funny outlooks on the future of companies.

This happened to me last week, at London Heathrow airport. Waiting at the gate, I passed by a newsstand with freebies and found a magazine called ShortList

In this magazine I found a very cool 10 bullets shortlist : “Where Google can go next”. It shares visions how Google could make us happy with new products and services. This shortlist seemed sometimes more realistic than a “vision impossible”. It created some freebie visions for Google which they might offer in the future.

I have decided to take my 5 favorites to share my comments (Best partner”) on those with you…

Google X-Ray
From the comfort of your desk you can check out the internal workings of people as they walk the world’s street.
Best partner: Earth TV – Possible doctors game: who finds the first broken rib in a city video…

Google Girlfriend
Worried your other half is having an affair? Simply track down and follow her every move with this handy satellite surveillance application.
Best partner: Twitter – Possible boy-friends game: how long it takes till somebody makes her aware of it…

Google dining
Why go to the expense and trouble of eating out? Simply order a takeaway then virtually take your seat at one of the world’s finest restaurants.
Best partner: toptable – Possible friends game: how long does it take to get thrown out of the restaurant? (Negative: You have to clear up yourself…!)

Google eyes
Having one set of peepers is limiting, but this lets you explore new angles by looking through other people’s eyes.
Best partner: Glassdoor – Compare what your competitor is about to launch, says about your company and if your employees earn to much.

Google Atoms
Being able to see trees, cars and people on the other side of the planet not enough for you? Zoom right in and study their atomic structure.
Best partner: Chemistry – There must be some more detailed way to dive into the chemistry of human’s ‘counter-gender’, right?

Spot On!
So, now that Google gets competition with Facebook (the social network just bought Friendfeed) I was wondering if this shortlist can be expanded with your help – Join in! Let’s be creative for Google and see if there might be something new that we want from them to develop.

Or has Google invented enough online freebies?

Twitter: BBC Interview with Evan Williams

In London the talk of the town in the internet industry and in bars yesterday was the BBC interview on Newsnight with Twitter founder Evan Williams – the first interview that he has given in the UK. And it is no wonder and not surprising that there was so much buzz around this interview. The UK loves social networking…

On Facebook profiles the British country is the number one in Europe. Every third person in the UK is registered on Facebook (16,4 mio. people). And now London is also leading on Twitter accounts. On Twitter accounts the UK in general is coming in second place – just after the US. Even Williams cannot give an answer on the hype around his micro-blogging service, neither for the UK nor in general.

But he had a good answer on the latest critic around Facebook and Twitter from the arch bishop Vincent Bishop who has been blaming the social networks as “dehumanzing communities”:

“I wasn’t aware of that. I think it is kind of silly. (…) It’s about humans connecting with each other. And often in ways they couldn’t otherwise.”

Spot On!
It is a bit of a shame that there was no question on Twitter’s monetization strategy or their verified or business accounts plans. Or some more information on how he sees the Nielsen study on Twitter demographics. Sometimes it is more important to celebrate a status than focusing on good journalism. Somebody standing next to me in the bar said to his friend: “Who is that trying to be my friend on Twitter. Just got to know her by accident. Anyway, she looks nice… Added!”

In the bars the people were celebrating a lot yesterday. If this was because they are the social networking leaders in Europe? Anyway…

Long life to the Queen!

Real-time is the future and real-time starts with Twitter?

It was about time to relaunch the Twitter front page and some days ago, Mashable already mentioned this next step. From the old front page it was nearly impossible to understand what this platform is all about, the new one shows what this platform could be in the future…

Twitter becomes more like a mixture of user-generated CNN, Facebook and Google in taking the best of bread from all platforms. It is a real time information exchange news service in a social networking coat.

Now, their new front page focuses on their biggest benefit for every single user in the world: their real-time search engine. In placing this in the main center of attraction and attention, Twitter leaves a lot of open space for thoughts and speculations about their future strategy in expanding their business (and business value).

The new real-time strategy is supported by the three tag lines…
– Popular topics right now (main tags real-time search)
– Popular topics today (last 24 hours)
– Popular topics this week (last 7 days)

Will they finally follow the Google business? At least some kind of similar bottom up strategy can be seen in this approach. A road that Google started off some years ago…

old-twitterCompared to the old front page (see right), the main benefit of Twitter becomes more clear now for new users and makes the USP of the platform obvious right from the start.

If we are just talking about search and the business benefit of “being and knowing first-to-market”, this will be a clear winner for Twitter compared to Google where search results for certain topics can be some years old.

Real-time is the future (of news business) and real-time starts with Twitter?

How to attract more visitors – The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs

How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

Is there a secret, why corporate blogs and business blogs have more success than traditional corporate websites? Is it the modern architecture of blogging systems? Is it the exiting and exhilarant spelling style of bloggers? Or is a conspiracy of the digital natives against the internet retirees?

Nothing of it! Blogs and bloggers are simply using some very effective methods to attract visitors.

The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs:

  1. Feeds – Blogs are read via feed reader predominantly, not via browsers any longer. Well-known blogs have more than 100.000 feed reader per day. On a normal day in Germany, there are some blogs with more than 10.000 feed reader.
    Highlight your RSS feed on your blog and take advantage of a feed service like Feedburner
  2. Google – Visitors through search engines are the second largest visitor group of blogs. Bloggers use always methods of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to achieve good rankings with important key words.
    Write in a search engine friendly way. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools and install a SEO plug-in like wpSEO!
  3. Pingbacks and Trackbacks – Links don’t just offer a value-add for your own users but also backlinks and numerous new users.
    Link all directions as often as possible and learn to use trackbacks in a proper way.
  4. Twitter – with the micro-blogging service you can approach users faster than with your blog. News with real add-on information are spread via Twitter the “viral” way very fast.
    Work on broadening your Twitter follower base. Promote your Twitter account on your blog and vice versa. Twitter your blog postings at the right time!
  5. Social Networks – Promote your important blog postings on XING, Facebook or LinkedIn.
  6. Forums – Are you an accredited expert, for example a wine blogger?
    If you see in a forum the question: What are the most expensive wines or the 10 most dry French ones? Write a posting on your blog and post only the link in the forum.
  7. Blog directors and RSS feed directories – Just some selected directories (Technorati, Blogoscoop, Bloggerei, Wikio) generate new visitors. Especially, if you are ranking well in these directories.
  8. Your comments on other blogs – Make yourself heard on other blogs as a constructive business partner – far and foremost in not well-known blogs. This will result in new visitors. Beware the free of sense comments! This will damage your own blog reputation in the long term.
  9. Comments of others on your blog – This is the secret of well-visited blogs:
    Be responsive to comments – You will win permanent visitors!
  10. Guest writers – Invite readers/users, other bloggers or “VIP’s” from the offline and online world to write guest posts. Every guest author will be talking to others about it or link directly to this post.
    Your creativity has no limits: travel agents blog about journeys of their customers, hotel managers animate guests to write about their vacation resort, … Your customers don’t want that? Ask them if they want to publish some of their holiday pictures on your homepage! You will be surprised seeing the reaction…

Did I forget something? Is your ranking of visitor resources different? Where do you see options to attract more visitors for your blog? Looking forward reading your comments and reading your ideas and thoughts!

Guest writer Karl-Heinz Wenzlaff is the German expert and consultant for business blogging. He knows the useful tips and tricks, and is specialized on professional company blogs, product blogs or employee blogs. Some month ago, he helped me migrating from Blogger to WordPress in order to set up a magazine theme.

Thank you for being one of my guest writers, Karl-Heinz.

Personal Branding – how to build your career 3.0

Personal branding is the way to stand out of the crowd and being noticed in some special way in the business world which makes you unique. It is your value proposition for the future of your career. In a session at the webinale09 I held a speech about ‘Career 3.0 – split between personal branding and productivity’ and gave some projections on the relevance of social media activities and how these affect your career development.

Today, we want to learn from Dwight Cribb, founder of his successful recruitment agency, what professional recruiters think about personal branding and what is the relevance for personal branding. You can follow his offline and online thoughts via his Twitter account.

Q: What is the first thing you do when somebody is being suggested as a perfect candidate?
Dwight Cribb Of course I will first probe what the relationship between the candidate and the person suggesting him is. Supposing that the recommendation is made during a phone conversation, I will in parallel check the candidate’s profile on Xing. If that does not provide the information I require I will probe deeper with people search engines.

Q: Let’s imagine somebody is not doing anything for personal branding. This person is not blogging, micro-blogging or social networking. Does this have a positive or negative impact on your perception of that person?
Dwight Cribb This largely depends on the type of position I am recruiting for, both in terms of seniority and discipline. I would normally expect someone in a directly client facing role or someone who communicates directly on behalf of a division or company to have at least some presence on the web. It is, however, true that not being on a social networking site is today more of statement than being on one. A few years ago one could be forgiven for thinking of people who had not yet discovered Xing, LinkedIn and facebook as being somewhat backward or conservative. As it is today largely impossible to not have noticed these networks flourish, we must assume that those not on them have shunned them on purpose. This may be a good strategy if one relies on others to communicate with clients and the public, especially as a senior manager. A C-Level executive will through his utterances on social networks have a severe impact on the brand communication, it thus needs to be 100% in line with the other communication, if not it will cause at best confusion and at worst it will undermine the credibility of the brand.

As for blogging, I think that is a very personal decision and I would never think badly of anyone who did not blog. I may, however, think badly of someone who blogs badly or in a manner inappropriate to his or her position. So overall it would not reflect badly if I found out nothing about a person online, it would just peak my interest and make me more curious to receive other information in the form of a CV or a recommendation from a third party.

Q: Will personal branding and the individual online reputation replace the traditional CV some day?
Dwight Cribb I doubt whether it will replace the CV, it is more likely that it will continue to augment the CV. Online reputation is a fantasy product. We each spin our profiles in a manner which we feel supports the image we want to convey. It is self marketing. A CV is more strongly based in chronological fact and provides a picture which comes closer to the reality than the pictures which get drawn in communities.

Q: If everybody has a strong personal brand, don’t companies fear these people could get chased by some competitor and recruiters? Or that employees just work for their own career purpose?
Dwight Cribb Most successful employees work for the own career advancement. But in the long term they will only achieve this by delivering results to their employers, because people are very good at spotting meaningless self marketing and will not fall for it for long. Good employees have always had a strong personal brand (also called reputation). It has been true in all areas and across the ages, if you do something well you will be admired by your peers and your reputation will spread. This means that others will try and employ your services, sometimes via a recruiter.

Q: What is your advice on how companies have to handle personal branding of the employees in the future?
Dwight Cribb Let people define themselves what they are comfortable with. Give them a clear guideline what company resources and what company information they can use to build their reputation and to what extent they must make clear what is their opinion what the company’s.

Q: What do you think of the personal web managers vision?
Dwight Cribb There are instances where this makes perfect sense, but I belive they are far and few between. This is a role which has precedence in the offline world, many high-profile business people, politicians and celebrities employ someone with this brief. Whether they do their job online, offline or in both really does not make much difference. We have come to expect that the picture we get presented of these people has been scripted and planned in detail. We even often admire the way in which they craftily manipulate their image. But I think we would be less inclined to condone or accept this level of abstraction in communication in our closer environment of colleagues, family and friends. A facebook status update from a friend loses relevance if I know that it was posted his or her personal web consultant, who was busy making them be liked by their friends and acquaintances.

Q: Give us 3 tips how to create a personal brand, please.
Dwight Cribb Be yourself, be honest, laugh at times.

Thank you for your time and your advice, Mr. Cribb.