Must read report: Outlook for Australian Social Business 2012

by [me]

When it comes to social media in Australia there are plenty who talk the talk but only a handful who really know their stuff.

Gavin Heaton is one of the few who have respected experience and knowledge in this field. His long-running and very popular blog Servant of Chaos, his collaborative Age of Conversation books and his mentoring of numerous social marketers is testimony to Gavin’s standing in the online community.

Gavin has just released The Outloook for Australian Social Business 2012 as an e-book. It contains a tons of excellent information that every modern marketer should know.

I highly recommend visiting the website and downloading the report.

Are women more productive in Social Media than men?

Social media is quickly becoming extremely important when it comes to the success or failure of a business. Even so, the field is still very new, and a comprehensive understanding of how best to take advantage of social media has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.

It is already quite clear that ideas which spread rapidly through the social media can be used in order to promote a business or a particular organization. At the same time, it is not as easy to identify which ideas will spread rapidly through a group, and to what extent it is possible to facilitate this process. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth asking these questions.

One question that certainly bears asking is the question of how gender relates to the social media. Are women more productive with social media than men are?

A straightforward, cut and dry answer to this question is probably impossible. Nevertheless, there is certainly some evidence to suggest that this might be the case. More than half of adult women participate in the social media on a regular basis. A study conducted by RescueTime found that women spend about 6.43% of their time on social networks, while men spend about 3.96%. This would tend to indicate that women would, if nothing else, have more experience with the social networking interface.

Additionally, while men tend to outnumber women in some of the more obscure social  media sites, and are tied with YouTube, they outnumber men on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The fact that women tend to frequent the more commonly used social networking sites while men tend to use the more obscure ones might  say something about how men and women interact. Men might be more likely to specialize and obsess over specific fields of interest, where women are more interested in general human discussion.

Young women can be expected to be especially fluent in the “language” of social media. Seventy-three percent of women in the “millennial” generation (currently aged 18 to 26), frequent social media at least twice a week. Only 62% of women in “Generation X” can say the same. Only 46% of baby boomers and 30% of the elderly visit social media over twice a week.

The top three topics that women use social media for are entertainment, food, and health and wellness. The vast majority of them use it to stay in touch with friends and family (75%). More than half also use it for fun or to get in touch with people sharing similar interests. What all of this says about productivity is hard to identify.

Businesses hoping to spread awareness about a product related to entertainment, health, or food would probably do better working with more women than men. It might be fair to say that while men may be more likely to be able to identify the best website host, email hosting provider, or even by easily signing up for free Facebook ad placements like different social media marketing tools on the web, women are far more likely to understand how to spread the news.

The evidence seems to suggest that women are generally more skilled at contacting people, communicating with them, and spreading messages than men. It should go without saying, of course, that the skills any given individual has should be evaluated on a person by person basis, rather than on the basis of the performance of the group.

What do you think?

Its a war for web supremacy and you’re in the crossfire

Google v Facebook: its war

Larry Page & Mark Zuckerberg. (Image originally

Every time you go online you are entering a war zone. It might not feel like it, but there is an almighty battle taking place between two superpowers and you are caught in the crossfire.

Welcome to the war for web supremacy. The super powers, if you haven’t already guessed, are the search behemoth Google and social heavyweight champion Facebook. The prize is you and your data.

Sure, there are other combatants in this war; Twitter, Apple, Bing, LinkedIn…even Yahoo!, but they are merely involved in skirmishes and are open to being co-opted into alliances with the main players. Amazon currently appears to be Switzerland (more about them another time).

The nature of systems like the web is that monopolies emerge. We have a dominant search engine in Google, a dominant online encyclopedia in Wikipedia, a dominant retailer in Amazon, a dominant auction site in eBay, and now we have a dominant social network in Facebook. That’s normal and has been happening in business for centuries.

But what happens when two different monopolies decide to battle for a middle ground? That’s where it gets interesting, and that whats happening now. Facebook and Google share common goals but differing philosophies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rethinking media consumption for improved productivity

originally uploaded by

Ok, I’ll admit it….I’m a little bit addicted to social networks. Using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ is an important part of my work, but it probably fair to say that over the course of a day I am exceeding what is needed to effectively get the job done. When you add the many different blogs and websites I check daily for great content and industry news, I am beginning to consume an amazing amount of media.

And then it becomes a default habit, something that can easily fill the day and lead you down endless clickable rabbit holes.

I’m sure I’m not alone. These days we’re consuming more media than anytime in history. Its accessible 24/7 and sometimes it seems that we are too. The lines between work and play have become so blurred that we tend to suffer an inevitable burnout.

This year I am totally rethinking how I consume media with the aim to improve my productivity and put some more space between work and play. The approach I am adopting is based on dedicated devices and apps for different functions:

Read the rest of this entry »

9 ways people are interacting with brands via social media

US market research firm AYTM have just published an excellent infographic, Branding and how it works in the social media age, which has some handy statistics for modern marketers.

I have paraphrased a few of the best stats here or you can look through the entire infographic by clicking on “read rest of this entry”.

1. 85% of internet users have Facebook accounts; 49% are on Twitter

2. 74% of internet users use Facebook daily; 35% use Twitter daily

3. 19% of people follow a brand on Twitter 

4. 39% of people have tweeted about a brand on Twitter 

5. 58% of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook 

6. 42% of people have mentioned a brand in a Facebook status update 

7. 50% more people say their brand mentions in Facebook status updates are only positive (versus negative or mixed) 

8. 80% of people prefer to get coupons, promos, and discounts from brands in social media 

9. 32% of people prefer updates from brands in the form of short social media updates

11 reasons why your business needs to start inbound marketing

The rise of the web has led to a fundamental change in the way we research, share information and shop. Search engine optimisation, blogging and social media have combined to create a new form of marketing around attracting potential customers rather than interrupting them. It’s called inbound marketing.

This excellent infographic from Voltier DigitalInbound Marketing Rising, the dawn of marketing you won’t hate – demonstrates the differences between Inbound Marketing and the traditional Outbound Marketing. In light of recent studies revealing that Australasian marketers are lagging in tech and social media expertise these are some statistics that need to be shared:

1. 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. Tweet this stat

2. 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into. Tweet this stat

3. 84% of 25-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising. Tweet this stat

4. 86% of people skip television ads. Tweet this stat

5. 44% of direct mail is never opened. Tweet this stat

6. The average budget spent on company blogs and social media has nearly doubled in the last 2 years. Tweet this stat

Read the rest of this entry »

New study: Australian marketers lagging globally in tech & social media expertise

A new global study of Chief Marketing Officers by IBM has revealed that Australian and New Zealand marketers are lagging behind their international counterparts when it comes to technology savviness and social media expertise.

From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, was presented to a round-table of marketers yesterday in Sydney and some of the findings were concerning in this age of global competition.

The major insight appears to be that Australian and New Zealand marketers still rely heavily on traditional forms of promotion and research and are yet to embrace the more modern techniques of their global counterparts.

Especially concerning was the belief that Aussie and Kiwi CMOs rated technology savviness, social media expertise and finance skills as low priority capabilities crucial to their success in the next 3 to 5 years. in fact, IBM revealed that our ranking of 12% for social media expertise was HALF that of the global average.

This is despite CMOs acknowledging that ROI will become the primary measure of success.

Read the rest of this entry »

When influence is the new currency you need Kred

Lets face it, influence is the main currency of the web.

Google realised it early on when they created an algorithm to rank the influence and relative power of websites based on inbound links and the relative authority or popularity of those doing the linking. Google called this PageRank, and whilst not being the perfect system of website influence it has been the standard measure of this currency for a long time now.

The advent of social networks created an informal market for peddling influence. As networks have grown certain people, celebrities and groups have become powerful influencers of their wider audience.

A mention, tweet or link by the likes of Robert Scoble can be extremely beneficial (or detrimental) for a tech company. A link in Seth Godin’s blog (which is usually shared in social networks thousands of times a day) can generate incredible traffic for the recipient. And believe it or not, having Kim Kardashian tweet her love for your brand can provide a powerful marketing boost. In fact, she now charges companies tens of thousands of dollars to access her Twitter influence.

Why? Because these people have credibility and influence within their respective audiences and communities.

KredThat’s the premise behind a new influence metric called Kred. Created by the team at PeopleBrowsr, Kred trawls Twitter around the clock to measure levels of influence for different topics and people. They currently score 100 million Twitter users for 200 different groups (subjects).

I was at the Australian preview of Kred last night and was very impressed with the level of data and potential uses of the Kred system.

While it is easy to sneer at influence metrics such as Kred, Klout and Peer Index as ego driven vanity scores, that is missing the real point. Looking beyond your own score you can discover groups who are influential in certain topics and even gauge whether they are “spammy” or not.

To me, Kred seems to be the next step on from Klout in measuring social media influence. Jodee Rich, the founder of PeopleBrowsr, is the first to admit that influence metrics such as Kred will continually evolve and improve, but you have to start somewhere. He says that Kred’s granularity will continue to evolve as they measure influence in each country, then cities.

This can be a valuable resource for marketers, PR companies, political operatives, lobbyists and entertainment companies. Driving back from the launch I came up with many ideas about how I could use Kred as a marketer, for both my business and for my clients.

I’ve long believed that building your ‘digital resume’ is crucial for future employment and company pitches. Now we are coming to an era where many employers will use metrics such as Kred (and others) to help identify or compare potential recruits. If you are perceived to be influential in that area of expertise (relative to other candidates) then that might be enough to get you the job.

Kred launches this week. Check it out and tell me what you think.


Google+ continues to blend search with social

I’ve been pretty interested in the launch of Google+. Not because I’m a social network nut but because in my opinion G+ sends a very clear signal about how social media and search are inevitably blending.

Last week in my regular iStrategy blog I explained where I thought this was all heading and why you need to make sure you are part of it.

Now it seems every second day Google’s big plan seems to be revealed a little more.

The latest news is that Google+ profile images are appearing besides search listings, although seemingly only when you are logged in to your Google account.

This is a significant change to search. Having an image turn up in the search results attracts your attention and could definitely lead to improved click-through-rates even if the listing is not at top of page 1. Combine that with the +1 results showing up in your search and you start to see a very different vision of where search is going.

Search and social media and merging folks and those who understand this will have a big advantage.

Craig Wilson search screenshot

Swimming in circles on Google Plus

Google Plus is two weeks old now and early indications are that the Google team finally have a social media winner. In fact, I’m prepared to bet that Plus will be huge and I wasn’t remotely interested in their previous social efforts.

(By the way, feel free to chat with me on Google Plus)

Currently everyone is trying to work out the best ways to use Google Plus, or asking what the “rules” are? The thing is…its new, its evolving and there is not right or wrong. In the end its the community who tend to set the rules of engagement. I doubt the guys at Twitter had no idea that it would look like it does now, or be used the way it is now when they launched a dicky little SMS based service back in 2006.

So far the early adopters are the usual suspects from the IT and social media industries and community. Early stats from the first million users show that 73% are male, over 70% work in IT / computing fields with “engineer” being the number one career, 49% live in the USA, the leading city is San Francisco and there are 16,500 men “looking for love”.

Yes Google Plus is almost entirely inhabited by geeks.

But that will change, and fast. Its is estimated to hit 10 million users this week and be the fastest social network to 100 million users.

I intend to look at the benefits of Google Plus soon, but in the meantime the most obvious one is the use of “Circles” to sort or categorise the  people you are following.

The Circles are a great way to both filter and share information. My original circles were like “Family”, “Sticky” (Ie my office), “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, “Following” etc. In other words, degrees of separation from my own world.

Since then I have added geographic circles radiating out from my own world again: Newcastle, Australia, North America, Europe etc.

And finally I have created some subject or industry circles: Media, Tech Media, Industry Leaders, Advertising etc.

Most people I follow end up in a few circles. Ie. Friends + Newcastle + Australia, or  Acquaintances + Industry Leaders + USA.

The reasoning is that some information or discussions are only relevant to some groups. So, if I am discussing the New Lunaticks events or Newcastle innovation I can keep it in local Circles. Switching to “Australia” instantly broadens my Circle. If I wish to chat with or follow conversation by Industry Leaders I can filter out the other noise.

Jason Berek-Lewis tells me his circles are all based on themes but he’s not sure if that will be sustainable. Time will tell.

Like I said, its only been two weeks and there’s no right or wrong because we’re all trying to work it out. What I do know is that Google Plus is going to be big and how we use it will be important.

How are you using the Circles on Google Plus? Any good suggestions?