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?
How to build a smart city21Feb12
Last year in the wake of a vigorous debate about how to turn Newcastle into a center of innovation I posted my thoughts on how to create an innovative city. It certainly generated some discussion and the wheels have actually started turning.
Central to my plan were the need for high-speed broadband and the idea of holding a prominent tech and innovative event in the city. I can confirm that progress is being made on both fronts but eventual success still relies on the support of the city’s leaders, both government and business.
When you consider that the nascent app economy spurred on by iOS, Android and Facebook apps has generated 466,000 jobs in the U.S. economy since 2007, there is a lot to gain from encouraging innovation.
Meanwhile I have been researching what other innovative cities around the world have been done to get ahead.
What has been consistently repeated is the importance of cities in creating an enabling environment for emerging technology companies.
This was a key topic of discussion at at the first-ever Cities Summit held in Vancouver recently. Mayors of 35 cities around the world joined with executives and consultants to discuss open cities, digital cities, urban laboratories, smart-city financing, and startup cities.
For example, San Jose (California) has created a “Framework for Establishing Demonstration Partnerships” which allows the city to work towards a more sustainable future–including the creation of 25,000 new green jobs–by enabling local companies to use municipal facilities as urban laboratories to test out new clean tech, sustainability, and mobility technologies. Rather than having to jump through the typical bureaucratic hoops, the demonstration allows the fast-tracking of pilot projects from local companies.
The Summit made it clear that smart cities of the future will find ways to incentivise and enable private sector innovation and local economic growth via innovative use of demand-side tools, as opposed to supply-side solutions like tech parks and tax breaks. For example, the feedback was that the emerging companies wanted to find a way to get their pre-commercial technologies tested by the city. This allows startups to get the kinks out as well as increase their ability to sell technology to other markets.
Cities can also use things like new standards or regulations, such as green building standards, to stimulate demand for new clean solutions and innovation.
Talent is another obvious challenge. Attracting and retaining young, educated people to study, live, and work in smart cities is a crucial. The Summit identified that cities first need to increase their livability and grow their enabling infrastructure to support emerging companies, then embark on a city branding campaign that will help attract and retain new talent, startups, services, and the arts.
Seems to me Newcastle has done this back-to-front. Last year the city launched an attractive new branding initiative but we haven’t addressed the key issues of transport, new business support or broadband. We have an incredibly good lifestyle in Newcastle but much of the basic infrastructure that will encourage innovation and growth is still wanting.
If our leaders can address these key issues and then establish programs to support and encourage innovation we can truly become a smart city.
Vale Warwick Teece20Feb12
Newcastle media and advertising stalwart Warwick Teece passed away last Friday night. Warwick had been a successful radio broadcaster on both 2NX and 2HD where his open line talk-back show became highly influential in the region.
Warwick moved onto a long and respected career in advertising with wife Lyn Thurnham and their agency Thurnham Teece.
He’ll be sorely missed.
Our thoughts go out to Lyn and Warwick’s family.
Let’s face it, the face of marketing has totally changed over the last decade. We have moved on from an era when broadcast media ruled the marketing world and all you had to do to reach potential customers was run a TV schedule or place some ads in the paper or on the radio or perhaps whack a big message up on a billboard. Now your customers are in charge of the media they consume and prefer to find what they need through online search and social endorsement or recommendation than be advertised to.
We are now in the era of inbound marketing where providing solutions and relevant information is a more effective way to attract potential customers. It is now incumbent upon us to build relationships and trust first.
The new marketing paradigm is tricky but it can also be extremely rewarding for organisations that get it right. I’ve seen dozens of companies totally transform their marketing and results over the last few years by adopting a holistic marketing strategy. They’ve combined intelligent web design with clever search engine optimisation, mixed in social media and tweaked conversion funnels to achieve exceptional results.
Its the whole theory behind my agency’s new 360 Degree Digital Marketing Strategy.(<- click on the link for more information)
Yep, the world of marketing has changed. Here are another 27 reasons why you need a professional digital marketing strategy:
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.
Andrew and Elise had a dream to launch a business that provided people with the mind-blowing experience of swimming with dolphins in the wild. They now receive bookings online every day and meet their (pre-paid) customers dockside just prior to the swim. They did it with a kickass online marketing strategy.
Don decided it was time for his innovative Australian-based software solutions company to launch in the most competitive market in the world, the USA, and compete against the might of software giants Oracle and SAP. Two years later they’ve not only launched in the USA, they’re winning a significant share of the market and exceeding all sales projections. They did it with the help of a kickass online marketing strategy.
I’m proud to say that my team at Sticky were involved in creating these and many other successful strategies for clients over the last 6 years. Now we have distilled that thinking into an e-book that provides you with the information you need to create your own kickass plan – The Sticky Guide to Online Marketing.
If you have been thinking about launching a new business, growing your current business online, or have been frustrated with your results online then this e-book is your guide to successful online marketing and sales. Its an actual step-by-step plan that you can begin following from day one to improve your online marketing and results
The Sticky Guide to Online Marketing will be released in late February but you can find out more and get your own free copy via NLYZR.
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:
Do you still believe the digital revolution is the domain of cool young Gen-Y’s and upwardly mobile Gen-X’s? Do you still think your business is immune? Think again.
As I spend the Christmas break with my extended family I can’t help but notice how connected everyone now is. With ages from 5 to 68 filling the house, nobody here could be considered a Luddite.
My father flits between his MacBook, iPad and iPhone. He downloads his books and music, reads all his news online and buys golf gear, fishing gear, clothing and more online. The iPad is his favorite device.
Mum just received an iPad 2 and is doing puzzles and organizing photo galleries. She is also starting to shop more online.
My brother-in-law uses an iPad and Blackberry for working remotely and keeps up to date on international sport and surf conditions constantly.
My sister has a MacBook and iPhone in her armory and is quickly getting up to speed on the benefit of being connected.
There’s a 12 year old with his first iPhone who is using Instagram, Path and Skype whilst listening to music, playing games and taking pictures. The pressure for a Facebook account looms.
There’s a 9 year old who is making stop-motion movies on a MacBook and uploading them to YouTube. He also makes his own games on Sploder and manages his own Posterous websites in between playing Minecraft with his friends, listening to music on his iPod or playing assorted games on his Wii.
The two youngest kids, 8 and 6, have received a Nintendo DS for Christmas and know how to get online with them. They’re also Minecraft fans.
The digital revolution is no longer a generational thing, it’s all pervasive. The transfer of information, products and money is increasing online daily. Even your oldest, most loyal customers cannot be relied upon when planning for the future.
The question is: what is your organization doing to address this?
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
We like to think of ourselves as a progressive, modern, innovative nation here in Australia. We proudly point out examples of Australian ingenuity but in reality these are few and far between. The truth is that, despite our economic prosperity and extremely high standard of living, Australia risks being left behind in the booming digital economy.
Its not that we aren’t an innovative race; there are some extremely talented people dreaming up many amazing ideas, and there is something of a talent rush on Aussie tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley at the moment. The problem is that very few of those businesses or digital entrepreneurs will remain in this country unless things change considerably. The talent, the intellectual property and the businesses will move offshore.
The other risk is that, in an increasingly global and digitally connected economy, Australia will find itself being less than competitive due to a sluggishness in adopting new technology. Once again, this rubs against the popular stereotype that we are a nation of early technology adopters. That may be true as consumers, but the corporate world appears to be less enthusiastic about embracing change and technology.
A recent global study by IBM revealed that Australian marketers are lagging significantly in tech and social media. The study showed that Australian marketers still rely heavily on traditional forms of promotion and research and are yet to embrace the more modern techniques of their global counterparts.
At the same time research by GE indicates that Australia is seen as one of the least innovative nations on earth. The GE Innovation Barometer had Australia lagging behind countries like Brazil and Finland by corporate chiefs who were asked which countries were leading the way in technology and business practices.
The question is, why are we lagging behind? Here are 5 reasons I can see: