Monday, March 28, 2011

The Social Media University

In chapters 3 through 6 of Engage, Brian Solis discusses the many different outlets of social media.  It represents "a social renaissance" that has created a society of the internet.  He states that "Social media is a tool that uses the internet to facilitate conversations."  Basically, social media creates and supports communities online.  It brings millions of people from all across the world and introduces them to new information, new media, and new people.  Blogs are about having your own voice and letting everyone read about your thoughts, views, opinions, ect.  It's also a powerful tool for businesses.  The Southwest Airlines blog promotes their enthusiasm for playfulness.  It is there to build a community for the fliers and employees.  Podcasts are like personal lectures that anyone can post online for an audience.  Wiki's will let anyone update information to an information page.  The internet is incredible because it is so accessible to so many people.  Media such as videos, favorited pages, photos, calendars, events, video broadcasts all expand people's experiences on the internet community.  Forums allow people to discuss on a more complex and intimate level.  On forums you get to know people, and they are literally little communities.  The internet is amazing because it allows people to listen to other viewpoints, absorb the information they wish, and gives everyone a voice in a strong community.  Social media allows us to grow in certain ways that would never be possible if it weren't for the internet.

Facebook Polls

Just this week, Facebook added a poll feature that lets users create questions for customized polls that can be answered by anyone on Facebook.  It may sound like a cool little gimmick, but this will be good for marketing, businesses, and brands.  The polls will give information to businesses about their consumers, who wants what and how many people want it.  For example, if a hypothetical poll asked 1 million people "What do you look for in a new car?"  If the 80% of people voted for efficient gas milage and 20% voted for physical attractiveness, then it would give producers a clue and they would be inclined to work on efficient gas mileage, because that would be what the people wanted.  The same goes with any other product.  If people want it, business want to make it.  This just makes it easier for producers to know what exactly people want.  This new poll system won't change the world or anything, but it will make it easier for demands of consumers to be satisfied.
Another use for polls that just came to mind is is for social issues.  A hypothetical poll might ask women what they look for in a lifelong partner.  If "supportive and loving father/family-man" is voted for significantly more than "high-income," the men who see it might change the way they try to act or how they feel.  Small ripples can make waves and I'm sure it would have a positive impact on men if this were true.
Facebook polls will be a great surveying source of information.  It will let people express what they look for in all aspects of life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Engage Chapter 1

Chapter 1 of Engage talks about how the future of communication is here.  Interaction with customers is crucial to the success of your product or business.  Social media will help your business thrive and people will talk about your product with or without you.  How you respond to that feedback will affect everything.    It is a "never-ending stream of lessons."  When you build connections with customers, you create a relationship with a community you have influenced.  'Engage' with your audience.  They are there for you and you are there for them.
Chapter 2 recognizes the influence of Facebook and twitter as aspects of social media.  The world is growing smaller and communication will affect your business.  "Lead by example."  Social media plays a huge part of business in today's society.  The internet has given the voice for people to speak out negatively against products they are not sastified with.  Listening, observing and learning are all important.  People's feedback and word of mouth will be spread throughout the community.  You can't control what people are going to think, but you can react to it and meet their needs.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Tsunami's of Japan

This past week, the seventh largest earthquake ever recorded rocked the pacific ocean.  Being closest to Japan, the Tsunami's from the quake wreaked havoc across the entire country.  I found out from a forum that I post on.  From there I watched a live CNN stream online about the situation that was posted.  I started live-tweeting the updates and the general information of the situation.  #Prayforjapan and #Tsunami became trending tweets within an hour or so.  Bing's twitter, the search engine created by Microsoft, posted this tweet:

This didn't go over well with the twitter community.

Some people saw it as Microsoft using the tsunami for Bing's publicity.  One person tagged the tweet as #brandfail.

Bing followed up with this statement above 5 hours later.  They didn't delete the original tweet and donated $100k to the Tsunami relief.  Microsoft posted something controversial, listened to the reaction of their audience, and acted on it.  It was a great public relations move that could have ended very badly. It did seem a little suspicious at first, but they followed through and donated 100k to the Tsunami efforts.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Word of Minecraft

I have learned from author Brian Solis, an expert in social media, how word of mouth advertising is the best form of its kind.  If you put out a good product, it's going to get good reviews.  If you get good reviews, it's going to sell more.  There's a snowballing effect.  One good review can lead to a few purchases, a few purchases can lead to a several recommendations, and eventually the whole nation is buzzing about a product.  I know for a fact that if I hear bad things about a product, I don't buy it.  I want to buy things that will make me want to tell other people about how good the product is.  I won't buy a videogame that is released with bad reviews from peers.  I browse discussion forums a lot and the initial reception I hear from others will be the biggest deciding factor in whether I purchase a game or not.  A lot of the excitement I get from games is reading other customers' reviews because I can relate to them in terms of what experience I hope to get from the purchase.  I also enjoy telling others about games I enjoy.  Social media has allowed average people to be unintentional viral marketers.  This is important because better products have a better chance of getting noticed without huge marketing budgets.  Minecraft is an independent creation game made by one man.  It has generated over 1 million sales without any advertising whatsoever.  The whole game has been spread by word of mouth.  People love it and the creator is now a multimillionaire.
The creator of the game held a contest to see who could create the best trailer.  He let the fans do all the advertising for him, because he believed his game deserved it.  Here is one of the hundreds of fan-made trailers for Minecraft.

 Minecraft has been revolutionary because it has proven that truly good games will get noticed because word of mouth, without the backing of a corporation.


Charlie Sheen joined Twitter and started tweeting on March 1st.  24 hours later, he had 1 million followers.  As of March 6th, he has 2,029,438 followers.  On the 5th, more than 100,000 viewers tuned in for his Ustream Broadcast.

He showed off his new tattoo that says "Winning," one of the few memes he has created this past week.  along with 'Tiger's Blood,' which has also been spread virally.  Charlie Sheen has pretty much mastered social media in the past few days.

So what did Sheen do right?  He stated that if the reception to his stream is positive, he will continue to stream broadcasts.  Here we have Sheen offering to listen to his audience.  I looked on his Twitter to investigate.  He only has 57 tweets so far, but many of them have been promoting his live stream.  He has been retweeting posts from other celebrities addressing him such as Paris Hilton and Conan O'Brian. He has been using the hash tags efficiently in every post.  During the livestream, he asked users to Tweet in their thoughts (see part 4).  He's made himself accessible to the public in terms in terms of first hand information.  He even addressed #FF (follow friday), by retweeting his 1 millionth follower.

Sheen has really been in touch with the community.  It's really hard to not follow him when he is inviting you to listen to him.  In terms of social media, he's doing everything right.

Oh, except for the fact that he's absolutely lost his mind.