Twitter has finally decided what would be its revenue model?

We have been asking this forever, what is the business model of Twitter? How would Twitter survive with all the technology investments if they do not come up with their business model? So here we are with latest news on Twitter to roll out commercial accounts from this year.
The news comes from Co Founder Biz Stone that organization is in its first phase of rolling out commercial accounts that will attract a business user for premium services like analytics. It indeed is a very thought out plan since the whole excitement around Twitter with the advertisers is about the metrics that can be monitored, tracked and accordingly tweaked in order to arrive at some inferences and conclusions
Overall the strategy is to keep Twitter free for individual users, only a few selection of things that helps businesses make more profit. Case studies like Dell, Starbucks must have contributed to reaching this decision who has claimed to benefit fro use of Twitter.
Twitter has already released a guide for professional users, highlighting how companies can use it to find customers, send out deals, or perform a market research
One of the biggest issue on Twitter is to verify if you are indeed following a real person or organization for which Twitter is going to offer ‘certified accounts’ for businesses to ensure trust and faith with your users. So far we have seen this with very few select companies and celebrities
But how do you differentiate between a personal user or a professional one? The distinction would be vital to start charging the ones who are using it for professional reasons. The whole idea is to create such features which will be used by professional twitterers and they would be willing to pay for it.
There are multiple tools that have been developed by various third parties to track your twitter account, its performance. With these new features, Twitter aims to gain from it themselves!
It does look like time has arrived for twitter to start generating revenue from the huge base and traction they have created for themselves.

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‘40% of tweets are pointless babble’ – Do you agree?

A recent study by http://www.pearanalytics.com said ‘40% of tweets are pointless babble’ – Do you agree?
Twitter did start with one motto – update your status; however during the course it has taken a shape of an effective marketing channel. The study covered tool 2,000 tweets in English from the public timeline over a time span of two weeks, with 200 tweets captured each half-hour from 11am – 5pm CST daily. They then categorized tweets into six different types: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversation, and pass-along value.
Although the study could have been carried out in a systematic manner, 40% does seem like a very high for ‘babble tweets’!
We have been reading loads of articles about ‘what makes you a quality tweet’ or even ‘do’s and don’ts of twitter’ – 40% useless babble makes you wonder if this is for real or casual users on Twitter are high in number then the ones who understand the potential of the medium.
Since it is a user generated content, it throws a very important responsibility on every dedicated Twitterer to maintain its quality. It’s solely on us whether we make the content any interesting or make it a medium just to rant out some random personal thoughts? What do you think makes an interesting read on Twitter?

Word of Mouth is the way to be!!!

France and Germany made headlines today for coming out of recession – some good indicators in this down turn. But does that mean, we will start seeing advertisers putting dollars back to their advertising budgets, seems like we still have some time for that.

We saw almost a 3.6% decrease in advertising dollars last year and this year predicted to be at a decline of almost 8%. However all’s not down in this scenario, we have seen some channels such as online social media engagement on rise, digital spends on a rise and word of mouth continuing t be one of the fastest growing channel. According to a research firm PQ Media word of mouth spending on online communities increased in 2008 to close to $119 million. This trend will continue to grow on a consistent basis and will surely be one of the leading channel in online world.
Spends on WOM advertising is estimated to be close to $1.7 billion in 2009, almost a 10% rise year over year. Although it’s just a small fraction of overall online advertising spends however its growth on a consistent basis is a encouraging sign for the medium
The verticals which instantly take on to WOM advertising are consumer goods followed by food and beverages. Other significant categories are finance and b2b, electronics and telecom.
Blogs, forums, discussions, twitter, facebook will keep on being an important part of a consumer’s life and play the role of word of mouth media.
A person is always looking and seeking for advice from someone they know and trust, this is the most influencer marketer in a consumer’s life. Till the time this exists, we shall see online Word of Mouth growing day by day.

Is it numbers game on Twitter or is it ‘reaching’ to your guy?

We don’t need to debate on the fact that Twitter today is infact fastest growing market places on the web. Its popular because of the way technology has made life simpler for you without getting too much involved with technology  you don’t need to be a computer geek to know Twitter….That’s the beauty of Twitter – simply choose who you want to follow, locate them on twitter and click ‘follow’. The ‘tweets’ from that person connects you to his world by simply clicking one word ‘follow’

However there are some finer nuances of Twitter which one needs to understand to explore the potential of the medium. Often new ‘twitterers’ do not understand that it’s a must to ‘follow’ someone on Twitter before you start seeing the tweets and receive messages from them. Once you have done it, you get it instantly how it works

But hasn’t Twitter been around since 2006, so how come this sudden buzz around the channel? It was this big challenge between actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN in early 2009 which gave Twitter its due credit. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) challenged CNN (@cnnbrk) to a race to one million Twitter Followers and on April 17th 2009 Ashton was the undisputed winner.

So once again the question pops up how can you potentially benefit from a large Twitter follower base? But is it all about how many followers you have on Twitter, or the more profound question is – are they listening to you?
Every Twitterer is capable of building his or her own follower base, but more importantly have the people who are interested in what you are saying. They will always follow you on Twitter if you keep them giving them what they want from you.
“Listening” is the core of Twitter marketing. If you are being followed and ‘listened’ too, then you are indeed reaching to that 1 follower who is much more worth then having 10 who not interested in what you have to say. This 1 follower not only listens to you, he even clicks on links provided by you and ensures he retweets the message you have. He is indeed the asset one should be building on Twitter

However at the end of the day, it’s a numbers game and you need those numbers too to scale up. Your first objective is to make sure you attract an audience on Twitter, secondly earn their respect and trust for them to keep listening to you. Follow these two steps religiously; revenue isn’t far behind to follow you.

So once again it gets established that a smart marketer is one who reaches out to the audience, and makes them listen to his/her message, Twitter is just one of the mediums we have here to explore and explode its potential

What are the best ‘engagement practices’ for a brand?

Some of the most successful brand stories by way of engagement with consumers include Starbucks, Dell, Ebay, SAP, Amazon etc. The common elements which connects all these brands are certain engagement practices undertaken by them which set them apart from all the ‘other’ brands in their respective categories

•Quality supersedes quantity – engagement is not just about one blog on blogger or one profile on Facebook or Twitter. It’s about your content connecting with your audience which ofcourse happens when your content is fresh, thought provoking and you are responsive to your reader’s comments and critiques. Don’t just talk to your audience, engage with them.
•Online Presence/social media is a key result area for a CEO as well as a clerk in the organization – Social media marketing for an organization has ceased to be just a few members responsibility in an organization. Every employee in organization gets exposed to a certain customer touch points. Hence, it’s important for every single individual needs to spend a few minutes each day to create this transparent interface with your audience.
•You may not be the fastest or first one in social media, but you need to make a start, even if with a small baby step – It may happen that you do not see many brands from your vertical engaging in social media, but your audience is active in that space. Don’t wait for others to start the trend, you take the leap, engage with your user/audience, others will follow the suit
•What’s your sweet spot – a general myth or practice is ‘checking out a social media campaign for one or two month. How can engagement be just a month or two month affair? It is indeed a life time commitment and means full engagement with your audience. Don’t leave them in lurch. Do it limited if needed, but do it fully committed

Is Twitter leading to Socio-Capitalism ?

Biz Stone is looking for more micro blogging options sites. Well, the company like Dell succeeded in monetizing the efforts on Twitter. It looked like just an online advertising where people freely choose, if they want to see the details of any offers or coupons flying around relevant to their needs.  No sledge hammer advertising like radio, mailers, tele-calling, newspaper etc.

I would call it a live electronic news board with pointers of commercial offerings can make it a hot place to educate people of different products and services. This trend has yet to pick up the commercial market where sellers are looking to position themselves in these social sites. No Capitalism Just Socialism or SocioCaptialism. Let’s not ruin the 140 character space, unless one really want to design miniature banner ad or healthy logos explaining the product features that seldom anyone would be interested to know on such a site.

Social website space is meant to make society of people interested to value the virtues of multicultural attributes. The noble thing – no one is asking here which race you belong to everyone is attracted towards some meaningful content or something that has its conversational value.

Social Media – does it actually pay off?

This is in continuation to my earlier post ‘decoding a social marketers mind: http://tinyurl.com/mb6o7j

 The most frequently asked question is yes we do realize SMM is important but what about my sales, does that gets impacted too? More specifically does that get impacted positively or not?

 This scepticism in brand managers mind is simply impending social media marketing to bloom into a full fledged online tool and channelizing the media budgets towards that.

A very encouraging report was released from digital consulting firm Altimeter Group that companies with the highest levels of social media activity on average increased revenues by 18% over the last year and the ones who decided to just stay away from it saw a sales drop by 6% over the same period!! Well, can we draw a conclusion yet that there is a direct co-relation between your online social media presence and sales revenues.

Some of the finest examples of brands using conversational marketing or social media marketing are Dell Computers, Ebay, Starbucks, Microsoft, Google- their presence across all influential channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Wikis is impressive. The mediums are not just influential but also have a self engaging mechanism built in to spread the message virally and reach exponentially

 The most interesting thing to notice is all these brands have a ‘dedicated’ online social marketing team, may be small however dedicated towards the effort which is surely worth taking with the kind of results it has shown

One of the most widely circulated case studies from the above mentioned brands is Dell. Once touted as one of the worst customer Service Company had a turn around time with regards to its CS – from Dell Hell to Dell Help in true sense, it today stands at a 40 plus person social media team running their ops through twitter, blogs, video channels, etc.

 Do we still hear a silence here?

Keywords advertising – Twitter way!

So much is being written about Twitter all around us, we don’t seem to get enough of it so here is one more aspect of looking at Twitter as a media tool.

Where Twitter has not yet figured out how they would like to monetize the medium, we the users have been exploring various ways to figure out how to use Twitter for our social media campaigns

Let’s look at the aspect of keywords and use of keywords on Twitter. There are Twitter users who are using brand names, tweeting your brand stories

We can easily deduce who’s talking about our brand on Twitter; know their influence level through their tweet and follower stats, Analyze the influence and reputation levels of a twitterer, also analyze the retweets done for your brand stories by them

 This can help us develop a metric to figure out your brand campaign effectiveness through Twitter

Choosing the ‘right’ Search Engine Optimization Goal

A very typical answer from any organization when asked about their SEO objective is to be seen on top or top 10 in organic results. A surprising number of companies simply focus on what they think is the right goal for themselves, steering the whole effort in a wrong direction!! Picking the right goals is a key to the success of any SEO effort.
When we select a wrong objective, we invest all our efforts and energies in achieving that wrong objective and hence lose out on the ROI! Let’s have a look at some of the most ‘sought’ after goals which are finalized without much thought into it. Since everyone else is doing it, we should do it too is the basis of these wrong direction goals.

Rankings
By far the most popular goal for many businesses, very often we hear from clients to bring their site on number 1 rank in organic results for a particular search term. Do you think the new businesses generally get top rankings? This is a long term strategy and not a short term goal
Let’s assume that we do manage to get the organization on number one ranking for their search term defined and perhaps that would also result in  increasing the web site traffic and may be sales increased too by approximately 10%, is this a good result, yes indeed…
However, if the same organization could have taken the same SEO efforts and energy and increased the ‘relevant’ traffic to the site by 20%, and grown sales by 20%, wouldn’t that be an ideal scenario? Hence, rather then concentrating on just one search term and coming on number one rank should be the goal or should you be concentrating on getting relevant traffic to a site generally coming from long tail terms?
Number one ranking does have its branding value; however having relevant traffic which results into higher sales is the main objective of any business. So would you prefer a 20 percent increase in business or a 10 percent increase? The SEO effort to drive relevant long tail traffic is fairly a different one then to drive a single term to the number one position

Traffic
Are we buying traffic here or we buying Intent? That’s the biggest question boggling marketers around the world. Let’s assume that we increased the traffic to a website by 20% however what good is this traffic if it is not relevant to the vertical or product/service we offering? May be this will result in increasing the sale by some small percentage however if we concentrate in increasing the traffic by 20% of the users with strong buying intent for our product/service? Which one you think should be chosen, I don’t think we have a debate here.

“X” New Links per Month
This goal is rampant now days, sort of commoditized goal. Some people think that 50 new links per month will do the trick and some think that 100 new links will be able to get them what they need. However, we need to decide whether we want 100 such links which will do hardly anything to grow our business or do we need one authoritative and relevant site link which will help us manifold times. Higher number of links with marginal impact on business or select few links from authoritative relevant sites and bumper increase in the impact?
Buying links is a dangerous trick of this trade, whereas linking to proper, relevant and strong source is the way to go…

Conclude
This discussion was to understand that poorly or wrongly selected goals can take your energies in wrong direction as well. Choosing the ‘right goal’ is applicable to any walk of life and is as applicable when choosing your right search engine optimization goal as well. If your goal is to increase sales or leads or impressions or branding, you should tie your SEO goals to these metrics to derive the maximum out of it. You will be glad you did 🙂

Source — http://net2user.com/news_articles.html

Decoding a online social marketers mind

 Suddenly I am seeing this great interest in social media marketing in most brand managers/marketers. Everyone wants to know about SMM however don’t know either where to start or how to measure and hence have loads of unanswered questions! Very intriguing to know that everyone now knows and believes that SMM is a must though

 First question that comes to your mind is what are the tactics to be used in a SMM campaign? Which are the proven methods or best practices and how do I establish strategic alliances or partnerships to have a successful social media marketing campaign. Is social media about blogs, Twitter, Facebook and will help me market my brand? Is it true that I will not get any immediate effect from a social marketing effort and it’s just good for a branding purpose!!! Yes, these are the thoughts in any marketer’s head – very relevant questions I would say however some of them don’t really have any answer in black and white! Every SMM exercise is unique in its message rendering which is based out of the marketing objective of the exercise we are undertaking at that point. If you have a sales driven motive, then not only your choice of tactics or social media practices would be different but also the messaging would be more action oriented. Yes, the current objective will determine the tools, practices and messaging for your SMM campaign

 Second most boggling question is how do I measure effectiveness of a social media campaign? How do I measure success? Are there any benchmarks available? First of all SMM is a new way of marketing and then asking for benchmarks as per category, well am I shooting in dark! What are my returns on investments? Well, yea I know that social marketing is a brand campaign so there shouldn’t be any question of ROI, but what do I do – it’s online marketing, management wants to know how does this translate into sales for us? Can we measure brand impact or increase in brand evaluation through our social marketing campaign?

 Well, yes I come across all these questions raised by brand managers. Very relevant concerns and echoes the sentiments of ‘sitting on fence’ audience who want to tread paths very carefully. Well, the answer to all these queries is simple, let’s define what we want to achieve, define who we want to reach, and what is the messaging we want to relay. Once we have these 3 basic facts in place, we would be able to monitor the performance of the medium as per what ever deliverable metrics available in there. Today, there are new developments happening in tracking technology on a daily basis and arriving at metrics should not be a problem

 A very simple yet profound question we face is ‘how do I maintain social balance’ I represent an organization/brand, where does my persona attributes end and where does the marketing starts? How do I respect the medium and what are the standard etiquettes to follow? I am a beginner, are there any unspoken rules of the medium?, again I would say these are valid questions, this happened to me when I started using Twitter – I was a late adapter of the medium and I felt as if there are some unspoken rules in there and I must know all of them to be part of this community! Well, I was wrong! Yes, you should know the basic information or knowledge on what the medium stands for, how to use it and maintain decorum and etiquettes of the medium. Believe me, it’s the content which is the king! If you have a great content, way of presenting it, you are on a roll! Just maintain the basics of the medium

 Here’s to a socio digital life !