I think you have figured out by now that most stuff that most people do and/or share on social network spaces are pointless, unhelpful and random little details such as where they went for breakfast.
You could argue that for the most part, social media is narcissistic. But I think it’s mainly because people are generally afraid to open themselves up for criticisms.
It’s so easy to ask someone to share their personal taste on food, clothing or music because nobody could argue that they are wrong. Ask for an opinion about legalizing drugs in America, on the other hand, you might just shut everybody up for good.
What does this mean for brands who want to create some conversations online?
Simple, really. Ask about something trivial, and don’t give your audience a chance to be wrong.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Sure, there could be 1 million people sharing their success stories and telling you how they have managed to use social media to build and grow their businesses, and these stories may point to 10 thousand different directions.
You could choose to ignore every one of them.
Think of every social networking site as a place where you choose to host your personal parties. Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, your Blog, YouTube Channel, whatever. You get to choose your own decoration, food, music, people who you want to be around with, and method of communication (here is a list of examples.).
It could be you (and only you) speaking (singing, dancing) to all the guests, and nobody else gets to talk. Or you could allow everyone to sing and dance at the same time. You could provide all the party food, or have people to bring their own drinks, or even make their own food. The party could be open to everybody or to VIP’s only.
Really, it’s all up to you.
…as long as these parties are helping you reaching your eventual goals, which may or may not be, to make friends and bring them back to your house (website).
So next time when a party planner tells you that you should only invite famous people to your pool parties and forget about everyone else, just remember that you have the option to say “No”.
Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, should check it out. Even if you have read it before, I think it’s well-worth another 10 minutes to read it again, as a reminder of things that you might have forgotten while being buried under your daily office tasks.
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There’s always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.
Here is the thing: a YouTube video clip today, in 2010, gets 50% of its views in the first 6 days after it’s published. And the trend on the half-life is getting shorter. In 2008, YouTube videos get 50% of its views in the first 14 days.
What does that mean?
#1) As a business, if you are using YouTube to promote something, you’d better have a very good idea of what you plan to do after it’s published. Wait 5 business days or a week, and half of your viewers are gone.
#2) Want more viewers? How about publish a new video every 6 days?
I counted 9, but I am sticking with the title of the original article.
#1. A tech company should be run by engineers, not managers
#2. Build a culture of respect between managers and employees
#3. Give employees the freedom to own and improve the products
#4. Challenge your employees to grow
#5. Deadlines are crucial
#6. Don’t play the “feature game” with your competition
#7. Hire people who are insanely passionate about your product
#8. It’s important to emphasize work/life balance
#9. You should maintain that startup culture, even when you’re a big company
Unfortunately, most businesses compromise on both the do’s and don’ts on this list, and at the same time wonder why they are not as successful as Apple.
Facebook has officially reached 500 million users. 500 million, that is a huge number, isn’t it? If it was a country, it is already bigger than the United States in terms of population, behind only China and India.
What’s more impressive is that EVERYONE in that country has at least three qualities: 1) basic reading and writing skills, 2) access to a computer and 3) access to the Internet.
Therefore, theoretically speaking, you have the capability to reach ALL of the Facebook population, and try to sell them something.
OK, maybe that’s not realistic.
What is realistic, though, is that when you decide to create and/or share something, you (only) have access to about 150 of your friends. 150 is the average number of friends a person has on Facebook (it’s actually 130, but math is easier at 150). Then if what you have shared is impressive enough, it will make its way to their 150 friends. 150 times 150 gives you 225,000. Not bad. But(!) if you can manage to reach the 3rd level of friends, congratulations, you have just hit the 3 million mark.
And you guessed it, 4 levels is all you needed to reach every single person on Facebook.
So the reality is that the Facebook Nation is broken down into layers.
1st layer: 150 reaches
2nd layer: 225,000 reaches
3rd layer: 3 million reaches
4th layer: 450 million reaches
The toughest thing on this list isn’t to go from layer #3 to layer #4, even though that’s where the biggest gap is.
Instead, it is to go from layer #1 to layer #2.
Sadly, for most businesses, they concentrate on building up their audience at layer #1 and forget that the most profitable and cost effective/efficient way to reach Facebook audience is to create content that penetrates the layers.
Here is a quote from Jeff Bezos on the Charlie Rose Show:
Before if you were making a product, the right business strategy was to put 70% of your attention, energy, and dollars into shouting about a product, and 30% into making a great product. So you could win with a mediocre product, if you were a good enough marketer. That is getting harder to do. The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies…the individual is empowered… The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. If I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other.
The individual is empowered is the ultimate shift in marketing and business today.
Unlike any other media (TV, radio, magazine, newspaper) before, Internet and social network spaces are far more equipped to filter out all the noises and leave only relevant content for its audience.
It doesn’t necessary mean that there is less noise online.
Not at all. In fact, the opposite is true. There are way more useless and untrustworthy sources online. However, it’s getting more and more difficult for it to find its way into our Facebook feed.
We decide what to watch, not the TV stations. We decide what to listen to, not the radio stations. We decide what to read, not the newspaper publishers.
More importantly, we also decide what to talk about.
Even more importantly, our Facebook friends and Google choose to listen to us.
Having 1,000 of your followers broadcasting your products to 1,000 of their friends is far more effective than running a commercial during Super Bowl. And a lot cheaper, too. Cheaper in a sense that the cost of reaching the audience is reduce to almost zero.
But you pay a price for that.
Your time and resources and money need to be invested into making a great product. Take it away from the shouting you used to do, and invest it now. Because without a great product — something that’s worth mentioning about in my Facebook or Twitter feed — you get nothing.
#1) Connect to your customers.
The obvious thing to do. Almost everyone does it.
#2) Connect your customers to each other.
Sometimes though, you forget that in order to build your tribe — a group of people who shares a common goal/interest — you need your tribe members to talk to one another. Broadcasting is nice, but interactions and conversations are far more powerful.
#3) Give them something to talk about.
Be it your product, service or simply something that’s of their interest. Don’t be afraid to bring a little controversy in order to ignite the conversations.
#4) Lead them in a direction that benefits them more than it benefits you.
Show them where you are going, and make sure the destination is align with theirs.
Yes, we all know you are trying to sell something, but the more important question is: with whatever you are building, can you convince your tribe that it’s to their benefit to have you in their lives?
Traditional companies still think along the lines of “lower the price, sell more, and make more money.” They try hard, very hard, to turn each invention or discovery into commodity, something that could be easily recreated and assembled by not-so-skilled workers whose only job is to follow some standard operation procedures.
But the real bottom line is how much money you make.
Apple is living-proof that market-share no longer matters, mind-share does. When everyone is thinking and talking about you, you will be able to sell something that others are giving away for free, for a huge profit.
Before the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, cell phone manufacturers and service providers were busy figuring out how to lower the handset price so that they can entice their customers into multi-year contracts and make money on service plans.
When iPhone was first launched, even Bill Gates said something like, “let’s be honest, it’s still only a cellphone selling at $500.” Yes, it was, and it totally worked. Today, with just 3% of the smartphone market-share, iPhone has completely swallowed the lion’s share of its profits.
Has it ever occur to you that Google could be wrong? More specifically, the top 5 search results returned all contain false information? Or that an article on Wikipedia is not 100% accurate? It’s improbable, but certainly possible, right?
Would you continue to use Google and Wikipedia to find answers if that happens? Of course you would.
When a brand has done enough right, 100, 1,000, 10,000, whatever that number may be, it will eventually reach a point where its customers (or fans) become forgiving of their wrongs. The problem, though, is that before that number is reached and trust is established, any wrong could very well cost you that customer, forever.
We are all bound to make mistakes, that’s a given. Our goal shouldn’t be to avoid mistakes and take less risks. Instead, it should be a race to that magic number so that our customers will forgive us of our mistakes.
Q: What is the math behind the policy of two-way free and overnight shipping?
A: Our philosophy is to take most of the money we would have spent on paid marketing or paid advertising and instead invest it into the customer experience, and let our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth. We view the free shipping both ways and surprise upgrades to overnight shipping as our marketing costs.
Reminds me of the following quote from Andy Sernovitz and cartoon from Hugh MacLeod.
The commercial below has gotten a lot of attention lately. It created many conversations online and was even among the prime-time Emmy Award nominees in the outstanding commercial category.
And that’s one of the ultimate goals of any advertisement — to create a spokesperson to could be easily remembered and identified with the company. Remember the Verizon “can you hear me now” guy?
Old Spice has taken this one step further though.
Apparently, the OSD is now answering questions on Twitter with personalized YouTubevideosclips. With each clip getting anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000 views, is there any better way to follow up a hit commercial?
Microsoft’s head of U.S. sales Keith Lorizio blames Facebook and other social network sites for low online ad prices. You can’t really fault him for that, of course. Facebook and MySpace gets about $0.56 CPM on average, while the Internet at large gets an average of $2.43.
The problem, though, is that most of these social network sites are still struggling to come up with an effective and efficient way of turning a profit.
Let’s just imagine for a moment that one of those sites has all of the sudden decided that selling advertisement isn’t way to go. Instead, they have figured out another method of generating income from all the attention and time on site that they receive. Furthermore, they have decided to give away all these ads for free.