Tag Archives: social media

Why Facebook is Killing Silicon Valley


We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…

— John F. Kennedy, September 1962

Innovation
I teach entrepreneurship for ~50 student teams a year from engineering schools at Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia. For the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps this year I’ll also teach ~150 teams led by professors who want to commercialize their inventions. Our extended teaching team includes venture capitalists with decades of experience.

The irony is that as good as some of these nascent startups are in material science, sensors, robotics, medical devices, life sciences, etc., more and more frequently VCs whose firms would have looked at these deals or invested in these sectors, are now only interested in whether it runs on a smart phone or tablet. And who can blame them.

Facebook and Social Media
Facebook has adroitly capitalized on market forces on a scale never seen in the history of commerce. For the first time, startups can today think about a Total Available Market in the billions of users (smart phones, tablets, PC’s, etc.) and aim for hundreds of millions of customers. Second, social needs previously done face-to-face, (friends, entertainment, communication, dating, gambling, etc.) are now moving to a computing device. And those customers may be using their devices/apps continuously. This intersection of a customer base of billions of people with applications that are used/needed 24/7 never existed before.

The potential revenue and profits from these users (or advertisers who want to reach them) and the speed of scale of the winning companies can be breathtaking. The Facebook IPO has reinforced the new calculus for investors. In the past, if you were a great VC, you could make $100 million on an investment in 5-7 years. Today, social media startups can return 100’s of millions or even billions in less than 3 years. Software is truly eating the world.

If investors have a choice of investing in a blockbuster cancer drug that will pay them nothing for fifteen years or a social media application that can go big in a few years, which do you think they’re going to pick? If you’re a VC firm, you’re phasing out your life science division. As investors funding clean tech watch the Chinese dump cheap solar cells in the U.S. and put U.S. startups out of business, do you think they’re going to continue to fund solar? And as Clean Tech VC’s have painfully learned, trying to scale Clean Tech past demonstration plants to industrial scale takes capital and time past the resources of venture capital. A new car company? It takes at least a decade and needs at least a billion dollars. Compared to IOS/Android apps, all that other stuff is hard and the returns take forever.

Instead, the investor money is moving to social media. Because of the size of the market and the nature of the applications, the returns are quick – and huge. New VC’s, focused on both the early and late stage of social media have transformed the VC landscape. (I’m an investor in many of these venture firms.) But what’s great for making tons of money may not be the same as what’s great for innovation or for our country. Entrepreneurial clusters like Silicon Valley (or NY, Boston, Austin, Beijing, etc.) are not just smart people and smart universities working on interesting things. If that were true we’d all still be in our parents garage or lab. Centers of innovation require investors funding smart people working on interesting things — and they invest in those they believe will make their funds the most money. And for Silicon Valley the investor flight to social media marks the beginning of the end of the era of venture capital-backed big ideas in science and technology.

Don’t Worry We Always Bounce Back
The common wisdom is that Silicon Valley has always gone through waves of innovation and each time it bounces back by reinventing itself.

[Each of these waves of having a clean beginning and end is a simplification. But it makes the point that each wave was a new investment thesis with a new class of investors as well as startups.] The reality is that it took venture capital almost a decade to recover from the dot-com bubble. And when it did Super Angels and new late stage investors whose focus was social media had remade the landscape, and the investing thesis of the winners had changed. This time the pot of gold of social media may permanently change that story.

What Next
It’s sobering to realize that the disruptive startups in the last few years not in social media – Tesla Motors, SpaceX, Google driverless cars, Google Glasses – were the efforts of two individuals, Elon Musk, and Sebastian Thrun (with the backing of Google.) (The smartphone and tablet computer, the other two revolutionary products were created by one visionary in one extraordinary company.) We can hope that as the Social Media wave runs its course a new wave of innovation will follow. We can hope that some VC’s remain contrarian investors and avoid the herd. And that some of the newly monied social media entrepreneurs invest in their dreams. But if not, the long-term consequences for our national interests will be less than optimum.

For decades the unwritten manifesto for Silicon Valley VC’s has been: We choose to invest in ideas, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

Here’s hoping that one day they will do it again.

Read more Steve Blank posts at www.steveblank.com.

50 Social Media Habits You Can Stop Doing Now


“Google doesn’t really have an algorithm to degrade content when it’s no longer good advice,” says David Spark, the founder of Spark Media Solutions, a writer, and a podcaster.

That means lots of bad advice continues to rank on Google search results.

A few years ago, for example, I advocated following back everyone who followed you or your brand on Twitter. Given the growth of spambots and proliferation of robo-DMs and increasing decibel of noise on social media, I now take a more nuanced approach.

Similarly, three years ago David wrote a white paper, “How to #Trend on Twitter,” in which he suggested repeatedly asking followers for retweets. “This is now officially horrible advice,” he said recently in a Q&A. “While we want to help our friends out, doing so repeatedly, like asking your friends to help you move, becomes a nuisance and is in no way a form of engagement.”

The realization that bad advice continues to badly influence online behavior inspired David to publish the ebook Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend.” He surveyed 56 social media industry influencers (including me) and asked us one question:

What was once considered smart advice that now you no longer recommend?

David then curated 50 of the items into his ebook, released earlier this month.

Not all of the advice is intuitive. Some of it (like “#5 from Charlene Li: Stop Posting to Your Personal Blog“) is counterintuitive and a bit controversial. But, together, the 50 points are meant to increase meaning and allow you to shed useless social activities this spring the way a Golden Retriever sheds his winter coat.

Some of my favorites:
“Stop wasting your time and your followers’ time by posting images with pithy statements, pointless ‘discussion’ questions (e.g., “What’s your favorite salsa?”), and photos of adorable pets,” David writes.

“While cheap ‘Likes’ and comments will increase your Klout and Kred scores, they do nothing to build your brand or business.”

The implied reciprocity of LinkedIn testimonials can feel compulsory, devaluing their overall trustworthiness and usefulness, David writes, adding, “Implied reciprocity is not the backbone of trustworthy recommendations.”

I’m the first one to talk about the opportunity of social media to put a human face on a corporate edifice. But this is sane advice from Joe Chernov, who suggests things have gone a little too far:

“‘Humanize the brand’ was sound advice initially—when too many brands were too ‘corporate’ on social media—but today I see brands sharing absurdist memes or making politically charged statements, and I realize it’s time to reintroduce a measure of sobriety into our corporate feeds.”

Gamified “check-ins” with Foursquare, Facebook Places, and other “check-in” apps were fun at the beginning, but now they are tiresome manual chores with little inherent value for the one checking in.

This one is mine—since I’ve gone from being a Foursquare fiend to Foursquare foe in the last few years. (One of my colleagues actually messaged me at one point during the height of my Foursquare fervor to call BS: “Come on! You can’t legit be the mayor of an airport taxi line!”)

Download the full ebook here (note: registration required), and check out of 50 things you can stop doing to lighten your own social load.

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Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules: Wow to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Want more? Take a stroll over to AnnHandley.com

Posted by:Ann Handley

How Jimmy Fallon Has Struck Social Media Gold #FallonTonight


The last few nights I’ve stayed up late (which isn’t too odd if you know me well ☺), but the reason was to watch Jimmy Fallon in his debut week.

I’ve been a huge Fallon fan for some time from when he was on SNL, to Late Night and am beyond thrilled that he is the new host of The Tonight Show.

It’s so exciting to see someone from my generation — a true Gen X-er grab the reins of one of the oldest and most respected shows in the country and make it new and fun and fresh.

The next generation of T.V.

As someone who advises companies how to best use social media to build their brand, watching the brand that Jimmy Fallon has created through social media has been incredible.

It is truly the next generation of how we watch TV and interact with celebrities.

Now, Jimmy Fallon is certainly not the first one to tweet his fans or to use a hashtag — so what makes his formula work so well and have such devoted fans?

I believe it comes down to five things:

  1. Keeping it real. Ask most people what they love about Jimmy Fallon and one of the things people usually say (after they say how hilarious he is) — is how real he is. It’s not just about being authentic, it’s about being humble. Fallon has that rare quality that makes him genuine, relatable and grateful for where he is and how he got there. If there was any doubt, watch the opening clip from his first show. On a personal note — I love how he seems to be just as fired up meeting celebrities as you and I might be.
  2. Surrounds himself with talented people. Look at who he has around him — he has an amazing tribe of talented people on camera and off camera. His social media team did an incredible job building the buzz on Fallon moving to The Tonight Show — creating a countdown and giving people a sneak peek into the pure buzz that was happening at the studios. They didn’t start The Tonight Show and start the buzz there — the buzz had been building for weeks and months, and they used social media as their catalyst to drive that.
  3. He cares a ton about his fans. He talks about his fans all the time — you can tell he is extremely grateful for the support and love he has from his biggest fans. They are always the first ones he thanks and you can just tell it comes from the heart and from a place of humility. He uses social media in a smart way to communicate and crowdsource ideas.
  4. The show has a social strategy. There is a strategic plan in place and you can tell as you look at the content that have on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. They integrate all platforms and they don’t just blast the same thing from one platform to another. They respect the audiences in different platforms — and it shows. Part of their social strategy is engaging fans. Imagine if you had a tribe of people who tweeted and blogged about you — that is the power of social media. It’s like word of mouth on steroids.
  5. Blurring the lines between on TV and online. His team has taken a thoughtful and strategic approach to engage their fans and audience members — whether it’s through their new mobile app, on Twitter, on the show’s Facebook page or especially on YouTube. The show is also brilliantly creating viral content every night — bits and digital shorts that have a life on T.V. and then afterward online as well. Don’t believe me — check out this video from a few days ago with 4M views on YouTube or this one with 8M views!

Creating a tribe

Fallon has truly created a tribe of loyal followers and fans and it’s partly because of his talent and his humor — but even more so it’s because people like him.

He is like the buddy you went to high school, or your old roommate from college, or that guy you used to work with who would always make you laugh.

He’s the every man — in a completely charming and charismatic way.

And the cherry on top — he’s killing it in social media. Along the way he’s bringing millions of new fans along for the ride. Kudos to you NBC and kudos to you Jimmy — you certainly have a fan in me. #KeepKillingIt

If you like this article, please click the ‘recommend’ button below or send me a Tweet @katielance. If you’d like more info about how I consult companies with their social media strategies, you can find more info here.

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Social Media At Scale, Is Tough


Social media is easy. Really, it is. Send a tweet. Build a Facebook page. Let your website visitors pin your content. It’s very easy. We see companies executing these initiatives every day. But, a collection of social media initiatives, is not social media at scale.

Social media at scale? Yes, social media at scale. A Facebook page is not social media at scale. Getting approval to launch a YouTube channel is not social media at scale. Social media at scale doesn’t come from a hired gun,the Social Media for Dummies book or by creating a social media department. It also doesn’t come from hiring head of social media for your company. Mind you, these aspects help, but they aren’t the answer or the silver bullet so many people are looking for.

Have you ever seen a duck on a pond? They look ever graceful as they “glide” across the water. But, if you could see what the situation looks like under the water, you’d see the utter chaos of feet moving rapidly. Without the chaos, that you don’t see, you wouldn’t appreciate the smooth nature of the duck’s movement on the surface. That’s very akin to a true social business culture. The output of a social business culture, is one that impresses. It wows. It seems effortless. It’s the organizations that have a real social business culture that are driving social media at scale.

This isn’t rhetoric. This isn’t theory. Unlike the results you’d get from Google, after typing in “social media expert,” my advice is grounded in real world experience of actually turning social media from a plaything, into something that scales.

So, with that said, and believe me, I realize how bold that last sentence sounded, let me break down the 4 key elements to making social scale.

1. Define Social: Strip away the word “media” and focus on what “social” means. Social is more than marketing, it’s more than media. But, what it means to each organization, based on your business objectives (yes, business objectives) varies. This seems simple, but it’s incredibly difficult and time consuming. Here’s why it’s important: let’s say, you’re a national retailer, and part of your organization’s DNA, is exceptional service. Well, the question shouldn’t be, do we need to be on twitter, it should be, how will social help us deliver on “exceptional service?” When you ask that question, you end discussing critical elements like how do we enable our customers to ask us questions on their terms? And you might end up with, twitter as the platform, via unique twitter handles for each concierge provider. That’s focus. That’s working across your origination. That’s making social scale.

2. Horizontal Beats Vertical: One of the biggest mistakes in building a business designed to drive social at scale, is the burning desire to build a social media organization. That organization then reports through some other function like marketing, PR, eCommerce, etc. This is akin to ad agency models used circa 2000, where agencies built separate digital agencies to compliment their “traditional” agencies. That model ultimately failed, because, it’s not sustainable, because experiences span channels, because margins couldn’t sustain redundancy and because we shifted to wanting integrated marketing. Coming out of key element #1, hopefully you see that social is more than marketing. If it’s more than marketing, you need social spread out across the organization, in a horizontal fashion, not put on an island and built vertically. An individual can’t scale. A dedicated team can’t scale. But, when social is built horizontally and woven throughout an organization, your “team” scales, because in essence, your social team, could be the entire company.

3. Talent Model: I believe the best people to lead and drive social are those who are marketers, that know digital who love social. Digest that for a second. When you hire real marketers, people who understand elements like connection planning, buyer behavior and margins, you start from a business foundation. And let’s be honest, if your social efforts aren’t driving the business, you probably shouldn’t be investing in social. But, you can’t stop there. It’s not good enough to just be a marketer; you need to know digital. Why? Because, the majority of social business integration is going to involve digital on some level and digital is fast becoming the primary consumption and connection vehicle for consumers. In social, a marketer who doesn’t know digital, is the equivalent of having a 2-legged stool. To be fair, so are digital people who don’t know or appreciate marketing. If you have a marketer that knows digital, you’re close. But, you need the last layer; the love for social. There’s a certain geeky-ness needed to thrive in social and make it scale. The person who loves social, stays on top of the space, they aren’t daunted when an organization puts up roadblocks and they have the passion to see something through to the end. One of the best hires I ever made in social, had a behavioral economics background. That meant, he understood why people do, what they do. He also had a solid background in digital, but loved social. If you start at the opposite end of this model, if you lead with social, then digital, then marketing, you’ll end up with a string of one-off tactics, and one-off tactics, don’t scale.

4. Standardize and Optimize: These are two very important words. You’ll use them often. To make social scale you need to standardize your language, partners, platforms, protocols, measurement approach and many other variables. Why? Because, when someone asks a relatively simple question like, what’s our social brand sentiment, you don’t want to have 4 answers from 4 platforms. Four different answers, leads to debates, which creates doubt, which impedes scale. While standardization is critical, you can’t simply set it and forget it. As your organization, the consumer and the space evolves, you need to continue optimizing those critical foundational elements.

There’s so much more than just the 4 key elements I outlined above. But, that’s why social at scale is tough, and only a few organizations are delivering social at scale.

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All about Buffer – BufferApp.com


Everything you could ever want to know about what makes Buffer tick.

We designed Buffer to offer you a personal more efficient solution to handle sharing on social media.

Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.

Custom scheduling, multiple accounts, team member access and detailed analytics make Buffer the go-to social media management tool for more than 1.2 million users around the world.

(VIA. Buffer)

Welcome To The New Word Of Mouth – LikeableLocal.com


 
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We create and manage valuable content tailored to your businesses’ preferences that engages customers, both new and old.

 
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To drive new customers and reward loyal ones, Likeable Local runs promotions, contests, and sweepstakes on your social media channels to help your business thrive.

 
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The two (not three) types of brand media.


Flipping the concept of Paid, Owned and Earned upside-down.

It’s become standard acceptance in the advertising industry to talk about the “three types of media” — Paid, Owned and Earned. And these are, in fact, pretty useful when it comes to wrapping our heads around the constantly changing universe of media options available to us.

But that’s also the problem with this perspective. It’s very “us”-centric. As advertisers / marketers, it’s all about what we pay for, what we own, and what we earn. If we take a step back, breathe deeply and have a look at our customers’ perspective instead, then we can see that there are really only two media types out there: Interruptive Media and Opt-in Media.

(Side tangent: I am deliberately trying to banish the word “consumers” from the advertising vocabulary. It’s a horrible, horrible word that forgets our customers are people first. We really need to quit it with that word. Seriously.)

As the name implies, Interruptive Media is anything that interrupts whatever it is we really want to be paying attention to. A TV spot interrupts the show you actually want to watch. An outdoor board interrupts your drive. A banner ad interrupts the articles you’re trying to read online. And a self-expanding, rich media homepage take-over really interrupts what I’m trying to do online.

On the flip side, Opt-in Media is anything that people choose to pay attention to.

YouTube videos, websites and most social media are all forms of Opt-in Media. But the term also encompasses more than you might first think.

An infomercial is Opt-in Media. It’s not interrupting anything. It has to work hard to continue to engage the viewers, or they’ll switch channels. Google Adwords are Opt-in. I type in a search (something I’m looking for) and ads appear that are based on what I was actually searching for at that moment. A Superbowl commercial can be considered Opt-in Media, because much of the audience is choosing to pay attention. In fact, for some folks, the game itself is the interruption.

The brochure in a car dealership is Opt-in Media. But the posters at the dealership telling you about a service plan, when what you want is to test drive an SUV – that’s Interruptive.

And yes, some media will be either Interruptive or Opt-in, depending on the customer. And we need to be aware of that.

Your customers don’t really care whether you paid for the message, whether you earned the message or whether you own it. They really, really couldn’t care less. All they care about is whether it’s something they’re opting-in to engage with, or whether it’s interrupting them.

This is important, because it should inform and influence the creative we produce. Customers will forgive an interruption, but it better know that it’s an interruption and act accordingly. And if we expect a piece of creative to be Opt-in because it’s so wonderfully entertaining and interesting, then it better really be wonderfully entertaining and interesting. It has to compete with every other entertaining and interesting thing out there that I could possible be doing, using or watching. And that’s a much higher creative bar than simply being entertaining enough to be memorable and worthy of forgiving the interruption.

Interruptive Media isn’t going away. But I believe we’re in the middle of a pendulum shift towards Opt-in Media. It’s the future of the industry – and it’s a lot harder to do well.

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Sincerity and Authenticity in Social Media


As a panelist at a FinanceConnect conference sponsored by LinkedIn in New York last week, I found myself referring, unexpectedly, to a 40-year-old series of lectures delivered by the late Professor Lionel Trilling to frame the challenge the financial services industry faces in harnessing the power, and the potential, of social media.

“Sincerity and Authenticity” is the title of an obscure book based on Trilling’s 1970 lectures at Harvard University, as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry. Trilling’s premise was that Western society has gradually evolved away from a construct of morality he calls “sincerity” to a formulation of morality more admired and respected in the modern era, which he terms “authenticity.” Trilling doesn’t do enough to help his readers understand the difference between the two words: but I’ve always visualized the difference by contrasting my mother and my mother-in-law. My mother was “authentic”: an artist, daughter of a world-class narcissist, a recovering alcoholic, suffering from anxiety and depression all her life, possibly the most eccentric person I have ever known (living alone on a farm in rural Georgia with 100 goats, llamas, miniature horses, basset hounds, roosters, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs), but absolutely committed to being true to herself, no matter what others thought of her. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is quintessentially “sincere” (in Trilling’s terms): a Midwestern matriarch, traditionally social, active in her community, fiercely family-focused, insisting always on presenting the best possible “buck up” face to the world no matter how she felt or what was going on inside her family.

Authenticity is about being true to oneself (even at the expense of social connection). Sincerity is about connecting with others (even at the expense of personal truth).

What does this have to do with Finance?

What does it have to do with social media, for that matter?

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, investors and other consumers of financial services care a great deal about “authenticity.” Increasingly, they are screening the individuals and firms they work with through the lens of whether those service providers have values that align with their own, and whether their behavior is consistent with their values.

Authenticity, today, is a differentiator. That’s true in business generally; but it’s particularly true in financial services… because authenticity has a lot to do with rebuilding and maintaining the trust that was damaged by and in the financial crisis.

Investors and consumers of financial services are also communicating and transacting more than ever before through digital channels, including social networks, although regulatory constraints continue to limit the ability of financial firms to communicate digitally with their clients as much as their clients would like.

The challenge is this: How do you convey or project authenticity through social media channels? How do you project a commitment to being “true to yourself” through channels which are all about connecting, being social, having as many “followers” or “connections” as possible.

Traditional literature is filled with characters who are “authentic”—Holden Caulfield from “Catcher in the Rye” comes to mind—but who wouldn’t come across very well to potential followers in the age of social media. Introspection and speaking one’s truth in isolation don’t translate well into brand value in a digital age.

My LinkedIn panel was only able to address this question in a limited manner…. But we did conclude that in order to convey “authenticity” through social media, one’s message and intellectual content need to be about helping others —whether by teaching, informing, enabling, inspiring—rather than about self-promotion.

Being authentically sincere—connecting with others out of a corporate mission and sense of purpose that is all about helping others—that’s how to differentiate in social media channels.

Another way to put this is that both authenticity (personal truth) and sincerity (caring about and connecting with others) are required to build the kind of social media brand customers and clients are looking for these days.

Photo: scyther5 / shutterstock

Posted by:John Taft

Postcard For iPhone Lets You Post To Any Social Network At Once, Even Your Own Website


Next Story

A new application, Postcard, launching today, will help you cross-post to various social media websites, but with a few unique twists. Unlike similar tools, this “Swiss Army Knife” of an app lets you set any one social network, or even your own website, as the content’s host. So, for example, if you run multiple Twitter accounts, the app could allow you to tweet from one, while the others re-tweet you.

In other words, Postcard is a pro tool designed for those whose job likely involves social media management of some sort.

What’s old is new again, perhaps? In the early days of Web 2.0, with the arrival of social media, a series of applications like Ping.fm, HelloTxt, or Socialthing, helped early adopters handle the psychological overload of having to post to multiple social media websites at once. Today, those consumer-facing businesses have generally shut down, with companies turning instead to pro tools like HootSuite to manage their online presence, while self-promoters might use something like Buffer or IFTTT to manage their daily social media workflows.

screenshot-2

The problem with many of the current solutions is that they’re designed to automate sending messages from one account or service to another, but that’s generally not how social media is used. Sometimes, you’ll cross-post the same message everywhere, but generally you would pick and choose the right destination(s) depending on the type of content being shared.

Postcard gives you that post-by-post control about where and how your message should be shared. This includes posting to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or LinkedIn, for example, but also to your own website.

For this, there’s a WordPress plugin available, as well as a “Custom Network” feature which lets developers configure any web server to receive content via the Postcard API.

What’s more, you can designate a website or a social network as the content’s “host” using Postcard, which sets it as the primary destination which is then shared via a link to the other networks. This could be your website, as noted, or it could be Facebook, or Twitter, or something else. That means you could post long-form content which is then shared and truncated when posted to Twitter, or you could leverage your Twitter network to draw users back to your Facebook page, or all your social media sites could just serve as an extension of your company’s website itself…or whatever else you want.

Postcard was designed by Kyle Newsome, a WordPress blogger himself, who says he came up with the idea because he was struggling to keep posting great content on his website, despite the fact he was posting to social networks multiple times per day.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 12.07.49 PM

The initial focus for the app, which has been in beta testing over part of last year, was more so on the WordPress angle, but is now more broadly focused on supporting a variety of use cases.

“I wanted to find a way to keep doing the social media part but proverbially ‘hit two birds with one stone’ and also have the ability to search, filter and display feeds of my content however I please,” Newsome explained at the time. “So Postcard was born of the idea to help website owners get their own websites communicating on a social frequency and keeping content fresh.”

The app itself is a free download with support for 3 networks, and you can purchase an additional 2, 5, or unlimited networks ($0.99, $2.99, $4.99 respectively) via in-app purchases.

You can grab it here on iTunes.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/19/postcard-for-iphone-lets-you-post-to-any-social-network-at-once-even-your-own-website/

Email Still Rocks! Social, Surprisingly, Stinks!


At conversions. Email rocks at conversions.

And despite all the hype associated with Facebook and Twitter, and massive amount of funds that most companies have allocated to social in their quest for magical money, sadly the impact on economic outcomes remains disappointing.

In fact email conversion rates are nearly 40 times (!) that of Facebook and Twitter.

While Google+ was not covered in the study, it is likely that it delivers similar outcomes.

 

Lesson number one… Social is a terrible channel to pimp yourself and expect short term rewards in revenue or profitability terms. It is completely irrelevant, COMPLETELY, what your friendly neighborhood Social Media Guru says.

If your boss/spouse/angel believes the Guru, send them this post. It is on LinkedIn. It should carry a lot of authority. :)

Lesson number two… Email only works for people who understand the pure essence of permission marketing. It only works for people who execute a fabulous frequency (how often), recency (gap between two touch-points) and relevance (giving a lot of value in exchange for the occasional ask) strategy.

Oh, and it is incredibly measureable. Here’s my post with recommendations across your acquisition, behavior and outcome efforts: Email Marketing: Campaign Analysis, Metrics, Best Practices

As your chase shiny objects, don’t forget the original platform that empowered you to build sustainable relationships and owned audiences. #emailrocks

Lesson number three… Social was never meant to be a conversion driving channel. It was always silly to believe that pimping your company’s products and services on Facebook would lead to short-term revenue – but the social ecommerce hype was/is too strong.

The See-Think-Do content, marketing and measurement model dictates that social media platforms are fantastic at See and good at Think. But they massively stink at Do.

The reason is simple: Intent.

You don’t go to social platforms to buy, and only extremely rarely to research. You are there to reach out to people you have real (or fake!) relationships with, you are there to get updates on your digital or real world existences, and you are there to be entertained.

Brands can win on social platforms if they understand why you are there. If they provide you with entertainment, if they provide you with information you can share with your circles, and if they behave in an authentic manner they can earn a tiny smidgen of your love and attention (brand equity). Case in point: Innocent Drinks.

All that can translate into revenue over a long period of time. When you the customer are ready, not when the company is ready (Now! Now! Give me your money now!!!!).

The two questions the company should ask itself:

  1. Are we inherently social?
  2. Do we have the patience to invest in relationships now to build our brand equity on social platforms?

If the answer to both questions is yes, do social. If the answer to one or both questions is no, stay home. Your company is not going to go bankrupt because it does not do social.

Good luck.

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PS: If you want to incentivize the optimal behavior on social media by your company, here are the best social media metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

Photo: Shutterstock

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