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  • Substance of Message Most Important Factor In Social Media

    by Christian | Mar 9, 2011 | View Comments

    Recently a team of HP researchers set out to examine how popular subjects get to be listed among the top 'trending' topics on Twitter. Contrary to popular belief the number of tweets and the number of followers of any particular twitter account has little to no affect on trend creation or propagation.

    Instead, Bernardo Huberman, HP Senior Fellow and director of HP Labs' Social Computing Research Group, says "we found that mainstream media play a role in most trending topics and actually act as feeders of these trends. Twitter users then seem to be acting more as filter and amplifier of traditional media in most cases."

    The HP team collected data from Twitter's own search API over a period of 40 days in the fall of 2010. From the resulting sample of 16.32 million tweets, they identified 22 users who were the source of the most retweets when a topic was "trending." Of those 22, 72% were Twitter streams run by mainstream media outfits such as CNN, the New York Times, El Pais and the BBC.

    The conclusion I draw from this research is that people value and reward a message of substance. Traditional media might not be as popular as it once was, but it still has infrastructure and revenue to support journalism and create topical professional content. And it's the quality of that content that determines the success of the message.

    Yet, with the proof laid out, I still hesitate to ask, @nytimes or @KimKardashian?

    Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay

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  • We Are The Future…

    by Christian | Mar 3, 2011 | View Comments

    Media agency PHD created this spot "for an industry conference and as a promotional video to stimulate discussion within the marketing industry". Unfortunately the discussion it has stimulated has focused on the execution of the spot rather than its message. Snippy pre-teens telling the ad industry of their self-importance and how the industry will have to do its job in the future, rubbed many the wrong way. This disappoints me. It disappoints me because the message behind the video, that consumer expectations for a more meaningful advertising experience will increase exponentially in the future, is largely lost.

    Perhaps PHD should have listened to its own [good] advice and delivered the marketing industry a deeper conversive experience rather than relying on a pretentious lecturing spot from the past.

    What are your thoughts?

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  • Case Study: How a 91-Year-Old Company Got Its Groove Back

    by Christian | Feb 2, 2011 | View Comments

    The following article was written by Leah Thayer for her site daily5Remodel. Please visit her site for more great content.

    Before there was jubilation in the classrooms of one Baltimore school, and before there were more than 65,000 visits to the website of one Baltimore roofing company, there was concern that something radically different needed to happen to regain market share for that 91-year-old, family-owned business.

    Here's a brief overview of how.

    The Challenge

    Cole Roofing, founded in 1919 and now in its fourth generation of family ownership, "never advertised a day" prior to about 10 years ago, when it became impossible to ignore a steady erosion of its long-held market share, said Bill Cole, a co-owner and great-grandson of the founder. New competitors were advertising and marketing heavily, whereas Cole Roofing was accustomed to essentially taking orders.

    As Cole told us for this December d5R Snapshots feature, "Bids would come across the fax machine, and we'd estimate and send them back out." When it became clear those days had ended, "we had to do something."

    The Plan

    In 2009, after exploring and abandoning options for radio and newspaper advertising -- the costs were unjustifiable, Cole thought -- he hooked up with a small digital marketing agency called Airplane Corporation. Airplane principal Christian Childs proposed an idea: to give away a green roof, and to leverage social media to spread the word and elicit interest.

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  • If You Don’t “Like” This Post, I Lose All My Social Credibility

    by Christian | Dec 22, 2010 | View Comments

    It's unfortunate, but this mindset is becoming a reality in the social web.

    Brands are turning to services such as Klout, a company that measures a persons online influence, to identify socially credible influencers. These influencers become the brands ideal customers in hopes that they will speak well of their experiences with the brand across their attentive social networks.

    Great idea, right? In some cases, yes, let the consumer do the work. Treat your customers right and they will become brand ambassadors.

    As I see it, the problem lies not with the social credibility model, but with the metrics used to identify who has credibility and who doesn't. Socially engaged people tend to engage with other socially engaged people. Heavy users of Facebook and Twitter spend the vast majority of their time engaging with other heavy users of Facebook and Twitter. Technology is becoming a huge part of advertising industry, and you can rely on an algorithm to tell you who has the most retweets and 'likes' but to rely on an algorithm to tell you who has developed the strongest real emotional human connections is a mistake.

    Technology can't develop relationships, only genuine people and genuine brands can. I know it can be easy to look at numbers and make decisions, but we can't sacrifice great relationships for great metrics.

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