Feb 28 2014

Top 5 Social Media Confusions!

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It’s no longer a trial and error, things are settled! At the beginning of the social media boom few years back, things were vague, brands where not sure how to use it to their benefit.  Today we have an established Social Media rules and best practices here are some (With a focus on Twitter and Instagram):

Don’t be a loner: the big names on social media that have zero following are not big as they think! Anyone who follows zero is missing out on a lot!  It’s not an achievement to have million followers and following none; the only achievement on social media is when you have a highly engaged audience!  You always must keep a healthy ratio between the two to ensure you are listening to your audience and getting the chance to engage with them.

Don’t get Retweet Happy: Yes! I know the retweet button got bigger on Twitter and it looks very tempting! Your timeline must show that you are here to add value, share your knowledge, and give your opinion. You can retweet from others for sure; but be careful not to exceed the logical number, which is 2 retweets in a row! Otherwise it will be a retweet overdose and your timeline will look like it belongs to someone else. This rule applies to instagram as well; it’s very likely to lose followers and get less “likes” if you get retweet happy!

Don’t think of yourself: don’t use your social media channels as your official PR; publishing only fancy news about your brand. You have to think of your audience, speak to them, appeal to them and add value to their timeline. Remember they are bombarded with polished brand messages on all other mediums. They are following you to engage with your brand on a deeper level. So get on with it, use the social media lingo and expressions and be spontaneous, you are not at a press conference! 

Don’t be a chicken: Don’t just follow others be original, lead by example, it’s ok to look at others and see what they are doing! But do it differently. Try out new things, you have all the space to be creative.

Don’t be confused! Favor VS Retweet: What do you do? Add to favorite or retweet! First they are not the same; when you favor a tweet this means you are in direct contact with the poster he will be notified that you have favored his tweet, and it will bookmark that tweet on your favorite tab. This action is mainly for yourself, keeping a reference for some tweets you like. Retweet, is re-posting a tweet to your followers which result in a viral action in which they may themselves retweet it. If you want to acknowledge a certain person you can choose to favor it will also indicate that you like what he said, which acts similar to the “like” action on Instagram and Facebook; and if you want to share the content from specific tweet or insta-post then use the retweet or repost features.


Sep 23 2013

Turn off the digital noise!

noise-pollution-loud-commercials-turn-off-the-tv

The revolution of advertisement which was presented to me by Jeff Rosenblum in his film “The Naked Brand”: is an introduction to a bright new future where companies tell the truth and work hard to create better products and a better planet. Since I saw the film I can’t stop thinking of the new comers, the bloggers who have joined the advertisement realm by sharing their personal experiences on brands; without generalizing many have sold their souls to ‘brands’! The film addresses brands and urges them that they must tell the truth, and stay away from the polished messages and the fancy advertisement and try to get to the heart of the consumer by offering him/her a really good product if not great.

In this article I am addressing bloggers, the new kids on the block, hey kids, you were good at the beginning, we believed you and followed you, now the freebees ruined you! Blogging is all about saying the “truth” a real opinion on a product or service the blogger has genuinely tried to the public, delivering a real experience from people to people, eliminating the brand influence! We liked that! We considered blogs are our source of truth! Up until brands hijacked the bloggers’ real personality, showered them with gifts and controlled their opinion! Now there is no difference between brand advertisement and blogs; bloggers are now owned by brands and speak in their language! I am not against the collaboration between brands and bloggers. However, brands must give bloggers the freedom to express their views from their own personal experience, and treat bloggers as first line of customers to offer them great products so they will speak the truth about them! The conclusion is brands must deliver quality products and bloggers must detach from the brands and say the truth!

Bloggers next generation; Please be: Transparent, Truthful, Real & Stop the digital noise

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Definitions

Blogging: is using blog technology which is a simple content management tool allowing users to publish content according to chronological order.

Digital Noise: blogging getting out of hand and publishing content about brands, mainly this content is influenced by brands and not the real bloggers’ personal opinion which dilute the blogging concept.


Mar 5 2013

My Dream Came True!

My dream finally came true, organizing my social media life, I even tried social media diet, up until CHNL was introduced to me, suddenly a life with out social content clutter, phew!!!

chnl.it-logo

CHNL allows you to choose which social media channels is most dear to you and brings you the feeds in such an elegant manner, you simply create an account or log in using your Twitter or Facebook, and immediately start browsing social media content.

I am sharing with you the press release issued on CHNL crowd sourcing experience with Berghs School Students, I really adore brands who understand what “Social Media” is about.

CHNL, Berghs School of Communication Collaborate on Social UX Design Challenge

Students from prestigious media school in Sweden present CHNL with ideas for presenting outstanding service experience over next five years

March 5, 2013 – Los Angeles, CA – CHNL (http://chnl.it), the social content discovery browser, today announced that design students from the prestigious, Sweden-based Berghs School of Communication are working with the Santa Monica-based social commerce startup on a design challenge. As part of the challenge, the students envisioned what kind of content and user experience will appeal to CHNL’s socially savvy users in three to five years.

Berghs School of Communication is centrally located in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, and for more than 60 years has been consistently developing a program of study that mixes the strategic, creative and production aspects of design and communication into a cohesive unity. Berghs students were enlisted to design an outstanding service experience around users’ social media content. About 50 students worked on the project to help CHNL imagine what future services they could offer in three to five years, with the purpose of improving life through making social content more meaningful.

“Integration between disciplines and working with real clients has been a key to Berghs’ success over the years.” said William Easton, the program leader (formerly head of the school). “And for this project students in graphic design and interactive communication worked together. Each group started out by doing some research about people’s experiences with social media, before developing new services that would have the potential to exist in three to five years.”

Prior clients that have worked with Berghs on the design challenge include multinational players like Mercedes, Siemens, Microsoft, Nokia and IKEA. The students were excited to discover they would be working with a California-based start-up like CHNL, and as part of the challenge, have been divided into seven different “mini-agencies” who could pull different communicatron skills.

John Wander, CEO of CHNL, added, “It is fantastic to be given the opportunity to work with such creative and energetic minds. It was amazing to see the solutions they came up with and figure out how we can implement some of these service design ideas. The winning team was comprised seven individuals (Diego Fria, August Larsson Hernmarck, Carl Platon, Nils Bohman Strom, Eva Klingstedt, Karin Rapp, Marc Ostlund). It was extremely difficult to pick a winner as all the teams demonstrated out of the box innovative ideas for new features, technology, and new market segments”.

“CHNL gave Berghs an ambitious and challenging brief with few limitations and a commitment to work with the students to implement the best solutions into real services to engage users globally. It was great brief and I think the quality of the responses shows that perhaps one of the only truly renewable resources we have is imagination. When this is directed at a challenging problem really exciting things can happen!”

Since the announcing the addition of Groupon and Living Social, CHNL is set to become the brand of choice and trust when it comes to helping people improve their life through access, control and convergence of social content.  To set up your “CHNL,” visit http://chnl.it.

About CHNL
CHNL is the ultimate social content browser, bringing your online DNA — videos, photos, music, news, and deals — into one clean, simple and intuitive “channel.” CHNL allows users to discover new, interesting, and personally curated content while never missing what’s trending across networks. See what’s being said about a piece of content, engage in the conversation, and share your social feed content across all your networks, all together in one place, on any device — your channel. Located in Santa Monica, CA, CHNL is led by veterans of such companies as INgrooves, FiltrBox (acquired by Jive Software), and Topspin Media, with backing from the Giantstep Angel Network. To set up your “CHNL,” please visit http://chnl.it.


Jan 28 2013

Twitter Arrived to MENA

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Twitter recently announced launching their advertisement products in the MENA region, focusing on GCC, Egypt, and Pakistan. The company partnered with Digital Ad Agency “Connect Ads” a pioneer in the region; the decision of sales representative selection was tough as they are introducing a whole new concept of Ad products. The interesting thing is that the Twitter Ad products since launched in 2010 have been well received and embraced by many popular brands internationally, among their first advertisers were Starbucks, Virgin America and Best Buy, their Advertisement sales formula followed the footsteps of Google and facebook, they have experimented with cost per thousand impressions and the Google keyword bidding module.

Twitter sells three products:

  • Promoted Tweets: Promoted Tweets can be targeted to search results or to user timelines. Twitter’s geographic targeting increases the relevance of your message based on location.
  • Promoted Accounts: The Promoted Account is featured in search results and within the “Who To Follow section”. Who To Follow is Twitter’s account recommendation engine and identifies similar accounts and followers to help users discover new businesses, content, and people on Twitter
  • Promoted Trends: this product is connected to the viral conversations that reflect some of the hottest topics of the moment. These trends are featured prominently next to a user’s timeline. Now advertiser can buy a Trending Topic and promote it on this section.

Twitter is not selling coconut; they are selling a much sophisticated product that will take the brands to the future of advertising. They are capitalizing on engagement; to Twitter marketing is no longer fancy polished clichés, to them marketing is a form of conversation with engaging messages that feels more authentic and natural. The logic is simple if you think of it; twitter matches the “Promoted Tweets” which is a popular product to the relevant conversations. They have developed it to a very intelligent level that this “Promoted Tweet” catches on real time conversations. This is really fancy and it’s all just simple “TEXT”!


Oct 24 2012

GLOBAL ONLINE ADVERTISING SPENDING STATISTICS [INFOGRAPHIC]

Global Online Advertising Spending Statistics
Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com Web Design Company


Mar 9 2012

While you are still sleeping!

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Organizations today are being challenged to quickly catch up with ever changing “interactive media”, inventions and new trends are moving faster than organization can ever cope with. The only choice they have is to run faster and find solutions that can push them to catch up.

We all know that change is not easy but we also know that “Change is good”, these days change is inevitable, therefore, organizations need to approach interactive marketing with an open mind and optimism. They must seriously consider integrating interactive marketing efforts with the overall marketing process, ensuring cross-organization decisions are facilitated through creating coherent planning programs; allowing the interactive marketing to be injected in the main stream of marketing activities.

One important point I must make clear here, that “interactive marketing” is different from “Online marketing”, both may face very similar challenges the latter is less difficult to implement into organization than the first one.

“Online Marketing” is marketing online using the channels to advertise for your business, such as display ads, ad google, social media, email marketing, content marketing, affiliate marketing etc…this type is controlled by the business, the consumer can respond, by clicking on the ad or establishing social media dialogue. With Interactive Marketing customers are more involved in the building of a brand, using methods such as crowd-sourcing, experiential marketing, community marketing, customized interactive tools.

The key issues causing organizations to lag on the interactive marketing fast lane:

  1. Organizations heads are “interactive marketing” resistant.
  2. Lack of specialized staff in the interactive marketing domain.
  3. Fear of uncontrolled exposure
  4. No efforts to revamp and re-engineering the existing processes  to embrace interactive marketing methods
  5. No Interactive Labs available within the organization and no efforts to establish those.

In a paper I read about the “Future of Interactive Marketing” prepared by “Forrester, it indicated that 30% of large firms still have fewer than 15 interactive staff members, and big brand advertisers like consumer goods or media firms dedicate just 2% of media spend to interactive channels, eventhough consumers log 34% of their media hours online.

Interesting figures from the paper:

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Solutions are clear:

  1. Hire specialized Staff
  2. Embrace “interactive marketing”
  3. Customize the process of marketing to incorporate interactive marketing
  4. Educate and transfer knowledge between those with interactive marketing skills and those with traditional marketing skills.
  5. Empower interactive marketing staff
  6. Establish specialized labs for experimenting

Point number (6) is important, the whole nature of interactive marketing is experimental, since this technology is growing and new things are coming up quickly demanding from us to be fast, creative and courageous we need an experimental field to allow us to proof the new concepts.

Organizations must join the future, it maybe burdening them with expenses now but it will turn to be cost effective for the future, as it will help them to know more about their client and tailor their marketing efforts on/off line for their needs.


Feb 3 2012

It’s a Misunderstanding!

Bloggers_Free

The major misunderstanding about media and blogger will be resolved once you read this article carefully:

Brands Treating Bloggers as Media

Brands think that blogs are media too! Well, the time has come to slap you with the reality! Bloggers are not media people they are not authorized to publish content and they own no publishing license! They are free spirits and true personal voices using their own vision and perception to speak their minds about you!

Media agencies on the other hand, are established entities responsible for content publishing in a systematic and legalizes approach; content may be delivered via any medium such as the internet, television, print, and audio CDs… Publishing in definition is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information — the activity of making information available to the general public. Blogs however, is a form of publishing but is defined as a personal journal published on the World Wide Web. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject, the web self-empowered publishing tools such as “wordpress” has enabled individuals to get into publishing their journals. As a blogger you are not required to be a writer or a certified journalist, you are just someone with good writing skills writing in your own daily diary! (Definition by Wikipedia)

Now the first major misunderstanding is that brands think bloggers are Media! First and foremost if the media sends press release to blogger and the blogger published them this means end of “Blogging”! It’s no longer the personal voice reader is thriving to hear, it’s the media influence! This unfortunately leads to the dilution of “Blogging” as a concept! And not only that it also endangers media content to be misused, putting your content in the hands of an individual who may misuse it in any sense is your responsibility, the blogger in that case is not liable!

Bloggers are confused

Second misunderstanding is the blogger themselves acting as media, I personally do not blame them as they are young enthusiasts who got the attention of the brands and extremely thrilled about it! Brands themselves have confused blogger, brands must be responsible in directing bloggers and empowering them with tools and inspirations to blog naturally about them.

I personally am a blogger as you can see, and I appreciate everyone who voices out his thoughts and opinions in a blog format! However, the concept here is not being deployed properly. Brands must understand how to employ bloggers to their benefit, and differentiate between mediums as mentioned in my previous article.

Blogger Evaluation Criteria

The most important thing is that brands must know the criteria of evaluating a serious blogger who can be of benefit to their brands, there are too many of them and differentiating the influential bloggers is a task on its own. Remember that the number of “site hits” doesn’t say much about the blog performance, simply because in Web Analytics a“hit” is not a measurement value a “Hit” on your website is the retrieval of any file, like a page or graphic and other resources such as scripts like .js and .css files etc…from the web server (“Read my article about “hits definitions – HIT OF MISS”). The real measurement is to understand about the visitor page views; meaning the single impression made by a site visitor, which is something usually not announced by the blogger, also you need to look at the bounce back rate (the rate of site visitors dropouts).

Evaluation can be through looking at the quality of blog’s content, number of engagement, number followers, comments, and what type of comments is important, ask them for analysis of their blog visitors look further into the bounce back rate and page views, and most important google their names and see what is their reputation in the blogshpere. I would add to that interview the blogger getting closer to him/her before you decide to hand him/her your brand reputation.

Conclusion

Media must understand that bloggers are supportive channels to other major medias, there are smart ways to use them. Blogs influence the mass in the sense that its people talking to people, so communities can relate to their content in a much personal level than official media. Simple ways of using them is to call on them to speak about your brands in their own voice give them the freedom, don’t expect them to write about you leave it to them! All you need to do is to make them like you. Remember very well if the blogger starts writing about you only to show off then it’s no longer valid it’s fake and no one like that! This message is for bloggers too, if you are true to your blog then embrace the freedom of your opinion and be courageous!


Dec 28 2011

How to join the Twitversation!

Twitversation

The question I repeatedly get is “What will I tweet”, where will I get the content and how?!

In a study by San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics who analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST) and separated them into six categories:

  • Pointless babble – 40%
  • Conversational – 38%
  • Pass-along value – 9%
  • Self-promotion – 6%
  • Spam – 4%
  • News – 4%

(wikipedia.org)

From the above stats you can tell that “Twitter” is all about “conversation” even the small talk “Pointless Babble” can lead to amusing conversations which will end up in engaging experience with another Tweep; for Example if I Tweet “I just saw a flying UFO” someone else maybe intrigued to “Tweet along” … the Twitversation may take nowhere but it will for sure effect the participants one way or another! This is exactly what you need to experience on “Twitter”!

So this is what I want you to learn is how to watch conversation flowing and pick up on them, whether you are tweeting as a person or company,  you need to jump in and join the babble otherwise you are not only losing the fun but you are defeating the purpose of Twitter!

To answer the urging question, how do I come up with “Tweets” I would simply answer initiate and join conversations. Remember conversations are defined as exchange of thoughts, opinions, feelings; and information, an act that you brilliantly practice every day. Twitter is another platform to practice this natural human act.

Initiators of Tweets:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Sharing information
  3. Encouraging Dialogue
  4. Giving Opinions
  5. Intriguing interests
  6. Talk with everyone about everything

Keep those “Twitversation Going”….


Oct 27 2011

It’s time to switch roles!

Train

I am sleepy! And I over ate for dinner so you must forgive me if I blabber! I will stay awake to write this article and I am sure I will sleep better if I share it with you!

These days we have many media channels, TV, Radio, Print and Web, telecommunication! Yes yes; broadcasting short message, mobile TV and even bbm are a media channels; I will leave TV & Radio out of this!

I will talk about Print & Web, Traditional VS Non-Traditional or (New Media also called Digital Media)! The current relationship is 80/20! 80% for Traditional Media and 20% New Media! The relationship encompasses using both mediums as content publishing and advertisement! By the way 20% for new media is an over-statement; but let’s be optimistic. This all is of course in reference to the new media usage status in Middle East region!

Traditional Media plays the prominent role in media buying and content publishing, the new media plays a support role more of a back seat when it comes to advertisement and content publishing; and sometimes it’s ruled out completely!

Reasons for that:

  1. Extensive Lack of Knowledge
  2. Technology Phobia
  3. Resistance to Change
  4. More Score Cards (YUCKH)
  5. Habitual thinking!

The last point, habitual thinking relates to the mindset of people owning the strategic thinking of the companies, often these decision makers like to go by the old book and avoid changes, in fear of more cost or unforeseen risks! Guys!!! Listen carefully if you suffer from this condition:

New Media is measurable! Meaning you can track user behavior and understand his “likes” and “Dislikes”; this will help you in your marketing strategy! When it comes to cost, yes it may cost some money but it is money well spent! Nothing on New Media is disposable!  All your efforts will lead to success if you employ the medium right! You just have to learn how to drive the ship and the shore will be easily reached! Doesn’t this make it invaluable!

Web Actionable Analysis helps you understand the data behind the website and make smart business decisions. Ever since business started tools to measure the efforts flooded the market, from the pencil and paper manual data analysis to the most sophisticated CRMs! So what is it about the web that scares people please help me understand! It comes with full package, a fancy business presentation closer than ever to the consumer anytime any place and a data analysis tool measuring every breath of your consumer!

Why are you putting it in the back seat when it is the future tool for absolutely everything!  It is time to switch roles!  You have to face the reality it’s no longer the age of push marketing and interrupted ads! It’s TiVo age! Consumers are in control of the information they consumes!

Don’t wait too long the train is moving, and moving fast you gotta catch up!

Goodnight!

A good read is “Road Less Travelled


Jul 8 2011

I blog in morning but work 24/7!

There is a significant difference between a “Website” and a “Blog”; a website can be a page or more for presenting a company or offering a service or information and news etc… in that case known as a “Portal”. blog

There are 152,000,000 blogs on the Internet. (SOURCE: UM, OCTOBER 2010) these blogs are about different matters, it could be a personal journal, social issues, company blog or industry focused etc… The most important thing in a blog is that it is human influenced! It is a person speaking to the mass!

Human influence; in the sense that whatever you read there is expressing a personal point of view of the “blogger”, the blog post is either information the blogger is sharing with you, like what I am doing in this post, or sharing an experience of any sort!

In our region, which is Middle East, blogs have become very popular and important, many which speak in a strong political voices, others expressing social pains and sufferings, and many also offering great opinions about specific matters, we see it from fashion, beauty, politics, art, technology, social activists and more… People are talking to people.

I mark this as a revolution of content publishing; times has changed from the age we only used to get the information from official source or media or TV programs, print magazines and news paper or radio etc… It’s the time where anyone can create a blog and start blogging and reach the whole world!

You might think of the title of this article, well I am very keen to explain that the major difference that sets websites or “portals” and blogs apart; is that the first one is mostly managed by a company and the latter is by a person. A company, however, can have a blog, where a person or more in the company manages for them; company blog must follow overall marketing strategy of the company. As far as an individual blog it might not have any strategy to follow, but a blogger has a responsibility to keep his/her readers engaged and create valuable content.

Read further…

Read Blog definition

Read a very nice article about the importance of a “Company” blog


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