This article from BusinessWeek creeps me out a little bit but it is fascinating stuff, from a marketing and sociology/psychology perspective. Here’s an excerpt:
An immense new laboratory of human relations is taking shape. Millions of us are playing, working, flirting, and socializing online—and producing oceans of data. Duncan J. Watts, a Columbia University sociologist now on leave and heading a research unit at Yahoo!, marvels at the change. “When I started network research 12 years ago, we had virtually no data,” he says. Now he and his team can study the network behavior of 295 million e-mailers and legions of the 200 million Facebook users. For social scientists, Watts says, this flood of data could be as transformative as Galileo’s telescope was for the physical sciences: “It gives us a new understanding of our world and ourselves.” …
Others find value in a sizable following. Earlier this year, Jason Calacanis, founder of the search engine Mahalo, offered to pay Twitter $250,000 to put his account on a recommended list for the service’s users. He says he was “half joking” but believes the investment would have paid off. He figures the recommendation would have steered 5 million to 15 million new followers his way within two years and that many would have made their way to his company’s Web site. “If 10% click on a link [to Mahalo] once a month,” he writes in an e-mail, “you have about 1 million visits a year. … I’d pay 5 cents for a follower.” Lots of businesses, he says, could benefit from such followings. An airline such as JetBlue could offer discounts to the first 1,000 people who respond and “never [have] another empty seat.”
This is also from Marketing Sherpa, regarding what impact a double opt-in sign-up process can have on growing your list of contactable e-mail addresses:
“Adopting a double opt-in process, which requires users to click on a link emailed to their inbox after they provide their address, will ultimately result in a smaller email list. We estimate that 50%-70% will click on a link to confirm their email address. … while a double opt-in will produce a smaller list, it may be a more valuable list. One B2B marketer in the [Email Marketing Essentials 101 workshop] audience said that she chose a double opt-in process to focus on higher-quality subscribers, which was worth losing an estimated 40% of names that drop out at the subscription confirmation stage.”
Marketing Sherpa released the following statistics, which are included in its 2009 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide:
- 58% of seniors said Email is more useful to them than the phone
- 48% of senior said Email is the best way for companies to communicate with them
Unfortunately, they didn’t include specifics about the number of senior citizens surveyed nor how they surveyed them. But I’m sure they let you know if you pay the $400 to order their benchmark guide. Actually, it’s a good resource (I have the 2007 version), but it’s one that can perhaps wait for a healthier budget year.
This article by Karine Joly, a Web marketer, covers some of the most important things to think about as you begin re-examining your print publications and deciding which to replace with electronic versions. In brief, the five steps she recommends are to:
- Get the facts straight about your existing publications.
- Ask readers and target audiences about their preferences.
- Determine possible cost-saving options for mission-critical print publications.
- Figure out different electronic options for other print publications.
- Share your decisions with stakeholders, target audiences, and readers.
This article on Mashable.com (I know, there I go again with Mashable.com, but what can I say—they’ve got good stuff!) examines how NBA teams are using social networks well and not-so-well to build their brands. The author posits that such networks can be used to meet most PR goals for sports teams. Here’s an excerpt:
“… social media is allowing fans to directly participate and relate to teams and players in real ways never before possible. Consumers like to associate with people they know, like, and trust, and social media allows the public to interact with sports organizations and high-profile personnel that may have otherwise been inaccessible because of time and security constraints.
“Thus, targeted use of social media, especially when used consistently with other marketing and publicity activities, may exponentially expand fan involvement and loyalty for sports programs. Sports organizations and players that are actively engaging fans via social media are generally finding that use to be a net positive, and the most progressive among them realize that social media will be a vital part of fan outreach in the future.”
As some of you are no doubt aware, Facebook will be rolling out a new feature the evening of June 12 in which people can reflect their identity in the URL for their Facebook profile—something Twitter has offered since it launched. This means, for example, that if Chris Kringle had Facebook profile, he could register to have “facebook.com/santaclaus” as the link to his profile. This posting on Mashable.com made an interesting point I thought UW marketing and communications folks might want to be aware of:
“Unlike Twitter and Myspace, which have had vanity URLs since the start, Facebook is releasing this feature with over 200 million users. The inevitable result will be an online gold rush for common names, key phrases, and brand names. We can imagine users stealing the brand names of rivals just to keep it out of their hands, leading to a lot of headaches, complaints, and a mess to clean up.”
P.S. I forgot to mention something important about vanity URLs for pages (not profiles). This option is only available to pages with 1,000 or more fans. Also, this option becomes available at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time on June 12.
This article from Mashable.com provides good guidance on how to develop a social media policy, which the UW doesn’t have currently, but we probably should! I’ll see if I can wedge that into my to-do list.
The study notes that: ” Twitter resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network” Read the Chronicle of Higher Education’s post about it or HarvardBusiness.org’s summary.