Tag: social media

Examining the value of paper.li dailies

After catching this tweet from Chris Brogan: “Who is actually READING all these dailies that you all put out? How are they impacting your efforts?” I was compelled to explore and blog about it.

It’s a valid question if not rhetorical.

What is paper.li?

Simply, per their site, “paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy-to-read newspaper style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag (hashtag).”

With the proliferation of ways to distribute and syndicate content, MarCom and other “socially influenced” professionals would do well to take a close look and determine if these dailies could be a tactical advantage to existing efforts, or if it’s just another noisemaker in the mix.

So I asked some of my Twitter follows who issue paper.li dailies for their thoughts.

Who is your target audience, why them?

@muchmor (Chris Toombes): Audience started off as just me. I saw the papers as a way to conveniently pull together in a neat summary important items from a particular list or stream. It enabled me to scan the paper for important items at a time best suited to my schedule at that particular time. Hashtags also work to some extent but often these are missed off of posts or more often than not many hashtags get used for the same item adding confusion. http://paper.li/muchmor

@franklyPM (Cola Richmond): I created the paper purely for my own needs so for a while didn’t promote it on Twitter… A few month’s ago I started a new job and I was so busy that I found it impossibe to dedicate any time to reading my Twitter feed. Aware that I was missing out on some good conversations I set about compiling a list of Twitter folk that specifically talk about things relevant to my work as a web project manager. Within half an hour of compiling my “WebPM” list on Twitter I had a daily paper that was interesting, useful, easy to scan and relevant to my work…My target audience is primarliy other web / digital project managers, but I am aware designers and developer are also reading it. http://paper.li/franklyPM/webpm

@AziVaziri (Azi Vaziri): I simply share the daily with followers who might be interested…No specific target audience. http://paper.li/azivaziri

Beyond enhancing brand visibility, what other leverage do these dailies offer; what types of results have you obtained?

@muchmor: Locally, I’ve seen an increase in people following me and re-tweeting the local paper I create and also seen others create they’re own sub-versions of the papers. I’ve also recently added the city paper to our magazine website and seen a lot of hits and had a few emails from mainly newcomers or future newcomers thanking me for adding a daily update of places they have settled in or thinking of settling to. Local news from real people is seen as a valuable resource for our readers.

@franklyPM: Project Management is a job that is seldom discussed in my industry and any information / conversations about the subject tend to get drowned out by the volume of content dedicated to web designers and developers. For this reason, I decided to make my WEBPM paper available to everyone and it’s now announced daily on my Twitter feed…I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people I’m following, and at least one person a day sends a “Cheers for the RT” or “Thanks for the shout out” because my daily paper is not only promoting my industry, but others in the profession too.

@AziVaziri: For the most part, the mentions in my daily have generated conversations with people I may not have easily connected with. It’s helped me make new connections.

If you were part of the team evolving this platform, what recommendations would you bring forward?

@muchmor: I’d like to see “white label” versions and maybe an RSS feed driven version and even an iPad version in the same vein as “flipboard”. I’d also like to see more control over it’s content and better stats and reporting.

@franklyPM: The one thing I’d really like to see on the next rollout would be stats. Without any analytics data in place, I can’t tell if anyone is reading the paper, how they found it or if it drives traffic to other sites. Paper.li! I hope you’re reading this – hint hint.

Effort, stats and ads

It’s interesting that Cola would pick up on a term from Brogan’s tweet that also made me wonder about what he appears to be implying. Cola adds, “the only qualm I have with Chris Brogan’s tweet is the word ‘effort’ – it involves 10 minutes of list management a week and the rest is automated. No effort at all, to be perfectly honest.”

Touché!

paper.li is designed to facilitate the dissemination of info not encumber you with additional work in your communications efforts. If it takes too long to get these out, then you’re either not using the site properly or Paper.li designed a poor product. I doubt it’s the latter.

Having the option to access metrics on readership, traffic, sentiment etc. is a clear item in the wish list for users. Also, I wonder if paper.li would entertain allowing users to create/customize ads, perhaps give them the ability to tweak hyperlocal to really showcase ads of companies/retailers/events within a discernible radius of their respective, immediate communities.

The value of Twitter’s clout

In my view, the fact that your Twitter follows configure their dailies to feature the content/news you tweet is testament to the value of Twitter’s clout.

I rarely watch the evening news these days as Twitter has practically become my real-time feed. That you would organize a daily of select tweets that read as cohesive, relevant news brings to light the power of virally driven information—information that are tweets!

So what’s preventing you from taking this model and applying it to say a targeted media campaign? You could easily scale and refine the content you choose to feature.

Still, Azi wonders,”..even before Brogan’s tweet, I’d been wondering if there’s real value in sharing the daily…I actually take a quick read through it in the mornings…and know that a few of my friends read through mine. I’m still undecided as to whether or not i’ll keep on sharing it.”

Do you issue these dailies? What has your experience been?

The Merging of Pure Play Media and Social Media

Autom, thanks so much for adding me as a guest post. Here’s my two cents on the eventual marriage of pure play media and social media.

Why social rocks?
My first foray into social media some years back, I was confronted with a channel that seemed so vastly different than what I’ve come to know in my years as a digital marketer.  I became enthralled with the notion of relationships driving business; with transparency and authenticity integral to delivering value.

Willy Loman’s character in Death of a Salesman is about a man who is self-obsessed with the notion of greatness, and even in his later years convinces himself that success is directly attributed to “greatness, popularity and personal charisma”.

Contrary to that notion, many successful businesses have been built on a simple handshake, the unspoken trust built from years of understanding customers, and responding to their needs. Customer relationships have been at the core of convergence. This is not new… but in the digital space, it is the absolute core to business sustainability.

And I have bought into that. I have come to emerge as a purist in social media and while I understand this continues to be a test and learn channel, I have not necessarily given up the principles that have accompanied the true merits of this channel: credibility, community, engagement and its undeniable result: sustainability.

Nowadays you can buy social… but that’s counterintuitive to why social exists

In recent instances I have come into contact with social networks that have tried to sell me media across blog networks, consideration into networks with strong exposure to the longtail audience.

While that piqued my interest, it became apparent that “access” to niche bloggers, particularly ones with influence, would really mean buying ads on their sites. There was no real opportunity to engage with these influencers, nor develop a really strong program to build brand engagement among the follower base. It was simply pure play media. The argument that comes back to me from the media sales guy, “…but it’s still media, and it doesn’t come free!”

The quest to monetize social networks

It seems to have been the age-old question. If these networks are to exist and be maintained, how are they going to make money?

One of the reasons that Yahoo! reduced its investment in 360, Geocities, and Answers was that it struggled to combine online ads into a user-engagement environment ie the two environments could not effectively co-exist. Ad performance was poor because users didn’t want them there.

There are some networks doing an ok job at monetizing the medium:

  • Google, fortuitously recognized a subscription model that users were willing to pay for to help justify their acquisition of YouTube.
  • Slideshare and Scribd expects users to pay to maintain their presentations ie brand presence on its network. Downloads lead to business leads, hence the reason to be here.
  • The contextual advertising Facebook offers is very relevant to its members, however I don’t know how good the click-through rates are compared to traditional media. I would suspect that the low CPMs indicate that it’s still not a pervasive medium to buy ads. I’d like to be proven wrong on this one. My friend at Facebook and I have had endless arguments about social ads and the oxymoronic way Facebook has chosen to monetize its network. I argue it’s still blatant advertising and it’s the reason people have gone away from the portal model  ie Yahoo! AOL and MSN — to get away from the intrusiveness that has come between the user and his/her consumption of content.
  • Twitter’s model is, by no means, relevant to its users. Twitter ads run in the user’s timeline and does not target users based on profile, interest, tweets or followers. This article,  states, “ We want to display Promoted Tweets in a way that’s both useful and authentic to the Twitter experience”.

I’d be interested to hear what other people think. Do we expect that emergence of more ads in our social footprint will this be accepted by users in the long run? Or will it necessitate yet another change that undermines this trend?



About Hessie Jones

I am an online marketer who has worked in the technology space for over a decade. I am addicted to new technology and cannot do without my Macbook or my iPhone.  I  am  currently at Due North Communications creating experiential catalysts for word of mouth influence. Previous experiences include Isobar NA, Yahoo! Overlay.TV, Citibank, CIBC, Ogilvy and Rapp Collins.  I have views on advertising, emerging technology including video, and social web applications. I’m living and breathing in the social web space and cannot consume as quickly as this space evolves. I follow politics, environmental initiatives, and music (mainly the old stuff pre 1990). Some quick notes about me: Marketer… Cellist…US Politics watcher…Twitterer, Yoga-er??!… Fave coffee: Tall Non-fat Caramel Macchiato – Starbucks…Michael Jackson fan…Jeffery Deaver fanatic….sap for human interest stories..Rubik’s cubist…dabbled in pointillism… interest in caricatures and nude painting…can say the alphabet backwards…know most world capitals… hockey and soccer mom…

Find me: hessiej.com, twitter, facebook
 

How Facebook “made me see the light”..well ok, not really

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I tend to mock Facebook relentlessly. This mockery is largely tounge-in-cheek and tends to piggyback off commentary from tech bloggers and other non-marketing bloggers who closely examine the technological development, ethical implications and overall behavioural trends (usually identified by designers and UX experts) during the course of FB’s maturation cycle.

The one most vociferous contention I’ve raised to date against FB is in reaction to a ReadWriteWeb post upon the launch of ‘Places’ and how FB’s overall agenda is to quite literally own the social web and all forms of data it can harvest.

To me, this notion of ‘sole ownership’ to a universal social graph is highly presumptuous and reeks of hubris and arrogance. This intentional agenda not only stifles competition and innovation but also, and perhaps more importantly, automatically predicates Facebook as the singular, iconic social channel and data source from which the social media revolution is meant to be fashioned and is intended to evolve going forward.

Popular definition
For most, when they see social media, the immediate association will likely be Facebook. Heck, and never mind the movie, the overdriven hype alone (good or bad) has already fast-tracked the social site to iconic status. But again, here is where opinion based on popular vote appears to dominantly define what the perceived norm is or should be. For some, if not a few, they know better.

In principle—and I do hope this is the last post I am compelled to write on the subject—it’s not FB itself that I personally find appalling. And I can’t speak for (nor would I choose to criticize) the characters of Zuck or any of his developers or teams. But I do find its privacy-related blunders to be entirely avoidable. It’s no wonder FB gets such a bad rap when it comes to this.

Nice try, but not quite
A couple of thoughts on FB you’ve probably seen articulated before but deserves repeating:

  • Facebook’s “collective wisdom” is too fragmented to be semantically useful at this point. Maybe FB does have a shot at developing a function as a recommendation source over time. But look at your “friends” on FB now. Do they all provide meaningful feedback and information to you on a regular basis? Do your interactions really influence how you behave offline? Is the “collective wisdom” of their Likes, comments, recommendations really going to sway how you make a decision about what movie you plan to see next, how you’ll go about exploring your career path or what mobile device you’ll choose to buy?

  • Facebook’s design is not conducive for business collaboration. We know the successful impact of Facebook on B2C brand campaigns (e.g., Coke). Targeted brand loyalty campaigns offering cachet and easy access by the broader public is a winning formula no matter what platform you choose to carry it out. So achieving critical mass in participation is easy. Add gaming techniques to the mix and sure, “Everybody Loves Facebook”. All this activity is driven and influenced through the day-to-day random socializing you do on FB. It cearly addresses your personal interests as a consumer. And while I respect marketers who are in this space, I’m not convinced that their sensitivity to jabs taken at FB are meant as being protective of how FB could be leveraged as a business collaboration tool, nor the technical programming that makes FB its own, dare I say, kettle of fish.

Now a certain Twitter follow—who happens to be a Forrester analyst although this post has nothing to do with him personally—notes three reasons to stop demonizing Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. What do you think?

Beyond America
“Demonizing”, “fearmongering”, and some pretty dramatic statements to Facebook’s defense left me wondering if I should be sympathetic to the “stop being mean to FB” propa— er messaging. There are at least three separate statements on said post that I find heavily coloured with subjectivity and to which I fail to see strength or substantive value in premise, including:

“Faulting Facebook for getting big and successful through legal and entrepreneurial means is, well, downright un-American.”

Er ya..the world does not revolve on whether or not one’s approach, stand or opinion is un-American (no offense to my American friends). But clearly, when you are writing about social media, you are writing about how it affects the web. Last I checked, the web appears to be something of a global phenomenon.

What about you? Can you say “faceshmook” and hold back a smile?

images sourced from michellesmortgagemusings.com and telegraph.co.uk respectively

Dynamics of a Personal Brand

Blogging + Twitter = Personal Brand

That about sums it up doesn’t it? Well, almost. It’s a starting point, and I doubt one equation adequately encapsulates the full dynamics of a personal brand.

Now, you ask, “Why would I care about a personal brand?”

The age of online networks
The Internet is growing exponentially. Proliferation of online activities are giving way to highly interactive behaviours, creating many social circles (communities)—circles which in turn affect and influence real life individuals and communities.

Establishing a recognized personal brand permits you to navigate through different communities fluidly. You are easily recognized for who you are and what you represent. Your brand is proven and trusted. In effect, your network expands and your relations and reputation become more robust.

A healthy and extensive network not only bodes well for you, but also for those with whom you are associated.

autom8So what does it take to develop a personal brand? My experience to date tells me a lot of it has to do with staying true to yourself and letting things happen naturally, almost by chance.

Branding your own person not persona
Knowledge, expertise, charisma and useful insights make up a successful personal brand.

Although I would add that a trusted personal brand is organically cultivated—not contrived—and emerges as a result of a fine tuned, transparent voice.

What does that mean? In my view, it means a number of things. And they all occur or come together simultaneously, at times serendipitously, including:

  • producing content that’s largely inspired instead of canned pieces churned out of an editorial calendar
  • inciting productive dialogue through constructive opinions that attempt to examine what’s beyond the obvious
  • sharing a variety of topics and news that reflect your interests and viewpoints, e.g., in what you tweet (granted, I’m a bit biased with my interest in technology..just a bit)
  • conversing with and listening to your online follows; being helpful, encouraging and getting to know their voice (who  are they? what are their interests and concerns?)
  • showing a sense of humour (sometimes sarcastically—yes, marketing snark can be entertaining), at best for comic relief, worse, to express displeasure and/or concern; although I would advise that resorting to wit and intelligence is more effective than the shock value of words fueled by raw emotions
  • being sincere and genuinely interested in the ‘man/woman/logo behind the avatar’; earning their trust/respect and encouraging an opportunity to connect offline
  • staying real and being yourself instead of overworking what it takes to be perceived as unique. The natural development of your voice alone will define your identity.

Your personality, knowledge/expertise, the content you create and critical thinking you offer, are core ingredients that determine the quality of your personal brand.

Blogs should not only serve to be useful to others but also provide a view into a host of personal perspectives including your creative and philosophical predispositions. Concurrently, your tweets should amplify certain tones that echo your personality and reflect whether or not you choose to nurture your identity online and reveal how approachable you are.

How you help connect others online as well as the connections you yourself make offline are proof of your serious investment in online interactions. The success of these interactions and connections close the loop and attest to the effectiveness of your own sociability and the visibility and reach of your personal brand.

This is the stuff of networking today.

Can you imagine how it will further evolve? Do you chase after opportunities or allow your personal brand to draw them out?