When I describe Twitter to people, I often get blank stares.
“Why do you need more interruptions in your day? Aren’t you already busy?”
Here are two examples of the true power of Twitter:
* Last Friday I was having real trouble with WordPress. In frustration I twittered “Wordpress, what part of < BR > don’t you understand?”
It was more of a rhetorical question than anything, but within the hour Nick Hodge from Sydney tweeted back the answer! (It’s < BR / > , if you’re interested.)
* Later that day, I sent out a tweet for feedback on some design tweaks to SimonYoungWriters.com. Again, within the hour, I had some feedback from a 16-year old freelance designer in Auckland!! (feedback which I’ll attend to very shortly, Ludwig – thanks again!)
If you haven’t already noticed, I ask a lot of questions. One morning as we were walking through Titirangi’s majestic bush scenery, we discovered a new track. We took our chances, walking and then stumbling through the steep track. I felt gravity pushing me like a bully, and soon gravity and I were in a wrestling match.
As I made my way to the office I couldn’t stop thinking about how much we like to think we’re in control. But we think we control far more than we actually do.
When you participate in social media, it’s like life. You don’t really have control of the outcome.
But any form of marketing where you do feel you have control is an illusion. The social media world is where your audience is increasingly going to be. These are people, with views, opinions, preferences – and a voice.
In 2001 he started simply telling stories on the web about his neighbourhood.
Now his site is a must read for potential real estate buyers, with 200,000 of them viewing his site every month. Now the New York Times is one of his key advertisers. Mainstream media, advertising on a blog.
He never focused on the numbers, he created conversation.
Do you have a certain way of doing things? I do. I’m fussy with how my food is arranged on a plate. I like to control the amount of sauce I have on a main meal. (I promise this blog is going somewhere).
Millie Garfield(82) has a video blog which does ethnographic research into problematic design of consumer products from an elder video blogger’s point of view. In other words, Millie talks about brand experiences that the elderly face everyday. These experiences vary from toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, food packaging, perfume but they often come down to “I can’t open it”.
Millie hasn’t talked about toilet paper yet but it’s probably only a matter of time. Why does she say it? Because these are real issues for her age group. And social media gives her a voice.
I wonder if the people that make toothpaste, dental floss or toilet paper are listening. It’s not just Generation C using social media- it’s everybody.
As I look forward to my daily dose of social media news, I came across an interesting article by Professor Reichheld. He launched the idea a couple of years ago that recommendations influence actual purchase. He’s proved it with real market data.
How likely is it that you would recommend a brand, a company or a product to a friend, a colleague or a family member?
His study was conducted in China, where there are 172 million internet users. Cyworld and Mixi are the most popular social network sites in Korea and Japan.
In his findings nearly 90% of brand conversation is face to face.
80% of consumers say the internet is the most important medium in their lives, followed by mobile phone, tv and newspaper.
31% in the study are sure their peers bought something that was recommended by them.
Let’s bring it back home now. The first thing I thought of is the influence you and I have as consumers shouldn’t be underestimated.
Whether it’s blogs or where ever you are connected socially, many consumers are sharing brand experiences good or bad with each other online.
For example on twitter consumers are complaining about the new apple mac operating system. We also heard about the recent earthquake in San Francisco from a member on twitter before it hit the mainstream media.
Judging by the comments on Jon Beattie’s presentation on web 2.0, there’s still a sizeable gap between those in the know and the rest of the world.
One of my theories is that people still put blogging, podcasting etc in the “technology” part of their mind (which for some is a scary place). It should be in the “people” part (which is also scary, but part of our jobs).
Maybe I can do my bit today by debunking one thought – that web 2.0 has to be uber-cool and aimed at a youth audience. Two recent blogs show that to be wrong.
Can you think of anything less exciting than insurance and home buying? (Okay, getting a home is pretty cool, and I suppose getting an insurance payout is exciting – but paperwork is not fun at all!)
New Zealand companies are harnessing blogs, not to do anything especially new, but to get closer to their customers in a way they couldn’t before.
It’s not about whiz-bang technology – it’s about predictability and things working properly. It’s not about the coolest new thing – it’s about the most relevant. It’s not about who can get the most traffic to their blog – it’s about who can make the best connection with the people who do come.
This is a conversation-starter. Want to join the conversation? What do you think a blog is for?