Social network marketing for real

People have been asking me for ages if any real companies are using social networks for their marketing, so it was interesting to come across this data from Capital One in the UK.

Robin Goad from Hitwise reports that “Facebook is now its second biggest source of traffic, and even overtook Google UK for one month earlier this year.”

Here is an example of a mainstream company that is using online effectively to redirect advertising spend and obtain measurable results.

As I have been known to say, we need to fish where the fish are.  These days the fish are overwhelmingly on social networking sites.  The real trick is catching them.


Just one little change in the ecosystem

I recently experienced how easily one can disrupt a stableecosystem. And I learned the hard way how difficult it can be to re-stabilise that same ecosystem!

We have two dogs and one of them likes to socialise around the neighbourhood, and to this end she will dig amazing tunnels or climb over the high fences in our back yard.  To keep her in safely we have laid various bricks and paving


stones around the perimeter of the yard.

Not long back I moved one brick from one part of the perimeter to another. Several months of chaos, escapes and tunnel digging ensued.

Just one little brick gave her the idea that escape was viable and she turned her considerable energy and intelligence to that end. The ecosystem of my backyard suffered for months following the removal of just one brick.

It’s all sorted out now.  But this got me thinking about how we often cannot see the pattern that keeps an ecosystem strong and stable.  Just one little thing that looks almost irrelevant can pull the whole thing asunder.

This is precisely the kind of thing that we are seeing in the traditional marketing ecosystem with the impact of social media and social networking.

Businesses are grappling with this problem.  They are continuing to execute the old faithful marketing plans and see them deliver less telling results than before. Debates are happening in board rooms about the importance or otherwise of the web.  And many business people think that it is all a fad that will pass like so many others.

People are using & consuming media and technology in new ways – for example a recent Nielsen study showed users want to use TV and internet simultaneously. The change is deep, and it is important because it is a social phenomenon. It is also impacted by the convergence of web and mobile phones that see traditional ways of consuming internet changing – this Pew report gives some indication of these changes.

Luc Vallee sums it up nicely in the title of his recent blog post: Moore’s Law x Metcalfe’s Law = Chaos? It all reminds me of Yeats:

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

Time will ensure that we work out how to deal with the changes in our business ecosystem that arise from the changes in people and their use of technology. But it is these in-between times that challenge us and create fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Lolcatz Phenomena Harnassed for Language Teaching

This Caturday is brought to you via @Neerav

Lolcatz Phenomena Harnassed for Language Teaching

This guy is using lolcats for a serious purpose – teaching 8th grade French.

Pop over to his site & vote on the lolcats created by his year 8 students.

Very creative use of technology for education.

Of course, if you need moar lolcats there’s always icanhazcheeseburger or snuzzy.

If trust is a currency how do you avoid bankruptcy?

There has been a lot of talk in the social media and web 2.0 world about trust as the base currency of this new world (e.g. Trust Economies: Investigation into the New ROI of the Web).  But where there is a currency there is also the possibility of bankruptcy.

The notion of social capital is not a new one.  But it has taken on increased importance in this time of lightning fast communications.

A friend recently recounted a situation where they acted on the recommendation of a trusted associate and some key information was not provided regarding context.  This left my friend feeling let down and telling this story to a wide audience.

My friend felt that the trust that had been given in taking the recommendation had been betrayed.  And now, this person is sharing this experience that leads others to question the trustworthiness of that associate.

It all got me thinking about how trust is really a currency now.  And with currencies you can build up either a credit or a debit.

In the past we used to exchange labour for money – labour and money were the vehicles of exchange and drove the economy.  But now we are moving towards an economy in which trust is becoming a currency much as money has been up until now.

However, unlike money, trust is tied to many intangible things like reputation, behaviour, words and deeds.

That’s a fairly profound realisation!  We take a lot of trouble to keep our money safe. It is interesting to consider what steps are necessary to keep our social capital as safe as we keep our financial capital.

In any case, it does look like we need to start taking the same care with our trustworthiness as with our trust in this new economy.