Archive for April, 2011

I went to the #InciteXchange event last month and listened to Jack Hughes. Jack Hughes is the Founder and Chairman of Top Coder. During the presentation, Jack Hughes talked about the importance of encouraging the youth to participate in innovative process. That is one of the basis for Top Coder, which hosts online computer programming competitions. Below are some pictures from the event

 

 

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I learned many things in the Social Media Innovation class including the important of establishing on online presence for your business and how to do it, how the search engine is built as well as many many applications available on the Internet such as Xtranormal, Google Analytics and sitemeter. However, the most interesting experience for me when taking this class was the online marketing campaign for my Facebook Fan Page. Specifically, our group had four people and we have to come up with an idea for the Facebook fan Page that we will promote. After some discussion, we decided to establish a Fan Page named “Coupon Box,” which provides our fans with coupon codes of many well-known clothing and shoes brands. We used many different techniques to promote for the site such as blogging, carrying a facebook ad campaign, posting introduction video on YouTube,etc. It is interesting how I can apply what I learned from marketing into the campaign such as how we define our market segment and how to differentiate our fan page. Overall, it was an amazing experience that got to learn and use  marketing and technology at the same time

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Viral marketing happens when the popularity and adoption of a product or service increase thanks to the word of mouth of the current customers/users. With that definition in mind, it is certain that all of us have, at one point, participated in viral marketing. For example, you bought an Apple macbook and you tell your friends that the product is good and you really like it because so and so. You are participating in viral marketing for Apple!! Personally, the product that I often do viral marketing a lot is food. When I go eat at someplace and I think the food is good, I will not only come back but I will tell my friends about it. Many of you who visit my blog may see the post about Victoria Secret vs. Tokyo Buffet that I wrote a few weeks ago.  The reason why I chose Tykyo Buffet was that I like the food there, so I wanted to write about it in my blog. Although the post does not directly market for the Buffet, my blog’s statistic shows that a strong traffic attracted by the post. Thus, some people would be introduce to the place after visit my blog.

Regard to network effect, viral marketing is more or less likely to be successful for products with  network effects. The network effects of communication technologies and networks such as the Internet, social networking, and the World Wide Web will provide the means for people to communicate with more people instantly. Thus, it enhances the effectiveness of viral marketing.

 

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(Photo credit: from frenchguyonair.wordpress.com)

According to Gary Stein, “Nobody Gets Social Media…Yet.” He argues that even Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook –  one of the largest social network - said in the film “The Social Network” in the scene when Facebook begins to attract a large traffic that he did not know what Facebook is yet. Stein points out a very valid point that “what something does is different from what it is” and we must not narrow ourselves to the traditional concepts but “keep an open mind and allow something to evolve.”

Technology has helped to transform the social media. In the old model of social media, the communication is one-way and less pervasive. The main categories of social media include newspapers and television, in which information flows mainly from the publishers to the audiences. There is limited amount of feedback that can go from the audiences back to the publishers. Besides, because the main platform for social media was newspapers and television, information comes from reliable and professional but limited sources. It is hard for any individual, who is not in the publishing industry, to get the public attention for his/her opinion. In addition, since newspapers and television channels can only cover a limited geographic area, social media often had a local focus and did not interact with many different regions.

Thanks to the development in technology, social media has become a multi-way interaction that allows communications between publishers and audiences, audiences and publishers, and between audiences. The effects of the social media are also more pervasive in the way that everyone in the world are inter-connected. In addition, because virtually anyone can become a publisher and create his/her own social media network, no one can have complete control of the information anymore. In the old time, corporations and companies could essentially control  the information that were published about themselves by influence the major publishers (e.g. newspapers and television channels). Today, that is impossible. The information about a corporations or a companies does not have to come from the company anymore. It can come from virtually any source, one of which is customers.

To react to the changes in social media, organizations need to develop new skills and capacities. Most importantly, organizations need to realize that they can no longer buy, place or plan social interactions with customers via social media. The interaction can happen any time, with or without their control or knowledge. Thus, organizations have to develop a continuous customer relation strategy and act according to it.  According to Gary Stein:

The new definition of “media”: any moment when the brand and the consumer come into contact with each other.

The interaction can be directly or indirectly. Thus, it is vital for organizations to constantly build up and maintain its customer relation.

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Nowadays, a lot of companies, especially retails, are trying to develop a strong online presence. One of the techniques to substantially increase a company’s online presence is to create and maintain an active Facebook Fan Page. This fan page allows companies to interact with customers as well as potential customers and get a greater exposure on the Internet.

For my group project, I created a Facebook Fan page called Coupon Box. Our mission is to provide a one-stop shop for regular shoppers who seek for coupon and good deals. In order to promote Coupon Box, I recently run a Facebook Ad campaign. It is pretty simple to create a Facebook Ad once you already have a Facebook Fan Page and knows what you want to do with your page. Here are the step-by-step break down:

Step 1: Design your ad

This is the snapshot of the information you need to populate to design your ad. This information will be automatically filled in if your site is complete and have enough information in it. For example, the “Body” section is taken from the “About” section of your Facebook Page information. I created this campaign before I populated that information. Thus, the “Body” section was filled in by Facebook with a very general description. You can change any information above to fit your advertising objectives.

2. Targeting

This section will determine who will see your facebook ad.

In this step, you will choose the location, demographic and like&interest of your targeting audiences. In my opinion, the like and interest section is the most important part of this step. You need to identify about the appropriate terms and phrases that relates to the content of your page in order for the campaign to be successful. For example, since my Facebook fan page is about Coupon, the terms I chose was shopping, online shopping and also some brand names such as Express, Victoria Secret, etc. Facebook also gives you an estimate of how many people are in your audience base. For my set-up, my target audience base is about 12 million people.

Step 3: Campaign, Pricing and Scheduling

As you can see, in this step, you are required to set up a daily budget for you campaign. Because Facebook Ad is a pay-per-click model, you get an estimate of the cost of each click. My cost per click is $1.41, which is pretty expensive. You also need to pick time frame for your campaign, otherwise, the campaign will going on forever!!.

It’s really quick to get your ad approved and actually see it on your website. Below is a snapshot of my ad on my personal facebook page

(It’s at the bottom on the right :] )

As of 2:16pm on April 13, 2011, my campaign has been running for approximately 2 hours and got 4,015 impression (how many times it has appear on someone’s Facebook), 4 clicks (2 of which becomes fan), and cost me $4.35.

Stay tune for more update about the result of my Facebook Ad Campaign :)

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I’ve been checking-in using Foursquare and collecting points for the last 10 days. The way the points on Foursquare work is that you are awarded points with each of your check-in. Your check-ins earn more points if you are the first of your friends to check in, it is the first time you check-in the place, or you are the mayor of the place, etc. Only the points you are collected during the last 7 days count. Thus, in order to have a high ranking in the leadership board, you need to check-in often instead of trying to rack -up the points for the whole week and then do nothing after that.

I do not have a smart phone so I use my laptop to check-in instead. In order to check-in using mylaptop, I need to install a plug-in in FireFox.The plug-in is available here. It’s a good alternative to participate in Foursquare in my case. However, since not everywhere I go have an Internet connection, my check-in is limited. As of 10:00pm April 9th, 2011, I checked in 23 times for the last 7 days and earned 92 points!!

 

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(Photo credit webanalyticsbook.com)

  • Fee: you can use sitemeter for free. However, in order to have more advanced information about your site, you need to pay for the service
  • Visitor status: Sitemeter shows you the online status of your visitors
  • Traffic breakdown: Sitemeter does not offer drill-down information about the trend of your traffic such as where they are coming from, the length of visits, the number of page of visits,etc. What Sitemeter does is basically list the information of each visit, it does not have a lot of statistics about the total visit. So even though you have a lot information about each visit, it does not help you in determining the trend of your traffic. The site also does not offer any graphic for easy analyzing. However, Sitemeter does have a function that can predict the number of traffic over various time range: hour, day, week, month.

 

 

(Photo credit blog.webdistortion.com)

  • Fee: Everyone can use Google Analytics for free. All you need to do is to create a Google account, then you can have unlimited access to every feature of Google Analytics
  • Visitor’s status: Google Analytics does not show you whether your visitors are online or not
  • Traffic breakdown: Google Analytics allows you to drill down the information about the traffic of your website base on various criteria such as visitor geography, visit length, number of page of each visit, etc. Google Analytics is very helpful in determining the trend of your traffic.

 

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As of April 7, 2011, I have collected 4 badges on foursquare:

  • Newbie: I got it when I did my first check-in
  • Local: I got this badge when I check in my apartment building 3times in one week
  • Bender: I got this on the fourth day checking – in foursquare
  • Adventurer: I got this badge by checking-in at least 10 ventures

Those are the badges I collected so far. Looking forward to collecting more badges and more fun. To friend me on foursquare, please click here

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In order to increase the traffic for my blog, here are two website promotion activities that I consider taking:

Import my blog into my Facebook page (Photo credit http://tomuse.com/import-blog-publish-post-to-facebook)

It’s easy to import a blog to Facebook. You basically just have to click on “Import a Blog” button in the Note section. Then , you can enter either the URL or RSS feed of your blog in the form provided and select the box confirming your ownership rights and click the “Start Importing” link. After confirming your blog, Facebook will automatically add your new blog posts as notes on your profile.

Thanks to my strong network on Facebook, this is an easy way to get more traffic to my site. Since all of my connection on Facebook know me personally, they will potentially be loyal visitors of my blog. In addition, I can further expand the circulation of my blog around Facebook if my friends keep commenting or “like” my posts because the posts that my friends comment on or “Like” will appear on their homepage, allowing their friends to see it too. If other people see that their friends like something, it becomes more personal and there is high chance that they will go to check out my blog too. Thus, with good and interesting content, I can substantially increase my blog’s traffic and gain visitors’ loyalty. Moreover, new posts are automatically appear on my friends’ homepages, they are more likely that they will read the posts than if I just email the link of my blog to them. If my friends see the posts are interesting, they can actually visit my blog to check things out.

By importing my blog to Facebook, I hope to attract more traffic to my blog as well as gain more loyal visitors. In addition, I also expect to receive feedback and discussion about the topic that I blog about. This is a great way to know how I am doing on my blog since my friends will be the ones to give most honest feedback. Other people, if they do not like my blog,
they can just leave and I would not know what I did wrong or need to improve on. In this case, I can use the feedback I got from my friends to further improve my blog.
I use two metric to measure the success/failure of this promotion activity. First, I will closely monitor the incremental increase in traffic for my blog. I will expect the number of visit will increase on average of 20%. Other than that, I can measure the quality of my posts through the number of “Like” and comments generated by the posts on Facebook. This is the good indicator of the quality of the blog as well as predict future traffic for my blog.
Make video out of some posts and publish to other social media such as YouTube, Digg, etc. (Photo credit http://autonicheblogs.biz)
Basically, for some of the interesting post such as “Tet holiday in Vietnam” or some “How to” posts, I can make some 30 second videos about them and post them to other social media website. The video will definitely include the link to my website if they want to check it out for more information. This is a good way to get more exposure for my website and drive more traffic to my website. Videos are often get people attention more quickly, so this promotion activity can get people, who otherwise would not, to visit my blog. By carrying on this promotion activity, I hope to give my blog more exposure to other social media website beside Facebook.
It’s hard to measure the direct the effect of this promotion activities through the increase in traffic to my blog. However, I can indirectly assess the impact by evaluating the circulation of these video on the social media website. The number of view of the videos can be a reasonable measurement for the success of this promotion.

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