Tracking and measuring Social media marketing has been of utmost interest to me the last couple of months, with more and more enterprises, SMEs and startups taking to social media marketing with vigor, it becomes important to measure and track results and effectively make data driven decisions to increase revenue / brand awareness.

The first step is of course to listen and monitor. The presentation below is a great place to start understanding the importance of monitoring conversations and buzz around your brand on Social Media.

The 4 step process of Listen -> Plan -> Respond -> Evaluate

seems to be the most effective for tackling problems and quickly closing the loop.

Stayed tuned here for a detailed analysis of Monitoring tools, both free and fee-based which you can use to monitor buzz, sentiment and conversations about your brand.

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All about Proto.in

January 15, 2009

As we get closer to the Bangalore edition of Proto and the excitement builds up for India’s premier startup event,  here’s an awesome conceptualization about Proto.in by the folks from Pictualize.

Date : Jan 23-24, 2009

Venue: Nimhans Convention Center

Btw, if you haven’t already registered, now’s a good time to do so, go ahead and register now.

I just finished going through the Consumer experience report, from Razorfish a survey which has documented the online behavior and characteristics of more than 1,000 “connected” consumers on the internet. This was refreshing to read in the midst of all grim news and presentations from VC firms and the layoffs in internet firms.

The Consumer experience report looks at:

  • People’s life online and their exchanges and networks that they build on the web
  • Changing consumer behavior heralded by Web 2.0, UGC and the voice of the consumer
  • what is the real impact of the “social web”;
  • Key drives for transactions and purchases on the web
  • and who is really using the mobile web and what are they doing.

The survey report is nicely documented and gives several key insights into online consumer behavior. If you are building a consumer internet product, it would suggest you go through this report.

Here are some thoughts I found encouraging, with potential for building opportunities on

  • Search as the start of most online experiences
  • Increasing importance of user experience design and designing for the “Facebook generation”
  • Emergence of online video as a rising star and increased adoption across demographics
  • Accelerated adoption of social media technologies at a breakneck speed – Increasing popularity of Twitter, Facebook and other social technologies which connect people and enable conversations
  • Peer driven search and search from social recommendation sites driving digital commerce
  • Market for smartphone is growing and adoption of online mobile services nascent
  • Growth of mico conversations and social media tools like twitter -“I don’t remember how I kept in touch before!”
  • Increased use of widgets which mashup data from various sources and can be accessed on the web and mobile
  • Increased demand for data visualization and enabling users to track their activities over the social web.

So what are your thoughts on the report ? If you run an Internet startup, what are you doing to leverage this ?

razorfish consumer experience report

You can download the entire report in PDF from here.

The Twitter obsession (and addiction) continues, we are all hooked on to it, aren’t we.

If you aren’t already, do follow me on Twitter.
So for all the Twitteratti / Tweeple / Tweeps out there, here’s my list of top 10 tools / plugins (in no particular order) for Twitter to enhance your Tweeting experience.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck takes all the information from Twitter and helps you manage the information overload by grouping them into managable pieces or based on your interests.

Twitturly

Tracks Top URLs which are talked about on Twitter. Extremely useful service and helps you find the most interestsing and latest information on the web.

Twitter Patterns

Helps you give your twitter page some style! They have some really cool designs, check it out.

Twitterfeed

Very useful app, which automatically tweets whenever you publish a post on your blog. Helps you get some link love!

Easy Tweets

A handy tool for online and digital marketers who wish to leverage the advantages of social media and microblogging. Easy Tweets enables you to switch between multiple Twitter accounts, track follower, replies etc all from one dashboard.

Hashtags

Hashtags enable you to track and follow conversations on Twitter. Follow @hashtags on Twitter and the service will index your tweets. Then add a #tagname to your tweet and this can be instantly looked up or searched.

Quotably

This service lets you follow a user’s conversations in a threaded manner, showing you all the various people the given user has had a conversation with. Interesting tool, especially when you trying to find out what others are saying about your brand/service.

Plodt

Plodt enables charts your tweets based on a tag and rank you provide. For example you could tweet
Vinodh’s blog . *interesting 10* and as you keep adding such tweets, Plodt gives you a timeline graph such as below

Power Twitter

Power Twitter Features
This Firefox plugin greatly enhances twitter to include: photo sharing with embedded flickr photos, video sharing with embedded youtube videos, shared tinyurls are unwound and lots of other power user features.

Twitter Keys

Twitter keys is a fun tool for Twitter which enables you to use UTF8 symbols in your tweets.  Once downloaded, this appears as a floating window, so all you need to do is to choose your symbol, copy n paste. So come on, get creative in your tweets using these symbols.

One special feature

Vakow

Vakow is an India focussed service which lets you post to Twitter as an SMS. Very useful and probably the cheapest way to pot to Twitter via mobile in India.

Let me know what you like and what tool you use.

Twitter, of course has been one of the main reasons why I don’t get time to write on this blog. Most of the times, 140 characters seems to be more than enough to convey what I want to say. Moreover, I always end up having very interesting conversations there and the there’s always instant feedback from a set of very engaged audience.

I have now been using Twitter seriously for sometime now, so thought so sharing some stats. Thanks to  Twitter Stats and TweetStats which helped me to churn out these graphs.

Tweets per hour


Tweets per day

Twitter Timeline

Top @replies

So if you are already on twitter, follow me.

Does your brand or company have a website ? I’m pretty sure it does. Well if you thought that it’s the end of your online presence, then it’s high time you rethought your web strategy. You might be running a highly successful offline business, but your social media strategy can be a game changer.

If your brand or firm is not participating in Social Media using tools that include a collection of blogs, wikis, forums, photos and videos sharing sites, then you really don’t have an online presence.

These days Social Media such as forums, wikis and blogs in particular are playing a notable role in influencing the buying patterns of consumers. Often consumers look for opinions, user experiences and reviews on such sources before purchasing a product. Detecting influential nodes and opinion leaders and understanding their role in how people perceive and adopt a product or service provides a powerful tool for marketing, advertising and business intelligence. Look at these insights from a very comprehensive research study by Universal McCann.

  • 73% of online users read a blog
  • 57% join social networks
  • 45% have started a blog
  • 83% have viewed a video online
  • 39% subscribe to RSS feeds
  • 36% think more positively about companies that have blogs

I find the last insight extremely encouraging, and I hope that this will encourage you to rethink your brand’s online marketing strategy.

What are your thoughts ? If you are running a highly successful offline business, how are you leveraging social media as a touch point with your customers ?

Image Courtesy

I’m sure most of you know what Social Media is, for others –

Social Media is a dynamic and growing area that includes a collection of blogs, wikis, forums, photos and videos sharing sites. According to Wikipedia

Social media describes the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.

The fact that social media is changing the way people collaborate and interact with each other is now a given. Below is research data from a Forrester’s report on usage of various social media avenues.

Social media participation

Social media can become a powerful voice for your brand and add credibility by allowing users to share opinions and experiences about your brand. Below are some of my thoughts on how you can leverage social media to build your brand image – especially useful for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Blogging – This should be the starting point of your social media marketing strategy. It needs to work both ways – Read blogs using Google Reader, Bloglines and comment on blogs to get link love and imporve your credibility. You could use WordPress, TypePad, Blogger for easily setting up your blog.

RSS – Use RSS feeds to enable your consumers to take data away from your portal / blog and enable them to take it to places where conversations are happening. This will enable interesting conversations to evolve around your content. Some tools – Feedburner, Google News and mysyndicaat

Social Search – By social search, I am primarily referring to local content search providers. Being active in user engaged communities like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Local.com can give you a platform to advertise your brand and engage with potential users.

Social networking – Consumers these days are spending quite a lot of time on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut etc. Being on these networks enable you to understand what your customers are talking about and provide services targeted at them.

Consider building widgets/ applications which can integrate into these networks. This makes it easier for your consumers to share information about your product / service with their friends and peers. As a result,brand endorsements are visible and shared amongst members. Chains of endorsements might evolve from this sharing, making social networking incredibly powerful and influential. Facebook has an entire category of business applications with over 1000 different applications.

Social bookmarking – This is a great way to tag content and enable traffic to your site. Allowing users to share information from your site using social bookmarking tools like del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Mixx will enable your brand to get more coverage.

Social conversation tools I like to bunch tools like Twitter, Thwirl, Plurk and FriendFeed into what I like to call “social conversation” tools. These are very powerful tools to start conversations with other people and virally spread information. Several corporations have already starting using Twitter as a part of their main stream marketing model – Jetblue for instance has a twitter feed enabling their customers to get real time updates on flight timings and weather conditions.

So what’s your social media strategy ? How are leveraging and influencing the crowd to use your brand ?