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Six Social Media Trends for 2011


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It was a banner year for social media growth and adoption. We witnessed Facebook overtake Google in most weekly site traffic, while some surveys reported nearly 95% of companies using LinkedIn to help in recruiting efforts. In my outlook for last year, I cited that mobile would become a lifeline to those looking for their social media fixes, and indeed the use of social media through mobile devices increased in the triple digits.

I also outlined how “social media would look less social” or more accurately exclusive, and indeed, we’ve seen the re-launch of Facebook groups, which focus on niche interactivity, and more recently, the emergence of Path, billed as “the social network for intimate friends” which limits your network to only 50 people. The past year also saw some brands go full throttle on Foursquare‘s game-like geo-location platform, attempting to reward mayors and creating custom badges for the network’s power users.

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In other areas, such as social media policy, I was less accurate. Conversations around the topic did begin to take place, But a global survey indicated that only 29 percent of companies even have a social media policy. That’s not as high as I expected.

So what could we see happening in 2011? I’ll take a stab at six trends again. In no particular order:

It’s The Integration Economy, Stupid. From Ford, to Dell, to Starbucks (client), to Jet Blue, and a host of other companies who have pioneered early uses of social media for business, 2011 will be the year these companies take a serious look at integrating social media, not only regionally but globally. Don’t be surprised if the same companies that piloted programs such as Ford’s “Fiesta Movement” and Starbuck’s Foursquare programs also become the first companies to take on the huge challenge of integrating social media into all facets of business from global marketing to crisis management and beyond.

Tablet & Mobile Wars Create Ubiquitous Social Computing. As competition heats up in the form of cheaper, smarter phones and an assortment of tablets that may hit the market (a $35 Tablet in India?), technology consumers will come one step closer to being connected 24/7, and in more powerful ways than previously possible. Social networking will be on the go, out of the house, and out of the office. More competition, variety, power, and affordability in devices will fuel the increase of ubiquitous social computing.

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Facebook Interrupts Location-Based Networking. If 2010 belonged to Foursquare and its playful, competitive and sometimes addicting ecosystem of badges, mayorships and specials, it’s likely that Facebook will rain on Foursquare’s parade in 2011. With tons of data and the architecture behind Facebook’s response to Foursquare about to be rolled out globally, Facebook is well positioned to actually make location based services useful to business.

Average Participants Experience Social Media Schizophrenia. While social media schizophrenia (the overload of multiple social profiles) is nothing new to tech mavens, it will become something that more and more “average” users experience as they tweet, Facebook, G-mail, chat, Skype, BBM, SMS, and Tumble their way across the social web. While many mavens have adopted ways to manage and cope, average users may find themselves at the beginning of the curve in need of a 12-step social identity program. This may lead to increased demand from typical participants to have a more integrated and simplified social graph and an opportunity for platforms and companies alike to meet this demand.

Google Doesn’t Beat Them, They Join Them. In 2010, Wired told us that Facebook could beat Google to win the net. But even at the end of 2010 after failed attempts to create their own networks such as Buzz, Google could prove that the best way to beat Facebook, Twitter, and the rest is to do what Google does best: Index them to pieces. Indeed, I’ve already noticed Google’s algorithm has become smarter about Twitter data. I only have to type in a few words to locate old tweets. It’s possible that by sticking to what Google does best, they may be able to take advantage of the social web by indexing any and all social data they can get their hands on. Expect the Googleplex to “strike back” in 2011, and perhaps demonstrate that they may figure out their role and relevancy on the social Web.

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Social Functionality Makes Websites Fashionable Again. After several years of being told to “fish where the fish are,” businesses realize that users expect social integration to existing Websites. Sites such as AMEX Open forum serve as a model for how networks such as Twitter can integrate with the Web experience. Websites will increasingly serve as “digital hubs” that integrate social activity from many platforms. For example, Apple’s music social network, named Ping, recently integrated Twitter. While the integration has kinks, it demonstrates that even the most iconic of brands realizes that they do not exist in their own walled garden. They must integrate to be relevant in a socially connected world.

These are a few emerging trends that come to my mind. I’m interested to hear what you think as well, so please weigh in with your own thoughts. Where do you see social media going in 2011?


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How Much Is a Facebook Fan Really Worth?


Lots of companies — more every day, it seems — want to have Facebook “fan” pages, where customers or would-be customers can connect with them and become part of their online community. But what are those fans actually worth to a company? Everyone has their own views on that question, but now a social media measurement firm called Syncapse has come up with an actual dollar value in a report released today (PDF link). The answer? An average fan is apparently worth about $136.38, although for some very successful social marketers the value can be dramatically higher, while for some less successful companies it can be virtually zero.

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Syncapse came up with the figure by asking 4,000 fans of 20 of the top brands on Facebook — including Nokia, BlackBerry, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s — why they were fans of those companies or brands, and about their past and future purchasing behavior. Syncapse then tried to estimate what the value of each fan’s spending would be to a company, as well as the value of continuing to have that fan as a customer over time.

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The key findings of the report are likely to come as music to the ears of advertisers that have been pursuing a Facebook-based social media strategy. According to the survey:

  • On average, fans spend an extra $71.84 they would not otherwise spend on products they describe themselves as fans of, compared to those who are not fans.
  • Fans are 28 percent more likely than non-fans to continue using a specific brand.
  • Fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a product they are a fan of to their friends.

That probably helps to explain why, according to recent statement by the company, the number of advertisers working with Facebook has doubled in the past year. But Syncapse also said that its results showed how the value of a fan can vary widely:

An average fan may participate with a brand ten times a year and will make one recommendation. But an active fan may participate thirty times and make ten recommendations. The impact this has on fan value is quite dramatic. In the case of Coca- Cola, the best case for fan value reaches $316.78 but is $137.84 for an average fan. In the worse case scenario, a fan is worth $0.

As the chart below shows, fans of McDonald’s spent, on average, more than $300 on the company’s products, while non-fans spent just half that amount. Fans of Starbucks also spent more than twice as much as non-fans.

Facebook Fans

How much are your Facebook fans worth?

Some might argue that these conclusions aren’t exactly rocket science — after all, one would assume that if someone goes to the trouble of becoming a fan of a product on Facebook, that person would be enough of a supporter of the brand that they would buy it more often, recommend it to their friends and so on. And Syncapse’s results may also not be 100 percent reliable if extended to the entire universe of 500 million Facebook users, since a few thousand users is a relatively small sample. But it’s still interesting to see someone try to put an actual dollar figure on the value of a Facebook friend.
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80% of Children Under Age 5 Use the Internet Weekly


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Reports on Children Using the Internet

Report

Nearly 80% of children between the ages of 0 and 5 who use the Internet in the United States, do so on at least a weekly basis, according to a report released Monday from education non-profit organizations Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Sesame Workshop.

The report, which was assembled using data from seven recent studies, indicates that young children are increasingly consuming all types of digital media, in many cases consuming more than one type at once.

Television use dwarfs internet use in both the number of children who surf the web and the amount of time they spend on it. The analysis found that during the week, most children spend at least three hours a day watching television, and that television use among preschoolers is the highest it has been in the past eight years. Of the time that children spend on all types of media, television accounts for a whopping 47%.

Heavy television viewing may even be partially responsible for the rising number of children who use the Internet. Parents in one study indicated that more than 60% of children under age three watch video online. That percentage decreases as children get older (the report suggests this is because school-age children have less time at home), but even 8- to 18-year-old children reported in another study that they consume about 20% of their video content online, on cellphones, or on other portable devices like iPods.

Internet and television use among children has become entwined in other ways as well. A 2010 Nielsen study suggests that 36% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 use both mediums simultaneously. Altogether, children between the ages of 8 and 10 spend about 5.5 hours each day using media — eight hours if you count the additional media consumed while multitasking.

The report doesn’t attempt to solve the more-than-decade-old debate of whether all of this screen time is good for children. Instead, it preaches balance: “My mother used to say that too much of anything isn’t good for you, whether it be eating only protein, shooting hoops all day or ‘always being connected’ to the digital world,” said Dr. Lewis Bernstein, executive president at Sesame Workshop, in a press release.

It does, however, point out that time spent in front of books remains constant even as screen time increases.

About 90% of 5- to 9-year-olds who participated in a 2008 Sesame Workshop study reported spending at least an hour every day reading old-fashioned, physical texts.

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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Reports / Statistics

 

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Only 58% of Tweets Come From Official Twitter Apps


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Only 58% of tweets come from official Twitter clients, according to new data from Sysomos, shedding some light on Twitter platform chief Ryan Sarver’s assertion last week that “90% of all active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.”

While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds.

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Report

The most popular third-party apps were TweetDeck, accounting for 5.5% of all tweets and 13.1% of all tweets from non-official apps, followed by UberSocial and Echofone, all of which are owned by UberMedia.

TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth was unable to confirm the findings, as the startup “no longer tracks [its] ecosystem share by the number of tweets sent,” he explained over e-mail. “Instead we focus on our active user number and various levels of engagement within TweetDeck, all of which show strong growth especially over the past six months,” he said.

report on un-official apps

Un-official Apps

So while it may be true that Twitter users log on to Twitter.com or the official Twitter application for iPhone a few times per month, third-party clients are still very popular, especially, as tweet percentages suggest, among the service’s heaviest users.

Nevertheless, Twitter has made it clear that it does not want developers to make Twitter clients any longer, citing the importance of providing a consistent user experience across all platforms. Whether Twitter will be able to improve its apps enough to draw users away from third-party clients organically, or will have to take stricter measures to eliminate the competition, remains to be seen.

Do you still use third-party apps to access Twitter, or do you prefer Twitter’s official suite of apps for desktop and mobile devices?

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