Influence of Social Media Marketing

Isn’t it enormous how many people use social media?

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Source: http://tobesocial.de/blog/social-media-marketing-mobile-online-trends-2013-studie

When I saw this current statistic from 2013 I was really impressed by the huge amount of people hanging around at social media platforms. Concerning the rising trend of those platforms in all various facets my interest focuses more on the marketing and advertising part that is generated there.

 

Marketing Possibilities for Businesses

Looking at a business’ marketing concept: In general you want to address a lot of people, want to connect them and want to put the record of your business straight.

That’s why Stephanie Chandler, an economic book writer is convinced of social media marketing. She demonstrates that the possibility to sell your business or your product in the best customer addressing way and use the repeat exposure tool to influence the users mind subconsciously with your advert is provided by the platforms. Banners decorating social websites assure the constant stream of commercials and logos.

Supportingly, David Dubois, assistant professor of marketing INSEAD, invokes the example of American Express which includes the introduction of a conversational page at Facebook(Amex on Facebook). The successful leverage hereby is that Amex provides continuously relevant information for potential customers or investors to stimulate interaction between the audience. Including facts and trends as well as professional contributions on their Facebook page, Amex is able to address the audience directly and because of the conversations Amex is also able to align their business to customer needs.

As well as American Express is able to position itself in the center of information exchange, HP also experienced a boom becoming the first business which has 1 million followers on LinkedIn which are in return connected to 43 million other members.

To turn the tables, Paul Dunay, global VP of marketing for Maxymiser, states that the usage of social media may also end up in a total mess! Quantas Airlines for instance ventured a faux-pas by raffling a first class pajama to promote their possibility of luxury flying and raise Twitter followers. The thing was, that this came after months of negative publicity stemming from disputes which then lead to Twitter comments like:”Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire. #qantasluxury”, which were spread over the internet immediately and finally, resulted in the grounding of the entire Quantas fleet.

 

Trends of Social Media Marketing coming up 2013

To drift away from good and bad examples of social media marketing I was wondering what the year 2013 will bring us in relation to marketing trends.

What caught my attention was the increasing trend towards the mobile usage of social media. In Germany, the acquisition of smart phones in relation to other mobile phones raised from 67% to 77% in the end of 2012. Last December, about 16 million Germans had access to social networks or blogs via their smart phone.

To relate this trend to marketing via social media, Facebook already faces a downturn in revenues because of the declining PC usage.

Advertisers are not willing to pay as much for mobile ads because they simply are not as effective as ads on a desktop. And the mobile ads that advertisers are buying are a lot cheaper than ads on a desktop, pricing at 56 cents on the dollar”, Colin Gillis, analyst for BCG claims.

The development of viable advertisement from desktops to mobile platforms is not as easy as thought. Recent studies show that 41% of adverts are shared via display, whereas only 8% attention is given to mobile adverts.The question arises how to squeeze ads on tiny mobile screens to still afford marketing options for businesses.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite announces that new social ad models characterized by innovative offerings like Promoted Tweets and sponsored Stories will replace the traditional banners and pop-up ads. The main concept is convergence. The target is to combine ads and content.

 

How important are the social media ads? How do they influence users?

Social networks became more powerful than one has probably thought of: navigating purchase decisions, rising confidence in brands and communicating with customers affect the everyday usage of social networks. According to a recent report from YouGov, in the UK 23% of users researched a product after seeing it on a social media site, which represents a 6% increase of the year before. In addition to that research 13% of the people decided to actually buy something, which increased 7% from the year before.

To come back to the percentage of users who researched on a product the study also reveals that only 5% actually claimed that they have clicked on an advert in the last year. For me it seems to be an indicator for subconscious marketing. Another aspect which is interesting to me is that according to the study less than 1 in 10 feel that targeted advertising is relevant to them.

To conclude, users are obviously open to influence by adverts in social networks. Although at the moment it seems to be more like a subconscious absorption, I guess that when target groups would be addressed better advertisement would me more relevant for them and had more potential to grow.

 

Does CSR actually pay off?

Economy, Environment

After asking the question “Corporate Social Responsibility or just a Marketing Tool?!” and writing about Social Entrepreneurship I finally want to examine what professionals say concerning the profitability of CSR and whether companies should even bother with investing into the society and raising social welfare. So, I will try to outline some opinions experts in this field have on this question.

As an opponent of CSR Aneel Karnani, professor at the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business, claims in his article “The Case against CSR” that “the idea that companies have a responsibility to act in the public interest and will profit from doing so is fundamentally flawed.”

He warns that “It’s not surprising that this idea has won over so many people—it’s a very appealing proposition. […] But it’s an illusion, and a potentially dangerous one.”

He explains his position by saying that the main responsibility of a manager in a company, in most cases, is to act in the interest of its shareholders, so-to-say, to make the highest possible profits. And this would stand in direct opposition to acting for social welfare, as this would always incur costs and therefore lower profits. Managers would be paid to bring profits to the companies, otherwise they get fired and are replaced by another person who will then try to pursue the interest of the shareholders better. So, it should be irrational, says Karnani, for a manager to act against that will.

He insists that CSR, which as per definition are “voluntary activities undertaken by a company to operate in an economic, social and environmentally sustainable manner” therefore can’t exist with for-profit organizations. Organizations seeking profit will probably contribute to social welfare but only because it will profit themselves in return.

But Karnani also gives an exception to this assumption. Only when owner-operated businesses choose to accept decreasing profits for the sake of social welfare they clearly do not fall under that assumption but do an admirable thing by giving some of their fortunes back to the society.

Moreover, Karnani is of the opinion that profit is the right goal for companies because profits generate taxes that allow governments to spend money to tackle problems in the society. Therefore he argues, “as society looks to companies to address these problems, the real solutions may be ignored“, what would mean that CSR even brings negative effects for the society and not only to the business or the manager.

Mike Lawrence (Chief Reputation Officer & Executive Vice President at Cone Inc.) shares the view that companies should have profits as their first priority, but that CSR is “the right approach for a company’s long-term viability… and its bottom line” as he claims to “see from experience that profit and the public interest are interdependent.”

He argues that companies must invest into CSR, first, because prospective employees are more likely to accept a job at a socially responsible company what will also increase their morale and decrease training costs, second, corporations can expect support from local authorities in turn for CSR programs, thirdly, costs will be reduced when environmental impacts are reduced and that CSR offers even more advantages.

To back up his arguments he refers to a study by AT Kearney that shows that “companies committed to sustainability had a 15 percent stronger financial return even in the down economy” and also adds that Walmart reportedly could save $1 mill. in costs just by turning off some lights in 4000 employee break rooms.

Looking closely at Lawrence’s and Karnani’s arguments, we can detect that both pursue a strictly capitalistic view but that, on the one hand, Karnani insists that any corporate spending, as responsible as it may be, towards the society contradicts the assumption that the government should maintain social welfare but, on the other, Lawrence totally supports the idea that things that can benefit the community or the environment and indirectly also benefit the company are to made use of. That means that the calculation of profitability and evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility, when properly planned and practiced, actually is a matter of economic theory and highly depends on one’s economic perceptions.

How Big Data is transforming business

Why use Big Data?

As defined by IBM, ‘Big Data’ is an opportunity to explore new and ‘intelligent’ decisions. This data is collected from social media posts, digital pictures, GPS signals, purchase transactions, and more. Data journalist such as David McCandless visualizes the data to reveal patterns and connections.

This field is booming with analysts discovering statistics that change our view. In Hans Rosling’s TED talk, he explores global trends in order to “debunk” myths with statistical evidence. As stated by Rosling, information needs to be more accessible because it has the potential to change the quality of the information itself. ‘Big Data’ is used as a way to inform individuals and businesses on the most intelligent choice that uses statistical evidence instead of intuition. In ‘Just-in-time’ descriptive analytics, Kandogan intelligently explains that visualization techniques coupled with analytic techniques allows the structure of the data be understood easier. Although Kandogan reports on how to observe statistical trends and patterns by seeing where the ‘data-points’ lie on the graph, this isn’t ground breaking information that will be significant to a business. I now know what ‘Big Data’ is and many of these articles explain how to read the structure of data but in a business, one needs to be ready to explain something that another person is not familiar with at all.

It’s all a story

Innovators such as Hans Rosling were using big data to move forward as I researched more. What was his appeal? He told a captivating story of why and how the data looked; he stayed away from statistical terms but engaged every member of the audience to understand his research. Kristain Hammond from the Harvard Business Review insists that a narrative that gives context to data is more valuable than the data itself. As Hammond asserts, communicating what the data means provides useful insights for businesses and individuals to make the best decisions.

To supplement Hammond’s view with formal research, the Journal of Statistics Education published an article that highlights students develop a conceptual depth and inferential thoughts. The research argues in favor of stories as verbal clarification in order for the audience to ingest the information. My research has led to me to explore the building blocks of data-driven story telling to help everyone in the business understand.

My research felt incomplete and I needed to find out how would this launch a business forward. From what I’ve written before, ‘Big Data’ is changing how we learn and express the information but what is new in the field of ‘Big Data’?

Beyond Advertisements

No longer ‘Lost in Translation’, ‘Big Data’ isn’t only for the sophisticated researchers such as Hans Rosling. Today and in the future, everyone has the capacity to become informative and contribute to their business. In Mona Patel’s article, she points out data is easily accessible for even small businesses today. Businesses ask their own questions and explore different views that could be extremely beneficial, as Patel evaluated. The ability to explore new viewpoints is transcending beyond internet advertisements.
Jeffrey Hammerbacher is using his experience to combine genetic information with the medical histories to build more sophisticated models of biology and health outcomes. He once worked as a data analyst for internet advertising, today he aspires to move medicine in the direction of a quantitative discipline. His talents are helping medical research evolve. Jake Porway also has used his skills in order to social issues and real world problems. His mission is to collaborate an understanding and insight through data in order to serve humanity.

How are Hammerbacher and Porway changing business? They are addressing issues beyond internet advertisement. They are solving real-world problems. Their innovative businesses and projects add value to our transforming society. In my conclusion from the research I found, these innovators are explaining what they see from the data collected. They translate their ideas and views to their teams in order to focus on a singular goal of solving the world’s problems.

Social Media – Friends, Trends .. and Jobs?

Because of the restrained German economy in 2012 the job market was recently not very offensively. But the perspective for the next 5 years are all in all increasing!

Recent surveys show that the educational level still plays a crucial role for recruiting. Employers prefer Master degrees with more than 86% whereas Bachelor degrees are only demanded by 38%. To attract graduates of Generation Y a lot of employers have changed their handling concerning the junior staff. To mention is here of course the recruiting trend towards Social Media.

The “Social Media Recruiting Studie 2012 von Deutschland” compares the popularity of social media with the traditional ways of recruiting. One can say, that especially the use of the Internet in total has gained a lot of importance. 84% of German companies operate HR websites as well as online job boards. The number of companies using Social Media has increased in the last years to a percentage of 74% whereas recruiting via print is only used by 45% of the companies. Stefan Schär of Social Media Schweiz invigorates this by emphasizing the advantage of using Social Media to receive a more authentic insight into a company which doesn\’t work as good using print. To continue, further Social Media extension plans are already made by 2/3 of German companies for the year 2013.

As the 2nd prevalent platform right after Xing(68%), 65% of companies use Facebook for searching and communicating with potential employees. “The connection barrier between employer and employee has reduced and it is easier to build up business relations.” states Schär.

To mention another point of view: “Indeed Facebook is established as a recruiting channel but nevertheless it is still way far from being professionalized!” claims Jan Kirchner, partner of the digital agency Atenta. This statement probably refers to is the insufficient upkeeping of most of the firm\’s fan pages. Recently, it is enormously criticized that after the “Facebook Recruiting Study 2012”, 46,7% of the companies show no reaction to fan activities on their pages at all!

But on the other hand there is still high potential for improvement. To present one\’s company with videos or pictures on Facebook is one possibility that already exists and another that was introduced lately is the Emplido- Facebook App for applicants which includes filtering one\’s strengths and looking for valuable connections for professional success to help you find a job. A further project which Facebook is planning on is the introduction of a meta-job board to focus more intensively on the Social Media recruiting trend.

In the view of Alexander Senn of KPMG, Social Media should just serve as a primary source of information or as a leverage but will never replace the personal contact.

Let the Picture do all the Talking

It’s the Same Old Song

Presentation skills are a completely important skill set to have. Whether in undergraduate or employment, effective communication has been stressed as important foundations for career success. Those basics of body language have been done over countless times. Communication skills can only impress the audience so far. An effective presentation needs to invigorate rather than trying to make “boring” information less “boring” in a few steps.

Welcome to the 21st Century

Today, there have been such great presentations by Steve Jobs and TED Talks that have completely captivated the world. They do more than follow a basic 7 step outline. These presentations were engaging, passionate, and exciting. Each of these awe-inspiring presentations have visual aid to convey their powerful message. Researchers have noted effective presentation skills based off what people like Steve Jobs have done. Steve Jobs didn’t convey the iPod to be less boring as others put it, he visualized a story for his audience.

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” is recognized as “seeing is believing” according to the Picture superiority effect which confirms: humans more easily learn and recall information that is presented as pictures than when the same information is presented in words. Bulletpoints aren’t effective tools anymore to explain “how things work”, according to Marta Kagan. Kagan provides seven ‘lessons’ on how the human brain learns better through visual aid and emotion in the form of a story.

Brainstorm ideas, visuals, and concepts that break down complex data into a simple narration that supports a message to the audience. As stated by Kagan, let the message be clear and concise such that the audience retains what is said. Information is not provided but a message is conveyed, according to Kagan.

Explore!

Visualization is an extremely effective tool for presenting on “how things work”. Today, visual presentations aren’t “what is”, they tell a story of what could be and how we get there as concluded by Kagan. Exploring the road map to “what could be” is all in the process of how we learn.

Watch when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone in which he delivers a presentation using visuals as key points to reinforce his message.

Putting the cherry on the cake

“Being realistic is the most common road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? What\’s the point? It just puts up a barrier”

I really liked that quote by Will Smith when I read it. Always trying to be perfect is not always perfect. It puts yourself in a square which excludes creativity and often personality.

That\’s the same thing when you apply for a job for example. Usually you have your application pattern with which every application looks pretty much the same and doesn\’t really tell something about your personality. Career advisors always tell that you have to be outstanding so that personal managers will observe you between all the other applicants.

That\’s actually what a few people did lately:

A woman portrayed her Facebook addiction in order to get an internship at Daimler\’s social media department. And it worked! An other example is a guy who sent in an application photo which shows him lolling around – dressed like Pamela Anderson. Even this crazy guy got hired by an ad agency and is now employed as their creative director.

To just include an other example: If Ben Franklin wouldn\’t have “crossed the borders of the square” and wanted to enforce his crazy idea of delivering mails between colonies at night – which was inconceivable in this time – our today\’s mail system may not exist.

See, sometimes it is important to not behave like mediocrity! BUT you shouldn\’t overdo it! And you should first look at where you apply.

Frank Smith, personal marketing boss of Lufthansa, states that a lot of companies are not interested in exceptional applications. “Last year we had over 150000 applications floating in, that\’s why we have to focus on skills and don\’t have the time for more complex applications.”

Relating to this Jürgen Hesse, application trainee and author, invokes:”Determining is the special idea!”. Sure you shouldn\’t be too happy to try out crazy things applying for conservative companies. Nevertheless the whole range of possibilities should be exploited of its full potential. “What about writing the application in landscape format. That\’s different and still legitimate.” proposes Hesse.

So why not being a little creative and exceptional in this world where perfection seems to be pressuring and personality underestimated?

Salesman on stage in “How to get a job”

 

A lot of people study business or sales but when it comes to finding a job it is most often a pain in the butt and they forget about all the things they\’ve learned. But those things you\’ve learned in business school are actually so easy to transfer to “real life”… for instance when you are searching a job! That\’s why I want to share my knowledge and my research solutions with you and show you 3 main aspects you should be aware of while looking for a job!

1) Pipeline Principle

When you begin you should take the pipeline management into consideration. This refers in the business world to a cross-project management which means that you do multiple things with the same objective. To transfer it now to our job search: You should work more efficiently and save time and you do work which is similar, which has the same objective, parallel. It is like a funnel: In the beginning you need o lot of job opportunities to actually get one.

2) Sell yourself!

As a salesman you know how to sell products of any kind, you get taught to do that all the time! But why is this behavior mostly also forgotten when it comes to a job interview? What is important? You are the product which needs to be sold to the buyer who is the interviewer! What is the interviewer looking for? (e.g.: a child is rather looking for toys than for a lawnmower!) What is relevant for them and how can you best promote your skills and experiences? To find that out it might also be good to know how to do research and find useful information via internet.

3) Always a step further

When you set up a business talk or meeting or even when you just write a mail, it always has a reason behind it and already a next step in focus. One would probably ask for meetings, conferences or further collaboration. In the job world it should be the same. Why should you just send your documents without asking directly for an interview? Or when you already had an interview you could also model it like the career expert Dana Manciagli suggests:”I am eager to hear the next step in your hiring process and am more passionate than ever about the position we discussed. I want to work for you.”

I hope this little excursion has helped you a little bit or reminded you at some stuff you\’ve probably heard of .. or it may also gave you a hint to sometimes listen to teachers when they talk because it could be from time to time very useful!

Corporate Social Responsibility or just a Marketing Tool?!

In today’s society it seems that one of the ugliest and most despicable things one can be called by one’s opponents is a “capitalist”. Probably since Karl Marx’s “The Capital” capitalism and “the capitalist” have been having slightly negative overtones. This discredit surely arose because capitalism is widely associated with a ruthless greed for money and wealth without regard of losses.

Therefore, today many companies have incorporated and are led after a certain code of ethics that shall define a company’s social agenda and moral believes. This code of ethics is also known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and besides social aspects often also includes matters of environmental sustainability.

Certainly, many companies – huge multi-national corporations as well as SMEs – are truly dedicated to social equality, human rights and environment-friendly business processes. And often also see the necessity to “give something back to the society” in turn for the profits they make. But undoubtedly there are also firms that use the customers’ preference for sustainable and fair companies to develop clever marketing strategies that lead customers to believe whatever the firm wants them to believe.

Underneath, you can see two promotional videos published by the Coca Cola Company showing one of the many projects the firm undertakes.

After watching, please, let me know what you think about Coke’s campaigns and similar ones by other companies, below in the comments. 

Do they really show social commitment or only try to create an image?

Help Visualize Your Story

What we already know?

Big Data uses evidence-based decision-making in order to benefit businesses. Today, businesses are collecting every aspect of their operations for data analysis. Will the collection of data alone advise the business to a winning solution? Here, Mark Cenicola writes the standard norm for collecting data within a business

Visualize what you have

Why bother looking through excel charts and numbers that you have very little understanding of. As explained here, John Sivolka of the Harvard Business Review enforces the idea that we as human being learn better with visualization. Here he outlines the benefits to visual representation:

  • Great visualizations are efficient — they let people look at vast quantities of data quickly.
  • Visualizations can help an analyst or a group achieve more insight into the nature of a problem and discover new understanding
  • A great visualization can help create a shared view of a situation and align folks on needed actions.
  • In Sivolka’s conclusion, he states that visualization helps provide a shared understanding in a problem.

    It’s amazing that we have all these tools for complying data but how can we make sense of it all? How am I as an analyst able to make decisions that my colleagues and I can agree upon?

    Data analysis is a story

    A creative story that involves imagination? Yes- data analysis requires us to make a story of what we see. Kristian Hammond from Harvard Business Review highlights how data itself isn’t the solution, it’s part of the path to a solution. Hammond reports on the importance of establishing correct comparisons and explaining them in the form of a narrative. According to Hammond, the data is simply an instrument to help ‘write’ the story. He adds that a narrative gives context to today’s numbers when we visualize trends and patterns to make sense of it all.

    I find that Hammond emphasizes for businesses to embrace the power of computers as guides of our stories. Once we visualize all this information, we have a better understanding of our narrative. The narrative, according to Hammond, helps advise individuals and businesses make intelligent decisions.

    What’s Next?

    We analyze and present the data to others for all sorts of reasons. This unique mix of disciplines and skill sets creates a fascinating landscape of alternative approaches, from the analytical and precise to the more abstract and creatively ambitious. Analysts should provide visuals about the data that allows for a broader audience to understand. Hammond concludes the value of ‘Big Data’ is the narrative that explains, presents, and advises the business.