Can Twitter Make Local Pay?

The crazy kids at Twitter have been busy turning a revolution into a business. Led by ex-Googler (and ex-improv comedian) Dick Costolo, the five-year-old company bagged $260 million in revenues last year on the way towards justifying their $8 billion secondary market valuation. Costolo has deftly nudged the Twitter team towards subtle forms of monetization centered on sponsored tweets and sponsored trends that allow corporate marketers to place their message front and center. This is part of the now nearly decade-old shift towards what Web guru John Battelle has long called conversational marketing.
In the next few months, Twitter plans on rolling out tools to help local merchants also buy tweets. To date, Twitter has primarily targeted larger businesses with bigger marketing budgets ranging from several thousand a month well up into the hundreds of thousands. McDonalds and GM have played the game, albeit with serious investments in monitoring social media and responding to comments in the stream relating to their sponsored tweets and trends. For their part, many local merchants that are already Twitter savvy are doing it for free, tweeting deals and messages to their followers and responding to comments. So the obvious question is, will they pay for what they are getting for free? And how can Twitter add additional value for local merchants bombarded by marketing tools claiming to solve their problems?
I know a number of local merchants who are aggressive users of Twitter. Their answer to me has been, thus far, it depends. And what they recognize is this: For Twitter to prove real value and garner the additional revenue for sponsored deals from Mom-and-Pop shops, it needs to move from becoming a vehicle for communication to a vehicle for discovery. At present, savvy merchants use Twitter to communicate with existing followers. These are usually people who have had physical contact or actually used the good or service on offer. (They also can use Twitter as a customer service channel, but that largely relates to bigger companies with more complex services – phone companies and the like). And it works beautifully for local merchants who man the channel and regularly Tweet useful things.
But what happens when these merchants try to use Twitter to spark interest from people they never met before and have no real connection with? Twitter apparently plans to address this by directing the sponsored Tweets at people who are more likely to be interested in this local trend or Tweet. How granular they can go is of critical importance. I am a fan of brick-oven pizza. But I won’t travel more than a few miles out of my way to get it. How likely am I to find a brick-oven pizza deal or a Tweet related to this topic within my geofence will determine the value of this advertising medium to me.
Temporal aspects of the sponsored Tweets will also be essential. Just as display ads served incessantly condition Web surfers not to look, ever present Tweets that are not temporally relevant (a pizza Tweet served at 10 pm on a Sunday night) will encourage the development of “Twitter blinders”. On the subject of time, one thing that the local merchants do not have is time. So Twitter’s core value proposition that merchants pay only for actions — retweets, follows and clicks — will seem less alluring to small shops pressed for time and less willing to experiment.
That said, if Twitter makes it easy or clear enough to buy, then they can tap easily into the fast growing cadre of small businesses that are already buying ads online via self-service — a group that can only grow. Costolo, too, has shown deference to the medium, weaving ad offerings artfully into the Twitter ecosystem in ways that seem natural.
With a ton of money in the bank, too, Twitter is in the game for the long-haul. Nearly a decade after Google went self-service with ads, only now are we starting to see serious penetration at the local level of the self-service business model. And, like Twitter, Google could easily have poisoned the search engine well by pouring on too many ads and turning off searchers. So Costolo is entirely justified in his go-slow approach. In the local business, expect a slow-burn from the Twitter kids as they learn more about Mom-and-Pop and make sure not to offend the faithful. And, frankly, that’s just fine.

By: Alex Salkever 

Feedage Grade A rated

15 Stats On How The Top Nonprofits Use Social Media

I was reading an infographic from Craig Newmark’s CraigConnects and realized that the statistics within the image were brilliant. I wanted to outline some of the top stats and give you some ideas in regards to how the top nonprofits are using social media.

“The deal is, it’s not about money, it’s about getting people to talk with each other to make people’s lives better,” said Newmark.

Visit Newmark’s Facebook page for the infographic, which includes an explanation of the methodology and sources used in its development.

1. 92 % of Nonprofit Websites Contain At Least One Social Media Button

This is important because 92% of them have a Facebook button. What is even more glaring is that only 12% of them have a LinkedIn

2. Only 12% of Nonprofits Use LinkedIN on their Website

This was a crazy concept to me. Out of all the socia media sites, LinkedIn has the higher income bracket and (probably) the higher level of engagement with business professionals. Why is it hard for nonprofits to understand the important of a networking website like LinkedIN?

3. YMCA has almost 500,000 less fans than the American Red Cross but $2 billion or more in budget.

4. PBS has the larget Twitter following at 840,653 (at the time of the creation of the infographic)

5. PBS is also the most talkative on Twitter at 877 tweets in a two month period of time.

6. 90% of Nonprofits have a Twitter share button on their website

Remember it is important to give users every opportunity to share your content.

7. Only 22% of Nonprofits have an RSS feed on their website.

This is interesting to me because it tells me that only 22% of nonprofits actively blog. This is a shame. Content is king and storytelling should be everything to the nonprofit entities on this list. Storytelling is what drives interaction and engagement among constituents.

8. C.A.R.E is the second most talkative Twitter account with over 860 tweets over a two month period of time.

This stat probably fluctuates based on what is happening within the nonprofit entity.

9. PBS is also the most commented nonprofit on Facebook averaging 17,205 comments over a two month period of time.

10. The size of the social media following of the nonprofit was not dependent on the budget size.

11. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was last on the list on income but has over 97,000 fans on Facebook.

12. The 3rd most commented Facebook page is the Nature Conservancy with around 5,336 comments.

13. The organization with the highest net income, the YMCA, only posted 19 times to Facebook in two months, but has over 24,000 fans.

Is the YMCA missing something?

14. The American Red Cross was the first organization on the list to create a Twitter account.

15. Food for the Poor is the most talkative nonprofit on the list on Facebook, and has posted 220 posts over the course of two months.

It appears that income does not increase a nonprofit’s visibility and interactions in the social media world. Some of the most social media savvy organizations are in the bottom quarter income bracket, yet they are clearly active on social media.

-content provided by Kyle Lacy

Best Twitter campaigns, data mining and why Asia is wary of social media

Hi everyone,

We are determined our readers should be kept up to date on the latest issues in corporate social media. Read below to see bite size summaries of what’s hot in the space  – need innovative campaign inspiration? Having trouble engaging with Asia? Read on!

Asian firms are wary of social media

Two things here. First it is definitely worth taking a look at a recent survey by Burson Marsteller ‘Global Media Check up‘. It looks at how the Fortune Global 100 companies used the four main social media platforms in 2010, compared to 2009 and throws up some interesting points.

Secondly it is worth reading this article which has homed in on something fascinating within the study. Only 40 percent of Asia’s top companies use branded media channels like Facebook and Twitter for corporate marketing purposes. This is in comparison to 79 percent globally. And the reason? Culture. Reading this will also serve as a good reminder that each market develops differently in this respect. And don’t assume the UK are the best at it either…

Many brands continue to act “Me First”

A down to earth post about customer relations and the importance thereof. This post says customer relations are the best marketing there is. It asks if companies adequately reward or even recognise employees who take the time to solve problems. It also shows us a great video of when one comedy show turned the tables on a notoriously “Me First” phone operator.

Best Twitter case studies and innovative campaigns

Simply Zesty have provided us with yet another really helpful post. Following the success of their case studies on marketing through Facebook, they’ve gone and done the same on Twitter. Brilliant. Click here to see why Jeep , Orange and Levi’s all made the cut. They’ve even managed to get our old favourite the Old Spice Guy in.

Data mining  – the next frontier

An interesting post showing us the evolving nature of social media. For companies ahead of the curve, this tool is no longer  ‘another broadcast opportunity’ but a chance to analyse data. Technology now allows us not only to see customer profiles and historical buying patterns but to widen the spectrum of what we know about individuals such as hobbies and tastes. To see how to collect this data, how to avoid the pitfalls and how to make what you find useful, see here.

Get Free Chipotle Food for Watching NBC Promo on Facebook

They do say that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. In their latest campaign NBC are banking on the fact that it is also the way to get people watching their programmes. Harnessing the creativity of Chipotle (Mexican food), who have already had success with social media in a campaign last year, they are offering buy 1 get 1 free deals through Facebook for those who watch a 90 second promo trailer. Sounds good to us, can Innocent talk to the BBC perhaps?

-Posted by Francesca Boothby Filed in Tuesday Update