NOTE: This is a repost of yesterday’s blog post over at Compete.com, my client, and the best event planner (Kristen) and Moderator (Stephen) I know.
Does content drive transactions? It’s complicated right?
We asked ourselves the same question last week at tastybytes, our ongoing (and traveling) luncheon series bringing together lunch, digital marketers and lively conversation.
At The MODERN at the MoMa, We were joined by Digital and Social luminaries Mason Nelder (Verizon Wireless), Colin Hynes (RueLaLa), David Schreibstein (Ogilvy) and Steve Rappaport (Advertising Research Foundation).
After a brief introduction by Stephen Dimarco (@sdimarco) the panelists agreed that indeed conversation does drive conversion, but after that, it gets a little tricky. Here are a few “bytes” of conversation from last week.
“Content is anything that is a catalyst for conversation” @masonnelder
“Authenticity is paramount. Brands need to be careful with ‘advertorials’. Users know when they’re being sold something” @colinhynes18
“When reviewing content on user-review sites like Yelp, Zagat and more, pay attention to the content and where it’s ranked on a 1-5 scale. Look closely at the ’3′s and the ’4′ s (not the 1’s and 5’s) to see what they’re saying and why they are saying it. The ’3′s and the ’4′s are usually the most well thought out answers that drive understanding” @steverappaport
“Mobile content is a new way to engage, but brands are still thinking through what can be said and done on a much smaller device” @dschreib
“Mobile content is a new frontier, but at the end of the day, brands still need to know more about you to make it relevant. Tricky to do via a smartphone” @masonnelder
The tastybytes conversation continues. If you’re interested in learning more, head on over to our Linkedin Group or follow the hashtag #tastybytes from time to time as we’ll be coming to a city near you in 2012.
NOTE: for a quick look at Compete’s last TastyBytes event in Boston, take a look here.
Remember all that hype around the iPhone 4? Biggest product launch ever, Apple and AT&T websites being crushed by demand, long lines at the store? Well, in the world of social media, a similar thing happened last week- the launch of FlipBoard, the “world’s first social magazine”.
The hype has died down a bit, and I’ve had a chance to download this application and play with it. Here is a review, followed by a quick video.
Flipboard is a new, free app available exclusively on the iPad (for now). The Flipboard app essentially turns your time on facebook or twitter into a dynamic and visually stunning experience. The application turns all of those tweets, updates, photos and links from your social circle into an intuitive, easy-to-read format. Flipboard also has “channels” for lots of other content, like technology, tech influencers, food, sports, etc. These channels, like the Facebook and Twitter channels are vetted and shared by chosen “experts” and influencers in the space. If you’re confused, don’t worry, that’s what the video is for. Take a look.
(Before we evaluate Flipboard, it should be noted that Flipboard doesn’t seem like a one hit wonder. Take a quick look at their investors, and they are a legitimate offering. The co-founders of Facebook, Twitter, Ashton Kutcher and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Pretty impressive bunch.)
- Intuitive and very easy to use. It is the perfect app for consuming media. It fits right into the Ipad’s goal of being the “couch technology”. Something to do in your leisure time (if you have any left). On the couch, waiting to board a plane, at doctor’s office, before you go to bed, etc. I think it’s ideal for those 15-30 minute stretches of time between activities.
- Personalized for you. As mentioned before, it’s an experience for YOU. Its’ your social sphere and all of it’s related content delivered directly to you- when and where you want it.
- Advertising opportunities for “visual” brands. If you are Hermes, the Gap, a luxury safari company, or a gourmet food company, it’s hard to tell your story in 140 characters, blog posts or status updates. You need a visually stunning way to present your brand, and here is a perfect opportunity to do that. With the format of Flipboard, it allows big space for imagery (advertisements!) to tell a company story.
I’ll call this “opportunities for improvement” :-)
- Content needs to be fresher. It seems as if Flipboard only refreshes your Facebook/Twitter feed once or twice a day. According to their Twitter stream- they’re working on this
- Why isn’t Linkedin involved? They should be. Maybe because of the investors? ;-)
- Is this legal? For the other “sections” Flipboard essentially scrapes the web for good content. If you are reading a NYTimes article on Flipboard and click on an a Flipboard-sponsored ad, why should Flipboard get the money? Its not their content to begin with, right?. For more on this read Joel Johnson’s excellent article.
- Other Sections need some work. When you first set up Flipboard, you can add 7 other “sections” of content. Food, NYT, TED, sports. etc. For now, avoid the Flipboard-branded channels.
For example, the sports channel I chose kept feeding me stories about tennis. Not that I don’t like tennis, but 7 tennis stories in a row, and I was immediately turned off.
- Limited interaction possibilities. It must be pointed out again that this application is for consumption, not interaction. If you want to add a new tweet, make a status update on facebook, you can’t.
I think this is a watershed moment for publishers, and they should take note. Flipboard makes consuming media personal and tailored to you, which is the holy grail of publishing. If you could wake up every morning and go to ONE place for all of your personal and professional content, wouldn’t you? This is like what iGoogle and MyYahoo was ten years ago, only much much better. It’s new content delivered to you that’s always fresh, delivered in a refreshing, “consumable” way, and now, it’s mobile.
What do you think? Is this Flipboard thing here to stay?