The Content Conundrum… TastyBytes NY

On September 28, 2011, in Thoughts on Social Media, by tgoodridge

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.

 

 

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Thumbs Up Linkedin

On November 2, 2010, in Featured, Thoughts on Social Media, by tgoodridge

It looks like LinkedIn is taking another good step in the world of social.

Yesterday, on their blog they announced a new feature for their Company pages, allowing companies to showcase their products and recommendations. To quote Ryan Roslanksy from LinkedIn, “Company Pages will enable companies to build their brand through network-aware recommendations, giving members rich, credible insights into how any given product (or service) is perceived by their fellow professionals.”

It’s still early going now, but here are some thoughts…

What I like about it:
Advantage Small Business: What a great opportunity for a small, growing business! If you’re an entrepreneur with a fairly large network on Linkedin. You have an ability to showcase your products and services, not just you. A person can get all the recommendations in the world, but if you have multiple products or services, that’s what you can showcase on your page. Need to quickly sell your old inventory of X product or service by the end of the year? Then highlight this in the “Featured” Section.

Partner Recommendations:  If you are a professional service firm with various outside partners, you should be able to recommend other business partners (or products or services) here. If I’m an ad agency that works with a printing company, I’ll be able to highlight them here, and vice versa- a nice way of passing business back and forth.

Paving the Way: I think this gets another foot in the door for LinkedIn to get allow of your company’s content to live on Linkedin. A perfect chance for your company’s blog to live alongside this content, right?

What worries me:
Ok, there has to be some bad with the good here, so here goes.

Just recommendations? Here’s a look at Samsung’s company page, featuring several of their new products. But what if I had a bad experience with one of their products? Isn’t there room for a negative comment? How about a rating system here? Perhaps LinkedIn turned off this functionality on purpose? (I’ll check with their guy, Mario Sundar on this one)

Overkill? If I’m a big company like Samsung, do I really need this? Shouldn’t my reputation speak for itself? And, if they really want to push recommendations, these results better show up on a the first page of a Google search….

Another Layer: Yep, it’s one more added layer of work for the marketing team. But, in the changing world of inbound marketing and social media, it may just be worth it in the long run.

What’s Next?
LinkedIn is smart enough to know that all business still operates on a personal level. You or your company is still more likely to make a purchasing decision based on a recommendation from a peer, right? So, Linkedin is bringing that to the company level- let’s see what happens.

What do you think? Good move by LinkedIn, or waste of time?

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The World’s First Social Magazine?

On July 29, 2010, in Featured, by tgoodridge

Screen shot 2010-07-29 at 11.49.53 AM

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.

The Basics
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.)

The Pros
- 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.

The Cons
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.

What’s Next?
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?

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