My space is more important than your space! That is what Mitch Joel of Six Pixels says people are saying as Facebook moves past Yahoo! as the second most popular website in the U.S. Joel suggests that as technologies, platforms and channels continue to evolve, the new homepage will shift from the Yahoo! portal model to a more personal river of news from various sources. He may be correct as the classic web loses its dominance, but otherwise give me a good old fashioned web portal any day. Actually, I only wanted to use the phrase “My space is more important than your space” because I think there’s something important behind that statement.
Social Media Developments to Watch. The WebWorkerDaily lists 8 Social Media developments that you might consider in your brand’s marketing strategy. Virtual Goods are insanely popular according to WWD, as well as gaming. Niche networks (like a Sueetie Online Community perhaps?) can give you everything from an instant focus group to a band of passionate buzz agents on your hands, if you know how to properly leverage the community participation. Augmented reality is another development to watch, along with the need to move into mobile marketing.
Marketing Lessons Learned. MarketingSherpa compiles a 34-page PDF containing real-life marketing stories and lessons learned from 70 marketers and agencies. It’s worth a scroll-through. Sections cover Social Media, Search, B2B and Consumer Marketing, Testing and Metrics, and others. Tips I liked included “expose yourself”, “there is no such thing as a social media ‘expert’”, “If you do it online it’s social media. Do it offline it’s a barbeque.” Take advantage of free channels. Reward clicks with a good offer. SEO Success is more than rank (define business objectives and how SEO supports them.) Attract prospects with insider content, like secret, unpublished web pages, leadership content they have access to before anyone else, killer events. Share webinar materials with non-attendees. Budget for content creation. Connect with emotions. Think beyond the U.S. Never stop measuring and analyzing.
Improving Social Media (and Online Community) Karma. This IMB post on best Social Media practices is equally applicable to Online Community Management. Members of your online community must perceive you as being real, not lying, being transparent and trustworthy. You must respond to member emails. Consider offering exclusives to your members. Avoid snarkiness, being rude and arrogant. Spotlight your community members. Show gratitude always.
Beyond the Billable Hour. If you’re a freelancer like me in a slow economy you’re just happy to have billable hours, but we freelancers also need to think “What’s next?” This FreelanceSwitch article lists a few options to freelancing. While not my cup of tea, the first option is to form your own creative agency to take on more and bigger projects. Another option is your own product, a web application or book, for instance. There might also be a dream job out there that gives you enough incentive to abandon the freelance lifestyle. (That has to be some job!) The key issue is to ask where you want to wind up in the long run and then work toward reaching those goals.
Google and a Nation’s Productivity. With the recent China Google hacking I hadn’t considered one of the effects on China if Google stopped serving them. According to a Chinese Professor, “Research without Google would be like life without electricity.” “84% of the scientists who responded to Nature’s survey say that losing Google would ‘somewhat or significantly’ hamper their research.” I have to agree with the author when he suggests, “Maybe these scientists shouldn’t teach their students how to hack into US networks then, should they?”
Use Analytics Questions. This MarketingProfs post by Beth Harte lists questions to ask when considering a social media monitoring investment. These are good questions that are applicable for site use analytics as well, like how can you filter the data retrieved, how can it be segmented, how can you remove the garbage? Can the data be exported? What are the options for assigning follow-up to co-workers or departments? How do you find influencers? How deep are the analytics and do they provide actionable insights?