Even a few years ago, I got most of my marketing and business news from email newsletters and print publications. After that, blogs became my preferred news source -- more perspectives, written by people living the news from the front lines (rather than by journalists commenting from the sidelines), served up in near real time by Google Reader.
But today, I get most of my business news and discover new marketing facts, ideas and opinions on Twitter.
If you're a marketer and still wondering how to justify spending time on Twitter -- and building relationships with your peers and/or social media insiders isn't important enough to you (?!?!?!) -- you might consider that Twitter helps you keep your ear to the ground and serves up lots of information that you can use to do your job better tomorrow than you do it today.
- The rise of social media and the democratization of content creation means, among other things, that everyone (no matter how small) can use the web to create and grow their own personal brand. Lots of companies don't like this but, according to Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang, they had better get used to it.
- Of course, companies can and should be tapping into the same social media tools to build their own brands too, assuming they can get it right. Despite corporate America's efforts to establish some consistent blogging standards and best practices, most consumers quite simply don't trust corporate blogs. To me, this says more about the general trustworthiness of the typical company than it does about the potential value blogging brings to the marketing mix. Hopefully the folks who make corporate communications decisions will see it the same way.
- Now, if all this talk of blogging still confuses you, there's good news (or bad news, depending on your perspective) - you're not alone. Most marketers are still social media beginners and have plenty to learn about how to participate in the conversation and how to measure the ROI of doing so.
- On the other hand, you shouldn't let the (perceived) lack of ROI keep you from trying your hand at social media marketing -- or at marketing through any of the other emerging channels we have at your disposal today. One pizza chain has generated $1 million in mobile web sales in the past six months alone, and new data shows that even virtual world storefronts can be company revenue drivers. Take that, haters.
- But even this doesn't mean that all is well in Next Big Thingsylvania. For example, even in Europe, 2008 wasn't the Year of Mobile and we still have a long way to go before mobile marketing hits it's stride. Add this challenge to the list of stumbling blocks: when most people say "mobile marketing" what they really mean is "mobile advertising." And that's a ship that will sink well before it sets sail (file under: square peg, round hole.)
- Wanna know what else doesn't work? Viral marketing. Well, it works -- or at least it can -- but (repeat after me people) viral isn't a marketing strategy; it's one possible outcome of an otherwise sound campaign that's actually so good that people want to spread the word. Viral is about people talking to people, and you can't cook it up in a Madison Avenue conference room.
- And speaking of things that don't work, Robert Scoble isn't a fan of Twitter's direct messaging functionality. For those of you not on Twitter, direct messaging allows one user to send a private tweet to another user. Scoble dislikes this piece of the service so much that he'd like to see Twitter do away with it altogether. He's in the minority from what I can tell, but I kinda agree with him.
- So if direct messages don't work, how do you attract attention from a big time social media guru? David Armano (a not-so-shabby social media guru himself, although you wouldn't know it from his mountain man beard and straw hat) thinks a new service called Bubble Comment might do the trick. Bubble Comment let's you record and post a video message that will pop up, bubble like, on top of any web page. It's freaky but fun -- it just might work... Although I'm not sure what, exactly, has happened to Armano. He used to be a nice Italian boy from Long Island.
So hey Twitterinos, what interesting, fun and useful facts did you learn from your Twitter friends this week?