The word blog has a long and storied history that parallels the rise of social media and the internet. We have come a long way from the original blogs on Geocities and other proto-giants of the world wide web. Some may even argue that blogs were the original form of social media, the networks of posters and commentators predating social networks like myspace.
But are they still relevant? With flashier options for social media coming out every day, and with constantly hyped standbys like twitter and facebook all over the news, those seeking for a fully stocked social media campaign will often overlook the significance of the humble blog.
eMarketer released a report on blogging last week about the future of the practice as it stands today. The report contained several interesting findings putting hard numbers to the blogging trend.
As of 2010, just over half the internet population goes on blogs regularly, a number which is expected to hit 60% in the next few years. In addition, 11.9% of internet users in the United States currently own a blog. In terms of interactivity, a brand cannot ask for much more. How much stronger is a thought out response to a blog post compared to a tweetback?
Think about ways that your company could harness blogging to show a more human side to your business. Let us know what you think in the comments and stay tuned for more updates on the art of blogging.
The USA Network has recently announced results from a recent campaign to enhance site viewership through a point based, game like system called “Character Rewards”. The points can be redeemed for both virtual and real life branded goods. Ultimately, the system rewards viewers for loyalty and taps into their nature as fans. The result? An over 30% increase in viewership since launch.
This example of social media success begs the question, what is it that keeps customers attracted? While having an attractive site design or a catchy message can capture the attention of a potential customer, the effectiveness of a campaign is limited if that customer doesn’t keep returning.
In this particular example, the force that kept customers returning to the site was one of the most compelling drives in today’s attention starved populace: the desire to game. The same force that keeps millions logging into farmville and makes World of Warcraft a multi-billion dollar industry is the driving force behind USA’s success.
But the real message to be taken from this is that social media succeeds when it is in alignment with the customer’s desires. Taking the habits of television show fans, who consistently develop loyalty for a show, and creating a complimentary program for these habits is what drives success. This same initiative, used for a movie, for example, would most likely not have had the same effect.
Social media needs to be carefully coordinated and in touch with the customer if it is to succeed.
With the recent launch of Digg version 4, the once invincible social media Goliath may finally be on its last legs. And fittingly, many speculate the social news site bound to take the throne is the much smaller, user driven Reddit.
Digg’s version 3, in effect since 2006, propelled the site to massive success, with valuations of up to $250 million by some and an offering of over $200 million from Google in 2008. But it was ridden with problems. Certain power users and groups of Diggers could effectively control the coveted front page, dramatically altering the dynamic of any company seeking to pay for adspace. It was clear that Digg needed a change, and that change eventually came with the launch of Digg Version 4.
The new version, in addition to containing a good deal of outright mistakes like a recommended user list, but the architecture of the site was altered too much for many of the dedicated users. While optimizing the site for more traffic, Digg also changed some features to make the community more accessible to mainstream users.
The result? Many of the once dedicated Diggers were alienated from their favorite social news site. Many transferred directly to the competition, reddit, after hearing about it through social media platforms like twitter. Reddit’s community centered site structure drew many Digg “refugees” after the change.
What is the implication for social media today? This shows that smaller players can dwarf companies with massive staffs and funding (Reddit is run by a 6 person team) by getting close to the community. In web 3.0, the end user is the ultimate bottom line