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Predictions For New Media In 2012

Well, I didn’t score as well on my 2011 predictions as I did in previous years. Lets review those first …

The Verizon iPhone will do bigger business than expected and shed some serious light on just how pathetic of a company AT&T really is. AT&T is still pathetic – and the iPhone Verizon did great business but not enough to call my prediction as good. 1 down.

The 2nd Generation iPad will bring us a very reduced rate on the 1st gen iPad bringing prices (and consumption) close to the Amazon Kindle. Wrong there too. 2 down. Gotta say, good on Apple for keeping profit going though.

Something MASSIVE from Microsoft is coming to save Microsoft from herself. 3 down. Microsoft. Wow. Not good.

We’ll see big pushes from YouTube for video rentals, live streaming and cross platform consumption. Finally got one right.

Social Media will quickly move from buzzworthly catchphrase to reality of online business. I’d say I’m good there too.

I got a 40% – bad for predictions but I could probably get a job in the Congress or be a bank president somewhere …

And so my 2012 predictions.

We still stop asking people if they have a texting plan and start asking people what number we should text them at. The power of cross-channel marketing mixed with the realities of message fatigue requires this very important play.

Google Plus will see a significant reboot of some sort to make her relevant past new media bloggers and authors (of books about Google Plus). Despite the “numbers” inside, it has no real penetration yet (past the digerati) and will have to get these numbers some other way than it it is doing so now. She’s too big to fail but isn’t going in the right direction right now. Something has to change.

YouTube will crack the annotations and overlay code for HTML5 video (tvs, phones, etc.) and Facebook will answer the ads in Mobile Facebook question. YouTube is more important off the computer screen than on and Facebook users are doing more and more things mobile every day. The future of all this is off our computer screens. Anyone creating content or marketing better embrace this reality quickly.

“Cutting cable” will become a popular term. Between the most recent Xbox update and the Superbowl streaming online in 2012, the reality of what many of us have been doing for years will become more mainstream. This will also result in less “smart money” heading to the networks (and their cable plays at least).

And, finally, the (inspiring) Louis CK million dollars in download story will inspire a lot of people to charge less for their content than they should resulting in even less money for independent media creators in 2012. This model works in very specific environments (and a cable tv show doesn’t hurt either) and should’t be taken as the path by which too many will try.

There they are. Tell me how I’m wrong now, and we’ll let 365 days provide the real proof same time next year.

Social Media ROI – A Quick Test

I wouldn’t even begin to call this “scientific” in my approach, but I have some fascinating results of a quick test I did that I’d love to share with you. These numbers are almost exactly 24 hours into the run.

Same message – same link – sent to 4 different groups. The goal was to get an opt-in for a free video. Here are the groups:

1 – My Facebook Fan Page

2 – My Twitter Followers

3 – A Generic Email List Mailing

4 – A Targetted Email List Mialing

How did they perform?

Facebook – 6.91% of total reach | 9.65% of total clicks | 15.25% of total optins

Twitter – 50.24% of total reach | 25.40% of total clicks | 3.39% of total optins.

Generic Emailing – 21.75% of total reach | 30.55% of total clicks | 44.07% of total optins

Focussed Emailing – 21.10% of total reach | 34.41% of total clicks | 37.29% of total optins

Obviously, from this we can see that 42.85% of the total reach (in email) gathered 81.36% of the optins – the final goal. Email is nowhere near dead and I still loves me my list.

However, here is the most fascinating fact to me: best click to optin ratio was Facebook by far. Facebook got 30%. One list, 27% and the other 21%. Twitter – as is hardly a surprise to me – was 3%.

Again, this was simple test will all sort of implications. It is by no means scientific but fascinating none the less. I’m gonna keep building my email list, but with the results I’m seeing from Facebook, I need to continue to be very serious about how I take on that beast.

I’d love your thoughts …

Photo from Brian Solis

Why Social Media is a Waste of Time for Most Local Businesses

I’m in China this week so I have a guest blogger with a piece that should get some attention and discussion. I’ll be doing more of these in the future, don’t worry, but please interact with the thoughts presented in the comments below:

Why Social Media is a Waste of Time for Most Local Businesses

For the social pundits and new media “experts” out there, this may come as a shock – engaging in social media (a la Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, etc.) for most local businesses is a complete waste of time, and worse – it’s a waste of their money.

I’ve been working with small, mostly local businesses on-line for almost 8 years. “Local” meaning the business has a geographically constrained clientele. ie. you’ll only travel so far to visit a dentist, go to a restaurant, hire an electrician, or even buy a car.

I know, I know – the interweb is all atwitter (sorry, had to) about social media. Facebook has more pageviews than Google, there are more Twits tweeting everyday, there are anecdotes of company X or Y claiming marketing success with social media – and always in a fancy press release, no bias there.

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be an effective marketing channel – but so can b2b and b2c networking, referral marketing, radio ads, TV commercials, print advertising, trade shows, direct mailers, email marketing, etc. etc.

Folks, there are A LOT of options to advertise your business. Just because you could market with social media doesn’t mean you should.

If there is one thing I’ve learned working with so many businesses in these past years is that time is the single greatest commodity out there. Period. Sure, if you’re business is flush with cash, you can mitigate some of the time limitations by outsourcing some work, but for most small local businesses that’s not even an option.

So the question is not “could social media work for your local business,” but rather “is social media the best use of your available time/resources.”

So what should a local business do?

The formula for marketing success has been largely unchanged for thousands of years. You are selling a product or service, presumably of good quality and at a price people are willing to pay. You find out where your potential clients are hanging out, then you can advertise or otherwise interact with them there. Pretty straight forward.

This formula hasn’t really changed much at all in the online world either. If your audience hangs out in bowling alleys, you may want to advertise there. If they are in Facebook, then by all means, advertise or interact there.

An electrical contractor company I am working with specializes in work on home remodels. His target audience? Not the home owners, but the general contractors who manage the whole project and bring in their sub-contractors (like electricians). Where do general contractors hang out? Do they spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube? I can’t speak for every geography, but here in the Northwest they certainly do not. They do, however, hang out with groups like the Home Builders Association, the Oregon Remodelers Association, and the Associated General Contractors, among others.

For this electrical contracting company, in business for 15 years, quite successful, where should the owner be spending his time? There are only so many hours in a week – should they spend time on a facebook page or blogging, or should they be networking with other general contractors? Also note – they’ve never even had a website (nor ever needed one).

Now for the flip side, there is the local bistro who also has a wine bar – and of course, has a lot of wine tasting events. A huge chunk of their customers at the wine tastings are stay-at-home-moms. Stay-at-home-moms are becoming notorious for the amount of time they spend on Facebook — so suddenly social media could be interesting here. The owner puts up a Facebook page, posts upcoming events, put’s up photos and videos from previous events, opens up the page for comments and recommendations from the participants about the different wines and events, and now you have an avid interactive following.

So, if you’re a business owner hearing all the hype about social media, be wary. Treat using social media like you would any other marketing or advertising decision for your business.

Kelly Hodsdon
Intentional Internet Inc.
Website Design and Interweb Marketing

Google Buzz – The Buzz And The Smart Response

Last week Google launched “Google Buzz.” It’s “their” take a social media, microblogging, etc. Let’s face it, they had to do something about Facebook and Twitter and this is their attempt accordingly.

The long and short of it is that your postings (buzzes?) get sent to your followers and attached to your Google Profile. Here’s my Google Profile, feel free to follow me as an example.

Armand Morin says it’s “going to be a dominating source in social media” (and offers some suggestions for making it better) and after a quick posting to my tribe (through Buzz, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), I got back but a few responses at all. I’ll quote a good chunk of them here:

Josh Sanders (The Hospitality Geek) said (via Google Buzz) “I think it’s a potential game-changer, especially for industries like mine. The geographic nature of the mobile version gives businesses an opportunity to reach out to those who happen to be around at the time.

Steve Griz (via Twitter) suggests he’ll be waiting a few weeks to dive in.

On Facebook, I opened things up for discussion on my Fan Page (feel free to join in) and only one person had anything to say – and that person was tired of reading about it.

But I think perhaps the most telling post was another buzz from New Media Inner Circle member Melanie Jordan who said “Eagerly awaiting your guidance to us on whether this is worth our time, and if it is, how to leverage the heck out of it!

With that, I offer you my thoughts on a “smart response” to Google Buzz:

In short, at this point Google Buzz is JASW (Just Another Social Network) but …

As the skeptic in me echoes the thoughts on my solo Facebook commenter, I have to remember a meal a few years back with Robert Scoble told me Twitter was “going to be huge” and I had the same initial response. By the way, here are Robert’s thoughts on Buzz so far.

The smart marketer needs a response that both gives Buzz a run for her money – but doesn’t suck you dry in true JASW form. I’d like to offer one.

In short, … add Buzz to your UberSyndication strategy by automatically posting there everytime you post to Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, etc. There is no need to make a special visit to Google (we make enough special visits as it is) any more than there is a need to make a special visit anywhere else. Your job is to publish your content via the channels your audience happens to be participating in, not judging the merits of said channels. (my current api of choice for UberSyndication) makes publishing to Google Buzz as easy as publishing anywhere else. There are a few zillion other ways to get the same results – I don’t care what tech you pick, just Do_it! (a little 80s programming lingo for you there).

In regards to keeping track of anyone Buzzing your way, there is currently no way that I know of right now to track responses via RSS or anything else. I’ve Pinged the world and will respond if I find anything out. Personally, I expect a full API (and lots of options) to be coming soon – but that’s another post all together. So, for the time being, you’re going to have to check right in Google Buzz – or make sure your messages alert everyone to the fact that you have no intention of doing so. There is no need to do this more than once a day.

Update: Got this from Shaine: (not quite sure how to make that do what I want yet but …)

That’s my take – now I want to hear yours here, at Google Buzz, or anywhere else (that’s kinda what this whole Web 2.0 thing is about, eh?).