Mapping the Social Media Landscape

August 11, 2010

Infographics, according to Wikipedia are “graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge”. It’s also a wonderful way to communicate your message. Marketers that manage to become good at visual data communication can positively influence their companies into taking the right approach or strategy. Talking with the CEO or other managers about what all those metrics mean is sometimes a challenge, especially when they are not on top of the latest marketing trends or technologies.

When it comes to social media, a nice chart can do the talking job for you. The problem is finding the right one. The internet is now full of infographics for the social media space and each has its own particular characteristic. Here are some of the more interesting ones I found that try to map out the social media or social networking landscape. Their creators vary widely, from bloggers, marketing companies, to nationally recognized magazines.

National Geographic’s “World Wide Friends” illustration:

National Geographic Magazine World Wide Friends Illustration

National Geographic Magazine World Wide Friends Illustration

Overdrive Interactive “Social Media Map”:

Overdrive Interactive Social Media Map

Flowtown’s 2010 Social Networking Map:

The 2010 Social Networking Map

Flowtown's The 2010 Social Networking Map

Information Architect’s Web Trend Map 3.0:

Web Trend Map 3

Information Architect's Japan Web Trend Map 3

Harvard Business Review “Mapping the Social Internet”:

Mapping the Social Internet

HBR Mapping the Social Internet

Mapping Social Media and Internet Trends

What I like about the maps above is that each one is a great representation of the data it is trying to communicate. The maps that follow a known pattern (subway lines, political map, etc.) tend to be easier to understand because they represent images we’re already familiar with. In general, if it takes you more than a few seconds to understand what the map is trying to say, then it’s not a good map. Your audience, of course, will be the determining factor telling you whether one type of map is more appropriate than the other.

Have you found a good representation of the social media space? Please share!


Marketers Listen Up: How to sharpen your social media skills

December 22, 2009

Listen before joining social media

Pressured to join the social media scene and start tweet-link-face-blogging? Hold on a minute, because first you may want to read what some experts have to say.

In one word: LISTEN.

Before letting everyone know you’re there and that your company or product is great, find out if people will care and, more importantly, find out how to engage them so that in the future they may care. Not wanting to rehash what has already been expertly written, here are some great starting points:

  1. The Six Free Listening Tools You Cannot Do Without, from Debra Askanase, is a great compilation of free tools that can get you started. Also, worth checking out is her recent post on “the case of 4,000 indifferent twitter followers“.
  2. Another good list of tools to use for listening into social media sites is given by Clay McDaniel on this MarketingProfs article.
  3. But before you go after all the shiny new tools, make sure you ask yourself the Five W’s of Social Media Listening, courtesy of Jason Falls.

There are countless other sources on the web, but I thought these are a very good summary of the basics. If you have come across other great tools or advice, please share!


Free Stuff That Sells. Maybe.

June 13, 2009
Free Marketing Stuff Can Sell

Free Marketing Stuff Can Sell

As marketers our job is to generate brand awareness, educate our prospective customers on the benefits of our products and get them to purchase. Effective marketing is about generating sales. Sure, leads and nurturing and all of that are all good but the reality is that unless a sale is made, all that money was spent without any return. Part of the challenge is reaching enough people with your message so that at least a significant number of them decide to buy. And how do you reach even greater number of prospects? Give away free stuff.

Can free stuff sell?

There is a natural resistance among marketers to give whitepapers, webinars, even product spec sheets out for free, especially without requiring any kind of registration. We want names, titles, email addresses, phone numbers, company revenues, number of employees, and while we’re at it give us your annual budget too. What do we do with it? We send it along to the sales reps so tat they can chase these “leads” like eagles diving for their prey. Eagles rarely come back empty handed, though. But that’s another story.

Back to the free marketing stuff. I am enrolled in a free course called Inbound Marketing University, created by HubSpot. It is a free week long online training program featuring some great speakers on topic such as blogging, SEO, viral marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing… all the tools online marketers need to know.

So, why is it free? Because if they charged for it not as many people would register.  Also, the classes (delivered via online webinars, with the archives available afterwards) feature speakers from other respected companies that would love to be able to sell their products to the attendees. I’m not saying that it will be sales pitch university, but I am skeptical. Will it really have all the great insight you get from quality paid courses? Will I get sales calls from each company that is presenting a class? I sure hope yes for the first and no for the second.

As an attendee the question is whether the content will be good. As a marketer (HubSpot in this case) the question is whether sales will follow.

Free marketing that sells

Free marketing stuff can definitely help a company improve its brand and get new customers. People love free stuff, and if it is quality free stuff that you don’t have to regiser for they will tell more people to check it out and those people will tell even more people (viral marketing anyone?). Odds are that someone may eventually buy the product or service. David Meerman Scott is a master at this. His eBook “The New Rules of PR” was offered for free without requiring any registration from his website and was downloaded 250,000 times. When he came out with his hardcover book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”, it reached number 1 in sales quickly. When people download his eBook and like it, they are more likely to purchase his new book. On top of that, by recognizing David as an expert on the subject and someone that is not emailing you every week with stuff you never asked for, he and his company (Pragmatic Marketing) may get some customers that otherwise would not have even thought about them.

And if you do a simple Google search, you’ll find tons of other free stuff that does not require registration. From free PPC tips, free guide on Facebook for business, free eBook on Twitter for Business, free email marketing guide, and other miscellaneous free stuff (some of which you wish you had never found).

Does it mean we should all offer free stuff without registration on our websites? And how about going a step further and forgo registration for everything else we have on the site, just let people take it? Of course not, but putting some thought into getting quality content available without too many hurdles for the users couldn’t hurt either. Going back to the Inbound Marketing University, what I liked about their registration process is that it was painless, they ask minimum information and so far only relevant emails about the course have been sent.

Whether Inbound Marketing University ends up delivering a great program or just more sales presentations, I will let you know throughout the week as I take their classes (probably more archive classes than live ones, for my free time during the day is fairly limited). The free offer has at least picked my interest so you could say that the strategy is working… for now.

Does free stuff appeal to you? Or you try to stay away from it? Do you offer free marketing materials without registration on your website? Please share your experiences! 🙂


How to Use Social Media – Lessons from AMA Digital Conference

March 7, 2009

This past Friday (March 6) the AMA Tampa Bay chapter hosted an incredible full day event called the Digital Marketing Conference. The room was packet (the number I heard was 80 attendees) and a lot of information was flowing to and from the audience back to the presenters. Talking of which, all deserve credit here:

  • Deana Goldasich, from Magnetic, gave a thought-provoking presentation on web usability that took us for a ride on the evolution of websites since the early 90’s until today. I got a couple pages worth of notes from her presentation.
  • Ron Adelman, from WSI Marketing, discussed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in a down-to-earth manner that was refreshing at the same time very entertaining. The guy really knows his stuff.
  • Lisa Cardarelli, from Bayshore Solutions, had a more standard powerpoint and although some of the slides were tough to read (10 point font and 15 bullet points per slide), they were packed with good stuff based on a recent client they worked with and how they improved their pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Some good discussion about the integration between online and print advertising got everyone talking.
  • Brenda Young, from Marbay Group, shared her expertise on the solical media space by talking about what can be considered one of the top rules for any marketer around: Listen First! 
  • Albert Chen, from Google, flew directly from Boston to our cozzy Florida weather to grace us with his presence and gave a thoroughly entertaining presentation discussing what Google Can Do for You. I was prepared for a sales pitch but Albert delivered one of the best presentations of the day while at the same time informing us of all the great tools available for Marketers from Google.
  • Peter Contardo and Shaun Pope, from Endavo Media, gave us a great primer on monetizing online video, clarifying that although easy to create (anyone with a webcam can upload to Youtube), need some thinking before you can actually make money with video.
  • Peter Radizeski, from Rad-Info also known as the Marketing Idea Guy, and Shawna Vercher from the Society of Successful Women and the Huffington Post, delivered the most engaging presentation of the day. Forgoing powerpoint, they showed why they make the big bucks by doing a presentation in an interview style that provided a good respite from powerpiont and was also very educational and full of great tips and tricks on Integrating Blogging Into Your Marketing Strategy.
  • Chuck Palm, from Internet Podcasting Network, closed the day with “Social Media Mania – what should my business do about it?”. He reinforced some key messages we heard throughout the day and added some great stories about Twitter, blogs, and podcasting. The Zappos story about blue suede shoes stuck in my mind as a great example of social media, six degrees of separation, and pure luck 😉

The best of these events for me is actually the networking portion. Is great to be able to discuss your own challenges with other marketers and realize that you’re not alone out there… I met some great people and learned some stuff I can start using right now in my own company.

Just as a sidenote, I thought ironic the fact that for a “digital marketing conference” that focused on social media (blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook, etc.) the AMA Tampa Bay chapter didn’t have a blog, a wiki, or a discussion forum on their website where attendees could continue the conversation. Hopefully the board members also learned how to use social media and we’ll see it being adopted by the chapter.


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