How valuable is your website in B2B purchasing decisions?

The invention of social media and blogging has left a big question unanswered in the online marketing realms. Just how valuable is a company website in business to business purchasing decisions? Well it seems that they are very valuable but not neccessarily influential in in the three stages of purchasing. This information comes from the Buyershpere report which I believe shows great insight into the platforms neccessary to create business to business sales leads from the internet. A Summary: How important is your company website? When looking at buying business services there are three stages of the purchase that have been identified: Identifying and defining the need Indentifying potential suppliers Final selection of the supplier In all three stages a company’s website was the primary channel used to gather information, even more than web searches. In stage one industry press, word of mouth and events were next in line as channels used to identify and define the need for the purchase. The company website in this case has the opportunity to establish brand, share product details and specifications and add value to the different purchase stages. the interesting fact that rose oot of the study though was that the company website had very little influence on the conclusion of each stage. The effect of social media on business to business purchasing decisions It’s all about influence! Every stage of the purchase cycle revealed that  social media channels and word of mouth were the primary influential channels that influenced the decisions...

New Keynote on Social Media – Consumer 2.0

I am happy to announce that almost a years worth of ideas and concepts are neatly wrapped up in my latest keynote presentation. Consumer 2.0 The past ten years have seen the world move closer and closer to a digital existence. The boomer generation confidently lead to way by integrating our lives with electronic banking, business intranets and cellular phones while Generation X and Y have continued the journey into blogging, instant messaging and social media. This digital life has not replaced the real “person to person” lifestyle but rather enhanced life to be more convenient and dynamic. Electronic banking opened the door to convenient banking and social media made relationships easier to manage. Does this mean that everyone is moving to using these new technologies? In our experience no, instead people are adapting to those technologies that matter to them. This has lead to a more complex consumer who is using various communication tools in their own way. Making it more difficult to engage with the consumer – regardless of their generation, income level or intelligence. The level of a consumers digital savvy will depend on how and when you could connect with your consumers and whether they will appreciate your presence or not. At the end of the day you have four questions that need answering: How does this influence the way we do business? How has this changed the consumer? How does this influence your reputation or brand? What do we do now? Consumer 2.0 is a...

Twitter launches Twitter Places

Twitter recently launched Twitter Places, a technology that allows users to tell Twitter where they are in the world. The benefit for the user is simple. Their tweet now has more context. From twitter: When turning to Twitter to keep up with the current world cup soccer game, it helps to know where a Tweet is coming from—is that person watching the game on TV or is he actually in the stadium? To help answer that question, we’re excited to announce Twitter Places on twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com. Starting today, you can tag Tweets with specific places, including all World Cup stadiums in South Africa, and create new Twitter Places. You can also click a Twitter Place within a Tweet to see recent Tweets from a particular location. This also means that Twitter will now have similar attributes to the new social media startup Foursquare. Location is becoming an important part of online socilaising, which makes it no surprise that Twitter is now entering this space. Most people have come to realise that I only care about adoption when it comes to social media. There is no point marketing into a social media platform unless your public are using the network. Twitter has the potential to create serious competition for Foursquare here as they have a user base of about 11 million with 64 million tweets occuring each day. The latest stats I could find on Foursquare sat at 1.4 million users. However in true social networking spirit Foursquare and Twitter...

Google has bigger privacy issues than Facebook

Everyone is talking about the privacy rights of Facebook at the moment but a very interesting statement was made by Mark  Zukerberg in a recent interview: Let me paint the two scenarios for you. They correspond to two companies in the Valley. It’s not completely this extreme, but they are on different sides of the spectrum. On the one hand you have Google, which primarily gets information by tracking stuff that’s going on. They call it crawling. They crawl the web and get information and bring it into their systems. They want to build maps, so they send around vans which literally go and take pictures of your home for their Street View system. And the way they collect and build profiles on people to do advertising is by tracking where you go on the Web, through cookies with DoubleClick and AdSense. That’s how they build a profile about what you’re interested in. Google is a great company, but you can see that taken to a logical extreme that’s a little scary. In essence it is becoming more and more evident that Google is breaking the boundaries of privacy by gathering information without consent. Google tracks most of the activity on the internet and then uses that information as they please. Mike Wronski spoke about an experience where Google potentially scanned his email and used the information to tailor advertising to him. Although this sounds like Google is being extremely clever there is an underlying privacy issue that Google needs...

Is Facebook getting bigger than Google?

A few weeks ago I wrote on the Ideat blog that Facebook had the potentional to become the King of the Internet. This was highlighted by the fact the Facebook had been the most visited website in the US a week or two earlier.More recently Facebook has become the most popular searched brand in the US. What has become more interesting is that in South Africa 82% of the online population are on Facebook and 74% of the population are actively involved in social networking.  In March we also saw the launch of Google real-time search in South Africa, which brings social media updates into Google. There are also develoments, made by google, that mean you have better search potential in Google if more people are following you on twitter. What is taking place is a fundamental shift in the way people use the internet. People are choosing to network, search, discuss, aggregate and understand the internet through social networks, of which Facebook is the largest. This has meant that Google has had to go to the social networks to get the information that people are intesteted in. So the question: Is Facebook getting bigger than Google? What about in a South African context? What do you think?

What on earth is a Facebook Community page?

The biggest question I am asked as a social media coach has been “what should I use to promote my business? A page or a group?” Well now we have something new to consider: Facebook Community Pages What it looks like and why have one? A Community Page looks and feels exactly like a normal Facebook page but it has a slightly different purpose. The page is meant to be used for all the unofficial band, brand and business pages that are out there. Facebook seems to be trying to bring a more official status to a Page by letting the unofficial pages have their own platform. What’s so different about it? Basically the biggest difference is that when these pages gain popularity they have the potential to be handed over to the Facebook community. This will mean that the community page will start to look like a wiki about the page topic. Why not just use a group? My personal opinion is that Facebook is trying to phase out groups but there is no proof for that other than my gut feel. Another thought would be SEO. Groups on Facebook are not indexed by Google. So if you would like to start a community of people and wish that community had a search engine presence then a Community Page is they way forward. The other thing to remember is that pages provide user statistics. So your community page could provide some interesting insight into its users. Allfacebook makes a...

Team Training in Facebook and Twitter Marketing

The International Hotel School (IHS) hosted Mike Saunders for two days as he worked with IHS and members of the Three Cities Marketing team. The workshops took the candidates through a fun and strategic understanding of how to use Facebook and Twitter as a marketing vehicle. This is what some of the candidates had to say about the training: Mike, you are a star! Your social media training with us has been invaluable. Thank you – Ruth Paulsen (Head of Marketing – IHS) Thanks for the insight over the last 2 days. It was great fun and very exciting looking at the integration possibilities. Now we need to just get out there and use the technology – Jillian (HR Manager – IHS) Hi Mike..it was a fantastic experience..i am so excited 2 lift off..i get bored and lose focus so quickly, but u had my attention the entire time..u brought my focus back 2 the wonderful world of online networking..tx a mil! – Carla Rossouw (Lecturer – IHS) Mike thank you, you have no idea how your workshop helped open my eyes to whats out there in terms of social media and the internet. Im so excited, I cant wait to see whatsinstore for IHS. – Neliswa Sithole (Consultant – International Hotel School)

Forget teenagers! Generation X use social media in South Africa

Bizcommunity posted an interesting article the other day that spoke about the Friendship 2.0 study that was commissioned by MWEB. The study showed a very interesting statistic: The average age of Facebook users in South Africa is 33; MySpace is 32; Twitter and YouTube come in at 31; and the youngest in the survey is MXit with an average age of 27. These findings dispel perceptions that social networking is for teenagers only. Unbelievable! That means that people on Facebook, Twitter, MXit and YouTube could have more decision making power than we think. We may need to start changing the way we market to these networks because we may be missing the mark completely. Generation X are the ones we can meet with social networking. Very exciting news! One question is begging though? Where are all the teenagers?

One-on-one Social Media Coaching

“Ever stood facing the cold pool water when all that stood before you and the shock of the cold water was the commitment to jump? Of course you have. And your hesitancy was most likely being subjected to the taunting of kids already in the pool. Then you jump and there is a split second of mid-air realization that there is no going back before you are immersed in the ice-cold water. I have just jumped. I have just had my first coaching session in Social Media.” – Keith Coats, Leadership Expert“ Like Keith many people have recognised that they need to learn and understand this new realm of social media. You can attend all the courses you like on this topic but nothing will entrench the topic in your mind like one-on-one coaching will. These one-on-one meetings are a an opportunity to have your questions answered while following a predetermined curriculum to ensure that you gain a complete understanding of social media. So if you would like to know more about facebook, linkedin, twitter, MXit, blogging, websites, mobile media, internet advertising, online marketing and promoting yourself online please contact me for more information. You can see a few articles about some people who have gone through this type on one-on-one coaching here

SA’s Top 20 Websites: What South Africa want’s from the internet

Update: This article was written in 2010. For the latest version written in 2011 click here The top twenty most visited websites by South Africans, as provided by Alexa, show us that South Africa internet users are interested in information, fun and money. Information Looking for something? Search is still the primary point of a South African internet user with large portions of usership is driven towards Google. Yahoo may add to these search orientated statistics but it may be misleading as most Yahoo users are mail users and can only access their email from the Yahoo website itself. MSN is also one of the Top 20. The popularity of Wikipedia shows that South Africans are starting to ‘choose’ their search engine according to their specific needs. Latest News It has become inevitable that the internet in South Africa will provide a better news service to the public. As first world countries have may an almost complete shift to internet news the biggest hurdle in South Africa will the internet access. I don’t believe that we can say that internet holds the majority of our news readers but it is safe to say that most internet users in South Africa are following the news over an internet connection. News24 has been the most successful service offering in this regard trumping all overseas competition. Seeking Opinions The international blogging community is full of personal opinion which has helped marketers to perform fast and effective research on product feedback and brand reputation....

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