Follow the Music: Twitter wins this Race

We’ve already witnessed some big changes in social media this year and I’m sure there will be more to come. Industry leaders are struggling to balance their independence while at the same time trying to branch out and attract diversified segments.

We’ve all heard about Facebook’s Graph Search, Twitter’s Vine and Google’s creeping strategy. However, things are about to get really interesting with the introduction of Twitter Music. Not only does this pave the way for diversification but it completely targets musicians and artists. I found this very interesting because I find a lot of artists and musicians are not very fond of Tweeting. Perhaps with the chance getting their indie song trending on the web there will be more incentive.

When Myspace left the picture it was only a matter of time before an industry leader stood up to plate and offered musicians some leverage. I’m actually kind of surprised Facebook and especially Google didn’t notice this gap in the market; because while Facebook replaced Myspace they never offered music pages or much support for showcasing music, besides events and group pages. However, Facebook has made music an important feature in their recent news feed update, and Google is in the works of building a subscription music service as well.

A little late is better than never.

The app is a standalone app meaning that you don’t need to sign in with Twitter to access the platform, however there is subtle branding on the player. It will also take information that you share via Twitter to suggest similar artists and bands you may like. The player was built by “We are Hunted” and was acquired by Twitter sometime in the last 6 months says CNET. It will be released on iOS sometime this month and the music will be streamed via Soundcloud.

The question: Will people find the application useful enough to replace their favourite music discovery websites like Jango, or Pandora? I don’t think it’ll replace Jango Radio for me but it’ll definitely come in handy when finding new independent artists and sharing emerging talent.

The truth: I’m looking forward to it.

Author: Anthony Baisi

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PR, Popularity, and Robots

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What does it mean to be popular online?

Working in marketing and Public Relations I frequently run into this question. Do they have what you want? Are they doing what you want to be doing? There has to be some common ground on which people can relate before they could say an entity is popular. After a conversation regarding popularity with a good friend of mine, I began to contemplate why I thought this was important.

“Why is popularity even important? Why is having say a million “likes” on a page any different to begging? It doesn’t bring you anything. Is there a deeper philosophical notion to this? Are we being lead by the proverbial carrot?”

“Popularity can lead to several things, for big corps like Facebook and Google, it could easily mean more control, more money, larger reach and so on. For advertisers and smaller businesses, placing an ad on the most used website in the world offers a greater chance of reach and impact.”

Businesses want to become popular so that can earn their market’s recognition, trust, and loyalty. Once the audience become loyal they are more likely to refer this brand to their friends and family.

“For writers and artists, it could mean more credibility in our respective industries, giving us more opportunity to grow and share our views and abilities. Leading to more shows, more articles, higher sales, higher traffic; and ultimately the opportunity to do what we love while not having to worry about accommodations, food, entertainment, etc. The carrot, I suppose could represent our inner ambitions.”

This conversation made me remember an anecdote from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, where a man had written a brilliant scientific thesis. He undoubtedly had a hard time convincing scholarly officials that it is in fact credible and worthy of their interest. Without proper acknowledgement of a doctorate degree and industry experience he couldn’t find proper recognition The truth is, that piece of paper becomes a symbolic ticket for a higher influence and the opportunity to share your ideas with a relevant and interested audience. beavertakesovertheworld

With the internet becoming the new avenue for small business and entrepreneurs it has also seen an increase in media coverage. If someone were to request guest contribution on a popular blog, they would first have their Twitter, Linkedin or blog perused by the bigger blog. If the person is possesses a modest following the judgement could be that this writer is under qualified, in experienced or simply not popular enough. The big guys want traffic, eye balls and shares; that’s why they need a influential writer, one with pizzazz and silver fingers that is capable of producing hot articles.

I’ve found that this can often to lead to inflating the truth, omitting details, or simply lying. I see it everywhere, there’s even books published that teach writers how to manipulate the media. But, the big blogs don’t seem to care; they just want the traffic, eye balls and money.

It’s this illusion of credibility that will soon direct whom we collaborate with, affiliate ourselves with and do business with. The water’s are muddied when accounts begin buying followers, likes and shares. It’s all a facade created to distort our viewer’s perceptions of our influence. Once we have a long trail of followers, likes and a strong Klout score we are considered: influential in our industry.

Stupefying really…

Fake likes, irrelevant follows, controlled sharing, scrapers, SEO frauds, follow bots, and automated posts are destroying what we, as writer work damn hard for: an honest following, genuine content, and the right to write what we feel passionate for; not some article based around a handful of blasted keywords.

If content is the next best thing, show them what you can do.

I’m hoping that you, as the reader will contribute to this post with your own insight on popularity and what it means to you.

Author: Anthony Baisi

What About Google?

google+With all this talk about Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Graph Search and content being king, I found myself thinking, what about Google? This led to a discussion this morning with a colleague where I couldn’t explain the difference between a Google+ Community and a Facebook Group. I couldn’t let this uncertainty sit for long so I quickly jumped to it and developed a little clarity on Google’s Social Network.. Google+ Communities offer businesses a platform where they can quickly find a large amount of relevant people that all share similar interests.

People join these communities because they have similar interests with the founder and hope to learn, grow and build their network. Through sharing, the group becomes more knowledgeable and gains reach with every new member. Google Communities allow people to manage a public or private group where they can house an unlimited amount of members. But, unlike Facebook, when you share in your public or private GC your comments will not show up in your network’s feeds. They will only show up on your page if you allow them to. GC’s allow for unlimited discussion categories as well as events and hangouts. Members of Google+ are also permitted to participate, create and moderate within the community. An added bonus to GCs is that the network is relatively more organized than Facebook groups. With +1 you can also share anything from across the web with your community. Ultimately, GC’s are very similar to Facebook Groups, but with subtle differences, better organization and SEO benefits. It is more discrete, provides more services and if you use it, Google rewards you.Google-Authorship2

I’ve read a lot of flack on Google+’s popularity based on its adoption rate, and how it was a ploy to copy Facebook. You’re wrong. I was also guilty of believing this. What really convinced me was how much I started using Google myself. This was shortly after I found out that Google’s search recognizes +1’s coupled with the discovery of Google Authorship. Employing Google Authorship as a PR channel has proved very beneficial to Google as they are now the second largest social network, next to Facebook. I’m calling it a marketing channel because it has helped Google build their social network around business trends and technology. I mean that it is now largely populated with geeky types who write, advertise; and you know what else? Know PR like the back of their hand. These writers encourage people to check out their articles and share their work via Google+ because big media sites pay these writers by the traffic they generate. The writers are also eager to get their faces beside their latest posts in Google’s search results because it increases their familiarity, credibility and following.

Google also corralled small business owners for the purpose of showing up in Google Maps and local searches. The added value of showing up in searches requires business’s to set up a Google+ Local Business page and you need a Google+ account to do so. This has resulted in a surge of accounts and why not? As business people we are taught to opt for the win-win solution, right?

Some say that this was Google’s plan all along. That it chose to rise to the top with the “slow and steady” approach. Personally, I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that by the end of the year Google+ will present some exciting new features as well as a much larger audience.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Why is Social Media Important?

ComputerCoffeeTaking that first step with your online strategy can be a little overwhelming, with content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, search engine optimization and endless reading. Staying on top of the online presence is no easy task and in some industries seems to be undervalued and often ignored. A company’s online presence has grown from just a marketing channel to an international representation of the company’s brand. It has become the voice, opinions, interests and personification of the brand itself.

The other day while I was on my way to grab a coffee before I headed into the office I decided to take a different route and stop at a different shop. I’m guilty of being a long time fan of Starbucks but I really did feel gouged at the recent mark up for a cup of coffee. With less than 25 cents as my catalyst I made the decision to try Urban Village even though I was a bit doubtful due to the price to food ratio for their lunch. Surprised, I bought a coffee equal to Starbucks Grande size and a muffin for 23 cents less than what I would normally pay for coffee itself at Starbucks.

With global transparency at an all time high, the audience has access to more information that it’s ever had. And what do people do with valued information? They share it with their friends, families, colleagues and professional networks in hopes that they too will find it entertaining, insightful or useful.
I can assure you that I shared this information with my colleagues because I was genuinely pleased and surprised with the score.
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Then it hit me. Through the use of online marketing tools a local competitor to Starbucks could have easily anticipated this move. I used to cringe at the sight of people’s feeds that included every minuscule detail of their mundane lives. However, now enlightened I stand corrected because through relevant Tweets a business owner could discover my negative sentiment towards the mark up and could have simply converted me. If convenient enough he would have a long time customer and I’m sure that it would catch on with the office too.

The proper implementation of social media and online marketing is not a trend.  These new channels and platforms are the beginning of a new way of doing business. Content marketers, social media enthusiasts and community managers need to be using online marketing tools that leverage their efforts if they are to increase their progress. The scope of online marketing has grown and is continuing to grow and therefore marketers need increase their reach. Marketing today consists of wearing many hats and it’s easy to forget to change your hat sometimes, so it nice to have a little help sometimes.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Slams Twitter: Stonewalling Spurs Social Media Melee

4792969199_ae396dbfbfSocial media just got more interesting as Facebook stonewalls Twitter’s Vine application from integrating with its own platform. This sparring match first began when Twitter blocked Instagram links from opening directly on its site. Now irked, Facebook moved to close access to Yandex, the Russian social search app, as well as Voxer’s messaging service.  With a start like this, 2013 could prove to be a conflicting year for social media as the big get bigger and the walls get higher. This trend for independence has businesses in the tech industry pushing for widespread services of their own. The movement is evident with actions like Google going social, Facebook introducing Graph Search and acquiring Instagram, Yahoo acquiring Flickr, and Twitter introducing Vine. In contrast, these portfolio upgrades also come with a negative side as they build walls between platforms curbing the openness and integration of their user’s media.

While Android finds satisfaction in higher levels of openness companies like Apple have made the choice to become more independent. Apple’s iOS6 walled off Google Maps and continued to launch their own map application for its users. However, most users found this to be a downgrade and opted to install Google Maps anyways. Google’s CEO, Larry Page stated that they found greater success with getting their product out there on the web, but now with many new platforms it feels like they are taking a step backwards. This happens because companies are trying to wall everything off, seeking a superior social platform while impeding on the rate of innovation.money hungry

When it comes to social media companies the people are the product and as such we build the company’s reputation and credibility. What makes sharing media more enjoyable is the compatibility between said platforms allowing us to share with our entire network. Users expect their customer experience to be able to be spread throughout all chosen channels of service. But when Facebook blocks compatibility from complimentary companies such as Voxer and Vine they diminish the enjoyment and usefulness of their own service.

As the battle continues for the one stop, superior social network Facebook’s size and social information search makes them a clear contender. But, applications like Graph Search encourage rising concern for how social networks will actually use our private data. A sure guess is to say that these companies will continue to fight for openness and will be under close examination by privacy advocates.

Author: Anthony Baisi