When we launched Ripple6 OnDemand in late August, our goal was to bring you a turnkey and fully featured community platform. Today we are excited to announce an update to Ripple6 OnDemand – one that is designed to better integrate with other social sites while increasing functionality of the core platform.
Here are a few highlights of what’s inside our December release:
- Improved integration with Facebook and YouTube
- More homepage flexibility, including custom areas for images, embed code or HTML with an optional image carousel, which can be turned on or off as needs require. Additionally, the right rail HTML adopts on pages across your network, not just on the homepage.
- Facebook Connect Tracking which enables community owners to discover which specific newsfeed users come to the network from, and what activity feeds they’re responding to.
- Our new Facebook app allows you to bring the home page of your Ripple6 OnDemand site into your Facebook fan page.
So – what does it all mean?
Community owners or managers will have more control over the look and feel of their homepage as well as more easily track activity coming in from and going out to Facebook, providing an easier way to scale, connect and syndicate your message across your member’s social graphs.
Have questions about the release? Feel free to leave a comment, or send us an @ message on Twitter – @Ripple6.
Posted by admin on December 18th, 2009
Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the iMedia Agency Summit, a gathering of over 400 online advertising and media executives in Scottsdale, AZ. Although I was kidded by both family and colleagues alike about the good fortune of a December trip to Phoenix, it was 50 degrees and raining most of the time. Seriously.
Nevertheless, it was worth it.
I walked away knowing that this conference was another microcosm of the thinking, the tension, and the overall “history is repeating itself” dynamic of the online ad business right now. A lot of people are struggling with the effects that social technology has brought to their world, much in the same way that marketers and ad agencies struggled with the origins of the Web back in the mid-late 90’s. Back then, the establishment of standard units by the IAB became a critical milepost in developing what’s now a $12 billion industry (one attendee threw this figure out there; I’m not sure if it’s accurate).
There was a vibe during the social media discussion that gave a distinct impression that some people are looking for standardization in social media and social marketing. Put it in a box so they can buy it, deploy it and measure it. I’m not one of those people.
The 7 C’s of Social Marketing
My presentation to the group, in partnership with Chris Andrew of Digitas, was dubbed, “The 7 C’s of Social Marketing.” I preferred our original title, “Advertising Doesn’t Work in Social, and Facebook Isn’t a Strategy. What do I Do?” but I’m actually grateful to Nancy Galanty of iMedia for changing it. It was an easy-to-digest series of cases that John Durham of Catalyst SF told me set the tone for the Town Hall discussion that followed.
That talk was partially defined by the question, “How can we collectively insure that social media doesn’t become the next banner ad?” And it was all about what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be done in the online ad business to deal with social.
Let’s start with what doesn’t work: Thinking of “social media” as a thing or a product. Instead, try thinking about it as the socialization of media (not my phrase, but I’d credit to someone if it could actually be pinpointed). That mindset puts you in a place where you can deal with the dynamic changes going on and setting a vision for a long-term media/marketing strategy. You’re no longer reacting to the flavor of the month or the shiniest new object. Yes, some of these things are important, but they are only ingredients.
You also begin to see why campaigns don’t necessarily work and why they have to be continuous. People don’t turn their lives on and off, so marketers cannot afford to turn their relationships on and off. In this social mindset, clicks are not the most important measurement, but they become a part of a larger ongoing series of measurements.
With this mindset, you begin to see what does work. This might seem obvious, but “social” is about conversation. And those conversations tend to go very deep into what people really care about. For marketers, this can uncover a tremendous amount of insight, and those are measurements that tell me a lot more than the cost-per-click. (I know; that’s a cheap shot).
What needs to be done?
The simple answer is, “Continue to think creatively.” That solution works in marketing all the time, but that answer gets interpreted (and misinterpreted) all the time. It’s not about more creative ads or better direct marketing. The team at Ad Age said that nicely recently. Don’t put conversations in a box try to standardize them. The value of conversations is in their content and context, not necessarily their sheer number.
Surely, it will be important to measure and (to some degree) count the conversations that are happening. But smart marketers will be setting objectives and looking at the mosaic of conversations to see what people are telling them. They’ll find ways to connect and participate in thousands of little conversations happening among their customers to create relationships. They won’t just head to the great big place where they’re hanging out this week.
And ultimately, that’s what will work. Because connecting 1,000 little things on the web will always work better than having one big thing.
By Sang Kim
December 11, 2009
Brand marketers seem to be jumping on the Facebook bandwagon left and right. They know engagement through social networking is important to understanding consumers, so they’re trying to do it. However, creating a branded community locked within Facebook or any other broad-reaching social network is probably not the best long-term strategy for communicating with consumers.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is not a bad marketing practice — 300 million users is a big pond to fish in. Done properly and coupled with other social marketing tactics, it can enhance any big picture social media strategy. But let’s be clear, Facebook is a tactic, not a strategy.
Here are a few reasons why:
On Facebook and similar sites, you never really know why someone is there, but for the most part, the intent of the user is to interact with friends around a variety of topics — not, typically, to talk to brands. Unless it’s being “introduced” by a friend, in order to engage with consumers, brands have to interject themselves and disrupt the conversation. That sounds like what a TV commercial does, and it’s something consumers may ultimately resent. Or ignore.
That’s not to say consumers don’t want to talk to brands online. They do. According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, 89 percent of new media users believe companies should be interacting with consumers via social media. And a recently released Razorfish Study said 40 percent of U.S. internet users had actually friended a brand on Facebook or MySpace. But posting updates to a fan page every few days lacks any built-in value for consumers and certainly does not qualify as an effective social media program.
There’s also relevance
Most people would agree that it’s a critical factor when they decide to put out a welcome mat for marketer messages. Finding relevance in the ocean that is Facebook can be tough — in fact, lack of relevance is a choice on Facebook’s survey of reasons why users might not like an ad they see on Facebook.
Affinity-based social networks, on the other hand, are built around a common interest. They bring together like-minded individuals who want to connect on a particular topic. That oozes relevance. And that’s a perfect opportunity for brands.
For example, Meredith Corporation has begun creating affinity-based social networks as a way for brands to build strong relationships through social conversations. They took their expertise from Better Homes and Gardens magazine and BHG.com to create MixingBowl.com — a social network for cooks. It’s a place built entirely around recipes and people sharing them; sharing their ideas and passions for food. That’s certainly a relevant place for food brands to engage and add value to the conversation.
Additionally, Gannett has created a national network of 80 local communities, all specifically tailored for moms. Through MomsLikeMe.com, moms can connect, form groups, plan events, and share advice, while marketers have new opportunities to enter the conversation, create relationships, and gain valuable insights into what moms want and need.
As these examples illustrate, a successful social strategy needs to be tailored to your specific brand. So, before creating or implementing any strategy, you should ask yourself how these questions align with your social program.
Does the customer I’m targeting really want to talk to me through this channel?
Consumers are bombarded with advertising and marketing throughout their online experiences. Do you really want to be just another annoying brand? Make sure you are reaching your target audience through a channel where they are willing and interested in speaking with your brand.
What is at the center of this conversation? Is it my brand? Because it should be.
Don’t try to jump on the bandwagon of another conversation. The whole goal of social marketing is to engage with and better understand your audience. Popping in and out of random conversations isn’t going to help you gain intelligence into what your advocates are saying.
Can I replicate my effort in other places or am I locking into one specific network? Or can the strategy I’ve come up with scale across multiple platforms?
New media is ever changing. Don’t pigeonhole yourself by sticking to one thing. Explore different options, but make sure you always link back to one common hub.
Does the consumer have the option to opt-in/opt-out of the conversation?
Consumers want choices. Giving a consumer the opportunity to disengage and reengage in the conversation when they want will offer a sense of control that is sometimes difficult to find in a social world.
Am I able to gather insights and analytics from my conversations and connections?
The more you can learn about the people you’re talking to, the better. Insights into who your fans are, how they are connected and what they want to talk about will point you toward how to be most relevant. Those insights will drive not just your messaging with them, but can impact your entire marketing and product delivery.
How is this conversation being regulated? Who has control?
Ultimately, when centering a social marketing program on Facebook, you are putting your fate in someone else’s hands. Facebook is constantly changing and growing in a quickly evolving market. Consider if it will continue to align with your objectives. And if it doesn’t, who owns the data and insight that you’ve created by collecting fans?
Facebook has more than three hundred million users. Certainly it has a place in online brand marketing. But it should not be the center of your brand’s marketing.
To read the full article on iMediaconnection.com, click here
If you’re looking for ways to easily manage, improve, and scale your current social media strategy (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), then you should attend this upcoming Webinar.
Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Engaging with your customers through social networks is becoming a vital part in any companies’ brand marketing strategy. However, there are high demands of time and resources, plus difficulties measuring return on investment. You’ll learn how to create a Social Hub to improve efficiencies in your social marketing and you will find out answers to the following questions:
- How can you scale your social media strategies across the Internet?
- How do you manage multiple social marketing efforts?
- How do you put user generated content to work for you?
- How do you build and leverage advocates?
Register today because seating is limited!
Quick and easy registration:
- Complete the online registration form.
- Check your email Inbox for the instructions to login to the webinar.
We’ll see you there!