We’re very excited to announce the launch of the Parents Community, the social community for Parents.com.
We’ll be talking more about the community in the coming days and weeks (so stay tuned), but today want to share some of the cool community features, as well as let you know why we’re so excited about this community.
Why We’re Excited
Meredith chose the Ripple6 social networking platform when they began developing Mixingbowl.com over a year ago. They’ve shown through the development of MixingBowl, as well as the special-edition magazine of the same name, that Meredith is committed to utilizing communities (and our platform) strategically.
Parents (magazine and website) is the “go to” resource for millions of moms and dads. Now they’ve deployed our platform on Parents.com, giving that audience the ability to connect with each other, share ideas/tips, talk to editors, and have fun with contests! We think it’s an extension of their commitment not just to our platform, but to connect people and marketers across social networks. And we think that’s cool.
What’s Cool in Parents Community
Here’s a quick look at some cool features for users of the Parents Community.
“Talk to The Editors” section: Allows users to submit and discuss story ideas for Parents and American Baby magazines, as well as Parents.com.
Due Date Clubs: Users can join moms with similar due dates to share the joys and struggles of their pregnancy brings.
“Meet Moms”: Using Ripple6 Smart Groups, users can find groups and other moms with similar interests based on their submitted profiles.
Facebook Connect: Users can link their activity in the Parents Community with their FB news feed…sharing stories, posts and groups they belong to.
Treats: Users can send their friends special messages and online treats as a way to have fun and build online relationships.
We’ll talk more about the community in the coming days and weeks, so check back for more!
This is a guest post from our Senior Director of Business Development – Linda Centkowski.
As we all know, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12.
Most of us, thankfully, will never be personally touched by a tragedy of this magnitude. As a native New Yorker, I know first-hand what it is like to have tragedy thrust on your doorstep. Human nature dictates that most of the world will begin to settle back into their routine within a month or two. Not to forget, but to pick up the pieces and move on, as we are resilient. Many will pay attention to the news in Haiti, send funds, or volunteer their time to help them rebuild. Others, due to distance from Haiti or a lack of a personal connection, may not truly ‘process’ what happened to the people, country, and economy there. For many reasons, Haiti hit home for me, and it has remained on my mind ever since.
One of my dear friends has family in Haiti. She’s not only a friend of mine but a friend of Ripple6. Her brother was in Haiti visiting family when the quake struck. Luckily, he and the rest of the family came through physically OK. Her brother has since stayed on to help with the relief efforts, which makes me wonder about what we can do to help him.
We’re a mere 1500 or so miles away from this country in desperate need of our help. However, when I think about our quality of life, sadly, we’re light years away. I know that my colleagues, partners and friends in the advertising community have been some of the first to donate their time, resources, energy and attention to disasters like this. I look forward to helping Haiti with what I can, and welcome you contact me with an idea for a benefit to raise funds.
My head is still spinning from the most recent Social Fresh.
I was asked to come and moderate a panel about social media in the music industry, and had the great pleasure of asking Tessa Horhled, Ted Wright, Stephen Linn and Ben Bennett questions submitted by Social Fresh community members and Twitter, as well as a few of my own.
While moderating the panel was great, the highlight of the event for me was talking with fellow attendees and attending many of the other stellar sessions.
In no particular order, here are the things that stuck with me through my flight home and day back at the office:
Dan Zarrella Wow. If you aren’t paying attention to him, you should start. He looks at social media from a scientific perspective, and his presentation left me with an urge to go back and look at our own metrics and historical data with a new eye.
The ROI of Community panelists (DJ Waldow, Lisa Hoffmann, Amber Naslund and Zena Weist) This panel was absolutely enlightening. The panelists come from a variety of companies, including Blue Sky Factory, Duke Power, Radian6 and H&R Block. The audience wasn’t shy about asking hard-hitting questions, and the panelists responded candidly, with great insight about what the challenges and rewards are of developing a community.
Southwest Airlines Paula Berg (formerly of Southwest Airlines, now with Linhart PR) gave a great presentation to open up the day. Southwest Airlines has really shown consumers that they care about them as people, not just wallets, over the last few years. It was refreshing to see how truthful this message was carried throughout the organization, and I learned a lot about the culture inside the Southwest organization. If possible, I respect them even more after hearing Paula speak, even though I raised my hand as one not in favor of their “open seating” policy.
Some sessions stick out in my mind as “I wish I had attended”. Jason Falls gave a much-tweeted about presentation, talking about moving the needle in social media. Geno Church closed out the day with a presentation referred to by attendees as “a work of art”, speaking about the work of Brains on Fire.
What was the biggest takeaway for me? The people.
Connecting in a community online, commenting on a blog, posting on a message board, exchanging messages on Twitter or Facebook are all great methods to keep up with people who may be in a distant location, but nothing beats sitting down and sharing a meal, or chatting over a cup (or three) of coffee.
If you haven’t been to Social Fresh, I highly urge you to take a look at the schedule of events of the rest of the year and go to an upcoming conference. We are happy to have been a part of two events so far, and are looking forward to being a part of Social Fresh Tampa as well.
2010 is already off to a busy start here, and we’re excited to continue the momentum by speaking at Social Fresh Nasville, the second in a new series of social media conferences for marketers.
Sang Kim, our CEO, spoke last fall at the inaugural Charlotte Social Fresh event, which was attended by over 200 marketing professionals from companies including Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Bank of America, Family Dollar, Ruby Tuesday, IBM, Rubbermaid, and the Humane Society. We were thrilled to be invited to speak at both Nashville and Tampa, and have been monitoring the buzz about the upcoming events on Twitter, the Social Fresh Community and through our RSS feeds ever since.
Nashville’s complete lineup can be found here, and we’re speaking as part of the “Social Media in the Music Industry” panel in the 10:15-11:00am slot.
Our fellow panelists include Tessa Horehled, Senior Strategist – Social Media at THINK Interactive, Ben Bennett, Online Promotions and Mobile Marketing Manager at the Country Music Association (CMA) and Justin McIntosh, Manager of Web Services and Marketing at Big Machine Records.
In advance of the panel, here are some interesting music-related statistics (full report):
Digital platforms now account for around 20% of recorded music sales, up from 15% in 2007
Single track downloads, up 24% in 2008 to 1.4 billion units globally, continue to drive the online market, but digital albums are also growing steadily (up 37%).
Hypebot recently posted a short article about George Howard, taken from his 9GiantSteps blog.
“The first moment of leveling occurred with the advent of ProTools. No longer did one need to collateralize their creativity in exchange for funds from a record label to create a competitive recording.
The second moment of leveling arose via firms like TuneCore. No longer did one have to be signed to a label to have distribution.
The third moment of leveling revolved around the emergence of social media. While not completely obviating the need for traditional promotion, the rise of social media certainly shifted the power away from people like publicists and into the hands of the creator.We now arrive at a place where musicians/artists are comparable to chefs. All chefs, within reason, have access to the same ingredients. Certainly, geography plays a role for access to ingredients, in a similar manner as geography plays a role for musicians/artists – if you don’t like your geography/feel it’s a competitive disadvantage, move.”
For further thought on the subject, check out Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin Media being interviewed by Wired. It’s a long(ish) video, but worth the watch.
NARM 2009 Keynote Interview With Ian Rogers from NARM on Vimeo.
We’ll be keeping these points in mind as we head to Nashville, and are looking forward to discussing how social media has/is impacting the music industry on Monday with our fellow panelists.
What do you think?
We’d love to hear your questions, and you can either leave them in the comments or submit them directly to the panelists on the Social Fresh Community.
Last week, after a conversation about end-of-the-year type stuff, Katie Morse forwarded me an article that crystallized (for me at least) the divide that has begun to evaporate between the “traditional media” and “social media” worlds over the past few years.
The article was about the digiday:TARGET conference last month, and a conversation among several executives about the way “brands are showing up online.” I wasn’t there, so I can’t offer the full context of what appeared to be a pretty interesting media buying debate. However, the real tension – the most captivating point – and the thing that made me stop was the idea of “showing up.”
What does it mean when a brand shows up?
Well, it used to mean that you were looking at research, perhaps a list, or some piece of syndicated data on who had spent media dollars. You might have seen brands listed as having advertised in print or on TV or radio. They might have shown up on a list of good brands or bad brands, but did they actually do anything other than make a cursory appearance before the page was turned, the commercial skipped or the channel changed?
That’s the way I used to think about it. But not anymore.
Today, my first reaction is to laugh, because when you talk about brands “showing up” now, it’s not about traditional media. You mean social marketing. The phrase has a new context; the bar has been raised, and most marketers playing in the online media sandbox realize that there’s a new set of rules. For them, “showing up” means participating in people’s lives – and not just as a tool, product or service.
The social web is what changed that. Interpersonal communication is not always face to face anymore. It happens via web sites, through text messages, and comments and photo and video uploads and more. When you consider the way people use the web now – relying on it to connect and share with others – you begin to think of the web as something other than an advertising medium. Something altogether different than other marketing channels.
For many people, the web is just plain integrated to the way they live. For some, their most intimate relationships are with those whom they connect online. Yes, people still “visit” web sites, but their motivations and expectations are much greater than even a few years ago.
That’s the difference (and the difficulty) in showing up now.
When brands show up online now, they are actively participating in people’s lives. Marketers have the potential to create experiences that are as inspiring (or not) as the daily interactions people have with their brands. And inspiring people is what creates word-of-mouth, the most desirable and trusted form of communication.
This makes the online marketing mix an interesting place – one where the brand imagery truly has to fit with the brand delivery. In addition, research isn’t something you do before and after you communicate; it’s something that happens while you communicate and within the medium. Show up in this medium, and you’d better not just be lobbing in messages about how you’re better than the competition. You’d better be real, authentic, transparent, (insert next social buzzword here). That’s the fact, though.
A lot of brands have shown up this year. Fan pages, Twitter accounts, and iPhone apps are among the places where they’re done it. Many of them have even shown up on a list of the Top 100 Social Brands (according to Vitrue). It’s a list that is dominated by brands that have traditionally inspired people with their marketing and product delivery. Many of the usual suspects, you might say.
But next year, that should change considerably. Because in 2010, a lot more brands are going to show up. Will you be one of them?