Category Archives: Social Media

China Social Media: 6 Critical Sites

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youkuTwitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google and others are blocked in China. Roughly 30% of China (1.3 billion) is online vs. roughly 75% in the U.S. This equals 390 million Chinese online, more than the entire U.S. population (310 million).

6 Important Chinese Sites:

Weibo: The Twitter of China. China blocked Twitter and other micro-blog technology (Fanfou.com) in 2009 when riots started in the Western region of wieboXinjiang. The government could foresee Twitter enabling the revolutions we are seeing in the Middle East (by the way, Malcolm Gladwell, you were incorrect, the revolution was indeed tweeted). Weibo remains and is growing.  Interestingly enough, 140 characters maximum isn’t as limiting in Chinese as it is in English. Each Chinese symbol expresses so much more than each English character. Owned by publicly traded Sina Weibo means “microblog.”

RenRen: In 2006, Oak Pacific Interactive bought Xiaonei for around $4 million. It has since renamed it RenRen (in August 2009), which literally translates to “everyone.” With an estimated 120 million users, it is trying to become the Facebook of China. RenRen users are primarily high school and college students with Café Internet access.

Kaixin001: Literally means “happy” in Chinese. This social network is cleaner and has an older, white-collar demographic than its rival RenRen. Think Facebook (Kaixin) vs. MySpace (RenRen) circa 2007. Kaixin even has a knock-off of FarmVille called Happy Farm. Interestingly enough, users can use the same log-in to access RenRen and Kaixin001.

Youku and Tudou: Think YouTube/Hulu marriage. Less stringent copyright enforcement enables as much as 70% to be professionally produced (often pirated foreign content). This differs from American YouTube, which is dominated by shorter, user-generated videos. While Americans watch less than 15 minutes of YouTube videos per day, the youth in China spend up to an hour on these sites.

Taobao: “An online Walmart.” Popular among the youth of China. It is similar to eBay in that sellers offer used or new items either via an auction or fixed price. Most items are new merchandise sold at a fixed price. Started in 2003 by the Alibaba Group (partial Yahoo ownership), Taobao is closing in on 400 million registered users and has more than 800 million product listings. Large Fortune 500 companies have opened Taobao stores – finding it easier to sell their product here than on their company sites.

If you plan to do business in China, you will need to understand these social sites.  Get someone “in-market” to assist you in setting up strategy and executing. While these sites appear akin to Western counterparts, they certainly have their own nuances.   The culture differs dramatically too.

By Erik Qualman

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Hat Tip: Fast Company:  “The Social(ist) Network” by April Rabkin | About.com: “Social Media in China, the same but different” by Thomas Crampton, Thomas Morffew (RenRen)

Inc. 500 Companies Seeing Positive Results From SM Use

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Inc. 500 Companies using Social Media and ACTUALLY seeing positive results is on the rise.  More small businesses need to view the importance of Social Media the same as their larger counterparts.

Interesting to note that Facebook success rates have gone up from 54% to 85% while services like twitter and blogging have gone down.

Overall the importance  of Social Media in a Inc. 500 companies business strategy has gone up 16% year over year.   These companies will continue to use these conduits for client acquisition and retention as 2011 unfolds.

Article from eMarketer http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008211

On stats from Umass Dartmoth Center for Marketing Research

Written by Chris Van Dusen

Chris Van Dusen is a tech enthusiast, remote efficiency specialist and entrepreneur.  He is the president of i-FFICIENCY, a consultancy he co-founded to help small businesses and startups leverage new technology in the sales process.  Chris is also Director of Business Development and New Media for Rief Media, a full service marketing and communications firm.

chris@riefmedia.com
twitter: @ifficiency

Groupon Responds to Super Bowl Ad Complaints

[tweetmeme source=”equalman” only_single=false http://socialnomics.net%5D Groupon CEO Andrew Mason responded to the backlash on Twitter and Facebook about Groupon’s  “Tibet” Super Bowl ad via the Groupon Blog:

We take the causes we highlighted extremely seriously – that’s why we created this campaign in partnership with many hallmark community organizations, for whom we’re raising money at SaveTheMoney.org.

Groupon’s roots are in social activism – we actually began as cause-based website called The Point, and we continue to use Groupon to support local causes with our G-Team initiative. In our two short years as a business, we’ve already raised millions of dollars for national charities like Donors Choose and Kiva.

As Mason points out, Groupon’s  roots are cause-based, The Point, and is designed to help small and local businesses have a platform to compete against corporations.

Mason further goes on to state that the ads were designed to poke fun at Groupon, not make fun of the people of Tibet.

Christopher Guest was the director of this spot and he is best known for the spoofs “This is Spinal Tap,” “Best in Show,” and “Waiting for Guffman.”

The creators of the ads,  Crispin Porter + Bogusk, are known for making waves. The Miami & Colorado based agency was also behind the Whopper Sacrifice campaign for Burger King that gave away, ironically enough, a coupon to people that would “defriend” ten people on Facebook.  Facebook removed the campaign in 2009.  The controversy surrounding this campaign resulted in 32 million free media impressions.

The question remains, is all PR good PR?  Will the controversy around this Tibet ad actually drive Groupon’s stated desire: to raise awareness around these causes in the hopes of increasing donations to them?

Greenpeace supports Groupon:

The commercial was part of a Groupon campaign called “Save the Money.” Greenpeace is happily participating in the campaign. The truth is that the “Save the Money” campaign and the commercial are really helping us save the whales.

Here’s how it works: Groupon is collecting donations from individuals to help Greenpeace save the whales. People can purchase a $15 Groupon to save the whales and when they do, Groupon matches that by giving the person $15 in Groupon credit. It’s a great campaign and it’s really going to help us in our work.

This is in reference to another Groupon Ad with Cuba Gooding Jr. around saving the whales (below):

Groupon plans to edit the commercials to call-out ways in which people can donate money to SaveTheMoney.org.

Only time will tell if it appeases people like @rohitbhargaya who posted “Groupon seems to have achieved the unique feat of paying $3M to lose customers who previously loved them.”

A viewer named Vinod posted on the Groupon blog in response to Mason’s explaination:

I know what you were trying to convey, but you had 2 problems.

  1. The ad wasn’t very funny to being with. If it made people laugh you wouldn’t see all of the negative feedback. It simply lacked the humor necessary to trivialize a topic like Tibet.
  2. The ad didn’t explain your intentions enough.

Another reader named Mary posted:  “I thought they were great.”

Mason’s quick response is a step in the right direction (something more companies should do) and if more money is raised as a result of this controversy than perhaps things will end positively for everyone.

By Erik Qualman

A Social Media Valentine’s Day

social media valentines day
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We thought the above video would be a great reminder for all of us that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For guys there are a lot of social media tools that will make life easier – as you see in the video. Please find below a great infographic from eHarmony on what is most important in a relationship.

social media valentines day

Amazon Kindle: Valentine’s Gift $139

top 10 relationship needs eharmony
By Erik Qualman

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Social Media Propels Egypt Uprising

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egypt social mediaThe outrage, animosity and antagonism against the current regime of Hosni Mubarak is best followed real-time at #Cairo and #Egypt on Twitter. The influence of mass effervescence, the conviction that the protestors display and its myriad manifestations is translating into whats being seen and reported on the streets of Egypt. This is possibly not a revolution brought forth by social media alone, but blogs, Twitter, Facebook & YouTube have had a consequential role to play in Egypt. Social media once again flexes its muscle to be the catalyst for change, in this case a historic one.

Take for instance Ramy Raoof, a digital activist with Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, (A poster boy for Western media in Egypt!) who is using his blog to spread the message, mobilize support and organize protests. The blog is being used to devise plans to exhibit police atrocities, antagonism of the ordinary Egyptian and furnish plans to save detainees.
Raoof has also been incredibly innovative in linking Bambuser to his blog, which enables live broadcast of protests from different regions from his mobile. His Flickr page, has images collated and updated in an organized fashion which is actively used by protestors, media and government agencies.
The ‘Twitterverse’ has been incredibly supportive of this mass movement. Tweets coming from within Egypt (in spite of blocked internet) is helping followers from around the world to be abreast of the situation on the ground. Even journalists like Ben Wademen of CNN, are using Tweets, when unable to use OB vans.

To help Egyptians, in case of an internet blackout, Google’s SayNow (A brand new acquisition) has launched a ‘tweet via voice’ service, where the protestors can call a central number to leave tweets automatically tagged #Egypt & #Cairo.

[This YouTube video which went viral has the message of an 8 year old to President Mubarak has a quarter of a million views in 72 hours.]

Remember, Egypt has a decent internet penetration of 22%, a total of 16 Million internet users (1/5th of internet users of Africa) compared to neighbors like Sudan and Libya have only 10.2% and 5% respectively. Tunisia, a country which influenced the Egypt uprising strongly also has a remarkably high penetration of 34%. A pattern of correlation between internet penetration and mass movement is emerging.
The Egypt revolution is certainly the result of resentment which emerged from lack of freedom and democracy combined with poor economic conditions and unemployment. But, to commence and sustain movements of this proportion (2 Million people at Tahrir square yesterday), we need innovative, effective and efficient tools. Revolution is as much about emotions and sentiments as much as it is about politics and economics. Social media provides the solutions to these requirements in today’s age. As we see, this movement has succeeded enough to get an autocratic ruler of 30 years to concede defeat, yet another evidence of just how critically influential this medium is turning out to be. To quote an Indian blogger “I have tremendous renewed respect for all pre-internet revolutions!”.

Written by Arun Varma

Follow me on Twitter@varmaarun  or Mail me at arunvarma100@gmail.com

Arun is a digital marketing professional who previously worked with Google in India before seeing snow for the first time as a current MBA student at HULT International Business School in Cambridge. He also is a business quiz enthusiast and has hosted and conceptualized several of them.