Google All A Buzz About What?

Google Buzz

Sooner or later Google was going to make a much larger play for the social media market. With over 1 billion searches happening a month on Facebook alone, and social media overtaking search as the largest online category – Google was threatened. There were talks of a buy-out of Twitter and other discussions with networks in the past but nothing came to fruition so Google has gone it alone.

Will you get a Buzz out of Buzz?

With the recent exposure of Buzz you might be thinking what I was – Buzz sounds like Google Wave right? After some initial poking around my conclusion is that it is like Wave except for one differentiating factor – it’s integrated into your Gmail Account. This I believe has been a smart move by the search giant. If Google is ever to crack this market, they know the only way to do it is to leverage their existing Gmail user base, whom already have established contact lists.

However despite all of the hype, will it be a tool that revolutionises the industry? Let’s take a more in-depth look at what the tool offers;

Facebook and Twitter SearchIt’s a bit like Twitter; Users on Buzz can post updates and decide whether to share them privately or with the world. As users are looking for more flexibility in social media to decide whom they will share content with, this might provide users with the control they are looking for.

It’s a bit (actually a lot) like Facebook; Users can share photos, videos & their status with their connections. There are some cool ways users can view photos and comment on content but it’s probably not going to convert the masses.

It’s a bit like Foursquare; Users can tag the location of their tweets and also view tweets on a map in surrounding areas. Unlike Foursquare where conversations occur about a particular location / thing to do, Buzz is more about general conversations occurring in particular locations and being tagged for user benefit.

It takes some elements from Friendfeed; Like FriendFeed Google Buzz allows users to aggregate content from Twitter, Picaso and a few other social applications. It is important however to note that users cannot feed in content from their Facebook profile.

My Verdict

The most under-developed market in the social world is geo-location social media and I believe Google could carve a good slice of this market. Outside of this, my view is the functionality is largely undifferentiated, and I don’t think it will be enough to draw users away from their existing applications. With Facebook now boasting over 400 million users, Google has their work cut out for them as their Gmail user base only has 176 million users. In my opinion this is one war Google wont win with Buzz and maybe Google’s last hurrah for social media. With its many failed attempts Google may have to sit on the social media sidelines and be content with integrating social into their search offering.

Want to know more about Buzz – view the official Google video here

Got an opinion on how Buzz will change the social landscape – would LOVE to hear it, please comment below.

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7 Australian Social Media Examples & Case Studies

Social Media Marketing

With social media usage exploding in Australia, many Australian organisations are seriously considering social media to support the achievement of marketing objectives. And whilst the creation of Facebook fan pages and a Twitter account springs to many minds there is so much more opportunity out there.

This post provides a collection of social media examples from Australia to showcase some of the campaigns that have circulating our shores over the past 6 – 9 months and to inspire many more to come.

Tourism Queensland’s – Best Job In The World

The launch of a global campaign to find a caretaker of paradise island in Queensland saw Tourism Queensland generate over 203 million euro’s worth of PR globally from a spend of 570,000 euro’s. The competition drew 34,000 video entries from over 200 countries.

Australian Tourism – Leveraging Specialist Bloggers

Australian TourismTo extend its reach on the web Tourism Australia invited leading online opinion leaders to experience Australia. Tourism Australia aims to work with these key influencers to drive the desire in others to travel to Australia through positive word of mouth commentary.

View one of the posts

Sportsgirls Forum

Sportsgirl have stood up and taken note of the social shopping trends overseas and built their own online forum. Since its launch 3 months ago the forum shows very strong engagement and interaction and is definitely worth a mention.

Childcare Chat

With all of the previous bad PR circulating ABC Learning, ABC has launched an online forum to enable parents to share experiences and knowledge. This is definitely one of the more risky concepts given the negative high profile image of ABC Learning, however it demonstrates that the brand is willing to actively solicit conversations in an open forum about its brand whilst also providing a platform for peer to peer advice and knowledge to be shared.

View more about the strategy

Wrigley’s 5 Gum Launch

Wrigley's 5Gum CobaltWrigleys launched its new 5 gum chewing gum with an integrated campaign including various formats of social media including Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. It seems from results some social channels were more successful than others – but with over 15,000 viewers viewing YouTube video’s it is not a bad effort.

View more about the strategy
View their YouTube channel

Virgin Blues Tweet Sales

Virgin Blue trialled a new sales channel by offering 1000 $9 flights through Twitter to celebrate its 9th birthday. Flights were snapped up during the first day of the sale.

View more about the results

Borders Online Chain Story

Borders in-conjunction with James Patterson launched the worlds first chain story. James Patterson wrote the first and last chapter with aspiring writers and fans called on to write the remaining 28 chapters. A unique way to tap into the community, the campaign drummed up publicity on Fairfax and News Limited. Not to mention coverage on Radio National, ABC Radio Melbourne and Radio 2UE.

View more about the strategy

This is obviously just a sample of some of the social media examples in Australia. If you know of others please share them below.

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Modern Day Cyber Squatting – Is Your Brand Protected?

Brand Presence in Social Media

According to Hitwise, social media in Australia is among the top online categories – second only to “search engines”. Social media is so popular that in the coming year to 2 years it is believed it will surpass search – making it the most popular category of sites visited by Australians.

But our love of social media has left many brands exposed to what is now the modern day version of cyber-squatting – which I term social-squatting but is also known as brand-jacking.

Risks associated with failing to secure your brand in the online space

Brandjacking social mediaWhilst many of the major social networking sites forbid brand-jacking, policing the trading of such accounts is at best difficult – and it is an issue which that social networks themselves will face increasingly over the coming years. Given the sheer volume of complaints that will arise, I believe many platforms will adopt a similar model to that of Google and remove themselves from any responsibility to intervene leaving organisations to settle disputes amongst themselves.

This however is not the only threat, brands that are not trademarked could see themselves face high costs to acquire their presence from a brand-jacker.

Further still apart from costs related to acquiring your brand, social-jacking can also damage a brand. With consumers now comfortable with expressing themselves in the social space – brand-jackers are acquiring brands not only for financial gain but with the intention of distributing bad PR.

Has your organisation secured your brand in the social space?

Whilst many Australian organisations are sitting on the sidelines, still undecided about whether to enter the social media space, organisations need to at least consider securing their brand on social platforms or face the risks associated with a lack of action.
I trawled Twitter for some of the biggest names in the Australian finance industry and was surprised to see the lack of thought and in some cases action to secure their Twitter brand online. Of all of the major competitors, Westpac is the stand out. It is obvious that they have given the most thought to their Twitter presence registering the following Twitter accounts– www.twitter.com/westpac, www.twitter.com/westpac_com_au,www.twitter.com/westpac_help, www.twitter.com/westpacbank.

Look further afield to the retail sector and it is a similar story with some of the large players securing their place in the social space whilst others have yet to even consider it.

What to do?

Facebook and Twitter SearchWith over 1.5 million Australians on Twitter and 8 million Australians on Facebook, Australian organisations need to make the first step and secure their brand before it’s too late. To start, brainstorm the key ways users search for your brand to ensure you secure the key 2 or 3 usernames that most accurately reflect your brand. The next step is to review if the profile names have been secured or are available to be registered. To make the review process easier, consider utilising http://www.usernamecheck.com/ and http://knowem.com/. These platforms search across up to 120 social sites at once providing a snapshot of if the profile name is available. You can even automate the registration process.

For more information about the top tips about securing your online profile –refer to
http://www.watchingwebsites.com/archives/registering-your-username-on-many-social-media-sites-pros-and-cons

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Online Video – How Big Is The Opportunity?

On the weekend I had the opportunity to witness one of my close friends get married. As they commenced their bridal dance I was amazed to see these two individuals perform an elegant and well timed waltz which looked to me to be the result of 6 weeks of dance lessons in the lead up to the wedding. But how wrong I was.

So what does this have to do with digital marketing? Well nothing except for the fact that I found out later that the graceful dance moves of the happy couple were learnt via YouTube, and this prompted me to write about the video opportunity in Australia.

How big is video in Oz?

According to Sensis, 36% of Australians now download video or watch streamed video online, up 4% on last year, which means the majority are yet to be watching video online. There was a similar rise in uploading video to sites like YouTube, an activity which 14% of Australians have tried in the last year.

However despite only 1 in 3 watching online video, the opportunity is still significant. In January and February of this year 6,000,000 alone watched clips about the Victorian bushfire from Fairfax properties. In addition in July 2009 Ninemsn launched its own video category which has been in direct response to growth in demand for online video – growing from 1 million downloads a month in 2006 to 11 million a month in 2009. So whilst the majority of Australians are yet to cotton on to the video phenomenon those that have are doing so in large quantities.

In addition, we only need to look abroad to witness the growth and size of the video market to see how this medium will grow in the next 12 to 24 months. According to ComScore the UK viewed over 5 billion videos in April 2009 whilst in the US video downloads equalled 16.5 billion in the same month.

Who is using it?

Contrary to popular belief that video content is consumed by those in younger demographics, a survey from 3,000 Australian YouTube users revealed;
Those aged 18 – 29 are consuming 32% of online video content in Australia, whilst those aged 30 – 39 made up a further 20% of video consumers. Those aged 60+ and 14 – 17 were nearly equal in their consumption of video equating to 10% and 7% respectively.

Tips for Video

Online Video StreamingWhilst there are many opportunities for marketing through video from pre-roll video advertising through to hosting a YouTube channel, those considering to create a video or videos as part of their marketing strategy should consider the following tips to creating high impact video’s;

1) Time; Whilst you may be eager to create a video incorporating a plethora of information, the best videos are created to be 2 – 3 minutes in length.
2) Distribution; Whilst some video’s, like will it blend have achieved universal recognition with over 7 million downloads, most video’s need a strong distribution strategy to ensure the relevant market is aware of the content that you have created. Video search optimisation here is key, as is integrating video into your communications and social media strategy.
3) Quality; Whilst online video is a medium that can be attractive due to being low cost, ensure that quality is not compromised. Ensure sound is clear and lighting does not affect filming – testing prior to final filming is key here.

Whilst these are some of the learning’s I have taken from online video, there are many others out there. HubSpot provides a very useful formula for online video creation which is located here

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A Social Step Up For Customer Service In Oz

Twitter Strategy

For years marketers have debated the positive and negative impact word of mouth can have on a brand. Negative customer experiences and word of mouth offline has always been a concern, but fast forward to today’s day and age and very quickly a negative customer experience projected through social media channels can cause a PR disaster.
Unlike offline negative word of mouth a poor customer experience captured online is;
• Real Time – Customers do not have time to reassess the situation, venting their frustrations immediately without further thought
• A Digital Footprint – A bad customer service experience is retained online for others to view for years to come
• More Widespread – It is largely believed that consumers tell 7 or 8 people about a bad experience – but online such a broadcast could be cast to hundreds of contacts.

However despite all the draw backs, one of the big benefits of social media is that organisations can identify unsatisfied customer experiences and nip them in the bud. And if dealt with effectively these consumers may radiate their positive experience to their wider online network.
Thus as social media usage has exploded in Australia, some Australian organisations have taken the brave step into the social media customer service space. So whose doing it and what can we learn from some of the social media customer service case studies in Australia?

PANASONIC

Just last month, Panasonic Australia launched support services through both Twitter and Facebook to enable customers to log queries related to products such as Viera televisions and the new Limax Life camera.

 

Panasonic Twitter Strategy

Their approach

Through social platforms, Panasonic has been able to launch its new camera Lumix to enthusiasts and have proactively offered support, to new Lumix customers, which from a customer service perspective is quite forward thinking. In addition Panasonic have made it clear that their strategy will not just focus on one channel but rather support consumers across some of the most popular social media platforms in Australia . However how can Panasonic improve their customer service offering through social media?

The Facebook presence seems to be largely unattended to by its customer service staff. Whilst only a few customers have requested assistance, it seems their questions have either been answered via a direct message to the user or not at all. In the customer service sector obviously delivery is key so this is an important consideration for Panasonic.
In addition Panasonic could consider promoting their new customer service options via their site to encourage more consumers to ask questions because at this stage the service is experiencing some demand but not high volume of take up. Whilst a strategy of inviting more people into the social space to raise their customer service questions or complaints could be risky – it will enable Panasonic to meet changing customer needs as consumers can interact with the brand by their preferred method of communication.

OPTUS
Telecommunications is one industry that suffers from a high level of customer service complaints, therefore it is no wonder that both Optus and Telstra have invested in social media customer service. If you spend 10 minutes searching Twitter there is no wonder why such a strategy is important for both these brands – with many unsatisfied customers venting their anger, a social media customer service strategy is crucial to maintain at least some credibility in the market.

Their Approach

Optus seems to monitor its online Twitter presence very carefully and by doing so it seems they are in at least in some cases turning customer informants into advocates.
Whilst Optus is changing many customer experiences from negative to positive ones, one in particular stands out. In a recent article published in Marketing Magazine, it seems Optus has been able to turn around one #badoptus customer to a satisfied one, who told his 4,268 followers that;

“You may have seen some of my past #badoptus tweets. Thanks to Scott at @Optus social media response team I can now say thank you #goodoptus.”

But have Optus got it 100% right? As Optus only entered the space in the past 4 – 6 weeks, one of the biggest downfalls for their strategy would have to be timing – with so much bad consumer PR being posted online, Optus should have entered the space sooner to effectively manage its reputation and attend to consumers needs.

For Optus coverage may also be an issue. For any brand moving into the social media space it is important to not just to concentrate on the platform but rather consider where consumers are passionately expressing their views, whether it be social networking platforms, forums or even blogs to determine how the customer service strategy can most effectively reach the large pockets of consumer complaints and customer service issues.

For Optus Facebook is another area where consumers are passionately expressing their dissatisfaction about the brand by joining or creating “hate Optus” groups, and this is probably just the beginning. However despite the negative feedback on Facebook, for Optus Twitter may have been the most important channel to tackle first, as the brand had been inundated with negative PR.
Regardless of their approach, for those considering social media customer service it is important to monitor the web and determine where conversations and complaints are occurring about their brand before determining the best approach.

Business Brand Twitter Strategy

Overall despite some of the improvements that can be made I believe Panasonic, Optus and even Telstra should be applauded for taking the bold step into the social media space.

Got any other examples of Australian organisations who are using social media to improve customer service? If so add them below.

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Spamitter – Will Spam Mark The End of Twitter?

Spam Tweets

Could Twitter’s Success Be Its Demise?

Twitter SpamWe are all seeing more and more of it lately – Twitter Spam. And quite rightly so, it’s putting many of us off that cute little bird. But just how big is the SPAM problem?

You only need to search #SPAM to realise that this bird has some serious problems, with many users fed up by the onslaught of SPAM on the micro-blogging site. According to Pear Analytics, only 3.75% of messages are SPAM and 6% are promotional. But it seems this analysis fails to consider follower SPAM probably the biggest issue facing the site. One Twitterer stated in a recent article that up to 38% of his new followers were SPAM. Thus with this problem spiralling out of control, Twitter could face a mass exodus of loyal users whom are fed up, as the value of Twitter is diluted by the sea of irrelevant content and followers.

Why all the SPAM?

Since its inception, the very ease of connecting with potential consumers, or other industry peers has been one of the core drivers of the sites success. Unfortunately however with no barriers to entry, and ease of SPAMMING the twitterverse, not only are dodgy starts ups spamming Twitter users, even many corporates are mass following users and feeding marketing messages through the engine with no concept how to engage with consumers.

What is Twitter Going To Do About It?

So with an increasing amount of SPAM followers and content – just how is Twitter going to rise to the challenge – or is it too late as the SPAM flood gates are open?

In 2008 Twitter introduced a new Spam control method – that limits the amount of people you can follow to 2,000, but with all buying and selling of followers that is going on – this has not had any real effect with more and more users complaining of increasing SPAM. In addition Twitter is attempting to crack down on follower sellers with one Australian company, USocial, contacted by a Twitter brand management firm expressing concern over their activities. But picking off the culprits one by one is probably not going to be a long term strategy, as for every 1 they tackle another 10 could surface.
Twitter now therefore stands at the cross-roads, as did the email marketing industry to significantly clamp down on SPAM – but just how are they going to do it?

What Twitter Needs To Do

I have every confidence that Twitter will be taking this issue very seriously considering that it could significantly devalue the organisations worth. Some of the key tactics I believe Twitter should consider are;

1. Block Porn; So much of Twitter “SPAM” accounts contain profiles and content that is pornographic. Twitter needs its system to make decisions in real time to block such profiles from the get go by adopting a plug in similar to the WordPress SPAM filter which will stop the flow of direct message and follower SPAM.

Block Spam2. Bulk User Block; The current blocking capability of Twitter, makes hard work of removing unwanted contacts. A simple bulk select and delete function should be added to enable users to block or report users to Twitter. Whilst this function maybe available in other Twitter apps, the vast majority of novice users will not be aware of how to unleash the power of the applications thus these tools need to be accessible through the twitter interface.

3. Learn from email; Twitter should provide users with the ability to mark messages as junk to enable Twitter to determine repeat offenders abusing the system.

4. Monetise Direct Messages; Whilst Twitter imposes a limit of 250 direct messages per day, one of Twitter’s SPAM issues is related to the “zero” cost involved in sending messages. By charging users to send direct messages above reasonable use, Twitter may be able to reduce the influx of direct message SPAM and also make some money out of its network. In addition to such a strategy, Twitter should provide users with an opt-in ability to determine if they want to receive such promotional messages.

5. API access; Twitter must deploy much more stringent guidelines for use of its API, and block those IPs/users who are abusing the system.

What are your thoughts – will all of this unsolicited Twitter noise make you disable your Twitter access? What do you think Twitter can do to reduce SPAM?

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Useful Australian Digital Stats – Q2

Australian Digital Trends Q2

Quarter 2 has been quieter on the Australian digital research and trends front but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been able to find some interesting statistics to share with you. I have compiled 15 of the most interesting Australian digital statistics released in Q2 of 2009. To view the 20 most interesting Australian digital statistics for Q1 click here.

Online Behaviour (General & Industry Specific)

A recent study by Monash’s Australian Centre for Retail Studies revealed 50% of Australian shoppers investigate their purchases online before going in store to make their purchase. –Dynamic Business

According to the ABS, Australian household internet consumption has increased 37 fold in 8 years

Australians aged 16 – 17 are spending 3.5 hours online per day – The Age

A new survey has revealed that 56% of Australian teenagers lie about themselves when they are online, with most teens faking their age – Full Story

According to Nielsen statistics, 87 per cent of Australians looking for real estate are using the web to find properties – News

Australians are among the biggest users of online banking in the world with more than 50 per cent of customers using internet banking at least once a week.

Social Media MarketingSocial Media

In the year to April, visits to social networking and forum sites increased by 16% in Australia, whilst visits to blogs dropped by 27.5% – Stuff

In Australia, there are 850,000 to 900,000 people on LinkedIn, and about 15 per cent of those are HR people or recruiters – News

Facebooks user base has hit over 6 million Australians – The Age

In June the MySpace subscriber base using their mobile to access the platform was revealed to be 340,000 strong in Australia – bandt

Australians are believed to be viewing 85 million MySpace pages per month via mobile phones, with each visit lasting between 11 and 15 minutes – bandt

Search

Since the launch of Bing, Microsoft’s search share in Australia has increased. Stats for the week finishing 4th July show Bing.com has 5.02% share, compared with 3.91% in late April – Hitwise

Head of Online at Google revealed in June some of the growth areas in search queries were – Accounting and tax-related search queries are 63 percent higher this year than last. Mobile queries are 82 percent higher this year than last. Office supplies searches are 36 percent higher in 2009. – Dynamic Business

Online Radio & TV

A report released in Apr 09, showed digital radio consumption had grown from 4.2 hours in 2007 to 4.9 hours in 2008 – Nielsen Online

According to Nielsen, 47% of metropolitan internet users have viewed TV content online or downloaded it, whilst 12% had done so frequently – Nielsen Online

Do you have any other interesting statistics to share on the Australian digital market? If so please share them below.

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4 Of The Best – Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

Social Search Strategy

For those of you starting to delve into the world of social media, you may be looking for some tools that will make the process of monitoring a little easier – without the large price tag. Whilst there are many high quality paid services, free options are very useful early on particularly if your organisation is unwilling to invest heavily into social media until a return is demonstrated.

This article details 4 tools that I think cut the mustard– and also lists a suite of other free tools which you may find useful. Whilst each tool provides some useful functionality they also have their draw backs. Thus marketers may want to use a combination of these tools to monitor their social media activities.

http://addictomatic.com/
Addict-o-maticWhat does it do? Enables users to create a customised dashboard of the latest topical issues in their industry as well as tracking brand conversations across social sites which range from Twitter / Digg & Delicious to Bloglines, Bing News and Google Blog search.
Good for; Dashboard interface makes it easy to gain a quick snapshot of brand references and conversations occurring about your industry on the web.
Not so good for; This tool doesn’t pick up all conversations containing site links but is a great for identifying topical industry issues “passion points” or keyword searches using “brand names”.

www.quarkbase.com
What does it do? Provides a quick snapshot of overall site characteristics from traffic to site ownership information. In particular this site provides a “social popularity overview” – detailing social bookmarks, inbound links from Wikipedia, latest tweets and related blog content on the web.
Good for; A useful quantitative overview of a sites performance across social platforms.
Not so good for; Viewing the content that has been bookmarked and by whom – the site does not provide the ability to drill down on the results.

www.howsociable.com
How Sociable WebsiteWhat does it do? Provides a simple way of measuring your brands social visibility on the web. The site crawls 22 social platforms from Facebook, to Twitter, Google Blogs, Flickr, Delicious and a range of others. Through the collation of results the brand is then allocated a score on the basis of visibility across the social web.
Good for; The site provides a quick benchmarking tool to compare your “brands visibility” across social platforms with competitors. It also provides a quantitative overview of your brand mentions as well as the ability to drill down results to access the results on each platform.
Not so good for: The brand visibility rating somewhat favours social networking video and image sites, and largely ignores social bookmarking / news sites with Delicious the only site considered as part of its visibility measurement portfolio.

www.samepoint.com
What does it do? Samepoint positions itself as a conversation search engine, tracking the social landscape. Samepoint indexes everything from groups, microblogs, social networks, reviews, wikis, documents, videos and more.
Good for; The site provides positive and negative sentiment measures for conversations and mentions across an array of social channels. In addition the site pinpoints the most recent conversations / activity for your brand.
Not so good for; The site has a large index across network platforms such as LinkedIn & Facebook as well as good coverage of FriendFeed and blogs, however the site seems to lack coverage of social bookmarking sites.

Apart from the above, there is an array of other tools available. Check out the video below:

Are there any free tools you have found useful to monitor social media activities? If so share them below

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Leveraging The Blogging Community

When organisations consider blogging, one of the favoured strategies is the creation of a brand or corporate blog. However one of the under-utilised and unexplored assets on the web in Australia is the “personal bloggersphere.” Whilst it may be slightly premature to brand this as the next big digital trend in Australia, I believe leveraging independent blogs to achieve commercial objectives will increase in popularity over the coming years.

Why consider leveraging the personal bloggersphere?

Personal blogging is on the rise in Australia, as individuals attempt to showcase their expertise within a given field. These individuals are becoming thought leaders within the online community and are emerging as key influencers across many interest categories. And although the popularity of maintaining a personal blog in Australia is not as high as in Asia and other parts of the world, there is a sizable captive audience listening to the thoughts and opinions of the online blogging community.

According to recent research, 69% of Australians read blogs between 2 to 3 times a week and whilst this lags behind the rest of the world, it is still a significant portion of the Australian population.

However before diving into the bloggersphere there are several considerations a brand must make. One of the most important is the lack of control brands may have when utilising the personal bloggersphere, as blogs are not another platform to simply publish advertorial like content. Bloggers are trusted by their readers and want to protect the authenticity of their content from commercialisation. As a result brands may (depending on how the arrangement is structured) have less control over the final message projected by the blogger about their brand experience.

Personal BloggingThe Personal Blogging Channel In Practice

Tourism Australia, is one of the innovative Australian brands utilising the bloggersphere to connect with its global audience. Their strategy is simple, Tourism Australia has identified some of the emerging opinion leaders on the web and will host them down under.

Popular Australian Blogs

Whilst this article does not equip you with all the knowledge you need to embark on strategies within the personal bloggersphere, I have detailed a few links below to enable you to continue your research on the emerging blogs in Australia;

Top 30 Australian Food Blogs

If you know of any other popular blogs in Australia, why not share them below.

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It’s A Question Of Ownership – Social Media

Social Search Strategy

There seems to be a debate over the ownership of social media within organisations. This debate is particularly important and relevant for larger brands who are vulnerable to consumers and employees airing their dissatisfaction – causing many reputation management issues on social media sites. According to a recent survey – 67% of Australian executives regard their company’s reputation as vulnerable, but many are unaware of what consumers and ex-employees may be saying about them in Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and other social sites.

However the social opportunity is not just about reputation management. Organisations have the opportunity to create a lasting impression with consumers that supports the achievement of other brand and corporate objectives.

Thus the rise of the participative web presents organisations with many opportunities and it seems many departments are all vying for a piece of the action.

So let’s take a look at who is fighting for it, why and who should ultimately be responsible for social media.

Marketing Department

Why? Marketing want control over the brand message and see the potential to leverage channels that contribute to positive and engaging brand experiences.

PR DepartmentPR Department

Why?To quote a recent discussion I had with a PR consultant “It makes sense for PR departments to manage social media because we are best trained to deal with reputation management”, as a result it is obvious why the PR department feel it is part of their remit.

Customer Service

Why? In this scenario it might be a case of why the customer service team does not want ownership. If resources are tight and the customer service department is measured on call statistics, do they have the time?

SEO

Why? Many SEO departments and even SEO agencies are vying for responsibility of social media as the viral nature of content distribution reduces the need to build artificial links. Social media also contributes to the quest of dominating SERPs both on and offsite.

Product Innovation & Research

Why? End users are discussing products and services through social channels which provide product development with the opportunity to gain valuable insight for product improvement. But will they take criticism personally and act inappropriately?

Whilst all valid arguments, I believe that the social media ownership discussion is similar to the CRM ownership discussion which plagued organisations a decade ago. Ultimately many social media strategies could have multiple objectives and/or require cross functional teams to own/champion the project.

Thus if this is the case and it is an organisational issue, what is of key importance is to ensure that social media has a voice at board/senior management level and that departments are working together to determine the best way to harness the power of the channel rather than adopting a silo approach.

Have you had an internal debate on the subject? How do you feel about the ownership issue? Please share your comments below.

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