Les médias sociaux: ne ratez pas l'occasion! – La vidéo de ma présentation à la conférence Boule de Cristal du CRIM

(see English translation below)

Le 8 avril dernier, je présentais “Les médias sociaux: ne ratez pas l’occasion !” devant plusieurs centaines de personnes présentes à la conférence Boule de Cristal du CRIM. Ma participation à cette conférence était décrite comme suit:

Les médias sociaux numériques tels que Facebook, Twitter et les blogues bouleversent le Web. En effet, plus de 80 % des internautes canadiens visitent régulièrement un de ces sites et une grande proportion y participe activement. Plus qu’un phénomène passager, il s’agit de l’apparition d’un puissant média de bouche à oreille qui amplifie les commentaires des usagers Web. Quelles sont les meilleures pratiques pour les entreprises ? Y a-t-il des opportunités d’affaires intéressantes ? Sébastien Provencher, spécialiste des médias sociaux, partagera sa vision du Web social dans le futur du monde des affaires et ses conseils pour ne pas rater le bateau.

J’offre dans cette présentation des conseils stratégiques et des tactiques détaillées pour l’utilisation des divers médias sociaux (Facebook, Twitter, blogues, etc.) dans le contexte d’une entreprise. Voici la vidéo de 27 minutes sur SlideShare. Vous pouvez suivre cette présentation vidéo avec le document de présentatique ici. Ce billet est aussi une excellente occasion de vous rappeler que je suis disponible pour des mandats de consultation et pour donner des conférences et formations. Vous pouvez me rejoindre ici.

Sebastien Provencher Conférence Boule de Cristal CRIM avril 2010

Sebastien Provencher Boule de Cristal CRIM avril 2010

Last April, I presented “Les médias sociaux: ne ratez pas l’occasion !” in front of hundreds of attendees of the CRIM’s Crystal Ball Conference. Loosely translated as “Social Media: don’t miss the opportunity!”, I offered strategic and tactical advice to companies wanting to start leveraging social media in a business context. You can watch the 27-minute video presentation (in French) and/or follow with the actual document as well.

Does Social Infrastructure Belong in the Browser?

In essence, everything that Facebook announced at F8 ultimately belongs in the browser, not through a single connection to a proprietary service. And the great thing is that not only is that the better solution for proponents of the open web, but it’s also even easier than Facebook for users of the browsers that eventually gain these features. Facebook has always won the war for identity based on convenience, but nothing is more convenient than the tools built in to my browser of choice.

via Intridea Blog: Facebook is the Private Beta of the Semantic Web.

What it means: More thoughts on this week’s Facebook announcements. I suspect we will see two social “standards” emerge: Facebook and an open one. This begs the question: “where does Twitter fit in?”. I need to think about that some more.

Update re: Twitter. Dave Winer suggests Twitter could lead the “open” charge.

Google/Twitter Become More Local

Google is going after local search in a big way, especially with mobile and enhanced place listings. Now it is pushing more local searches through its auto-suggest feature on Google.com. When you start typing in a keyword, the suggestions that you see are now geared to your location. Previously these were already specific to a country, but now they are by city.

via Google Suggest Becomes More Local.

What it means: Google continues its  march towards a “local” Web. As I’ve stated before, they’ve won the “utility” war from a search perspective. The opportunity in “local/social” still remains open but for how long? Twitter’s announcement this week that they’re going to enable “places” as a geo-location proxy is important and I predict Facebook will announce something “local” at the F8 conference next week. Traditional local media companies are not innovating fast enough.

Highlights From the Most Recent BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor and User View Surveys

On day one of the BIA/Kelsey Marketplaces 2010 conference, Steve Marshall (Director of research at BIA/Kelsey) shared highlights from two studies they’ve been doing regularly for years, the Local Commerce Monitor and the User View.

First, the Q3 2009 Local Commerce Monitor. The survey measures where small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving

  • Penetration of online media (77%) exceeds Traditional Media (69%) for the first time in Q3. That’s the percentage of SMBs using each type of media to promote themselves.
  • Newer businesses much more oriented to online media. For businesses created less than 3 years ago, 30% of their budget is dedicated to online. Overall average is 21.8%.
  • 32% of businesses plan to use social media and blogs to promote themselves in the next 12 months.

Second, the February 2010 User View. The survey focuses on how U.S. consumers are evolving their use of traditional and online information sources to find and locate local serving businesses.

  • BIA/Kelsey is seeing more and more fragmentation in local shopping. Consumers say they used 7.9 different sources to for local shopping information in the last year. That’s up from 5.6 in 2007.
  • 82% use Internet as Primary or Secondary source for product purchases smaller than $500
  • 45% use Internet to research non-routine purchases before buying
  • 27% completed most recent product purchase bigger than $500 online
  • Membership in social networks continues to explode: 67% are on Facebook, 30% on MySpace, 20% on Twitter and 14% on LinkedIn. Two years ago, only 16% were on Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist!

Superpages.com to Broadcast Coupons on Twitter

SuperMedia announced last Thursday a very interesting use of Twitter to broadcast coupons. From the release (.pdf):

Superpages.com today announced the launch of a new initiative on Twitter to drive more leads to its business listings. At no cost to the business owner, Superpages.com is distributing thousands of coupons it houses from its local business listings to 72 city-specific accounts on Twitter.

What it means: I really like this. I think this is a really neat idea to provide more visibility to Superpages.com merchants. I like the fact that they created “local” Twitter channels to make it more user relevant. That’s best practice definitely. I’m a bit disappointed that the coupons are free as I think they are leaving money on the table there. I believe coupons are perfect to monetize the real-time Web and given them away for free undermines future value. We have to assume then this is either a strategy to get merchants to claim their listings to be able to up-sell them later or a content strategy to improve user relevancy. In the context of a content strategy, I would also find third party local coupons and broadcast them in the Twitter feeds. Overall, this the beginning of a very interesting social media initiative at SuperMedia.

Twitter to Structure Conversations Around Places

From the Twitter API developer group:

i wanted to give you all a heads up on some big changes we’re making to our  geo-tagging API. (…) people, we find,inherently want to talk about a “place”. a place, for a lot of people, hasa name and is not a latitude and longitude pair. 37.78215, -122.40060,for example, doesn’t mean a lot to a lot of people — but, “San Francisco,CA, USA” does. we’re also trying to help users who aren’t comfortable annotating their tweets with their exact coordinates, but, instead, are really happy to say what city, or even neighborhood, they are in. annotating your place with a name does that too. (…) for this first pass, we’re only going live with United States-centric data,  but that will quickly be expanded geographically as we work out the kinks in our system

What it means: in a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Twitter will now enable attachment of “place” information to individual tweets (messages). It’s a brilliant move as people talk about places all the time but they don’t know their latitude/longitude coordinates. By the way, I think lat/long coordinates are for machines, i.e. auto-geolocation tagging. Humans mention “places” when they talk about geography. This means Twitter is starting to embrace structured local data in a way that’s much closer to the DNA of directory publishers. This crystallizes even more the importance of “local” in Twitter’s strategy.

Google to Embrace "Newsfeed" Revolution

Robert Scoble reports this morning that he’s now “heard from three separate Google employees that Google will release a news feed that will compete with Facebook and Twitter”. He gives an excellent description of the products that will serve as building blocks for that feed: Google Profiles and Google’s Social Circles Connections. Scoble says it’s a serious threat to Twitter.

On a related note, ReadWriteWeb makes the case that Facebook could soon become the world’s leading news reader because of the enormous size of the social network and the ease of sharing/commenting information.

What it means: yet more proof that my prediction that we would soon consume all local content in a real-time activity stream format will come true. Traditional media companies: when Google launches this newsfeed, don’t say you were not warned in advance. Embrace the real-time Web and the newsfeed format. It’s becoming a de facto Web standard.

Twitter's Ineluctable March Towards Local Relevancy

Multiple news in the last few days points towards Twitter and Facebook becoming serious forces in the world of “local”.

First, in yet another chapter of Twitter’s improvements to become locally relevant, it has started rolling out its “local trends” for a series of US cities and ome countries (probably based on the ones with the most usage).

Twitter Local Trends Techcrunch screenshot

Screenshot source: Techcrunch

On a related note, the Kelsey Group analysts issued five predictions for 2010 and one of them is “location and geotargeted advertising will represent a long-elusive revenue stream for Twitter and for third parties that mash up Twitter streams and location data.” They also suggest Facebook will also “integrate automatic location detection into the status updates” .

Third, supporting the permanent shift of user behavior towards sites like Facebook and Twitter, Forrester reports that “a third of all Internet users in the U.S. now post status updates on social networking services like Twitter and Facebook at least once per week.”

Fourth, David Hornik, a well-known American investor, recently attended a Procter & Gamble (P&G) outreach event in Silicon Valley. Asked what they thought of Twitter, Hornik writes: “To P&G, Twitter is a great broadcast medium — it is best for one to many communications that are short bursts of timely information — but as good as it is for timely information, the P&G folks do not view it as particularly relevant to what they are doing on the brand building and advertising side. For those things that Proctor & Gamble thinks are most interesting and important, they do not believe that Twitter will ever approach the value they can get out of a Google or Facebook.” This reminds me of what big brands think of Yellow Pages as a medium. They don’t understand it but it’s still drives business for millions of advertisers. Twitter will be (is?) all about the same thing. And for the record, I’ve always thought packaged-goods companies could have made a killing with Yellow Pages by making their product information locally-relevant…

Fifth, Hitwise’s traffic reports in Australia (as reported in ReadWriteWeb) show that “For perhaps the first time ever, social networking sites have surpassed the traffic search engines receive”. That would explain why in the long run Google is afraid of the new conversational capacity of sites like Facebook and Twitter. And why they’re racing to
introduce
social functionalities within Google Maps.

What it means: Twitter and Facebook are both on their way to becoming serious local discovery and communication tools. It is happening.

Twitter's Ineluctable March Towards Local Relevancy

Multiple news in the last few days points towards Twitter and Facebook becoming serious forces in the world of “local”.

First, in yet another chapter of Twitter’s improvements to become locally relevant, it has started rolling out its “local trends” for a series of US cities and ome countries (probably based on the ones with the most usage).

Twitter Local Trends Techcrunch screenshot

Screenshot source: Techcrunch

On a related note, the Kelsey Group analysts issued five predictions for 2010 and one of them is “location and geotargeted advertising will represent a long-elusive revenue stream for Twitter and for third parties that mash up Twitter streams and location data.” They also suggest Facebook will also “integrate automatic location detection
into the status updates” .

Third, supporting the permanent shift of user behavior towards sites like Facebook and Twitter, Forrester reports that “a third of all Internet users in the U.S. now post status updates on social networking services like Twitter and Facebook at least once per week.”

Fourth, David Hornik, a well-known American investor, recently attended a Procter & Gamble (P&G) outreach event in Silicon Valley. Asked what they thought of Twitter, Hornik writes: “To P&G, Twitter is a great broadcast medium — it is best for one to many communications that are short bursts of timely information — but as good as it is for timely information, the P&G folks do not view it as particularly relevant to what they are doing on the brand building and advertising side. For those things that Proctor & Gamble thinks are most interesting and important, they do not believe that Twitter will ever approach the value they can get out of a Google or Facebook.” This reminds me of what big brands think of Yellow Pages as a medium. They don’t understand it but it’s still drives business for millions of advertisers. Twitter will be (is?) all about the same thing. And for the record, I’ve always thought packaged-goods companies could have made a killing with Yellow Pages by making their product information locally-relevant…

Fifth, Hitwise’s traffic reports in Australia (as reported in ReadWriteWeb) show that “For perhaps the first time ever, social networking sites have surpassed the traffic search engines receive”. That would explain why in the long run Google is afraid of the new conversational capacity of sites like Facebook and Twitter. And why they’re racing to
introduce
social functionalities within Google Maps.

What it means: Twitter and Facebook are both on their way to becoming serious local discovery and communication tools. It is happening.

Google "Twitterizes" its Merchant Profile Pages

Google just launched a “status update” field that merchants can use to send real-time messages to their profile page (i.e. Place Pages) in Google Maps. Accessible from the Local Business Center dashboard (which means it’s only available to businesses who have claimed their listing), you can read more about it on the Google LatLong blog.

Excerpt:

Holding a special event today? Want to post a coupon for 5-7pm tonight? Have a new product in stock? You can now get the word out by posting to your Place Page directly from your Local Business Center dashboard. Once you’ve logged in and are on your business’ dashboard, post an update and it will go live on your Place Page in just a few minutes. To see an example, check out the Place Page for Mission Mountain Winery which posted to introduce a new wine.

What it means: After Facebook, Google is now having real-time envy (or is that Twitter envy?). This is a small addition but it tells a lot about the product direction. As you can see in the example, attribution for the message is showing it’s coming “From the owner”. Expect Google to allow users to give that kind of real-time feedback in the future, hereby improving on user ratings/reviews. You can also expect broadcast bridges to other social networks.

If I was in Facebook’s or Twitter’s shoes, I would move quickly and enter the structured local business listings world by offering pre-populated fan pages (for Facebook) and merchant profiles (for Twitter). This would simplify the entry for SMEs and basically enable a “claim your profile” function on those two social networks. It also would simplify the mass structuring of real-time content (which is very valuable).