World leaders to get their own closed social network

Tibco Software is expected to announce the launch of TopCom, a hyper-secure private club online, serving the role as a social network and video-messaging service that will be made accessible only to the top 200 members of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The idea is to create a “Facebook for global leaders,” allowing the world’s movers and shakers to respond rapidly and assist one another in times of crisis.

TopCom is being officially launched in late January at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. It is basically a customized, ridiculously secure version of tibbr, a platform developed by Tibco as a kind of combination Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, and Skype.

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Is Facebook killing company websites?

The popularity of Facebook is echoing through the entire internet ecosystem and changing the way we communicate with each other and brands. While Facebook is becoming a dominant relationship marketing tool for brands, it seems that instead of increasing traffic to the company website, signs are appearing that Facebook has started to absorb it. Marketers across the globe are wondering whether their brand’s owned websites will become less important. In the future, will users still visit company websites or will they only use Facebook and connected apps to engage with the content of brands?

For many US companies, particularly those with non-transactional websites, visitor figures are in decline, while their Facebook visitors are growing. This is the core of a study by US web analytics agency Webtrends.

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It’s digital or fatal: Web 3.0 is around the corner

Web 3.0, the next generation of web technology will transform the way businesses work within five to ten years, research by management consulting firm Booz&Co predicts. “3.0?”, you might say. “I thought we stopped using nerdy numbers to label trends?” Yeah, me too, but bear with me, this is interesting.

To even an greater extent than the present state of the internet, Web 3.0 will offer businesses unprecedented capabilities to connect and communicate with customers, and to collect and mine data about their activities and attitudes. “Once this big wave of data hits companies, they are going to be faced with a twofold choice: Are we going to work out how to leverage it, or just sit and wait for the wave to flow over us?”, a Booz analyst warns.

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Somehow Facebook’s looking old-school

Almost inexplicably, Google have actually created something really cool in the social space and for the first time in about 7 years Facebook is not the most exciting social network in town. Google+ is.

Facebook’s announcement about being able to video chat to your grandad on Facebook seemed to leave the tech world feeling distinctly underwhelmed. Techies quickly went back to coo-ing over Google+’s as yet hardly discovered features – multi-person video (hangouts), circles and built-in photo editing, to mention just a few. There’s a lot to play with in Google+.

Though Facebook’s new chat will have a big uptake among Facebook users, and probably greater impact in terms of numbers of users than Google+, with its currently limited expert/techie user base. But that techie user base is an important one, because they talk so much.

Considering things, it could be Twitter that’ll see a punch from Google. With sharing and following being highly customisable, you can have Twitter-like functionality, allowing you to see the updates from people that are interesting to you, such as celebrities, politicians, photographers, and so on. Though Google+ may be just a tad too complicated to get the average celebrity on board… But it might just be a matter of time!

Research shows that we enjoy being in tighter networks, or tribes if you’d like, on average not more than 150 people in total (which is quite a lot less than the number of “friends” people have on Facebook, for example). So if Google+  lets us interact with select tribes with more ease  and customise to whom we want to share what with, I think Google+ really could be a winner – with time, that is.

Google+ is still missing quite a bit of Facebook’s magic. Continue reading

Movement marketing in social media

I have recently come to realise the immense potential of movement marketing in social media. Movement marketing essentially means connecting your brand with a growing movement, good cause or some kind of cultural idea that might excite your target market.

In doing this, you can extend and reinforce your brand’s values, allowing customers to relate to your brand more as they relate to people, who have personalities, passions and values.

A recent good example of this is Google Chrome’s “It gets better” campaign, where they celebrate the awesomeness of the web by encouraging gay people to make videos with uplifting words for gay teenagers.

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Music marketing: The growing importance of social media

Social media is proving its significance within music marketing. Especially music release strategies are increasingly dependent on social media, as demonstrated by a survey performed by Musicmetric, who tracks and analyses what is happening to music online. Via Music Week.

“What is clear is that there is a definite incentive for artists to be taking the time to accurately and quickly explore ways of finding out what really works and what doesn’t for them in building up a fanbase across social networks that has not just strong foundations, but like with any lasting relationship, an authentic rapport,” said Marie-Alicia Chang, co-founder of Musicmetric.

“Artists should take heart from the fact that it is possible to break through with persistence and the right formula, whether it be the way they are sharing content, creating content or generating buzz, we are looking at more ways than ever for artists to find and take control of the new channels that will evangelise about them best.”

“There is a knack to understanding how these things pan out however, and a lot of artists, managers and marketers are all still finding their feet. The deeper exploration of what is really having the most impact and why is something we are very excited to be working with Music Week to shed some light on.”

Established acts such as Lady GaGa have a huge headstart with almost 33m Facebook fans and around 9.6m Twitter followers to mobilise.

Following the February 11 release of Born This Way, the number of new followers to GaGa’s Twitter site rose by more than 90% to 31,114. And YouTube plays dramatically increased by 385% to 250,000, from the day before to two days after the release.

Facebook is replacing MySpace as the chief platform for musicians to share their music and interact with fans. Music marketers have an increasing number of possibilities and functionality on Facebook with apps such as BandPage which can be added to Facebook Pages. This is bad news for MySpace which is widely seen as a dying fad. MySpace has now only 34 million users, down from 93 and losing 10 million only between January and February this year.