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According to a study by US-based Barracuda Networks, only about 1/5th of Twitter users or 21% to be precise are actually regular users of Twitter. Barracuda Networks defined regular Twitter users as those users who have at least 10 followers, follow at least 10 people, and have tweeted at least 10 times on Twitter.com. The study also revealed that 49% of Twitter users and 48 of the top 100 most followed Twitter users, have joined Twitter.com only between November 2008 and April 2009. Most of these newly joined twitter users include renowned celebrities such as actors, athletes, musicians and politicians who started their Twitter accounts to make their followers aware of their activities in real time. This has led to Twitter.com being promoted as a daily service.

Also according to study, only 26% or just over 1/4th of Twitter users had 10 followers or more as of December 2009, while only 40% per cent were simultaneously following 10 or more Twitter users. Barracuda Networks revealed that more than half of Twitter users or 51% to be precise, were following less than 5 people. In terms of tweets, the study revealed that just over 1/3rd or A034% of Twitter users were not even tweeting once, while a whopping 73% or close 3/4thA0 Twitter92s users tweeted for less than 10 times. That means that most of the tweets on the social network website were being generated by just 1/4th of the users. According to Barracuda Networks, the survey was carried out on more than 19 million Twitter accounts, both legitimate and malicious, for assessing not just frequency and content of tweets, but also user-to-user interactions, and each Twitter account92s overall activity level.


Published in CMS
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:39

Dos and Don92ts of Social Media Marketing

As businesses worldwide adopt social media marketing as a tool, as such social networking websites are now littered with thousands of accounts set up for marketing purposes. Most of these accounts are effectively junk or lying dormant after initial excitement gave way to realization that social media marketing cant help product sales or brand awareness as originally hoped for. There’s no doubt that social media marketing campaigns ca be created but the key is to know when, where and how to use it. Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns can be carried out by even a novice; however doing it with a complacent attitude won92t help. SMM) campaigns need to follow some rules, and as such there are some dos and donts

Do92s!A0

Build a strong social network. If you have a profile on Twitter and thousands of followers; take care to ascertain how many of these thousands of followers are legit? And how often do users interact with their followers, respond to the tweets received? A Less positive answer means that increased interaction is needed to ensure the network is as true to you as you want it to be and that your message is conveyed successfully.

Expend your effort building the trust quotient of your site. If the website is not a trusted site, set about working on improving the areas it is found lacking in. In SMM the entire world can scrutinize the website. if the user thinks it won92t be able to stand up then launch a campaign to ensure your website is clean of harmful viruses and spam links.

Create social media campaign blog. Bloggers pioneered and sustain social media sites like Digg or Stumble. Social media would be reduced to a couple of social networks and unending streams of status updates. Integrating a blog into the website and updating it regularly with 91good92 content can be really helpful!

91List92 posts to draw traffic to a blog. As video sharing sites are popular, creating a video and uploading it on websites like YouTube and Tubemogul is something that can really benefit SMM efforts of a website with the possibility of reaching millions of viewers. Apart from YouTube, you can promote the links to the videos on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and effortlessly double the exposure your brand stands to achieve.

Keep a check on the web. Be aware of all the changes happening around you on the web, as its important not just in social media marketing, but any kind of marketing on line. Subscribe to feeds from relevant websites, use an RSS reader like Zune or Feedreader and comment on posts you like or find particularly relevant. Commenting on posts is great way to get in to the thick of the social activity on a website, but being the first commenter gives the opportunity to initiate a discussion and channel it in the direction you wish to.

Be social in social media marketing. To make presence felt on all the major social websites, being part of micro-communities that are relevant to the business helps. While the message may get lost in the irrelevant 91noise92 on established social sites, its more probable that reaching out to the intended audience in a smaller niche, micro-community. If the website is about pet grooming, joining a niche community for dog lovers like Dogster will greatly help.

Stick to a brand philosophy! Depending on a relatively modern approach to marketing doesn92t mean that one needs to abandon a brand92s basic ideology. Let the brand philosophy guide the SMM strategy, and help sustain the brand identity.

Don92ts!

A0Don92t 91spam92 on social sites. Spam = Evil, so engaging in social spamming, will result in quick death of SMM campaigns. With spamming one loses your credibility, social or otherwise. Social spamming isn92t limited to offering unsolicited irrelevant links on social sites; posting promotional comments (with or without links), Digging or Stumbling posts on popular topics that are in no way related to your website, even sending automated Direct Messages on twitter are considered spam practices.

Avoid blatant marketing tactics, be subtle. In social media instead of being blatant with user/follower/fan with overtly promotional and gimmicky marketing tactics being subtle will always help.

Don92t forget to update social profiles. 91Dead92 profiles cant change one92s thinking. Social media users too like active and live profiles. As freshness is the essence in social media, stale information is of little use to anyone.

Don92t forget online reputation management. A significant amount of signals monitored in ORM come from social websites. So, while engaged in SMM campaigns, it is of vital importance to gauge user reaction to products and to take appropriate measures to counter any less-than favorable signals. If these negative signals point to an actual problem address the issue immediately. If there isn92t, rectify the wrong perception.

Don92t drop search in favor of social. SMM campaigns complement the SEO efforts. Choosing one over the other is a mistake. Continue building links and optimizing the website while building presence in social media.

Don92t try to do too much too fast. Let your SMM campaigns take a natural course. If the followers want to receive useful tweets, even one tweet a day is enough to keep them happy. Try not to flood their streams with less-then-useful, overtly promotional tweets.

SMM activities should be primed to bring exposure. The SMM campaigns should not be used to go on the offence and slander competitors. Battling it out with a competitor can do more harm than good even to a valid SMM campaign.


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Social networking websites are turning out to be a curse for privacy for people. The biggest culprit among various social networking websites is Facebook, founded less than 5 years ago. What made Facebook click was not its US$ 15 billion value, not its software, its patents, or its smart people but its enormous database, an electronic catalog of interconnections and interests of its members with details of who knows whom. The daily updates of my friends' new friends and what groups they have joined are like tiny, atomized announcements, inviting people to contribute updates. Facebook's vast social network is invaluable for checking reputations. The same data can be helpful to sell stuff though earlier this year, Facebook found that telling members what their friends had bought was going too far. On the other hand there are websites that purely help make business connections like LinkedIn.com's with motto of "Relationships matter," jigsaw.com that encourages everyone to submit others' contact information so that prospective clients can "bypass gatekeepers" and "go straight to decision-makers."

Technology keeps changing the norms. As such few years ago, a public catalog of all the nation's swimming-pool owners was shocking, but today anyone can use Google Maps to look down into people's back yards. As such friends circles are likewise going to be more public and staying off websites like Facebook.com won't keep people private. With many public sources from which social network information can be culled including newspapers and blogs computers can connect people simply on the basis of whether they are mentioned in the same article. As technology creates opportunities for people to catalog who knows whom, people are uploading their family photos to online album websites such as Facebook.com and Flickr.com. This is not only helping them create a vast network but also infringing on privacy as photographs that should be private are being seen by other people. Here’s were see things start to go wrong, with the whole world finding out, where someone spent their vacation.

All this information sharing through links established by computers may not be real social connections. As privacy settings change limiting the abuse of personal information without resorting to internet censorship will slowly become even more difficult. Recently the news of sale of 1.5 million stolen Facebook accounts on the black market by a hacker created panic amongst users. Researchers at VeriSign iDefense Labs, an internet security firm, found stolen login details of people on Facebook.com on sale for as little as US$25 for 1,000 on a Russian website Carder.su. According to the firm, the hacker called ‘kirllos’ was offering login information for bundles of 1,000 accounts with 10 or fewer friends on sale for just $25 (£16) and with more than 10, for $45 (£30). However Facebook rubbished the claims, saying that ‘kirllos' was making wild claims; as when Facebook tried to buy details from ‘kirllos’ during its own investigation, the hacker was unable to produce anything. Its known that hackers use software that logs computer keystrokes or 'phishing' techniques that trick users into giving out their passwords, personal information like birth dates, addresses and phone numbers. The accounts are then hijacked to send spam and malicious programs or to commit identity frauds. Users concerned about their account privacy can do very little to contain the damage.

Despite this there is flurry of information uploaded on Facebook that should remain private. This has even resulted in marriage breaking down in Britain, where marriage counselors claim that social networking sites like Facebook have helped a number of bored middle-aged users in their 40s and 50s to reconnect with childhood sweethearts resulting in their lives being thrown into turmoil. Australian Family Relationships Clearing House manager Elly Robinson said online behavior was causing friction in households. She said "People will come in (for counselling) where one partner may deny their online behaviour has been any sort of problem, but the issue is … if it's upsetting one of those people in the relationship, it's a problem". Robinson further said "Relationships develop more quickly online because inhibitions are lowered, it's easy to exchange information, people are online 24/7, there's an (endless) amount of people you can link up with who are there for the same reason, real life pressures fade away … it's a bit of a fantasy world".

Relationships Australia vice-president Anne Hollonds said "The internet doesn't make people have affairs. It's become the pathway of choice for many people but I don't think that means the Internet is breaking up families". However she also said "But there's no evidence to suggest that had the technology not been available, you wouldn't have had an affair with someone else anyway". As everyone fantasies about love from the past and with the technology available people are using internet to reconnect with lost loves, ultimately causing trouble for their present families, something for which they should be always be responsible.

Just yesterday a software glitch on Facebook; let people's friends in online communities, see each others' private chat messages. This forced Facebook to temporarily shut down its online chat feature.  "When we received reports of the problem, our engineers promptly diagnosed it and temporarily disabled the chat function," a Facebook spokesman said in an email response to an AFP inquiry. According to Facebook, for peeks into private chat all Facebook users had to do was to manipulate the "preview my profile" feature in a particular way that led chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible for a "limited period of time". However chat option was back for most Facebook users by 1900 GMT on Wednesday. The software glitch exposed the world's leading online social-networking service which is increasingly being scrutinized regarding infringement of privacy of its users.

According to a Consumer Reports survey titled "Social Insecurity"; most of the adult users of social networks have posted "risky personal information" such as birth dates or children's photos to profile pages. The survey indicated that 23% of Facebook's users "either didn't know that the site offered privacy controls or chose not to use them." Since its launch in 2005 Facebook has become an online repository of personal information and its important that the company should protect user data the way banks protect safe deposit boxes. According to Andrew Brandt, lead threat research analyst at computer security firm, Webroot "They shouldn't be leaving the vault unlocked even for a few hours," Brandt said, referring to the chat feature glitch. Internet users need to realize that any information they put online can escape into the wild. If you have embarrassing photos from spring break that could get you in trouble now or in the future, just don't put that stuff there. Brandt further said "Remember that everything that goes on the Internet essentially stays there. Even if Facebook hides it away, that stuff might be retrievable in the future."

Just last week, 4 US senators expressed concern to Facebook over recent changes to the social network that they say compromised the privacy of its more than 400 million users. In a letter to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, they said they worried that personal information about Facebook users is being made available to third party websites. They also said Facebook should make sharing personal information an "opt-in" procedure under which a user specifically gives permission for personal data to be shared. With social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others rolling out new features issuing of guidelines on the use of private information has become necessary. It’s also known that Facebook on April 21, 2010 rolled out a series of new features that allowed partner websites to incorporate Facebook users data, helping the website to expand its presence across the internet.

Despite this Elliot Schrage, Vice President-Global Communications (Facebook) is adamant in saying that online privacy is taken very seriously at the company. He said "These new products and features are designed to enhance personalization and promote social activity across the Internet while continuing to give users unprecedented control over what information they share, when they want to share it, and with whom". With Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg famously saying “There is nothing private in social networking on internet.” It has really become important to draw a line where people can use social networking websites freely but still maintain a level of privacy.

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The micro-blogging site Twitter.com has become a rage practically with people from all walks of life using it to convey their feelings in few words in what are called as Tweets, which are short updates of a maximum of 140 characters that tell people what they are up to. The website where its’ all about following and being followed, Twitter has emerged as a tool for people to enhance their online presence. Although Twitter was meant to authentically answer the question, “What are you doing?” it has moved far beyond that with people using it to share stories, link to photos, promote content, break news, and a whole lot more. As such Twitter has now become an important tool for marketing tool for professionals to promote themselves or business through internet using the social media domain. However there are few things that people need to take care of or keep in mind before trying to make maximum utilization of Twitter.com. This will evidently help them expand there following and ultimately help them to market themselves. These are

Sharing Links

People mostly post something that interest’s them on their blog post, its’ also easy for them to share its link on Twitter with all their followers. Twitter being highly effective social networking website in helping people connect to a large number of people globally, allows the users to even manage and enhance their blog posts viewership/readership directly from their Twitter Account.

Build Network

Using Twitter people can build network and find and follow like minded people. People can use the Steeple tool to find people living in their neighborhood. Other tools can also be used to find people. One of the easiest is to find out who follow people you know on Twitter.

Build Relationships

People from various networks can use Twitter to connect with their contacts instantly rather than using instant messaging. Using Twitter to connect with their network during events like conferences can help expand their reach.

Re-Distributing Content

Twitter can be used to redistribute content from blogs or websites. However care should be taken as to keep track of people who either follow the blog directly or through Twitter as there should not be any repeat. As such avoid blog plug-ins that automatically Tweets the blog posts. Its better to post Tweets by tweaking them manually and customizing each Tweet.

Join Live Tweeting Events

Joining live tweeting events on Twitter are a great way to boost popularity as that will allow instant connection with several people in the niche areas of expertise. Also providing active and valuable contributions to current discussions enhances the reputation of users not just inside the niche community but also outside.

Communicate

Twitter can be used as a company intranet to connect with colleagues/employees in different geographical locations. It can used to send and receive updates in total privacy if security is a concern.

Brand Monitoring

Twitter can be used to monitor progress in business. Using Twitter one can generate and receive feedback from customers and suppliers and consequently improve their business. This will help in expanding the business of the website, and ultimately spread the brand name of the website through constructive criticism.

Acquire Votes

By submitted a story on social media websites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon where votes gained by each post can help enhance popularity. After posting on these websites, putting a link on twitter can help in get more votes from followers. If followers like the post, they will surely vote for the content.

Hire People

Twitter can be used to hire a professional also. It can be done by simply asking the followers through a tweet to look for person with desired skills. Twitter has become a favorite joint for qualified freelancers, as such chance of getting a suitable candidate through Twitter is more than putting a classified ad.

Build a Brand

Using Twitter to tell people about breakfast, dinner or the time to sleep makes a profile casual. Even those running a company that has a cold, corporate brand image could create more appeal and build a unique personal brand using Twitter.

Streamline Communication

Twitter can be used to do public chatting through Tweets, that allows users to send and receive direct messages. Streamlined electronic communications, allows people to scale back online their IM, email, and other electronic communication methods.

About the Company

Begonia Information Systems is perfectly suited to provide any company/individual any kind of assistance in developing/enhancing their presence in social networking/social media domain. This apart from the fact that the company also holds expertise in development related web 2.0, web-portals, websites and much more for its clients.


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Twitter, a social networking and micro-blogging service established in 2006 allows its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are nothing but posts up to 140 characters that can be displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers/followers. However to avoid unnecessary attention senders can restrict delivery of these tweets to a select few in their circle of friends or, by default allow everyone open access. Users can also follow a lists of authors instead of individual authors. The biggest advantage of Twitter is that users can send and receive tweets not just via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) but also through external applications  such as phones.  While Twitter is free of cost, accessing it through SMS may result in fee from the phone service provider.

The website with more than 100 million users worldwide has still not made profit but after the end of 2010 financial year is expected to make profits in the range of over a billion dollars progressively. Sometimes called the "SMS of the Internet" has emerged as one of the most popular social networking/ blogging platforms. Its simplistic concept allows famous personalities, (most famous celebrities such Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Priyanka Chopra, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjeev Kapoor are users of Twitter) to send brief messages about what they are doing to their loyal followers so as to clear the air of any ambiguity/controversy about them. Twitter as such can be helpful to not just famous personalities to communicate but also with large corporations and small businesses.

Twitter can be used to promote a business in the most cost effective manner. Companies like Maharika Foods, Kaya Skin Clinic, Golds Gym, and others use Twitter to communicate with their followers in order to expand their reach in the cyber space. While major media and broadcasting companies like CNN, ABC, TOI, NDTV and many others use Twitter to increase their viewership as much as possible in this era of cut throat competition, big or small companies are using www.Twitter.com to create a database of dedicated followers who will eventually help in enhancing the sale of their products on a later date.

As such Twitter has become one of the leading tool for promotion of updates, information, and attractive deals to the followers of the Twitter account. However most companies are trying to create a database of large number of followers; just because Twitter counts those as leading users who have maximum following is not good. Apart from numbers what is also important is also the quality of messages or tweets sent. Absurd or tweets meant to demoralize others or even so defame others should be seriously avoided; as it can prove disastrous for the business. Though nothing will happen, the course of tweets and response will inevitably veer towards topics that have nothing to do with a company’s efforts to promote its products or services.

According to reports the average number of tweets per Twitter account has changed dramatically since the last year. While the number of regular users of Twitter still hovers around 1/5 of those total registered, with increase in the number of postings, however the average number of followers of each Twitter account has jumped from 70 to 420. But if no. of followers still don’t result in purchases, then regular Tweet updates are of no value. So in the long run, increasing the amount of Tweet volume at any cost should not be the correct approach to achieve any kind of success in marketing on Twitter for small businesses.

Twittering without engagement of audience defeats the entire process of using Twitter for marketing. As more members start sending generic, uninteresting, and uninspiring tweets; just to boost the volume of people reading the number of tweets, it will create a variety of problems; such hang up of Twitter due to over use, crossing of limits of the number of Tweets per day very early, and many more and it will have a negative impact on the ability of a small business to procure new customers. But in case there is heavy traffic of tweets and replies from a large number of followers. Then it becomes important to make sure that the tweets are clearly understood by all in a generalized way. Though providing detailed and specific information in the tweets is not possible on Twitter, but the tweets should be written in such a way that potential customers who are serious about them don’t lose interest in the tweets. For some its a full time job to sort and respond to people who are interested in connecting with them.

As such for marketing of a business on Twitter should center around niche marketing strategies such as using “Twitter lists” that allow users to take certain members of your massive group of followers and put them in a particular category. This will allow businesses to promote their tweets to every individual member of these lists. This gives businesses, the option to send generic as well as individual tweets to all those who may be considered as serious potential customers. As such Twitter can help small business develop and expand their business in a cost effective manner.

Published in CMS
Monday, 11 October 2010 05:30

Problems with Facebook and Twitter

Facebook’s growth has been phenomenal as the world’s no. 1 social networking site with over 500 million users beating Google’s orkut to become the most visited website in the US. Though Mark Zukerberg once famously said ‘Soon there will be nothing private in social networking’ the website has also lately being receiving lot of flak for its privacy policies. With people sharing various kinds of information on social networking site like Facebook, feverish marketing campaigns can sometimes result in a compromise on an account holders' privacy.

1.    Sometimes what happens is that a website will issue an updated private profile stating that if someone connect with an application or website it will have access to general Information including friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared to be shared by “everyone.” Privacy settings allow viewers to see only what can be seen on profile. If one is uncomfortable in relation to be publicly known, one should not log into facebook.

2.    Another problem facing Facebook is the glitches, for example e-mail addresses that Facebook users wanted to keep hidden were revealed publicly on numerous Facebook profiles due to software glitches even though it was later resolved by Facebook.

3.    Facebook is prone to phishing scam and hacking with recent reports of a hacker in Russia trying to sell details of over 1.5 million profiles to the highest bidder.

4.    Facebook suffered a major security scare few months back when a software glitch allowed people to snoop on to their friends' private chats, and even view their pending friend requests. It forced Facebook to temporarily disable chat.

5.    Fake or multiple profiles are a serious problem affecting Facebook as many people either have multiple profiles and present themselves as different persons in each of them or they impersonate as famous personalities.

6.    An attack on Twitter last month affected hundreds of thousands of users when a "onmouseover" security flaw which took people to sites whether it was related or not by just putting their mouse over the link affected thousands of users. One of affected was the British prime minister's wife, Sarah Brown and visitors to her Twitter page were sent to a hardcore porn site in Japan.

7.    Problem is some users appeared to have use the flaws social networking sites for fun, but it invites cybercriminals to unleash more malicious and harmful attacks on networks and computer systems.

8.    Sometime back a new variation of Koobface virus that directs users to a fake YouTube page where they are encouraged to install malware has been the cause of major security concern.

9.    Applications  like 'Facebook - closing down!!!' and 'Error Check System' that were downloaded by users allowed cyber hackers to access to their profiles and personal information, and unwittingly forward fake messages to their friends, also encouraging them to download the programs.

10.    Facebook being people centric and dependent on user interaction is pro e to attacks by virus that don’t look malicious initially.

11.    Facebook application and third party applications are not vetted resulting in their unfettered release in the  social network public domain.

12.    Problem with Facebook logins are related to the Facebook page loading only partially or not at all while the second category contain problems related to the Facebook login itself.

13.    While the first category of problems is easy to fix by clearing the browser cache or trying to access Facebook with another web browser. Also login problems associated with Internet Service Provider also results in problems connecting to Facebook and can be solved by waiting some time and trying to access the page again.

14.    Another problem associated to the Facebook login is that the login to be successful, it’s a must to have a Facebook plug in application software installed for access which is not the case with Orkut or Twitter.

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