Politics goes Web 2.0

In a testament to how far social media and the Web 2.0 world have come, presidential hopeful Fred Thompson, made a YouTube video in response to a Michael Moore documentary. Politics aside, Fred Thompson's rebuttal is significant because it shows that Web 2.0 has become widely recognized as an effective medium of communication to a growing portion of the population.

According to Alexa Internet, MySpace is currently the world's fifth most popular English-language website, the fifth most popular website in any language, and the third most popular website in the United States, though it has topped the chart on various weeks.
MySpace Traffic
Combine this popularity with the fact that over 80% of MySpace users are able to vote , and one can predict the impact MySpace specifically, and social media in general, can have upon a campaign. At the very least, these numbers suggest that political campaigns are not only about traditional media buys anymore.

The question remains to be seen whether the political parties will use social media for its intended use. I wrote about the failings of traditional media buys on social media sites a few weeks back. Will politicians use social media to engage their constituents in ongoing dialogue and open discussion as Fred Thompson did, or will they use these sites to broadcast their message as they do on traditional media outlets?

The larger question for businesses is do you want to harness the power of social media to engage your audience? More importantly, is your company ready to mold their social media campaigns to fit the medium?

[tags]social media, MySpace, Alexa, Fred Thompson [/tags]


Taking the Guesswork out of Hiring

By virtue of our office arrangement, I spend more waking hours with Katie Heckman and Jeff Daigle than I spend with anyone else. Exceptional in their roles as product marketing manager and creative director, Katie and Jeff came to ReadyTalk through a multi-step, unique hiring process. My quality of life is very high as a result of working with great people. How do we find them?

When we hire people at ReadyTalk, first we make sure that they are naturally wired to be successful in that position. Then, we go through a series of "talent" and "cultural" interviews before we make an offer. The "talent" interviews are based on Marcus Buckingham's book, First Break All The Rules. Talents refer to a person's recurring thoughts and patterns of behavior. What makes them tick? As much as a person may want to work in project management, for example, if they aren't organized and task-oriented, they probably won't be successful in that position. This sounds obvious, but I know many people with years of experience working in a field that doesn't really suit them.

To help us assess those natural characteristics, we conduct assessment tests from a company called Profiles International. This Thursday, we are really excited to present Profiles executive Robin Mottern, on Taking the Guesswork out of Hiring. Though I haven't heard Robin speak, I know that her web seminar will be insightful from my own experience with her company. ReadyTalk's strength in hiring wouldn't be quite the same without their help.

[tags] Robin Mottern, HR, hiring, web seminar [/tags]

Andy Goodman’s Seminar on Storytelling

Andy Goodman spoke today for our Web Seminar Series. He talked about the power of storytelling as a means to capture attention, engage an audience, and motivate them to act. Storytelling appeals to the emotional center of people and evokes powerful feelings beyond what a report or data can incite. By using narration, you can improve the way you attract clients (or donors), recruit staff, and maintain a strong organizational culture.

You can listen to the <a data-cke-saved-href="https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/playback/Playback.do?id=8ijh3v64" href="https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/playback/Playback.do?id=8ijh3v64" "="">full recording of Andy Goodman or any other of our past events here.

[tags] web seminar, storytelling, Andy Goodman [/tags]

The future of CRM with SalesForce.com

SalesForce.com and Google, together, made the front page of the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Good timing with their SalesForce.com Developer Conference which was also held on Monday and I was a fortunate attendee. SalesForce.com is not saying anything publicly about their future plans with Google, but stay tuned as it appears the two may soon come up with a partnership that will threaten Microsoft.

ReadyTalk is in the process of customizing SalesForce.com for our customer relationship management (CRM) needs as we migrate from our old system.

I was initially unimpressed by the high price of SalesForce.com, but as I see more of their product, as well as their new APEX code (in Beta), it’s becoming more clear as to why companies are embracing it. SalesForce.com has created what appears to be a solid infrastructure and it presents a clean, easily customizable front-end that has been carefully architected. It allows for developers to code and get fancy, but it’s not required to have an expert in-house in order for a company to customize SalesForce.com appropriately.

The number of participants at the SalesForce.com Developer Conference (between 700 and 1,000) speaks to the momentum building for SalesForce.com. There are a lot of eager developers excited to create (and sell) new applications for SalesForce.com, increasing SalesForce.com’s value to an even wider array of customers.

One of the highlights of the conference was hearing Guy Kawasaki speak. He spoke about the “Art of the Start.â€? Watch his presentation, it’s useful and entertaining and will benefit anyone who is interested in starting anything.

SalesForce SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) was announced yesterday, see the power of it, coupled with Apex code, in this demo.

[tags] SalesForce.com, Google, CRM, SOA, Apex Code [/tags]

Advertising on Web 2.0

Blue Lithium Labs did a research study comparing the conversion rates, the CTR and CPC of traditional media sites to those of user generated content sites like YouTube and MySpace. The report can be found here and is free to download.

The highlights of the study were:

  • Ads on non-2.0 sites (classic editorial content sites) convert 31% better than ads run against user-generated content (see Figure).



  • Ads on top-brand non-2.0 sites (defined as comScore's top 250) convert 175% better than user-generated content sites.
  • However, 2.0 media is so *cheap* (as of now anyway) that it's still worth testing.


While the study is a cautionary tale about investing in advertising on Web 2.0 sites, I think it misses the critical point of Web 2.0. The study measures traditional advertising traffic on sites that are geared toward non-traditional users. Web 2.0 is about the user. Advertising is about the company. Therefore, it makes sense that people that are browsing Web 2.0 sites are not interested in the traditional advertising medium.

The strength of Web 2.0 lies within creating relationships, telling a story and two way communication. Using traditional advertising buys on Web 2.0 sites is almost like trying to get a square peg to fit in a round hole.

[tags] Web 2.0, web conferencing, SEO, Blue Lithium [/tags]