New Media Notes

notes on news, advertising and social media shared by ben smith

Archive for October, 2008

Making Social Networks Profitable

Posted by benasmith on October 12, 2008

Interesting article in Business Week about a new patent-pending technology from Google for ranking the most influential people on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook. If the technology works it could be a tremendous ad revenue opportunity for social networking sites, with entirely new opportunities for much more effective targetted ad campaigns…. at a sizeable premium of course.


Posted in Google, Online Revenue, Social Media | Leave a Comment »

The Future of Direct Mail

Posted by benasmith on October 10, 2008

Many advertisers still consider direct mail a “premium” means of distributing information. Direct delivery to a consumers mailbox has an appeal, of course. But it’s time to move on. If an advertiser wants direct distribution to a targeted consumer why not look at one of the many opt-in email opportunities. “Opt-In” is the key phrase. So much quicker, cost effective, and targeted. Surely it makes more sense for an advertiser to reach 500 people that have requested to receive information about specific categories of products or services than even 5,000 that haven’t requested anything and likely don’t want junk clogging up their mailbox.

Interesting article in Newsweek:

It’s amazing to read that direct mailings now constitute some 52% of mail volume, up from 38% in 1990. Yet at the same time the consumer polls referred to in the article state that some 89% of consumers say they would prefer not to receive direct mail and some 44% of direct mail is never even opened.

Working in the newspaper industry, I see this as a great opportunity for newspapers in particular. Despite trends in circulation decline, newspaper is still a highly effective media. Especially at a suburban / community level where newspapers provide unique hyper-local news and advertising, less so in metros where they traditionally provide information that’s now available on countless websites and cable TV. Where newspaper have traditionally lost a certain amount of advertising revenue to direct mail, it’s a great time to go after those advertisers. Use readers to build targeted email lists. Build lists that can be targeted by zip code, that have opt-ins for different categories of information. Seek email sign-ups at every opportunity. Run reader contests that prompt for email sign-up when they enter, make it part of the subscription or renewal process. Keep building the email lists and make sure when advertisers use them to send information they include decent offers, coupons or promotions. Make the emails something people want to receive – strong offers, limited to the categories of information they have requested and relevant to the local market. Don’t abuse their trust in your product by sending information they didn’t request. Soon people will want to be part of the list and sign-ups will keep growing. It’s a great opportunity for any newspaper and thanks to services such as Constant Contact it’s easy to deal with spam regulations and to send quality HTML email without any technical knowledge required.

Posted in Direct Mail, Email, Newspapers | Leave a Comment »

LinkedIn Success Stories

Posted by benasmith on October 9, 2008

Two great success stories for LinkedIn. For all those doubters on the value of LinkedIn or other professional networking sites, these are great examples of effective use LinkedIn to generate business and create new sales. The results are directly attributable to the subscribers making good use of the resources the site offers.

First, a great example of a LinkedIn subscriber successfully launching a business and generating great sales entirely thanks to creative use of LinkedIn groups and the status update feature.

Second, a LinkedIn subscriber using the site to reconnect with an old client and convert that former client in to a new $1 millon contract.

Posted in LinkedIn, Social Media | Leave a Comment »

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

Posted by benasmith on October 4, 2008

Twitter is perhaps still one of the newest and evolving social media trends. I’m personally a huge advocate. I see many exciting opportunities for a business to use Twitter, both for internal and external communication. Unfortunately there are many naysayers who dismiss Twitter as a novelty, as a waste of time, and maintain the view that Twitter and other social media tools really don’t have any direct benefit to businesses.

This is a great blog by Chris Brogan, “50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business”. The blog offers some great thoughts for anyone considering the merits of Twitter for their business, and includes specific sections on “Negatives People Will Throw At You” and “Some Positives to Throw Back”.

Posted in Social Media, Twitter | Leave a Comment »