Ho…Ho…Hope You Aren’t Left Without a Social Presence

What if the real Santa Claus had a social media voice?

What first comes to mind when you hear or see talk of Christmas?

Is it family? Santa Claus? Presents? Food? Religion? Sugar Plums? Reindeer? The dinner scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?”

I could go on and on with the questions, but you choose the word that first comes to mind and I’ll pick mine: Santa.

Thanks to Google+ for allowing me to transform into Santa.

Why is that my first thought? Probably because if you stuck me in a red jump suit and add a white beard and hair, I’d be a dead-ringer for one of the world’s most polarizing Christmas figures (see photo).

Now yes, some of you may think he is not real, but don’t be a Grinch or Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, or Santa, just yet.

Let’s just pretend he is, and also let’s just pretend he lacks a true social media voice.

I don’t know how Internet savvy Santa is, because let’s face it, he has his hands full being the CEO of the Elf Workshop, sorting out billions of gift requests and compiling his naughty and nice list.

Facebook’s algorithm for pay-per-click advertising has been difficult to crack, so wrap your head around how Jolly ‘Ol St. Nick delivers all of those gifts in one day…it’s mind boggling.

But Santa could make his life much easier with the right marketing/advertising strategy.

Santa’s presence in the world started way back before this new one-horse open sleigh known as social media (well, there’s far more than one horse now) took off. So, building Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for the sake of ROI, may not be the right path for him, but a social Santa could make his life more efficient and easier, thus perhaps more time for milk and cookies and with Mrs. Claus (what is her first name, anyway?)

So here are a few ways a social Santa could spend more time on the beach or golfing each year, rather than shrouded by ice, cold and polar bears.

  • Customer service: A brand page through, let’s say Facebook (800+ million users), could help Santa funnel wish lists from his clientele all over the world. This allows for organization, and allows for his elven marketing staff to relay answers to questions or requests quickly. He could even use Foursquare or some other social location venue for checking into various places all over the world. Instead of NORAD tracking him for us, we can follow his delivery rout, thus we’d have an idea of when our gifts should arrive and we could get to bed before he does.
  • Engagement: Using an official Twitter account, accompanied with the blue check mark (this icon dubs user as “official”), Santa could begin to erase the moniker of his non-existence, thus providing credibility for his actions. With Twitter, Santa could post pictures of the hard work going on at the North Pole, and tweet/retweet content from his elves (assuming he requires them to create an account), Mrs. Claus and his followers, creating a buzz around his operation. With the list function on Twitter, Santa could separate his followers into “naughty” and “nice,” (could also do this with Google+ Circles) allowing him to monitor his clientele’s actions each day. Then, he could decide whether to move them from one list to the other based on their daily actions on Twitter. All of this real-time interaction with his followers could help him spread the word that the services he provides are indeed, legit, not discredited.
  • Networking: Santa is a large fellow with a large operation. Most people like their back “scratched,” but sometimes it’s hard to do it by oneself, especially if you are Santa. By socializing his workshop/operation, he opens the door to other services that will not only benefit him, but others as well. Santa must ask himself this question: How can I help evenly distribute the weight I am carrying? (Talking about his workload weight, not his plump frame. Of course, I guess he could venture into the world of bariatric surgery…OK, now I am just rambling). For example, instead of Kris Kringle tending to his reindeer daily, perhaps he seeks out a service through Twitter or Facebook that specializes in animal grooming/maintenance. He may have to shell out a few extra bucks because this service would have to weather the conditions of the North Pole. But by Santa being social, he erased a hefty duty that should allow him to place focus elsewhere. If Santa approved of said animal grooming service, he could very well give it a great recommendation through Twitter or Facebook, or both, and with Santa’s social voice, that could go along way for the grooming service as far as attracting new business.

So you see, even the most influential delivery man in the world could benefit from a social media voice.

OK, now it’s time to leave out the milk and cookies so when Santa comes to town, I’m not the one who is without presence.

How do you feel about social media? How do you use it?

The social space Timeline continuum: Facebook’s newest profile update

Timelines for all Facebook users will roll out beginning next week. Pictured above is a look at the cover photo for a user's profile. The cover photo stretches horizontally atop a profile page.

Have you ever wanted to relive a moment in your life over and over again?

Perhaps it was a moment when you attended the championship-clinching game of your favorite team?

Or a moment in your prime when you felt indestructible, impenetrable — like Superman or Wonder Woman?

We’ve all, most likely, have wished for a chance to return to a time when maybe life wasn’t all that difficult or relive that first kiss or the birth of a child.

Sure, there are photo albums and home videos that can bring you back to that special place again, but with the growing realm of social networking, that all now can be rolled into one with Facebook’s latest profile update called Timelines.

Announced by Facebook on Thursday, Timelines is now available nearly everywhere in the world. Timelines has been in the beta process before its public release, so for those who signed up for the beta version, this feature is not news to you. For others, you can update your profile now, but come the end of this month, we all will have the new template for our profiles.

So what is Timelines?

Basically, it is a profile update for users that chronologically archives a person’s life.

And in my opinion, it does order my life quite well so far. There’s not much difficulty in retracing my steps to that one concert I attended in college, to when I started dating my current girlfriend, to my birth (you have to add your birth date to record your birth of course).

Instead of thumbing through pages of a photo album for the purposes of reminiscing, like my parents and grandparents did with me, I can now log on to Facebook, click my profile and my archived life is available.

To describe it simply, Timelines is like an online time capsule, or if I want to go girly with the analogy, it’s an online scrapbook.

The first Timelines option you most likely will notice is the cover photo. This is where your creative juices can flow, especially if you are a Photoshop whiz. This display horizontally covers your profile with a standard profile photo layered on top.

There also is an option called “Life Events” in which you select different stock categories and archive a moment in your life that you want detailed.

For example, if you choose the path of weight loss, you can have a starting date, take a picture of yourself at your starting weight, then daily, weekly, monthly or yearly update your progress, adding photos along the way.

Facebook is a casual social network with nearly 800+ million users, but Timelines has options for being used in a professional light. But it also has potential dark spots that could provide problems, so here are a few “Likes” and “Dislikes” I have regarding the newest way to “travel” back in time.

“Likes”

  • Option for personal branding: In time, after all of the complaints are filed away in one’s status, Timelines could be used for making oneself more (or less) visible. The cover photo allows for creative design, and the archiving ability allows a user to continuously update crowning moments or achievements in one’s life, i.e., new job, promotions, awards, etc.
  • Online Time Capsule: I touched on this already, but I like that I have a way to view my life with virtually one click (of course I have to add content, but entering milestones, or failures even, are simple). Assuming Facebook is around in 15-20 years, I admire the idea of sharing my life with my children, or grandchildren, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, using a social medium rather than a photo album (and I didn’t have to purchase the album or print the pictures).
  • Social apps: Apps are on our phones, iPads, laptops, etc. and now they will be a prominent feature on Timelines. Facebook says “there’s a new class of social apps that let you express who you are through all the things you do.” Music sharing will be a key feature, so it will be interesting to see how social apps evolves over time.

“Dislikes”

  • The Stalker Effect: Going back a few years into someone’s past may be a little too invasive for some. A user can limit said visibility, but Timelines allows for a lot of past information to be seen immediately. Also, the layout reminds me of MySpace — an early social network that allowed for customized pages — which I was not a fan of at all.
  • Not available for brands: I am not sure if brands need the Timeline feature, but the cover photo is intriguing, and it could provide for added visibility and connectivity between a brand, its followers and potential followers. Google+ has “Scrapbook Photos” which allow for creative design to a brand’s page, and a Facebook cover photo could provide the same for brands.
  • Facebook is forcing change: People enjoy this thing called free will, and with every other Facebook profile change in the past, this one will be no different — eventually, you WILL have a Timeline. Right now, you can choose to check out the update before it’s mandatory, so that is a choice, but with a very ephemeral window. Expect the roll out around Dec. 22, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

What do you think of Facebook’s latest update?

Games, tweets and radio’s wheels: What you might have missed this week

Microsoft launched a new update for "Xbox Live" this week, dubbing it the "future of TV." (Photo via http://www.cnn.com)

I was born during the “Big Bang” of video games.

The Magnavox “Odyssey” arrived in 1972 — the world’s first home gaming console. The “Atari” later followed, as did the “ColecoVision,” Sega’s “Genesis” and my personal favorite — the “Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and my nostalgia radar flares up anytime I hear the words “Super Mario Brothers,” “Tetris,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” or “Frogger.”

But in my 28 years, console developers have made extraordinary improvements to game play from graphics to controls, and now of course, there’s online play.

When I was a child, fighting my way through “Double Dragon” on the NES, never would have I thought the age of video games would be this far advanced, or perhaps more importantly, socially connected.

Online play allows users from all over the world to interact, connect and play video games. It’s like one big arcade without all the quarters.

Now consoles, such as Microsoft’s “Xbox 360,” are diving into the world of streaming video and digging deeper into social networking.

This week Microsoft announced a huge “Xbox Live” (name of its online world) update that it dubbed as the “future of TV.”

This was one of many interesting mass communication stories announced this week, and for this post, I wanted to touch on this and a few other news items within this platform that you may have missed.

Xbox Live rolls out update – could be ‘future of TV’

Info: This new update will allow for Xbox 360’s 57+ million users to use the “Kinect,” a motion-sensing device, to access content and apps through a “universal, voice-directed search” using Bing. Apps will include streaming video from apps developed by HBO, Netflix, MSNBC, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Major League Baseball to name a few. This is Microsoft’s attempt to create a one-stop hub for viewing television, the “future of TV” as it dubs the move.

What it could mean: Providing new advertising opportunities. To name a few examples: Commercial breaks in between streaming content, pop-up ads like you might see on YouTube or even a voice-activated search to locate advertisers.

Arbitron: Radio listeners up 1.4 million in 2011

Info: Thought radio was on the decline? Not according to Arbitron, which reported Monday, Dec. 5, that radio added 1.4 million weekly listeners compared to December 2010. Arbitron, which measures network and local radio audiences across the nation, also reported 241.3 million listeners from 12 years and older tune into the radio each week.

What it could mean: That radio looks to continue to be a top-notch broadcasting and mass communications medium. Diversity among listener base also is growing meaning advertisers can reach a wider spectrum of people. The thought that radio is a dying breed should be quelled…for now.

Twitter announces “Brand Pages”

Info: This was announced Thursday, Dec. 8, and along with a new comprehensive design, Twitter now joins the ranks of Facebook and Google+ in competition for allowing brands to better market their products or services. According to Advertising Age, the design also allows for two new free features — customization for large header images with a more visible tagline, and the choice for brands to keep certain tweets at the top of their feed. This tweet also allows for auto-expansion to show an embedded photo or video from various sources.

Twitter's "Brand Pages" (via http://www.mediabistro.com)

What it could mean: Should allow for a brand’s voice to be heard more clearly and contextually. Only a select few will get to test out the new design with availability expanding in the coming months. An unanswered question on the date of this posting is “Will current brands be able to convert their Twitter profile to a “Brand Page?” We shall see.

With the addition of “@” replies and “mentions,” brands will be able to optimize their customer service availability more coherently than with the previous version. It also keeps Twitter in competition with social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+, not that it needed to really with 200+ million users, but the idea is fresh.

Facebook begins Timeline rollout

Info: Facebook announced Wednesday that it’s lifting the ‘beta’ tag from its new “Timeline” platform and releasing it into the wild, so to speak (before this, ‘beta’ users could only see other ‘beta’ users Timelines). Timeline will allow for archiving and organizing a user’s life. New apps will accompany this feature and the new design features a large picture as a user’s profile page header. Its template will allow users to get creative with designing their profiles. However, this rollout, was first released in New Zealand only.

What it could mean: That there could be lots of griping about the changes because that’s what Facebook users like to do sometimes. This change, at least, has been more publicized than most. But as usual, expect users to adapt to the change and roll with the punches. Some gripes could be with privacy issues, a valid argument. Does Timeline allow too much access to a person’s life? Privacy issues have plagued Facebook before and it’s still the leading social network.

Also, this feature is not available for Facebook’s Pages format…yet. Brands will have to wait, but this template could add throngs of design ideas, etc. Now if Facebook can get past its Timeline legal issues and exterminate all of the bugs.

How did you react reading the above information? How does any of this information intrigue you?

 

 

Win an Apple iPad 2 from dr2marketing!

dr2marketing is giving away a 16GB Apple iPad2! Follow both steps below to enter:

STEP 1

  • ‘Like’ us on Facebook and click here to share the contest with your friends, family and colleagues. (1 entry)
  • Follow @dr2marketing on Twitter and click here to retweet about our contest announcement. (1 entry)

STEP 2

  • Leave a comment on our blog with your name and email address telling us what you would do with a new Apple iPad 2.

Note: You must complete BOTH steps in order to be eligible to win. The winner will be notified via email. (Your email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose.)

iPad 2 Giveaway: Terms & Conditions

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE ODDS OF WINNING.

“Contest term” begins December 8, 2011 and ends January 31, 2012.

ELIGIBILITY:

You must be at least 18 years of age and a legal U.S. citizen to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

DRAWING PERIOD:
The giveaway starts on December 8, 2011 and closes on January 31, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. CST. A winner will be announced on February 1, 2012.

ENTRY FREQUENCY:

Facebook: 1 share daily
Twitter: 1 retweet daily

GRAND PRIZE:

16GB Apple iPad2 (Value: $499)

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. Odds of winning depend on total number of eligible entries received. Contest prizes are non-transferable. Prizes may not be substituted for or redeemed for cash.

Good luck everyone!!