Business Ethics: Online Ads on Social Media

It remains a hot topic for promoters on social media channels how well they integrate their ads into the social media. It isn’t a new debate marketers have faced before but as online channels become significantly more popular, some customers feel deceived when they learned the content they were learning was actually an advertisement. Based on recent research, customers were most outraged when a sponsored video appeared to look like the content they were seeking. While it does draw some concerns, marketers and customers remain at odds on what advertisements actually work. On Facebook, customers have sometimes been mislead by sponsored stories and on Twitter, some customers don’t realize the difference between promoted tweets. Recently, Facebook has stepped up the effort by enabling an option to pay money to have your own post appear higher on the news feed.

On the other side, marketers find integrating ads seamlessly into the online environment is an effective way of reaching out to the customer. Many events hosted in Facebook seem to be popular method of integrated advertising as well as targeted post advertisements.A recent report showed 20% of Facebook marketers favored sponsored stories as a way to reach customers.

Personally, I feel that customers believe social media is more private and that advertising in general is already perceived as a negative.what makes online social media ads different than say a magazine with a sponsored story? Social Media is still in its infancy and many are still used to other forms of ads like TV commercials. Customers may feel unprepared for being personally bombarded with the precision of demographic targeted ads. I feel marketers have every right to try to make their ads appeal to the right customers. The increasing trend towards transparency and managing data that has restricted people ability to handle privacy and the blurring of the lines creates confusion on this particular channel.When you sign up a social media account, you are placing you own information, it is almost expected that you will be bombarded with ads since you are joining a free service. While it is certainly tense moment for this time period, the next generation of people may not care as much about these privacy concerns as they will grow up and become desensitized to these ads.

Groupon: Are Heavy Online Email Coupons a Fad ?

2 years ago, Groupon was considered the love child of the Wall Street market. A new up and comer company that had defined itself by offering heavily discounted coupons in large batches. Google had even approached the firm to acquire it.

However, times have fallen hard on Groupon and now its share price is fraction of what it once was so what gives? I believe one of the big things about Groupon is that its business model is unstable and easily copyable by any firm. Since the business is completely online, many coupon aggregators were very similar and Groupon lost a lot of competitive advantages. Another big reason is the negative publicity and how Groupon initially handled comments online. They lacked proper monitoring and triage to really understand the issues that some companies mishandled their coupon. Some businesses were forced to sacrafice quality and had to expand capacity to meet demand

Another reason I think Groupon’s model doesn’t work is that the intense price decrease of email coupons make the consumer behave differently. Consumers devalue the brand and the intense decrease in price promote them to withhold purchases of a product in lieu of a potential coupon. The newsletter sign-up process make it much easier to wait and just receivethe daily deals.

Social Media Spotlight: Pinterest

Pinterest has been one of the more recent social media to pick up heat but is it worth it for business to invest in another form of social media. Pinterest thinks so! They have recently moved to adding separate business and personal accounts which mimic how Facebook allowed different accounts before. This is seen by many as a move to monetize their services.

But back to why it may be worth it to invest in Pinterest. The concept is simple: pin your interest onto your wall which often sounds pretty simple. However, research shows Pinterest users show a stark contrast than ordinary users like Facebook. Pinterest users are more likely to brand loyal consumer to the things they post and are more active in terms of contests and feedback. Its photo layout is also appealing to companies that don’t have time for long blurbs or contests but have an awesome camera. While the Pinterest population is small in comparison in Facebook, small to mid size business may find a liking to Pinterest as a method to separate themselves from a sea of Facebook groups and Linkedin pages. While it may not lead directly to purchases, these pictures sure can stir up some conversation.



Facebook Vs Linkedin: The Fight for Jobs

Its official, Facebook is entering the realm of job search in a effort to make Facebook users spend more time on Facebook to generate more revenue.  Prior to the jobs board, LinkedIn dominated the job search social media market and many firms continue to flock to the channel to actively recruit firms. Linkedin’s business model is also significantly more acceptable to the average investor but now Facebook has expanded into the job search realm may have firms second guess where to allocate resources.

Facebook has now designed a interactive jobs board that integrates a number of recruiting sites like and Work4Labs to massive conglomerate of jobs that exceed 1.7 million openings. It may have a large enough draw for potential recruiters to start looking into those ads. It represents an amazing opportunity to monetize a portion of the search and promote Facebook ads which haven’t quite proven themselves as a solid revenue stream. It also moves Facebook into an almost all in one service that could rival the likes of Google one day if people keep spending significantly more time to social media.

While Facebook claims its not hitting the recruitment market, it is certainly true that our social profiles and platforms continue to become more integrated. Better start guessing which profile picture to choose from.



Identifying Social Influencers

Identifying Influencers isn’t an exact science and there are numerous ways to identify the right influencers for your company. However, there are a number of categories that companies can form a metric in order to search for the right kind of influencers.

1. They have Massive Reach – this can be gauged by their affiliates, the number of followers or friends and how many social media channels they are active on.

2. The Production of Content – content creation keeps people engaged and the frequency allow people to come back and forth to the influencer. Creating the right content and variety is also key.

3.They Listen and Reply – churning out content constantly is an important feature but it is crucial that they listen and provide compelling information to users. This can come in the form of retweets, linkedin discussions and replying to user feedback to content and

4. Natural Recruiters – often key influencers might be involved with advocating a certain theme and often push for events related towards their aims. (eg. volunteering for conferences or technology)


Social Media: What are key influences and why they matter

In the vastness of the social media, its often easy to overlook and be tempted by the number of opportunities to connect with people. Businesses often find it difficult to look for ways to reach out to these audiences but often times, people create barriers towards business entities and therefore key influencers come into play.

Key influencers are extraordinarily important to business firms looking to branch out to social media because of the potential they have to reach audiences in a non-biased format. People find it much easier to connect with other beings and having a key influencer would add a little more credit and reputation to the firm’s business.

Key Influencers also create lots of up to date content that enable repeat viewers. Business often give a robotic almost planned form of outputs while key influencers are spontaneous and free flowing.

While targeting key influencers should always be a goal for, identifying them is always a difficult task due to a number of characteristics. Thats why in my next blog I will address how to identify the right key influencer for you.

5 Common Pitfalls for entering Social Media

Social Media is an popular word that is thrown out every opportunity that usually promises a lot but under delivers most of the time for new entrants into the channel. Often times, its not necessarily the channels fault but rather the expectations and execution that is lacking. So here a few common mistakes that businesses run into.

1. Social Media isn’t just about promoting your company: Most firms run into this trap easily and quickly boast about themselves and litter the media with tons of contests and prizes. Unfortunately it only facilitates a one way conversation and doesn’t take advantage of social media’s key advantage. Try to spur up conversation and participate to develop trust not just sell sell sell.

2. You compare yourself to bigger companies with fancy campaigns: While we do run into comparisons with competitors and big brands, social media is a platform that enables almost any firm with any number of resources to be effective in social media. Clearly outline your goals and achieve them, don’t focus on doing what everyone else is doing.

3.Social media is not free and does require financial commitment: While it certainly doesn’t cost much except time to put up a Facebook or twitter, content creation takes a much larger financial impact than people first think of. Social media requires two way dialogue to be successful and to do so  requires almost immediate response to questions as well as content to encourage discussion which actually use up alot of time

4. Social Media is not a hard selling channel: Whiles it is yet to be proven whether people actually purchase many things through social media ads and whether its the next goldmine for companies, social media has not been widely successful at directly driving purchases. Social media has tons of different metrics and goals to achieve and hard sells should never be the only focus. Building awareness and trust are always key

5. You don’t have to be everywhere: The divide and conquer strategy doesn’t really apply with social media. Its always more advantageous to focus on 1 social media with tons of activity than divide yourself to look at 3 or 4 different channels. In the interest of resources and effectiveness, never feel too pressure to join every new form of social media.