As has been said many times by many people, a picture is often worth a thousand words, (or Tweets in this instance.) Accolades to Information Architects who have once again proven this point. The infographic above does an authoritative job of illustrating both a succinct history and a powerful image of Twitter influence, organized as an analogy of the Big Bang Theory of our own universe. We are concerned with the technology component, of course, but if you are interested in the whole story, there is a link at the bottom of this article by which you can order the graphic from the authors. A link to a complete PDF file is also included here so that you can follow along. All biographical information is taken from Wikipedia as of May 24, 2010.
Search Engine Land is owned by Third Door Media, of which Danny Sullivan is partner and chief content officer. Third Door Media also owns and operates other search related companies, including Search Marketing Now, which provides webcasts and webinars, both live and on demand, about web marketing; and Search Marketing Expo, a search engine marketing conference.
Sullivan started Search Engine Watch in June 1997 after he posted research about search engines, called A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines, in April 1996. Search Engine Watch was a website with tips on how to get good search engine results. Shortly after beginning in November that year, he sold it for an undisclosed amount to MecklerMedia (now Jupitermedia). He stayed on to maintain the site, and be the editor-in-chief. In 2006, it was sold to Incisive Media for $43 million. Search Engine Watch was considered by Matt Cutts of Google as “must reading,” and Tim Mayer of Yahoo! as the “most authoritative source on search.”
He has also staged the Search Engine Strategies conference six times each year, attracting 1,500 to 6,000 attendees each time.
TechCrunch is a web publication that offers technology news and analysis, as well as profiling of startup companies, products and websites. It was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005, and was first published on June 11, 2005.
The website’s Technorati rank is 2, and is 1st on the list, if you search by the Info/Tech category. As of February 11, 2010 it has over 4,563,000 RSS feed subscribers as measured by tracking company FeedBurner. On August 27, 2008, TechCrunch rolled out a new website design. In March 2010, TechCrunch announced it would be launching TechCrunch TV.
reddit is a social news website, owned by Conde Nast Digital, on which users can post links to content on the Internet. Other users may then vote the posted links “up” or “down”. Voting determines links’ prominence on reddit, with the most successful links reaching the home page. In addition, users can comment on the posted links. Furthermore, one does not need to submit an outside source as an article but can rather post a “self” post that contains original text from the submitter that can be anything.
Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005, both 22-year-old graduates of the University of Virginia. It received its initial funding from Y Combinator. The team expanded to include Christopher Slowe and Aaron Swartz in 2005. Aaron Swartz joined in late January 2006 as part of the company’s merger with Swartz’s Infogami. The combined company was known as “not a bug.” Condé Nast Publications, owner of Wired, acquired “not a bug” on October 31, 2006.
On June 18, 2008, Reddit became an open source project. With the exception of the anti-spam/cheating portions, all of the code and libraries written for Reddit became freely available on another website dubbed “Fixxit.”
Reddit was named by Ohanian while browsing the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library. It is pronounced, “[have you] read it.”
In January 2010, Reddit users raised over $134,000 for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
This article will illustrate the enormous difference: In combination, a compelling website with a popular blog can increase visitor count by more than 1,000,000 to 1.
Impossible? Exaggerated? Read on.
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
It is said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, eventually the effect of that very small motion can be felt all across the world. In theory, the butterfly effect suggests that “a minor change in circumstances may cause a large change in outcome.” In the case of Social Media, a well-crafted article can bring millions of visitors to the writer’s website. The graphic on this post, (click to enlarge, click again to enlarge further), tells this story in a fashion understandable by every reader, regardless of their level of Social Media awareness.
THE TEN STEPS REQUIRED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN:
- The process begins in every case with the preparation of content in the form of an article. The article must be interesting, useful and relevant to your potential visitors. It should address an issue considered important by your target market, and should impart knowledge not readily available from other sources. And, of course, it should be well written. The result of this first step should be submission of the article to Digg (How Digg Works) and broadcasting of the article to all of your Twitter followers (How Twitter Works).
- Many Twitter followers have Facebook accounts, and if the article has sufficient merit, many will post the article to those accounts. Of course, the writer should have a Facebook account as well, and should post the article there immediately.
- Major blogs, having seen the article on Digg, will increase its circulation by posting a link on their blog to the Digg article.
- Digg users will post important articles to Reddit (What is Reddit?).
- Smaller blogs, having seen the article on the larger and more respected blogs, will post the article to their blog hoping to increase their own visibility.
- Twitter followers will re-Tweet the article, and their followers will also re-Tweet the article in turn. Remember, the Twitter universe is enormous, currently numbering over 105,000,000, and is increasing in size exponentially.
- The Facebook friends (from #2 above) will share the article with their friends.
- StumbleUpon users (How StumbleUpon Works) will “vote up” the article, increasing its visibility.
- If the article is very good, it may be circulated within both AOL and Yahoo, increasing the visibility by over 186,000,000 unique users.
- And finally, the Google result for the article will be stellar. This is an outcome for which there is no equal. Internet Nirvana has been realized.
For those of you who have been calculating the math, the 1,000,000 to 1 ratio mentioned at the beginning of this post is actually an understatement. Of course, this is a “best case” outcome. But even at 1/100th the result, can there be any doubt that Social Media and blogging is worth the effort?
Base Image credit: http://www.complete.com
Social Media has given new life to the entrepreneurial spirit. Not since the Halcyon days of the late 1990′s has a new idea so invigorated the thinking of marketing professionals. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, StumbleUpon and many others, a whole new area of growth and profit has emerged for American businesses.
Replacing the old formulas of static websites, search engine optimization strategies, link-building and pay-per-click advertising, a revolutionary new model for gaining customers and exposure has taken center stage, (without the inherent expense and interminable delays).
The last time that the power of the entrepreneurial idea was given precedence over corporate power and resources, Jericho Technology was at the leading edge; providing support, advice and marketing implementation to start-up businesses of all sizes and persuasions. It is time to provide that leadership again.
The Insurance Industry and Social Media: One has been a mainstay of our economy since its birth; one is a newborn with enormous potential. What would happen if these two powerful forces of nature, these Perfect Storms, joined forces and learned to share in each others power? Would their collision waste their energy or make them even more powerful? That’s the question this article asks.
This may seem like an unlikely blog article, and perhaps from my current readers’ points-of view, it is. But from my unique vantage point, as an expert in both disciplines, it is an article I am obliged to write.
I would speculate that the number of ex Senior-Officer-Level insurance executives who have created a second career as successful Internet consultants, is … well, minute. As far as I know, I am the only one. With that unique combination of skill sets, in my view, comes an obligation to ponder the question: Can we combine their power for the greater good of both industries? As a native son of AIG, from the days when it was an international powerhouse, and as a creative thinker who follows the emerging trends of Social Media closely, it falls to me to wonder about bringing those two profoundly different markets together in a sensible way.
Can the often lethargic insurance industry, having fallen on difficult times, leap to its own resurrection on the back of an unproven Social Media solution?
In our estimation, the answer is decidedly “Yes!”
Twitter is not a toy or a game, it is a powerful tool for individuals to interact in a positive way. It has the capacity to do what insurance companies and agents have traditionally had so much difficulty doing: putting themselves in the same space with their customer, in a non-threatening, mutually respectful environment.
WHO IS THE AUDIENCE? HOW SHOULD THE AUDIENCE BE APPROACHED?
There are basically two insurance audiences: consumers and businesses, and they both have their own particular characteristics. Ignoring these characteristics can be detrimental to success.
Beginning with consumers, the typical detriments to making a sale are:
- A lack of trust on the part of the consumer
- A lack of skill and/or confidence on the part of the agent
- A dislike of the process by both
Tactful, gracious, and professional usage of Social Media can ameliorate these detriments, and often turn them into advantages.
Selling in today’s world, even more so than in the past, is based upon relationship building. The proper use of Social Media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, can differentiate an agent or an insurance company from the less savvy competition, and can elevate the seller to a position of knowledge and prestige with less effort than has been the case in the past.
If it is not obvious by this stage, “proper” means, above all, the ability to listen, empathize, and exhibit patience. Overt selling is not only discouraged, but quite literally frowned upon. Become an expert first, communicate that expertise, and the audience will be receptive. Tastefully done, the process can be non-threatening, pleasant and productive for all concerned.
These new and innovative skill sets, and the many sophisticated tools that can be inexpensively brought to the process, can and should be taught by all insurance companies for the betterment of their forward-looking representatives. The result will be a reduction of costs and an appreciable increase in market share, profitability, public and regulatory acceptance.
It is not sufficient to give the concept mere lip service, as in announcing to the agents that they “should be on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin”. This abbreviated approach simply will not work. In today’s sales environment, the Social Media department is as crucial to success as the Marketing and Sales Departments have been in years past. A professional and sustained Social Media effort will enhance the company’s prestige and magnify the company’s reputation to a remarkable degree.
In tomorrow’s continuation of this article, the approaches necessary to capitalize on Social Media in the sale to businesses, brokers and other stakeholders will be discussed. Please join us for that discussion, and we encourage your comments.
Michael R. H. Stewart, President
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