Posts Tagged ‘status’


Crowdtap: A New Platform in the Social Media World

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

CrowdtapI’m always up for checking out new things in cyberspace so when I came across Crowdtap I figured I’d give it a try. Still in beta, Crowdtap is a way for consumers to “tap in and ideate, engage and promote with leading brands, entertainment properties, non-profits and startups,” according to its website. The basic idea is to participate in what you want to and you will be given status and rewards for your time.

Let’s take a look at my profile, for example. I sign in using my Facebook account and immediately see my avatar, status level, total cash earned and total points at the top of the page. Any actions available for my participation are located below my status bar. “Quick Hits” are generally poll questions (multiple choice or short answers). “New Actions” are opportunities posted since I last signed in, and “My Actions” are discussions I am already taking part in. I can comment and engage my peers as we actively participate.

By clicking on the “Stats” tab at the top of the page I can look at all my data for my actions, cash, and points. Your “Quality Score” is on this page, as well, and is important because the site asserts that participants need to maintain a good reputation in order to receive new actions. Participation, solid answers with details and photos, and sharing content are ways to keep your Quality Score up.

Similar to other social media platforms (Foursquare comes to mind) Crowdtap rewards participants with badges for their participation. You have the opportunity to earn “brand badges” or “action badges.” For example, I performed three actions for Mr Youth, an agency in New York City, and received the “Mr Youth” brand badge. I also responded to three moderated discussions and received the “Ideator” badge.   

In addition to badges, I’ve also been earning points, which have promoted me to higher levels of status. I’ve gone from “cardboard” to “plastic” to “oak” and now I’m “bronze.” Each new level gives the participant more opportunities, such as sampling products when you reach level three and receiving advanced notification when you reach level four. The advanced notification part is key for opportunities that give cash rewards. When you earn over $10.00 you can redeem all of it to charity, or you can redeem 5 percent and take the rest on an Amazon gift card.

I signed in as a participant, but you can also sign in on the Crowdtap Client Site, where you can be the one asking all the questions. There are options for polls, feedback questions, discussion boards, sampling opportunities, sharing  (such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), or even hosting a party.

Will you check out Crowdtap as a consumer or a client? Do you think this is an innovative social media site? Do you feel Crowdtap will “empower influential crowds to drive measurable peer-to-peer marketing results” like the website claims? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 

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*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

There are a lot of us that follow people on Twitter whom we have never met or heard of just because everyone else is following them. “They” must have something good to say, right? We should trust them. Or we like a brand on Facebook just because they are giving away an iPad, or friend someone from high school merely to see their photos. Yet, we never even talked to them – then or now.  (I know people that have over 2,000 friends on Facebook…come on. That number might be ok for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. because we are “networking” with peers and colleagues, but these Facebook accounts are mostly personal.)  

In reality, we all are just building our personal brand. In fact, regardless of the Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?network, these people may not really be our “friends” or even acknowledge our tweets but when we update our status or link to an interesting article, they are seeing it and vice versa.  Our own word-of-mouth marketing is taking place with every post, generating a buzz for ourselves, company, brand or clients.

Since the 1980s, when word-of-mouth marketing became the big craze, the continuing efforts of companies trying to create a buzz, by having people endorse their products, has increased. And with social media, it is easier than ever. All marketers know that the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising is not something that can be purchased, or so they’ve been taught.

However, that may no longer be the case. Celebrities, along with other influencers are receiving compensation to tweet and blog, mentioning certain products to their millions of followers. Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 just to tweet?

Sponsored Tweets, a new Twitter advertising platform, connects advertisers with twitter users. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word. Along with advertising on Twitter, the company also has a sister site Pay-Per-Post, which pays influencers to blog about certain products. Currently they have 400,000 participating bloggers and tweeters, and over 40,000 advertisers.

Besides paying people to tweet and generate a buzz around your brand, you can also gain followers or friends by simply buying them. One way to gain “fake,” “targeted” friends is Twitter1k, which offers several options for the quantity of followers. If you need Facebook friends/fans, well you can buy them too. (Interestingly enough, the use of such friending or advertising services could potentially get you banned from a given social network – though some claim that they are less likely to do so then their competitors - unless of course you are using a service affiliated with the network. Then it seems to be more “ok.” Go figure.)

Why are companies doing this? Well most of us trust a brand that has a higher number of followers, fans, and YouTube views. If a brand has this, many “friends” and most of those friends are speaking positively about them, then we assume they must be engaging or influencing.  We are also more likely to recommed the brands (personal or business) that have lots of friends and followers.  Those artificial friends that are doing your word-of-mouth advertising have real friends that trust them, and that allows your brand to reach different verticals without much effort. Therefore, for some marketers, the incentive to fallaciously drive-up those numbers is very attractive.

If you found out that a brand you trusted had paid for their followers or for praise from someone that doesn’t even use their products or service, how would you feel? Does the ability to buy friends or pay people to be brand ambassadors go against the etiquette for transparency in social media? How does that reflect on the brands and companies who legitimately build their following, slow and steady, over time? Would you ever consider purchasing friends and followers for your brand? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and our authentic Fresh Idea readers. 

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*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Integrating Social and Real-Life Networking

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Valerie Simon

Integrating Social and I could not be more excited to attend the PRSA T3 conference on June 11, 2010. The co-chairs, PRSA Technology section chair Rich Teplitsky and my #PRStudChat partner, 2.0 expert and author Deirdre Breakenridge, have put together an incredible agenda of topics and speakers that are sure to excite anyone looking to stay ahead of the curve in public relations and social networking.

Here are a few of the ways I’ll be integrating social media into my conference experience to assure I make the most of the opportunity.

Advance preparation

  • Twitter: If you follow me on Twitter, you may already have seen that I’ve begun tweeting about the conference, speakers, and other attendees using the hashtag #techprsa. In addition, I’ve participated in a pre-conference Twitter Chat and started a Twitter list of T3 attendees, so that I could get to know them better outside of the hashtag. I’ve even set up a column using hootsuite.com to begin monitoring pre-conference conversation using the conference hashtag.
  • LinkedIn: I’m a longtime member of the PRSA LinkedIn Group and am watching closely a discussion posted by Nicole Zerillo, marketing communications social media manager, PRSA, regarding the conference. I also joined the PRSA technology section group which is much more focused on the upcoming conference than the general PRSA group on LinkedIn.
  • Facebook: My Facebook account is really more personal, than professional, but sometimes the lines blur a bit. For example, I’m keeping a close eye on the PRSA Facebook page and have left a comment on one discussion about the T3 conference.
  • Google Reader (RSS): I’ve confirmed that the blogs of all speakers are in my Google Reader and organized them in a special folder. Now to continue adding the blogs of other attendees I anticipate meeting…
  • General Social Media: When it gets a bit closer to the event, I plan to update my status on all social sites and share that I will be attending the event. 

As important as the online preparation is, don’t forget the value of offline communication. Many speakers are also authors; in fact, I am hoping to finish speaker Justin Levy’s book, Facebook Marketing: Designing Your New Marketing Campaign, before hearing his session!

Live attendance
When the big day comes, I’ll be there early. While a conference offers many opportunities to share information live, I don’t intend to focus on live blogging/micro-blogging. I am there to take advantage of the benefits of face-to-face networking and learning. Perhaps I’ll tweet a few of the brilliant remarks from speakers, but only if I find that it is not distracting me from making the most of what is happening in that room.

But don’t worry, I won’t forget about you, the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. I’ll bring my flip cam, in hopes of introducing you later to some of the incredible people I meet. Perhaps I’ll take a few photos to share; I’ve really enjoyed the Whrrl stories created by Perkett PR… maybe it’s time I create my own, or perhaps interview some of the speakers for a future Fresh Ideas or Public Relations Examiner post.

Conference follow-up
I am sure that I will return from the conference with many new connections and valuable resources and expect that the night (and weekend) after the conference, I’ll be very busy. In general, I make it a point to follow EVERY new contact on Twitter (and plan to add those from the conference to my T3 PR Twitter list); this allows me the opportunity to continue listening and learning from them. And I send personal LinkedIn invitations to those I have connected with, and want to be sure I keep in my network. 

I’ll also be downloading video and sifting through notes, taking some time to contemplate all that I heard and learned, before sitting down to blog. And finally, I intend to make a trip to Barnes and Noble. (I always seem to walk away from these conferences with some great new book recommendations.)

Whew. It seems like a lot, but I am a firm believer that there is a direct correlation between investment and return. What steps do you take to maximize the opportunities of the conferences you attend? What are your plans for this year’s PRSA T3 conference? How are you integrating social and real-life networking and capitalizing on the ROI?