Prohibition blog

April 2011

Viewing posts from April , 2011

The ‘Color’ of money – New social apps could struggle

It was sometime in 2007 that I first began hearing my friends and colleagues talking a new website called ‘Facebook’. I didn’t get it. Oh, I got the basic principle – that you could post photos of yourself and share details of your latest escapades and musings with friends near and far. What I didn’t get was why you’d want to. I said to the Facebook users around me: “If you want to have a presence on the web, why not just start a website, or write a blog?”, and they looked confused and slightly baffled, as though they hadn’t thought of that.

But of course, they were right and I was wrong. What I initially failed to grasp was the social nature of Facebook and its predecessors. If you set up a Facebook profile, you are, of course, not just creating a presence on the web, you are linking yourself to everyone in your friends list, all of whom have full, real-time access to everything you post. Such distinctions seem obvious these days, now that the concept of social networking has crept into so many corners of our interconnected, internet-saturated lives. But just four years ago, they were rather less obvious – to me at least!

Back here in 2011, Twitter and Facebook have become the twin pillars of the social media landscape and it is hard to escape links and connections to either network on news media and content sharing sites across the Web.

But the Internet never stands still and over the last year or two, the field of social networking has begun to evolve away from the desktop in ways that reflect the rise of mobile computing and the exponential growth of the smartphone market. In 2009 we saw the wobbly rise of location-based social network foursquare, which takes full advantage of the GPS chip embedded in many modern smartphones. And now an even newer wave of social networking services are focused on their cameras.

Last year the world was introduced to Path, a app-centred social network based around the idea of sharing photos from your daily life with your ‘50 closest’ friends and family, in contrast to supposed sprawl of Facebook. (But does anyone out there really have 50 “close” friends and family?)

Meanwhile, Instagram, for the iPhone, is, and I quote, “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.” It sounds like fun, but you do have to look closely to see much of a difference between it and Path.Color Screengrab

And now comes yet another iPhone app for sharing your smartphone snaps with the world: Color, recently launched with the help of a hefty $41 million in venture capital funding. Does Color bring anything new to the photo-sharing party? Users can tag their photos with location data and browse the photos of people in their current vicinity. In other words – it’s Instagram meets foursquare.

Clearly the venture capitalists who have backed these concepts with hard cash think they have a future – and perhaps they are just months from becoming all the rage. Smartphones with embedded GPS chips and decent cameras are, after all, no longer expensive novelties confined to the well-off.

But until significant numbers of people start to use these apps and post their photos, Color et al. will struggle. I have several friends who simply cannot grasp the concept of Twitter, now second only to Facebook in mainstream appeal. How many of them use Path? Precisely none – there was little point in installing the app on my phone! I know a handful of people who occasionally dabble with foursquare, and even fewer who use Instagram.

A recent update to Path added several new Facebook sharing options. You can now tag Facebook friends featured in your Path photos, publish your Path snapshots to your Facebook wall and privately share them with – your guessed it – your Facebook friends. No doubt the developers felt that such compromises were necessary to broaden Path’s appeal, but the danger is clear. If people start to use Path as a mere add-on to Facebook, any chance it has of establishing a distinct identity will start to crumble.

How To Use Social Media For Your PR Pitch

Social media is everywhere and it’s the fastest way to share information, making it the ideal tool for PR pitching. There is so much information on the Web and shared through social media that journalists and bloggers really don’t have to go far for story ideas. This makes it harder for new businesses because they are constantly fighting for attention. We learned that very well at Kitchen Stools Direct.

While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are the top social networks, it’s still important to stay up on social media trends and any new social sites that emerge. You can use these new tools to your advantage along with the following tips.

Do Your Research

With search tools like Google, Bing and Yahoo it is very easy to look up the top journalists and bloggers in your industry. A quick search is sure to bring up their social profiles as well as a personal blog or website. The information you find here is important because you’ll be using it to build up a relationship with that person before pitching. You’ll want to keep an eye on their activity so you’ll know what interests them. It will also help you come up with the best way to approach them for your PR pitch.

Connect and Interact

Once you see where they like to hang out and are most active, connect with them by following, adding them as a friend and subscribing to their content. Don’t just stop there though; it’s important to actually read what they’re sharing and interact with them. You can retweet a few of their posts that you find interesting, comment on the content they share on Facebook and leave insightful comments on their blog posts.

Add Other Methods to the Mix

Don’t just stop there. While you’re building a relationship with your prospect, you can still use other online tools to submit press releases and articles. You can also use your own personal blog for free promotion and then share all of those things on your own social media profiles. Hopefully by now you’ve built up a decent following in order to help spread the word. A quick search will help you find a ton of social media tools online for preparing a great PR pitch, that you can use for free.

Make the Pitch

After a couple weeks of genuine interaction, it’s time to go for the goal. Think of a clever way to make your pitch. You could send a tweet or leave a Facebook wall post letting them know that you have some information that might interest them. Try to find a post of theirs that you can respond to asking for permission to share similar information with them. Be polite and don’t expect anything in return, that way you won’t be disappointed if they decline or don’t response back.

If you’ve done your job right, they’ll recognise your name from retweets, Facebook comments and blog comments. So you won’t be a stranger to them and they’ll be more than happy to listen to what you have to say. Just remember, the relationship building process is the most important thing about using social media for your PR pitch. Take on a few prospects at a time and go from there. Before you know it you’ll have a contact list full of great connections and your next PR pitch will be much easier and smoother.

This was a post written and kindly sent to us by Lior Levin who is an advisor to a bar stools and kitchen stools website called Kitchen Stools Direct.