Saturday, June 27, 2009

Camps do Social Media, sort of.

Yesterday my daughter left for summer camp, 7 1/2 weeks away from home. Yes, it’s hard on us, but it’s something that she loves.  I’m sure that’s something that many of you who send your kids to camp struggle with. In fact, we like to say that she goes to camp for 2 months and then talks about it for the other ten.  If you’ve never experienced it, here’s how one of her counselors describes summer camp in his blog. Alex’ feelings resonated with me (as a former camper) and I know the feelings are shared by my daughter. Hopefully, Alex will blog throughout the summer about his wonderful camp experience.

I met Alex through the camp’s Twitter account. That’s one of his roles at the camp.  He was just told, “you’re the tech guy, you should handle the Twitter account”.  Although it is a similar analogy to the intern managing a company’s Twitter account, the difference here is he is a camp veteran with some strong experience in social media.  He gets Twitter and has the voice of the camp. However, like many employees of companies starting in social media, he wasn’t really given much direction nor does the camp even have a goal for social media. He’s not even sure he can follow parents back. Certainly not the best way to manage your social phone.

One thing that I am finding is that many counselors are using Twitter to connect with their homes and outside the camp world. Most likely they are using it on their cell phones, which obviously is one of the benefits of Twitter.  In the old days (last year), camp was a technology-free place. We could only call our kids once per week and see some photos posted on the website.

Now they post photo’s and videos all the time, and even tweet as you can see below. 

Picture 1

That’s a great way to keep us abreast of the day to day. It helps to explain the invariable, “we did stuff” that we are told on our weekly phone call.  Camps may see Twitter as a broadcast channel, a way to give parents short, frequent updates of the day’s activities.  But we know it can be so much more.  What happens when parents start asking questions about those activities?  Specific questions/comments about their children. Are the camps prepared for that?  What happens if they don’t answer?  Now that’s with the official camp account.  What about those counselors that are tweeting?  Just like at a conference, there is now a back channel.  I don’t have to worry about only communicating with my daughter once a week.  I can tweet her all the time through the back channel. I can find out what’s really going on. Will the camp director establish a social media policy and try to restrict his employees and control the message?  How old school!  Will he be successful?

You see the same disruptive revolution that social media had on companies is coming to the camping industry and enabling customers(parents) to communicate with employees (counselors) all the time.

What do you think? Should a summer camp be the bucolic, quiet, relatively technology-free place?  Or should the social media revolution come to camp? And what would be some beneficial changes that you see occurring?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Favorite posts of the week

There have been a lot of great blog posts focused on Twitter this week?  Of course, you can always find blogs about Twitter. Here are some of my favorites.

On TechCrunch, On Twitter, Most People Are Sheep: 80 Percent Of Accounts Have Fewer Than 10 Followers.

Anne Handley gives great advice in Mashable’s, Everything I Need to Know About Twitter I Learned in J School

Have you read Marshall Kirkpatrick’s provocative post, How Twitter's Staff Uses Twitter (And Why It Could Cause Problems), on ReadWriteWeb?

For a little humor, Conan O'Brien introduces Twitter Tracker as pointed out by Biz Stone.

Also, on the humorous or maybe ridiculous side, Tony La Russa’s suit against Twitter for an imposter account. and Twitter’s response which also talks about the upcoming Verified Accounts. More on that, here.

And speaking of sports, did you see, Mashable’s Shaq vs. Dwight Howard on Twitter, and What It Means for Sports by Ben Parr

And one you may not have seen, Derek Peplau’s first blog post, Spamifest Destiny, where he shares his strategy for combating follower spam. A pretty nice debut!

What were some of your favorites? Did I miss any?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

97% of Twitter members think brands should engage with customers on Twitter

There have been a lot of studies of Twitter users lately. Have you seen this study by PMN that says only 22% of Gen Y consumers are using Twitter. Or this Harvard Business Review study of 300,000 users reveals that the 10% of Twitter users account for over 90% of Twitter messages sent. The Harvard study also determined that:

  • “Men have more more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other.”
  • "Men have 15% more followers than women."
  • "An average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman."
  • "An average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman."

Interesting stuff!

Well, I’ve got my own interesting study to share. Recently Peter Sorgenfrei and I conducted a survey of 208 Twitter members to learn their perceptions of brands on Twitter. We asked 6 questions and then some demographic questions. This is a exact repeat of the “Do I want to follow your brand” survey that we ran last fall.

question1 May 09

As you can see, 97% of users believe that brands should engage with their customers on Twitter. Other highlights are:

1) The majority also have a better impression of brands that use Twitter for customer service (88%). This is 7 percentage points higher than the original survey.

2) Proper usage of Twitter however, is paramount as 90% of users would frown upon poor or inappropriate brand use of Twitter. This is equivalent to the results found in the original survey.

3) The power of a relationship is extremely strong on Twitter. 80% of respondents would recommend a company based on their presence on Twitter, a huge 20 percentage point increase from the prior survey and 84% of Twitter users will reward those brands they have key relationships by being more willing to purchase from them. This was a 5 percentage point increase from the original survey.

4) Influencers: More than 80% of respondents have 100+ followers and almost 35% of respondents have posted more than 1000 Tweets since they signed up for the service.

Twitter Brand Perception Survey 5 09
Feel free to download the images or slides as well.
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