Behind the Doomsday title and  results from a study conducted by the National Retail Federation in US, and a whole bunch of other people/companies, is the fact that more and more online shoppers are bypassing websites for Facebook and Twitter, at least in the retail space.

The study, which was based on more than 1,700 online shoppers, revealed some interesting findings re: the use of online shopping, social media, consumers and retailers:

42% of online shoppers “occasionally” follow a store via social media; not quite sure what we can glean from words like “occasionally” but… Of the 42% who do in fact follow a retailer:

  • 58% do so to find deals 
  • 49% to stay up to date 
  • 39% are in it for the contests & events 

Overall, nearly 60% of Facebook users have clicked on a link which took them to a retailer’s website compared to…

Nearly 70% of Twitter users who have done so!

While these numbers are interesting and all that, what the study also revealed is – 35% of Facebook users and 32% Twitter users said they would forgo a company website and make a purchase via these social media channels instead Did you he

ar that? That was the sound of website developers all over the land screaming NOOOO!!!!!!

You still need a website!!!

What do you think?

Do you think Facebook and Twitter have the potential to replace websites, at least to some degree?

Have you ever made a purchase via Facebook or Twitter and bypassed a website completely?

If so, did you do it because it was easier?

Sources: Original Post Facebook And Twitter Will Soon Replace All Websites & Media Post

How much is too much on Social Media? As India Inc. gears up to harness the power of social networking for business benefit, the key debate that is raging among CIO’s already grappling with Cloud Computing is: What is it that we should be doing as a corporate? The various interactions I have had over the last few weeks, have mirrored the observations made by @ishani the author in this article in The Economic Times.

My views on the subject borders on likening social networking to a massive Serendipity engine. And it’s not just Google powered, it’s in the way people seek you out on LinkedIn, it’s in the way content gets crowdsourced on twitter, and trending topics produce the big news breaks of the day, and finally what you end up doing after having had your fill of snooping into people’s photo albums on Facebook and playing enough Zynga games i.e. farmville et al.

And while corporates grapple with how to update their NDA policies to include Corporate Social Networking, employees also need to figure out how much of their personality they can bring into the their corporate jobs, and personal social networking in corporate space.

A few great examples such as @anandmahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, of India’s Mahindra Group and @padmashree, Cisco CTO show the way. Anand Mahindra uses his twitter timeline bridging his role as his brand’s ambassador in providing a customer feedback response channel and being an employee relations champion for his newly acquired global footprint via IT major Satyam. Cisco CTO, @Padmashree, adds in her own creative, personal touch to the above roles, again brand ambassador and employee relations champion, via her own haiku verse peppered in with her culinary exploits and travels, with a garnish of outdoor-sy weekend experiences.

So where do the CIO’s draw the line? and how should the talent pool behave. Even as the rules evolve, and they sure are, check out this live document from Intel’s website . and the para I like most is ” If it gives you pause, pause. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your manager or legal representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure.”

That said, more and more professionals and individuals on social networks are defining their identities, and leveraging their unique mix of interests, knowledge, and passions to model their personal brand within the corporate brand framework they work in. Does that mean the days of ‘hate boss’ updates on YouTube and Facebook are over as maturity dawns, and is that bringing more and more corporates into allowing access to social media in the workplace. That’s a question that’s still out in the clouds!

This post has been extracted with permission from Jay Vikram Bakshi’s blog.

So we spoke about the 20 startup’s vying for PepsiCo’s next social campaigns…here’s a summary of how they see some of PepsiCo’s brands employing their stuff:
The Pepsi Refresh project (due in part by the company’s decision to forgo Super Bowl ads) and Dewmocracy, for a new flavor of Mountain Dew, garnered Pepsico a lot of attention. Not surprising then that the startups conferred much of their pitches around means for PepsiCo to execute campaigns using their products.

Breakoutband (an application allowing users to create their own songs with friends, including the beats, lyrics and vocals )and MyCypher (a program that lets aspiring hip-hoppers to use their mobile phones to record tracks and share them with friends) focused on strengthening Pepsi’s already-strong bonds in the music arena. The company looks to setting up a band vs. band challenge presented by Pepsi.

PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand gets the spotlight –- FanFeedr proposed a web and mobile app to let sports fans follow their favorite teams and athletes. Pixable too plans a potential partnership with Gatorade, using its app to amass photos from pals on FacebookFlickr and Picasa to create branded montages.

A lot of the startups at PepsiCo10 were betting on the growth of mobile and tablet computers.

Miso, will allow users to tune in to television shows and earn rewards and badges. An alliance with television programs and brands like PepsiCo is envisioned.

Spot411 wants to insert social elements to TV viewing on the second screen.

On the other hand i.tv, wants to build and create conversations around shows. The USP of its technology is the knack to identify exact spots within a show and support it with tweets and status updates.

BizGreet’s and Affine Systems’s approach is from the advertising perspective.

Eventually, Pepsi will finalise 10 of these companies with which to launch pilot projects thus making it the Pepsico10. At Cloud9media, we are championing the creation of contextual social communities around interesting content and would be bringing you the latest developments on this score. Well we say let the best of them win!!! What do you think??

Source: Mashable

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What’s next for marketers in the domain of social media, mobile, location and digital video?

PepsiCo executives, digital strategists and brand managers convened earlier this week at Pepsico’s headquarters in Purchase, NY, for presentations, from 20 promising tech startups, for positioning their products in future PepsiCo campaigns at PepsiCo10 with Mashable as a media sponsor.

Imagine a complete change in the way we shop, pay our bill at restaurants, watch television and even wake up in the morning. That’s what they had in mind and here’s a summary:

Changing the Way We Shop, Eat Out and Wake Up!!

Now self-checkout has been around a while, but AisleBuyer wants to further that by letting people use their smartphones to scan QR codes or Quick Response codes, (the little square shaped black and white barcodes). Imagine a zero wait time…AisleBuyer’s system will let shoppers unlock coupons and close transactions with their credit cards. There could however be logistical hurdles in the application.

Pushpins on the other hand, suggests, connecting QR code scanning to existing loyalty cards. Thus when you check out, the coupons are directly credited via your loyalty card.

Now the loyalty cards themselves might change. Mobestream Media and its Key Ring Rewards Card mobile apps allow users to switch their physical cards into digital ones, so you have a virtual wallet when you checkout.

TableTop Media, provides a self-checkout solution called the Ziosk to restaurants. With it, users can simply swipe their credit card when they’re ready to leave. The device also features content and games that users can interact with during their meal.

Evil Genius Designs on the contrary, wants to make your waits in line more entertaining with a series of interactive games (often branded for sponsors) shown on huge screens at places where long lines are customary.

Other companies looking to change the way we shop include ScanBuyMotiveCast and WeReward.

And then there’s Zazu looking to transform the alarm clock, so those of us who use mobile apps will wake up  to news, schedules, weather and even traffic alerts, with ads for products along the way.

Cloud9Media likes the idea of mobile based shopping, but would like to see more social applications, which could make buying niche products and services easier than it is today!

Source : Mashable

With Facebook’s ever-changing layout, one forgets that there are some neat tricks that the FB status lets you pull.

Here are some super cool tips to help you use your status updates smartly…

Add a Dislike/Love/ Hate Option to Your Status Update

Now everyone’s got a ‘Like’ button.. so how cool would it be to have a ‘Dislike’ button…

The clever Status Magic Facebook app can add a dislike button to any status updates posted via the app. And if what you really want is to have an assortment you can actually customize the second emotion to anything, such as “love,” “hate,” “disagree” or even “LOLs.”

Hide Status Updates From Certain People

Facebook’s general privacy settings allow you to chose exactly who you want seeing or not seeing your FB status updates…You can select specific friend lists… or even specific people… to see your status…very useful for organizing a surprise party huh…😉.

Pre-Schedule Status Updates

The easy, free Later Bro service offers one the choice of easily pre-scheduling their status updates.

So believe it or not, all you gotta do is just sign in with Facebook Connect, select your time zone, type in what it is you’d like to say, set the calendar and clock to when you’d like to say it, and Voila!

Source: Mashable

It is now common to hear stories about marketing or recruiting departments using social media. But what about CEOs? Could having the ‘top dog’ of your organization engaged in social media be an asset to other corporate efforts?

Below are a few strategies and case studies highlighting how having your CEO visible on social media can bring tangible results to your bottom line.

Top  4 advantages of using senior management using social media

Building Marketing and Public Relations Exposure

Turning Marketing Opportunities into Sales

Staying Connected to Future Employees

Customer Engagement

Carmen Magar, CEO of Chocri, a make-your-own chocolate bar company, says the exposure makes a difference. “While the competition can see everything (e.g. when customers suggest a new topping) and some of them seem compelled to copy my blog posts nearly word for word, it’s worth it because authenticity rules.”Source Mashable

Virgin America has worked on an interesting social media strategy in Canada for gratifying its influencers.

Having partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users’ influence on Twitter (based on variables such as the quality and number of followers and retweets), Virgin America is now extending free flights (plus tax) to influencers in Toronto.

The offer includes free round-trip airfare (Wi-Fi included) between Toronto and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) between June 23 and August 23. Those who received invitations for the offer — whether or not they decide to accept the flight that comes with it — were also invited to Virgin America’s Toronto Launch Event on June 29. Source: Mashable

What’s notable about the offer is that influencers who take the free flight will not be required to “do” anything — i.e. tweet or blog about their Virgin America experience (although the company is no doubt expecting they will do so). As Klout elaborated in a blog post, “We do not want to ‘buy’ your tweets. You are receiving the product because you are influential and have authority on topics related to the product. This is a more targeted form of receiving a sample while shopping at the grocery store. You are welcome to tell the world you love the product, you hate the product or say nothing at all.”

Indeed a great initiative in the line of engaging consumers and managing online reputation

Are you living your life via Twitter? Do you check your tweets more than your email? If yes, you will love Twimbow, a colorful, web-based Twitter client with a focus on filtering. This app embraces the concept that, for some of us, Twitter is the new e-mail.

At first glance, the interface will remind you of Tweetdeck and Seesmic Web so much that it’ll make your head hurt. The feature sets are almost identical, with both Seesmic and Tweetdeck having the relative advantages of age, stability and a generally more thorough toolbelt for users.

Twimbow’s main distinction lies with its bright and shiny interface, which lets you assign a different color to different users and groups and change the color of a tweet shown in the app by adding a #color tag. You can then sort and filter tweets by color. In the end, it works kind of like Gmail’s labels and folders.

Google has released a redesigned version of its Google News site to English-language users in the U.S. This new avatar focuses on presenting news stories happening around the world and locally in a way that is more customizable and user-centric.

The intent of creating the new look is to feature news items tailored to individual users. The “News for you” section is the biggest addition in this area and displays stories in a section or list view based on users’ specified interests in topics like Business, Sports or their own preferred subject matters.

The Google News now includes a feature that enables users to select which news sources they would like to see more or less often, so you can get your custom news update daily! Settings can be tweaked in the News Settings section for sources on stories based on users’ personal tastes.

The right-hand column of Google News has also been overhauled to serve as a place for locally focused, breaking news and less time-sensitive content. Here users will find recent stories, local weather and local news.

With the steeply growing popularity and use of Twitter, there are clusters of useless tweets and some important ones too. Let us take a look at the facts that will amaze!

  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visitors a month! So is this the website every newbie hits for sure? Indeed. Twitter is being talked about as much as people are tweeting and the popularity is bound to attract the ones who are new to the World Wide Web!
  • Twitter has 105,779,710 and increasing registered members! Well this is the most amazing part of the story!
  • Twitter gets 30,000 new users a day! People share and people invite or maybe it is simply curiosity… Twitter has made it easy for anyone new to the tool to join and start tweeting and this encourages participation!
  • Twitter has 175 employees! Well as the network grows, so does the need for people to manage it and this number is also sure to be increasing at a high pace!
  • Twitter gets 600 million search queries a day! With a number of twitter applications and tools, searching for tweets or users has been made easy and the number speaks for itself!
  • 37% of users update their status through mobile phones! Once you start tweeting, there is no stopping. People love to share what they experience and twitter makes it easy for them by allowing access through as simple means as a text message.

Source: askaaronlee.com

  • Of every 100 tweets at an average, 40 are absurd, 38 are chatty, 8 for self promotion, 4 spam and the remaining 8 are meaningful! 8% might be a small amount but when multiplied by the number of tweets each day… it is worth the effort!
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the busiest days for tweets! Strangely, people tweet more when they are at work!

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