Free Lunch

Today I started reading Chris Anderson’s free FREE: The Future of a Radical Price on my free Kindle for iPhone application. I’m not very far in the book yet, but am loving the fact that I have a whole book on my phone that I have with me wherever I go, that it was free, that it’s all about how offering products and services for free CAN be and often is a means to making money and everything about the whole experience is well… freeing!


I have been telling students in my classes that there is such a thing as a free lunch for a while now, beginning with the introduction of podcasts. Offering knowledge and services for free is a great way to build goodwill, get yourself noticed and build your customer base. Google is a glaring example. And have you ever paid for using Wikipedia?

Chris Anderson also talks about Monty Python who were disgruntled by the fact that so many of their videos were being shown on YouTube without their permission. They decided to create their own channel of clips with much better quality and asked their fans to just buy their videos, DVDs and other merchandise. The result? After the three month experiment giving away the high quality clips, sales had increased 23,000 percent! Wow!

Dew-mocracy and Customer Engagement

@Jason_Pollock on Twitter posted a video introducing the Mountain Dew Box. It’s an exclusive box of several unmarked cans of different flavored Mountain Dew which they will be sending to an undisclosed number of participants in the Dew Box Campaign. To receive a Dew Box, contestants must send in a 2 minute video about why they are the best candidates for the taste testing job or just send an email explaining why.

Mountain Dew commissioned 50 artists to design the box and is will be using the artwork in the campaign as well. It’s a social media campaign and a creative way to engage customers in discovering the next new flavor of “Dew” and really involve brand and product fans.

The contest is short – starting on Friday, July 17th and ending on Tuesday, July 21st, so those “Doing-the -Dew-ers” are going to be drinking lots of @Mtn_Dew to get that video in this weekend.

Here’s Jason’s introduction:

And here’s the campaign landing page: DewLabs 12 Seconds Challenge. It looks like 12 Seconds, a new video sharing service (social video) is partnering with Moutain Dew. What a great way to increase exposure for 12 Seconds as well as do something fun and exciting for Dew drinkers.

No surprise that there’s a way to connect via a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a Flickr gallery. But no MySpace? No link to Twitter from the DewLabs page? Interesting.

What dew yew think?

Facebook or Twitter?
A Conclusion

In the last five days I posted responses to an article titled 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your Business. Here’s the conclusion to those posts:

While both services off ways to expand your network and become more visible in the social sphere online, I don’t believe it is wise to focus on just one over the other.

I use Facebook mostly for personal connections with friends and family, for sharing photos and for having fun. The entertainment value on Facebook is big, but for me, it’s not really a place to be thinking about business. That’s not to say businesses shouldn’t be there, but if you are, you need to engage your fans and group members to keep them interested in what you are doing.

Is having a Facebook page a way to keep in touch with your customers and reach out to potential customers? YES, but only if you actively monitor it and keep adding interest to it.

Does Facebook have something to offer advertisers? YES, especially if your customers are active on Facebook.

Can Twitter help you understand your customers and build your brand? YES, but you also need to listen to what people are saying on Twitter and engage in conversation with them around your brand and related industry topics.

Does Twitter itself offer value for advertisers? No, but third-party sites can help you reach out to Twitter users who may be interested in publishing your ads.

Finally, I don’t believe it is an either/or question. Participating in any marketing medium means you have to do the research to understand what the medium has to offer and whether it is the right medium for you. For some businesses a presence on Facebook will perform better than a Twitter presence, and for other businesses vice versa. Comparing Facebook to Twitter is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes they are both fruits, but they have different textures and flavors and require different preparation and treatment for consumption.

It’s interesting that Facebook is ranked number 4 and Twitter is ranked number 25 on Quantcast and also that both sites skew more towards women than men.

Also according to Quantcast, Facebook “attracts a more affluent, teen and young adult, very slightly female biased following.The typical visitor reads USA Today and subscribes to People,” and Twitter “attracts a slightly more female than male group.The typical visitor reads Perez Hilton, subscribes to Entertainment Weekly, and visits”

What does that say about Facebook and Twitter? Could it mean that Facebook is old and Twitter is new?

The conclusion: It all depends on who you are talking with.

Facebook or Twitter?

For the past four days I have been talking about why I am not convinced that Facebook is better for business than twitter. This is the final in five posts in response to 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your business.

5. Facebook Connect API

There’s no doubt that Facebook Connect has extended the ways people share information from sites external to Facebook on Facebook. The Connect application was a brilliant idea and many companies are using it effectively to showcase their stories and products within the Facebook networks.

Since Twitter also offers an API and countless developers have created tools that enable sharing through twitter as well. For example take a look at any Mashable article and you see the “ReTweet” button.Retweet

Retweeting on Twitter may not be the same as Sharing on Facebook, but both enable benefit to the sender and the recipient.

Facebook or Twitter?

For the past three days I have been talking about why I am not convinced that Facebook is better for business than twitter. This is the fourth in five posts I am writing in response to 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your business.

While I am a Twitter fan, I believe there is a lot of value in participation on Facebook as well, however, to provide reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter without describing what Twitter has to offer is leaving out half of the story.

4. Advertising Platform
While Facebook’s advertising platform within the Facebook interface offers very good targeting opportunities for advertisers and I agree with everything Mr. Smith is saying in his description of advertising on Facebook, there are ways to advertise using Twitter as well. Take a look at Magpie. As a twitter user, you get to share ad tweets with your followers if you approve of the ad that Magpie offers you.

Do I like the fact that I am receiving ads on Twitter? No, but the point is that there are ways to advertise with Twitter click through rates with Twitter still seem to be pretty high. With Facebook you can pay per click or per impression. I like to think of Facebook ads more like banners and Twitter ads more like Google AdWords. Twitter ads tend to be more editorial in nature and if the tweeter is respectful of their followers they will only allow ads that will add value to their followers.  I know that this won’t always be the case, because there will be people that allow all ads, but I’ve seen many ads served to me on Facebook that haven’t been correctly targeted either.  Recently though, this is infrequent, so either Facebook or the advertisers are doing a better job with their targeting.

The problem with leaving the targeting in the hands of the advertiser, is that not all advertisers are created equal.  I.e. some have better knowledge about targeting than others and some just don’t get it at all.

On Facebook at least you know it’s an ad though.  Sometimes on Twitter you’re not given the disclaimer information although what I have seen from Magpie does.

The option to vote on advertising that a Facebook user sees is helpful as well.  I.e. the Facebook user gets to tell Facebook what kinds of ads they are interested in, thus allowing Facebook to personalize the ad content to each user.  And that’s value to the user, and value is good.

Bottom line up front:  If you are an advertiser on Facebook or a publisher of ads on your twitter feed, the more value you ad for your customer and/or follower, the more respect you will receive, the better the ad will do and the more return you will see.

Facebook or Twitter?

For the past two days I have been talking about why I am not convinced that Facebook is better for business than twitter.  This is the third in five posts I am writing in response to 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your business.

3.  Viral Promotion

Quoting from William Smith’s article:

In a sense, social media marketing is about giving your fans a platform to talk about you in a positive way – something Facebook makes seemless. If a fan of your Facebook business page decides to comment on something you’ve posted, their friends will see that action in their news feed. If your fans mark a photo as something that they “like” then their friends will see that, likewise, if they sign up to attend an event by sending in their RSVP, it shows up for all of their friends to see. In this way, Facebook can make any content viral.

Similarly if someone talks about you in a positive way on Twitter, and you’re listening to the conversation, you can thank them for their comment.  This will then show up in your timeline which will be available for all your followers to see.  Also, if a person is commenting about you on Twitter, it’s available to the whole world and often indexed by Google.  Have you ever tried Google Alerts? On Facebook, the comment is limited to the network of friends of the fan who posted the comment.  Twitter can have a similar viral effect as Facebook, because the core of both services is the sharing.  Retweeting is prolific on Twitter and if you engage with the people who are interested in your product or service they can become advocates of your brand.

Facebook or Twitter?

Yesterday I posted about my thoughts on the community and size of Facebook versus Twitter based in response to a recent blogpost touting Facebook being better for business than Twitter.  That was reason number one.  Here is reason number two:

2.  Analytics
Yes, it is important to track your ROI (return on investment and now also known as return on influence).  Yes, Facebook provides interesting analytical data for business owners inside of the Facebook site and there isn’t anything coming directly from Twitter to show statistics yet.  However, just because Twitter doesn’t include an analytics package service on the site, doesn’t mean there is no way to see data about your twitter profile and how many people are following you.

Just as there are numerous developers creating applications for use on Facebook, there are also numbers developers building tools that work off the Twiiter API.

For example, you can track how many people followed any link you posted on Twitter through services like and  There are ways to see where your followers are tweeting from, tools to track demographics, how quickly people grew their followers and thousands more.  Granted, it takes a twitter-nut to find all of the relevant tracking tools, but saying there aren’t any is incorrect. Sysomos, for example offers a wide range of analytics on social media. It’s not free, but there are plenty of others if you have the time to try them out.

Twitter Users By Age Group

Do Teens Really Not Use Twitter?

As Chris Brogan says, the first one there wins the game, but what if the game isn’t whether to use Facebook or Twitter?  What if you really need to participate on both?

Facebook or Twitter?

A recent post called 5 Reasons why Facebook is better than Twitter for your business, William Smith of the Internet Marketing Examiner describes why he believes Facebook is better for small to medium sized businesses.  In the next five posts I will provide my thoughts on this.

1.  Community/Size
Smith argues that Facebook’s community (122 million) is much larger than Twitter’s (22 million), implying therefore that as a business owner you have a bigger reach on Facebook.  Yes, most Facebook user’s have about 200 friends, but what are they talking about and what are they interested in?  IMHO most of the activity on Facebook is social.  People are there to relax and have fun.  It’s like a birthday party where you know all the people you invited and you feel comfortable talking about random thing with them.  They are not there to do business or be thinking about their favorite brand.  They are there, yes, but if they are not talking with your company or on your company’s fan page, are they really beneficial to your business.

If you are advertising, then you can certainly target Facebook users well, but FB’ers are still resistant to ads and click through rates are low.  Social media is about being social, not about messaging and targeting.

On Twitter on the other hand, it is easy to find the people who are talking about your brand and start conversations with them.  Conversations start relationships and on Twitter it’s not just conversations between friends (as it is on Facebook), it’s conversations that are happening in public about your brand.  It is easy to listen to the conversation and start participating by just following any mentions of your brand.  Just enter your company name or any brand or topic into Twitter’s Search Tool and you’ll see what people are saying about it on Twitter.  It’s like Google, but for a view at what the twitterverse is saying about your brand.

Going back to the party analogy, Twitter is more like a business cocktail party than a birthday party, because you are there to meet people, share a little information and chat with people who seem interesting to you.  It’s about networking for business, not just reconnecting as friends.

Yes Compete shows more unique visitors to Facebook than Twitter, but look at the Compete Ranking growth of Twitter.  Because it is a little more technical, a little more intelligent, a little less fun maybe, and more business oriented, it is slower to take off, but growing rapidly and the uses for business are inherent instead of add-ons as they are on Facebook.

As for Facebook not making mainstream news as much as Twitter, the reason is because Facebook is a closed network and twitter is a public timeline.  How many times recently have you heard about breaking news that was first reported on Twitter?  Why?  What do you have with you at all times?  That’s right, your cell phone, and posting a quick news update to your favorite mobile twitter service is quick, easy and has the potential to reach a lot more people more quickly than on Facebook, because people build followings of not just friends who may be interested in a number of different things, but followers who are in the same niche market as the tweeter.

Twitter is still an infant and Facebook is a teenager.  I think we’ll see steady growth in the number of Twitter users and Facebook is already starting to plateau.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Analytics on Facebook versus Twitter.


Well after nearly four months of getting the business up and running, here we are finally with our brand new site.  We hope you like it.

What is “Susby” you’re wondering, right?  Well let me tell you:

When I was in high school in Cape Town, South Africa, my friends called me Suse (pronouce: “Sooz”).  Then there was another Susan, go figure – there are millions, and even more “Susan Barnes”es – just look at Google and you’ll see.

Anyway, I became Suse B, short for Susan B.  I also created handmade birthday cards for all of my friends and family and signed them with By Suse.  So Margaret Barlow, choir mistress and piano teacher extraordinaire started calling me “SusBy” – for By Sus(e).  From then on I have been SusBy or just Susby and that’s the name of my new consulting firm.  I am Susan Barnes, aka Susby and the firm is Susby Internet Solutions Consulting, aka Susby IS Consulting.

Short sweet, nothing to do with bees or honey, sorry.  Oh, and yes, the licence plate is real.  I have had it since 2006.  I must have been dreaming of owning my own business since then.  Be careful what you wish for… 🙂


Social Media Spending Predicted to Grow by 34% In 5 Years

From today’s PR 2.0 post by Brian Solis today, The Decline of Traditional Advertising and the Rise of Social Media, we see that Forrester Research is predicting strong growth in Social Media and Mobile advertising spending over the next five years.

Social Media spending is predicted to grow by 34% from $716 million in 2009 to a forcast $3,113 million in 2014. Advertising on mobile devices is expected to grow by 27% from $391 million in 2009 to $1,274 in 2014.

Why is this no surprise?

  1. Social media is more easily accessibly on mobile devices
  2. Mobile devices are more accessible (read cheaper) to own than laptops and desktop computers, so more people have them.
  3. What do you carry with you all the time? Your keys, your wallet and…. that’s right, your cell phone.
  4. People are much more accustomed to getting information anywhere anytime, than having to wait to look it up at a specific location, like a library, newspaper stand or even their own desktop computer.
  5. People are much more mobile, traveling more frequently, because being away from the office doesn’t mean being disconnected from work.
  6. Your mobile device is personal and social media keeps you connected with all your friends, colleagues and the relationships that make your world go round.
  7. Mobile application development is rampant.
  8. Smaller is better (i.e. carrying a phone instead of a laptop) and your phone is not just a phone – it’s also your email, your SMS, your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, web browser, your music and almost anything else you want to use it for.
  9. Attention spans are getting shorter and quick messaging is en vogue
  10. Your mobile device is the only thing an advertiser can be pretty sure paying attention to when you’re available to receive information
  11. Because everything is digital it’s much easier to track usage, trends and customer behavior online than it was with traditional media and this leads to innovative ways to personalize information so that it is valuable to each consumer.

If you’re not participating in social media yet, jump right in. As Brian says “Participation is Marketing” and you have to participate first as a person (not a marketer) in order to understand the medium and how to work within it.

Putting the Public Back into PR

I highly recommend Putting the Public Back in to PR by Brian Solis and Deidre Breckenridge. The marketing field is evolving and you need to know how to keep pace with it.

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