maandag 29 maart 2010

The Sphere: Facebook for the Happy Few

Social network sites connect people. But as usual, the rich and famous seek a different (virtual) network. The Sphere can be described as the Rolls-Royce of social network sites. It simplifies the organization of the social life of the selected few, while the excellent concierge service saves them valuable time and money. The website belongs to David Manoukian, a successful Swiss business man. However, the idea belongs to Sophie Sarkozy, sister in law of you know who…

Although is not the first initiative in its kinds, it is the first to be this successful. The downside? User numbers were growing exponentially each day, as membership was based on the invitation-only principle. However, as you know, the jet set always seeks exclusiveness, and was not too happy with this trend. David Manoukian has therefore changed the acceptance policy. In order to be accepted, the jet set needs to face a five-headed jury and pay a $ 2,000 membership fee.
Perhaps being accepted is something to strive for in the next decennia?


Three of the most important traits for an individual to be successful in the field of Public Relations

I believe the most important trait to be successful in Public Relations is passion. Public Relations cannot be regarded as a 9 to 5 job. It is a lifestyle, something you go to sleep with and get up with. To be able to develop the proper strategy, along with the 360° communication mix, you need to have excellent knowledge of every aspect of the discipline, as well as insight in the business and industry of the client.

Next to that, you need to combine a hands-on mentality with excellent team member skills. Proactive work allows the PR manager to react faster and more accurate when an organization is in need. Hence, a hands-on mentality results in added value for the company as well as for the team. Nonetheless, developing PR strategies and communication plans is not an individual task. It is something you build in team. When successful, you share the glory. In hard times, you share the trouble.

Finally, you need an analytical mind. When an organization seeks advice about certain communication issues, you have to be able to extract the precise problem, as well as putting things into perspective and respecting the broader context. In this way, you will develop a more accurate communication strategy, which is a necessary basis for the creative part of the solution.

The impact of new media publications, social media tools and networks on the public relations discipline according to Christian Remon

Social media tools, social networks and the “blogosphere” have had a significant impact on the discipline of PR. As always, these developments include both dangers and opportunities. One of the most powerful consequences of these recent developments is the rise of citizen journalism. This implies that nowadays anyone can be a journalist. With a simple mouse-click it is possible to reach millions of people in just a few seconds. This information or opinion can be either positive of negative. However, one devastating review can easily destroy a powerful brand’s reputation. The consequence? The number of crises that have lately emerged from one blog (!) are astonishing. It is therefore very important to monitor the online conversations about your company and to actively participate in them via ambassadors of your brand.

Social media and networks also include major opportunities. As an Ethiopian proverb states: “when spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion…” Indeed, the power of social media lies in the fact that they can be clustered into a valuable communication tool. In my opinion, it is the task of the Public Relations industry to make firms aware of two issues concerning this latest trend. Firstly, they need to convince organizations that social media are an essential part of the communication mix. Digital natives, for example, spend as much on the internet as they spend watching television. When organizations have been convinced of the power of the Social Web, however, the task of the PR industry only just begins. Often, these communication tools are used alongside other tools that are coordinated by other divisions. The future of communication, however, lies in interaction and building relations. In order to achieve an organization’s goals, it is crucial that digital channels and traditional media are integrated into one strategy, all being part of the 360° communication mix.

5 Essential Apps for Your Business’s Facebook Fan Page

Nowadays, viral marketing is an essential part in the marketing communication mix. Companies develop fan pages , launch ad campaigns, etc… On Mashable, Matt Silverman describes 5 vital applications for a company’s Facebook fan page to generate more traffic and to engage more users.

The first app, The Static FBML, stimulates the interactivity in the left-sided column. As most users are used to navigating through a vertical left-sided column, they are more likely to search for extra links here. Keeping a consistent image in mind, companies should always try to stick to their logo, colors and language use as much as possible.

Wildfire Promotions allows companies to give away free stuff via Facebook. As getting things for free is one of the biggest reasons why Facebookers become a fan of a certain brand, this is u must-have application. Besides, it is possible to connect Wildfire to other social network sites, hereby announcing any changes made to the promotions.

The third app, Social RSS, allows you to share content on your fan page that you already put online on other social networks or blogs. Although you can subscribe automatically to this, it is dangerous to do so. Facebook users might actually ‘un-fan’ a company because of the double content they often receive.

The fourth app is, according to me, the most powerful app: YouTube for Pages. Developing video content is one of the major advantages of viral marketing. It allows you to spread a persuasive message in a very cost-effective way and to possibly reach a target audience traditional media can only dream of. Hence, not linking video content to your fan page is an unforgivable mistake.

I tend not to believe in the power of the fifth application, Polls, as this is something developed in the web 1.0 environment.

Jumping to conclusions, it is strongly recommended that companies not only develop a creative viral marketing plan but also a strategy to support the long-term goals. This involves research and following up trends and innovations in social media.

Source: Matt Silverman, Mashable (, 28 March 2010

940 million users

According to a recent study of Insites Consulting, 940 million people worldwide are part of at least one social network. This number corresponds to 72% of all internet users. The most popular SNS is Facebook, followed by MySpace and Twitter. The majority of the users (72%) are member of at least two social network sites. For professional network sites, like LinkedIn, this number is lower, with an average of nine times a month. Furthermore this study showed that users of social media log in at least twice per day and has 195 friends.

Insites Consulting also provides specific numbers for Belgium. Here 69% of all internet users regularly visit social network sites, which translate to 4 million Belgians. The average number of friend is 133 and the most popular SNS, after Facebook, is Netlog, with 12% of all Belgian SNS users.

According to this study most people are happy with the social network sites they are using and they do not want to reduce the time they currently spend on the sites. This indicates a stability has reached the SNS market, which makes it difficult for new social sites to recruit members. They will have to come up with a strong USP and target groups that are currently overlooked by other social network sites, like young children, maybe?

If you would like to know more about the study, check out the full report!


zondag 28 maart 2010

Mobile youngsters

A study with 2,600 children, carried out by the Belgian consumer organisation OIVO , showed that two out of three ten-year olds have a mobile phone. At the age of twelve this number is already 92%. Since 2007 the number of children at the age of ten who have a cellphone has remarkably increased with 20%.

OIVO states that the mobile phone has a central role in the communication between children. Furthermore, these youngsters appear to be very eager to be the first to apply the multimedia applications of cellphones, like mobile internet.

This study shows that providing a mobile version of a website or mobile applications can be a great opportunity for websites that target children. Since cellphones have a very central place in the life of these children, focusing on mobility and on staying connected with the website will be an excellent way to become part of their living environment.


zaterdag 27 maart 2010


If there is one thing Belgium is short of, it is brand new ideas and the guts to create. Therefore we need a platform to shout of the roof that creating (and maybe failing while creating) is nothing to be scared about. On the contrary this is the way to create the world of tomorrow.

In the United States, this platform already has an established name. Its name is TED (Technology Entertainment Design). In this conference that lasts a few days, some interesting (weird?) people talk about their ideas, inventions, dreams and so on. It is a tsunami of creativity. This conference used to be very exclusive, but because of the internet (and the goodwill of the organization), it is now free to watch whenever you feel like it. So try it, just maybe you will find that €100 million idea you have been looking for all your life.

In Brussels there is a TED like conference about internet startups. There is a contest between several ideas for a successful startup, but there are also some influential business people who talk about this booming business. Take a look on their site if you are interested.

Bregt Timmerman