Google is struggling to crack social, but it's not a home run internally. An anonymous employee tells the New York Times:
"There is some belief at Google that their DNA is not perfectly suited to build social products, and it’s a quite controversial topic internally." The social part of social media — cool factor, sharing, photos, following other’s every action — are apparently anathema to Googlers and engineers raised in a ‘utilitarian’ ethos, continues this deep throat. “Google’s made a lot of money helping people make decisions using search engines, but more and more people are turning to social outlets to make decisions,” said Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter Group. “And whenever people make decisions, there’s money involved.”
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Ford’s recent Fiesta Movement and Focus Rally: America, are examples of social strategic moves that are being institutionalized, the automaker's head of social media, Scott Monty, tells SmartBlog: “We are in the process, right now, of training all our communications staff on social media, because we believe it's going to be built into the communications professional’s arsenal of the future…we’re moving from a kind of top-down model to a kind of hub-and-spoke model — and beyond that it’s a hub-and-spoke-and-dandelion process, so each of those spokes have their own expertise. And this not only happens at all the vehicles, but it’s going to happen at the global level as well — all of our regions, all of our countries.”
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L.A-based game developer Diversion is promoting its new celebrity-themed Facebook app, Fametown. Players accumulate points to move up from the “D-List” (paging Kathy Griffin!) to the “A-List.” Sony Pictures is a sponsor, while former Disney head Michael Eisner’s Torante firm is providing seed funding. (via Cynopsis)
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Farmers Insurance is joining forces with Zynga’s Farmville to offer Facebook's virtual farmers a little peace of mind. The blimp will hover over crops to help prevent withering from neglect. "FarmVille was a natural: Farmers, FarmVille - get it?" said Marc Zeitlin, VP ebusiness, to Clickz. (Yeah, we get it.) "We're helping people in FarmVille protect their virtual crops with virtual insurance," he adds.
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Social media is starting to drive sales, with consumers increasingly interacting online with brands, and more willing to make purchases on and via social networks, reports TheNextWeb. Sony, for instance, attributes $1.5 million in revenue to its Twitter marketing. IBM’s Ed Lindle also says that they’ve made millions though ‘listening for leads’ via social media, getting the brand's "conversation starters" (not just sales team) to flag potential leads.
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Loopt has integrated Facebook Places into its geolocation offering, reports VentureBeat:
"Loopt users will now be able to seamlessly connect their Facebook profiles with the Loopt application. Through the connection, users will be able to not only see where their Facebook friends are on a map (see above), but also have dual check-in capabilities. For example, a user checking in to McDonald’s through the Loopt app will also have their location shown on Facebook Places. The Loopt app will also allow users to see their Facebook friends in their Loopt friend list."
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New York-based Buddy Media has raised $23 million to support its efforts to help brands master Facebook, reports VentureBeat. “In the same way major brands and agencies have invested in web-based software for sales or display advertising, they are now investing in marketing software for the largest two-way communications platform of all time: Facebook,” comments Steve Harrick, general partner at Institutional Venture Partners.
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Six social media marketing ideas from the experts at the Social Media strategies conference, as reported by Neil Glassman:
#1 — Social media is motivating brands to provide more responsive customer service
#2 — The microsite may not be dead
#3 — Location, location, location
#4 — Games are important for brands; game mechanics are essential
#5 — Without linear media legacy, new brands can use social media as a shortcut to success
#6 — Letting go is the new aggregation