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NHL’s new social media policy

The National Hockey League has implemented its first ever policy regarding social media. According to the article at, players and hockey operations staff are no longer allowed to use social media on game days. The policy was put in place to ensure that communications between players, hockey operations staff and fans via social media are sensible and appropriate. The policy also has tips for the parties involved about how they could go about making their social media experiences better for themselves and their followers.

Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the NHL, said “”It lets our players and clubs participate substantially in the opportunity of social networking while identifying and mitigating some of the risks. To date, our players and clubs have been exemplary in connecting with fans on social networks, and fans should not expect to see any material difference as a result of this policy.”

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are often the best way for fans to keep in touch with their favourite athletes and teams. I personally follow my favourite two sports teams and numerous athletes and sports personalities on both twitter and facebook. I had never encountered a message on either of these sites that I found was inappropriate. However, it is definitely in the best interest of the National Hockey League to be proactive in its dealings with Social Media.

There have been instances in major league sports where professional athletes have been using social media on the sidelines during game time. This is similar to using social media in the workplace. In some instances this is prefectly acceptable. However, when athletes are preforming in a sport such as football it is not appropriate to be focusing on tweeting instead of playing the game they are being paid millions of dollars to play.

The average NFL salary in 2010 was 1.4 million dollars. That works out to just over $82,000 per game. Surely professionals should be able to focus on their work for about four hours without being distracted when they are getting paid approximately $20,000 USD an hour.!/BizNasty2point0 Most followed NHL player on Twitter


Pay to Play Gaming

Pay to play (p2p), or pay for play, is often compared to free to play (f2p) gaming. There are more than 300 different websites that are currently offering pay to play services.   Pay to play refers to the situation where users pay money in order to access content or online services, often games. These games are often MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) where large numbers of online participants interact with one another in an online world.  There are several different ways that the companies behind such games set their games up. The first example is that the most popular online game, World of Warcraft (WoW). As of November 2011 there were more than 10 million paid subscribers playing WoW. Originally WoW required a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 for users to play. Users have the option of paying in one month, three month and six month segments, with the costs rated accordingly.

WoW recently released a new subscription package that allows players up to level 20 to play for free. These players are limited in the amount of gold they can collect and the in game actions they can participate in, and essentially play a basic version of the same game.

WoW has adapted their payment options depending on where in the world the player is located. For example, in China many users play WoW in internet Cafés. The CD keys that are required to play the game can be purchased independently of the software package. Gamers then have to purchase prepaid game cards that allow for a certain amount of time to be spent playing the game and a monthly fee model is not available.

Other Massively Multiplayer Online Games have different payment platforms.  For example, Runescape, a game that I spent hundreds of hours playing as a child, has a free version of the game that users can play indefinitely. They can level their character up until all of their stats are maxed out at 99. However, users have the option of paying to access the “members” content which increases the size of the game world and the numbers of activities in it substantially.  Runescape memberships are available to be purchased in Canada through several methods. Users can purchase a membership card in one of many stores that has a code that can be redeemed online for P2P status, they can pay online with a credit card, pay by SMS message or several other options.

Email Marketing Mistakes

Email marketing is a subject that has come under close scrutiny in recent times. There are many business owners who believe that email marketing of any type is beneficial. However this is not true. There are many mistakes that can be made in Email marketing.

First is using a spammy headline. Examples such as “Buy now,” “Get rich today” or other similar themes are one way to make sure that the recipient does not open your email.

A second mistake that is commonly made in email marketing is misspelling words or making gramatical errors. Nothing takes away a company’s credibility more than opening an email from them to find that it is full of mistakes. This is true in any advertising but particularly in email marketing where the customer often veiws the email as a personal appeal.

A third common mistake is not having a call to action in an email. If you are sending out an email to clients and there is no action that you want the client to take you are missing out on an opportunity. Always make sure that there is something for the email recipient to do, whether it is signing up for an event or clicking on a link to get additional information.

Fourth is buying your email list. It may seem like a good idea to buy a list that has thousands of email addresses on it but that are definite drawbacks. First off, this makes you a spammer because you do not have the permission of the recipients to use their addresses. You also do not have the quality of recipients that you would have if the list was generated organically through your business dealings with customers.

In my opinion, all of these mistakes pale in comparison to emailing without permission. This can oftebn happen when other mistakes such as buying an email list are made. The liklihood that consumers will open an email from an unknown sender is low. These emails also often end up going right into the junk folder. When I receive an email from a company that I would not like communicating with me there is very little chance I will read it. Furthermore, it is unlikely that I would be interested in supporting this company and will often block any further emails from this organization.

Brand Advocates, Online Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)

Word of mouth marketing encompasses a variety of subgenres including buzz, viral, blog, social media, guerrilla marketing and more. Research has shown that individuals are more likely to believe product information that is communicated to them through word of mouth. It has also been shown that consumesr tend to believe that advertising from traditional media often has ulterior motives and that WOMM advertising is the most credible.

Clearly Word of Mouth marketing is an important aspect to any company’s marketing. Online marketing is connected to Word of Mouth marketing because people will often take what they see online and then communicate it to their peers. According to a 2006 study that delved into the question “how can marketers most effectively spend advertising dollars to influence word of mouth,” the best way to influence word of mouth by advertising is through online marketing. It stated that marketers should bear in mid that when they are investing in online ads they are not only targeting their prospective customers, through WOMM they are also targeting the family’s and peers of their target market.

Companies should focus on brand advocates when they are designing their online advertising. Brand advocates are people who are likely to share their favourite brands to the people in their lives without being paid to do so. These people can also be called influencers. The previously mentioned study found that influencers are much more likely to rely on online advertising compared to television ads. It also found that people who didn’t tell others of their favourite brands and companies were more likely to gain their information from television ads compared to online ads.

An effective example of Brand advocacy is Wal-Mart’s “mommy bloggers”. Mommy Bloggers are people who volunteer to talk about different things involving Wal-Mart including special offers, health and wellness and also different clearance items and customer reviewed products.

There is a helpful page on the Social Media Examiners website that talks about using brand advocates and what is being missed out if you are not using them. Essentially it says that if you are not using brand advocates you are missing out on the opportunity to have regular people acting as sales representatives for free.

Annoying aspects of websites

There are many websites that employ various techniques to increase their ad revenue, page impressions or other similar statistics. Often these techniques leave the viewer feeling frustrated and unimportant. Clearly usability is not the driving force behind many of the sites that use these tactics.

Annoying Technique # 1

Breaking stories into different pages to increase page views.

This is immensely aggravating. As a culture we have grown to expect information to be readily and easily available. This is an especially popular technique when sites list things like the `top 20 richest people in the world`or `top 15 fastest production cars.` Some sites will even break smaller stories into multiple pages to increase page views. User friendly? I think not..

Annoying Technique # 2

Using landing pages with huge advertisments.

What is the point in creating landing pages if they are covered in advertisments that take up much of the page? When I go to a website I expect to see “The Economist” not “Buy Dell Computers NOW!” If the first thing I see on a website is a half page ad for something that is not what I am looking for I can guarantee my bounce rate from that site will be 100%.

Annoying Technique # 3

Not linking to mentioned sources or websites.

When you are reading an article or story and there is no link to the source, how are you to tell if what you are reading is unbiased? There used to be a misconception that if you linked elsewhere in the text the reader would click on that link and then not return. Studies have shown that this is not in fact true and that people will open the link in an new tab or click back on their browser if they are interested. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are notorious for this. Often one will have to guess at a URL or search for something on Google in order to find it. Example

Annoying Technique # 4

Pop up Advertisments.

Pretty self explanatory and perhaps the most infuriating. When they hide the little “X” in the corner and in a shade slightly different from the rest of the ad it is like a puzzle trying to figure out how to close it. I have often myself wishing horrible things upon whoever decided to aggravate me with these ads. If I ever remembered the product advertised I would make a point not to buy it. Men’s Health website constantly has large pop up ads.

Annoying Technique #5

Requiring registration to access content.

I would say that this is the technique that turns people away from sites the most. I have only once signed up to be a member and it was for perhaps my favourite website ever. Any other site that required a username also had a 100% bounce rate from me. When I am browsing on the internet I am looking for information, not looking to give away all MY personal information.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of any company’s online marketing efforts. SEO can be defined as the process of improving a websites visibility in search engine results. This is necessary because generally the higher up on a search results list an item is, the more likely it is to be visited. There are several different types of search engine optimization including academic search,  news search and industry specific search. In this instance I will be talking about optimizing for consumers searching for a company, brand or product.

In terms of internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how people search for things on the internet. The word and phrases that people actually type into search engines is what marketers need to know. They also need to know what search engines are used by their prospective customers and what customers associate their business with. Even if the searched terms are not found in your text it is important to include them as keywords. Google Trends is a helpful site that allows for users to search for what search terms are currently trending.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that the keywords that customers are typing into search engines relate to what is found on your website. Optimizing a website could involve editing its content or code to increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove the barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Search engines often use “crawlers” or indexing activities to create their search results. Google has its Google Webmaster Tools, which can be used to make sure that all pages on a website are able to be found by search engine crawlers.

There are tools that can be used, such as Google AdWords: Keywords Tool, that can be used to look at text, a website or just a general topic and suggest keywords that would be effective in attracting visitors.

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) traditional vs. online marketing

Historically, measuring the return on investment for marketing (ROMI) has been difficult. It would often have been nearly impossible to determine the connection between an advertisement and its dollar value in terms of increasing sales. It is hard to tell if an increase in revenue is due to an ad campaign or other factors such as competition activity, market growth or other external forces. For example, if the CEO speaks at conference where financial writers have been invited to see the new product line and a party us held for the press, the ROMI would be hard to determine. However, if the Wall Street Journal does a piece on your product launch then it is likely that all of the money spent was worth it. Likely being worth it does not provide a solid dollar value though.

This video talks about traditional methods of figuring out ROMI. Phone surveys, customer satisfaction cards and online surveys, among other things, are all things a marketer must do after the fact. These techniques often have low response rates and can be costly depending on the relative size of the effort. Therefore, they are not highly accurate methods of finding out the ROMI.

With online marketing it is much easier to determine the return on investment in marketing activities. There are various analytic tools that can be used to to track a user on their pathway that begins on clicking on an ad. Google Analytics is a tool websites can use to receive rich insights into their website traffic and marketing effectiveness.  It is a free service that has several features that marketers will find most useful. These include providing an overall dashboard view that contains the most pertinent information, a flexible graphing tool to allow one to see larger trends and also the ability to see detailed reports on particular topics. There are also segmentation menus that allow for data to be analyzed in different ways depending on what the user wants. When used in conjunction with Google Adwords, consumers are an online marketing analytic experience that is free and will provide much more data  that traditional methods.

Facebook and Social Commerce

There are currently many different merchants who are experimenting with Facebook as a means for them to make money. They includes Best Buy, Home Depot and Levis Jeans. But this may not necessarily mean that Facebook is going to be the next big online commerce platform. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article where the author talked about how many social media technology vendors found little benefit from using Facebook. The article goes on to state that Facebook’s click through and conversion rates are much lower then those of more traditional methods such as email marketing. This could be due to the fact that people who log onto Facebook are often not looking to make purchases as the article Wall Street Journal article suggests.

However, it is the opinion of many who are versed in the world of social media e-commerce that this may not be entirely true. Often Facebook pages of companies are not set up to utilize the potential that Facebook offers its users. A Webtrends study by Dennis Yu and Hope Frank lists ten common shortcomings with Facebook pages. Some of the points they mention are not having enough fans, having the wrong kind of fans and having a dead fan base. When a Facebook page only has 100 fans and you consider the low conversion rates it is unlikely your sales will be what you are aiming for. Increasing your fan base and making sure they are the right type of people for your company are both necessary. If people have joined your page merely because they are interested in the contest you are holding then it is unlikely they will become paying customers. Using analytics to see how active your fan base is will also give an idea of how you are doing. Impressions and feedback per post are pertinent statistics that can give a measure of how active or “alive” your fan base is.

Facebook has set up a page that contains tools needed by companies to ensure that they are getting the most out of their Facebook experience. Its three main sections are: managing your budget, deepening your relationships and reach your target customers. There are also testimonials and a contact the Facebook Advertising team tab. Definitely a must visit if you are marketing on Facebook!