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Social Media and Affiliate Marketing Connection

20 Nov

I’ve always ran away from having to deal with affiliate marketing as I’ve somehow associated it with  capitalism of the evil kind before. But now that I know better,  I have approached it with a more open mind and have began to see how indeed it can complement your social media addiction and even make an “honest” buck in the process.

To simplify this to the uninitiated, affiliate marketing is quite plainly any business offering an internet-based sales program to opinion makers and marketing persons, to help sell the businesses’  products or services through the marketer’s network. Smart business people know that nothing can exponentially grow their businesses better than a system of tapping  people or organizations to create marketing opportunities for their products through a referral scheme. The proverbial carrot of course is a substantial commission with every sale made through these sales partners. (one could expect hefty ones in the area of 25- 60% ).

This is done mainly through the following steps: 1) Interested parties apply or are recruited to help sell the online products or services 2) Business approves relationships and assigns specific and unique affiliate tracking codes for affiliates/ partners. 3) Affiliates help create marketing opportunities for the products or services THROUGH their online network 4) Downlines are introduced to products or services through various by the affiliates. 5) Business just mails the “check” after sales are completed through the unique affiliate codes or conduits 6) Hopefully, everybody is happy in the end.

I’ve greatly truncated the process but in a gist, this is how the system works for many successful affiliate marketers out there. And this is where we see the whole thing dovetailing so well with the great social media revolution.

In as much as social media operates on trust and engagements, it is not a completely bad thing for social participants to “evangelize” about good products or services through their facebook posts or tweets or links. Thanks of course to the phenomenon of  “tiny urls”, the whole  process need not look too “sales pitchy”.  A mere mention like- “Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed my new gadget (followed by the unique link), why don’t you try it out too. Thanks”  can actually lead to an easy sale for a business, and a much-welcome commis for our avid social media socialite.

Why don’t you try exploring these if so inclined. Check out that tiny footnote in the the home page of your favorite gadget or software product  and look for the inconspicuous “affiliate” text. Then you are on your way to starting your own social media- led business on the side. A little moolah is not at all evil if done in an authentic and helpful way. Otherwise, because social media are  truly accountable and leave a clear “paper trail”, all I can say is that you’ve been warned… and after all, Social Media and Affiliate Marketing done properly is a marriage truly made in “referral” heaven.

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Social Media and your Inner Self

21 Apr

Social media provides a window to your soul. Big words, but quite accurate really if you define soul in a sense, as your collective consciousness or the summation of your life’s experiences. Not the whole picture by any stretch; but only a peek that sometimes would not be possible with all the clutter of daily life. Not to mention the tendency for us to oftentimes put on masks or pretenses as a means for self-preservation.

But I guess this can happen only after your 300th post or blog or comment or so. By then, it has already become too difficult to monitor or edit your blurbs in any organized way. By then, like it or not your slip will show. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. For after all, you are who you are, unique and have something important to share that no other person can have– your ontology. I am sure, someone out there is genuinely interested in what you have to say or think.

We have these unique lenses conditioned by  experiences that will make us push that button to like a page or become abhorred by some topic or antic. We are moved to cheer, commiserate and even admonish by the new feeds, points of view, value systems. This is part of our being human, to engage with the community because we all have a stake in it.

With the social web however, this community just got bigger, and the exchanges richer. Hopefully, we will all become better for it. We hope this will lead to greater understanding and tolerance. If not, spark that move towards positive change as it had happened in Tunisia.

I once said that social media helps us write our autobiography in installments. And I hope that killer app becomes possible where I can simply extract all my past and current social engagements  and write that definitive book of  me.

I know even I will be surprised by what I may read. But that’s just me… love or hate it.

The Medium Has No Message

2 Mar

“The medium is the message”. I could never forget McLuhan and his famous last words from my undegrad days. He was archetypical of media and communication to us then. Although I must admit that I do not always understand what he’s saying, I had often thought that someday I might be able to quote him and sound interesting. Well, today’s the day.

My weekly trip to the mall has now been shaken by those disturbing signs that purport to promote some shops and products via social media. In as much as I am thrilled by the adoption of the new social life, I caution those who see it as a mere fad to look updated without actually providing relevant or interesting content lest it just hastens their downfall rather than redemption. Social Media requires a more than cursory understanding of your desired community. You have to engage and absorb, give in order to receive. Offer something more substantial than a simple link. Do you have something compelling for me to consider following you? Otherwise the “f” logo and the Tweety bird will just be like the Push/Pull sign on the store’s door that nobody seems to notice.

To paraphrase my friend and fellow Social Media explorer, Albert Borrero, Listen after you look, Listen before you speak.

Peace.

Social Media: A Possible Necessity or A Necessary Possibility

16 Feb

Social Media have been getting some bad press lately. Well, of course it depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on.

The New Egypt and its great people have praised to high heavens the inestimable contributions of facebook & twitter to their unseating (pun intended) President Mubarak and helping the ushering in of an era of freedom for their country. It goes without saying however that Mr. M and his henchmen are probably sulking in their boots for not doing enough to close down early the new media channels for people’s interactions.

More recently, Justin Bieber’s  true “beliebers” have terrorized the twittersphere with vituperative rants after they didn’t get their candy bar from the Grammys.  Or just now, Mick Jagger probably woke up to see himself killed online with the “RIP Mick Jagger” buzz which had obviously proved a big, ugly hoax. The Godfather of Rock is not about to sing into the pearly gates, at least not just yet.

But for every little horror story about social life, one could probably rattle off a hundred more examples where social media had actually made a positive difference. Whether it was getting people to become more aware of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest or making it possible to catch up with long lost friends after a High School reunion, social media and networks have been mainly a force for good. I even remember how a friend had posted once that it was actually a gift that has allowed her that “much-needed break from the mundane chores at work”, an oasis in a sea of minutiae.

It may surprise many to know that the phenomenon of  social media is not even a new thing. It may have already celebrated its 30th anniversary if you counted Mark Granovetter’s piece, “The Strength of Weak Ties” published in 1973. You can therefore say that social media is simply a reflection of the very human need to reach out to our environment;  for even as babies we all longed to touch and be touched. The internet, new media and web tools have only enabled this process to move light years faster and created touchpoints that are virtually limitless.  In fact, I expect pretty soon that social media will  find its way more seamlessly in people’s consciousness so that social life will then be known simply as,  just life. No more duality, only one endless thread.

So to answer the question if social media are a “possible necessity or a necessary possibility”, to echo Bertrand Russell. I’d simply re-tell this little story from my Zen teacher:

“Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: “The flag is moving.”

The other said: “The wind is moving.”

The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng happened to be passing by and he told them: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving”.

Peace.

“The Transformative Power of Social Media”

11 Feb

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden tells it exactly, when he talked about ” the transformative power of social media” in an address to university students, about an hour after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down to give way to a new government.

It was about the pivotal role that facebook, twitter and all of social media played in helping spark and sustain the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. There are simply no words to express what great power, people speaking with one voice,  amplified through the internet , can achieve save perhaps to see these images and sounds from Tahrir Square.

Special Sauce #3: Be Yourself

11 Feb

I remember having to take personality tests in school. They were quite long. Even if I wanted to skew the responses to my favor,  it was quite hard to try to fake it. The maze of ipsative questions,  somehow made sure that I would sooner or later expose my true self and give away my thoughts.

Flash forward to 2011, social media sometimes has the makings of a literally humongous personality test. Like the test I talked about before, we are in some ways led to make ” forced choices”, or similarly, instant responses to the tweets or facebook posts we receive. Although we try to put our game face on, something freudian slips out eventually.

We all know that there are “tools’ available today to aggregate data across contents and contexts, so that an almost accurate profile of the “persona’ can be extracted. Well,  we don’t even have to utilize  sophisticated software sometimes because  a lot can be gleaned even from mere choices of words and punctuations.  Like excessive use of  “… ”  perhaps to indicate someone who must have lived through the 70s (*wink*)

My best advise therefore if we  envision a life in Social Media, would be to simply just be ourselves. This will include putting our best game face on, for even that is truly part of  who we are. But remember… sooner or later, no matter how hard we even try… our slip will show.

Peace… man.

Escape from the “Seniors”

9 Feb

Facebook in my country– the Philippines–has grown by leaps and bounds these past six months. Something like +30% or 7 million new account registrations for a total of 22 million strong Filipino social networkers. That was enough to land this tiny nation the fifth slot of leading facebook countries worldwide. At a high 75% penetration of the its online population,  the fact is it’s astounding considering that the country is still classified as “developing”. One thing is sure though,  “being social” comes naturally to a people who love to connect and stay in touch.

Another notable blip is the rise of older age groups (45 yrs and above) seen joining the bandwagon in droves. From almost being non-existent a year earlier, they have now accounted for over 10% of  local facebookers. Probably fueled by high school reunions or a need for emotional support during mid-life stages, demographics have since been on a steady upward movement. Consequently, we have seen a telling exodus of younger people as well, particularly with  precocious little  “tweens”. We can interpret this as a form of rebellion from the RealWorld of older people or as they like to call them– “seniors”. This is directed at their parents or anyone with even just a streak of grey hair. Seniors are destined to float in the lonely limbo of “awaiting confirmation” when it comes to these influential youth.

The challenge for Facebook therefore  is  how to remain still tres cool and relevant even with seniors, nagging product fan pages and silly farming games around the once- radical territory. Of course, some segments are always expected to fall into the cracks in any progression, but perhaps even with its massive success, an honest-to-goodness re-invention is in the offing for FB. To be more inclusive while retaining a clear cutting-edge. I tend to look at the Rubik’s cube for divination. Peace.

Special Sauce #2: Share Your Passions

5 Feb

They tell us that the best way to keep the conversation running on Social Media, is to be… engaging. I’ve tried a variety of ways, including flaunting my erudition to telling corny jokes about my grandpa’s exploits. But the one that always seemed to work best however, is to plainly share my passions.

Its actually the easiest and the most fun. Just be yourself, and share something about your many, many passions I’m sure you have a lot unless you happen to live  alone in a rock, somewhere in the mid-Pacific. You would be truly surprised at the number of people who actually share your likes too. Whether its some new food discovery at a little restaurant or the extreme joys of tattoo art, someone out there loves them too. We all know this from past interactions, except that we find that Social Media indeed  has made the process light years faster, and more intuitively.

So go ahead post your love for 19th Century Trobriand Islands art  and be amazed to see how many of your friends do actually share the same passion for it. By the way, if you really love things Trobriand , kindly drop me a line at http://facebook.com/rvbello. Then perhaps, we can keep that conversation running. Peace.

Data Is The New Scent: How The Internet Sees You

1 Feb

On the Internet, we leave a trail of scent faster than we can ever imagine: data. With ~ 600 million users today, activity on Facebook alone is staggering.

  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

The vast amounts of data we create and transfer across the world’s networks in a day is more than we are able to count humanity.

We leave our data droppings–our Internet footprints–in social network and media sites, cloud services, and yes even when we use our location-aware mobile devices.

This tapestry of droppings is aggregated into information objects.  And information objects stitched together becomes content. Presented with the same information, people derive different meanings, their own meaning .  Here lies the crux: data turned into information isn’t valuable content for everyone.

For content to be useful and meaningful, it has to have context. Our context. A context for our community. A context for our society. A context about what we care about.

Who else would care?

Try and find out about your online scent. Here is how the Internet sees you.

The Scent We Leave Behind

1 Feb

We always leave behind something with every interaction. In the days when face-to-face was the only way to go, we would give away inner thoughts and feelings with our body language, personality quirks with a stroke of the pen, and if we were to believe even our romantic intentions with something like a scent.

Going online may have limited some access to these “sense data”, but it’s not too far-off that we just simply overlay our learnings from let’s say Graphology to do predictive matchings, based on interest or temperament for social networks.  Communities of like-minded individuals through a mere signature? 1984 redux?

We are who we are. Online or offline. Peace.

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