Freedom of speech is often considered a threat to governments that do not hold with democratic ideologies, and as Iran reinstated its Facebook and Twitter blockade on Tuesday, following a brief lapse on Monday, the power of social media is clearly considered formidable on the Internet.
One of the newly elected president’s platforms that differentiated him from former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was that Internet access, which is heavily filtered throughout the regime would be freed up. Despite Hasan Rouhani who has his own Facebook page, there had not been any freedom extended to the public until Monday’s apparent “glitch” whereby Facebook and Twitter became available for a number of hours, according to the New York Times.
The government keeps a strict firewall over the entire country, and the blockade against social media was erected again early Tuesday.
Social media has proven to be one of the fastest sources of news and information, in general, across the globe, and has also directly influenced many unhappy citizens with ways to find like-minded individuals and empower them to organize quickly and efficiently, as has been seen in the recent Egyptian revolution and the myriad forms of the American Occupy protests.
So . . . was Monday’s opening up of Facebook and Twitter really just a glitch? Insiders say the problem may have been the result of a battle between different groups inside Iran.
If you thought Facebook and Twitter were not necessary to disseminating relevant information and news far more efficiently and accurately than traditional news and media outlets, remember this: social media allows anyone direct access to the witnesses, organizers, writers, reporters, interviewers (and interviewees), as each person posting on Facebook and Twitter places their unfiltered voice onto the Internet and into the world without all of the potential mass media interests and middle-men.
For businesses and brands, regardless of the size of a company, social media is an excellent way to attract new clients, convert more sales, close more deals, and involve yourself, your brand, and your employees directly in the lives of a community where everyone can revel in their lives with you, the business, as a part of it all.
By R.J. Huneke
There are social media metrics, comprehensive reporting programs from Facebook Insights to Google Analytics, and lots of engagement on the networks, but there is only one real way to tell if you are making money.
After the results of a Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Survey was released recently, this Chief Marketing Officer took on the single biggest obstacle that marketers were up in arms about: judging the ROI (return on investment) for social media.
How do we unlock the magic that reveals clear and telling ROI in the green?
You have to go back to traditional marketing and sales methods. The one rule to rule them all is this: do not market on social media networks without having a tangible way to track sales leads and conversions.
Yes, this can be hard for the small business owner that does not have the money to purchase and monitor dozens of 800 phone numbers and call centers. But consider this: as long as you have a cell phone or more than one phone line, you can at least use a Google Voice account [video below] to make a unique phone number for free and link it to one of your lines and track when this unique # is used for a social media exclusive marketing campaign.
If every phone number on your Facebook ads, pages, and posts goes back to a number you do not use for anything else, then you can see exactly how many people called about your services or products from Facebook.
If you only want to see the benefits of your entire online platform, then put the unique phone number on the web site, the LinkedIn account page, the Twitter page, and anywhere else you market digitally.
Another way to track closely your ROI for social media networks is to use coupons and giveaways (there are a number of free ones out there) that are exclusive to each place that you put it. Look and see who loves the 15% off and if they got an email coupon, or a Pinterest coupon.
In this CMO’s opinion you should not be spending time and money (and time is money) marketing in social networks if there is not a tangible way to discern how much profit the digital networks generated.
By R.J. Huneke
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