With a record of losing money every year, Twitter went IPO with a value of nearly $25 billion! But you have to make money eventually, right? They have a business model that makes money from promoted and sponsored tweets. Will that be enough in the long term? If Twitter were a “fee for service” program, would their 250 million users pay? Would you?
Dropbox set the original business model: first get people addicted to using your service for free. When they realize they can’t live without it, charge them a small, nominal fee.
Although some people may balk at paying for Twitter, the majority of businesses (and celebrities) would pay to make sure they can still communicate with their audience. The only questions are, “How much would people pay?” and “Which of the 3 business models is the best?”
The majority of money will be made from a large volume of subscribers. Draw audiences in with a free 3-month (or 6-month) subscription. That gives them time to build their followers. Subscribers then begin to pay $20 / month to connect with their friends and engage with businesses. Users will pay up front for membership for an unlimited number of tweets, limited tech support and exclusive membership. With a dedicated and growing membership, this will insure a growing revenue stream.
Pay Per Tweet
Half of all tweets are “worthless.” These are the tweets about Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and the french fries at McDonald’s. With the “pay per tweet” model, members could pre-pay for 100, 300, 500 or unlimited tweets per month. Members would bid on a price per tweet. There would be no cost for retweets as this practice increases the spread of information. This would be the least popular of the models and could lower Twitter membership. However, remember when cell phone companies charged per minute? You cared how long you were on the phone until everyone went unlimited.
Businesses don’t want to read books, watch videos or listen to podcasts on how to Tweet. They want someone to teach them or do it for them (that’s what SciSpeak specializes in). With 3 different levels, Twitter members would receive expert training on building a Twitter strategy, internal and external policy and best practices. Phone and video tech support would also be provided. Even though the tweets are free, the service would cost extra for businesses who want that support.
First things first: Twitter must turn a profit. Banner ads will devalue social media to that of a mobile billboard and consumers will begin ignore the message. Remember: Today’s Twitter can be tomorrow’s Friendster or MySpace.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Next Week: salesforce.com = Social Sales Funnel
Like most people, I originally doubted and underestimated the POWER of blogging. Since a blog is simply a diary of your thoughts, it couldn’t be for business. I imagined teenage girls blogging about their love of Justin Bieber and One Direction.
After researching how businesses use their blogs, I discovered 5 simple ways that Fortune 100 companies, medium size businesses and sole proprietorships are using blogs to hit their bottom line – revenue.
Keep a List
Some of my best blogging ideas come to me when I am getting ready to go to sleep or while I am driving. Keep a list of ideas and store them in Evernote, write them in a journal or type them in a note on your iPad / iPhone. If you have extra time, write your post and schedule it for publishing. You’re done for the next month!
Build Your Brand
Use your blog to develop your company as a subject matter expert. When people read your posts on finance, plumbing, home repair, landscape design or molecular thermodynamics, they will realize that you are the person to come to with questions (and business needs).
It’s the Audience
It’s not about you; it’s about them. Write about topics that will interest your audience: social media marketing, customer service problems, industry news, presentation skills, etc. Your topics should be the topics that interest them and solve their problems. Only write political or religious posts if that is the type of blog you publish.
The 2012 State of Social Media (HUBSPOT) states:
- 92% of companies who blog acquired customers directly from their blog
- 60% of bloggers post weekly
I always include at least one picture in my blog. If you do interior design, bake wedding cakes, run a hair salon or do anything visually related, pictures are your lifeline. Pictures will grab the reader’s attention and allow them to easily “Pin It” (Pinterest) or share it on Facebook. And remember, a picture is still worth 1000 words.
Does it work?
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound leads.
- 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.
I have been blogging for almost 2 years now, and I am a believer. My blog has helped me grow my leads, sell tickets to my events, gain new followers and generate more revenue. I keep my costs down and my engagement up. It’s just another way to communicate.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Next Week: Apple’s New CEO Team
If Rock and Roll was an innovative and new type of music, disco was a brief lull in the music industry. When the iPhone came out, it combined aspects of our lives that until that point were separate: your music, the internet and your cell phone. It wasn’t the first touch screen. It wasn’t the first cell phone. It was not the first MP3 player. However, those features combined into a revolutionary mobile device, and the industry has not been the same since. That was innovation!
The iPad was not the first tablet computer, but it was designed in a way that created a new industry. Contrast that with the iPad mini or the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. These are merely “spec changes” to the original product. Size change. Faster processor. Retina display. Every year new models come out, but those models are not innovative. In this “disco era” of consumer electronics, how do you innovate?
Define the Market
Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” If he could have genetically designed faster horses, people would have bought them. Cars changed the transportation industry and defined new markets (automobiles) and manufacturing (assembly line). True innovation creates new markets that people don’t even know are possible.
Innovation combines products or services that were previously separate. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The iPhone was a classic example of this statement. Jony Ive and Craig Federighi of Apple collaborated on the recent iOS 7 release, iPhone 5C and flagship 5S. Innovation is not done in a vacuum. Product design and development firms sometimes take individual successful parts and combine them for an innovative creation.
Many companies will say they are focused on innovation. Teams and groups will be formed to insure products and processes are innovative. The Post-It by 3M was a novel invention that was long in the making and developed completely by accident. Stainless steel, Super Glue, Teflon and Play Doh were all developed by accident.
Innovation must improve the quality of life. People will subscribe to an idea, product or concept that helps them. Adjusting the price is not innovation and will lead to short term gains (until someone else lowers their price more). Putting a larger engine in a Corvette is not innovation. Designing a new way to move people that improves the environment is innovation.
“Innovative things must be new, but new things need not be innovative”, says Robin Hanson (Economics Professor – George Mason University). Success in innovation cannot be forced. Apple was on a treadmill of innovation for years. When Steve Jobs died, that cadence was broken. Let us not so quickly label new devices or features as innovative.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Next Week: Pinterest for Business
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