SOCIAL MEDIA Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, DEMYSTIFIED

Ted Janusz
14 February 2011 l International Parking Institute

MySpace and LinkedIn —

Did You Realize these Stats?:
• Nearly 247 million Americans are now Internet users – that’s 73 percent of the population. • 43 percent of online consumers belong to a social network. • 74 percent of social network users send messages to their friends as part of their daily routines. • 87 percent of parents of teenagers are online. • 96 percent of Generation Y participates in social media?


average American 52 people.
And which are customers likely to spread about your parking facility, good news or bad news? Your average satisfied customer will tell five to eight others. Your average upset customer (if you have any) will tell ten to 16. In fact, one in five will tell 20 others how angry you have made them, and Web 2.0 now makes it easier and faster for them to do so.

adult has a direct sphere of influence of
the number of contacts you have in your e-mail address book or the number of friends you may have on Facebook. I’ll bet the number is even greater than 52. In addition, if you are an average adult, you know 400 people — people you went to school with, work with or you know socially. If you assume that each of those 400 people knows 400 others (of course, there would be some overlap, but let’s keep it simple), you now have an immediate network of 160,000 people. And if you assume that each of those 160,000 people know 400, well, you are up to 1/3 of the U.S. adult population.

Why Social Networking Matters
Department store magnate John Wanamaker once said, “Fifty percent of my advertising dollars are wasted. The problem is, I don’t know which fifty percent.” But there is one form of marketing that always works – personal recommendations. Eighty percent of all purchases are not based on full-page newspaper ads, but rather on word-ofmouth advertising. And here is why: The average American adult has a direct sphere of influence of 52 people. Think about

Introducing Web 2.0
Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are five applications we will discuss in this article that are components of Web 2.0, a


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popular term for Internet applications in which the users are actively engaged in creating and distributing Web content. Web 1.0 probably consisted of the Web sites you saw back in the late 1990s, which were nothing more than fancy electronic brochures. Web 1.5 would have been something like Amazon or eBay, sites on which one could buy, sell and leave reviews. What Web 3.0 will look like is anybody’s guess! Let’s look specifically at the five Web 2.0 applications previously mentioned.

on their profile, or vice-versa. The only rule is that each tweet can be no longer than 140 characters.” This is fine, but what is the business application of Twitter? The University of Oklahoma uses a Twitter feed for several reasons: • Identify the best places on campus to park. • Provide information on lot closures due to construction. • Answer parking questions from the campus community in real time. A typical post from the university’s parking staff: “Good Monday morning, drivers! You’ll find open spaces (175) in the Asp Avenue garage and 150 in the Elm Avenue garage.” The University of California at Irvine, Georgia State, and Texas A&M are just a few of the other universities that use Twitter to provide upto-the-minute information on parking conditions. To get a quick introduction to Twitter, you can access an online guide from Tony Hsieh, the founder of the online shoe store Zappos and a Twitter evangelist, at

To see how you can use Twitter to promote your parking organization, please visit To follow in real time what people are saying about you and your parking facility on Twitter, type in your search words at

Top Web Sites
According to Google Trends, four of the top Web sites in the United States are: • MySpace • YouTube • Google • Facebook

Tweet, Tweet
According a recent LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll, 69 percent of Americans do not know enough about Twitter to even have an opinion. “Twitter is like text messaging, only you can also do it from the Web,” explains Dan Tynan, the author of the Tynan on Tech blog. “Instead of sending a message to just one person, you can send it to thousands of people at once. You can choose to follow anyone’s update (called “tweets”) simply by clicking the Follow button

Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe designed a Web site to provide a service at no charge to regular people looking for a way to connect with others having similar likes and dislikes. MySpace was initially popular with bands, who didn’t want to go through the hassle of creating and maintaining a Web site, but sought a way to distribute their music, photographs, videos and other information to their fans and would-be fans.

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But people don’t connect with you
because you are promoting yourself to them. People connect with you because you are informing them.

YouTube was started by three former employees of PayPal, and then sold to Google about a year later for $1.65 billion dollars. Unlike the other Web sites we discuss here that allow for the posting of words and photos, YouTube is the number one video-sharing Web site. Best of all, you can post your video on the site for free. A simple Flip video camera (priced at under $150 on can do the trick for you. What is the business application of YouTube? Let’s examine three successful examples: • Fast Pass – Parking officials at the University of Texas at San Antonio have posted a short video promoting Fast Pass, a pre-loaded debit card. • Blendtec – A Utah-based manufacturer of blenders, armed with a total marketing budget of $50, decided to post a series of videos entitled “Will it Blend?” In these videos the company attempted to pulverize items such as golf balls and iPods. The first eight episodes resulted in three million downloads in a week. Even better for Blendtec, they sold out of the $600 blender — in the first 24 hours. • Diet Coke + Mentos – Check out the geysers this combination creates! While Cocoa-Cola stayed away from promoting this phenomenon (perhaps out of fear of litigation), Perfetti (the maker of Mentos) jumped in with both feet, posting both a large link to YouTube on its Web site and sponsoring its own contest. In the process, they sold a lot of mints. The key to business success on YouTube: Do not post a video of someone from your department in a head shot saying blah-blah-blah.

Nobody will view it. To be noticed by the younger audience you are trying to attract on YouTube, be sure to be humorous, offbeat or very personal. And take good care of your customers. What kind of damage do you think United Airlines’ customer Dave Carroll has done with his humorous little video “United Breaks Guitars” on YouTube? So far the video has nearly 10 million views from around the world. Google Rather than using the Yellow Pages, 97 percent of consumers now use the Internet to shop locally. Ninety percent of these searches start with a search engine. Consumers use Google, the most popular search engine with over a 70 percent market share, over a billion times each day. To make sure that your parking facility has a presence there, register for a free Google Places listing at

for the first time surpassed MySpace in the number of users in the United States. Facebook has been able to overtake MySpace as the number one social networking site in the world because it no longer has the stigma that it is “just for high school or college students.” Anyone may now join Facebook. The fastest growing segment of users of Facebook is now neither high school nor college students, but rather females age 55-65. Why? With the rest of their family on Facebook (the average user spends an hour a day on the site), it’s the best way for them to keep up with the stories and the photos of their children and grandchildren! According to “Social Media Revolution,” here is the number of years it took each of the following to reach 50 million users: • Radio – 38 years • Television – 13 years • The Internet – 4 years • iPod – 3 years Facebook has added 100 million users — in the last nine months! According to the Facebook Global Monitor, here is a listing of the percent of a country’s citizens (not just the percent of those citizens who are online) who currently maintain a profile on Facebook: • Iceland - 53 percent • Norway - 46 percent • Canada - 42 percent • Hong Kong - 40.5 percent • United Kingdom - 40 percent • United States - 35.5 percent • Chile - 35 percent • Israel - 32.5 percent • Bahamas - 30.5 percent

Facebook was originally created by Mark Zuckerberg, intended for use by his fellow students at Harvard University as “The Facebook.” It was meant to be an online replacement of the book one receives as a freshman when entering a college or university containing photos and other information about incoming freshman classmates. Within 30 days, about half of the students of Harvard had a profile on the site. Facebook soon spread to other Boston area colleges. Presently, approximately 85 percent of all college students have a profile on Facebook. Why does Facebook matter? According to ComScore, in May 2009, Facebook

February 2011 l International Parking Institute

Why has social networking, especially Facebook, become so popular?
Social networking allows so much more than e-mail or text messaging. In addition to writing on someone else’s “wall,” Facebook allows for the sharing of photographs and videos. Facebook is the number one photo-sharing site on the Internet, with 2.5 billion photos uploaded to the site each month. At a glance, you can see and read what all of your “friends” are up to. And because you choose your friends on Facebook, you can virtually eliminate spam, and spam composes up to 90 percent of all e-mail.

To create a page for your parking facility on Facebook (which is free), first register for a Facebook profile. To quickly get started on Facebook, view the instructional video at

The Differences Among the Popular Social Networking Sites
MySpace is a social networking site for bands; and other music and entertainment. Facebook is a site at which you can “poke” your friends, play games, and post photos on your profile and comments on your friends’ “walls.” LinkedIn, on the other hand, is like the corporate boardroom. No fun and games here, this site means serious business. It was the last major social networking site to allow photographs. Even now, each LinkedIn user exhibits only one.

profile and network with its more than 75 million members in 200 countries. Members include executives from all Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn has the oldest, and wealthiest, users of the major social networking sites: • Average age – 41 • Six-figure household income • Two-thirds are male • Four-fifths have college degrees

Four Quick Ways to Maximize Your Participation on LinkedIn
A question I often get asked in my conference presentations is, “I’ve signed up on LinkedIn. What’s next?” Though LinkedIn does not come with a user’s manual, you don’t need to be a computer whiz to derive immediate benefits from the site. Here are four quick and easy ways to maximize your participation on LinkedIn: 1) Groups – To network with as many people as you can, join as many relevant groups as you can.

What is the business application of Facebook?
People have a “profile” on Facebook, whereas a business has a “page.” You and I can have “friends” on Facebook, while a business has “fans.” Over 1.6 million businesses now have Facebook pages. For example, Seton Hall University and Rutgers University have parking-specific Facebook pages with updates on parking and other transportation services.

LinkedIn is a professional contact database launched in May 2003 by Reid Hoffman, formerly of PayPal. Its members can create a


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For instance, I have joined alumni groups for the three colleges I attended, for the current and former companies for which I have worked, and for my business interests (such as “keynote speakers”). You may want to join the over 500 members of the International Parking Institute group. This group consists of the members and friends of the International Parking Institute. You may never know when these people could help you, or more importantly, when you may be able to help them. To get started, simply click the Groups link at the top of the screen.

the More link at the top of the screen, and then Companies. I did that, then entered the keywords “Proctor & Gamble” and clicked the Search button. Under the company profile, I noticed that a 2nd degree contact was listed, along with the name of my direct contact who knows her. Using LinkedIn, I could then request an introduction through my direct contact. Also are listed 22,100 current P&G employees who I am related to through one or more of my Groups. (Now you see the benefit of taking action under Step 1, Groups, above.) To get started, click at the top of the screen on More and then Companies. 3) Answers – Here you might be able to assist a fellow LinkedIn member. For example, a current question is: When selecting a destination; meeting venue; transportation; or other product/service provider, what are the key areas that influence your decision? Perhaps you are the one who could assist this LinkedIn member by clicking the Answer button. Even better, you might be able to click the Suggest an Expert button. To begin, click at the top of the screen on More and then Answers.

2) Companies – Let’s say you have been trying to get into Procter & Gamble to offer your services. With a multinational corporation like that, where do you even start? Click on

4) People – By clicking on the Advanced link at the top right of the screen, just to the right of the magnifying glass icon, you can search for LinkedIn members by criteria such as name, company, location, school attended, or title. You might be interested in approaching all CEOs in the area to offer your services. You could then do a keyword search on the Title of “CEO” You could then look to see who was a direct or even a 2nd degree contact. (A 2nd degree contact is a direct contact of one of your connections on LinkedIn.) On a 2nd degree contact’s profile, you could click the “Get introduced through a connection” link. This will send an e-mail both to your connection and the 2nd degree contact. On average, you will get a positive response from one or both of the contacts about 70 percent of the time. That percentage is a lot higher than if you tried to cold call the 2nd degree contact on your own. I currently have 205 connections. LinkedIn tells me that I have more than 3.5 million LinkedIn users that I can contact through an introduction from these connections. To begin to build your connections, simply click the green Add Connections link at the top right of your screen.

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99 Percent Information and One Percent Promotion “The key to social networking tools is to have lots of connections,” says Guy Kawasaki, the original Macintosh evangelist. “It’s a numbers game. The more people who are connected to you, the more opportunities you have. But people don’t connect with you because you are promoting yourself to them. People connect with you because you are informing them.” Kawasaki concludes by saying, “You need to be informing people 99 percent of the time and then 1 percent of the time you can promote your business.”

The New Free TV or Newspaper?
In my conference presentations, attendees often ask me, “Give me the bottom line, how can I use social networking sites to make money?” There is a danger for businesses to view the social networking sites as the new television or newspaper, but on which a business can advertise for free. “If you are going to go there, you had better go for the right reasons,” says Seth Godin, author of the best-selling book on marketing, “Purple Cow.” “And if your reason is to sell more stuff, please don’t bother. It’s not going to work. People don’t care about you. They just don’t.

On the other hand, if you can use social networking sites as ways to connect to real people, just for that sake alone, not because you want to sell anything, then it’s a great way to spend a half hour a day.” Godin concludes, “And what we are finding, as a by-product of that … yes, in fact, your business will do better, because you are a trusted member of the community. Not because you are trying to sell stuff.” Successful marketing using any of the Web 2.0 applications means an ad cannot look like an ad or else it will be rejected immediately by the social

networking visitors. Your customers on average are subjected to 1,500 to 5,000 advertising impressions each day. (Just walk into your neighborhood superstore!) Since they have successfully learned how to block most of these interruptions, your clients are six times more likely to read an article from you than an advertisement. n Ted Janusz is a professional speaker, author and marketing consultant and will be speaking at the 2011 IPI Conference & Expo in May in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at or 614.440.7487.


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