Social Networking

Social Media Marketing World – Keynote

I’m not going to lie to you: I’m a tough audience. I’ve bee doing search and social media marketing for about 7 years now, and when I see presenters talking about either, I want to hear things I’ve never heard before.

An hour into SMMW, I have had no such luck.

Listened to Michael Stelzner give the keynote this morning. I really need to not be as negative on some of these speakers as I am feeling right now, I know.

But some of the gems he shared were, “podcasting is the next big thing,” “a lot of people use Facebook,” “social media isn’t that old,” and he’s starting a new network for parents to find things to do with their kids. I get that speakers do these gigs in exchange for a per diem and a plug, but as someone with no tolerance for children, I could have done without that.

Actually, the one really good piece of information so far was that recordings of the sessions are available for $97. Definitely need to pick that up. Once I do, I’ll definitely be in a better place to comment on what was said.

After Mr. Steltzner, there was a presentation on networking that I only lasted 5 minutes in. I was willing to hear what Larry Benet had to say on the subject of getting more out of other people who have what you want and therefore need to be sucked dry like a vampire on a virgin. Once he did the, “turn to the person next to you, tell them your name, where you’re from, and why you’re here,” frankly, I ran for the door. I think I managed to tweet out, “Oh no” before hustled out of that room. 😦

So I’ve been here for an hour on my first day – and I’ve learned to buy the recordings of the sessions.

I’m looking forward to Jay’s presentation today. Hopefully I can get in. If I can’t, though, it appears I’ll be able to see it later from the comfort of my office.

Social Media Marketing World – Day 0

It’s a weird thing, being at something like a social media conference, if you’ve never gone. You get a mix of two types of attendees: The needs who do this stuff for a living, and the non-needs who are their bosses. It’s a brilliant culture clash watching everyone trying to network in an environment like that. no one is sure in that situation who thecool kids are.

I’m insane Diego at the moment for Social Media Marketing World. While I’m looking forward to a number of panelists in the coming days, I do find it funny how often time has been set aside for “networking” in the schedule. In fact, there will be one panelist specifically telling the crowd how to network.

So a lot of this really is about meeting people, and not necessarily getting secret sauce on increasing engagement.

But so what? I’m not here to comment on the inner workings of your average social media trade show, I’m here to figure out what my team should be working on this year.

For tomorrow, I’m planning on hitting the following:

1) How to create customers for life by informing more and promoting less – Jay Baer

2) How to use YouTube to build an unstoppable brand – James Wedmore

(Though at the same time, “How to optimize your social channels for lead generation” will be going on as well. Hmm.)

3) Turn social advertising into leads and sales

(Something I’d think everyone would want to know.)

4) Social Media ROI: How to finally deliver measurable results.

(This one causes me concern, because I’m already pretty good at doing this. I want to hear things I’ve never thought of. I don’t want to realize I should be trying to get speaking gigs at conferences because it turns out I’m so much more The Man than I thought I was.)

After all of that,there’s a “networking cruise.” But I think I’ll take a pass.

Google needs to fix the +1 idea

If I could change anything about Google Plus, I’d add tagging to the +1s.

Ciao Enrico - Google +1

Years ago delicio.us revolutionized bookmarking with the use of tags. For some reason, an idea this simple wasn’t adopted by Google when they developed the whole +1 philosophy. Which is too bad for +1s.

It’s POTENTIALLY a great bookmarking tool. Unfortunately, the way it works now, everything you +1 gets gunked together into one great big ball of weblink. If they were tagged, you could make a beeline to each link you saved there, anytime you needed it.

If a pop-out was added for anytime someone +1’d something, they could put in a few simple tags to denote why the link is important.

People could also share lists of content this way. It wouldn’t be unlike a collection of YouTube favorites, except I could do it with everything.

Also, advertisers could preload tags onto them, more as suggestions to anyone +1-ing, say, a paid search landing page. Include a “clear all” link so they can be wiped off the +1 if the user doesn’t like what the webmaster put on there, and it removes the impetus to spam.

Google, this should be an easy thing to implement! It’s the kind of product that would give people a reason to stay logged into Google, and using Google Plus.

Please, please, please update the +1 structure with tags. I’ll be your best friend, I swear. 🙂

The Real Problem with Facebook Ads isn’t the Ads, it’s the Advertisers

When GM pulled their Facebook ads last month, it caused a lot of talk about the lack of confidence people have in their platform. When you plunk down $10,000 a month, you expect to make back at least $10,000.

What advertisers STILL don’t seem to understand, after all these years of exposure to social networks, is that nobody goes on them to buy things. If anything, people go to Facebook and Twitter for “me time.” Few people are going to leave their “me time” to click on a link to Verizon just because the link is there.

It’s like if television never had commercials, but instead all commercials happened on their own channel. How many people would ever leave the show they were watching just to tune into the 24 Hour Commercial Channel? My guess is about as many people who click on ads on Facebook.

Since this is the case, trying to use the same conversion point on a Facebook ad as, say, a paid search ad, is ludicrous. People who perform a search are looking for something specific, some problem to be solved, and if the paid ad is relevant and brings people to a product or service that helps them, they will “convert” – that is, buy something.

Facebook Ad Revenues Worldwide, 2011-2014

People don’t go to Facebook with a need or problem, though. Ads trying to sell goods must count not only on reaching people who are their target market, but happen to catch them at just that moment the ad will appeal to them. For example, someone might be the right fit for buying a car this year, but for the ad to turn into a sale, it needs to be seen by that person during those few days they are actually looking at cars and car financing. Facebook still can’t target ads that well.

So really, the definition of what makes a successful social network ad needs to be changed. On Facebook, it is much easier to convince someone to Like your Fan Page than to get them to immediately part with their money. Using ads to increase fan count would be a much saner way to grade Facebook Advertising: How many new eyeballs does your content get as a result of your ads?

Then it’s up to your Fan Page to land the sales, or at least get traffic to your site. If your content is compelling enough, people will click through to see more. In that way, the Fan Page becomes what Facebook always intended it to be: A company landing page, on Facebook.

Paid seach ads work (or don’t) based on a number of factors: If the keywords for the campaign are relevant to the product, if the ad copy is compelling enough to get a click, if the landing page entices people to click on the “buy now” button, and if the user experience of the site’s store encourages people to complete a sale.

The rules for Facebook are very different, but people keep trying to apply the same rules: Impressions, clicks, conversions, sales. What’s different here aren’t the tools, it’s the audience.

Google vs. Facebook? No. Google vs. Bing

We love the horse race in America. Whenever there are two choices that even appear to be in competition, we choose sides. Such is the case this week, now that Google has unleashed what everyone (except Google) is calling a Facebook killer, Google+.

In this case, picking a favorite to “win” isn’t really the point.

There isn’t any point (read as: money) in Google killing Facebook. Google makes their money from their search network. Facebook makes their money from… well, no one’s quite sure of that yet… maybe venture capital sources that don’t ask too many questions?

Anyway, the most likely point of Google+ is to keep people on Google, performing their searches on Google, which include their paid search ads, which makes Google money. If people continue to search with Google, they aren’t doing it somewhere else.

So Google+ isn’t about beating Facebook, but beating the Bing/Yahoo junta.

Google has been the absolute leader in search for years because they developed a better search algorithm than what already existed. This meant better search results, and a better product.

The methodology they created is now used by sites like Bing and Yahoo, and to many the variations in results between the three aren’t important. If that were to continue, Google might not be able to prove that they are better than their search rivals.

Enter Google+, something that will keep people close to their search product. They could actually trump Facebook with this. Personally,  I doubt it’s really their goal.

Can Facebook and Google+ both be popular at the same time? As long as Google+ members find their way to ads via their Adwords program, I don’t see how Google could possibly care.

Google+

I got my invite for Google+ tonight. So far so good – it has some great features, but there’s one problem: No one is on it!

So with little to review off the bat, these are just some of my thoughts on Google’s new social site off the top of my head:

Google+ is in that persnickety “Invite Only” mode, like back when they debuted Gmail. Of course, I could use Gmail to get in touch with anyone. Here, I have to add my contacts to Circles – collections of friends – and hope they see this in their e-mail, join, then (I suppose) add me back so we can chat.

So like Facebook, there’s no public chatting area – everything revolves around your existing contacts. In fact, there are a lot of things about this that are very Facebook, but I don’t blame them for that. Wave was original and brilliant, but no one used it. If people don’t respond to original, by all means steal what has worked in the past.

Something I like off the bat with this that isn’t on Facebook is the ability to create chat groups that use webcams called Hangouts. I don’t know how willing most people will be to use their webcam, since so few people are as unabashedly into their good looks as I am. It’s definitely a good feature though, and I can’t wait for someone I know to join in with me already! One thing is for sure, though: Free web cams, on a social media site, means there is going to be a lot of porn on Google+ before long, unless there are some seriously draconian terms and conditions in place.

It uses Picasa for the photo album, which I suppose means I’ll need to start actually using Picasa. It also uses Gtalk for IMs, which I like, because I’ve been using that forever. (It has been kicking the ass off of Yahoo! Messenger since it first arrived.) I expect all of Google’s purchased properties will turn up here eventualy – and maybe even their failed concepts, like Buzz and Wave.

Also, that +1 feature is, as you’d expect, all over this site. It’s their version of +1. Another Facebook rip-off? Maybe. But remember, Facebook ripped off Likes from Friendfeed – and they didn’t even bother to use a different word.

Anyway, it’s just the first night, so it’s hard to judge Google+ just yet. I have high hopes, though – I’ve been a Google fanboy for years, and I’m praying something can finally kill Facebook.

Are we done with Paper.li yet?

As The Thing would say if he had been a blogger, “It’s complainin’ time.”

For the last year, all of us who use Twitter have seen posts that look like this:

“The CRAP I’M INTO SO YOU MUST BE INTO IT TOO Daily is out! bkt.ly/blahblahblah Top stories by: [Insert hapless Twitter followers who’ve had their content scraped here.]”

If you’ve clicked through on any of these links, you’ve seen a nicely designed page, full of stories credited to some people on Twitter.

The way this all works is, when you create one of these “dailies,” or weeklies or what have you, you tell paper.li to sift through your Twitter followers and post to this pretty page anything they post or tweet relating to a specific subject. If you want to create a “Star Trek” daily, anyone who posts a link with “Star Trek” in the destination, or tweet about “Star Trek,” will be placed in your daily.

Okay – useless explanation done. Onto the problem: Paper.li is a crutch for people who want to post to Twitter regularly, but don’t have enough to say themselves.

I really thought this trend would have burned out by now, as there are SO MANY people posting these things. Paper.li posts don’t provide any new information, and frankly if I really want to know what my friends are posting about Star Trek I’ll do a search to find out.

Some might argue it’s a way to cluster interesting nuggets together in an easily digestible format. I disagree. For one, you have to “luck” into these paper.li dailies when they hit someone’s Twitter feed. Maybe you could probably set up an alert for when they are published, but anyone willing to do that could also set up a Google Alert to find the same information.

No, Paper.li is not about providing useful content – it’s about getting around content. It let’s people abandon their social circle for a few days, but know that the hard work of creating posts is being taken care of by, effectively, a bot that scrapes RSS feeds.

I stop short of calling this plagiarism because Paper.li does credit the original authors. The point with these posts is not to pass off someone else’s content as your own. The real problem is still posting other people’s content so you have something – anything – for your followers to see.

Let’s say I’m a stand-up comic, but I have no jokes. Would it be acceptable for me to perform George Carlin’s, “Ice Box Man” in my act, even if I credited him as the original author? If the Carlin estate went along with it, at least it would be legal. Still, as an audience member, wouldn’t you still feel kind of cheated?

If you’re as tired of this crap as I am, join me in doing something about it: Block paper.li from using your posts to help other people’s laziness, and remove yourself. It is simple to do. Just tweet:

@NewsCrier please stop mentions paper.li/stop-mentions.html

This will get you off of their system, and keep these posts from showing up in your menitons when you’re in one.

“But why would I want to keep from being mentioned?” I can hear you ask.

Well, it’s like #FollowFriday – no one really follows anyone on the basis of a #FollowFriday post. People just do this to let some of their followers know they are loved.

In the same way, mentioning people in a, “The WHO THE HELL CARES Daily is out” doesn’t promote the people mentioned in it. It’s actually designed to get those people who were mentioned to click on the paper.li link itself.

Getting this kind of mention doesn’t help grow your social circle as much as it fools you into giving paper.li – and the user who, again, is riding on the coat tails of whatever interesting stuff you shared – more traffic.

Let us all band together and end this cycle of content rehashing by removing ourselves from the paper.li roles.

And if we can’t all do that, let’s at least agree that these dailies are really pretty lame.

I hit the 10,000 Twitter Follower Mark Today!

Since it’s a Friday and hardly anyone reads blog posts between Thursday and Sunday anymore, I don’t mind putting out a horribly self-promotional post: Today I finally got 10,000 Twitter followers.

10000 Twitter followers

Maybe that’s an achievement, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I only did it to show how easy it is to do.

See, when people hire me to do social media marketing for them, they always talk about how they want a “lot of followers.” It’s the one metric that seems to make sense to everyone. “If I have a lot of followers by the end of this, then things must have worked out. I now have a larger audience, so I’m pretty sure to make some money out of all of this!”

But as I’ve said for years and years, a follower count isn’t any measure of success. When I can get 10,000 followers just by being dopey – about 7000 of those followers only happening in the last six months, when I decided to do this experiment – it isn’t an accomplishment worth much. I certainly don’t feel like there are 10,000 individuals “listening to me,” when I know a number of them are bots, or feeds, or companies that don’t read their followers.

There are a lot of really cool people I have met as a result of Twitter, but I certainly don’t feel like selling any SEO consulting work to them. I’d much rather discuss Dadaism. (If you were in on that yesterday – how fun was that? I’ll have to post about all that next week.)

Bottom line: The number of followers you get still isn’t a measure of success, it’s just an ego boost if you have a fragile, fragile ego. If you’re someone like me who is brimming with confidence and power, however… it’s no where near as good as, you know – actually brimming with confidence and power.

I so recommend that over just having a lot of Twitter followers.

Welcome to the Facebook party, Tupperware – what the hell took you so long?

I admit I’m pretty snarky. When a company’s marketing is slightly off kilter, or completely off balance, or just plain stupid, I have to chime in.

Then there are times, like today, where I am so completely taken aback by what is before me I literally stagger trying to think of what to goof on first.

Last week, the New York Times did a story on Tupperware starting a social media campaign. Well, we’ve heard of companies doing this before – so what’s different here?

NOTHING! Not a single, solitary thing! Tupperware wanted to jazz up their brand’s image, so they decided to sprinkle a little magic social media dust on it and watch as it turns into The Dougie.

So how does The New York Times have space enough to write such a non-story about a company finally finding social media? Wasn’t anything else going on? It’s not like US Special forces shot Osama Bin Laden in the eye or anything… oh wait! US Special Forces DID shoot Osama Bin Laden in the eye! I’m pretty sure that effected the economy somewhat, didn’t it, New York Times!?! Even a little bit more than yet another company finding social media? Even if they did it about three years too late?

Just to make things worse, the NYT article didn’t include a link to Tupperware’s Facebook page. Perhaps they did this so they could say, “this isn’t an advertorial.” That’s a bad piece of luck for Tupperware, though. If you do a search for “Tupperware” on Facebook, you get a number of pages – none of them, apparently, Tupperware’s.

Because they got to the game so late, their own brand and several versions of it were snatched up by more enterprising people. If you want to get to Tupperware’s own profiles, either on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll need to use the button on their corporate site.

In other words, if you want to do them the favor of following their profiles, you need to leave Twitter or Facebook, then go to their site, then press the buttons that take you back to Twitter or Facebook.

The purpose of either of these sites is ostensibly to get you to follow a link from them to their website. So there’s not only added steps involved in becoming a fan, but one of them requires getting people to do something they weren’t planning on doing anyway. Yikes.

Oh! Something else – here’s a great blurb from the aforementioned article:

“The goal is to find ‘more disruptive methods’ to dispel perceptions that ‘we are your mother’s Tupperware,’ said Rick Goings, chairman and chief executive of Tupperware Brands in Orlando, Fla.”

To prove this point, today they posted this:

"Tupperware is Made for MOM's!"

So this isn’t your mother’s Tupperware – it’s just that Tupperware was made for Mom’s. That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Finally, after their unprecedented NYT article, the number of people who have Liked their page is 8611 as of this writing. A nearly 100 year old, world-famous company, with a write up in the New York Times, only has some 8600 fans.

And don’t get me started on their Twitter account! There, the name is TupperwareUS – not TupperwareUSCA, which may be confusing to people who know of one and are trying to find the other. But we’ve all got to make a stand against Canada some time, and Tupperware seems to be making it on Twitter. Facebook is for US and CA, but Twitter will just be for the US. I guess. I’m not sure. It’s all a little too poorly thought out for me to get all at once.

But again, great success – because they now have 186 followers on Twitter.
Welcome to the party, Tupperware – you’ve got a LOT to learn.

Yes, I unfollowed you – now shut up!

I unfollow a lot of people on Twitter in an average week. Sometimes it’s because of something they post. Other times it’s because they use an auto posting service. And sometimes it’s just because I followed them without really looking at who they are.

I do this pruning a lot. On social networks, you aren’t what you say, but who you connect yourself with. No one would listen to Guy Kawasaki if he only followed porn stars.

As a result, something I’ve been seeing a lot lately are tweets from people I’ve unfollowed that look like this:

Butthurt from being Unfollowed

I believe the idea behind this is to “shame” the three of us who unfollowed Naresh. Services that do these kinds of tweets – fllwrs.com is one, and I think Qwitter is another – actually have a good premise. Their real job is telling their users who unfollowed them, and which post may have sent them packing.

Posting tweets about it is part of their package, however, and it totally works against people like Naresh when they do this.

First, my profile is getting a mention – which is always good. It’s another opportunity to be discovered by other users. Even if it is in the context of, “This jerk unfollowed me! Boo hoo,” I get just that much more growth in my social footprint.

Second, this kind of post would make most people ask, “why did you get unfollowed? Are you a bore? Are all of your posts NSFW? Do you constantly post quotes from the Bible?” Usually, things that are rejected by people aren’t popular with others – on the basis of having been dumped. (“If that guy doesn’t like it, I probably won’t either.”)

Finally, whenever I see one of these posts in my “Mentions” tab, it pisses me off. Frankly, it’s my choice to unfollow you for whatever reason I want to, just as it is your choice to return the favor by unfollowing me. Being childish in public doesn’t help anything, and does not convince me I should change my mind.

Instead, it makes me block you. I can’t trust I won’t hear more about your heartache later, so I make sure I won’t by shutting you off completely. If enough people block a single profile, Twitter may decide the profile is spam and ultimately delete the account.

So while you started with being pissy about my getting rid of you, you could end with Twitter itself getting rid of you.