It was also becoming clear that, unlike many other internet sensations, MySpace could earn its keep. Within 15 months of the acquisition, revenues had leapt from about $1m a month to $50m a month: half came from advertising sold by the new sales team that News Corp had installed, the rest from the Google deal. As advertisers rushed to target the site’s rapidly expanding audience, offices were opened in Japan, South Korea, China, while a free music service was launched at considerable expense.
But by the beginning of 2008, things began to sour. Facebook, a rival social network that was simpler and easier to use, was gaining momentum and starting to grow more quickly than MySpace. Murdoch confidently told the world that MySpace would make $1bn in advertising revenues in 2008 – but the company missed its target. Users began to desert the site, which had become cluttered with unappealing ads for teeth straightening and weight-loss products. News Corp executives could hardly hide their displeasure, and in April this year, DeWolfe left, closely followed by most of his senior management team.
1. A day-long workshop that engages 10-40 people (employees and stakeholders in a client organization) in a learning and brainstorming process that helps participants develop a stronger understanding of social media tools and strategies.
2. A workshop report summarizing the long list of ideas generated by the workshop (typically 50-100 ideas).
3. An options document presenting 3-6 options for social media projects. These options typically synthesize the ideas prioritized workshop participants, distilling and enhancing each option into a summary concept that our team thinks has strong potential.
At last … the information you’ve always wanted: how to get un-followed on Twitter.
If you use Twitter, you’re familiar with the following scenario: someone follows you, and you find out via email, or some other software you’re using for the purpose (unless you’re automating Twitter, which is usually a bad thing in itself, but we’ll deal with that another day).
You take a look at the user’s stats, and if he or she has a decent number of tweets in relation to following and following numbers, you consider following back. You also check to see if the user is following way more people than are following him or her … because that’s usually a sign of someone trying to game Twitter to develop a big megaphone without putting any significant energy into earning that megaphone.
Sometimes when you’ve done this step, and even noticed that the user’s tweets are potentially of interest to you, you notice something else. Like this, for example:
I followed this user, then read a few more of his tweets. Lo and behold … multiple repeat Tweets.
This is a sign of a user with one or more problems:
This person does not have a lot to say … but like the boring person at the party that you can’t detach yourself from, insists on saying it over and over.
This person probably actually has a lot to say, but is too busy or otherwise occupied to put appropriate attention on Twitter. So she is putting her account on autopilot and just repeating the same thing over and over again without the bother of having to think up (or experience) new things to communicate. This is the broken record (remember those round spinning black things) that keeps on keeps on keeps on keeps on …
This person just says the same thing over and over again … like the old sales guy who has chatted up (sorry, networked) so promiscuously and with so little emotional investment that he forgets who he has told his stories to, and keeps repeating the sames ones to you every time you meet.
This person doesn’t care about the signal to noise ratio, and doesn’t care what any one individual might think of his or her behavior. It’s all about the mass to this person, and to get to mass attention, they’re repeating everything twice or a hundred times, like old-fashioned advertising spewing out mindlessly and repetitively to an essentially unknown audience.
As soon as I saw all the repeat tweets, I un-followed this user. The funny thing here is that I’m actually interested in some of the topics he’s covering. But his behavior smells like spam.
Moral of the story? Old methods may not work in new media.
This is an apocryphal quote – and I can’t find the source – but I’ve heard Alexandra Samuel talk about the default state of a social media marketing campaign being “fail” … mostly because it ain’t easy.
Lack of planning for the inevitable sticky situations that will arise
Quitting after the first failure … “we tried that, it didn’t work”
The reality is the same one facing those who want to get rich quick, become famous quick, become an instant expert, or go from 90-pound weakling to 240-pound Schwarzenegger: it does occasionally happen, but only fools plan on it.
Social media marketing campaigns that are successful over the long term arise out of a company culture, mission, and vision that is conducive to openness, creativity, responsiveness, humor, and change. This takes time. This takes effort. It’s not as easy has hiring an SEO firm and writing a check.
The biggest clue
Successful social media marketing campaigns aren’t campaigns at all. What do I mean?
I’m simply saying that they’re not episodic, they’re not short-term, and they’re not something that you can pick and one day and throw away another day … like a magazine ad or a TV spot.
Successful social media marketing, like all great marketing, tells a story that draws in an authentic way on the larger, longer story of a company or organization. It’s a chapter in a book, an act in a play. There was one before, there’ll be one after.
The biggest question – as in all marketing – becomes: is your organization’s story worth listening to?
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr win big when celebrities participate; no wonder they’re wooing famous users.
While it’s self-evident that fans follow stars … it’s also obvious that many joiners are also quitters. I was wondering if the masses of extra users that flood on to an online service are major contributors to social network drop-out.
Currently, more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent.
Turns out the Ashton Kutcher effect is NOT related to the poor Twitter retention numbers. As Nielsen discovered by tracking users during and after the Oprah experiment,
For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention.
In fact, Ashton Kutcher and Oprah are contributing to social media stickiness and enhancing retention.
Alas and alack! What are we social media aficionados to do?
Apparently our passions are curbing our potential – heavy Facebook use translates into a grade level drop at the college level.
We knew that, though. After all, if you’re taking your attention away from your studies, or work, something is going to suffer.
Here’s the best part of the article:
If you use Facebook, you are probably driven by the inane status updates that spew out of your friends across your pages. The joy of a muffin, the pictures of a party where everyone got drunk and dressed up like a slutty leprechaun, and the obligatory question that hopes to solicit a comment because you want to make sure someone in your network is reading your pathetic attempts at making the minutiae of your existence seem interesting. It is the equivalent of Vogon poetry, odes to green putty found in one’s arm putty.
To understand the Vogon poetry bit, you’d have to read some Douglas Adams. But anyone can enjoy the “pathetic attempts at making the minutiae of your existence seem interesting.” Love it!
Well, Billy Bob (it’s difficult to take anyone with who retains that moniker as an adult seriously) had a bit of a trantrum on camera during an interview with Jian Ghomeshi, host of the CBC radio show Q. Ghomeshi mentioned – horror of horrors – that BB had a previous career in acting. BB’s response was to reprise Joaquin Phoenix’s disastrous Letterman appearance, answering “I don’t know” to questions as obvious as how long the band has been together, and going on a long monologue about a toy building magazine he read as a child when asked what his musical preferences were.
Watch the whole trainwreck interview here:
After bad-mouthing Canadian audiences – and just clearly being a petulant jerk during the interview – Billy Bob was booed at his first Canadian show.
Now, he’s pulled out of all the remaining Canadian dates:
Billy Bob Thornton — who hit a sour note during a disastrous CBC radio interview Wednesday — has cancelled his band’s remaining Canadian shows.
Whatever the impact of those shows, and whatever the impact of BB’s performance on Canadian fans and audiences … the bigger impact is probably south of the border, where the YouTube video is also getting major attention. Many of the comments on the Q blog are obviously from Americans. The YouTube video already has almost 1.2 million views.
Way to go, Billy. Life is lived in public these days … and a moment’s bad temper can color people’s impressions of you for a long time.
Read the article for the full details – it’s great. And the results are coming too. I connected with Tom today, and he says that the opportunities are rolling in – only 3 days after being laid off!
Of course, not everyone has over 500 connections on LinkedIn or 2000+ followers on Twitter. Still, there’s a lot to be learned from Tom’s actions … especially that the time to work on your network is before you need it!
The fact is, Perez Hilton is a fantastic success story. According to Saric, here’s how he got there:
Find a topic there is an audience for
Find a topic you have passion for
Do not censor yourself
Experiment with the blog monetization
Expand your blog
More details and expansion of each of those points in the original post – if you’re a blogger, I recommend you read them.
A couple of provisos:
Be careful about the no censorship rule
If your blog is not where you make your money, be careful. It can have a backlash with colleagues, your boss, organization, or family. My advice: don’t write anything you don’t want even one person you care about knowing. That includes your boss!
Be careful about being provocative
If you’re writing a trashy celebrity blog, maybe that’s a good rule. It’s probably not quite as good an idea, however, if you’re writing a legal blog, a business blog, or diplomatic blog. Sure, you want to be interesting. But it’s never a good idea to go out of your way to insult, disparage, or denigrate others. And picking fights simply in an attempt to be interesting is juvenile and likely to backfire.
Being careful may not be the way to create exceptional art. But it does have some advantages in building relationships and getting things done.
However, Twitter is the runaway winner in unbelievable growth rates. While it’s growing from a smaller base, and therefore it’s easier to get a higher multiple, a growth rate of almost 1400% annually is just astounding.
This is a getting to be a more and more common story …
My wife just came back from her work, where a co-worker who was off “sick” was busted for actually spending the week in Cancun. Naturally, it was discovered because she was posting on Facebook the entire time. Now as a result of her duplicity, she’s out of a job.
Somehow people still seem to think that they can separate various facets of their lives. What we’re actually seeing, for good or ill, is that work/life/career/leisure and everything else is getting mixed up in one big bowl. And, courtesy of Google, data that is somewhere … quickly becomes data that is everywhere.
You would think by now people would start to have realized this …
OK. So you’ve launched your new social-viral-mashable-linked-web2.0-connected web place, and you’re tracking a million metrics. Which ones should you actually be paying attention to? Those are your Key Performance Indicators.
As Rhian James at FreshNetworks mentioned in a comment on my recent post about measuring social media marketing efforts, that’s really the key. Burying yourself in a mound of data is unproductive; knowing which data tracks progress to your critical initiatives is pure gold.
FreshNetworks posted on this topic on their blog, and created a valuable SlideShare presentation illuminating the difference:
Measuring the results of social media marketing efforts has been challenging to say the least.
Five or six years ago, when I was helping start-ups put blogging campaigns together to kindle the development of user communities, I didn’t really have a clear idea how to measure ROI. About the only things we measured were visits and sales … which wasn’t too bad, but was only a very small part of the story. And based on our unsophisticated set-up (plus lack of Google Analytics) we really had no clue what the connection between visits and sales exactly was.
Today there are plenty of other ways to measure social media marketing results. Here are just a few, starting with quantitative measures:
YouTube views & subscribers
If you’re doing anything on YouTube, the obvious measures are:
How many times your videos have been viewed
How many people have subscribed to your channel (you did create a channel, right?)
A less obvious measure is the number of comments on your videos. While you’re checking that, be sure to get a sense of the overall tenor of the comments: are they positive, negative, or lukewarm?
Del.icio.us bookmarks of your page
If you’re creating valuable content – and you’re sharing it properly with the world, and have sprinkled some magic pixie dust on it – you’re going to get some attention. A good measure of how valuable the content is is whether people care enough about it to bookmark it and share it on Delicious or other social bookmarking sites. If the answer is zero … reconsider your content, approach, or both.
Number of references on Digg
Along the same lines as Delicious … if people care about your content, they’ll save it and promote it on Digg, StumbleUpon, and other similar sites.
Search engine rank
This is probably the most obvious ranking measure, period, and it correlates strongly with your ability to do something interesting enough and remarkable enough for people to actually want to link to it. But it’s not just the obvious search on your name … while you’re checking your search engine rank, you want to look at …
Name – how you rank for your company name and brand names
Good keywords – how you rank for keywords that you think people will use to find services like yours … for example … hawaii flights for Hawaiian Airlines
Bad keywords – how you rank for bad keywords, ones you don’t want to be associated with your company … such as worst airline ever, or lemon, if you’re a car manufacturer
Is traffic to your website going up? And/or, are you getting higher quality traffic that stays longer, looks at more, and converts better? You can use Google Analytics for free, or other stats packages. Some of the metrics you want to be tracking are:
Frequency of visits per user
Time spent on site
Number of pages visited per visitor
Leads generated (total, and per visitor)
Sales (total, and per visitor)
Note: if you’re not actually selling something, substitute whatever it is you want users to do … your conversion goals … for “sales.”
How many people think your material is good enough to want more, on a regular basis. These people will subscribe to your RSS feed, or your email list to be updated when a new post comes out. Note: Feedburner is a good service for this.
When you post on your blog, or on whatever service you use, how many comments are you getting?
Followers on Twitter
You are on Twitter, right? Does anybody care? Find out by starting to track:
Number of RTs – how many are re-tweeting your posts?
Number of DMs – how many are interested enough to direct message you?
Followers – as mentioned above, how many followers you have
Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, etc.
How many people have friended you on social networks? If you’ve started groups, how many people have joined? Of the people that have friended you or joined your group, how many are actively engaged – listening and talking?
More qualitative ….
That’s a fairly quantitative list, but there are some qualitative questions to ask as well.
Are we seen as experts in our industry?
Do we get mentioned/cited when people are talking about our industry?
What is the quality of interaction we’re seeing in all the above places?
In the final analysis …
… there is no final analysis. Social media marketing, is, after all, marketing. As such, there is very rarely a one-to-one correlation between input and output.
The reality, however, is that your ability to connect with clients depends on your online footprint, and the quality of your online presence. Are you findable online? Are you where your clients are, online? And if they search for you, do you have both a big enough and targeted enough Google footprint that they can easily find you?
Your online success, and increasingly your business success, relies on the answers to those questions.
Just like launching your website or start-up too early, being too eager to be a big swinging you-know-what on Twitter can be a fatal flaw.
Check out this Twitter account that I was invited to follow yesterday:
There’s an obvious discrepancy here. When you follow someone on Twitter, they are likely going to take a look at your past tweets to see if you might be someone they want to follow. If you have no history, people have no data. And what happens in the absence of data? You guessed it – not much at all.
So in other words, by “launching” too early … drawing attention to yourself by following people … you’ve done yourself a disservice.
Do yourself a favor instead. Learn Twitter (or any other social application you’re testing), develop some history, put out some data … and then start following people.
The unfortunate part is that this looks like a legit person or organization (unlike the vast proliferation of spam get-rich-quick accounts on Twitter lately) but they will not get the consideration they might deserve, simply because of a bit of over-eagerness.
When things are mashable, they will be mashed. Unfortunately, that means that users sometimes have mashed potatoes instead of baked.
Which isn’t a problem, of course, if you like mashed. But sometimes – and this is an example – mashed leads to issues. Notice the multiple duplicate posts:
I like Friendfeed, but mostly feed it on autopilot from Twitter and other services.. So, apparently, do others. When multiple services have the same information, and they’re all reporting it in … there’s a problem. I’ve seen the same problem on FaceBook … multiple feeds of the same event, leading to a low signal-to-noise ratio.
Social networks are going to need to be more careful about what they consume as feeds and inputs. Some kind of duplication filter would be an excellent idea. Obviously, the trick would be not getting any false positives and deleting important data.
The reality of the social media landscape today is that there are hundreds of networks, many interconnected in complex ways via APIs, RSS, and other protocols. While there will be some degree of consolidation in social networks, people are going to continue to join multiple networks in an attempt to be where the action is.
Networks like Friendfeed and Facebook, therefore, will have to find ways to filter the duplicates.
I’ve been using Twitter for probably over a year. But I’ve really only being using Twitter for perhaps 3 months.
In that time, there’s a few things that I think would add huge value to Twitter:
Yeah I know it’s a river. But some rivers have tributaries, channels, and eddies. Some of them are even dammed. And it’d be nice to have some context for your latest tweet: “Need help with my current project.”
Look, there are some people we follow because we know them. Some we follow because we think they’re interesting and make us smarter. Some we follow because they’re famous, and everyone else is doing it anyways. And some we follow just because they followed us.
I’d like to be able to categorize followers – and people I’m following. Better yet, do it for me: geographically, by industry … and let me tag them.
Space for URLs
Every single web address on every single profile is cut off. When it’s ubiquitous, you know you’re doing something wrong.
Quoted messages for DMs
I know I already have context down, but it’s a particular problem for direct messaging. When someone says “I have a new red door,” and I DM 2 hours later “Interesting, how big is it?” … how on earth do they know what I’m talking about?
Right now, I want to send a message to a Twitter feed I’m following for a conference. I know it starts with W … but I don’t remember the exact name. How can I find it today? Only by tediously paging through lists of result pages. And they’re not even alphabetical! So I have to do a search of ALL Twitter users to find the one I want … and it’s only even possible because I happen to know most of the username.
I think I’d even settle for sortable following/follower lists …
I’m not in the make-Twitter-do-everything camp. It’s simple, and that’s great. But would just a few more features to improve the signal-to-noise ratio be so bad?
Letting everyone know where you are whenever you are there, however, might have a few hazards. Everything, after all, is now mashable:
And location info gets around. The first time I saw my home address on Facebook, I jumped—because I never posted it there. Then I realized it was because I had signed up for Whrrl. Like many other geosocial applications, Whrrl lets you cross-post to the microblogging platform Twitter. Twitter, in turn, gets piped to all sorts of other places. So when I updated my location in Whrrl, the message leaped first to Twitter and then to Facebook and FriendFeed before landing on my blog, where Google indexed it. By updating one small app on my iPhone, I had left a giant geotagged footprint across the Web.
The slide I recently put together of 5 years of Add New Post in WordPress (from Ozh’s blog) hit the home page on SlideShare:
(I wish I had grabbed a screen image while it was the first one, but hey … you have to sleep. By the time I grabbed it this morning it was way down low, and I was forced to stitch a couple of screenshots together. Hence the double scroll bar!)
I’m seeing Twitter’s fail whale more and more lately:
Twitter has been MUCH better the past few months, but I guess the relentless growth – up about a million users in the last 3 months – is starting to take its toll again.
Planning for incessant growth is not easy … I recently met a Google engineer who works on Gmail on a flight who had some interesting thoughts. “Up and to the right,” he called it, referring to increasing traffic graphed over time.
Hopefully Twitter’s technical gurus can start to manage the growth curve better. Meanwhile we can all join the Fail Whale club.
A truly wonderful part of any user-generated social community is the Jupiter-sized amount of spam that kamikazes towards the site like John Daly to the pro club bar.
Twitter, a social messaging site, is not immune. That won’t shock anyone in the social media know, but I gained a new appreciation for the spam-friendliness of Twitter when nerkaszs followed me.
This is a person with 27 updates, each of which follows the exact same format: “I just updated my Squidoo page: [ link to page ].”
This is obviously a borderline spam account, with no real personal info or valuable knowledge transfer on any particularly discernible topic. This is purely and simply an SEO play on Squidoo lenses that nerkaszs has built and presumably collects some PPC income on.
So why would anyone follow this account? Anyone who takes 5 seconds to actually look at it will drop it faster than a bar of soap on a string in a prison shower.
The answer is the secret to Twitter’s Spamability Quotient: 39%. Many Twitter users automatically follow anyone who follows them. There are a variety of ways, including this one that Dave Taylor explains.
I’m guessing the TSQ is about 39% … based simply on nerkaszs‘s stats. Whoever Nerk is, she/he/it follows (yeah right) 918 people and has suckered 360 people into following (repeat yeah right) him/her/it. Do the math and you’ve got 39% of all people who are followed who will automatically reciprocate.
And that number says interesting things about spammers’ ability to use Twitter as a reproducible loudspeaker.
He’s hardly an unbiased source, but I like how the new CEO of LinkedIn defines three of social networking’s heavyweights:
“LinkedIn is the office, Facebook is the barbecue in the backyard, and MySpace is the bar,” says Hoffman, referring to the three major social-networking sites battling it out for millions of consumers and billions of dollars in online ads.
Rings true with me.
LinkedIn is where I connect with business professionals, contacts, co-workers, and partners. Facebook is for friends, acquaintances, and old classmates. MySpace … I’m not sure if I remember my MySpace login information. (Perhaps that says something about me as a married 30-something with kids!)