Weathermen, accountability and analytics

Cars are backed up, stores are packed and all people are talking about is snow.  Well at least here in Boston, today.  Boston, a city which on average has 22 days of snow each and every year still gets thrown for a loop every time it snows.

No Need to be Accurate

It is no secret that people take shots at weathermen all the time for getting the forecast wrong.  No one takes into account all the variables in predicting the weather.  I am not sticking up for weathermen, I wish I had a job where I can be right, for what feels like only 50% of the time, but if someone on the weather.com says it’s going to start raining at 7a and it doesn’t start till 8a, it really hard to fault them. I am talking about days like today where the local weather literally said “over the next 48 hours Boston will get somewhere between a dusting and a foot”.  I mean seriously?  Thanks.

But then it hit me.  Accuracy, accountability – weathermen aren’t really held to those two words, but those are the things that people love and FEAR in regards to social media and digital all together. Your analytics are there in plain sight, people can see your work and the results. No longer can you over-promise but under-deliver.  When a campaign is over the numbers are there and numbers don’t lie. In some regard it takes the  back-end emotion and salesmanship out of the equation.

So unlike weathermen if we work on social media/digital campaigns we can’t forecast with a low percentages of being right.

Key Metrics

Trying to figure out what the key metrics in regards to social media isn’t as easy as it seems.  So I spoke with “the specialist”: Al Beuscher, Web Guy.   We went back and forth and came up with this hit list:

  • likes
  • followers
  • referral traffic /click-throughs
  • comment activity
  • inbound traffic
  • rise in traffic (3 months before the campaign compared to 3 months after)

Tools to measure analytics

Then you need to know where to all those beautiful numbers; charts, data, graphs, etc, are to be found and how to get them.

There are many other metrics and many other tools to analyze them, yet this is a good start.  If you can develop plans and goals based on patterns and facts you will succeed.

 

 

 

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Marketers, are you helping your sales team sell Social Media?

It’s the last day of my quick Florida getaway. We did have some sun today, but we have had many more clouds. It has given me a lot of time to read and look at stats that I normally wouldn’t be able to do. Last week I installed Buffer on everything I could and now can schedule tweets during peak times, space them out and even better, look at the clicks that the links in the tweets get. I have noticed something amazing or shall I say controversial. I have noticed that tweets about sales training and tips for the business of sales in regards to social media, don’t get many clicks. Whereas tweets aimed at the marketing of brands through social media get many. I may be biased because I am a Marketing guy, but it appears from my limited research and even smaller sample that the marketers are much more comfortable about Social Media as part of their craft than the sales professionals are. I know, BIG Statement, pitting Marketing against sales, but seriously that is not what I am doing. I think it is our job as brand cultivators to continue to pump info to our sales forces, take away the mystical names and acronyms and simply show them why they should sell things and how they can generate revenue. Plain and simple social media can and should be sold AND you can make money doing it. We, as marketers know this, it is our job to strip away the mystique and constantly deliver materials regarding social media to our sales teams, that make them comfortable with pitching, talking about and selling it. Think of it as the same way you had to sell your boss or CEO why you needed a budget for a blogger, SEO or a .com team. Here are a few links to help you out: How to make a sale using social media How to Sell Social Media Marketing to Your Boss How to Sell Anything Using Social Media How To Explain Social Media with Donuts Happy teaching! 20120227-132041.jpg

Is Social Media the next “Great City” of the world?

Dr. Carl Sagan once said “You have to know the past to understand the present”. With the said one of the great cities of the world would be Rome, especially during the peak of the Roman Empire. Rome believed in a civilized city where the success of people was judged on what city they lived in. Here is an excerpt from Roman Society, Roman Life “Romans were after all social creatures, which craved being part of a society. The truly civilized citizen had to be more than educated or successful. No, in the Roman mind set it was necessary to belong. The Roman needed a community, a family, or at least a group of friends around him. No better place was there for this than the city.”
The minute I read this I thought, this is Facebook and it was MySpace, as I thought about it more, it is every social media site. So instead of separating by brand and .com I starting thinking of Social Media as a whole, basically a city or even empire. Now I am not comparing Mark Zuckerberg to Julius Caeser , yet his vision of Facebook did and does have some similarities.
The problem with all great cities, societies and civilizations is they eventually fall.
What are the key factors for their fail and how can the current leaders in this evolution of social media prolong their empires.
Many say, amongst other things four main factors in the fall of Rome were decadence, monetary troubles, military problems and the incompetence of leadership.
So if we look at these individually what can we learn?
* decadence – this is a tough one to avoid, success breeds it, it also breeds greed – straying so far from the core and adding feature after to feature till basically the original fantastic product is diluted away
* monetary troubles – ROI, law suites, patents, pay-offs – these are all very common terms in the land of the social media giants. Eventually it becomes simply too expensive to run the empire the way it needs to be run for it to be fantastic
* military problems – security – security of the products, security of the proprietary information and security of holding on the key minds/employees
* incompetent leadership – everyone things they can be a Biz Stone, Reid Hoffman or Sean Parker but it just isn’t true. No matter what your mamma tells you not everyone is a revolutionary who has the IQ, wherewithal and collateral to be successful at their own start up. Yet with every bad social media site and failure, it takes away confidence in the strong ones.
So perhaps we don’t live in a time where our lives are defined by the city we live in or in a ten mile radius but tell me the last time you spoke to someone and they didn’t ask you what your Twitter name was or how to find you on Facebook or LinkedIn. Maybe today’s civilization has only adapted and not really progressed much from the days of the ancient civilizations.

esful at their own start up.

Social Media for Boomers and up

Got on a flight last night from Boston to Florida for a long weekend, some r&r and maybe a little sun. First experience on JetBlue and with POPCORNERS great flight and great, yet unknown snack food.
Florida is the land of gators, the TV show COPS and America’s retirement community. With that and sound cloudy weather I had an epiphany. I spent most of the morning with Nana Betty we discussed the NY Times recent article about OnLive Plus, her Facebook account, Wi-Fi, the cloud and her daily lessons at the Genius bar at the local Apple store. Fairly normal conversation with my wife and friends but Nana was born in 1929. So that got me thinking, mostly every post, blog and tweet I read is aimed at youth or at least Gen X or Y, what about the Boomers and beyond? The great philosopher, John Capuano, tells me the importance of spending power of the Boomers. He talks about the size of that population and the liquidity of their wealth. So let’s take it one step further what is their impact on Social Media? Your Grandmother is not only looking at pics of her grandkids when she is on Facebook.
So who is focusing social media efforts on this huge segment of the population. In 2010 65+ accounted for almost 39 million people in the US, which is 12.8% of the entire US population.
There are a few:
eons – which calls itself an “online community for BOOMers”
AARP
My Boomer Place – focusing on the 50, 60 and 70+ year old traveler
Baby Boomer Headquarters – looks like a tourist shop for Boomers
But really, search the keywords “social media” and “baby boomers” or “retired” you won’t see much. Many of the articles are from ’07 and ’08. There were a few good posts from last fall; a good piece called “Pressed” from Portfoilio.com and a post on Marketing Conversation
The Boomers and up are basically a marketing after thought in the hi-tech, flashy, YOUNG world of Social Media, yet don’t tell them that because they are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as other sites with adolescent type vigor and reckless abandon. What are you doing the engage them through Social Media?
Well I need to go, it’s after 5p and I am late for the blue plate special (sarcasm).

Do you know what either an Interest Graph or SMID are?

For every bit of learning or advancement in technology I conquer, or shall I say feel comfortable with, there is a new term or phrase that comes along that gives me a feeling of SMID or Social Media Inadequacy Disorder. Yes, you can tell I am part of the new media forefront because now I have made up my own abbreviation or is it term or perhaps acronym?

But honestly I came across a term today that was brand new to me, Interest Graph.  To me, a new term, but not for everyone.  In November of 2010 the Assetmap Blog posted a blog titled Why the Interest Graph Will Reshape Social Networks (and the next generation of internet business). In there it says ” In a great post on TechCrunch in October, Naval Ravikant and Adam Rifkin articulated the difference between the “social graph” (the network of people you know personally) and the “interest graph” (the network of people who share interests with you, but who you don’t necessarily know personally). If Facebook is the service with the internet’s most complete (visible) social graph, Twitter is the service with the internet’s most complete (visible) interest graph. “Following” a person — even one you don’t know — is an affirmation of your interest in their insights and recommendations. “Friending” someone is simply an act of acknowledging an existing relationship, that in many cases, has more to do with a previous shared experience (think: your freshman dorm) than with a really active shared interest.”

So I searched a little more and found three more, what I consider very strong posts:

So fire up the Google searches and start to master your understanding and position on the Interest Graph.

Cave Paintings, Clip Art and Infographics

As long as humans have roamed the earth there have been people who have used visuals to get their point across. What I don’t know is have these been done to help people get important points across in an easier visual fashion or is it more to throw it in the faces of people like myself who poses absolutely no artistic ability at all.  In a huge timeline skip we will move from the cave paintings of Chauvet to Clip Art.  Who can forget how great it was to be able to add arrows, stop signs and pie charts in full color to any document or presentation.  If you were really talented you could animate them and have things flying on and off the screen or even blinking. Who can forget the click, click, click space bar sound as a presenter would build momentum by adding one element to a page at a time as he or she built to their  pièce de résistance.

Those days are gone.  If you want to make a point and either explain it further or simply just blow someone away visually you need to get on the infographic gravy train.  Infographics are no longer just for your web developer or design team, and not just for the boardroom.  Infographics are the current currency, the “right now” visual zenith.

But where do you start and what makes a good Infographic? Well according to the folks at Blueglass there are 6 key factors:

  1. Design
  2. Data
  3. Clever Visualizations
  4. Point of View
  5. Location, Location, Location’
  6. Shareability

If you need to actually look at infographics to get inspired and see what you should aspire to I would either check out the Cool Infographics blog or the Good: Infographics website.

There are even Infographics about Infographics – thank you Ivan Cash!

The when you build up the courage and actually want to start making/designing you can either check out spryestudios – The Anatomy of an Infographic: 5 Steps to Create a Powerful Visual or Queness – How To Design Your Own Infographics.

The other thing that makes Infographics so cool, is that the word itself doesn’t even really exist.  Seriously, type it in on dictionary.com or type it in a blog as many times as I did in this one and watch that squiggly red line underline it every time you do.

 

Facebook: Better with Tom Brady or BP at Fenway Park

There are some discussions I get into at work where I realize how great the GREAT parts of my job actually are.  Today’s clambake was: what will get more people to Like us on Facebook, a Tom Brady autographed football OR a chance to take batting practice at Fenway Park.

We are somewhat taking a “just bring the people to the party” approach in regards to growing our Facebook Likes.  We work really hard at both keeping them there as well as creating true engagement through interactions and best practices. We are working with a vendor named Second Street who amongst many other things has a turn-key like-gated product, that you can drop onto Facebook.

I read a good blog by “The Management” called Facebook Likes: Quantity vs. Quality where the writer says “If you run a campaign to generate Likes, make sure you have a plan to engage them afterwards.” That is what it is all about.  So many social media snobs look down upon tactics which “just” grow your Facebook Likes. Why? Yes if you do nothing with them once they come that is a shame, but who does that?  So if you are one of those people, like me, who sometimes has to focus on “just” increasing your Facebook Likes, don’t be ashamed, just make sure you have a plan afterwards to engage them.  If you would like some tips on how to do this, or just want a refresher check out the posting by Mashable called: How To Improve Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page created from a report from Buddy Media.

In only a week we have already increased our Likes by over 3% while keeping our interaction level over 16%! Yet, I still don’t know what is a better incentive the autographed Brady football or batting practice at Fenway.