Posts Tagged ‘myspace’

Your Social Media Influence

May 9, 2010

Something I spend time thinking about is how to gauge influence on social networks and how to gauge the impact social networks have in propagating ideas, content and ultimately in the commercial sense–clicks.

In full disclosure, I think about this from two perspectives-1) as a professional working at CBS News and charged with helping to grow audience in no small part by leveraging social networks and 2) as a straight up user of social media who would love for people to be active on this blog, view my You Tube channel (maybe not that so much) etc.

So, I can go into my Twitter and be pleasantly surprised that I have 1200+ followers. I can go onto Facebook and see that I have 700+ friends.  I can go onto Plurk and realize I have 150+ fans and friends.  I can hit up Friend Feed and see 350+ friends.  But what does it all mean, outside of the fact that I am not the only one with too much free time? (As an aside, one day I would love to figure out how much overlap there is).

So, the question then is I am able to reach 2500+ people on any one of several social networks, but what do they think of my message?  and how do I measure the value of my contributions? And then how does the way I influence my network mimic the way CBS News Twitter influences the 1.5 million followers it has, or the 73,000+ that Katie Couric has on her follower list (after all this is my bread and butter, right?)

For that answer, fortunately the smart folks at the Harvard Business Review have some thoughts, and its more than just a straight up numbers game.  HBR did a follow-up on some great thoughts and research by Adi Avint from August 2009.  His “Million Followers Fallacy” post opines that just the number of followers a user has is not a true indication of their reach.  Yes, a million people may read your thoughts 140 characters at a time–but given the nature of Twitter, probably not.

Instead, HBR suggests looking more at @ mentions and re-tweets as a better gauge of influence.  Meeyoung Cha opines that follower count as a stand-alone metric is a popularity contest, and not a true measure of influence.

follower count is not sufficient to capture the influence of a user (i.e., the ability of an user to sway the opinions of her followers). It only shows how popular the user is (i.e., the size of her audience). But, as we showed in our paper, retweets and mentions, which measure the audience responsiveness to a user’s tweets, do not correlate strongly with number of followers.

I have long argued that Twitter is more about conversation-and being responsive to what the people I follow post and more importantly be able to control the information flow that I consumer and tap into a stream of personal interest.  That can be Mets updates from a variety of sources, or the latest on the Islanders–the value of Twitter to me is the connection to information I am searching for, in real-time and in a passive state (all I have to do is open up a Twitter client on my laptop or mobile device).

Now I work for a major mass media news organization–and there is little doubt of the influence that CBS News will have on today’s news and ongoing stories throughout the news cycle.  But for me, Twitter (and the others listed) are more about niche topics and that is where the true value of Twitter comes from.

Cha says early research shows smaller publishers and smaller business-not just collecting followers have a competitive advantage:

But when it comes to non-popular or even niche topics, small businesses and opinion leaders were far more effective in engaging audience than mass media.

But the true measure of influence is still a work in progress.  Twitter is an easy study because of the open nature of the platform–but is simply counting RT’s and @’s enough to say “A” is more influential than “C”?  Because it’s a matter of what the interaction is.

The interesting Twitter data though comes from a different (June 2009) HBR study–the 10% most prolific Twitter users are responsible for 90% of the Tweets.

Which can lead to an easy conclusion that Twitter is a great content filter, able to sort through a cacophony of data.  Yes, some of it is gossipy, and yes there are still those who want (or need) the validation of the million follower club…

But the goal has to be engagement–both personally and professionally.  Imagine the folks at NASCAR if they read my Tweet taking a swipe at NASCAR:

Kind of a NASCAR in suburbia feel, no? http://mypict.me/6E8p73:11 PM May 2nd via UberTwitter

Knowing their social media strategy is to fan me up–and follow me?

It’s not the follower count, but the message.  As Mel Karmazin once said (in my presence at a meeting), “Content is King,” it’s up to us to maximize its value–and engage our audience.

SEO or SNO

March 24, 2010

A few days ago I was part of an interesting discussion (while I was at work it was not directly about what I do) about the value and importance of SEO (search engine optimization for the uninitiated) and emerging value of SNO (social network optimization-could I be coining that one?).

Contextually, if you have a website, blog or some other kind of online presence-the traffic you derive from people either hitting a bookmark or typing your URL into a browser is not all that valuable.  The reason being that you have a core audience, and that is really not going anywhere.  The traffic your derive from someone finding your content from a search engine though is new to you, and a chance to grow your audience–and increase your reach.

There are very specific strategies you can take to optimized your content to index better on search engines–this is a science after all.  If you are able to get into the 70% range of traffic from search engine referrals, you are in pretty good shape–this means when someone opens Google, Yahoo, Bing etc and enters a search term you get a click.  If your content is good, perhaps three or four clicks.

And the analytics for referral traffic is pretty mature.  You know which search engines work for you, which pieces of content index best and which terms are driving into your site.

Social networks though are a little tougher to predict.  The analytics side on referrals is solid, but the variables are in the way URLs are crafted for social networks and the way they are shared.

I read recently (in an email from a friend) that one of the networks drives eight click throughs for every piece of content that is posted on Facebook.  Think about that math for a moment. One million people see a specific piece of content and 10% share it with their Facebook wall.  So 100,000 Facebook posts are generated from a piece of content.  Eight people click on each of those 100k postings-generating 800,000 new visitors to your site.  You have almost doubled your audience by doing nothing more than having a piece of content that your customers want to share. (This math does not include any clicks generated from your Facebook Fan Page).

So, now the subjective question, how do you optimize for social networks–and should you optimize for every social network or focus on one or two?

Since people who write blogs like these like to create lists of best practices here’s mine on this question:

  1. Understand your audience.  Know the demographic and make up of your audience.  This will help you make the right choice on which social networks you should focus on.
  2. Automating links and sharing them to Twitter and Facebook is simply social network clutter.  Get real people to engage with your content and share it.  Those real people can be you and your team-but this is social networks and people who use them don’t want to “bott’d” to.
  3. Be active–on Twitter RT someone’s posting of your content, on Facebook comment (don’t just like) someone’s posting.  Help foster your community.

The Social Network v Google

October 30, 2009

So lately I have come to realize that I can get better information (and get it faster)  by tossing a question out to my social network than I can get by doing a Google search.  It makes me wonder if there is some real possibility that my social network will replace Google as a core source–and probably sooner rather than later.

A lot of brands are spending a lot of money to “work the system” and be in the top three results for Google.  These strategies include among other things SEO, buying keywords and keyword optimization in metadata on sites.

Or, I can just float a Tweet, or post to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace all at once–and sit back and wait.  Generally speaking in the time it would take me to go through the paid placements on Google and get the information I am looking for–I not only have the data I am looking for, but I have a link that is on point for my query.

Try it yourself.

My case study was a search for cool extensions for Google Wave–I am determined to truly figure out how to make Wave work for me and make it a cool experience (this is a subject for another blog perhaps-but I think the framework is there, just need to figure out what to do with it).

As my list of Wave contacts grows–its kind of interesting to see how people are using the product–and how they are innovating within the environment.

 

Looking Ahead-Its that Time

August 18, 2009

So I have to admit, being in the media and journalism business-the election cycle is actually kind of a fun time.  There is so much happening, and it all matters.  I have worked in the most local of local radio stations, to stations that are “as local as local news gets” to networks (three times)–and all of the elections are important.

So, with that thought process-and some interesting thoughts from a buddy of mine Heather Kovar- checck out her blog here or follow @hrkovar on Twitter here-2010 will be an interesting year for applied social media.  And for those who like to watch-see what works and how it works now, because 2012 will be downright fascinating.

Now, Heather has a pretty good beat on beat on the local scene-especially in Connecticut where she works-and you can see the sheer volume of Twitter and Facebook users who are either in or running for office.

Add to that some of the early favorites for 2012 already staking out ground on social media-Sarah Palin is not shy about sharing on Twitter. Barack Obama is active as well.  Don’t discount Mike Bloomberg (the NYC Mayor) as a player in 2012.

Right now, its “experimental” for the politicians.  But wait as the stakes go up–and the attention grows.  Admit it, you dabble in the space if not go full frontal.  After all-Jet Blue announced the single fare for September travel on Twitter.  American Airlines ran a whole contest on Facebook where tens of thousands (including me) offered names for their Facebook app. (just a mention to the AA folks, it would be nice if they set up a better URL for their fan page. Its two clicks on Facebook).

Think this all goes unoticed? Nope. Not even a little.

Its a simple formula.  I have 600+ plus friends on Facebook (you can always friend me up) and just shy of 1100 on Twitter (follow me there) plus more on Plurk, Bright  Kite and MySpace.

In social media 1.5, this is where the people are.

Social media 2.0 is bringing your content to the people–see what Huffington Post did today-with the huge Facebook integration.  This is just the start.  Its not about what you read and where you read it–its about where you get to what you read.  That’s the eyeballs that we all seek, and the decisions we make are geared toward making that a straight up user experience.

Despite all the options, when communication breaks downs

July 22, 2009

I consider myself to be a pretty connected dude. Perhaps too connected. After all, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Plurk, FriendFeed, Linkahollicks, BriteKite, Hi5, LinkedIn etc-and those are the easy ones.  Then there is all Digg, Social Median, Xing, Delicious and other sharing sites that I am at least semi-active on.

For the most part, I do this for professional reasons. Although in someways its overkill, in other ways, its part of my job to understand what these sites do, how people use them–and more importantly if there is a way to use them to grow the sites I am responsible for.

Yet somehow, in all of this–I can easily forget to simply communicate with the people around me who I care for.  Case in point, my “lunch” today. Lunch is in quotes because there was not a lot of  eating going on.

Someone was surprised that I had a MySpace account, and I realized that I had told her that I was thinking about setting one up–but did not tell her I would.

Its an odd kind of thing–because this is someon I text with all the time, see regularly, and chat with via email, IM and on Facebook….yet, until just now I had not friended her up on MySpace.

Now yes, she could have friended me–but regardless–while I over communicate in so many ways when it comes down to the ability to actually talk with someone, I have a great ability to under-communicate.

So does all of this two way BS make it tougher to actually talk to someone?

Recently someone asked me how Twitter was different than Facebook status–and my answer was that Twitter was a two way conversation while Facebook status is a broadcast.

But sometimes I guess its important to broadcast what you are doing–because in doubt lies worry and in worry lies the seeds of concern…and in reality, we all have too much to worry about and be concerned about, that something simple should not be on the list.

IRL: In Real Life

May 14, 2009

Way back in the beginning of internet time, when AOL saturated the country with software discs, a lesson was learned by many of the early adopters–you could kind of become almost anyone and hide behind your keyboard.

 

Makes a nice coaster

Makes a nice coaster

I started thinking about this a couple of days ago when first I was reading about the squad the goes through all of the video and pictures posted on Facebook each day to make sure there is no porn or other objectionable material–that would cut into profits.  Then on Tuesday night I was out with two friends and we go to talking about Facebook–and I was reminded of this clip from a few years ago-when Facebook becomes real.

I dug that clip out this morning and posted it to my FB page.  Feel free to friend me up if we are not friends there yet.

Now that FB clip is not unlike a more recent item about Twittering in real life from our pals at College humor.

Of course, if you are not following me on Twitter feel free to jump in there as well.

The reason for all this nostalgia though is real.  Because you can’t hide behind the keyboard any longer.  All of what we put out into the world-cyber and IRL is out there and searchable and you can be held accountable for it.  So much like what you put in email, if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times-don’t put it on the internet.

You think these guys really thoguht they would be fired? Probably not, but still they put it out there and paid the price.

And there are more cases–like getting fired for a 140 character Tweet even just being critical can get you in trouble .

So yeah, its great to have the freedom to self publish on a blog like this one, or on Twitter, plurk or anywhere else.  But it comes with the responsibility to self moderate-or face the consequences because no matter what we do, we are IRL.

Social Media is Like Sex

May 8, 2009

A great analogy-and one I can not take any credit for 😦

 

This makes a lot of sense though. More to tome.

Some Social Commentary

January 27, 2009

Warning-I am going to break format here and offer some social commentary-but not about social media.

Yes, there is no Twitter, FB, MS or Plurk in this post.

Instead, I want to talk about the $4 bagel, supply and demand, and price gouging.

In a not uncommon occurrence, I missed my train this morning, giving me about 40 extra minutes at the train station. Tired, hungry and bored, I set out for some breakfast. There is a DD at the station-but I hate DD.

So, since I had time to kill, I headed over to the bagel place. And for the first time in my life as a New Yorker, I experienced a $4 bagel (granted with coffee).

Now, I understand fully the concept of paying for convenience and simplicity. But as I was thinking about this, and eating an incredibly mediocre bagel–even that argument broke down.

Bagel and coffee from the guy at the top of stairs when I get off the subway $2.25.  That is convenient.

Bagel and coffee from the place I go when there are two or more on line at the coffee cart (I have a problem with lines) $3.25.

Bagel and coffee at the POS LIRR train station–1/4 mile from the station platform $4.00.

There is something terribly wrong with this math–as George Bush would say, its fuzzy math, bordering on voodoo economics.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging–don’t worry, I’ll Twitter this to make it seem on point.


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