Monthly Archives: March 2012

3 Effective Ways To Use @Klout Everyday

Though I am no fan of “the Klout score” and have written on this extensively. The fact that that self-described scientists and engineers are behind the social influence scoring system and NOT social media professionals, makes the score by default far less that accurate. Further, I am not sure that you can really measure one’s social influence down to a single score.

Having said that, I had originally stopped logging into Klout for sometime after their last score algorithm snafu, however I never did delete my account as many did. I waited a while for the dust to settle and went back in and began to develop some effective uses for their technology outside of my main score. Today I am going to share the three main ways I use Klout daily to improve my social media marketing, messaging, strategy and efficiency.

1) Follow backs on Twitter – Again, though I am not a fan or believer in the Klout score accuracy, I have found that when you get a ton of followers daily (I get between 100-200 new followers every day) it is one of the indicators we look at to determine whether we will follow back or not. Since we do actually look at every new followers bio (at a minimum), we often have to take it further by also reviewing their actual timeline and even Klout score to determine if we are going to follow back. Loosely using the overall score as a measurement of their engagement level, influence or spamming makes quick work of deeper investigation of a follower.

2) Measure content strategy effectiveness – I believe one of the best things about Klout is that it tracks the topics you are influential in. This can be incredibly useful to measure how well you are managing your messaging, conversations and content strategy. If your Klout tracked topics are not inline with your content strategy, messaging and company focus, you need to make some adjustments on your content and conversations to change that. Additionally, if you are not receiving +K from your target market on the proper topics, again you need to make some adjustments.

3) Give +K - One way to more deeply connect with your prospects, customers and influencers is to give them +K on Klout for topics that are important to them and their strategy. I have found this to be as helpful in furthering conversation and building relationships as Follow Friday on Twitter and Likes on Facebook. Remember that your social media marketing should not be about you, but helping and connecting with others.

Again, I am not a Klout fanboy by any stretch. I have simply found ways to use their technology, outside of their main score to make me more effective at social media marketing, relationship building, content strategy and efficiency with follow backs.

Rather than spending time modifying your activity in an attempt to get your Klout score higher than your friends, I highly suggest that you instill some strategy, discipline and good practices that result in return on your investment. Social media marketing is more than content, engagement and relationships. If it is business related, there must be a clear plan, goal and method to deliver value and extract measurable return on investment (ROI). ROI isn’t always or completely measured monetarily, but rather is often a compilation of many metrics that equate to results that are desired. Hopefully monetary measurement is a large factor you are taking into consideration, but not the only one.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

15 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Followers, Klout, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Pinterest and Facebook Prediction – Don’t Get Comfortable

Pinterest is the latest rage among the avid social media community of enthusiasts and professionals. Many of my colleagues have been pushing out blog posts touting this new social network relentlessly over the past two months, reminiscent of the Google Plus launch. I have found much of it hype and designed to drive traffic to their blog, rather than anything containing substance. All of the crazy hype got me thinking about the platform, the underlying technology and user base.

As usual, I do not shy away from controversial, forward thinking social media and industry ideas, so last week I made a prediction about Pinterest.

My actual status update I posted was as follows:

“I predict within 90 days Facebook will modify their photo functions to mimic Pinterest and remove the desire and growth of Pinterest.” – Further: FB will integrate this and make Pinterest’s growth outside of current user base insignificant.

Controversial? Of course. Now I’m waiting for all of the attacking, emotionally attached comments that will inevitably accumulate on this post. In fact, the update I posted on facebook garnered some 60 comments itself. It appears to be an emotionally charged idea for some, but I have no emotional attachment, just a common sense business perspective. So let’s take a look at this without the emotion…

Here are some of the factors that led to my making this prediction:

1) Facebook isn’t just gonna sit back and let that traffic build on another platform.

2) For the average user (750 million on FB) they want everything in one place.

3) It’s a very simple technology change to how photo’s are organized and shared on Facebook.

4) Facebook already has the userbase to make it stick and the infrastructure to maintain any level of growth.

5) A few commented that Pinterest has a very loyal following. I don’t doubt that, but so does Facebook and it’s about 775+ million larger.

6) Facebook doesn’t have to convert all of the loyal Pinterest users, just the userbase already on Facebook that have not gone to Pinterest yet. Game over!!

7) Others commented on the unique platform as a reason Pinterest is better. Parallels were made to Google Plus and how “It’s about the system…and it’s growing.” My response is that cool platforms do not matter, market share does. I further commented that Google Plus is the biggest wasteland in Social media. It is also the biggest gaming of search engine manipulation by a site and it’s users ever. All of this will come back to haunt Google itself.

8) Finally I do not think that Facebook will acquire Pinterest. There is no unique technology that can’t easily be duplicated within Facebook’s infrastructure and most Pinterest users and/or potential future Pinterest users are already on Facebook. Finally, Facebook does not typically acquire competition or technology. These three factors make an acquisition of Pinterest unnecessary and highly unlikely.

So there you go…  My prediction about Pinterest and Facebook. Like it or not, agree or not, it’s what I would do if I were Facebook.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

54 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Google, Google Plus, Social Media, Uncategorized

An Incredibly Valuable And Overlooked Hootsuite Feature

I recently wrote a piece on TrueTwit and how recent changes took this horrible burdening service from bad to worse. I went further to explain that the burden of validating had become so much that I refuse to do it any longer. This decision placed an additional labor intensive set of tasks on my plate I didn’t think about beforehand. Since I respond to all mentions and many direct messages, I felt it was also necessary to respond to validation request DM’s in feed, explaining that I would no longer be validating with TrueTwit.

Understand, I typically receive about 100-150 new follows on Twitter each day. With a rising percentage of these folks requesting TrueTwit validation, I gave myself a big task. I decided I would send the following to each person that requested validation from both my personal Twitter account @fondalo and our company account @BundlePost.

In Feed @Mention:  ” Sorry, I no longer validate with TrueTwit! –> http://ow.ly/9vwx2 “

The results? Actually it has been great. It has sparked numerous conversations and I would say that some 25-35% of them are actually reading and shutting off their TrueTwit accounts, which in and of itself is worth it!

Now the downside. It didn’t take to long before I ended up with a time sucking and logistical nightmare on my hands. But being true to my commitment of never ignoring someone in the social graph, I did a little messing around with Hootsuite. I decided to dig into the Draft” feature finally. This was a perfect solution for my dilemma.

How it works:

Select the social media account you want to save to and type your post in the compose box. Next, instead of pressing send, click the save icon.

To use a draft post, select the drafts down arrow and chose the post you wish to send. Be sure to add the twitter account name you wish to mention for the update and press send.

Don’ts:

I do not recommend using this feature to take the place of manually having conversations with people. That will ultimately be obvious to others and not a good way to really build relationships. Don’t use this function to spam new followers. Most people tend to ignore folks that do such a thing. Spend the time to build relationships and avoid the direct marketing approach with new followers!

I think this feature could have several effective and authentic uses within your social media marketing. It can be used for all networks, not just Twitter, expanding the possibilities immensely. Just do everyone a favor and listen to what I wrote in the “Don’ts section”.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

10 Comments

Filed under Hootsuite, Social Media, Social Media Content, TrueTwit, Twitter, Uncategorized

Social Media And The Phone Book – Two Important Points

I have not used a phone book in years. When I say years, I mean since 1998 I believe. Now I realize that I am not a typical consumer and am a bit of a geek like many of our social media industry readers, but something really surprised me this week.

I opened the front door of the house the other day and found this on the door step. After the initial shock that such things still exist, I took a closer look. This thing is actually still pretty huge! Shocked further, I did a little browse through it to see the thousands of businesses that are spending huge money on this antiquated medium.

Next, it went straight into the recycle bin…

Here are some suggestions for business and social media agencies that I think are very appropriate:

1) Business marketing rule #1 is Go Where Your Audience Is! – What we mean by that is if your target market is older and still uses a phone book, you should be there too. If not, either invest that money in a more appropriate medium OR move to an inexpensive line ad and move on. You must have a complete and integrated online and social media presence that covers Twitter and Facebook at a minimum, where you can build and maintain relationships with your customers.

2) Social Media Agency Prospect List – If you are a social media agency and can get your hands on one of these magical paper books, you should! The numerous businesses advertising within the pages for massive amounts of money are perfect prospects that need professional social media marketing and management!

Business in general really needs to understand that consumers and their daily behavior have changed. It is much more rare that they have a need and seek out that need via phone books, direct mail or even online search.  More and more frequently the average consumer is in the social graph, receiving information, recommendations and referrals from their friends. If your business is not conducting a proper and effective social media program, you need to find a professional social media agency to help you.

Social media agencies must think outside of the box to grow their businesses. They need to continually uncover new client prospects by seeing the world in new ways. A simple thing as a newly published phone book should spark the word “Opportunity” inside your head and get your company moving immediately. This game changes so fast and your firm needs to be on the cutting edge of the industry and as a sales organization if you are going to grow.

Just like most things in this world, if something doesn’t grow or change…  It’s DEAD!  Get after it.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

19 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Uncategorized

A Fish Tale – Be Careful Of Shiny New Social Media Hooks

At the risk of soliciting hate mail and more controversy, I am going to say it. Just because a new social network is the shiny new thing on the block, does not mean you should jump in. Yes, I am referring to the likes of Pinterest and even Google Plus.  There I said it…  Now let’s break this down.

See this little fishy? He has plenty of food in the lake in which he lives. He has plenty of friends in that big lake and is doing very well at making new friends and finding food that sustains him. Unfortunately, Mr. Fishy isn’t very focused. He tends to chase after most shiny new things that fly by every once in a while. Most of the time he just chases a bit and checks things out. Sometimes his impulses can’t resist that shiny new thing that buzzes by.

Finally, Mr. Fishy decided that the latest shiny new lure to cruise by was irresistable. Why? Cause it was cool, really shiny and a few other leading fishy’s seemed to be attracted by it too. He forgot about the food he already had plenty of in his big lake. He forgot about all the friends he had there too. He was so easily distracted by that new shiny lure that he decided to go for it and spend the time and effort to chase it down. Poor Mr. Fishy got caught.

Yes, I am being quite silly with this post in the hopes that I make a very important point. Within social media, new platforms will continually pop up. They will be really cool, shiny and new, attempting to take your time and focus, not to mention energy. However, if you are in social media for business and wanting to get results, I caution you. As yourself some important questions…

1) Does this platform contain my target audience?

2) Does the time and effort I am spending/wasting result in ROI?

3) Am I giving less time and attention to the existing platforms that return results for myself and my clients?

I am not a killjoy by any means. I am a realist that is extremely focused, despite my ADHD tendencies. I evaluate methods and properties based on measurable, factual information, not just fun, interesting or new. Be sure you are spending your time wisely in social media and not being attracted by the latest shiny new lure that comes along, or the peer pressure that often accompanies it.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

24 Comments

Filed under Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Uncategorized

Who Would Have Thought That Social Media Bad Could Get Even Worse?

I would have never thought that some things could get worse than the bad that they already were. Leave it to True Twit to accomplish such an amazing spectacle of foot shooting! This is so out of place in social media, almost as out of place as this bride and groom shooting at their wedding. If you are requiring your new followers to validate themselves, you are just about as out of place as these two!

I noticed recently that TrueTwit made some changes to their validation page regarding the captcha section. Now they force ads, have an out of control audio function and made the entire process more confusing and a real pain in the butt. Worse than before?  Oh yes! Even though I really have tried to be patient with misguided folks that use the service, as of last week I have stopped all validation with their system. See below:

At the same time I noticed the additional hoop jumping changes they made for us innocent twitter users to navigate, the volume of validation DM requests seems to have tripled. So I guess what some misguided folks are saying is that though they are too lazy to just look at peoples bio’s and timelines (which they should be doing anyway) they expect everyone else to do their social media work for them. Not this guy…  Not any longer…

Let me go over this again…  Starting a relationship out, whether on or offline, with a premise of distrust is not smart. Not only are you setting an obstacle to community growth and effectiveness, you are telling everyone that you do not know what you are doing, or worse that you are lazy!

Social media is about establishing and building relationships with your target market. Opening that dialogue with requirements and hoops makes no sense at all. We believe so strongly about this, that we literally view every followers bio, every time! That’s up to 150 per day. You need to know who is joining your community, decide whether it makes sense to connect with them and act accordingly.

Regardless of what you tell yourself, the arguments you use or the excuses you give, if you are using TrueTwit I guarantee your community size, effectiveness and time spent in social media is readily apparent to most of us. There is no such thing as auto-pilot when referring to effective social media. It takes work and time, just like in the offline world.

Make the commitment and do the work or remain misinformed or worse, a poser.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

70 Comments

Filed under FAIL, Followers, Relationship, Social Media, TrueTwit, Uncategorized

1 + 1 = 30,000 In Social Media – Three Ways To Extend Your Reach

Social media is a funny thing. The math within social media marketing works as if it is out in the cosmos, where time and space are bent. What am I talking about? Well, some of the normal math found in business, either it just isn’t applicable in social media or the normal way we think about calculating it offline is very different to how it actually works within the social graph.

Years ago we heard that if you had an unhappy customer they would tell 10 people and how damaging that would be to your company. They said if you created a happy customer, they would at least tell 1 to 2 people. Boy have those days disappeared!

With social media the math is just a bit different. An unhappy customer now days tells their 1,000 Facebook friends. Several of those share the story and picture to their 500 friends EACH. Additionally, the unhappy customer tells their 2,200 Twitter followers, and many of them RT your post to their followers. It doesn’t take too long before social media math has hammered your failing with a customer to 30,000+ people. Did I mention this all occurred in just a few seconds? Do you understand it will continue on for several more days if it is a bad enough issue, with images and blog posts growing from the buzz?

Yes there are down sides to social media and the arithmetic can be troublesome when you screw things up, but the upside of the medium far out weighs the negative possible scenarios if you do things right! Social media math means that when one person shares your one post, that can equate to 30,000 people being exposed to you, your brand and its content.

Use Social Media Math to Extend Your Reach:

What do I mean by extending your reach? Well just as in the negative example above, you can extend your follower, friend and fan base extensively when your content is shared. This is why a well thought out social media content strategy is so important. An effective social media marketing program that has content at its core is a must!

There are three main goals you should have for the content you post in social media:

1) Conversation – The content you create and/or post to your feeds should be relevant, valuable and interesting to your target market. When you are getting this right, it will often spark conversations or opportunities for conversations with your target audience. Conversations around relevant content will do three important things: 1) Build relationships with your prospects 2) Create opportunities to drive ROI 3) Extend the reach of your brand due to their friends and followers now seeing you in their feeds.

2) Shares/Likes –  Just like conversations, when the content you post is shared by your friends, fans and followers you realize a significant jump in potential viewership. The more your content is shared, the more a few key things occur: 1) Extended reach and visibility of your brand and content 2) Community growth occurs as some of that extended reach decide to friend, like and follow you also 3) The number of clicks/views of the content you shared will increase.

3) Action – Ultimately the goal of a social media marketing program, when done properly is to create end result actions that achieve a return on the investment made. The more effective you are at doing number 1 and 2 above, the more people will want to know more about what YOU do. This often culminates in review your account bio, information page and clicking through to your site, pages or other links. Furthermore, doing these things effectively will also spark inquiries and opportunities for deals right within the social graph.

Take the time and invest the required resources to understand your target market and develop an appropriate content strategy. That strategy must be a consistent daily stream that takes into account the above extended reach elements for the best results.

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

18 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Uncategorized