Thursday, 28 March 2013

Search for the purple cow, not the grumpy cat!

Grumpy Cat

Do we really need social analytics to know what’s a good post, and what’s not? Are we too hung up on stats?

Are you focussed on what’s best for your community, or having the best stats in the industry?

I think sometimes as Community/Social media managers, we get the two mixed up.

Hulk Smash
It’s always fun to compare yourself to a competitor, and notice that you are smashing them to bits on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Here in the UK, in certain industries, it’s not particularly hard. I think we’re going through a bit of a creative fallow period at the moment, with too many brands and businesses posting too much of the same stuff. There are only so many ‘IT’S NEARLY THE WEEKEND!’ posts you can take before my eyes shrivel up and fall out of my head.

We all look for the purple cow, as Seth Godin likes to call it. But if you’re looking for it in the same field as everybody else, you’re not going to find something unique, because everybody else will see it!

Look for what’s unique to you. To your audience. That’s where true success lays.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Coca-Cola: the 's' in social media stands for 'no shit, Sherlock'


Coca-Cola: the 's' in social media doesn't stand for 'sales'


No shit.

Coca-Cola are telling us that they can’t account for a single person who has bought a can of Coke as a result of their social media campaigns.

Well, that means that it must be useless, doesn’t it?

We all know that social media, like print advertising, advertisements on busses, television adverts, and anything that isn’t related to, or can’t be plugged into a Google Analytics platform, can’t be measured in cold, hard, cash-generating metrics.

Most marketers know this already. Most PEOPLE know that already. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Or do we? Am I being too dismissive here? Let’s re-think this.

Ah! I’ve got it.

There is a model that can fix this broken world. That can turn social media into a tangible and sexy ROI magnet.

In order for a successful social media conversion to take place, I would simply need to go through the following steps. The Social ROI Stairway to Heaven. It has 26 steps.
  1. Wake up in the morning (small step, but believe me, this is the first step in the marketing funnel)
  2. Pick up my phone, see what’s happening on Facebook/Twitter/Google+
  3. See an update from Coke saying ‘Hey! Check out our flogglesworthy drinkalinks’
  4. ‘Oh!’ I say, ‘That’s nice, I could sure do with something flogglesworthy at the moment’
  5. I get up, get dressed for work, and head to the train station
  6. I go into the shop on the corner
  7. I pick up a can of Coke
  8. I go to the counter - the man behind the counter looks at me
  9. ‘Mmmm,’ I say ‘this Coke is going to be a truly flogglesworthy start to the day! And to think, I would never have thought to do this if it wasn’t for that FacebookSlashTwitterSlashGooglePlus update I saw when I woke up this morning!’
  10. I pay for the drink
  11. I get a receipt
  12. I leave the shop (I’m now barred - THANKS COKE)
  13. I head to work
  14. I take out my trusty pen and paper to compose a letter
  15. ‘Dear Coke,

    How are you? I am fine.

    How are you, Coke? Are you fine? I hope so.

    Please let it be known that thanks to your Facebook update at 6:45am his morning, I purchased a Coke at my local corner shop.

    I would like you to register this as a conversion with your social media team. I have included the receipt should you wish to verify this transaction.

    Thanks to you, I have now enjoyed a flogglesworthy drinkalink with which I can start my day.

    BRAVO! MONTO BENNY (sic)!

    Ben’
  16. I take this letter down to the postroom where I work (with my own stamp - I’m not a thief)
  17. I post the letter
  18. I turn into a dragon
  19. [REDACTED]
  20. [REDACTED]
  21. [REDACTED]
  22. Coke receive the letter
  23. It gets forwarded to the social media department
  24. The head of social media reads the letter
  25. The head of social media heads to his whiteboard, and marks a solitary ‘I’ under the field named ‘Social Media Conversions’
  26. The End

And there you have it. That’s how you actually measure a conversion from a socia media marketing exercise.

I hope that’s cleared things up for you.

You know what the beauty of this method of measurement is? We can apply it to EVERY ELEMENT of our lives. From making toast in a Breville toaster, to seeing a PPI advert on the side of a bus.

All we need to do is follow my simple 26-step conversion registration system, and all will be well. We can all sit back and be the little Winston Smiths that Coke secretly want us to be.

Sorry it hasn’t worked out that way.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Google Reader - RIP. Now go try something new!


There’s been a lot of column inches online and offline dedicated to the demise of Google Reader. Lots of sadness.

Lots of outrage, too. Mainly from bloggers, who seem to think that this, the final putrid gasp from the fetid corpse that is RSS, signals the end of their blog, and will suddenly cut off their readership, who won’t be able to find their content anymore.

I think it’s a good thing.

Speaking from my perspective, the audience that I receive via RSS has always been incredibly small. I don’t even think it’s in double figures. And that’s not something I’m particularly ashamed of.

I like having regular readers to my blog. Most of my readers come from one of a number of non-rss sources: Hacker News, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and G+. Maybe Reddit if I’m lucky.

I would much rather have somebody come through to my blog post whilst they are actively out seeking relevant content, rather than passively reading my blog posts via their RSS reader.

I get much more value out of cultivating a social media presence than encouraging people to sign up via my RSS feed.

You may say that’s a bit of a no-brainer given my profession, but you’d be wrong. I do rely on aggregation services and RSS readers like Feedly and Prismatic to get my daily news fix throughout the day. But where am I increasingly finding the really interesting content?

  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Hacker News
  • Facebook
  • G+
  • LinkedIn

When somebody shares a piece of content, they are actively participating in the process. They are interested enough in the content to not only read it, but also share it. This makes me much happier than when somebody skim-reads my entry in Reader.

When I am logged into an RSS reader, I am not always in ‘share mode’ - I’m in ‘passive consumption’ mode, and I want to binge on as many blogs as humanly possible, in lots of different subjects.

I get more of a kick out of people participating in the sharing of my content than simply consuming it and then moving on.

What about you? What do you think? What does the death of Google Reader mean for your blog and readership?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Twitter: Liberal, Conservative or Neither?

Twitter Logo

Pew research this week published the results of a really interesting survey that they’ve been taking over the past two years. Essentially, I think the question that they were trying to answer was whether Twitter is a fundamentally liberal, or conservative platform when compared with broader public opinion.

I think it’s neither. I think Twitter is only a platform, and the most vocal people on there are neither liberal or conservative. In fact, I think that these political groupings are becoming increasingly blurred.

I would say that, barring politicians or political party members, the overall mood of Twitter is one of anti-authoritarianism. Anti-Orwellian. Anti-surveillance state.

I see the value in this.

Pew Research point to the Obama vs Romney election last year as a defining moment - the best way - to measure whether the platform is predominantly one nor the other.

People don’t work like that. I’m sure that many people that voted for Obama as ‘the lesser of two evils’, who supported him in his debates, who had bumper stickers, who follow and retweet his messages, are equally as disgusted with the US administration’s use of Drone strikes in Pakistan. People who agree with Ron Paul on certain topics. I’m sure that over here in Britain, people agree with Ed Miliband on some things, David Cameron on others, and neither most of the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

To disagree is not, and shouldn’t be, a fundamental signifier of your political allegiance. I think that the beauty of Twitter is that it shows us as we really are: neither conservative nor progressive, liberal, illiberal, libertarian or socialist.

I believe that are all fundamentally contrarian. That’s what makes us interesting. You can’t apply the God-complex to humanity on this scale - even on a social network.