Social Media’s Big Problem – Marketers

I hate to say it, but Social Media (and Twitter in particular) has a big problem… and that big problem is marketers.

I know, I know, marketers made Social Media – and setting aside weather or not that is true, let’s focus on the facts.

  1. Nearly any relatively popular topic is quickly overrun with marketers trying to get their message into your stream.
  2. The line between spam and marketing is non-exisitent in Social Media.
  3. Any analytical analysis of a topic is becoming more and more difficult as the topic gets filled with marketing.
  4. Traditional marketing approaches work in Social Media… get your message/link in front of enough eyeballs and some percentage will click.

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Case in point. I own a Social Media solutions company – justSignal – and we have a Signal set up to track everything people say is “great” (via a variety of term searches and exclusions using our proprietary filtering mechanism) on Twitter. We’ve just released our SignalLinks Analytic in beta (you can learn more about SignalLinks here). So today I decided to look at SignalLinks for our everything great on Twitter Signal.

The results were disappointing to put it mildly. There is no authentic user voice in this data… only marketing and/or spam (you find the line there).

Here are the most mentioned links over the last 30 days:

Mentions

URL

Domain

33511

http://www.tweeterspeed.com/

http://www.tweeterspeed.com

12098

http://www.twtfast.info/

http://www.twtfast.info

6818

http://tinify.net/5

tinify.net

5641

http://twtexpress.info/

twtexpress.info

5394

http://www.twitpwr.com/abuse.php

http://www.twitpwr.com

5032

http://twittfollow.com

twittfollow.com

3572

http://www.tweeterleaders.info

http://www.tweeterleaders.info

2904

http://followquick.info/

followquick.info

2484

http://www.prankdial.com/fclicks/fclick.php?3

http://www.prankdial.com

2212

http://WWW.TWEETERSPEEDY.COM

WWW.TWEETERSPEEDY.COM

2085

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=304863000&mt=8

phobos.apple.com

1632

http://www.twtmax.com

1136

http://followersquick.info

followersquick.info

582

http://pollpigeon.com/what-did-you-think-of-adam-lamberts-ama-performance/t/79281/

pollpigeon.com

349

http://pollpigeon.com/did-you-see-new-moonhow-did-you-like-it/t/79376/

pollpigeon.com

346

http://4url.cc/1MM

4url.cc

306

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305659257&mt=8

itunes.apple.com

298

http://pollpigeon.com/do-you-like-emily-osment/t/75437/

pollpigeon.com

248

http://boxcar.io

boxcar.io

160

http://www.nutritionaladvantageia.com/signup/

http://www.nutritionaladvantageia.com

silence_noise_143829_tns.png Let me make one thing perfectly clear – I belive that Social Media provides the best opportunity for opt-in targeted marketing. But when the Signal is so clogged with marketing and/or spam that adds zero value the only effect will be user apathy.

From a development/partner point of view, some of Twitter’s actions to “curate” seem rather annoying – but from an end user’s point of view they are doing exactly what they need to do. After all, at some point Twitter will launch their business model, and the two best bets are:

a) Targeted opt-in Ads

b) Analytics

Both of those revenue paths are put in serious jeopardy if users become apathetic because their Signal if full of marketing noise.

TweetsForBoobs – How justSignal Helped Make it Happen

200910090957.jpgReposted from the justSignal Blog (http://justsignal.com)

Sometimes the best way to illustrate how justSignal can accelerate your strategy is by providing concrete examples of how others have accelerated theirs.

TweetsForBoobs is raising money for the Susan G. Komen foundation by encouraging folks to tweet the #tweetsforboobs hash tag on Twitter. It is the brain child of Chase Granberry and Josh Strebel – justSignal (and I for that matter) claim no credit for the idea or it’s successful execution.

In the interest of full disclosure, we did donate justSignal to TweetsForBoobs.

TweetsForBoobs needed four things in order to complete their vision.

  1. A way to capture Tweets about the site and with the hashtag
  2. The ability to put those Tweets on the site in real time.
  3. A way to count how many times a Twitter User used the hashtag.
  4. A way to measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

justSignal, because we focus on the complete Social Media Lifecycle, was uniquely suited to get them there – fast.

TweetsForBoobs was able to create a Signal that pulled in the content they were interested in. They were also able to – using our Exclusion Engine – remove spam and re-tweet bots from their Signal.

In order to create an engaging user experience on the site TweetsForBoobs dropped in and customized our real-time Twitter widget.   

Using our API service, TweetsForBoobs was able to pull in all mentions of the hashtag and the site in near real-time. This enabled them to count how many times each user tweeted the hash tag and update the site with current pledge totals.

Finally, TweetsForBoobs wanted to have some information (analysis) that gave them some indication of how the campaign was going. Since every Signal comes with our SignalReports (SignalMeter, SignalDensity and User Activity) they had basic who, when, and how much information.

sm-lifecycle.png

That is execution of the complete Social Media Lifecycle enabled by justSignal.

  1. Signal – Getting the #tweetsforboobs content.
  2. Engagement – Using our Widgets to put the content on the site, and using the API to create site specific information.
  3. Analytics – Using our SignalReports to gauge the effectiveness of the effort.

What makes TweetsForBoobs even more interesting is that they clearly show the benefit of our approach to data and analytics. When Chase wanted to understand the “Reach” of the hashtag he wasn’t confined by the data we provide “out of the box”.

The data is yours, when you have a question we don’t answer – because it is the really, really important kind, those specific to your business, company, product or service – you have access to the entire data set and the unfettered ability to mine out what is important to you.

You can read Chase’s excellent summary of the data and his thoughts on justSignal at the Authority Labs Blog.

What about action?

That is where you come in… head over to TweetsForBoobs or just grab your favorite Twitter client and send a tweet with #tweetsforboobs in it. Every time you do you pledge $1.00 to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

The Business of Social Media – Better Decisions (NOT Better Reactions)

js_icon_favicon.png The prevailing wisdom is clear. Social Media is for “Listening” (which is code for brand monitoring) and Marketing. I won’t make any attempt to talk about Marketing – since today everything seems to be a tool/platform for marketing. I will however talk about this notion of “Listening”.

There are two (and only two ways) to sell something, opportunity and fear. Objectively fear is easy – all you have to do is figure out what your target market is afraid of and make your product a way to alleviate that fear. Sadly, this is the state of the “Listening” segment of the Social Media consulting/tools market today.

CEO’s are terrified of Social Media. The feel they can’t predict when their “Motrin Moment” will occur or why – and the Social Media “experts” are no help:

Maybe you’re not even ready for full-time social media monitoring. That’s your call. But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age.

From Pistacio Consulting

Negligence – that is a powerful and scary word. One thing no CEO wants to hear when facing the board is the word Negligence.

The problem for the Social Media Experts and “Listening” vendors is this, if the fear isn’t real, if it doesn’t turn into an actual negative business outcome those same CEO’s will quickly learn to ignore it as noise. The problem is, none of the high visibility Social Media brand events have had any tangible negative business impact.

Here is Johnson and Johnson’s Stock Chart for the last year:

200909141208.jpg

The Motrin Moment occurred on November 16th 2008. I can’t discern an appreciable change in stock price following the event. While I couldn’t find any public data which specifically detailed Motin’s month by month sales numbers – I’d feel pretty safe saying that there was no appreciable change.

Another great example is the “United Broke My Guitar” incident. On July 6th a United customer posted a video on YouTube featuring a song about how United broke his guitar and failed to resolve the issue to his satisfaction. That video has 5.5 million views so far, has been cross posted on MSNBC, Huffington Post, and played on air on CNN and others.

Here is United Airlines Stock Chart for the last 6 months:

200909141213.jpg

Shockingly, UAL’s stock price has more than doubled since the Social Media event. United hasn’t released a new quarterly report since July 23rd – so ticket sales numbers are not publicly available, but based on the stock’s performance and current guidance from UAL management – I’d (again) feel pretty safe saying there was no appreciable negative change.

What is clear from these two high profile Social Media events is that they have little or no impact on a brand – by the only meaningful measure – revenue, and return of value to share holders.

What can damage a brand isn’t the isolated incident that creates Social Media Buzz. What damages a brand is consistently making bad decisions which make your product or service less useful, less valuable to your target market. For brands there is no “Waterloo” moment (thank @jaybaer of Convince and Convert for the quotable moment). There is only the slow agonizing descent into irrelevance that occurs when you make bad decisions over and over again.

The real value of Social Media for businesses is in the ability to make better decisions – not reacting to bad decisions already made.

business-card-back.jpg

Every business needs better information upon which to make those decisions – every business can benefit from better understanding the needs, aggravations, and problems of their target customer. Every business can improve their decision making processes by driving the information found in Social Media into every decision making process in the company.

The challenge with this approach is that it is far more Six Sigma than sexy. It will force vendors, consultants and companies to work harder, be open to information that contradicts the prevailing wisdom and invest significant time and resources into extracting the information that is meaningful to their business and their decision making processes.

This isn’t terribly different than the original aim of CRM. And it isn’t terribly controversial. What it is is the opportunity selling position in the Social Media Tools market. It is time for Social Media consultants and vendors to ditch the hype and scare tactics and get down to business… the business of creating value for companies by helping them avoid Motrin Moments by making better decisions consistently.

On Iran, Technology and Social Media

There is a reason we value art and those who create it. I could write 3 or 4 hundred words about how technology and Social Media are making it impossible for despots to control the message… or I could just point you to the justSignal FreeIran site and get out of the way and let Peter Himmelman (who I’m proud to know) use his art to say just about everything that needs to be said.

Social Media – Perspective and Predictions

You would assume – since I’m the founder and CEO of a company that is selling a Social Media product, justSignal – that I’m a huge fan of “Social Media”. Perhaps I’m even a Social Media Expert. You’d assume I was going to tell you that Social Media will change everything. You’d assume that I’d tell you that Social Media will force companies to fundamentally change how they do business – they will all have to love their customers, engage them in conversation, make sure their every need is met. You’d assume that I’d be creating products that were directed at companies willing to make the culture change required to excel at Social Media – variously described as a culture of listening or a culture of engagement. You might assume any or all of those things… but you’d be wrong.

Social Media is mired in a massive hype cycle. All of the benefits are massively overstated, the value proposition is stated in only the most vague of terms and everyone is certain they know exactly what the outcome will be – the problem is, they can’t all be right. So, what is someone supposed to think, and why?

So, in an effort to clarify my position for you (and me) – I’m going to walk you through my point of view. You don’t need to like it, and you certainly are not required to agree; but I do hope this gives you some things to think about.

Continue reading “Social Media – Perspective and Predictions”

justSignal Adds More Signal

I’ve been awfully quiet for the last week or so. And there is a reason for that.
I’ve been busily working away to fulfill the vision of justSignal. It was never about (just) Twitter – it was about finding your signal wherever someone chooses to talk about it.

We launched with Twitter and the real-time widget because – frankly – Twitter has the buzz factor and because real-time is compelling. Today we are expanding beyond Twitter and the real-time, with the addition of Backtype (blog comments) and Google Blog Search. These new widgets will be added to the standard justSignal Tracker offering – with no increase in price.

These widgets have all the capabilities of the Twitter Real-Time widget:

  • Auto Updating when new data arrives
  • Fully customizable for your site via CSS
  • Dynamic search/filter terms that can be changed at any time
  • Embeddable in any site/HTML

Google Blog Search Widget:
http://justsignal.com/widgets/brianroyblog/embed-blogsearch.js Backtype Blog Search Widget: http://justsignal.com/widgets/brianroyblog/embed-backtype.js

But wait there’s more!!! And it isn’t a shamwow.

We’ve also added a search widget. The search widget searches within the Tweets we’ve collected based on your filter. The more (default is 2 hours – with options up to 90 days) history you keep the more useful this search becomes. To demonstrate this search capability we’ve launched Great On Twitter. Great on Twitter collects everything said on Twitter when someone thinks something is great, shows those tweets in real time and allows you to search for things that interest you.

For fun try searching for iPhone (note the number of matching tweets), then search for Blackberry. Another fun example is TweetDeck/Twhirl.

We aren’t done… not even close. So stay tuned for more updates.

I LOVE Statistics – What is Great on Twitter? Apparently Watchmen…

I was poking around in the data coming back from What is Great On Twitter – because, well I’m a geek and I love statistics. I looked at iPhone vs. Blackberry; Apple vs. Microsoft; and TweetDeck vs. Twhirl.

All very interesting, I assure you. But then I decided to see the buzz about Watchmen – and WOW. I’ll let the results speak for themselves:

There were a total of: 119 mentions of Watchmen on What is Great On Twitter

Tweets after the jump…

Continue reading “I LOVE Statistics – What is Great on Twitter? Apparently Watchmen…”