Tag Archives: social

Why Twitter Auto-DMs Suck

twitter auto dms

Click here for the large version

I suppose some might say, “switch the emails off”, but then again usually I enjoy getting DM from friends, but now and then you do something and you attract a heap of new followers, which I am grateful for of course, but still, what a way to start your day, eh?

We could get into a debate about auto-dms merits, I mean do you auto-pilot your account?

Google’s Social Graph: Client Disclosure

Google’s Social Graph is one method which would provide a very easy way to inform robots who is your client and who isn’t.

Adding the rel=”client” to your client related links would in fact mean that any future buzz monitor policing application would be able to easily distinguish you have offered full-disclosure.

Of course, this would not be very obvious to the reader of your text, and that’s the important person in the policing. So perhaps our publishing platforms could also translate our use of rel=”client” in order to offer a visual for the reader too.

Thinking about social graphs today.

Social Media Traffic

social media traffic

Forget that title already, it’s something which will just confuse you and lead you up the garden path of a low traffic site (well unless you are selling to the social media niche, as in people wanting to be a part of the scene – yuck please hand me the “in-flight social media sick bag”).

No, the word social is clearly a very undefined entity to the point of simply causing confusion, just take a look at these definitions of the word social.

Um what? … you mean “human media”, no really, human beings interacting with media that is digitised, oh goodness me that’s one complicated cookie to get our head around isn’t it.

Hmmm … and people are also trying to measure social media influence ? – How can one possibly measure something that is even outside of a definition itself?

Let me let you into a secret, you can’t.

What you can do is analyse qualitative data as a means of capturing intention, and then segment as much as possible and dish up delicious customised experiences (more of that later, if you watch closely).

Right, now that that is out of the way, let’s just consider the term media and fuck the “social” bit, OK, that’s MEDIA, as in stuff we can interact with, comment on, share, immerse into, and generally be a geekoid with.

Find below a list of things that will bring you traffic, it is a list that has worked for me, and continues to, it is not exhaustive by any means but a good start:

  1. Content – it may sound obviously obvious but search engines absolutely adore fresh original content, it is their job to go out and hunt and gather new content. If you regularly add fresh content you will be continuously feeding the search engine spiders looking for food.
  2. Minimal design – you need to forget about making the site too pretty with flash and other nonsense that search engines cannot read. Here there is often a trade-off between that flashy agency design and what will actually help the site get noticed in search. Take my advice and do not use Flash, use a clean VERY quick loading template, simpler the better (look at Google itself)
  3. Forums – visit all the major forums in your niche, create an account, edit your profile and become busy reading and reading and reading and then start to engage in the community there and offer help and advice on a balanced level. Visit them daily and become prominent in your niche, you are aiming to be associated with being an authority on your subject. I’m including Facebook groups in here, you know large number ones.
  4. Trends – monitor your niche by using google alerts and trends, and really keep an eye out for what is hot, then write content about it when it is a buzz topic. The aim here is to get the news about products before they are launched, so you are right up there with your date stamp.
  5. Logs – site access logs are like mines of gold, you know where you can hunt and see how people are finding your site, how are they reaching you, and from where and with what keyword combinations? This is essential reading, very geeky but I kid you not, you will find gold in your web logs. If your host doesn’t provide them change your host, you cannot do any serious business without reading your web access logs. You will be amazed at how people are finding your site, you should then provide more content for them (see this ties in with capturing intention above).
  6. Page load – I’m a widget hater, not because they do funny things and connect you up with third party content, but their strength is also your weakness. Widgets will slow your site down to a crawl if not careful. This is bad for search engine spiders and bad for customer experience on your site, it is a major sucky experience. You can use this tool to check your site(s). I started using widgets back in 2000 where I was displaying content on one site pulled from others, believe me I learnt my lessons early on that reliance on third party feeds and content is not a good idea. Proceed there with caution, ensure the feeds you choose are VERY resilient and fast as hell. Page load speed is EVERYTHING for customer experience.
  7. Stickiness – you know when you pop along to the pub and the conversation is so cool you can’t leave? Or the bartender has the twinkle in her/his eyes that just keeps you there? That’s stickiness, you need that equivalent on your site to keep people there and more importantly coming back for more.
  8. In Bounds – in bounds links or IBLs are the golden currency of Google, the more links you have pointing to your site for a specific keyword the higher in the rankings you will potentially appear, it is almost that simple, to a point. The higher the page-rank of the site linking to you, the higher the quality of IBL, therefore the more ranking potential. You must make gaining IBLs a fundamental target of your traffic building campaign. There is not easy way to do this other than creating compelling content that people will link to, or popping along and actually asking for links. N.B. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Some So.Me “experts” might say just blog away and people will link if it’s good. That’s basically completely inefficient, you need to target sites, people and links, you want traffic don’t you? Don’t gamble in the hope people will magically link to you.
  9. Directories – make sure you your site is appearing in all the major directories, the biggest is probably DMOZ, are you in it? Oh by the way did I mention this has been community edited since the late 90s, yes way before the ridiculous term Web2.0 raised it’s ugly head. Get in all the major directories for your niche.
  10. Ebay – you what Chris? Yes ebay, I would put up a digital package for sale, you know a virtual thing, information for sale, and set it for bidding, including links back to my sites in the descriptions (plus branding potential) – huge amount of eyeballs on your product and brand there.
  11. Craig’s List – similar in approach to the above, don’t make it obviously advertorial but you will find huge amounts of eyeballs there for your site/brand.
  12. Free Downloads – Package up a free download and get it hosted on a variety of download sites, the big one being download.com. Befriend a coder who can build a simple download for you around your site/product. I personally like ones which bring the user back to your site for a whole host of reasons including updates, interaction, support etc etc. Again, huge numbers to tap into here. Think iPhone apps or whatever is the latest thing.
  13. Google Analytics – don’t piss about with second rate measuring, get yourself deep into the jedi analytics of traffic, seriously study what is taking place on your site, it is all there to be read and disseminated. Here you need to create regular reporting systems so that you can make evolutionary changes based on the reports, small site changes can make a significant difference to traffic.
  14. SEO – search engine optimisation, actually much of what I have said already and what follows falls under this heading, so let’s leave it at that, but also just to mention study the basic SEO concepts on page construction. If you do not know basic HTML and the implications for search you should start immediately.
  15. Press Releases – ignore what the “social douches” say about press releases, believe me they will bring you significant traffic and ranking providing you target them with keywords. There are hundreds and hundreds of press releases submission sites around (full-disclosure that’s mine), you should aim to pump your release into about 20 or more of the significant ones.
  16. Out Bounds – aim to place some out-bound links to sites of authority in your keyword target, you will be amazed what associating with authority can bring.
  17. Blog Comments – hmm well maybe to a point, yet in the eyes of search you can forget about getting ranked for them, well your own site anyway, as most site owners use the nofollow tag. OK maybe some PEOPLE will follow through onto your site after reading a comment, but seriously, the numbers are not that significant at all to the above.
  18. Guest Blogging – for sure this is a good thing to do, you have the ability to create links on other sites to destinations of your choice with the keywords of your choice, this is gold. The trick is becoming someone who will be asked to guest post.
  19. Free Articles – write articles with a disclaimer in them that they can be re-published providing the links are left in place. There are thousands of people out there looking for content to post all the time, so go ahead and let them, you’ll gain if the links remain.
  20. Newsletters – you can love them or hate them but I’m telling you they work very well at building a community and brining people back time and time again. Just ensure you segment your data well and send relevant information to people, that they want (again we are seeing intent feature here). Segment heavily.
  21. Infinite responders – you can set up a series of emails that are sent at a pre-defined intervals all pre-written, serving up helpful information lightly sprinkled with data tags you have collected to ensure appropriate segmentation. This aid in building credibility for your wares, and run on auto-pilot, they are heavy traffic pullers and this is one of my favourites.
  22. Stumble Upon – worth putting all your pages into the pie here and while at it crank them into other similar style initiatives, and certainly many of the smaller search engines that allow submit.
  23. Email Lists – sign-up to very busy email lists and gently become familiar with the etiquette and before long you will be able to post to the list helping people out and also show-casing your wares.

That’s all I have time for now but should be a good start, I may even come back and add some more once I remember them. Certainly each item on the list could warrent a post by itself.

The main thing to extract here is that “social” is a red herring, traffic is about following the numbers, and then segmenting it once you have it, but I’d welcome your thoughts on it too. What do you say?

Delegate Buffet Lunch Menu

This is the type of lunch you will be getting if you come along to Social Media in Business.


Cream of tomato and basil soup

Fisherman’s pie with cheesy mash topping

Herbed Portobello mushroom lasagne

Roast leg of Southdown lamb with garlic and rosemary

Selection of seasonal vegetables

Herb roast new potatoes

Pilaf rice

Mixed charcuterie platter

Mixed salad leaves


Greek salad

Potato and bacon salad

Waldorf salad

A selection of dressings and condiments

An assortment of desserts from our pastry kitchen

Assorted bread and rolls

Freshly brewed coffee or tea

How To Communicate

This is Brett Hurt Founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice whom I met today at Internet World.

Now the interesting thing I thought about Brett is that he knows how to make friends, engage with people, seemed to be open minded, and generally enjoys interaction with new people, he doesn’t foolishly judge too quickly, which always gets my interest every time.

To give you an opposite example.

The first exhibitor I walked up to at IW today was an older gentlemen representing a company concerned with CRM, you know, management of customer relationships (cough cough), and as it happens I have had CRM on my mind for a project recently. So picture this, I had a Nikon around my neck, was wearing torn jeans, a t-shirt, slightly unshaven look, and my usual blue glasses, a normal day for me then, (as you can see here) nice eh?.

So, as I say hello to this grumpy old guy, first thing he does is starts to look me up and down and begins asking me questions to validate myself (no shit),

  • HIM: “how many employees do you represent then”

  • ME: “I’m a web strategist, one of my clients has global representation”
  • HIM: “show me a card then”

blah blah (insert longer story here), really boring me already dude.

So it got to the stage where I couldn’t give a fuck how good his software may have been, the mere fact he made a judgement call on my appearance along with his decision to try and assert me to validate myself to him (like that’s going work), was enough for me to just politely fuck-off in the other direction.

Now, moving on to Brett.

Brett on the other hand, you see, took an interest in a potential conversation with me and found out that I might post some pictures of the IW event onto Flick, the fact that hey this might be a really good moment for a Blog post to come from it, a moment captured where people interact with good outcomes, a memorable exchange.

Brett pulls his shirt open revealing a green t-shirt and says “put Bazaarvoice loves osborne” on it. I have no idea what that means, but it is of little significance. It’s a message, it’s a reach, it’s an enagagement to someone, a client, a prospect who knows?

Job done for me, I couldn’t refuse this attitude, it’s perfect, and goes to show that if you think you are above your station (the first guy) you might need a reality check. The internet is not all about suites and boots.

Go visit BazaarVoice.

Trattoria Dopo Teatro

Tomorrow evening is the Social Media Mafia “sit down” dinner in NYC.

The event is taking place at the Trattoria Dopo Teatro at 7:30pm, tomorrow (April 24)

125 West 44th Street

Looking forward to seeing you for big eats and some drinks, and plenty of geekery.

Send me an SMS tomorrow if problems: +447824776785 send me one anyway :)

Social Influence Measurement

I just read Will McInnes Blog concerning MeasurementCamp and my brief thoughts are as follows:

A superb idea indeed and more importantly the correct format IMHO, structure is needed, probably more so when overt hierarchy is missing (though it exists covertly).

Sadly I heard about this late, not sure how, I just did, so I couldn’t attend. However, had I been there (and I do hope to come to the next one), or one of them, I’d have suggested a branch or “gravitating crowd” invest a significant amount of time in some thorough research of the psychological/sociological nature.

There exists decades of academic research into “social behaviours”, numerous models for how “social influence processes” operate, and in my personally limited research these are widely varying models, suggesting that not ONE model is proven as “correct”, I can think of at least four.

It just seems to me that until that “nut” of conceptualising “social influence” is understood, choosing ONE model, and the measurement of it, will always be aimed at a “moving target”, if you will.

I’ll attempt to disseminate my research on this as I go along because it does fascinate me how many people seem to dive head-first into it, as they want to believe it is true – influencing that it.

UPDATE 15.04.08: I asked a psychologist friend Jo Jordan what her thoughts were on this (she commented below). Jo also helped my thoughts greatly on this topic by drawing pictures of my thoughts, I have posted them below.

Figure 1.1 Pre Social Media

Figure 1.2 Adoption of social media by many advertising agencies

Figure 1.3 True representation of the complexity of social media processes. Note that the community nodes may start as being the same singular community though as they are organic and constantly changing they naturally morph into different communities (with different perceptions), with different processes with time.

Take some time to look at these diagrams, Figure 1.1 is the easiest to understand, most simple, and the method by which advertising has worked for a long time. Figure 1.2 is where I think a lot of agencies are currently operating, almost using social media as a “bolt-on” with no “feed-back” loop, and also the potential to derive a crude metric based on purchases, proving the source of influence is registered. Then Figure 1.3 clearly indicates a complex system of organic processes, each highly dynamic, and each two-way dynamic node contains multiple models of influential process, depending on ones school of thought (belief) for influence reception (there are many models as stated previously).

It is with these further thoughts we are heading towards a more “process” oriented metric which rather than looking at the outcome (as in traditional above the line metrics) we instead study (or measure) the relationships in the nodes.

This post is now a work in progress.

UPDATE 14.04.08: I’ll be adding a resource list in this post as they are collated

Social Influence Measurement Resources

Study Something Open It Works

It’s been a while since I reflected on my education, but the conversation came up recently over lunch with friends.

I have a friend who is considering a career change (let’s call him Charlie). Charlie is an instructor, and an instructor in every sense of the word. He works in an environment where training or instruction takes place in a way one manner. It’s the classic “sage on the stage” approach, the “font of all knowledge” where the primary task is to transfer a package of knowledge to the audience. “I have this knowledge and I am an expert, and I will now transfer it to you”.

Excuse me while I stop smirking, due to understanding various other far more empowering methods.

Now Charlie is not necessarily an advocate of the instructor led approach, it just so happens that is the environment he works in, and in fact he would make a diamond educationalist in a more liberal, or open environment.

But what does “open” mean here?

Many years ago I used to “train” or “instruct” just like Charlie, that’s the system we grew up with, that’s what we thought “education” was suppose to equate to. When we go to a conference, that’s the experience many of us still expect, we expect to be talked to by an “expert”. Well guess what? That approach is so old school and educationally limiting it’s time we changed our values, or our beliefs on how education can be delivered, and general information.

I’m speaking as a convert mind, if you read my blog a bit you’ll know that I am primarily an educational technologist, ok so one who has had to learn online marketing, branding and SEO through running a successful online business, but at the heart my core is one of an educational technologist.

Sometimes we reach milestones in our lives, or crossroads where significant experiences change our direction forever, and one of those crossroads for me was completing my Masters of Open and Distance Education way back in 2000, abbreviated to MA ODE (Open).

I studied that programme with the IET over three years part time, and in an online mode. So back in 97 we were a buzzing virtual community located globally and sensing something big was coming, and of course it did. We studied concepts years ago concerning social networks and knowledge nodes, we read material which challenged the very notion of what education should be, we debated social interaction in cyberspace (as it was known then), we enthused about the transparency that technology can yield, and the changing dynamic of teacher and student, the power shifts in a learning relationship.

We did so much brain buzzing that it had a fundamental impact on me which changed my outlook forever, and more importantly enabled me to “give-up” the notion that I had to be an “expert” delivering knowledge. We invested brain energy and practise into words such as “constructivism”, and “heutogogy”, all beautiful words which place the learner at the centre of discovery and the teacher as a “guide on the side” a person who creates scaffolding for the learner, but never “spoon feeds”, never has a notion of having to transfer HER opinion, NO the learner must construct their own learning and assumptions.

It is with background that I enthused to Charlie, in the hope Charlie will also find great richness in “giving-up” the teacher power struggle. It is with this background I tell you that study is a good thing, providing you find an “open” approach.

Have you experienced the open approach, maybe you do it every day of your life but just never assumed it was open education?

Dont You Like Meeting People

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk recently that some people think it is hard to meet people they chat with online, in the real world, or to use the correct term Face To face (f2f).

I disagree with this, providing you are yourself online and offline and make no disernable distinction between the two, if you do this may not work.

Here are some ways you can in fact get off your arse and meet people.

  1. Join the Social Media Mafia, it has a presence in three places currently:
  1. Using a social network create an event, a local event close to you and invite a handful of your online friends, if they live an extra long way away make the effort and travel an hour or so on the train, it will be worth it.
  2. If you do not have friends in your social network who are local, search for them, actively seek out people in your geo area and make them friends.
  3. When creating your event give it a theme, give it something everyone can relate to, a commonality if you will.
  4. Document your event with blogs and pictures turn it into a “club”

Ok, so not everyone is a doer or a leader to organise such things, but if you are not that way inclined have a look around at some of the online tools, Upcoming is a great one for starters.

Break your comfort zone, everyone is a little shy, but by being that little bit bolder you will reap dividends and make lots of new friends, I know I have.

I used to be so shy.