Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Klout is only Klout

There is a lot of discussions on Klout and Social Influence lately.

Some folks like Danny Brown are upset they can not leave Klout and that they measure him against his will. You should check the lively discussion because as a champion of Opt-in I agree with Danny.

A Letter to Joe Fernandez of Klout

This blog has brought up the silliness of measuring. As well as questioning the validity of it's data measuring. I will talk about influence in general in another post. I want to break down Klout and discuss should you use it? Is the information valid?

Klout measures your reach and if your web presence is such can you be influential with the spreading of links, tweets, data etc. 

The very smart Tom Moradpour who is the International Marketing Director for Pepsi says:

"Klout measures Klout"

Meaning you must decide if the definition of what Klout says it is measuring and what you feel it is, is of value. 

Currently some Brands and Businesses are reaching out to people with high scores and having them test products hoping for cheap exposure. But is this smart? Are these people really influential?

Guess what? No way to ever tell. I have in the past brought up the dark underbelly of the Twitter. There are hashtags that are sexual, offensive, etc. Go to the #TCOT hashtag and you will find people calling Obama bad names, that he is communist, that he is an N word (not all but they are there). Go to the Liberal equivalent #TCOL you will people who call Bush a Nazi.

Klout has no clue if the 'network' the person they are measuring is safe for your content. Would Gerber want to learn the folks high in Klout on Babies were networked with child abusers and have this come out? There is no way to determine who's network is safe, clean, acceptable for your brand.

Lastly Klout combs your Twitter feed and if you talk about a topic you are considered an expert. This has been really amusing. I am an expert on Rick Perry now. Why? Because I was on Twitter during the last debate and Bill Green and Ben Kunz were live tweeting and making fun of the lunacy. And many tweets had Rick Perry. And I responded and retweeted. Now I am an expert on him per Klout.

Many people have topics of expertise that are really funny. Danny Brown on Sheep for example. So we have no idea who is really influential, who is an expert, who has gamed the system or not. Because it can be gamed.

Klout is just a tool. You can take it seriously or not. I personally joke that I want my score falling because I am a rebel and seriously I don't care what my score is. But that doesn't mean you can't at least use the tool and decide what it means. You can check a person's credentials to see if they are what Klout says with a simple Google search. But then what value is a service you need to do so much extra work just to find if the data is real?

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Eye Tracking Technology for Digital Ads

The Economist had this interesting article about new technology that can be used to track your eyes when surfing the web and decide if an ad is working or not in hopes to get you to take action. Kind of spooky and if it is not Opt In I see major privacy issues and lawsuits over it. I know I would make sure the WebCam lense is always covered. LOL

One point they bring up is the 50% of Ad Spend that is wasted but no one knows which half. (Try 75% of Ad Spend is wasted is probably reality). Why I feel this will not improve things?

First of all it benefits Ad Agencies that half the spend is wasted and their clients don't know which half. Would you as an Agency reduce your billings 50% even if you knew how to fix this?

Secondly there is only a finite amount of time we all have. Now you could theory that the improvement of seeing the right ads will keep the ad spend equal. But I am not so sure that is true.

Third I use Firefox and block all digital ads except on some very specific sites like the Economist. Firefox is used by about 30% of the population and the Ad blocker Plus Ad On is downloaded about 50mil times a year if not more.

Lastly we don't like digital ads. The average click rate is 20 times for every 10,000 page views. I don't think new technology can fix this. The flaw in the advertising business is the ad people say 'It's the ads. If we just create better ads or better technology people will LOVE advertising'

It is the biggest crock of shit ever said yet they truly believe this. It is a crock because 1] they never ask consumers if this is true and 2] if they did and started ranking things in life for importance Ads will always come last.

For example how do you want to spend your time:
Exercising. Watching TV. Reading. Cooking. Travel. Eating. Sleeping. Sex. Sports. Outdoor Activities. Advertising. Shopping. Talking with friends via Social Media. Going out to bars or partying. Spending time with family or friends. Playing video games. Surfing the internet. Entertainment.

Now you go rank where Advertising is going to show up.

Yep. Last. But Ad people refuse to believe this. And it is why not only are they suckers. It is why Brands who hire Ad People for their marketing, waste half their Ad spend each year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Social Tuesday - Big Business Social Media

Today going to discuss Big Brands (Global, National, and Regional) and what I feel they should and shouldn't do via Social Media.

Big Brands need to reach millions and millions of people today. And again tomorrow. And next week. They need to show an immediate impact on their sales and revenue streams where the baseline is hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions. They often have thousands if not tens of thousands of customer calls a day. I proved last September how customers of big brands are not being reached via Social Media. None of this can be achieved completely via Social Media.

So what can they do via Social in order to impact their business?

1] Listening - all those Tweets for your brand and your competitors, all those Facebook posts give you insight for free (minus the cost of listening tools).

2] Customer Service - while you will never be able to handle all your customer service via Social Media you can handle some. And guess what? While 99.9999% never want to talk to your brand on social often if at all...we surely want you to have a Twitter Account or Facebook Page for quick complaints and you had better respond.
My friend Christopher Baccus at ATT says they handle about 2% of the volume for customer service via Facebook. You might feel this is insignificant but if you pay the same workers who handle inbound 800 calls this saves a ton of money on an 800 line!

3] Marketing - You will never be moving the sales needle via Social Media Marketing for a big company. Get over it. Anyone who says you will is a big fat liar. But you can add to your sales. Even if it winds up just 1/2 a percent for a billion dollar company that is $50mil dollars not bad?

It's fun to do some campaigns via Social but careful about this. Facebook owns all your data. Every page post, every bit of content you run on your page they own. Who says Facebook isn't selling the Pepsi Page insights to Coca Cola and vice versa? In fact don't you expect that considering their business model is exploitation? Your competitor with deep pockets can mine all this data just like you. What about hosting an E-Commerce Store? Again Facebook owns and sees all that data do you really want them sharing with your competitor who bought what? In fact the Miami Heat had such a store. It was not an E-Commerce play vs an Impulse play. Well they took it down. Wonder why. Lack of sales? Mistrust of the platform?

How do you market to people via Social Media yet keep your cherished customer data and conversations? Easy...use Social Media to funnel customers to your proprietary website. Instead of funneling people to Facebook for an APP that is hosted on Facebook....have the APP funnel people to your tricked out campaign website hosted by you the Brand. Buy Facebook ads that bring people to your website. Post the links on the Twitter. 

View Facebook no differently than Yahoo for marketing. All it is, is a big display ad website of people spending time there. You want to reach a lot of people. You must use traditional and digital Advertising/Marketing in conjunction with Social Media to really make Social Media Marketing work for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Sentiment and Context Quiz

One of the biggest strengths and weaknesses about the Social Web is the ability to listen and track sentiment across the social web. Last Super Bowl Mullen Agency and Radian 6 held the Brand Bowl 2011 tracking the Tweets of the participants. If you Tweeted with the #BrandBowl during the superbowl to talk about the commercials, Radian 6 analyzed the results to gauge sentiment and pick the winners of the commercials.

The strength of Social Media is the tools enabling a business to basically have a personal web bot crawling around looking for everything that is said about you on the web: Twitter. Some Facebook. You Tube. Blogs. Media. Etc. This is powerful stuff for any business to have. I personally do not feel it should replace what you are currently doing, but instead add to it. Social Web is a free large scale focus group even if a little wild and wooly.

The good part is people for the most part talk fairly freely. The bad part is this is still a very small part of the conversation. There are 182 SMS Text Messages sent for every Facebook update. High School students average 3000 texts a month so obviously that blows away their communication on Facebook. And even text is a small % of their communication. We text, email, phone, talk in person, sit watching TV/Movies, surfing the net. This one and two way communication is easily 98% of our total communication during each day. Always keep that in mind. That 98% can kill your brand and you will never know it is coming. That 2% gives you a chance...just a chance to get out in front of a crisis or react to something positive like an unexpected demand surge.

But can we always trust the output of that 2%? Doesn't that depend on the input? If you asked people the day before the Super Bowl their view of Chrysler and then asked only the people who saw the commercial with M&M the day after what their view was I bet there was no change at all for most people. My own were poor quality, poorly managed, placing the guy who almost destroyed Home Depot in 5 years in charge only to have him lead you into bankruptcy wasn't smart, boring lineup, tax payer bailout. Commercial was cool but a waste of money in my opinion.The Brand Bowl would not show this. It just shows the reaction to the commercials vs the Brand itself. In which case the output was very positive for the commercial vs you can not extrapolate it to the view of the company/brand.

Now here is a short Twitter Conversation between Bill Dorman , Margie Clayman, and myself. (psst you should follow them on the Twitter if you do not, they are really smart, witty and kind people...#justsaying). What would you or a computer make of this?

From this what should Fig Newton take from this or what could they take from it? Anything? Would Klout think we are all Fig Newton experts? Would Fig Newtons think we really like them? Would Radian 6 or similar view this as positive or negative sentiment? Couldn't it be both? My comment could go both ways. What if Bill and Margie were being sarcastic like me? What if only one was and the other was pyscho for fig newtons they loved them that much. How much of the social web out put is like this?

Will Radian 6 pick up from this blog all the Fig Newton mentions and how would they be counted?

Sentiment and Influence are tools. You need the human element to decipher reality. Sometimes that reality is that you can not arrive at reality from your data. If the data is faulty, biased, corrupted etc, the output will be the same.

This is easy for a small business. Having to analyze real data that is manageable vs a mass of data can be done by a human. What about a Global Brand? They could easily have 500,000 or 1 million or more data entries to comb through each day depending on what is being monitored. If Bill. Margie and my conversation and this blog post was even part of 10,000 Fig Newton mentions today, do we trust the computer output knowing the other 9,997 could be just as flawed?