Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Big Picture Matters

Our little girl had her one year old check up Tuesday. She got her first shot which was for tetanus. After he wanted to review the next three shots that we might want to have her get. All were optional.

When discussing the Chicken Pox Vaccine he said Adults are 4x more likely to have a serious bout of the Pox than children. But then he said 'What they don't tell you is that in children 0.02% have serious bouts and in Adults it is 0.08%'. In the big picture really we shouldn't worry about this.

I said my industry is just like that. They massage the facts to sound impressive. Especially social media. My friend Danny Brown posted an infographic Sunday about Facebook. The focus was on addiction but when I did the math 53 billion minutes a month in the US wound up showing active users spend only 11.7 mins a day on the site. The most of any website/network. In the big picture that is a small number. If you add the 50 million non-Facebook using interest users we are around 7.9 minutes a day. Do we even use the internet these days?

My last post slammed a study about Like's. While the case study on Skittles was a poor one to use they did show by using paid and earned media on Facebook you can boost your marketing results. It basically proved you can amplify activity when combined, but the base is almost zero percent of Skittle's daily customers amplified by 2.5x. In the big picture this was not driving Skittles sales. 

Twitter considers an active user someone who sends 1 tweet per month. But is that active? can you reach that person on Twitter? Of course not. Facebook calls an active user someone who logs in one time per month for one second. Is that active? of course not. But this makes the gross account numbers look nice.

But what is the big picture? It is taking a step back from the hype, the sales pitch, and the spin. Look at all options for your marketing plan. How can you reach people best? Just because they spend more time on Facebook doesn't mean you can reach them there. You might have more success with print or TV or a clown with a bell wearing a sandwich board.

My peers will shoot me for saying this. But it is the truth. Almost always your best form of marketing is great product or service, right price point, great customer service, your location and your street sign if you have a physical business. 

Remember that it is the big picture that matters.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wildfire, ComScore, Facebook say Likes are Powerful

Wildfire APP sends me an email about a White Paper on Facebook likes. Turns out it was created by ComScore and Facebook. Right away based on the three members here you know for a fact the White Paper is going to be bullish on Facebook and Likes.

Why? Facebook trying to justify it's $100b IPO wants to show how spending money on Facebook Ads combined with Brand Pages will generate sales.

Why would Wildfire APP care? Their business does not exist without Facebook which is the largest segment of their revenues. ComScore? The number one site for traffic. You see the bias here?

But then the reality comes through. They use Skittles as a case study. Skittles is the 14th most popular candy with $150 million in sales/year.

I can gather some things here now. First off Skittles sells a ton of candy without a website. They basically do paid media, TV commercials, store displays, etc. They sell over 10 million individual bags of candy a month is my estimate. 

Are the 320,000 visitors unique? They don't say. Let's look at their Facebook page:

22,145,827 Fans! So only 1.4% of their fans (if visits are uniques) came to the page! And btw remember this is world wide numbers sales data was just the US. 111,500 talking about. This is how many Likes for posts and Comments and Posts by Fans totaled up. Divided by 7 days it is about 15,000 total actions per day. Which if people take more than one action could be from 5,000 to 15,000 people per day. Worldwide.

So what we know is:

Facebook is not driving sales of Skittles.
People who are Fans are not coming to the page or talking about Skittles on the page.
And with 22million Likes having only 15,000 actions per day is 0.068% of Fans caring about Skittles on Facebook each day.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Does Gini Dietrich Influence Me?

Saturday Gini Dietrich was on a panel discussing Online Influence in a Google Hang Out. You can watch it here: For Immediate Release the panel including a mixture of evangelists and skeptics. Gini rocked this round table.

I was out for an afternoon run that went wrong. Long story but ran much further than the plan. I checked in on Twitter to see what was going on and I saw Gini Tweet about the event:

I joked that Gini influenced me even though I am a big cynic since 99% of human communication occurs off social networks. And forget influence measuring. Each Brand and Business has a different goal. Nordstrom's wants you coming to the store and buying things. Huffington Post wants you sharing online their content driving traffic to their site. If Nordstrom's has content that goes viral using 'Influence' but not one person comes to shop that is a failure. If Huffington Post has links tweeted and shared over and over but no clicks on the links that is a failure.

So did Gini influence me yesterday? She sure has a high Klout score.

Well Yes and no. First off we are friends. Online we talk on Twitter, Facebook, Email and her blog Spin Sucks. Talk more on Email and her Blog. Both platforms influence measurement can not see. I share Gini's content often. But seeing her tweet was pure luck. Had I not seen it I would never of known about the Hang Out Discussion. Can she influence me if I do not see her tweet?

You can't influence online if your tweet or facebook post is not seen. And 97% go unread just due to the high volume in everyone's feeds. So if this is the case the fallacy I find is in how Klout and Peer Index measures. Gini is way more influential via her blog than any social networks. I have no idea how many readers she has. But with Twitter she might reach 600 people per tweet. That is a lot of Tweeting to match her blog reader ship.

But being philosophical I have never purchased a product or service because of her. I have read content she has shared. I read her blog. And I have a Google Alert for her because I thought it would be fun. But if you approached Gini wanting to influence me in some way because of her Klout score....not sure that will work. But if your Topic is such that she will blog about it...I guarantee you we will discuss your topic. On her blog. Or if the subject is one of such utter disbelief she might email me. But then Klout and Peer Index won't see that either way....will they?

Be careful. With 99% of more of human communication not taking place on Social Networks never mind public will get bitten. If you rely on these numbers to either market a product or service, build awareness or move content, or do not do your research of each influencer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Should You Out Source Your Social Media?

Usually No. You really could be foolish to do so. 

I say this even though I run a client's Twitter and Facebook Communities. Been doing it over two years now. We often make fun of Social Media Ninja's and Gurus who advise on doing this but have never done it for a Brand. Doing it for themselves doesn't count. Show me one community for a brand, built, run and operated by a Brogan or Solis. Yet you will listen to them about how to do social media?

Who should run the Social Media? The real answer? The top Dog. The top Dog should help and seriously spend time doing it. I suggest 1 day a week the CEO should do this. Or CMO. I don't care how big a company or how well paid they are. If they don't they are failing their company.

Why? Because they should see their customers up close. Their complaints. The things the Company does that impacts customer service, image, etc. Bask in the glory of compliments too. Nothing wrong with that.

The community I run is 99.9999% positive. And I have skin in the game. I am their Director of Marketing. I believe in their product. I believe in their future. I share my client's vision. I am their company when it comes to Social Media and Marketing.

But Chunk-n-Chip makes the best gourmet ice cream sandwich in Southern California. How could they not make people happy. But they get some poor Yelp! reviews here and there. We even have a 'Terrorist' lately leaving false reviews. They get people who complain every so often on Twitter, though rarely and almost never on Facebook. But when I get those complaints it is a pain the ass. I think 'I have no control over this'. All I can do is advise my client what to do. If they don't take my advice (my client takes my advice I am really lucky btw) I am still paid to handle Social Media and have to deal with these issues. But it is a small business so I can share individual occurrences because they are few and far between. She can feel my pain.

Most CEO's and C-Suiters I am sure feel this stuff is below them. But there have been examples of CEO's working Customer Service Lines in the past. If I see that I know it is a good company. Buy their stock. But what about a larger business. Is really all you care about is an Agency giving you a report that says the sentiment with no content? Will they act quickly if they see a trend? Or will they wait for the monthly data report?

So when businesses think they can outsource this work is that the smart move? For example VW has Edelman Digital running their Facebook page  helping mine for complaints. VW wants Edelman handling complaints? Even identifying them to me is risky and needs close monitoring (maybe VW does this?). Would a Digital Agency worker be able to see a trend really quickly for a problem that could lead to a recall or lawsuits like an Auto Industry worker would? Edelman calls this customer care effort a success, because it nets them billings. And it is slick. But they seem to be running it vs VW. So I call just the set up a success. Jury is out on the management and operations.

Outsource the Set Up. Outsource the Training. Outsource the Advising. Outsource the Data Management and Measurement. But don't outsource community management. And upper management should be participating. Why have people working with your customers who A] Don't work for you B] Possibly have no buy in regarding your mission or product C] Have no skin in the game if customers get pissed or angry. Is that who you want the face of your company's front lines to be? An Advertising/Marketing Agency?

When I pursue clients I pursue clients I want to work with. I won't work with someone just because I want billable hours. If I believe in what they are doing I want to work with them. I can then ethically and emotionally represent them. 

My client in Southern California has many fans on Twitter who now follow Sky Pulse Media on Twitter. They know that even from Upstate NY and Vermont my 17 years in Los Angeles and Orange County and my buy in, that I am truly part of that brand vs just a hired gun. How many agencies who run Social Media Communities can say that about what they do? Think about it before you out source.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It is really up to you

Yes marketing can sucker people or prey on their emotions. But that usually turns into buyers remorse. You want repeat customers not one time suckers. But that is up to you. You have that control.

All marketing can do is bring awareness or your product, showcase features and benefits, or show looks and style and feel. It can say where you or your product can be found. Where to buy. Where to visit. We can create promotions, deals, incentives, discounts.

Marketers will do all this based on your goals and needs. But once we get that customer to you, our work is over. And we probably can not help you after.

You need to focus on a great buying experience. Friendly and helpful interactions. Clean and attractive environs. A great product for your price point. Whether you choose value added or lowest cost be what you say you are. That will earn a repeat customer. Because once I have that new customer at your door step ready to buy, or at least interested, it is all in your hands.

There is really two steps here. You must give this deliberate thought. There is the buying experience and what they buy. Separate but together. And easy to get advice on. If you are a brick and mortar, location, set up, visuals, experience. If you are an online business focus on user interface, ease of use, quality of content or offerings. If you sell a product through a retailer focus on quality, visual packaging, great product inside.

The thing is, if you do all these things right, you will not a heavy marketing presence. Imagine if customers keep coming back. You won't need me. But it is up to you. Don't believe me? Listen to the baby.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Part 4 Five Tips on How to Choose the Right Blogs

I am going to be nice this last post. Instead of calling out the myriad of bloggers that I can, I want to be constructive with some rules so you can determine the quality of a blog post.

1] Does the blogger support their thesis with real numbers and data? 

There is a really well know Author and Blogger who is big time all in on social influence who did a slide share showing 6 case studies on using Klout and Peer Index to help launch products. Not one case study gave support that the campaign worked. Do they use fuzzy math? I am still waiting on a study done by Wildfire App. Media Post did kind of a Press Release for them. It had no basis. It claimed things like 82% increase in engagement without saying from what base. Did engagement go from 10% to 18.2% of from 0.0001% to 0.000182%? Why are the details hidden?

2] Is the blogger an expert in their area of commentary? 

Have they done the things they claim they are an expert in? There are many thought leaders in social media who never built a brand community or managed one themselves trying to tell brands how to do this.

I have a Finance/Sales background. That is why many of my posts are slicing the numbers in the hype to reality. When Yelp! claimed a call is made every other second from the mobile app to sound impressive. I calculated 86 calls per day per US state which is almost zero.

3] Is the blogger always selling to you? 

I find there are three types of blogs. The first is helpful. They want to show you how to do things and do so in detail. The second is discussion. They present something they want people to respond and talk about. The last is selling selling selling They are trying to sell you on their service, their platform, their book etc. If the blog is the last type they will have serious bias.

The list to your left are all either informative/helpful or discussion based. Not one of those bloggers is trying to directly sell you anything even though many are authors and would love you as a client.

4] Are they objective? 

Do they always have the solution from what they do? Or are they willing to offer solutions from other sources? Will they admit there are other solutions or better solutions?

5] Do they like using mumbo jumbo? 

I have called Social just Commerce. I have railed that Social Media is not Media at all. Engagement and Impressions are nice fuzzy terms with almost no meanings. I just came down on Social Business because it is just Business. Look for people who like to talk human vs lingo.

There is so much great content out there. I subscribe to Ad Week, Media Post, and Ad Age news emails. They are free! I read a ton of blogs. There are so many great blogs and great thinkers and leaders if you look for them. Don't use the AdAge Power150 as your guide. Only 2 of the top 50 are listed here. And there is only another 5 I would read. The fact so many people read Mashable proves the low IQ for the industry.

And remember....just because someone wrote something doesn't mean it is true.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Part 3 Duh...Businesses have always been Social

I am going to state this up front. I do not think highly of Edelman Digital. They want to be thought leaders in the Social Space and I don't find their thoughts much more than self serving. I had a bit of a disagreement with Michael Brito on his blog post about Social Business. Edelman is pushing the term 'Social Business' in a way that is skewed towards their business.

Let's start with Michael claiming what all the people say in all these Twitter chats focused on how business should run. 

DUH! Well of course Edelman knows if the CEO get's hooked the purse opens.

In fact I discussed a while ago why Social is not in the C-Suite and btw it still isn't. Not until CEO's see their bonuses being impacted in a meaningful way. I told Michael that businesses have always been social. Michael didn't agree.

And when I responded back with the cold hard truth that unless everyone benefits from better communication and goals they won't do anything the CEO spouts. They will do what maximizes their paycheck nothing more and nothing less. Of course when I responded Michael didn't respond back which isn't very social is it? Because today's business problems are the same as yesterdays. Tools change. Systems change. But they are the same problems in a different form.

Businesses have been striving to improve for years. The CEO's LOVE to jump on board the 'Idea of the Day'. In the 90's there was ISO9000 and Six Sigma. In the 2000's Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing. For communicating we had email, staff meetings, intranets, etc. Today it is Social Business. Which really says nothing to me. Often players come in and make a killing schilling stuff to CEO's who bite hook line and sinker. So Edelman is fortunate to be in the current space.

If a company approached Edelman and asked about Social Business, if Michael was honest and said "To be truly communicative you will need to ensure all workers have a stake in the profits in a way that truly motivates them. Let's start with 20% given back to Employees". How many CEO's would choose short term vs long term? They would see the hit on earnings as a hit to the short term share price and even their bonus as well as all bonuses for upper management who get paid in stock options. With no loyalty even at the top this is a very hard sell. Long term that decision could propel the business to great heights though. But will the CEO be there still? 

But if Edelman leaves that part out they very well might get paid a lot of money to set up systems and platforms to try to make the business more social without any carrot for success. I am not sure what the answer from Edelman would be since Michael didn't elaborate. And the fact is all businesses don't have to be 'Social' but they do have to be communicative. 

My point here is Edelman is selling Social Business so of course their blog posts will be pushing this. Even though businesses have always been social!

Take a step back. There is value in what you read from Edelman employees. But if you really want to be shown ways to improve your intracompany communication you need to find people or an agency that have no platforms or agendas to sell you and can actually objectively guide you with what is best for you. That could mean them choosing an Agency like Edelman if their skill set matches your needs. Or completely different solutions that might not even have the word Social attached. You need to have a choice of all tools and platforms because each business is unique and has their own goals and objectives.

Seek people like Cheryl Burgess from Blue Focus Marketing, or Gini Dietrich at Arment Dietrich who co-Wrote a great book with Geoff Livingston of Razoo called Marketing in the Round. All give great advice on how to improve and galvanize intracompany communication, and external with customers and suppliers. They teach solutions for challenges and are very objective vs biased. Trust me Cheryl is cringing because she loves the term Social Business even if I don't. But we both have the same viewpoints on communication itself for organizations. Read her posts for ATT's Networking Exchange Blog  And when you read posts on this by Gini Dietrich on Spin Sucks you don't see her pushing any platforms vs pushing your success.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Part 2 in why maybe you shouldn't trust marketing blogs

There have been many studies showing Marketer's are trusted less than Used Car Sales People. And deservedly so. Why would you trust people who do not care about honesty, accuracy, or reality. Especially so they can make money? I feel we should care about what we publish, what we present to clients. Yes making money is the goal, but clients come first right? Oh wait that is why in Advertising they never tie awards to successfully selling product.

Chris Voss has a pretty well read blog. Randomly this post with a Twitter Infographic was tweeted:

I hate Infographics. They are almost always filled and riddled with errors. So I won't post any here. The issue I had with this one is stated that there is 175mil Tweets per day. Oh and also 33 Billion Tweets per day. When I asked Chris why he would post a graphic with false data here is his response:

So basically Chris is telling me it is ok to publish false content and that facts are not important and that I should get a life for wanting to have accuracy in reporting. But I bet if I slandered Chris and said he sleeps with goats and steals money from kids lemonade stands (allegedly) he would be upset that my content is not accurate. Would you hire someone who doesn't care about telling the truth?

This is why people do not trust marketers. Too many of us bullshit out of our Chris. Want to know what is even more stunning? 1,200+ idiots retweeted this deceptive and inaccurate infographic. Makes me really proud of my peers.


Seth Godin created a minor storm this week. He was taken to task and quite humbled and accountable with his response:

I also bring up Inforgraphics in this post where Ad Week had a horrible one on Mobile.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't believe what you read until you do your research.

As my readers (all 6 of you) know, on the left are a list of very eclectic blogs in advertising, public relations, creativity and marketing. I view them as the no bullshit list. These people do not need to give you fluff or deception. And they also aren't tied to any marketing platforms...well except Vinny Warren who makes TV commercials...but his blog is all about creativity not selling you on why TV ads are better. Plus he has street cred with his body of work.

This is part one of a series on looking for bias when you read a blog. Often bloggers have an agenda for their own profit (or their agency's) vs your benefit. Sell a book. Champion a platform. Give speeches. Increase their billings. Etc. And those bloggers will slant their posts steering you to making them money. They are marketers right?

This blog post is going to focus on someone I do not know. But the tweet and his post was timely. In the last week two studies on Facebook advertising paint their effectiveness very poorly. In fact the Reuters story shows that 4 in 5 Facebook users ignore the ads.

But then my friend Dan Perez tweeted a post by someone I guess famous looking at his website and twitter profile. The post was about Facebook ads. And to be honest most of the post is really helpful. Except the first of ten points about Facebook ads (I have some issues with a few other points nothing dramatic like this). If 4 out of 5 Facebook users ignore the ads you can only have a shot of reaching 4 of 5 Facebook users vs the 850mil that Brian Carter is touting.

But why does he say this? Maybe because he is 'All In for Facebook'. 

He wrote a book called the 'Like Economy'. And if Facebook turns out to be a poor marketing platform. Or if people don't share as much as people like Brian want you to believe (as well as Agencies such as Likeable, Vitrue, and Facebook themselves). Then Brian's book and much of his insights are wrong. And of course that would be bad. For them.

But then when I responded that 4 in 5 people ignore the ads, Brian's response had me concerned about whether he is as smart as his resume:

I am sure Brian means well. He isn't trying to blatantly deceive you. But he is obviously based on his body of work someone who is more likely to glance over any blemishes Facebook marketing may have. And his post is not 100% accurate. And he doesn't care!

I am not saying these people and agencies are wrong. But many posts here on this blog prove with data that people rarely share as a percentage of content they consume, and that Facebook is a very poor performing marketing platform. This might change. But my guess is the better platforms will come and not be named Facebook.

I will be honest. I have no idea if Brian is a successful marketer for Clients or Brands. I can say he has been more successful than me at making money and at least has people believing he is (I would have to do my due diligence this is just face value stuff). I have examples from Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Michael Brito, Chris Voss that I have saved and will be showcasing them as this series continues.

Do your research. Look at your blog writer's profile. Do a Google search to see their footprint. See what they do, sell, and what makes them money. Before you take what they say at face value.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Are You Not Getting Through?

Before I slacked and then got sick I posted asking Are You Getting Through? 

I didn't go into details regarding why you aren't getting through. There has been a huge industry of hype almost fraud about Social Media for Marketing. Social Media is about connecting people in new and unique ways. It is a Revolution in Interpersonal Communication Technologies. 

This does not mean people want to talk to Brands via Social Media. In fact contrary to many of my peers I would bet it ranks last on reasons for using Social Media. So that is barrier number one. People have limited time and they don't care about your Brand or Product enough to engage with you beyond possibly 'Liking' or 'Following' you.

The second barrier is as our networks mature and we add more and more connections our time is the same. If I have time to read 100 Tweets per day and I follow 100 accounts who tweet 4x er day I will read 25% of my feed. If I add 100 accounts to follow I will read 12.5% of my feed. You see how this is going right?

The third barrier is also time related. I checked out a Twitter application called Social Bro. And it says of my 1600+ followers 45 tweeted in the last 5 minutes. Which tells me maybe 100 people are active on Twitter right now. Less than 10%. While you can see when the most people in your network on twitter, it still will be a minority of your network.

So the numbers run against Social Media Marketing. For whatever the guru's tell you about how things are shared and go viral etc the number of shares per person per day is very small. And the chances of those shares being seen is very small. So the craps table is better odds for you.

What can you do aside from paying to advertise?

1] Tweet or Facebook Post enough to be seen but not enough to spam. 

2] Give Fans and Followers a reason to come to you. This could be bribes such as deals or just great content.

3] Forget about forcing Marketing on people. Focus on your Product or Service or Experience. make it best in class. People will talk without you initiating and you can then listen and data mine.

4] Lastly be realistic. Have an integrated marketing plan. If you need to reach X number of people per day you will need help beyond Social Media. Look at your options based on your budget. You will be surprised how much impact some creativity can have on your marketing.