Archive for January, 2008

Who vs. How Many?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

That was the content of one of Seth Godin’s recent blog posts, the title was:-

The more people you reach the more likely it is that you’re reaching the wrong people

It was a timely though very short post, I was still in the “collective thoughts” mode one usually is at the start of the new year, though mine was somewhat delayed by moving to a new house, and various internet connection difficulties.

My year really didn’t start until mid-January

Back in November I went through some of the strategic planning I would at least consider for social media marketing, in fact any online marketing.

Whilst Seth’s thinking in many ways defines niche marketing, what I was looking for was to reassess my niche and I came up with my own short form.

Customer vs Peers

This offers in many ways a perplexing contradiction – the content and social media interaction that might widen your reach by attracting peers at the same time might not be suitable for your customers. The content is effectively self-serving, not customer orientated.

The social media interaction might also be self-serving if it is centred around your peer group.

As an example it might be wrong for the BBC, Washington Post or New York Times to promote Digg, when their customers might find a better user experience on Propeller, Mixx or Delicious.

Which social news site should Microsoft promote?

I have made similar tough decisions recently – my most active social media activity unfortunately was not a good match for many of my customers, and many of my peers. It was self-serving.

Redefined Goals

By in depth metrics analysis of historical content, it is possible to determine which content was most suitable for your customers – a customer orientated approach to content development ultimately rewards the “who” and not the “how many”.

What is more valuable, a recommendation from a current or potential customer, or from a peer or professional colleague?

One strange though understandable phenomenon – customer orientated content seems more likely to attract links from customers than peers.

Top 12 Reasons to Distrust Google

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Do you use Google? Do you think they are nice and friendly? Do you assume that what is good for Google is good for humanity as a whole? I don’t. Here is why: The top 12 reasons to distrust Google.

  1. Google supports and implements censorship measures in nondemocratic countries like China
  2. Google search is almost a monopoly in some countries, it already is one in others (in Germany more than 90% market share)
  3. Google records and collects all your personal and private data about you and your interests, you might think twice what you search for in future
  4. Google earns huge money off splogs (Spam blogs) and MFA (made for Adsense) sites with no real content
  5. Google employs students to manually clean up the search results, they will kick out sites they might deem spammy even if they’re not
  6. Google is literally a black box company and accountable to nobody, we simply don’t know how exactly they manage our most precious asset: the knowledge of humanity
  7. Google does not communicate it’s most controversial policy officially but via the private blog of a cat lover
  8. Google owns one of the biggest US SEO companies, now isn’t that a conflict of interest?
  9. Google will disclose your private data or IP to identify you even to authorities of non-democratic countries or in cases where people are guilty of free speech
  10. Google is one of the biggest multinational corporations along with the likes of WalMart and Exxon, it’s owners are two of the richest capitalist on earth
  11. Google discontinues services like Google Answers or the Google API without prior notice to it’s employees who are then laid off
  12. Google uses the same rhetoric as the Bush administration: We’re not evil, (the other are)

Now think twice if you as a netizen and/or webmaster want to rely solely on Google products and traffic. Why not instead look out for some alternatives? People, let’s unite for a more social and democratic media. Don’t trust robots, trust humans.

I am Tad Chef and I will enable you to venture beyond Google on my SEO 2.0 blog.

5 Viral Marketing Campaign Features I Learned from Clients

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I’ve been static from this site, rather shamefully but not without reason, I have a pretty hectic lifestyle these days and am barely getting enough time in to blog myself. Although I’m working on it, and with my new website design out of the way I am going to be contributing more time over here at Collective Thoughts and hope you guys enjoy what I have to say.

To make a long story short, I have my own company, but work full-time for a large internet marketing agency in south africa, and that’s where I get to work with some very large and very interesting clients. Being the Social Media Manager, it may come as a surprise that not all campaign ideas we pushed with were necessarily mine, and whilst I knew of these ‘ideas’ I hadn’t thought about putting them into play at the time. So without further ado, here’s what I learnt:

1. Give something to Charity

One site I worked with, their campaign had already decided to donate money for every ‘vote’ in a competition that was received on the site for images that were uploaded. I found that when promoting the competition, this was a great angle to look at and really ‘spurred’ people to help share the competition and helped with titles for those niche social news websites.

2. Get others to do the promoting

Basically what that means is involve users in a way that they have to promote it if they want to gain anything from it. In the competition above, people talked everywhere about the images they uploaded to a site in that it far amassed the traffic we were sending just from general social media marketing. When you get a large number of people wanting to talk about something on their blogs, myspace and facebook profiles you know you are onto a winner.

3. Use their Offline Presence for Online Gain

One client is a drinks manufacturer, one of the largest in the world actually who sell cartoned juice. They came up with the online idea themselves and just wanted us to help spread the word. One of the best ideas I think they had though to get some real attention was to also advertise the online part of this on their actual product. They had such a wide audience available that this was an instant success. You just need to make sure that you are actually promoting something that people want to get involved with rather than something average and boring.

4. Use Media Buy to get People where you want them

This might seem a little strange, as ‘media buy’ really isn’t social media marketing, but if you think about it, it actually works quite well. If the place you want to get people is likely to draw them in, get them involved and help them spread the word. The a small amount of media buy on a relevant blogs and forums can then help build up the conversation by originally get as many people as possible to know about the idea. This is something I personally hadn’t dabbled too much in but I seen that clients were already doing this and it was having a great effect.

5. Use Technology to appeal to the current ‘Buzz’

I had never been in a position where I could ask for someone to develop this tool, and this widget and that application. In a situation where clients had larger budgets and bigger teams, I could already see them creating tools and items that I would deem link worthy without any of my input. One company created tools and unique site features that related to the ‘green / environment’ buzz that is going around the web, and as you can imagine this was quite easy to promote.

Glen Allsopp can also be found on the ViperChill reputation management blog and look out for more of his posts on Collective-Thoughts in the future!

Justice Reigns: Stumble Troll BANNED by SU

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

TrollToday aimClear contacted the FBI regarding StumbleUpon cyber-harassment incidents, as they deal with Internet harassment. Justice Rules. We got one of the worst StumbleTrolls BANNED by complaining to SU.

Over the last few weeks, there’s been quite a sequence of exchanges between Internet Marketing types and StumbleTrolls.

A StumbleTroll is a social media dreg that follows authentic people around with death slogans and pseudo neo-Nazi meanderings of hate, evil, and terrible poetry. (more…)

What if Social Media were a Disorder?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

As I was waiting with my son in his Doctor’s waiting room I started reading one of the many pamphlets that they had sitting around. I happened to pick up one of the pamphlet’s titled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I smiled as I read it as I always felt that I was obsessed with Social Media. And, even though I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD I suppose having it might be a possibility. That possibility got me thinking… What if Social Media were a disorder?

 

Social Media Disorder And, the inside of the Pamphlet would read….

What is Social Media?

Social Media is the interaction of people on the Web. Unlike traditional media such as newspapers, TV, magazines, Books, Cds, and radios where there is no interaction between others… Social Media is human conversations via Internet Communities.

What are the Symptoms?

The use of, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Blogging
  • Instant Messaging
  • Participating in Forums & Message Boards
  • Photo Sharing & Video Sharing
  • Podcasts
  • Social Networking
  • Commenting on Blogs

What Causes Social Media Disorder?

The Need for:

  • More Traffic
  • Incoming Links
  • Visability as an Expert in your Field
  • Moving up in the Search Engines
  • Interaction between Business Owners and Potential Customers
  • Branding your Products Name / Business Name
  • Passing the word around about your product or Service.

How is Social Media Diagnosed?

An Increase in one or more of the following:

  • Traffic increase illustrated on Website’s Stat Counter (Visitors, Pages, Time Spent)
  • Your Website being Mentioned Online
  • Incoming Links / Trackbacks
  • Increase in RSS Feed Subscribers
  • Improvement in SERPS
  • Sales Increased
  • Comments Increased

Treatment

Once you have caught Social Media it is a Chronic Disorder. There is no way to rid it from your system. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Social Media. Fighting Social Media is extremely painful. The best treatment is to learn as much as you can about Social Media, so you can accept it and learn to live with it.

Defining Social Metrics

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I read a nice little post by Brent Csutoras I had been pointed towards it by Brian who is quoted within. I have been preparing a post on Mixx since before Christmas for Collective Thoughts so was keen to see another perspective, I was pleasantly surprised but also a little concerned.

Sheer Volume of worthless traffic is still worthless

How you define worthless of course is the key. The argument put forward by Brent is that Mixx simply doesn’t have a critical mass (or activity) to produce enough traffic to make it worth while for marketers. He quotes some stats that are pretty close to mine in terms of sheer visitor numbers to his site and their he stops. The problem is that sheer volume is not a useful metric indeed in many respects rather then being a goal the traffic itself should be considered the cost let me try to explain.

The cost of Volume

Every unique visitor costs a small amount of money, they are taking up bandwidth and resources, the more pages they view the more they cost. A well designed site has a set of “Call to actions” be it to buy a product, subscribe to the RSS feed or comment on the post each of these provide a small ROI how much this return is depends on the action. Even if the return has no financial return it still has a cost implication.
Example
Joe has a blog he has two calls to action 1) advertisement (he wants people to click the links) and 2) Subscribe to RSS
His hosting costs and monthly bandwidth mean each visitor per page costs him approx 1c.
Joe gets 100 visitors – the cost of these visitors is $1 and 1 person clicks an advert he recoups $0.30 Joes total cost is $0.70 if he values RSS subscription at a $0.5 and some two people subscribe then Joe has a ROI of $0.30

Lets say Joe gets to the front page of Digg and has 10k visitors a total cost of $100 he picks up 100 subscribers and 20 people click the ads his total cost is $94 financially and a ROI (including subscribers) -$44

Now I made those numbers up, but the point I want to get across is that everything has a ROI which should be included in any metric. If you sell an Ebook which is it better to have 10 visitors of which 1 buys the book or 10k visitors of which 1 buy the book.

Social media in particular can drive vast amount of traffic with little or no effort but why would you want this traffic what was the point?
Is your lack of goals costing you more then just money?

Every Goal has to be measured to have success

Working out success on pure visitor numbers is like working out your crop size based on locust population. If your site never had any set goals then it can not have any measured success, to measure success you need to first define your goals and how much reward such goals bring.
In my above example I used financial costs and rewards simply because it is the one thing most people understand but a cost and reward can be far more wide ranging. A good example of a non fiscal metric for blogs is Avinash Kaushik 6 methods for measuring blog success if your interested in looking at these on your own blog Joost has written a plugin at Collective Thoughts we have been using it for a while though it will take a few months before its data will be really useful.

Traffic is good, conversions are better

I love stats and I love social media I watch with joy when I see thousands of visitors on my site through the likes of StumbleUpon regardless of any goals so it seems hypocritical to suggest that traffic doesn’t matter but ultimately beyond a childish fascination it does not matter. What matters is if that traffic converted and achieved my goals.

Is Mixx ready for marketers peddling their wares probably not, is it ready for Link Builders hoping to get their stories in front of some of the most forward thinking people in social media quite possibly.

Social Media Ninja Winners!

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Social Media Ninja 2008 Winners
Ladies and Gentlemen the votes have been counted the judges have been arguing, the Collective Thoughts ethics committee was called. Smoke was seen rising, had a new Ninja been selected?
The standard was very high and the participants came from all walks and backgrounds, some were well known already on the social media stage others were coming to the fore. Some were desperate for the title others more laid back.

Finally it was down to two, one had the most votes through aggressive marketing (social begging) the other a smaller voice but still impressive. What were we to do but choose both!

Ninja badge
I present you with not one but two Social Media Ninjas for 2008 each ninja wins a unique prize suited to them as well as the right to call themselves social media ninja and to show of their new found status with the Social Media Ninja badge.

Bart the Bear

BartTheBear (aka Leonard)

love him or hate him, Leonard garnered the most votes. Leonard now holds the title of Social Media Ninja 2008

Leonard’s Bio: Why I chose “BartTheBear” – My real last name is Bartholomew. One of my favorite animal movie stars is Bart The Bear from “The Edge” with Anthony Hopkins. I am 6 foot 6 inches tall and built like a bear. I am told that I snore like one too. That is if bear actually snore when they hibernate. The last time I checked I about got my face tore off. I don’t necessarily like the conotation of “being a bear”, but it sure draws a lot of attention and is a lot of fun when it comes to blogging and representing myself in the social media sites.

SEOSmarty

SEOSmarty (aka Ann)

Ann also received a good amount of votes and definitely seemed to be a crowd favourite. Ann will share the title of Social Media Ninja with Leonard

Ann’s Bio: Well, I am 24, coming from Russia or Ukraine (as you prefer 🙂 ). I started as an affiliate manager for a celebrity poster e-shop, and that’s where I learned the basics of Internet marketing. I was then hired as a freelance SEO consultant. I started my own business about a year ago once I came to US. My company is really small (only 6 employees) but that’s great to be independent though! I started blogging and marketing at SM about a month ago, and got really excited about that. This resulted in a number of posts on my blog dedicated to social media rather than SEO – just because I can’t stop writing about that!

Congratulations to our winners we hope you enjoyed it and those who didn’t win will come back next year to challenge for the title Social Media Ninja 2009!

I’m the TitleStarter, Twisted TitleStarter

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

TitleStarter
When it comes to social media, and assuming that you want attention, you need to command attention.

YTMND, not exactly a social media site had an interesting page that laid out its basics: picture, sound, text. Blogging and social media isn’t all that different, but it’s more like this:

  • Avatar (get a noticeable one – more about on that here)
  • Picture (something to get attention above the fold)
  • Text (yes, you actually have to write something)
  • Which then brings me to perhaps the most important attention getting element: title.

It depends on which side of the user generated content fence you’re on at the time. If you are generating the content, spend some real time coming up with an amazing title. Folks that are submitting UGC have the luxury of changing the title to be the most suitable for where they are submitting to.

In either case, think, think, think. Run the title by some people. Wordsmith back and forth with people.

Another important consideration is that many blog visitors use RSS as their potential point of entry. Let’s say that don’t have your feed in full feed mode – the only thing you’ve got pulling for you then is your title! Reddit is similar in that you’re left without images and avatars, so title is important there as well.

I’ve compiled 2 lists.

List #1: My favorite social media post titles of 2007

My Opinion on the Google Page Rank Massacre – this was a great one from Lyndon that had excellent timing during a flashpoint about Google PageRank messing with everyone’s heads. All the text said was “zzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Ding Dong, Digg is Dead – Brian Clark can write a killer title with the best of them.

Your Secret Blogging Weapon is You

List #2: My favorite submitted social media post titles of 2007 (submitted changed)

Not many people know this, but I invented Facebook – Another great post by Lyndon. It was already an awesome Title, but Marty changed it to Call 911, FaceBook Ripped Off Lyndoman’s Family when submitting it to Sphinn.

Avoid the PPC Ramp Up Money Pit – Here is a post by Marty. It’s a good title, right? But look what it changed to when Lyndon submitted it to Sphinn: Slap yourself with a large wet fish and stop wasting money with PPC

Why do we blog? Nick of essence-seo decided on this short & sweet title which says it all, but look at what Jeff Quipp decided to change it to: 6 Types of Bloggers! Are You the Simon Cowell Type?

Devices and desires – Economist.com published this post in April. But, when it was Dugg the title was changed to: Porn is now LESS and LESS popular on the Internet

Young warned over social websites – BBC News posted this article in November but when it was Dugg it was changed to: How to Screw Up Your Future Using Social Websites

Top bloggers reveal how to build traffic off-blog without spending a dime
Jonathan Fields wrote this post, but the title was changed to: How Top Bloggers Really Promote their Websites.

22 Yummy Mixx Tidbits – It’s Time to Mixx Things Up!! – Shana wrote about her favorite 22 Mixx Posts and this was her title when it was Published. Tad changed it to: In the Mixx: DJane Shana Mixx-Tape Contains 22 Tracks

How to Obtain a Speaking Spot – Neil Patel wrote this post back in Ocitober. But, when SearchBuzz sphunn it the title was changed to: How to speak at a conference….if you are not “Neil Patel”

This post awesomeness was a joint work between Brian Wallace and Shana Albert. Hope you enjoy!

Social Media Ninjas – Unite!

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Social Media Ninja

Wow, everyone! Thanks so much for your great entries to the Social Media Ninja Contest!

Although we said last time that we would only be advancing the top 10 to the next round, we felt that all 13 that participated should move on.

Edit:  Here are the contest rules:

1 – Please only vote for one candidate.
2 – Votes must be received by Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 at midnight GMT.
3 – Candidates cannot vote for themselves.
4 – The decision of the Collective Thoughts team is final.

So here they are, folks. Which of the following should go on to become a Social Media Ninja?

TheGypsy
TheGypsy (aka Dave)

Best Known at: Sphinn
Ninja Entry


Bart the Bear
BartTheBear (aka Leonard)

Best Known at: Mixx
Ninja Entry


Bookworm SEO
BookwormSEO (aka Gab)
Best Known at: SEOMoz
Ninja Entry


WingnutSEO
WingnutSEO (aka Dave)
Best Known at: Sphinn
Ninja Entry


Distilled
Tom Critchlow (ya got a nickname, dude?)
Ninja Entry


Floppy
Floppy (aka Mack)
Best Known at: Sphinn
Ninja Entry


LocalSEOGuide
LocalSEOGuide (aka Andrew)
Best Known at: Sphinn
Ninja Entry


Britopian
Britopian (aka Michael)
Ninja Entry


Social Media Mom
SocialMediaMom (aka Kristen)
Best Known at: StumbleUpon
Ninja Entry


SEOSmartySEOSmarty (aka Ann)
Best Known at: StumbleUpon
Ninja Entry


Frozen2lateFrozen2late (aka Stephanie)
Best Known at: Mixx
Ninja Entry


Zaibatsu Zaibatsu
Best Known at: Digg (what are you, under a rock?)
Ninja Entry


Spostareduro Spostareduro (aka Kimberly)
Best Known at: StumbleUpon
Ninja Entry

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About Us

Welcome to the new wisdom of crowds. Each member of Collective Thoughts is here because not only are they a known or rising star in their own field, but they also have a passion and unique understanding on social media. Together, we make up Collective Thoughts. More

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