Archive for February, 2008
Thursday, February 28th, 2008
(yes, that’s supposed to be a Twitter army 🙂 )
Why Twitter is Important
(click image for full size)
To many Internet Marketers,Twitter has become important. Some people may not yet understand, but this may just be part of their journey through the social media learning curve. As with any social media application, site influencers got to where they were by putting in the time to understand the community. Twitter is no exception.
Let’s take a look at 7 Steps that Make Twitter Work:
Step #1. Twitter is more than personal updates. Sure, some people like to put in cat updates or say what they are eating for lunch, but Twitter is much more than that. Blogs used to have much the same stigma pinned on them, but one day the world woke up and understood the power of simple publishing + citizen journalism. Microblogging has reduced the time to market of content down to minutes and seconds, a huge improvement over blogs which brought it down to hours from previous forms of communication.
Twitter is a great place to:
-broadcast breaking / important news
-get advice (on just about anything)
-run a poll
-rag on others
Step #2. Now that you have your head on straight, socialize. Chances are, if you participate in the social media community, people you know are already on Twitter. While Twitter doesn’t have the best way in the world to find people, sometimes the best way is to just see who your friend is following.
Step #3. Don’t just sit there, say something. Join the conversation. Without being too noisy, get in there. Nobody is going to ask you to the dance if you are just sitting around. See what people are talking about, jump in with some “@’s” (replies to a user) and perhaps some direct messages too.
Step #4. Now that you’ve said something, quiet down. Like any social media site, know the community and follow its norms.
Step #5. Know the difference between a push vs a pull mechanism. When you post a link to your latest blog post to Twitter, you are doing a push. An action meant to grab the reader. They can ignore it, but people that like what you bring to the table will check you out. Instantly.
RSS on the other hand is a pull. Users will check RSS at their own pace and it will take more time to get buzz around your content.
Step #6. Fine tune, and read what’s out there. Here’s the part where you get to see where others have broken ground already, leaving valuable information for you along the way.
My suggested reads:
-Jeremiah Owyang on how he uses Twitter
-Shana’s awesome post about 26 reasons why I love Twitter
-DoshDosh put together a fine list of 17 ways to use Twitter.
Step #7. Put it all together and measure your results. As the title of the post mentioned, I promised a 438% growth in followers in a 30 day period. Here was my progression:
The notable jump right past the midway point came from a mention in Marketing Pilgrim’s initial post on Internet Marketers to follow.
After looking through this list a few times, I thought that both Twitter addicts and those that may not even use Twitter at all might be left with a few questions. Here’s my attempt to answer a few:
Q: 438% growth doesn’t just magically happen. How did you do it?
A: Well, I’ll tell you:
1 – Followed people I knew
2 – Adjusted my level of noise
3 – Thanked people for following me
4 -Kept the conversation going with those that replied quickly
5 – Instigated a few fights
6 – Chatted with better known people
7 – Unfollowed those that were bothersome / too noisy
8 – Crosslinked on my blog and other social media profiles
9 – Did a bit of brand management / data mining, keeping a keen eye on Tweeterboard stats, Terraminds info, and Tweetstats graphs
10 – Retweeted things that I felt were important that my followers might have missed from my Twitter friends
Q: Ok, so you got some new Twitter followers. If I post a link, maybe I get 5-10 visits to my blog. Why should I care?
A: The reason that you should care isn’t the direct traffic, but rather the indirect influence. If you Tweet a link to a new blog post, people will rush to submit it to social sites. This is changing the “pull” dynamic inherent in RSS (which may become passive for folks that are too busy to keep up on RSS) to a “push” dynamic through Twitter – but to people already interested in you. What’s more is that your followers may see your Tweets as a call to action, and begin to submit / vote for post you may have.
Friday, February 22nd, 2008
We had a chance to catch up with Icanhascheezburger co-founder, Ben Huh. Here’s what he had to say:
1 – Tell us a little about your background. What drove you to create a site like this, and what do you see for the future? Did you ever think that ICHC would get as big as it did?
We never expected it to be this big — or become a social phenomenon. It’s a wild ride. We see our role as providing tools and a place to be creative. So we’ll continue to build out our site and tools to allow users to do that.
2 – You’re a WordPress VIP hosting customer. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
We love WordPress. Period. They are responsive and sharp.
3 – So I guess you’re in the cutsie niche? What other sites do you see you are up against, things like cuteoverload.com?
4 – I’ve come across ihasahotdog.com. This looks like your latest venture. How’s it going for you so far?
I Has A Hotdog as been another WIN for us. Without much fanfare or publicity, it’s collection quite an audience. We still consider it a beta, but we’ll be publicizing soon. We’ve been really focusing on organic, word-of-mouth growth and it’s working.
5 – You’ve probably had great success with ICHC in social media. What sites would you say you’ve done the best with?
The two that stand out are Digg and StumbleUpon. They are very different animals and their users behave differently. We get a jolt from Digg, but Stumble provides us with longer-term users.
6 – Have you been effected in all of the recent Digg algorithm changes?
It seems to have helped us. On Valentine’s day two of our pictures got front-paged. Which doubles the number of front-page Diggs we’ve had.
7 – What are your favorite LOLcats to date? The guy proposing marriage via LOLcat this Valentine’s Day was a keeper for me.
There are lolcats we can’t [CENSORED] show you. Those are some of our favorites. 🙂 We’re amazed as to how creative people can get. Of the ones that are published, emowall is one of my favorites. And it doesn’t even have an animal in it.
8 – How much user generated LOLcat material do you get from your fanbase a day?
We get several thousand a day. This is the most exciting and time-consuming part of our job.
9 – On a similar vein, do you ever just get tired of looking at LOLcats?
I thought we’d get tired of it after just a few weeks, but the genre continues to evolve. The creativity of the user-base is amazing. We still laugh out loud every day. At the core of this, it’s not about lolcats, or specific memes. It’s actually about giving users the power to be creative within a flexible framework. I’d like to think that’s what we’re getting good at.
There are so many sides to the entertainment, including the lolspeak pidgin. In fact, we’ve got a new wiki community dedicated to the development of this dialect.
10 – Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming book as well as the poker contest?
The book will show you a new side of lolcats, (read: unpublished) as well as some classics. It’s a fun project for us and you can absolutely expect user-participation in creating the book.
The poker contest is a thank you to our users. Expect a lot more contests in the near future.
11 – So, Ben, really ‘Can I has cheezburger?’
If you find me mah bukkit. 🙂
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008
When you have completed reading this post you will understand my babbling, but to do so I will tell you a little bit about myself.
Up until recently my favorite flower was a Yellow Rose. Something about a Yellow Rose was always calming. Maybe that was wishful thinking. Again that was until recently. Now I have lost all relevancy to them. We will not go into the reasons today…
As writing this I would have to say that the Dandelion has taken the place of the Yellow Rose as my flower of choice. When I see a Dandelion I immediately go back to my childhood. It has been over twenty years since I have seen a field covered in Dandelions. As a kid growing up on the outskirts of a small town in the Midwest there were not many organized things to do, so most of the kids in the neighborhood collected at a nearby field. The field was often covered in Dandelions. Each night as we were walking home from playing baseball or whatever game we happened to play at the time, the air would be heavy with the distinct aroma of smashed Dandelions. This smell has never left my memory even two decades later.
Now I would like for you to close your eyes for a moment and think of the sound that a Dandelion makes as you pop the head of the flower from its stem and the soft moist texture as you crush it between your fingers. If you have ever pulled one from its stem you know what I am talking about.
About now you should be asking yourself what in the world am I getting at? Why am I decapitating the heads from innocent flowers? If not, you may be the one with some issues. For those of you that did question what am I talking about read on.
The Collective Thoughts blog is about Social Media. Social Media to me is about using interactive elements of a website to get your proposed message across. What better way of getting into someones head then to let them see a little bit into your own mind. It is all about how you build your rapport.
So what is your favorite flower? I would like to know what your favorite flower is and why you would classify it as your favorite. Take this assignment with a small sense of seriousness. Don’t tell me “buds” are your favorite flowers and the reason is that you like to smoke them.
Today’s task is about building a rapport between us. So this is what I would like for you to do on your end. If you are reading this blog I am sure you have already installed the StumbleUpon toolbar on your browser of choice. I would like for you to use that toolbar to create a review of this post and in doing so tell me your favorite flower. In turn, I will write a small review for one of your sites in a future post on this blog.
So what are you waiting for? Be one of the first to have a review of your site on Collective Thoughts by Mark Laymon.
Thursday, February 7th, 2008
Just released yesterday, Mixx has stepped up its growing social news site, now adding the ability to message other users within the site. Chris McGill spoke about these features being on the Mixx roadmap in our earlier interview with him. From the Mixx blog:
Mixx Mail Phase 1: Now you can send and receive messages to and from anyone in the community without ever leaving the Mixx. Mixx Mail offers some very handy little features, including:
* The icons of all Mixx friends in your address book—especially useful if you’re like us and remember faces/avatars better than names.
* Send a message to a Mixxer directly from that user’s profile page.
* Block overeager wanna-be groupies. That’s right—not only can you slam the door on their friendship pleas, but now you can block them from sending messages, not that you’d be so cruel. Right? Well ok then, just don’t block us.
* Opt to have a daily digest sent to your regular email and we’ll let you know how many messages you have waiting.
The recognizability that an avatar brings is taken into account here, as shown below:
There is also a new release on group message boards, a handy addition that Mixxingbowl, the unofficial Mixx forum, doesn’t entirely address.
These are welcome features and should certainly improve usability on the site.
Traffic is Still Mixx’s Weak Point
When you compare Mixx with a Niche Pligg-based site like Sphinn, the result is disappointing: even with a large spike in November/December, its visitor numbers have barely risen. Let’s look back at our own home-brew of those events, Google Trends like style:
To put things into perspective we can’t show you the graph between Digg and Mixx as Mixx visitor numbers are so tiny it’s barely more the a straight line. So instead let’s compare it to a large Social Media Blog like Dosh Dosh
Keep in mind that Compete.com numbers are to be taken with a pinch of salt but they are a good guide to trends and Mixx seems to be stuck in the mud.
On the flip side, social media is not just about numbers but reaching the right numbers. Mixx is developing its own diverse crowd, many of whom are active Stumblers and Diggers, making it a great spot to promote material that is ultimately aimed at these audiences.
Mixx as a site is technologically ahead of the game, its owners are well known and are in touch with their user base and their accountants. The question remains: is a business model based on poaching users a successful one? Can Mixx gain the traction needed to get out of the mud and when is there API coming?
This social media public service announcement has been a joint effort between the illustrious Brian “stop making me write long posts” Wallace and Tim “You got to write long posts” Nash. Thanks for stopping by, good citizen.
Friday, February 1st, 2008
Yes, that’s right. StumbleUpon has just released some fantastic improvements to its review pages. Rather than having the old way of a Helpful? Yes/No next to each reviewer, there is now a much more comprehensive Flag This menu.
Don’t let the Flag this make you think it is only to report spam or offensive behavior.
Personally, I liked the Helpful yes/no since I could see who I marked as helpful or not if I chose too, whereas now I’d need to click on the dropdown for each reviewer.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for StumbleUpon. As for the uses of the new functionality: don’t flag as a spammer just because you don’t enjoy the topic, and don’t flag as violent/hostile/vulgar unless they really are.
Now you’ll have your say. Stumble responsibly.