Monthly Archives: August 2009

Sunday Morning Twits

As Twitter increases in popularity I thought I’d spend my Sunday morning searching out some anecdotal evidence to back up my gut feel – just how popular, how much is hype, where’s it all going, where is it going sideways and how might one get it right. Here are a few of the articles that helped me get to the bottom of things:

50 Million Twits: 50 million unique visitors worldwide

A TechCrunch post this week, Twitter Flew Above The 50 Million Uniques Mark For the First Time in July,  reported “ComScore now counts it as the No. 47 largest site in the world, increasing from the No.52 spot in June and (surpassing the BBC and Craigslist)”. and “It is important to note that since more than half of Twitter users don’t even go to the Website and use Twitter apps to consume and publish Tweets, Twitter’s total audience is even larger. But clearly Twitter is still growing.”

Pointless Twits: How Useful is Twitter Content

A post on Pear Analytics by Ryan Kelly, Twitter Study Reveals Interesting Results About Usage – 40% is “Pointless Babble” analyzes 2,000 Tweets on the public timeline over a two week period in a white paper study. The exercise categorized Tweets into 6 buckets – News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Pointless Babble, Conversational and Pass-along value.

Pointless Babble won with 40.55% of the total tweets captured; however, Conversational was a very close second at 37.55%, and Pass-Along Value was third (albeit a distant third) at 8.7% of the tweets captured.

Corporate Finance Twits: Twitter Use by Investor Relations

A post this week on Q4blog – Report reveals early adopters using Twitter for Investor Relations discusses Social Media adoption outside of Marketing and PR.

Key statistics revealed include that of the 80 public companies surveyed, 55% are using Twitter for investor relations and 62% provided a link to their Q2 earnings release.

Tennis Twits: Important. Player Notice. Twitter Warning

A post on the BBC News site yesterday Roddick questions Twitter ruling, mentions World number five Andy Roddick describing attempts at the US Open to regulate players’ updates on social networking site Twitter as “lame”.

The Tennis Integrity Unit warns that Twitter messages could violate anti-corruption rules, and that tweeting is not allowed on court during matches.

They add that sending “certain sensitive information concerning your match or other matches and/or players should be avoided. Depending on the information sent out this could be determined as the passing of ‘inside information.’

Football Twits:  NFL clampdown on Twitter and Other Social Media

An Associated Press article on the NFL.com site Teams struggle with policies on Twitter usage as site’s popularity grows states: “The only tweets during the Miami Dolphins’ Saturday scrimmage will come from the officials’ whistles.

The Dolphins are at the forefront of an NFL clampdown on Twitter and other social media, with new restrictions imposed on players, reporters and even spectators.”

The general fear across many teams is that opponents might gain a competitive advantage from even the briefest tweet about injuries, personnel decisions, trick plays or food.

Sports Media writers expressed a different fear, “It would be a shame for a beat writer to get beaten on a story by a 12-year-old in the stands who is allowed to blog” – the view of The Professional Football Writers of America.

Movie Twits: Tweets Don’t Equal Ticket Sales

In a ReadWriteWeb article Twitter Effect’s Power Overstated when it Comes to Making and Breaking Movies on Aug 28, Sarah Perez discusses how “the early buzz on Twitter – much of it negative – that caused these movies to crash and burn”

The post concludes that “the online chatter taking place on the popular microblogging site, while still an important vector for studying sentiment, is not powerful enough on its own to truly impact the overall success or failure of a movie”

Teen Twits: Twitter’s Youth Sees Growth

Another ReadWriteWeb post by Sarah Perez,  Teens Don’t Tweet, May they Start Soon notes that teens are more likely to use text messaging than Twitter for keeping up with their friends and that only 11% of Twitter users are aged 12 to 17, according to comScore.

Commentary to this post suggested that “teens don’t tweet because they are already using Facebook, which has everything they’re looking for. Twitter would just be extra work for them” Another comment pointed out that “there were few kids on Twitter in 2008 because it was being used by people who were already sophisticated social media users and who had a blog/website. I see Twitter as both a leading edge information source and a networking tool.”

The commentary to this post is as valuable as the post itself and worth paying attention to.

17 Twits: Dipping your toe in the water

Another post on DoshDosh, 17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners provides a useful brainstorm of ways that Twitter can be used in a business context – event updates, customer notifications, prospecting and hiring. A useful listing to dip your toe in the water.

Strategic Twits: Successful Social Media Strategies

In her article, 5 steps to a successful social media strategy, Amy Sample Ward discusses how a Social Media strategy should serve your organizational goals – a principle that organizations seem to forget in their feet first efforts to adopt Twitter, Facebook, Review Sites and Online Communities.

Each step comes with a dialog and a number of links for more information:

Step 3, Strategy, has 5 important sub-steps of things to Identify –

  1. The audience or community you want to engage
  2. The resources currently available within your organization
  3. What success will look like
  4. What technologies are most appropriate
  5. What measures of success can be used

Whether you are for-profit or non-profit there are some sensible tips here.

Golden Twits: Following thousands of people is just ridiculous

TechCrunch this week discussed Twitter’s Golden Ratio (That No One Likes To Talk About) – specifically the ratios between the number of followers a user has, the number of tweets the’ve made and the number of people that user is following.

Worth reading and worth considering when your Twitter strategy becomes more successful and pertinent to your organizational goals – particularly if you are considering an Online Influencers program.

Monitoring Twits: Social Media Monitoring Tools

While seeking out statistics for this post I noticed that the latest Neilsen report states that Twitter is enjoying a 1382% monthly growth… back in February 2009 – a somewhat ironic date in a long and distant past that made me ask the question is traditional market research the best place to pick up the latest buzz? Or can you get 80% of the value for 20% of the cost using well thought out Social Media Monitoring tools.

Ken Burbary’s Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions provides a Master List of useful tools ranging across the board from the most simple and free like Twitfeel to the more expensive full service solutions such as TNS Cymfony. The list also includes my own OpenMic Social Media Analysis solution.

I’m a Twit: My Conclusions

I still maintain my geeky belief that Twitter is a protocol (like Facebook is a set of permissions) – Twitter is a communications channel that can be used in a broad range of ways for both personal and business reasons. It is at its roots a subscribable broadcast mechanism. The beauty is its API that has allowed a variety of applications where its content can be consumed. The crowdsourcing of #hashtags, its use as a pointer system via Bit.ly, photos on Twitpic and the ability to address other @users has allowed it to really flower, yet we have yet to see the killer apps and revenue models appear.

In the meantime, work out what you  are trying to achieve from a business perspective and develop your Twitter tactics as part of a broader social media strategy. And listening to the buzz can be as valuable as broadcasting.

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Thinking about Influencer Marketing

As we are now implementing the OpenMic Influencer Identification Algorithms, we want to provide some suggestions as to what you’d do with them once you’ve found them – in the meantime, here are some notes on related articles:

Influencer Marketing Guidelines

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) defines an INFLUENCER as a person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace. And INFLUENCER MARKETING as when a marketer identifies, seeks out, and engages with influencers in support of a business objective.

WOMMA also identifies 5 broad categories of influencer (from formal to informal) – 

1) Formal Position of Authority (e.g. Political / Business leaders)
2) Subject Matter Experts (e.g. Academics, Scientists, Authors)
3) Media Elite (e.g. Journalists, Talk Show Hosts)
4) Cultural Elite (e.g. Celebrities, Designers, Musicians)
5) Socially Connected (Community members, Business Networkers)

WOMMA’s Influencer Marketing Guidelines provides a set of best practices for running influencer campaigns – here are the items that I found most valuable:

1. Understand the influencer’s point of view before engaging them in any way – much of the time, they are acting to help other users rather than your brand
2. Make participation voluntary and by invitation only – and respect their privacy at all times, allowing them to freely opt-out
3. Build a relationship with the influencer
4. Ensure that your communications with the influencer are timely – ie respond promptly
5. Never ask an influencer to hype product claims, make usage claims without experience or back claims that cannot be substantiated
6. Provide incentives that do not create conflict of interest or shilling – keep awards simple and relevant to community objectives
7. Thank influencers who participate in your programs.

The set of guidelines goes on to discuss in more detail Thanking, Engagement and Enablement, I have noted a few worthy tips to follow:

* Creating legendary stories can be very powerful ways to both generate conversation and affinity

* Moments of truth about product failures are important

* Your biggest influencers may not always be positive about your product / company / services – your biggest fans may at times be your harshest critics – the fact that they are sometimes negative may make them far more credible to their networks

* Influencer programs are long term multi-year commitments designed to build a relationship – they are not marketing campaigns

* Private access is an excellent way to engage your influencers and influencers also love to connect to one another – Consider both online and offline connection opportunities and even deeper engagements with NDAs in place

* Influencers are a great source of product feedback – your programs should be designed to close the loop demonstrating that their feedback is being heard and acted upon

Trends In Social Influence Marketing

The Razorfish Blog, Going Social Now has an post from March 2009 entitled Trends In Social Influence Marketing

Razorfish defined SOCIAL INFLUENCE MARKETING as “marketing to the network of peers that surround and influence the customer across social platforms and on brand Web sites

The post identified and detailed 10 trends – my highlights are below:

* Reaching the influencers gets easier via the social graph and the plethora of technology vendors that make targeting easier.
* Different influencers will matter at different stages of the marketing funnel, too.
* Agencies will find ways to put a valuation on each consumer’s potential influence for specific product categories.
* Google and a few others are already taking a crack at defining your influence rank.
* Consumers will define the brands by the sheer volume of their opinions. They’ll be shaping the brands more than the brands will be shaping them.
* Social advertising will grow up (whatever that means!)
* The portable social graph will fuel marketing innovation (this is Facebook and Twitter Connect)
* Loose ties (like the friendsters of yours on Facebook) are as valuable as your strong ties (close friends) because they’re the ones that bring new ideas into your world and share your opinions with people who are further removed from you
* Social influence research will become more important than social measurement – n evolution from measuring sentiment to understanding opinion and synchronizing it with the Net Promoter scores

There are a few more, go read the post – if you’re an agency, it’s probably worth the read.

Creating A Healthy Influencer Marketing Program

Finally, here is a Powerpoint deck by Emre Ersahin available on SlideShare entitled: Creating A Healthy Influencer Marketing Program

Definitely worth a look – it contains a step-by-step process, refined from a set of good and best practice examples of how to run an Influencer Marketing Program – not the only way, but certainly one proven way. It presents a methodology based on Discover > Create > Execute > Measure centered around ‘Social Capital’ that leverages the value of online networks.

Here are the basic steps:

Discover – target audience and identify and recruit influencers

Create – influencer concepts and programs

Execute – program implementation online and offline

Measure – the results and evaluation of the benefits