My week in social media and beyond

Busy week so I didn’t have time for any opinion pieces.  Here are some highlights from the week and what is on my mind. WebInno21 – Amazingly this was my first time at the event.  I’ve signed up before but each time it just never happened.  If you in are in Boston, it is a must.  Almost 500 entrepreneurs and service providers filled the room.  Unlike other “networking events”, this one was packed with people actually trying to build stuff and change the world. Adroit Interactive –  They received the most votes from the crowd at WebInno.  I really like the idea of dynamically driven ads, but I am also wary of any business working on a CPM basis when the aftermarket prices for online ads are under $1 these days. BravoCart – I am sucker for boring (sorry guys but shopping carts are not sexy) technologies that make a big difference.  I know, I know, shopping carts are so 1998 but I would bet these guys have the most success of the the main dishes at Webinno.  In the end, their core customers will “get it” and the ROI will be easier to demonstrate. Dropcard – I handed one guy my business card and he immediately typed it into his iPhone.  It wasn’t until I returned to my office the next day that I discovered he had sent me an electronic business card.  Pretty cool. Dapper – Adriot’s competitor in the dynamic ad market gets bonus points.  I was among the compulsive tweeters at WebInno and Dapper smartly responded to one of my tweets.  They are now on my radar.  I guess social media really does work. I am off to SXSW (that is South by Southwest for the rest of us) next week.  I should have lots of tasty morsels to blog about. Stay...

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Social Media Advertising: Does it work?

As I shared earlier this week, I’ve been experimenting with social media advertising on Facebook.  The results to date have been, how do i say this politely, appalling.  I knew from my prior research that the clickthroughs would be lower than paid search on Google but given the lower expected cost per click and and larger number of impressions, I figured we might “make it up in volume”. Here some interesting articles I’ve compiled while I try to assess the effectiveness of this campaign and my future with social media advertising. Ad Gurus Find The ‘Real Value’ Of Online Advertising Remains Elusive What’s the future for social network ads? Reach versus Engagement, part II (full post) Quick Case Study on Facebook Advertising The Facebook Ad Experiment — 5 Recommendations for a Successful Campaign Facebook Ads: Ineffective or Fraud? Social Network Advertising Must Change for Brands Results From My Facebook Ad Campaign As you can see, the jury is still out for social media ads and only more testing will help us discover the truth. Have you read any good...

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Making a bad decision on purpose: option value and social search

Am I going soft? I’ve been dabbling with paid search on one of the major social networks.  The interesting thing is that we decided to press forward despite the fact that our “back of the envelope” calculations using an optimistic lifetime value estimate projected that this campaign will end up underwater. I frequently rant about the value of running the numbers first but in this case we decided to “do it for strategic reasons”.  More specifically, this campaign had high option value.   In a situation like this, a simple ROI calculation may not be enough.  Conventional projects with predictable outcomes can use straightforward estimates.  When venturing into the unknown where the risks are greater and the future is uncertain, people often use real options as a way to capture the potential value of an opportunity. So in this case, paid social search is a good fit for thinking about option value.  Despite a lousy initial estimate, there is great potential in the medium.  If this works, it could open up a big, new promotional channel.  It could also be a bust.  We’ll never know unless we try it. So can you think of any high risk projects that have a small chance of a exponential...

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Hubspot asks who do you love?

The good people at Hubspot never let me down. I was doing my early morning scan of Twitter when I came across a tweet with a shoutout to send “LinkLove” to anyone you want (ie friend, colleague or favorite blog).  After a short music video starring Hubspot’s resident triple threat Rebecca Corliss (singer, dancer and inbound marketer), I checked out the lovefest.  All you have to do to share the love is enter your Twitter name, your friend’s Twitter name and “their URL”.  Like all good viral campaigns, the made it “stupid easy” to share and it wasn’t long before my Twitter stream was full of their #linklove hashtags. So why all the buzz about #linklove?  For those of use trying to build a business organically (OK, using inbound marketing as Hubspot would say), inbound links are gold.  When they come from a site with stronger page rank, this is even better.  I feel pretty confident that Hubspot has more Google page rank than 90+% of the people on Twitter (Hubspot = 6 vs. Tangyslice = 3) so the once the “linklove” pump is primed, this was highly likely to go viral.  Everyone wants a free link from a site with more page rank. Or so they would think…  OK, I’m not an SEO expert (but I play one on television).  A closer look, however, reveals that linklove.hubspot.com has no pagerank (yet).  Thanks to all those inbound links i would expect this to improve pretty quickly.  Would it have been better to put it on www. hubspot.com/linklove instead?  Any SEO experts out there to offer an more qualified opinion? A more cynical marketer might also suggest that Hubspot is getting the better deal as the value of the aggregate inbound #linklove links to likely exceeds the sum of the link building value to all of us “lovers”.  It doesn’t take an MIT degree to figure that it just doesn’t matter.  Unlike many forms of marketing, there’s no cost to giving somebody a link so in the end this viral campaign is fun and everyone loves a free link. I once again take my hat off to these guys (Rebecca, Mike Volpe, Rick Burnes, et al).  Half the battle is coming up the idea for the killer viral marketing campaign and the other is making it happen.  They did both really well… ...

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When worlds collide

I’ve had a number of conversations recently where people have asked whether or not they should keep separate social networks for friends (ie Facebook) and professional contacts (ie LinkedIn or Plaxo). However quaint (I borrowed that term from my colleague and lifestyle blogger Limeduck), the reality is that world do collide. While it is easy to ignore that Facebook friend request from that dude you hung out with at middle school band camp, what do you do when your boss friends you? There is no easy answer to that question.  I am not much of a Facebooker and not inclined to oversharing (what, you don’t want to hear about my kid’s latest temper tantrum) so I really don’t worry much about worlds colliding.  The truth is that you really can’t keep your “worlds” separate.  As George Constanza learned on Seinfeld you can’t keep “Relationship George” and “Independent George’s” worlds from colliding.  My advice is to embrace it. So here are my tips to avoid the discomfort when worlds collide: Think before you friend – Do you really want to reconnect with this person?  How well did you know them in the first place? Less is more – I know that you like to share but oversharing may come back to haunt you one day.  Needless to say I am glad there was no Facebook to document my college years. Understand you are in public place – Join the conversation but understand that others are listening. And finally have some fun and stay...

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Why does your boss hate social media?

My recent question “why do marketers love social media?” got me thinking.  If marketers love social media so much, why don’t social media projects get immediately funded and senior execs jump at the opportunity to use social media to connect with customers, partners and employees?  Why is your boss such a social media “hater”?  Well, putting on my COO hat, here are my hypotheses: Your weak business case: Even though it has the measurability advantage of being an online medium, it is challenging to quantify the benefits of Twittering in C-level exec terms like revenue or leads. It is lonely at the top: Other than a small selection of high profile execs, most are not using social media (and if they are it is something practical like LinkedIn). Technology adoption: If your boss is not an early adopter or part of the early majority, there are very few convincing arguments for social media. Bigger fish to fry: We all know the sour economic environment is affecting business.  Chances are your boss is more concerned about meeting monthly numbers and keeping his/her job than “cool new opportunities”. Difficult to quantify ROI: Unless you are closing business or generating leads from social media, it is pretty challenging to build an economic case.  While community building and customer engagement are important, ROI is top of mind.  Given the Your boss has no friends:  Just because everyone you know is on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean that this is true for your boss. Your boss’ peers or friends may not be using social media.  Check out this research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project to see how social media use declines in older demographics. Can you think of any others I...

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