Posts Tagged ‘ Social Networks

Counterpoint: Google+ Is a Plus Size Flop Compared to Facebook

Google+ has launched to much fan-fare and hype. I think it’s just that – hype – and is destined to be another one of Google’s failed attempts at social media. While I’m intentionally being provocative here, and obviously can’t predict the future, I’m fairly confident in making such a bold claim. Here’s why:

Google+ has some neat features, which have been examined thoroughly by many people much smarter than I. Many marketers, such as my good friend Richard Melick, have great excitement for Google+ to change the face of social media marketing. Surely, features such as Circles & Hangouts are pretty slick. But other than a few bells & whistles, it’s fundamentally no different than the core purpose & functionality of Facebook – to share updates, pictures, videos & more with your friends. The major differences are just the location (facebook.com versus google.com) and the nomenclature (groups versus circles).

With so little differentiating the two, I don’t think Google+ has a chance at ever being a “Facebook Killer”

Here’s why I think Google+ is a flop:

Read more

Facebook’s EdgeRank and How to Stop it from Filtering Friends’ News & Updates

Update Feb. 2011: Facebook has changed the filtering options, and now provides an option to show posts from “All of your friends and pages.” This is exactly what I was asking for in my original post, which is awesome to see. Either someone was listening, or someone at Facebook arrived at the same conclusion as myself, but regardless of how it was done, it is much appreciated. Check this setting now!

Original Post: Have you ever looked at the Facebook app on your mobile phone and noticed updates from Friends or Pages that don’t appear in your feed when you log in the normal way through Facebook.com? Even if you click on the Most Recent tab, which is supposed to be a “Live Feed” of all status updates, you’ll notice some are being filtered out, despite you never telling Facebook to hide those friends or pages.

This may be partly due to EdgeRank, an algorithm Facebook uses to determine what News items you would find most interesting to display in your Top News feed. This algorithm ranks status updates according to how close you are to the person who posted the update by looking at how often you interact with the person (e.g. do you send them lots of messages, likes, and pokes?) and when the last time you interacted with that person was (if you used to message & poke a lot, but now don’t, say for an ex-girlfriend, then those interactions will be devalued since they happened so long ago). More on EdgeRank can be read at TechCrunch. But this post isn’t about Top News or EdgeRank, per say…

My gripe is that “Most Recent” doesn’t contain all of the status updates posted from my friends and Pages I like. For whatever reason, some are still being filtered out, even though the Most Recent tab is supposed to be a live feed. My theory is that either EdgeRank is being used to filter out those items that score very low – e.g. items from friends or Pages I’ve rarely interacted with, or some kind of different filtering mechanism that is being used to filter out those items Facebook thinks I wouldn’t be interested in. When I compare the Most Recent feed on Facebook.com and the unfiltered feed on my mobile or TweetDeck, it seems to be plausible that items that would have the lowest EdgeRank are being filtered out, as those items are generally from people I haven’t interacted with in a long time. However I can’t confirm the filtering is done using EdgeRank, and it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this article – what I can confirm is that items are being filtered out of “Most Recent” in one way or another.

I can see some merit to filtering out items from the Most Recent view, vis-a-vis the classic “Twitter is just people posting what they had for Breakfast” argument, and Facebook not wanting to be viewed as location of worthless status updates of distant friend’s breakfast menus.

My issue (and plea) is that I wish there was some option to display ALL status updates from all friends and pages with no filtering applied, be it a third option (e.g. Top News, Most Recent, View All) or a setting I can opt into in my Account Preferences section.

Part of what I do like about Facebook is the ability to keep in touch with a large number of people spread out across the world in many different stages of their life. The variety and mix of age, gender, sexual preferences, political affiliations and philosphies is good for getting a well rounded view of what people think, and I find opposing opinions interesting, even if I don’t always agree with them. By filtering out those people I don’t interact with often, or maybe those who I fell out of touch with, I don’t have an opportunity to get back in touch with them, or discover a mutual interest that we both share (perhaps even a breakfast item, but I digress…).

Another argument for an option to remove all filters and truly display ALL status updates is to satisfy those that are on Facebook A LOT, and have already read all of the “Most Recent” updates. You can call these people “Power Users” as they’re on Facebook constantly and reading every status update (or you could also call them people with too much time on their hands…). These “Power Users” would spend even more time on Facebook if they had more content to consume, such as adding an option to view ALL updates with no filtering applied. However these Power Users are better off using a third party client like Tweetdeck to view updates, as you’ll see in my tips below, than viewing status updates on Facebook.com.

Here are some tips if you are a “Power User” and want to view ALL updates with no filtering:

  1. Use the mobile application (e.g. Facebook for iPhone or Facebook for Android) – in my experience, there is no filtering here whatsoever, including no option for Top News
  2. Use a desktop client – TweetDeck, HootSuite and other 3rd party desktop clients will pull in your News Feed via an API, and again, as far as I can tell, no filtering is applied, and no semblence of EdgeRank or Top News is present.
  3. Edit your feed settings – At the bottom of your news feed click “edit options” in the right corner and a box pops up that says “number of friends.” Make sure that is set to a number larger than the total number of friends you have (I put in 1,000 as an arbitrary number) – hat tip to @AbbyGilmore for the tip!
  4. Interact more frequently with distant friends, or at least those friends that you want to ensure stay in your feed as much as possible. Perhaps the suggestion Facebook gives you to “reach out to Jane Smith and say hello” in the right sidebar is less of a suggestion, and more of a subtle warning that if you don’t reach out, Facebook will start filtering him or her out as you haven’t interacted with them in a while
  5. Encourage friends to interact with you – If you run a Facebook Page for your business or personal organization, try to encourage your fans to interact with your page as much as possible, or you may start to get filtered. Likewise your personal account will be getting filtered from distant friends’ “Most Recent” feed, which may or may not be a concern to you.
  6. View Individual Profile Pages – If you really want to know how a friend is doing, you can view the updates by going to their Profile Page – this isn’t feasible if you have hundreds of friends, but it is a work-around

Facebook is a rapidly changing platform and user feedback is frequently incorporated into future iterations and changes. I hope that those out in Facebook land hear this request and take it as constructive criticism. In fact, I’m such a Facebook super-fan I carved a pumpkin this Halloween to demonstrate how much I “like” their platform & service:

Facebook Pumpkin

10 Things I Learned at OMS Phoenix Yesterday

Online Marketing Summit Phoenix

I attended the Online Marketing Summit in Phoenix yesterday, and wanted to share a few insights & tips I learned. It was a great conference and it was nice to see a lot of familiar faces and learn some new things. Thanks to everyone that made it possible! We covered a wide range of topics including SEO, Social Media, Conversion Optimization, Content Strategy, and everything in between. In no particular order, here were my favorite takeaways:

#10: Create a Search & Social Media Center for Excellence: Create a central repository for best practices, keywords, social media engagement guidelines, etc, for all employees. This will benefit everyone involved by:

  • Leveraging synergies across all of your digital channels – search, social, PR, web development, email marketing, and display.
  • Getting PR & Social Media people the proper URLs and anchor text for Press Releases & Social Media messaging, as well as tips for optimal distribution
  • Allowing more people to get involved with responding to complaints or questions via twitter & message boards by posting engagement guidelines. Phone support people can respond to complaints on twitter during downtime if they have training & knowledge base.

#9: A Cheaper Press Release – WebWire.com

  • I submit a ton of online press releases for clients through PRNewswire, Marketwire, and PRWeb – but they cost several hundred bucks a pop. It doesn’t look like the distribution network is as robust for Webwire, but for $20, that’s a cheap backlink at the very least…thanks @fionnd of Elixir for this tip!
Adwords Suggestions for the brand iCrossing

Adwords Tool Keyword Suggestions for the query iCrossing

#8: Search your brand & competitors & Adwords Tool – See what suggestions Google has for your brand name, and your competitors brand names in the Google Keyword Tool and Google Search Suggest.

  • This can be helpful to: find interesting keyword ideas for brand pages, find new content ideas & content gaps, and discover reputation management issues. Check out the image to the right for suggestions google had for the word “icrossing” – very on target!

#7: Some Cool Stats & Quotes

  • #1 position on SERP gets 43% of the clicks – Arnie K of Vertical Measures, a link building company
  • “Rankings are something you can influence, not something you can control” – Arnie K – good perspective
  • If you have a website, you are a publisher – Mike Corak
  • .The BEST time to post a blog is Tuesday morning, while the WORST is Friday afternoon. – Dan Tyre  of hubspot
  • “Brands must behave and enage like people do…” ~Brian Haven of iCrossing
  • Blogs are the unsung heroes of SEO
  • Do not neglect your blog child
  • If you talk to people the way advertising talked to people they’d punch you in the face – Steve Groves

#6: Check out your backlink diversity – diversity of backlinks has increased in importance in the past year or so – those with unnatural backlink profiles do not get the same benefits they used to. Don’t overdo one method of link building (e.g. directory submissions) if you’re not going to do others.

#5: Use Social Media Profile Pages for Quick & Free Backlinks – it’s easy to get links on many social networking sites, and even if they’re nofollowed, it’s still a great tool for reputation management and probably still pass along some SEO value as well. Examples: Naymz, 123People, BusinessWeek.com, Google Profiles, LinkedIn…

#4: The Real SEO Value of a No Follow Link? There was some discussion that a rel=nofollow link has been shown to influence rankings and has SEO value. Something to consider – don’t dismiss a link just because it’s nofollowed! In my personal experience I’ve seen evidence that there is some SEO value here as well, although I haven’t seen any conclusive case studies to prove it.

The last three tips were from Jeff Eisenberg, a famous conversion optimization expert who wrote “A Call to Action” along with his brother Bryan. This was the best presentation of the whole summit in my opinion, the whole presentation was captivating and inspiring – check him and his brother out at: http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/

#3: Analyze Every Word & Image on your Money Pages

  • When Dell changed “Learn More” to “Help Me Choose” on the computer configuration page, they saw an increase of MILLIONS of dollars. Why? When customers are ready to check out, they don’t want education (Learn More), but they do want help making sure they picked the right accessories & upgrades (Help Me Choose).
  • Another Example: Overstock.com had horrible conversions on their DVD page, something that should sell well. Turns out an image talking about Childrens Movies turned off users, thinking they were on the wrong page. They changed the image to something generic, and generated a $25m sales jump
  • The takeway? Understand the mindset of the customer, and talk in their language.

#2: Make your forms & check-out pages warm & fuzzy

  • Filing in Credit Card info is the scariest moment for the consumer, and where abandonment most commonly occurs.
  • Post your return policy, quality guarantees, etc, on this page and make the customer feel warm and fuzzy
  • Examples – adding customer testimonials on check-out page, always display savings (if applicable), show quality/product guarantees
  • Warren Buffet’s shoe company added a “Return-O-Meter” to their check out page showing how often a shoe is returned, and why (e.g. too wide, too small, etc). The result? Lower abandonment rate (higher confidence in purchase) plus fewer returns.

#1: Leverage Your Reviews!

  • The Eisenberg Brothers have been very successful using reviews to increase conversions.
  • With internal search on a website, allow users to search by Best Reviews/Most Reviews. When Customers Sort this way, there is a huge increase in conversions
  • Run promotions like Top Reviewed under $50. These types of categories convert much higher.
  • Another example: Vitacost – after a customer purchases something, Vitacost thanks them for the order and asks them to review – the result? Customers would go to Vitacost.com, review the product, and actually buy more products during that session!
  • Reviews have the ability to turn worthless customer (who buys very little, very infrequently, usually on sale, but leaves a review) into a very valuable customer, as their review may sway the big buyers.

PS If I mentioned something you said and didn’t properly attribute it back to you, please leave a comment and let me know and I’ll be happy to include a link back to your website or twitter profile! I was scribbling furiously on a notepad and some of the details got lost or mixed up…

I am a Certified Social Media Maven*

Great post at DotCult: Having 1000 Twitter Followers Doesn’t Make You a Social Media Guru

The core of the argument:

Engagement is what matters. How many of your followers actually reply to you? How many of them comment on your posts? What percentage click on links that you tweet? Go ahead and ask your social media person – I bet they don’t have any answers for you.

On a related side note, I’ve recently had a twitter epiphany. My former strategy was to follow people back and just ignore them, using tweetdeck lists to pay attention to those I deem worthy, while maybe occasionally skimming those not on a list, as explained here.

This was a horrible strategy. Not only was a promoting/helping spam-bots that were auto-following anyone and everyone, but it made the web feed (and more importantly, mobile phone feed) less useful. Even with the new lists feature, I was getting a lot of noise.

In the past week, I’ve unfollowed over 400 people. I’m now following less than 800, and plan to keep defollowing people as I see noise in my twitter feed. I’ve also lost ~100 or so followers, and I expect that number to keep dropping as I unfollow people – I’m guessing their software can detect when they’re not being followed back, or they’re using a service like friendorfollow (awesome, btw) to determine who isn’t following them back anymore.

Here are some other posts on “Social Media Experts” – as ranting about social media has been a consistent theme in this blog 🙂

Have a nice weekend!

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