In the book that Nick Rosener and I are writing, Shout in the Right Direction, we discuss the core of every business or brand: WHY. Every business or brand has to answer the riddle of “why do we do the things we do?” For most, it is because of money. For some, it is because of passion. For a few, it is because they want to make a difference. I see these three as an adaptation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The most basic need for a business or brand is of course, money. It’s what fuels everything to create and deliver value to customers. Enough is needed to sustain the business, pay people and grow. But when money is in vast supply, it just becomes a scoreboard.  At this point, it is politically correct to refer to this as being “stupid rich” and we all know that there is more to life than money.

Example: Exxon Mobile

Passion is the next level. Passion is the backbone of any great business or brand. It is what makes a business or brand unique, different and memorable. The passion for what they do and believe in enhances their products or services. To reach this level, however, you do not necessarily need a comfortable level of revenue. What is unique about passion is that it often drives the basic need for money.

Example: Apple

Making a difference is the final level. This is where a brand or business becomes nearly immortalized. It accepts a higher purpose by recognizing that it needs to do more than create value for consumers. It’s not simply opening up a philanthropic effort and throwing millions in it to get tax breaks. People can smell bullshit a mile away when they hear about a business or brand “contributing to the community” or “giving back to what matters most.” The businesses and brands that make it to this level care deeply in customer satisfaction and do it for more than creating long-term loyalty.

Example: Virgin Group (have a better suggestion?)

Bare with me that I had to generalize significantly to fit my thoughts in this tiny post. You might not get it right away, but just think about the meaning behind the “why” of marketing.

(Pause)

(Pause)

(Keep thinking about it, you might get it)

Good, you got it! Right? Well if you don’t get it, here is a hint: the why is not the value proposition. It is more central and personal than that. By defining why, purpose is created. Purpose has meaning, and meaning gives life to the brand or business. The why of marketing is the reason for everything a business or brand does. The better answered why, the better the business or brand.

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In October, I officially teamed up with Nick Rosener, owner of Tech Nick Consulting, to write a book about digital marketing, hence why I haven’t produce any new blog posts. We are pointing out how many businesses and brands lack a lot of the steps needed to build a brand or business through digital marketing.

Structure of the book:

Part 1: Plan

All marketing comes from the same spot and digital marketing is no different. We incorporate this part to prep strategy skills because marketers can be caught up in the digital channels and lose foothold of why they are building a strategy or a plan in the first place.

Part 2: Tools

With a great plan, you need to arm yourself with the best tools. This isn’t an overview of Facebook or Twitter, it is an in-depth view of various strategies for many digital marketing channels and tools and how to use them.

Part 3: Creative

To build inspiration, we will bring both “Plan” and “Tools” together and examine real businesses and brands on how they use them together to create awesome strategies, marketing plans and campaigns.

We are seeking ideas or topics that YOU would like more insight on or some know-how. Any feedback is helpful! We hope that book will be ready for an editors copy in late summer. Leave a comment if you have suggestions or if you want to know more.

Cheers!

 
Eric Lehnen

I hear a lot about budgeting from people starting a social media campaign or introducing it as a strategy in a marketing plan and often hear a justification for using it: “Well, social media is free.”

This is true on a thin margin because not all costs are accounted for sometimes. It would be nice to break down the true costs of social media, a few have such as Alinean. Click to see their social media ROI and value chain (It is pretty awesome). What I want to address is when time is spent, it is also money spent. But your return may not have monetary value.

When you produce content for your social media, it requires time. But when you are launching content over multiple mediums and producing more and more content, it requires more time. I have to admit, it is very consuming. So what does division of labor teach us? Hire someone to do it of course. So now you have someone working on your social media. They are able to focus more time than you ever were able to on social media. Let’s assume this person is full-time, maybe $35k?

It is very difficult to say that the efforts of this full-time staff has an ROI for your brand or business. Before you can justify this, do you understand the value the person brings? What do you value from your social media? Is it making money? Expanding your business? Helping your customers? Sharing anything unrelated about your brand or business? Sometimes, your social media as a tactic is not there to earn you money. As Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, puts it, your social media generates social currency. An intangible, nonexchangeable, worthless unit of value. It is worthless to those who think of money all day but it can be priceless to those who understand it.

Budgeting social media is difficult. But if you have already budgeted for a full-time staff to manage your social media, you must already understand that it brings value, right? It doesn’t make much sense to spend $35k unless you know it is going to work. Think of it this way. $35k will probably get you a month with a billboard or two in a larger city, probably in a crappy location. Or you can get a full year with someone who will billboard your company online, and can talk back. Just remember, sometimes social media does not have a monetary ROI, you just have to understand its value before you start budgeting a lot of money for it.

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Let’s face it, social media can be a buzz word that many throw around:

“You need to optimize your social media.”

“The best way to talk to your customers is social media.”

“Social media is where your customers engage with you.”

I admit, I was one of them. Social media is popular and in many cases, helpful. But many cases, it isn’t for everyone, yet.

Just having a Facebook and a Twitter does not constitute as a plan and having scheduled posts can be equally as daunting. I will explain this in three simple reason why social media isn’t for you. Please note that I am generalizing to compensate for a mistake that many businesses make.

1. You do not have a purpose for each medium

Let me start by saying that all social media channels were NOT created equal, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube. Each channel is designed for various things and the content for each should be accordingly. Of course, in some cases they can be similarly used, for instance, sharing news or updates. Ideally, you would have some sort of pathway you would like your audience to follow: Twitter –> Facebook –> Blog –> Website –> Purchase

But each has limitations and the nature of those limitations create different uses. Understanding that mediums have an impact on your brand’s voice is step one. For example: a businesses with a Twitter account and have hardly any interaction because they hardly engage or interact with customers, it’s a status quo. We all know Twitter is an ongoing conversation and if there is a lack of effort or initiative, it will ruin the online brand.

2. You do not have the time commitment

Social media can consume your time and your life if you do not know how to manage it appropriately. Although it all depends on your plan. Do you plan on engaging with the customers you love or are you launching a full-blown campaign? Take for instance Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group: he tweets his own tweets. Granted, he is not always engaging in conversation, he is mostly sharing. Point being, if you spend a few minutes every day doing small things you can achieve your goals.

Business can achieve great things when taken in small steps. Take for instance Mitsubishi North America’s Twitter. They have accomplished a great following over a gradual period of time and they take a very casual approach: small talk. They generally ask questions about their audience’s experience and love to share it with others through positive reinforcement. They are not setting out to be the best auto conversationalist; rather a great place to talk about Mitsubishi autos. They tweet when there is something great to share and share it well. Over two years they have staggered out just under 900 tweets and it has paid off with 8,300 followers.

3. You are doing it because everyone else is/nothing else to do

This is the worst reason for a business to be engaging on social media. No plan, no goal, no reason, just because. The saying goes well with this: “Social media just makes a sucky business suck more.”

Now that you are using social media, it is best to educate yourself on it, because chances are you are just going to enhance crap. Set your expectations and your goals. What are you doing in social media? If it is seriously a last-ditch effort, maybe look inward rather out. Success comes from within, social media just shares it. Again, generalization. But you see my point.

Of course, there is opportunity in everything. If it is a last-ditch effort, make sure you are doing it right with an expert or an agency. Perrier US caused quite a stir with their raunchy YouTube campaign where the more people who watched the video, other videos would be unlocked to extend the video which achieved around 11.5 million total views.

Just be sure that whatever you are doing online, realize that people can bend, twist, and destroy it. You no longer have control of this medium and consumers have the power to talk back. It’s amazing and dangerous. Think it through, be smart, and think quality over quantity.

Traditional marketing plans have always been detailed orientated to facilitate everything from the high level objective to the nitty-gritty day-to-day activities. An alternate version of the traditional marketing plan is the action marketing plan. It was created out of the obvious problems of a traditional marketing plan: they are time intensive.

The mentality that drove the creation of the action marketing plan is inefficiency. By the nature of creating a detailed orientated marketing plan, time is wasted writing the plan and not enough time executing it. The traditional marketing plan also assumes many constants and does not offer enough flexibility to make changes on the fly. It simply bottlenecks the execution because the time required writing and becomes a constant battle of effort devoted to writing or executing. This becomes a huge disadvantage when working with social media and PR because response time is critical and can be potentially damaging if not handled quickly.

I would be arrogant for saying that all traditional marketing plans are evil, but they aren’t. Traditional marketing plans are helpful for businesses that have a more predictable market and need more control. However, there are many commonalities with action marketing plans:

-          Simpler to write and orchestrate

-          More flexibility due to less detail on assumptions or constraints

-          Easier to implement due to the lack of strenuous detail

Typically, action marketing plans are meant for businesses that have time against them, need something easy to implement or want more flexibility when it comes to executing their goals, strategies or tactics. When laying out goals, strategies, tactics, each are accompanied by their justification for using them and what are.

Take this example layout for example:

BAMF MKTG

Goals are the overall aim, the light at the end of the tunnel, the reward for all the hard work. For this business, they wanted to increase their revenue and supplement it with an increased awareness amongst consumers. To achieve those goals, they need a few strategies to help them get there. Strategies are different routes to focus on. These can be determined by asking, “How are you going to achieve your goals?” The best approach for this business was to increase advertising, promotions, and repeat customers.

Tactics are determined much like determining strategies: “How are you going to advertise?” “What are you going to promote?” “How are you going to increase repeat customers?” They are the specific activities to meet the needs of the strategy and achieve the goals.

With this reductionist method, the advantage is that everything can be traced to the ultimate goal and aids in the tracking of KPIs. In addition, these action marketing plans are much more adaptable to specific areas of marketing and easier to implement. For instance, if a social media plan need to be crafted, the plan can be easily adapted with the enhanced flexibility and simplicity.

Remember, a plan is worthless if nothing can be executed. While many situations call for detail intensive purposes; simplicity and flexibility are advantageous when it comes to time intensive implementation or a need for adaptability. It’s a solid tool to have as a marketer or an advertiser and comes in handy when traditional thinking becomes too complex.

After exploring all the tools available to arm businesses, agencies and conversationalists, it is clear that searching lacks clarity. Choosing the right tools goes a long way. In many ways, the saying: “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” is a double edge sword. There are a hundred ways to measure social media and focusing one just one powerful tool may limit important information and analyses. While having one tool will organize information in one place, giving you an advantage of looking at consistent data rather than trying to decipher the means from multiple tools that lack compatibility.

It all comes down to these questions when deciding on the right tools:

How soon do I need answers?

Does my job require me to analyze? Monitor? Engage? All of the above?

What is the budget?

Am I looking for cost-effective or time-saving?

I hope to define some of the popular and most widely used tools available for dashboards, analytics, monitoring and rankings for social media. With the help of About Analytics and my research, I present tools that I use, feel that are valuable or tools I recommend clients use. When reviewing these tools, remember that a tool is only as great as its use. Some tools are designed for one purpose, while others are an all-in-one package. You will need to decide what tools are aligned with your marketing objective and budget.

Ranking

I like to consider these three as credit bureaus of social media. I use them regularly with clients and testing them myself. They all have one thing in common, they give you a number to justify how much impact you have in the chatersphere. It can be hard to justify to client or even to yourself that your score means something. In my opinion, these are the best standardized tools for ranking.

Klout - Free

Synonymous with the standard of social media, Klout has defined criteria that titles people and businesses. Although there are minor flaws (check them out here), it is a tactile tool in ranking one’s “Klout.” Klout will dig into Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Flickr and a few others to determine your social impact.

 

Twitalyzer - Free for analysis $5-100/month for advanced features

Only for Twitter, as the name states, the free version of Twitalyzer has 35 metrics to look at such as engagement, impact and generosity. The paid version allows for advanced functions such as automatic discovery, API capability and tracking any account such as competitors or potential customers in addition to exporting data. Anyone can analyze their Twitter account and it will generate a standardized number for how much impact one’s twitter account possesses.

 

PeerIndex - Free

PeerIndex is very similar to Klout and Twitalyzer. It aggregates information based on a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and blog accounts and organizes information based on topics and then three points of interest: activity, authority, audience. It also displays how your posts topics correlate with other topics.

Try to use all three since they all have something different to offer and rank differently. You will have to be judge if you have the time for all three or pick one or if you should use paid software to analyze performance but again, there is a the trade-off of not being able to rank against other brands using paid software such as Unilyzer.

Best used  by: Everyone.

 

Analytics/Monitoring for Web

Google Analytics – Free

A powerful, yet free tool to monitor site traffic, and then some. It is especially helpful when using Google’s Adwords, using it to track campaigns or building custom reports. It is quite popular, owning 62% of the web analytics market share according to About Analytics. This is the go-to website monitor. I have had great success with it and it typically suits everyone’s needs.

Best used by: Business/agency users who do not require complex analytics, just answers.

 

Clicky - Free for basic version and $5-25+/month for more tools and traffic

Clicky has tons of metrics, great for campaigns and it’s simple to use. Similar to Google Analytics but has a few more bells and whistles along with some technical information such as detailed visitor information and integration with other platforms.It comes down to time consumption, but when you need answers now and you are fumbling through data to trying to find something, it is helpful to use sometime simple. Choose a web analytics tool that meets your needs. If you cannot devote the time to fully appreciate the value of what the tool offers, it is not worth it.

Best used by: Larger businesses/agencies who want more depth in their web traffic analytics.

 

Omniture Site Catalyst - $unknown

They say their software is the “One place to measure, analyze, and optimize integrated data from all online initiatives across multiple marketing channels and technologies.” But even more compelling, they have marketing attribution, which allows clients to compare marketing channels, a brilliant insight to have when you don’t know what is working. Even more remarkable is you can set up automatic event triggers when performance metrics hit a threshold. With further integration with social media, it is best utilized when the final destination or call to action is a website.

Best used by: Big brands/businesses who need to know all, see all and act quickly.

 

Dashboards

TweetDeck - Free

TweetDeck is a solid platform for desktop, iPhone, Android and Chrome to monitor Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (really?), LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Buzz. It threads all conversation in different windows and can be organized by different accounts, which is helpful if monitoring different personal or client accounts. Pop-up notifications are very helpful as well with the desktop version. The panes can include mentions, feeds, and even searches can be updated automatically in real-time to follow hashtags and other keywords.

Best used by: Personal conversationalist or small businesses that focus on social media.

 

HootSuite - Free, $5.99/month for pro for enhanced integration with social media analytics

I use TweetDeck for personal use but HootSuite is great for agency side. I was able to play with some of the features when they were still in beta mode but as of now, I do not use the paid version. The pro edition integrates with Facebook Insights, Google Analytics along with monitoring of social reach and sentiment. Their enterprise can cost a whopping $1499 for more members and reports. There is also user collaboration where you can have additional members monitor accounts, which is great for agencies. However, with this user collaboration, mixing personal and business can be synonymous for getting your ass fired like Chrysler did with their social media agency. Otherwise it’s a phenomenal platform that takes TweetDeck and made it great for businesses and agencies.

Best used by: Agencies with multiple clients or businesses with large online engagement.

 

Tap11 - $unknown

Tap11 is like Klout/Peerindex on steroids. It has some great analytics such as demographics and specific views on rich media and helps manage social accounts. It is limited to measuring metrics on Twitter and Facebook but can post content to other networks such as LinkedIn or Youtube. It is an all-in-one tool

Best used by: Brand/Businesses that focus on just Twitter and Facebook.

 

Analytics/Monitoring for Social Media

Visible Technologies – $unknown

Visible Technologies have produced a very powerful monitoring and analytics tool that is designed for high traffic brands and businesses that claims to be the only enterprise ready platform for monitoring and analytics. It uses relationship and tabulation techniques to gain deeper answers and monitor popular trends in relation to keywords, topics and the brand/business.

Best used by: Large agencies/brands/businesses.

 

Unilyzer - $24-99/month

Unilyzer is similar to Social Report in the sense that they are designed for social marketers but they have minor distinct differences. Without going into too much detail, Social Report is better for agencies or businesses who set up campaigns, this allows for a more accurate ROI while Unilyzer is great at tracking all data across more social media networks. Unilyzer tracks performance for each network and will give you a “U” score which is similar to Klout or PeerIndex.

Best used by: Small/medium businesses who want to track performance.

 

Radian6 – $600-4000+/ month

A mix of all monitoring tools that are integrated through most mediums. It is similar to blending Klout, Twitalyzer, Google Analytics, Social Report and a few more all in one. Radian6 is the ultimate social media analytics and monitoring platform. The tools and data are native and are built on the same platform to deliver consistency and get the toughest questions answered.

Best used by: Businesses and agencies who need the best information now who have the money to burn.

 

Social Report - $9-159/month

A low-cost but value packed social media analytics platform. It has most of the tools needed to get the job done like the giant social media monitors but much simpler to use. Whatever it lacks in function, it makes up for in value. It tracks performance in the form of graphs that integrate with other networks to find out which ones are doing well and which ones need more work. ROI and campaign management are huge features that can get you the information you need and custom reporting are helpful to giving clients updates or making the next marketing decision. A solid platform for any agency but misses a few features that would be found in more expensive tools. Regardless, it is easy to use and user-friendly, not to mention all of the fun graphs.

Best used by: Agencies but helpful for businesses too.

Squawq - free

Originally built by the Colle+McVoy agency, it is a free Twitter analyzer used to “quantify and analyze Twitter conversations.” I use it occasionally because it is great at organizing popular tags and keywords in a nice tag cloud along with popular authors and links. It has a major set back when looking at larger, more popular keywords such as “Facebook.” It only obtained one minute of conversation or around 500 mentions. It seems that is it capped to minimize server strain.

Best used by: Personal conversationalists but great insights for low/medium activity businesses.

What to Choose?

These were only a few of the many solutions available. There are many more out there and About Analytics does a great job at ranking all of them and sorting them by uses. But remember, the tool is only as great as its use. If it does not meet all of your needs, consider another one, unless budgeting or other constrains restrict you. Try them all out, most of them all have a free trial. Reviews, awesome demonstrations and discounts won’t do it justice. Thoroughly test out features and ask questions or if you are limited on time, consider working with an agency or a consultant for help.

 

Disclaimer

None of the companies mentioned and/or reviewed in this post have compensated me in any way. I will specifically state the products I have used. The purpose of this post is to highlight tools that I feel are the most valuable. I chose only a few to review because of the sheer number of the available tools out there.

Running out of timeWorking with clients to build a marketing plan or consulting requires obvious patience to learn the business and to research their market. But when the client says, “I need to implement this next week,” panic sets in.

In one week, whatever you were working on, is now due. In that one week you are going to be implementing multiple tactics not to mention you have nothing planned for the first week. You are not sure what your next move is. The worst thing that can happen is nothing, because not only will the client be disappointed, the time invested is now wasted. Thankfully there are some steps to maximize efficiency.

1. Take a Deep Breath, or Whatever

Honestly, relax. If you feel your head is about to explode, walk away and don’t come back for an hour until you have reached an equilibrium. Did you know 1 of 4 workers say they have taken a mental health day? Check out GDS Infographic’s eye-opening illustration of stress at work.

2. Break it Down

Some tactics need to be executed in steps. Some are simply a one step tactic. Build a mind map, a process map, step-by-step chart, or anything that will help you organize steps to complete and execute a task. If you have many tasks for many tactics, start considering a project management software such as Basecamp. Mark down each individual piece required to complete the task in order. So if you are launching a social media campaign: understand the key messages, write the copy or design the graphics, proofread, schedule distribution of messages, etc.

3. Prioritize & Organize

Now that the tasks for each tactic are chopped up and easier to execute, organize tasks that need to be completed sooner. If it is clear that some tactics will not be able to be executed, make the call and let the client know ASAP. While prioritizing tactics, stay organized and don’t jump around tactics a lot. Complete what you can for each and move to the next. It is best to break down tactics delegate workload in a very short-term sense because time can be wasted when prioritizing all tactics when time could be spent executing them.

4. Execution

Complete the tactics that are feasible to complete and move on. Some parts of execution require more time in different areas. Accommodate for lead time. For instance if things need to be printed or shipped. Sometimes a key person is unavailable, don’t wait around, focus on the next thing. But when that person is available, get what you need and move on.

5. Track & Recover

Sometimes not all can be completed. Be sure to document what was completed, constraints and of course the result. It is not always wise to defend against clients, as it makes you look weak. But when clients are ignorant of the effort involved with the execution of tactics, make sure you convey the details.

Call Center

Like all social media, it’s public. Many business understand they would benefit from using social media, but are worried about providing support to customers or prospects. It could because they are protecting private information, keeping out nosy competitors  or even hostile feedback, but there are ways to successfully launch a social media strategy and still manage to support customers and prospects.

1. Set up Objectives

Never ever start a social media strategy without any objectives. It can end in disaster because there is lack of direction. Direction is needed to have the audience understand. Without understanding, it becomes pointless and the audience will ignore it. Start with putting together a couple of goals and a timeline along with how the goals will be measured.

  • For example, a goal to achieve reduce support tickets over the next year could be measured simply by a monthly count of sales tickets compared to previous years.

2. Understand more than the just Basics

Anyone can Tweet or Facebook, but if  you want to use it to help your business, you need to treat seriously, just anything else you do in your business because now have direct access to your business from anywhere in the world – you better treat it professionally too.

  • Talk with businesses who have had success with it, meet with local social media groups: Social Media Breakfast, or talk with experts. If this project is way over your head or do not have the time to implement on your own, it may be cost and time effective (not to mention reputation-saving) to consult with an agency or a consultant.

3. Define Communication Policies

Like governments, they set up policies to handle certain situations. How will your communication differentiate? Will you answer all questions publicly or solve them privately? Will it be mostly for support or will it be for communicating news and events as well? Take a look at what AT&T does with their Twitter - they do a combination.

  • Twitter users have transformed Twitter into a variety of communication models – use them all! Set up a chart of different scenarios of what type of communication will used. Positive feedback, negative feedback, support question, crisis question, etc… Try to encourage feedback, you never know when a great conversation will spur a positive and insightful wide-spread discussion.

4. Build List of Approved Content

The voice is everything when communicating online and businesses can sometimes struggle  if they do not have experience. The voice is the business or brand personality (is it sarcastic, fun, straight-laced, or crazy?). When first defining the voice, start putting together content (videos, blog posts, pictures, music, polls etc…) you want to share and encourage interaction. The content can already be created  but for content that does not exist yet, ask yourself how will it look and what key messages are you trying to convey.

  • List out the different categories of content (videos, blog posts, pictures, music, polls etc…) and describe what you will do for each. Then ask if what you are trying to communicate matches the “voice”. Practice some more by writing out possible content ideas. This can become overwhelming but it is important because you are not publishing to anyone and everyone and the last thing you need is bad PR.

5. Have a Backup Plan

What happens when everything goes to DEFCON 1? When everything becomes overwhelmed, you need a backup plan to either cease and desist or slowly counter everything. Sometimes, cutting the losses can be the best move you can make or minimize damage. Although “social media DEFCON 1″ hardly ever happens, it is always better to be safe than crying.

  • Depending on the size of a business, put together a brief list of things to do, people to contact if everything hits the fan. If a hacker gets hold of your account and changes your password, can you quickly reset the password? If a past customer launches a series hate messages how will counter it? What if it attracts local media?

Klout, Twitalyzer & Peerindex are social ranking tools to justify one’s ability to reach and engage the social network. Are they an ego booster? Why would anyone need these tools? Who should use them? How do they work? One grand question lies within the credibility; are they misleading?

Are they an Ego Booster?

Can be, but what really matters is, “are we making money?” Those who ask or need to answer this question are brands, agencies and businesses. They can all benefit from these tools if done correctly. Problem is, it gives a number. This number can be misleading.

The standardization with a number is limited simply by its nature. Social Media Examiner’s Elijah Young covered Klout in-depth with his article and brought up the pros and cons. Klout can be a better judgement of social media ranking than comparing the number of Twitter followers. It offers an explanation for the score through other variables. However, Klout can be gamed according to Young. Others, such as Niall Harbison with Simple Zesty, believe its total bullshit. It is an improvement in the sense that it analyzes more than the number of Twitter followers. There are some flaws, but good thing there are two other tools to compare with.

Why would anyone need these tools?

Depends on who is using them. Agencies use them to track their own reach along with their client’s reach and monitor them over a timeline. Agencies record when certain events occur, such as campaign start/end dates, when milestones have been reached, or special activity. This can be packaged and presented to the client and repackaged as a case study.Some brands sometimes track all of this information in-house, if they have the balls to, or if they want to keep an eye on their over-paid, under-performing agency. For those who manage in-house, it can provide a snap shot of information or with Twitalyzer, an information overload for the general user. But for a number loving nerd (like myself), it levels the playing field, sort of like calculating the probability for scoring a hot model at Comic-Con. Just take a gander at HALF of the available statistics to analyze from Twitalyzer, for free!

Who should use them?

Anyone who has a goal or purpose for social media. Many use Twitter and Facebook for sharing interesting and relating things. Others use Twitter or Facebook as a way to promote and engage. However, it is always fun to see your score, but refrain from using it as a score board against your friends, it becomes an addiction and you just look like an ass.

How do they Work?

Young does a great job analyzing how Klout works. Twitalyzer and PeerIndex work very similarly, just measures variables differently to equate a score. I compared myself to someone in my network to prove a point:

Glancing at how many people we influence makes it more understanding: I influence a mere 84 compared to 198. Makes sense, but the next thing I noticed was the differentiation in Twitter activity: I was nearly double in tweets, following, followers and listed.What gives? Quality, amount of engagement, frequency, and many other variables. For instance, Klout also takes into account of other networks. You can connect Facebook and a variety of other social media networks to enhance your score. Even after adding Facebook, I only gained 4.

Another thing that popped out at me from digging in my Klout score:

Well that doesn’t make a lot of sense! This was tagged in Klout from someone who mentioned me with the word mascara once on Twitter and yet it is something I am influential about? For shame. Psychology too? Not entirely either…

What about PeerIndex?

PeerIndex does a good job at looking at the standardization of social media influence and rank differently. PeerIndex evaluates sources and the type of content that is shared, such as technology, medical. It still measures the  Again, you are still given a number.

Are they Credible?

A great comparison for these three social media ranking sites are like the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They do the same thing, but how they do it is what makes it different. Klout and PeerIndex’s indicators are quite similar:

Klout: Amplification, Influence, Reach

Peer Index: Activity, Authority, Audience

Numbers may vary, but not significantly in most cases. Bottom line is, there needs to be a standard and this is a great start.

These numbers are like masquerade, until you lift off the mask, it’s just guest at the social media ball.

 

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Skype hackedOnce upon a time last week, I received a call on Skype and was fairly confused as why one would call me. Well it was a robot recording that would repeat endlessly and went a little like this:

This is a notification to update important software. Please go to www…… Failure to do so may result in severe computer malfunction.

With a user name of something like NOTIFICATIONUPDATE, it seemed suspicious. Block and report I did.

I toured around the Skype community and found this is becoming a common platform for scams and spam, much like Facebook, Twitter and probably soon to be Google+, Hooray!

If you have grown up with the internet and have any common sense, much of this is avoided and ignored. Just change your privacy settings, like I will eventually do tonight. However, some people just cannot make the connection. This is a serious situation. If you are reading this, you obviously have common sense, this is just a way to expose accidental ignorance, sort of.

Some people don’t get it:

User 1:

Why do I get unwanted email messages from skype inviting me to look at “http://jessyoncamZ” from a Emilie Roget at hottyemillie430.
Where did this person get my contact and why on earth is Skype giving her access to me.
Some people are just confused:

User 2:

I mean WTF? Why the hell would Skype detect a virus? And then, why would it ask me to go to a random website?

In a different instance, a friend of mine had his Twitter account hacked and it sent out messages to his followers. I replied back with

good courtesy to make my friend aware. Well upon doing so, I was hacked. This then started a rouge vendetta against spammers and scammers.

Do your part, report/block scam & spam and tell the people responsible for convincing you that it’s too good to be untrue:



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