The Social Media Landscape

On February 26 I gave a brief presentation co-sponsored by North Coast Small Business Development Center and the Redwood Technology Consortium’s Internet Marketing Group. As the title suggests it was a high level overview of the current state of social media marketing and my opinions on what works and what doesn’t. The slideshow isn’t that informative, but here it is in any case. Links to resources mentioned are below.

Resources Mentioned

I think the core of my talk is the section on Content Marketing. That’s the new buzzword but for years the mantra has been Content is King and it’s essentially the same concept: Create valuable content whether it’s with a blog, newsletter, training videos, white papers, case studies, even testimonials. Embed that stuff in your site (good for SEO) and then post about those things on as many places and platforms as you can.  Social Media Marketing should have 2 goals:

  1. Get people to market for you: If you provide value they will.
  2. Drive traffic to your site where you can control the experience (capture leads and/or conduct transactions).

I would love to hear your experiences with making social media marketing effective and efficient. And any great tools you discover along the way. Add your comments below! And as always, please share this post on your networks.


Twitter Starter and Beyond

TwitterThis past week I had an article appear in the local paper trying to explain Twitter and why it’s a such a useful tool and how to get started using it. The premise was that I keep running in to resistance to Twitter even among technically adept and adventurous people. I do admit in the article that Twitter isn’t for everyone. But I find it far more useful in so many ways than Facebook, especially for staying on top of interesting news, meeting new people and discovering very cool resources.

I got some good responses from the article, mostly from people already on Twitter. And it’s clear when I crawl out from behind my computer and venture in to RL that people are reading the article. But I’m not sure it’s made much impact. I met one gentleman on the way to a play last night who mentioned he reads my articles and enjoyed the one on Twitter. But when I asked him if he uses Twitter he said, “What? No. God, no!” And we all laughed as if that was an imminently reasonable stance. But I didn’t have a chance to ask him “Why not?”

I was slow to catch on, myself. Like so many new toys, I was fast to sign up as soon as I heard about it way back in 2007. But it was over a year before I really started to explore it. And as the service has added features and the third party tools have improved the user experience, I have come to rely on it for so many things. I can go days without looking at or posting to Facebook. But Twitter has become a regular habit. Maybe I’m just a twit (comments welcome).HootSuite

One aspect of Twitter I haven’t explored yet are chats. I’ve known about them for quite a while, but haven’t had much opportunity to participate. But I found this Google doc spreadsheet that lists over 150 chats on all kinds of topics. Something for everyone?

Finally, if you’re getting in to Twitter I highly advise using a third-party tool for discovering people, managing Twitter streams and getting the most out of the service. My favorite tool d’jour is HootSuite. It’s a rich application that  can be run in a web browser, on your desktop, IPhone, Android and soon Blackberry. You can manage lists, searches, and multiple social media accounts all within one user friendly interface. And it’s free! (There is a pro IPhone version).

I Have Been Untwittered

Update 2: This morning my account was restored. Yay! It appears it was human error. Go figger.

Update: Apparently I am not alone. It seems there has been a sudden influx of suspended accounts. So something is awry with Twitter. It’s not me.

Suddenly, this afternoon, I stopped receiving tweets in my desktop application (Tweetdeck). So I went to and lo and behold my account has been suspended. Say what? I hadn’t even posted anything today. Suspended on Twitter

That says: “This account is currently suspended and is being investigated due to strange activity. If we have suspended your account mistakenly, please let us know. See Suspended Accounts for more information.”

So, I quickly wrote to Support and got an automated reply. In case you’re wondering, here’s the reasons they give for suspending an account:

If you are suspended, it’s most likely for one or more of these reasons::

User Abuse
* a large number of people block the profile or write in with spam complaints
* aggressive following
* imbalanced ratio: the number of followers is small compared to number of people following
* misuse of the reply feature
* updates consist of duplicate links and/or text
* updates consist mainly of links and not personal updates
* updates consist of updates poached from others’ timelines, passed off as one’s own

Technical Abuse
* updates consist of links pointing to phishing sites, malware, or other harmful material
* a large number of accounts is created in a short amount of time
* an account is identified as belonging to a spam cluster

I obviously hadn’t done any of these things. So, I waited a while but got no further correspondence. I checked the support page and it said my issue had been resolved! Except it hadn’t. Still suspended. So, I wrote another message in reply, re-opening my support ticket. 2 hours later, as of this posting, I’m still untwittered. Kind of an uncomfortable position to be in as I’m doing a talk on social media this week…There goes the live demo of Twitter.

It’s Official. I’m An Old Guy!

As if I needed someone to tell me that at 57 I am, to most of the world, an old guy. One of the tools I use to monitor Twitter, let me know that someone tweeted the following: “ashromano : @rmorse8843 omg ur gonna die go look at bob morse he is this old guy!!!!! its great.i miss you already LMAOO”

Let me interpret: ashromano is the Twitter name for one Ashley Romano. She has no profile on Twitter, but I suspect from her photo that she’s about 18. She wanted to send a Tweet to her friend who also happens to be named Bob Morse. Unfortunately, she guessed wrong about his Twiiter name. Then she looked up @bobmorse and yes, found out, OMG! He’s an old guy!!!!!. I suspect all the extra exclamation points means like, really old. I sent @ashromano a Tweet back saying I was grateful for the declaration and hoped I could now get a discount at Denny’s. But I doubt she will read the message. I don’t think she understands much about Twitter.

BTW, I was confused by LMAOO. As far as I can tell it’s a typo for LMAO. Which I knew without looking up, stands for Laughing My Ass Off.

Oh. And BTW 2, it looks like I’ll be teaching a class in all this new fangled communication stuff to a bunch of other old folks this Fall as part of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) through Humbldt State. And BTW 3 you can follow the REAL Bob Morse on Twitter.

What’s a Follower Worth?

Hello, my name is Bob, and I’m a Twitterholic.

Yes. It’s affecting my work life, my social life, my sex life. OK, maybe not that…yet. But I am taking steps to control it. Really. I am. I have lots of 3rd party Twitter apps that give me much more control than you get with your basic account. I know, I know, I should just quit altogether.  But I am fascinated by this thing. At least until the next thing comes along.

One of the things that confounds me though: Out of the 6 million?users on Twitter, how many of them are worth having as followers? I don’t use tricks to get followers, but as of this posting I have 615 followers.  But so what? That’s not a huge amount. I am consistently followed by people who have thousands of followers. For example, here’s a recent follower’s statistics: “7621 Following | 7932 Followers | Ratio: 1 | 8834 Updates – On Twitter Since April 17, 2009 (46 days ago)”. Huh? How could this person post nearly 9,000 tweets in 46 days? And why does he have so many followers in such a short period of time? I’ve been on Twitter for over a year. Maybe it’s because I don’t promise lots of riches for almost no effort. So, who cares if this person follows me? I’d much prefer, 100 followers who actually read my tweets and have something to share besides get rich quick schemes.

What’s a follower like that worth? Not much.

I would love a way to screen these folks out. Anyone know of such an app?