Category Archives: News

The Power of Influence Marketing: Why Klout Is and Isn’t Important

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Marketers have been trying to figure out how to harness and leverage the power of influencers for years. Now the power of influence has reached social media marketing. And the company, Klout has made a bold statement, claiming that they can calculate online influence. We are going to explore why Klout both is and isn’t the creating the standard of influence.

What is a Klout Score?

According to them, “It’s the measured influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage your influence others.” It uses the data from your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and (most recently), YouTube accounts.

According to Megan Berry, Marketing Manager for Klout, “Our goal is to measure everywhere people are creating content and influencing each other online. For most Facebook is more personal and LinkedIn more professional, but we see influence happening in both platforms.”

How is it Measured?

According to Klout there are three main parts:

True Reach- “The number of people you influence. We filter out spam and bots and focus on the people who are acting on your content. When you post a message, these people tend to respond or share it.”

Amplification- “is how much you influence people. When you post a message, how many people respond to it or spread it further? If people often act upon your content you have a high Amplification score.”

Network- “indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach. How often do top Influencers share and respond to your content? When they do so, they are increasing your Network score.”

Why it is Important?

Measure, measure, measure! There is great deal of pressure in the marketing world to measure social media. People are spending a lot of time validating social media to clients and probably people within their own company. Klout is a popular (and free) way to measure social influence. Sometimes, even people who don’t in believe in its merits end up recognizing it.

I believe that Klout can be  a good part of a larger influence measure or score. For example, I wrote a blog post on “How Evaluate Blogs for Blogger Outreach Programs”, where I point out that companies need to identify some baselines so you can rank the blogs and see which ones are the best fit for your outreach program. Those baselines are to find bloggers who are passionate about the subjects they write about; blog metrics like PageRank, monthly site traffic and Technorati authority; evaluating bloggers subjectively to see if they fit with your brand; and other numbers bases on social media presence, like a Klout score. I think it’s ok to use Klout scores when they’re part of the puzzle or part of an overall strategy.

Why it is Not Important?

It’s not perfect. Klout provides what topics you are influential about along with a number score. I have never met a person who had “correct” or “right” influential topics. My currently influential topics are oatmeal, marketing, forums, social media, and drinks. I will take marketing and social media. Good job, Klout for getting that right! As for forums, I tweeted once about forums and now I’m influential about it? Ok? Whatever, I take it. Oatmeal is one I don’t understand. I’m actually on a low crab diet, so I have not eaten oatmeal in about six months. The only thing I can attribute to that, is sometimes I tweet about the comic website, “The Oatmeal.”  The last one kind of makes me mad. Drinks? I assume it means alcoholic drinks, so I will assume the others will believe that too. I’m not much of a drinker (and if you are, each to their own) but I try to keep my Twitter and other social media sites as professional as possible because I use my Twitter account as a networking tool. It’s not the end of the world because you can hide topics, but still it’s the principle of the thing.

About 2 weeks ago, Mark Schaefer wrote on his blog about how some companies are using a job candidate’s Klout score in hiring decisions. This stirred quite a debate with over 140 comments on the blog post. If you have some time read through them, since many people made some very interesting points. Here is a part of an important comment made by Nicole Cairns:

“As for Klout’s validity, I’d like to point these two users out: @hipstermermaid has a Klout score of 77. He/She runs a parody account, is anonymous, and tweets about beer and liking music that’s more obscure than your music. @acarvin has a Klout score of 78. Andy is changing the way news is produced and social media is integrated within an organization. The fact that these two rank even on the same chart as one another, much less within one point of each other, is a serious problem.”

So, take Klout as a gain of salt. If a person has a high Klout score, make sure to look at the full picture and don’t take the score at face value. And I will give Klout props for trying to create the best possible way to score influence. Over time, I believe it will get better. But it’s not there yet. In the meantime, people should focus on creating great content and connecting with people.

And remember to follow eWayDirect on Twitter, because we need a better Klout score. Wink, wink.

Interview with Christos Tsatsopoulos on PLNDR and Social Media

In an effort to share and tell great stories, eWayDirect has been seeking out some awesome companies that we believe are doing something cool and unique with social media. And we found that in a company called PLNDR.com.

PLNDR is a members-only flash sale site that offers the latest in streetwear clothing and accessories at prices up to 60-80% off retail. PLNDR was launched a little over a year ago and has grown exponentially since then. One of the key things that distinguishes their company from other similar sites is that they are very member-oriented. They give their members the opportunity to write for their blog, help them choose what PLNDR sells on the site, and also to submit their brands and designs for a chance to be sold on PLNDR. 

We got in touch with Christos Tsatsopoulos, PLNDR’s Marketing Coordinator, to ask him some questions about how PLNDR is utilizing social media. See below for our questions and the answers that Christos kindly provided.

What are some of PLNDR’s goals in using social media?

One of our main goals in using social media is to bring our members together as a community  where they can interact with each other, take part in contests and giveaways, and to stay involved in everything that is going on in the PLNDR world. Besides our core focus, we just try our best to maintain consistent interaction and communication between PLNDR and our members by responding to comments and tweets as much as possible.

What’s your general philosophy on running PLNDR’s Facebook page?

Our general philosophy in terms of our Facebook page is to provide material that will appeal to our members. Material that will not only grab their attention, but get them involved in it. Giveaways, secret sales, and design competitions are just a few things that we do to get our members actively involved in the PLNDR community.

Describe some of the benefits of running campaigns like “March Madness” on your blog and Facebook Page. How often do you run contests like this?

By running campaigns on our Facebook page in addition to our blog, it allows our participants to go out and directly tell their friends to vote for their brand. Once they have invited their friends to our Facebook page to vote, they can then send them to our blog to vote again. It beneficial for us on both ends as our “likes” increase on our Facebook page, and traffic increases on our blog page.

Since our first Brand Battle in March (March Madness), we have had about two more competitions since then. We like to wait at least a month or two after every Brand Battle, so that there is ample time for new brands to submit to us.

We have recently launched a new campaign that works similarly on a social media level. It is called Members Made. We are giving our members the opportunity to submit their t-shirt designs based off a specific category that we give them (ex. Sports, lyrics, cartoons). The top designs are again posted on our Facebook page and blog for voting. Once voting is done, the winning design gets printed on tee’s then sold on PLNDR and the designer wins a fantastic prize.

What advice would you give people who are looking to implement successful promotions and programs on Facebook?

The best advice that I could give is to always think of creative ways to keep your audience interested and engaged. Simply posting sales pitches will not attract people. Most of the promotions that are posted on Facebook should be captivating and actionable in order to make your FB fans feel as if they are a part of an exclusive community.

You have a pretty active Tumblr blog. What motivated you start using that platform and what is your strategy in using it?

We understand that Tumblr may be low on the totem pole of popular social media outlets, but we know from research that there are a ton of people using it. So we keep up to date on our Tumblr as best we can by updating it with specific stuff that we have going on whether it’s promotions, brand battles, or design competitions. In addition to that, we make sure to post and reblog images or material that we think are cool, funny, or just interesting enough to make people want to follow us.

What do you think is the biggest challenge most brands have with social media?

The biggest challenge that brands have with social media is most likely the ability to retain their fans’ interest AFTER they have already liked their Facebook page or followed them on Twitter. Getting a like or a follow isn’t enough. Consistent, appealing content and material is what keeps the user interested, and if that is done efficiently, then their social media future is likely to be successful.

Thanks to Christos for taking the time to answer these questions and share his thoughts with us! We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!

Online Marketing Tweets of the Week (8/5/11)

High-Five! You made it to Friday! If you’re new here, you should know that every Friday we do a weekly series that identifies some of the most interesting online marketing tweets from the past week. Here’s what we’ve handpicked from this week:

Google+ may be the fastest growing website in history, but they also aren't a new release platform. This shouldn't be a surprise people.
@AdamZ
Adam Zuckerman
Your Social App Will Survive Only If You Can Convert "Lookers" Into "Doers" http://ow.ly/5UJRu
@FastCoLeaders
Co.Leaders
When I was kid, I lived each moment - never wondered who I was, how the world was turning or turning out. Why start now?
@lizstrauss
Liz Strauss
Infographic: Who Shares the Most on Social Networks: Yahoo! study finds “power sharers” tend to be young, male ... http://yhoo.it/nxeXiP
@stevehall
Steve Hall
Networking doesn't mean trying to connect with people on every social network. It actually involves some elbow grease & conversation.
@BethHarte
Beth Harte
No one cares how much you know util they know how much you care #automarketing
@pcmguy
Larry Bruce
http://t.co/yaQmrhz Fabio vs. Mustafa thoughts - old spice and social media "campaigns"
@garyvee
Gary Vaynerchuk
Wow..."Facebook working on expanding its "Like" button to include other gestures marketers can create" - http://t.co/XpNgeRq
@robbirgfeld
Rob Birgfeld

Lastly, if you have not seen this yet, you need to check it out.

Today my mustache and I embark on our quest to land a job at @. Start the journey with us here: http://t.co/QLgIxHz
@MEtweetz
Matthew Epstein

If you come across interesting tweets that you’d like to nominate for inclusion in this series, feel free to drop us a line during the week @eWayDirect.

QR Code Example from the National Aquarium

The hot new thing in social media is QR codes. For those that don’t know, a QR (Quick Response) code is a barcode that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and phone with cameras. According to Wikipedia, “The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.”

QR codes are more commonly being used in billboard ads like at bus stops or subway stations. Normally, after you use the QR reader, the phone app will automatically open your mobile phone’s web browser and direct you to the company’s website or landing page.

Jay Bear recently wrote in an article that many marketers and companies are missing the point or using QR codes because it’s the cool thing to do. And he is right, some companies are using it for the sake of using it.

I wanted to point out a nice example of a QR code/experience. I recently was at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. As I was wandering through the exhibits and I started to see small signs on some of the glass tanks with questions and QR codes.

When I reached the Puffin area, I whipped out my iPhone and gave it a try. The link directed me to a YouTube video called “How do our puffins stay happy?”

I was pretty delighted because taking advantage of this QR code enabled me to get the inside scope on the life of a Puffin from one of the National Aquarium experts. And this added a more enriched experience to already happy trip to see the Puffins and other aquatic animals.

There happened to be a National Aquarium intern near by, so I asked her how often people use the QR codes. She replied that only one or two people use them each day. However, after that initial person does it, there will be about five to ten people that will try it right after them. Sure enough, after talking to the intern, I turned around and there were three other people trying the QR code and watching the video on their phones.

What does this have to do with marketing? Simple, it’s all about the customer experience. This QR code experience helped improve my overall experience at the Aquarium. I went from being indifferent about Puffins to thinking Puffins are cutest and coolest animal ever.

QR codes can be great. But this doesn’t mean all great customer experiences need to come from the new shiny thing or trend. Great experiences can come from email, Facebook, Twitter or even over the phone. It’s up to companies to make sure that they giving people great experiences no matter what channels people are using.

Are you giving people a great customer experience?

Here a few more photos from my trip:

Online Marketing Tweets of the Week (7/29/11)

Happy Friday!  If you’re new here, you should know that every Friday we do a weekly series that identifies some of the most interesting online marketing tweets from the past week. Here’s what we’ve handpicked from this week:

Wonder how accurate this is...some of the trends are bewildering RT @: Twitter trends per country/city: http://ow.ly/5Pccg
@bigfuel
Big Fuel
Twitter takes a baby step toward ads in timelines: http://dthin.gs/pCOHcs via @
@DebraWilliamson
Debra Aho Williamson
Kinda cute: Gmail Wants You to Stage an Email Intervention http://ht.ly/5PqhF
@SBKelsick
Shannon BowenKelsick
How Being “Friends” On Google+ Leads To Better Rankings http://t.co/JDXJhoB via @
@adamsherk
Adam Sherk
If you have enough horses in the race, you don't care which one wins. Multiple ads, multiple sites. @ #mozcon
@stevendunston
Steven Dunston
What do you think? Good reasons? Why Google+ insists on having your real name http://bbc.in/oWyrHk H/T @
@MarshaCollier
Marsha Collier
Google+ traffic down 3% last week. QUICK! EVERYONE BACK TO FRIENDSTER!!
@unmarketing
Scott Stratten
Passion is all about going forth in the world with confidence. Small company + big cojones = big results. #smallagency
@supahstef
stef miller
#smmeasure A2 don't be fooled into thinking even a mix of tools will give insights a campaign needs, consultancy on top of data a must
@jamesmossman
James Mossman

If you come across interesting tweets that you’d like to nominate for inclusion in this series, feel free to drop us a line during the week @eWayDirect.

Have an awesome weekend!

UnMarketing Book Review

We are trying something different here on the eWayDirect blog: a book review. The book is UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging by Scott Stratten.

In the style of this book, I’m going to try to make this review short and sweet.

The Book: 

Stratten gives practical advice about the new understanding of marketing or unmarketing. In a connected and information-driven world, we have to think differently about our approach to customers. The whole book is based on the premise that everything in marketing comes down to how businesses interact with their customers. And in the end it boils down to common sense marketing and customer service. No gimmicks, shinny trinkets, smoke and mirrors… just true connection.

Stratten flat out states that traditional selling tactics like cold calling don’t work, because they are unappealing to people that you’re trying to sell to and don’t give you much of a return for your business. He writes, “If you believe your business is built on relationships, make building them your business.” Throughout the book, he shows you different ways to use social media to build relationships that are more beneficial for you and your business.

My Take: 

The book contains a lot of one-two punches, and throughout the narrative he presents a great deal of sarcasm and wit. I actually laughed out loud a few times, which is rare; I’m not type of person that does that, especially when I’m reading by myself. Most of the humor is in the footnotes, which seem to be on every page. But the footnotes are definitely worth the read.

Stratten is straight and to the point. The book is made up of 56 short, digestible chapters of stories, case studies, and observations. It’s like the “Twitter” of marketing book, a stream of different thoughts but with a unified theme. Plus, it has the same “relationship” affect as Twitter or a blog. When you are an avid follower someone for a while and read all of their content, you tend to feel like you already know them. After reading this book, I feel like I know Scott.

We hope you enjoyed this (un)review. Check out Scott Stratten on Twitter, @unmarketing.

Social Media Screencast Review – TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Facebook Page

Welcome to the second edition of Social Media Screencast Reviews. Today’s review covers the Facebook page for TopDrawerSoccer.com.

Every Tuesday we’ll be providing free reviews of a company’s Twitter or Facebook presence, blog, or other social media initiative in 5 minutes or less and sharing the screencast videos with you here on our blog. If you’d like us to review something your company is doing, leave a comment here, drop me a line on Twitter or get in touch via email (jason at ewaydirect dot com).

Back to TopDrawerSoccer’s Facebook page. Check out the video below to see the full review or scroll down to read some key points from the review.

Key Points

Welcome Tab – I love the fact that TopDrawerSoccer.com has a welcome tab on their Facebook page with a strong call to action to like the page and some information about what people can expect from it. The tweaks I would suggest involve making the like buttons on the tab clickable and moving the copy up a little so people can see what to expect without having to scroll down. Overall, great job with this tab.

Picture/Avatar – While I love the current picture, TopDrawerSoccer may want to consider utilizing the full space available to them. Facebook gives you a space that is 180 pixels wide and 540 pixels tall. TopDrawerSoccer might as well make use of this space, since it’s available.

Facebook Wall Posts – TopDrawerSoccer is doing a great job posting content to Facebook that drives likes and comments. I’d also recommend that they use a URL tracker/shortener, such as bit.ly or Argyle Social to track clicks on links they’re posting. This will help them see which types of posts are driving the most clicks. Over time, they should also be able to see which days of the week and times of day or optimal for posting to get the most clicks.

Other Tabs -  I love the “Submit Commitments” tab. I would remove the “Events” tab since there are no events on it.

Contests/Promotions – Exclusive contests and promotions are a great way to reward people for liking your page. However, TopDrawerSoccer should make sure to follow Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines with the contests and giveaways that they run. Specifically, they “must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.” Contests and promotions like this should be run through a separate tab/application on their page.

I hope you enjoyed this screencast review and suggestions. This review is not meant to include a robust set of recommendations. These are simply my thoughts on TopDrawerSoccer’s Facebook page that were based on some initial observations.

What do you think about this review? What suggestions would you give TopDrawerSoccer to improve what they’re doing on Facebook?

If you’d like me to review your company’s efforts on a specific social media channel or campaign, please let me know!

 

Online Marketing Tweets of the Week (7/22/11)

Congratulations, you made it to the end of the week without melting! If you’re new here, you should know that every Friday we do a weekly series that identifies some of the most interesting online marketing tweets from the past week. This time we will focus on some cool email and email marketing tweets.

The Betty Crocker Secret to Email Marketing: http://t.co/s37MMsh via http://t.co/PjoiYzn. #EmailMarketing #tips
@enaid64
Diane Tisseur
Email still a powerful internet marketing tool: http://lnkd.in/sV4ViE
@Zahay
Debra Zahay Blatz
Fun, brand appropriate headline by @ "Go Graphic, A Novel Idea" http://trndl.in/o3mblk #emailmarketing
@EmilyKrempasky
Emily Krempasky
"sending an email is like going out to dinner and Facebook is like getting coffee" http://bit.ly/qLzcT0
@alexgcampbell
Alex Campbell
In B2B email marketing, sales teams often don't have cooperative relationships w/ marketing, says Forrester's VanBoskirk #marketo
@ClickZ
ClickZ
List hygiene is as important as dental hygiene. Now go floss your leads! http://bit.ly/qNYimX #marketo
@RickGrind
Rick Siegfried
ARGH! Hate when clients do stupid, harmful things (send targeted email to everyone, Oy!) #emailmarketing
@deconspray
Dennis Deacon
Working on a new email newsletter design today. Secret to success = good content! #emailmarketing
@andreasmith77
Andrea Smith

 

The tweets below aren’t about email, but they’re still awesome:

QR codes are popping up on gravestones. When you scan the code, you can read an obituary and see photos of the deceased. (via @)
@mental_floss
Mental Floss
Look out twitter! Google+ is a micro blog, a media channel and a disinfectant! IT CAN SCRAMBLE AN EGG WHILE IT'S STILL INSIDE ITS SHELL!
@schneidermike
schneidermike

If you come across interesting tweets that you’d like to nominate for inclusion in this series, feel free to drop us a line during the week @eWayDirect

Have a great weekend!

Twitter Account Review Screencast – District Taco

It’s always nice to have some feedback on social media initiatives. You may have a great campaign running but may be missing one piece that could make it even more likely to be shared. Maybe your Facebook welcome tab is missing a key element that would get you more likes. Maybe you’re not consistently tracking links you post to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe your videos are great but you didn’t know that you could link back to your company’s channel at the end of them. Or you may be doing a fantastic job and just want to hear it from someone else.

Every Tuesday (starting today), we’ll be providing free reviews of a company’s Twitter or Facebook presence, blog, or other social media initiative in 5 minutes or less and sharing the screencast videos with you here on our blog. I got the idea after watching some great email review screencasts (example here) that my buddy, DJ Waldow, started doing a couple months ago. Why not do the same thing but for a company’s social media efforts?

Every Tuesday, we’ll be posting a screencast here to talk about a different brand’s social media initiatives, campaigns and/or accounts. 100% Free. No strings attached. If you’d like us to review something your company is doing, leave a comment here, drop me a line on Twitter or get in touch via email (jason at ewaydirect dot com).

This first review covers the Twitter account for the best taco joint/truck in the world (I’m not biased at all…), District Taco.

Key Points

Engagement – District Taco does an awesome job engaging people via Twitter, making them feel special, and responding to questions and comments. See below for a few sample tweets that show this.

We will be waiting for you, amigo!!RT @ I am about to head to District Taco for fish taco Tuesdays!
@districttaco
District Taco
Orale! Gracias for coming!!RT @ @ gettin my carnitas fix in, first time in a week. Heaven is on a monday, I'm #addicted
@districttaco
District Taco

Content – In some respects, engagement is content. District Taco also puts out content related to where their taco truck is going to be on a given day, to make it easy for people to keep up with where they are. I’d like to see them do a little bit more, though. For example, they could post pictures of special dishes, fresh ingredients, events they cater, etc. They could also have a theme of the week or month where they share videos or pictures about a particular DC cause or non-profit they want to help shine the spotlight on.

Creativity – I give District Taco high marks for their creative responses, but they could be a little more creative, overall. For example, they could have a contest to encourage people to share what they like best about District Taco on Twitter, use the #districttaco hashtag and get entered to win free tacos for a year. Short-term, unique promotions like this would be a great way to for them to drive additional buzz and awareness. They could even take it another level and offer a small discount or other form of appreciation to people who show their tweet when ordering at the food truck or at their restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed this screencast/review and suggestions. These are simply my high-level thoughts based on some quick observations; I have no idea what their goals are or if they’ve tried any of these suggestions in the past.

What do you think about this review? What suggestions would you give District Taco to improve what they’re doing on Twitter? Don’t forget that if you’d like me to review your company’s efforts on a specific social media channel or campaign, definitely drop me a line!

 

Get More Email Subscribers and Facebook Likes By Understanding People’s Motivations

Like most kids, I used to always try to get more of what I wanted, especially if what I wanted wasn’t something I could easily get.

I wanted more chances to play Super Mario World after school, more time to shoot basketball before going to bed, and more sweet cereals like Count Chocula and Lucky Charms (and more marshmallows in them). To achieve this, I put a lot of effort into understanding my parents, so I could learn how to get more of these things without having to beg for them. Unfortunately, I never figured out how to increase the number of marshmallows in Lucky Charms, but I’m still open to suggestions…

Flash forward to now. I work for a great company that helps other companies get more of what they want – prospects, customers and revenue. One question we’ve always helped people with is “How can we get more email subscribers and generate more revenue from them?” That’s still a very valid question as email marketing is one of the most important things a company can do to grow its database and generate more revenue online.

With the rise of social media and Facebook, more people are also asking “How can we get more Facebook likes/fans?”

Important caveat: More Facebook fans should never be your end goal…but it can be a good indicator if what you’re doing is moving you towards your goals.

In answering these questions, it’s important to understand the motivations behind why people subscribe to company emails and why they might follow a company on Facebook.

Motivations For Email

The following statistics come from EmailStatCenter.com via ExactTarget’s Email X-Factor Study in 2010.

  • 67% of US internet users say the motivation behind giving their email address to a company is to receive discounts and promotions.
  • 55% of US internet users say the motivation behind giving their email address to a company is to get a “freebie” in exchange for my email address.
  • 50% of US internet users say the motivation behind giving their email address to a company is to get updates on upcoming sales.

Motivations For Facebook

All Facebook recently released an infographic from Column Five Media and Get Satisfaction about what makes people want to follow a brand. Here are the top three reasons why people follow brands on Facebook/MySpace (not sure why these were lumped together, but they were):

  • 36.9% of people who follow brands do this to get access to special offers
  • 32.9% of people who follow brands do this because they’re current customers
  • 18.2% of people who follow brands do this to get interesting or entertaining content

Takeaways

People’s primary motivations for subscribing to company emails and following companies on Facebook are roughly the same. People want access to discounts, deals and offers. Yes, some people may like you on Facebook or subscribe to your emails because they want to share their opinions or feel like they’re part of your community, but these aren’t the main reasons for most people. Keeping this in mind, you definitely want to think about what specific motivations your own customers may have.

Based on the research above, people are looking for tangible value from companies via email and Facebook. If you want to get more email subscribers and Facebook likes, you should probably give people what they’re looking for. You likely shouldn’t just offer both groups the same thing; ideally you want people to follow/subscribe to you on both channels to bring them even closer to your brand. I tend to believe that the best stuff should be reserved for email subscribers. Email marketing is something you have more ownership of and control over, and it takes more of an investment on the part of a user to subscribe via email than to like a page on Facebook. However, this is probably best looked at on a case-by-case basis.

How do you look at people’s motivations in determining how to get more people to like you on Facebook, subscribe to your emails and buy more stuff/buy more often/spend more money?

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/briherbst/426995523/sizes/s/in/photostream/