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Silly Blogger Klout Doesn’t Care About You

This morning I saw one of the best commentaries on Klout that I've seen in a while. It's a comment by Bernadette Jiwa on a post from the {grow} blog:

Bernadette Jiwa Klout Comment

Click to be able to actually read the comment

By the way Bernadette, I really like the look of your website. Slick.

You Are Not The Customer Of Any Social Network

Let's look at how these places make money shall we?

How Twitter Makes Money

I am tempted to say that your guess is as good as mine and for a long time it would have been. But today we know that Twitter is making money from:

  • Promoted tweets
  • Promoted trends
  • Promoted accounts
  • Analytics
  • Access to their firehose stream (all the tweets your servers and bandwidth can handle)

GOSSIP ALERT!!! A little birdy told me they are starting to monetize hashtags and that it's possible in the future if you tweet with a “monetized” hashtag your tweet will simply disappear. But don't take that as fact, just yet. If they're going to do it you can't buy it just yet.

What do we give Twitter? Links to our sites, part of our social graph, information on what we like, and a bit more.

How Facebook Makes Money

Facebook has been raking it in with advertising for a long time. How long? Longer than I can remember. Aside from advertising Facebook also makes money from sponsored stories. Can't seem to get your Facebook page updates into someones stream because you just don't have that much interaction? That's where sponsored stories come in.

There's also the Facebook virtual currently – Facebook credits. You can sell virtual goods (think “in games”) for credits and then redeem them for actual cash. I haven't used them so check out the Facebook Credits page for all the details on those.

What do we give them? A metric ton of personal data.

How Google+ Makes Money

Google's standard business model has been to give us all access to their apps for free and put highly targeted ads in front of us. That made them quite a large sum of money.

So wek now they sell multiple formats of advertising including AdWords and DoubleClick. In addition they also sell:

  • Search solutions
  • Enterprise-class online applications (email, docs, etc.)
  • Email security (Postini)
  • Premium Google Maps and Google Earth products

What do we give them? Depending on what product of theirs we're using we could tell them where we spend our online, what sites we like, where our websites are, and much more. But don't worry – you've already been assimilated.

Is it only a matter of time before ads show up in Google+? We'll see.

How LinkedIn Makes Money

LinkedIn has advertising too along with selling information to recruiting solutions (which makes sense as it was started by recruiters). But in addition they also have some premium offerings for your account ranging from US$24.95/month to US$99.95/month which includes:

  • See more profiles in search
  • Save important profiles and notes
  • Access to premium & talent search filters
  • More introduction requests
  • See full names of 3rd degree connections and groups
  • See all the connections you have in common with someone (for reference checks)

If you're a recruiter, job seeker or looking for more clients LinkedIn premium options seen like they are worth the money. If you've used them let us know in the comments below how well they've helped you.

How Klout Makes Money

So how does Klout make money? Klout Perks.

What are Klout Perks? Well… as you go about interacting and influencing people on the social medias you unlock different perks. Perks can be all sorts of things, but it comes down to a type of “gift” you get from a company.

Here's an example of one I've recently unlocked:

Free Moo Cards Klout Perk

Moo cards are the bomb though so +1 on this perk.

By the way Moo cards are awesome so to me this one is a winner.

But Klout is tricksy. Not only do they  NOT notify you when you've opened up a perk (meaning you have to go to their site on a regular basis and keep checking) but they tell you that you don't get stuff but your friends do. Nanny nanny boo boo. But I bet it works really well 🙂 Yay psychology and gamification!

LeftLane Klout Perk

Perhaps Klout knows I don't get outside much and when I do it isn't for sporty-type activities…

How Just About Every Social Network Makes Money

The standard business model for any social network is to collect our data – demographics, likes/dislikes, location – and package it up nicely for sale to advertisers in some form or fashion. This business model apparently works pretty well as it continues to be used.

It seems that we all know how dead privacy is and many have just given in.

And This Is Why Bernadette Is Sooo Right

Nowhere in there do I see we, the users, being part of the target markets of these social networks. Why? Because with the exception of LinkedIn (and only if you so choose to pay) we aren't paying to use them. That's how their business models work. We get free access, they get a crap ton of our information, and they provide that to advertisers who pay to get their stuff in front of us.

Now as an advertiser on these social networks I urge you to please continue to enter in as much information as you want. The more I know about you the better I can put my ads and those of my clients in front of you at the right time.

And I thank you for it.

The point here though is that ultimately if you get enough people complaining about a feature update or feature removal the company might change it back. But if they don't, we have to make a decision: it is worth leaving these networks?

But Should This Nice Message From Klout Worry Me?

Klout Score Notification
Oh noes my Klout score dropped?! Oh well back to business.

It doesn't worry me in the least. Also I'm not that active on Facebook outside of advertising. So perhaps I should disconnect my Facebook profile from my Klout profile? I'll do that and see what happens. Regardless…

I still believe that being on a list isn't the best way to get clients. The best way to get clients is to excel in asskickery and deliver big time for your clients so that you get outstanding testimonials you can put on your landing pages.

Testimonials are the most powerful form of social proof there is. I know for a fact that the testimonials I have on my landing page have been highly influential in getting a number of my clients.

This also stresses the need for every service provider to build a referral partner network where you can both refer and be referred.

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Using Stanzr For The Dempsey Marketing Chat [Video]

UPDATE: The DMChat has been moved Thursday nights at 9 PM EST. We'll see you there!

I recently attended my second chat on Stanzr and continue to be impressed by the quality and capability of the platform. It is truly taking B2B marketing chats to the next level.

A few days ago I wrote about why I've chosen to use Stanzr rather than a standard Twitter Chat. The long and short of it is that I don't want to inundate my Twitter community with content that's irrelevant to them.

So… as Stanzr is still in Beta, Taariq and his team are focusing on improving the platform more than multi-media marketing. The user interface is still a bit in flux however I did a short video that will show you how to use Stanzr.

Here's what's in the video:

  1. Logging into a chat using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
  2. Adding a chat to your calendar
  3. Branding elements
  4. Sharing the chat on social media
  5. Sending a chat update
  6. Ensuring that your chat updates don't (or do) go to Twitter
  7. Connecting with your fellow chatters on social media
  8. Seeing which messages got the most likes
  9. Easily seeing who replied to your messages and replying

Check out the video and then I will see you every Tuesday night at 9 PM EST for the Dempsey Marketing Chat (#dmchat).

What Do You Think Of Chats For B2B Marketing?

Do you think chats are a viable part of the marketing mix? Thinking of adding a chat to your online marketing?

Let's talk about it below in the comments.

I'll see you there…

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Twitter Chats And Real-Time Marketing Chats For Business

Have you ever attended a Twitter chat? It's a pretty interesting experience.

A number of years ago Chris Messina introduced the concept of hashtags (that little # symbol followed by a keyword) to Twitter in order to tag conversations and make them easier to find. Today this is something that's such an embedded part of the Twitter ecosystem that we take them for granted. At least I do.

I'm not sure how long Twitter chats have been around for, but I heard about them at least a few years ago and never jumped in. During a conversation with Saul Fleischman and Jure Klepic it sounded like an interesting way to meet more people via Twitter, my favorite social network platform. Yes I just said that Twitter is my favorite. What's yours?

So What's A Twitter Chat Anyhow?

A Twitter chat is when a group of people join together on Twitter and have a conversation around a hashtag. Basically a hashtag such as #toolschat is chosen and everyone gathers on Twitter at a specified time. Then every tweet they send out has the hashtag, in this case #toolschat, appended to their tweet.

ToolsChat Screencap

ToolsChat Screencap - Click for larger view

A tool like TweetChat will automatically append the hashtag to your tweet so you won't forget to.

Each chat has a moderator who asks questions which starts with a “Q1” or “Q2” on the front of the tweet. When you answer the question you use an “A” + the question number, so something like “A1” or “A2”. This is so a transcript can be produced of the entire conversation.

TweetChat Answer Example

TweetChat Answer Example - click for the full view

The one I joined the other day was the #toolschat. If you're already logged into Twitter you can use the TweetChat app to see some of the conversation.

It was a fun first chat but it was hard to keep up with everything going on. And if you tried using a Twitter client like HootSuite good luck – it won't refresh fast enough.

The Problems With Twitter Chats For Business

There are a few glaring issues with Twitter chats when it comes to using them for business and networking. Note I didn't say with the Twitter chat I was in – that was fun. These are problems I see with Twitter chats in general.

1: The Community Killer

Every tweet you send out during a Twitter chat goes to your full Twitter stream. In speaking with a number of people I found out there was no way to stop it from happening as long as you're using Twitter for the conversation.

This is a major problem for me. If you have a Twitter community of any size you can quickly inundate them with the chat messages – messages they don't need or probably want.

I have more reasons below but it's this #1 reason that I hesitated to pursue this any further. Thankfully there is a solution which I'll get into below. But first more issues 🙂

2: Not Everyone Uses A Twitter Client

Not everyone uses a Twitter client like HootSuite or TweetDeck and can filter out the hashtags. Many people use Twitter.com. In either case forcing someone to manually filter out some of your tweets is unnecessary.

According to Google Analytics Twitter.com is the #5 source of visitors to the Dempsey Marketing blog and website.

Traffic Sources 2011-10-22_11-19-56

Traffic Sources 2011-10-22_11-19-56

As our Twitter community grows that number could go up. I'd prefer to not annoy the (at the time of this writing) 10K+ members of our Twitter community by flooding their Twitter account with chat tweets.

3: Twitter Maintains A Limited History

I've heard that Twitter only keeps 7 (or 14) days of tweets. After that they're no longer searchable. Bye bye tweets.

As a business owner that doesn't help you mine that data for information to create blog posts, videos, frequently asked questions and other content. In addition, the people that join you on your chat are composed of potential leads, members of your community and other industry folks.

4: No SEO Love

The toolschat folks exported the transcript to PDF. According to the Twitter terms of service it's against the rules to export tweets in HTML format. Most likely this is because you could take their traffic and recreate their service, and it would be a huge waste of their time to track down all the people doing it. So it's against the rules.

But what that means is that there is no SEO juice for you and your business. And you know how much we love SEO here. That's a no go.

5: No Branding

I've read more than a few books that say as a small business your primary concern should be bringing in sales. I agree with that, but I also believe that branding is integral to everything you do, including community discussions.

With Twitter chats there is no branding whatsoever. So no one knows who's moderating the discussion, moderating in this case meaning moving the conversation from one question to the next. If I hadn't done a search on Twitter for #toolschat I wouldn't have found the ToolsChat account and found out that Michael Q. Todd and Leo Widrich host it.

6: No Control Of The Platform

Realistically unless you host your own servers in your own datacenter and have everything sitting on them there are parts of your business and community outside of your control. However all of these social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ – give you varying amounts of control of your own data. In Twitter there is no export feature. For many this might not be a problem but when we're talking about building a community around your business, which we are, it is a problem.

I'm not suggesting that you build your own Twitter or stop using Twitter. Don't do that. What I am saying is that there are other options coming online that we can use that tie into Twitter.

So what is the solution for having real-time conversations with your community, being able to tie into Twitter but not flood your stream, keep your branding intact and have access to all the information afterwards in a format you can use for your business?

The Solution – Stanzr

First a big thanks to Saul Fleischman for connecting me with Taariq Lewis of Stanzr.I connected with Taariq during the toolschat and had an hour long Skype conversation with him afterwards.

Make note of how Taariq and I connected. This is how you use Twitter for business.

  1. Saul and Jure re-introduced me to Twitter chats
  2. Jure provided me with a list of chats I might be interested in and pointed the way to TweetChat
  3. I saw a tweet from Saul an hour before the chat started that he was going to join in on the tools chat
  4. I joined in after a call
  5. While on the chat I was Skyping with Saul and complaining about flooding my Twitter community with these chat tweets and the overall UI fail of the chat tools. Saul mentioned Taariq and Stanzr
  6. Taariq joined the toolschat (not on the behest of Saul and myself) and I connected with him
  7. I made mention I was looking for something better, found the homepage of Stanzr, and signed up for the beta. I then mentioned it to Taariq
  8. 2 minutes after toolschat was over I was on a video call with Taariq. An hour later I was setting up my weekly real-time marketing chat on the Stanzr platform

That's how you use Twitter for business!!!

I take that little side trip so you have a very real-world example of social networking bringing you business. And of course here I am writing an entire post about Twitter chats, their problems, and how Stanzr helps to solve these issues. And no I'm not getting paid to write this nor did Taariq ask me.

I'm excited about this and believe that this can help your business too.

Now in all fairness to Taariq and Stanzr they are in beta and are working out the kinks. I've been using it for only 48 hours so I'm no expert, yet. I did join into a chat using Stanzr – the #DailyDealChat – and it was far superior to the Twitter chat I had the other day (sorry Michael and Leo). Here's why.

All the numbered items correspond to the numbers on the screenshot below the list

  1. You can choose to have your updates go out to Twitter, or not — AWESOME!
  2. Company branding
  3. See who is participating on the chat and follow them on Twitter
  4. Easily see which messages got the most likes
  5. Easily see when someone replies to you
  6. Social sharing of the chat itself into Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  7. Ability for someone to add the chat to their calendar (so they don't have to manually add it)
  8. Ability for a chat member to direct message the chat moderator

Here's how that looks inside of Stanzr:

 

Stanzr Chat Features 2011-10-22_11-55-29

Stanzr Chat Features - Click for full view

And that's just the chat. When you're a moderator you also have stats, export features and much more. I'll be able to write more on that once I've used it, this coming week! Which brings me to the last part of this post…

Join Me Every Tuesday Night At 9 PM EST For #DMChat

A big thank you to Taariq Lewis of Stanzr for allowing me into their private beta and creating the weekly #DMChat. During this weekly one hour marketing chat we'll focus on a few marketing and business questions and discuss them as a community.

For me this rounds out the Dempsey Marketing content offerings. We have in no particular order:

Why a chat? Let me tell you.

The bottom line is that I love talking with people. Everyone has so much to teach and share and many people I know are also very eager to learn. I've been enjoying doing the podcast but the only issue for me is that it's not interactive. It's not like a live radio show where you can call in and ask questions and get answers.

Now I'm not going to abandon it though I am changing up the format of it. However a chat allows us, and you, to continue to foster the community around your business. Who is that community made up of? Two groups of people:

  1. Your ideal customers – potential and current
  2. People that will help share your content and point to you as an authority. These folks are the vast majority and will never buy from you, but are extremely important for your success

Nothing amorphous about that.

Are You Using Chats For Your Business?

Have you joined into a Twitter chat? What do you think about them?

Have you used chats for your business? Any results to share?

Let's talk about it in the comments below!

I'll see you there…

Oh, and don't forget to join me Tuesday nights for the DMChat and discuss attracting and converting your ideal customers.

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Social Media Certification And Why I’m On An Industry Advisory Committee

Update: since I first published this post I've been voted in as the Chairperson of the Industry Advisory Committee for the National Association of Social Media (NISM). Please continue to the post…

Social media certification has been one of those topics where everybody and their mother not only has an opinion but typically has a negative one. Is it even possible to be certified in social media, something that is becoming fully ingrained in global culture and changing the way we all do business and interact? As with everything it depends.

In this post I'm going to tell you why I accepted an officership on an industry advisory committed for an organization that is creating a social media certification.

Before you jump down to the comments and start trashing me I'm going to lay out some ground rules for this conversation:

  1. If you insult me or any commenter on this blog you will be blocked. I would like to have a civilized conversation about this, and if you merely call someone names without addressing their points or mine you're a child and you'll be treated like one.
  2. Argument isn't a bad word, nor is it bad to have one. If you make a point be prepared to back it up. When countering someone else's points, be sure to hit them all. If you only focus on one aspect that means you don't actually have a leg to stand on. Show all of us you have to legs.

Those are the rules! So let's begin shall we?

The Future We're Already In

There is no doubt that social media has had a large impact on our world. Governments have been toppled; news that was once restricted has been spread via YouTube; people are organized and fighting back against the system. And is it really any surprise?

Today we have unprecedented access to an ever increasing amount of information. Not only do faster Internet and social media networks like Twitter and Facebook connect us all, but even the firewalls countries erect to monitor and stifle their populations are no match for the Tor networks and other technological workarounds the dedicated find.

The information is there, people are absorbing it, and they are taking action.

But let me take it down a few notches and make this more local.

How Many Businesses Truly Embrace Social Media?

I graduated from business school in 2009 so things may have changed – you tell me.

At the time my web development company was using online marketing to great effect, generating a lot of authority and business. I had been using Twitter for a few years and used it too for business. It was awesome.

So you can imagine my surprise when social media – blogging, Twitter, etc. – were merely an afterthought for my MBA brethren in the marketing plans created. I was told, literally, that not only did (most) not fully understand it but it wasn't even on the radar. That was 2009, three years after Dan Rather left CBS because bloggers helped refute a story he reported on. But hey, no biggie!

But this is a biggie. Working within a heavily connected society both local and global is not something at least 2 years ago we were taught to do.

Also in 2009 my daughter was approaching 2 years old. She would shortly begin using both my Mac and my iPhone.

Funny thing though but something pretty typical – despite major changes going on around them, many refuse to change.

Now let me ask you: how many companies truly embrace social media? And I don't mean those that are on Twitter or created a Facebook page, I mean truly understand and operate within the new context?

What The New Context Is

Before answering that last question and to be sure we're on the same page let me define what the new context is.

The new context is this:

  • There is more competition in every industry
  • Every “local business” now competes on a global scale thanks to the Internet
  • Consumers use more than 10 sources of information to make a decision (1)
  • People want information how they want it, when they want it, and where they want it (2)
  • Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that people hate being sold at; they hate being interrupted; they hate being treated as anything less than an individual

In short it comes down to this: the customer is in control, and they dictate the rules of engagement.

They begin their purchase cycle months ahead of pulling out their wallet and making an actual purchase.

With that as the context we are all now operating in where does that leave companies not creating content around their business and making it easy for their ideal customers to find?

Aaron Lee asked about that on a recent post about your biggest competitive advantage:

Giving a damn comment by Aaron Lee

And that's where the social media certification comes into play.

Before getting into my role in this let's talk about how to keep out of the “SOL” category.

Keep Your Company From Being SOL

SEO and social media are now becoming more intertwined. For more than a few months both Google and Bing have been integrating social media into their search results, and Google has said that they are figuring out how to make social signals factor into their search engine rankings. It's no longer a matter of either or it's both – you must be doing SEO and social media.

What that means, in short, is that you need to be creating content around your business that is optimized for search engines and is share-worthy. We won't get into what “share-worthy” means here but needless to say it comes down to providing value to your customers that connects with them from the second they think about the types of products and services your company offers.

Creating content like that is only part of the equation. You also need to continue to stay in front of your potential customer providing value until they are ready to buy. That entails creating content that can reach them when, where and how they want it.

If you can do that effectively you're good, for now.

But many companies aren't to this point yet.

Many don't know where to start and rather than taking a chance and going for it they do nothing. Not a good option to choose. And this is where a social media certification comes into play.

Why I Joined The National Institute For Social Media

I am very happy to announce that I am now an officer for the National Institute for Social Media – Industry Advisory Committee. I'll be frank and tell you that I've had very bad experiences with certifications in the past.

My first encounter was with the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) back in 2000. During the dotcom boom you couldn't get a tech job unless you had experience, but without a job you couldn't get experience. A true catch 22. So I spent a year and more than a few thousand dollars and got certified along with an internship.

After that I heard a funny term – “paper MCSE.” I came to find out that you could go to brain dump sites, find many of the test answers, memorize them, and pass the certifications. There were people out there getting credentials without actually knowing how to do anything, and they were getting jobs!

Strike 1.

Strike 2 came when I was in the agile software development world. I became both a Certified Scrum Practitioner (CSP) and a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) while running my web development shop. I consulted for a few companies as well, spoke at international conferences, and was working my way toward getting the Certified Scrum Trainer credential when all hell broke loose. The Scrum Alliance changed the rules.

Suddenly you had to be sponsored by two people that already had the CST certification. What's the big deal about that? Well the CST certification allowed you to certify other people. At the time a CSM class was going for upwards of $1500 per student. So with 10+ people in a classroom you can see how lucrative that is. Once the rules changed there was a major barrier, and as I wasn't a purist Scrum person (choosing to adapt to what a customer needed) I knew I'd have trouble.

Strike 2.

Will there be a strike 3?

Here's The Problem That Needs To Be Addressed

The major problem from what I've seen and heard from my colleagues that work with large organizations say and write is that companies really don't know how to approach social media. But it's more systemic than that – they aren't equipped to use it effectively on many levels.

The most recent example of this is the Ragu Dad's scandal. Just Google it for some choice posts.

But frankly I'm not surprised. You can't just open a Twitter account, find some influencers and start tweeting them with links to your products. It takes quite a bit more than that.

Yes you need to be creating content that can be found by your ideal customers, but once they connect you need to build a relationship. That isn't in any MBA rulebook I was given. But it's the reality of it.

It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't  happen easily. Just because you're a “brand” doesn't mean people trust you. In fact, it might mean they trust you less. Consumers are more savvy and they know many of the marketing and sales tricks used. It's going to take more.

How NISM Plans To Address The Problem

No Problems Just Solutions

Based on my experience with certifications I'm sure you can imagine that I was hesitant to sign on with any company that offered certification, especially in social media, something that is an evolving thing and literally reshaping our culture. It's also something that's highly controversial, that I've slammed, and many people I know have slammed too. But a conversation with Eric Mills changed my mind.

Eric can comment on this better than I, but here's the role of the NISM as I understand it.

Companies want to incorporate social media into their businesses. However as I mentioned above they don't know where to start. They also don't fully understand the qualifications someone needs to “do social media well.” When it comes to business it takes more that just talking with people on Twitter or Facebook.

For large companies it takes more, which was another reason I was hesitant to join NISM – I don't work with large companies. They aren't my ideal customer. They're also bureaucratic and slow – two things that annoy me a lot (hence I work for myself). However that doesn't mean I can't add value to the organization and bring an “in the trenches” viewpoint. So I joined.

And what will an NISM certification certify for?

Currently there are three in the works:

  1. Certified Blogger
  2. Certified Social Media Manager
  3. Certified Master Of Social Media

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on those names. But I digress.

Essentially each of these certifications will show a level of understanding of social media and what is entailed. Here's an excerpt from the NISM certification page about the certifications:

However, passing a certification does not imply that a person knows everything required to be considered an expert in a given field. By passing a certification it establishes only that a person is minimally competent to work unsupervised in a given field or profession.

They aren't claiming that you know everything there is to know about social media. Quite the contrary.

Earning a NISM certification verifies that your knowledge and skills that are at a level that is necessary to be proficient in a variety of situations, but also provides an impartial, third-party endorsement of your knowledge and experience – with the intent to enhance your career opportunities.

Sorry – no guru status here folks. And that's what sold me – they aren't giving “expert” status with the certification.

There is also going to be continuing education, something we see in many professional fields including real estate and project management (the PMI).

What Do You Think Of This?

I really want to know what you think about this so let's talk about it.

Don't forget the ground rules for this conversation I have above.

Here are some questions we can use to start it off:

  1. What is your view of the current use, or lack thereof, of social media by large companies?
  2. Do you think a certification is necessary to help more companies use social media? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think of social media certification in general?

Let the debate begin!

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Make Klout Work For You

Update

Since writing this post I have opted out of Klout. I talk about why I opted out and also why I chose to not simply ignore it but to take action.

If you're still interested read this post, but please proceed knowing that I've left and have stated my reasons for doing so.

clout (noun):

Informal . pull; strong influence; muscle, especially political power – Dictionary.com

Klout:

Klout measures influence online. When you create content or engage, you impact others. Klout analyzes that impact to find your Klout Score, influential topics, and your influencers. Klout is the standard for influence.

Yes, I've Changed My Mind About Klout

When I first saw Klout my reaction was the same as many others – how in the hell does a company purport to measure the influence one has online when there are so many factors to look at? Well I've come around and here's why.

The Klout score, while not being a perfect measure (as nothing ever is so let's get over it) is composed of three parts:

  1. How many people you influence; (True Reach)
  2. How much you influence them; and (Amplification)
  3. How influential they are (Network Score)

You can see the breakdown of how it all works on the Klout score web page.

Regardless of my opinion here are the facts – companies are using your Klout score to determine whether or not they will engage with you and give you free stuff.

This post isn't a debate on whether or not this is good, bad or total crap – that ship has sailed. Rather I want to show you how you can be sure you're influence is being measured for the right things.

Getting Started With Klout

When you sign up (for free) for Klout the first thing you want to do is connect all of your social networks. There are many to choose from. At a minimum be sure to connect Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Klout Connect Social Networks

Klout Connect Social Networks

Once you have them all connected up Klout will work it's magic. It appears that by default you get a score of 10. I added the Dempsey Marketing Magazine to Klout and that's the score I got right off the bat. Of course starting out with a score of 0 wouldn't be much fun, and I'm sure the folks at Klout know that.

Dempsey Marketing Magazine Klout

Dempsey Marketing Magazine Klout

Once you get your score you'll see a list of topics that Klout believes your influential on. This is what we're talking about today.

Topics Klout Finds You Influential On

After a time, how long I cannot remember, Klout finds topics that it believes you are influential on. These may or may not be accurate. Thankfully though Klout allows you to take topics off of your list.

As an example, before I started Dempsey Marketing in December 2010, I had 8 years of talking about software development and then agile software development. These are no longer relevant to me so I don't need to be seen as such.

To knock it off the list so Klout can find other topics for you, simply click the “X” by the topic and it will knock it off the list.

Removing a Topic From Klout

Removing a Topic From Klout

What this does is ensure that people cannot give you Klout for that topic, and potentially “make you influential” for something you aren't.

Keep Your Klout Topics Clean

Over time and as you connect more social networks with Klout the site will find more topics for you. So be sure to log in on a weekly basis to see what topics Klout has added for you. If you see one that doesn't make sense help it out and remove it.

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How Do The People Using Social Media Affect Your View Of It?

If someone is acting up on social media – being rude or ignorant with another person – does that affect your view of social media as a whole?

The other day on Google+ Danny Brown posted a picture of a very rude comment Robert Scoble made on Facebook in response to a comment by Aimee Giese. Here's the screenshot that Danny shared:

Robert Scoble Rude Facebook Comment

Robert Scoble Rude Facebook Comment

And here is one of Danny's comments on Scoble's comment. I've underlined the part we'll be talking about today.

Danny Brown Social Media Comment

Danny Brown Social Media Comment

“And people wonder why social media doesn't get taken seriously by so many.”

So the question I put up for discussion today is this: does the way an individual uses social media affect your view of social media as a whole?

I'll weigh in first. Before I do let me preface with this: if you don't agree with me please say so and state your opinion. I invite healthy and open debate here. I have my opinion and I hope you have one too. If it differs from mine all the better! The only way we can all get ahead is to discuss these issues in the open.

So let's do that.

The Actions Of One Do Not Represent The Many

Now I'm not here to tell you what to think or how to think. After all we're adults here. What I am here to do is tell you what's working when it comes to online marketing. However I'm not ignorant of the fact that people will read something, take it at face value, and then apply it across the board. If they didn't people wouldn't get so freaked out by the news which seems to tell us all nothing but the negative stuff going on out there.

Apparently it's better to scare people into action than optimism and positive reinforcement. But that isn't true and also leaves a window open for you and your business. But I digress.

Robert Scoble may be a big name in social media, after all he did help Microsoft (at least for a time) appear more human, but does he represent the medium as a whole? I think we're past the time where a single person represented an entire medium. They are too many players.

Think Before You Post

Don't take this as a defense of Scoble's comments. Telling someone they are getting more engagement on Twitter because they have “no family and no friends” is outright rude and uncalled for. Perhaps he meant to add “on Facebook” and forgot before posting? Oops. Too bad so sad.

In all fairness here's a screenshot of all the comments in the original post:

Robert Scoble Complete Comment Stream

Robert Scoble Complete Comment Stream

Fact: We Are All Public Figures Now

When I was in grade school I learned that once someone became a public figure they're right to privacy went pretty much out the window. The lives of Hollywood stars and politicians were open for all to see.

Rules with the media began to form. Things like “leave the kids out of it” became par for the course. But even now the actions of the children of politicians, while not media targets, become news stories.

Heads of state, heads of business, heads of families – the lives of all are potentially open to public scrutiny to one degree or another.

There's no hiding anymore.

But does that mean that the actions of an individual represent the whole?

In the U.S. we have a two-party political system. Democrats definitely don't represent the Republicans and vice versa. Politicians can be voted out of office.

A CEO of a company, hired by a board of directors, may be the public face of a company and reflect positively or poorly on the company as a whole, but their actions don't necessarily directly reflect those of hundreds or thousands of employees. CEOs can be fired.

But what about a medium? Social media isn't a single person, and as such cannot be represented by a single person.

Don't Be Scared, Or Fooled

Does that mean you shouldn't participate online? Not at all. Don't let the comments of a single person hold you back from taking advantage of an entire medium.

But before jumping in understand what you're getting into. Have a strategy for communicating with those that agree and disagree. On the Internet today you'll be dealing with both.

What's Your Opinion?

What do you think of all this? Not Scoble's comments – I don't want to turn this into a hatefest – but rather how a single person's actions can influence the views of others on an entire medium?

You know what I think now let's hear what you think in the comments below.

I'll see you there.

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Friends Or Fans? Making The Personal Into Business on Facebook

Facebook Like ButtonI've been asked this question two times in the past week:

I've got a ton of friends on Facebook and not nearly as many fans on my page. What's the deal and how do I get more fans on my business page?

Or put another way, how do you jump start your brand new Facebook business page? Mix personal with professional.

If you've been using Facebook chances are that you've connected with a few friends, perhaps a few hundred. But now you're putting your company on there and have a brand spanking new business page. But as we all know just because you build it doesn't mean they will come. And to get numbers you need numbers. The first place to get them is your pool of friends on Facebook.

Let's look at at the steps.

Step 1: Set Up Your Business Facebook Page

First you need somewhere for your friends to come. No need to reinvent the wheel here so head on over to this tutorial on the Facebook Help Center to set up your page. Ensure you have all the following filled out:

  • All basic information
  • Profile picture – either a logo for a “brand” business or a photo of you if you're going the personal branding route
Facebook Edit Company Profile

Facebook Edit Company Profile

Step 2: Page Lockdown

Once you're profile information is filled out it's time to make it secure. If you have any country or age restrictions put them in. For instance, let's say you're a musician and have profane lyrics in your music. Now I'm cool with that however some kids' parents might not be. Better safe than sorry here. Update the age restrictions accordingly.

Another important setting is the default landing tab. In the interest of lead capture you'll want to have some type of opt-in tab that can exchange a freebie for a name and email address. In the beginning though, I don't recommend it. Why? You want as low a barrier to entry as possible.

(We can debate the opt-in from the beginning in the comments.)

Facebook Page Security Settings

Facebook Page Security Settings

Step 3: Bring The Rain!

2 points for whoever can tell me when the phrase “bring the rain” became associated with bringing business. Frankly I'm really curious so let us know in the comments. And speaking of bringing the rain…

Step 3 is getting your first Facebook business page fans. This is where you tap your current base of Facebook friends. Send a message to all your peeps and ask them to come and like your new page. And then ask them to tell all their friends to like your page.

Facebook Status Update

Facebook Status Update

Step 4: What Happens On Facebook Never Stays There

Don't stay inside Facebook to promote your business page. There's a lot of love to get out there so go get it. Here are a few ways:

  • Tell everyone on Twitter about your new page, a few times a day for a week.
  • Write a blog post announcing the new page and syndicate on all of your social media channels
  • Email your friends about it
  • Email everyone on your email list about it – customers, prospects, everyone
  • Tell your friends about it when you go out for coffee – do they have mobile phones? Great – they can like your page right then and there

Tips For Growing Your Facebook Community

There's a ton of advice on getting more people to like your Facebook page. To start check out these 5 tips on optimizing your Facebook page from Social Media Examiner. But what it comes down to for us is three things:

  1. Is your demographic active on Facebook? Check out the Facebook stats on Quantcast.com to see if your demographic is there. With a few hundred million people using the site chances are they're there, but check to be sure.
  2. Know what your goal is and how to measure it. What is the purpose of growing a FB community? Are you looking to get more leads, make more sales, grow brand recognition? Without a solid goal backed with metrics and a way to measure you're wasting your time.
  3. Provide value and exclusivity. If you have nothing to offer the people that like your page you may as not be there. Frankly this is something we're working on ourselves, but some of the things we've seen work very well are special offers, discounts, contests and more. To make it special for your Facebook people ensure that you only make your offer there. Exclusive is good.

Any Tips Of Your Own?

What has worked best for you on Facebook? Have you moved from having a personal profile to a business page? What helped you get the likes?

Let's talk about it in the comments…

See you there.

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Is Social Proof Really Any Proof At All?

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.

– Wikipedia

The only social proof is in your content and testimonials.

Ameena Falchetto

By definition social proof numbers are shortcuts. Brand logos and other symbols are shortcuts. It isn't “good” or “bad” that we use shortcuts, in fact we use shortcuts all the time. So here's a question for you…

How much social proof do you think your business needs in order to attract more leads and customers? And what exactly is social proof in the context of a website or blog? Let's dig in.

All The Social Proof  You Want, And Then Some

For a blog there's a long list of possibilities:

  • Twitter followers
  • Facebook Page fans
  • Google+ shares (for the entire blog)
  • YouTube subscribers
  • RSS subscribers
  • Email subscribers
  • Alexa ranking
  • AdAge ranking
  • Junta blog ranking
  • Alltop listing
  • Blog Grade (from HubSpot)
  • Twitter Grade (again from HubSpot)
  • Social Media Examiner blog ranking
  • Socialfresh rating
  • Any other awards the blog has won including industry-specific blog awards

And for a single blog post? I'm thankful that we're in the digital space here as it would take a large sheet of paper. Let's start with the ones we use here:

  • Tweets
  • Google+ 1's
  • LinkedIn shares
  • Facebook likes
  • Stumbles

And it doesn't stop there:

  • Comment count
  • Blokube votes
  • Blogengage votes
  • Serpd votes
  • Diggs
  • Delicious bookmarks
  • Reddits
  • DZone votes

Actually it's best if I just give you a screenshot of all the options.

Social Proof Icons

Which of these tell you what you want to know?

Frankly I think we need some more options…or not.

Frankly it's not up for debate as to whether or not having social proof numbers on your website or blog work, they do.

In the context of a blog, people see these numbers and are more inclined to share the post they're reading. For a company website it's slightly different. Before lending your “social juice” to the company you have to determine whether you really like them or not. Liking a company's page on Facebook says that you do indeed like that company, and people see that.

On the other hand a share can be more casual. You aren't suggesting you like the company itself rather you enjoyed reading the article and thought it might be of interest to your friends.

So let's not debate if numbers garner other numbers – they do. Instead let's ask an even better question…

Does A Lack Of Social Proof Hamper The Growth Of A Blog?

I want to open up the floor to you. What do you think? Do you think these social proof numbers are indeed real proof that people find what they read valuable? Why do you think people share posts? Why do you? And finally, do you think not having social proof numbers for your blog will restrict it's growth?

Let's talk about it in the comments below!

I'll see you there…

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Google Proves Not Being On Social Media Will Kill Your SEO

Search engine optimization and social media are becoming ever more intertwined as the days and weeks go by (we move fast on the Internet folks). With the introduction of Google+ this is no longer theory it is fact. And if your business does not participate in social media it will kill your search engine optimization efforts.

Click on the screenshot below to open it in a new window. We're going to be talking about this and it will be easier to reference.

Click on the image so we can talk about it

Click on the image so we can talk about it

Let's get to it!

The Semantic Web Has Risen

There is no easy way for me to explain what the semantic web is so I'll let Wikipedia do it for me:

The Semantic Web is a “web of data” that facilitates machines to understand the semantics, or meaning, of information on the World Wide Web. It extends the network of hyperlinked human-readable web pages by inserting machine-readable metadata about pages and how they are related to each other, enabling automated agents to access the Web more intelligently and perform tasks on behalf of users.

What this means is that web pages are associated with specific people and software like search engines and web browsers can see that association. This stuff has been in progress for many years, but we're at the point now where it's starting to come into play.

Recently Google has added support in their search engine for two HTML tags: rel=”author” and rel=”me”. You use these tags like this:

  • Use rel=”author” on a link when you want to tell Google that you are the author of the page you are linking to. An example is linking your blog post author line to your about page.
  • Use rel=”me” on a link that points to another profile, for instance a Twitter or Google+ page, or a guest post that you've written. This tells Google that you associated with that profile or content

I linked to a YouTube video on my Google+ profile where Othar Hansson (of Google) says explicitly that the big G wants to use this as a ranking signal. And this bring us to the image open in another window.

The Effect of Social On Search

The screenshot is of a test I ran in the Rich Snippets Testing Tool provided by Google to test if your semantic markup is working. We're halfway there with this blog. What I've done so far is:

  • Tell Google that I am the author of this blog
  • Tell Google which page contains my profile information
  • Linked to my other social profiles, including my Google+ profile, using the rel=”me” link tag
  • Linked back to my blog on my Google+ profile

I ran a recent post through the tool as a test took the screenshot. There are 3 major parts I've pointed to. All are extremely important. Let's look at each.

Part 1: The Search Result

Semantic search result

The top part of the screenshot shows an example search result. There are a number of noteworthy parts:

  1. The standard SEO information is there – title, url and description
  2. It indicates me as the author and puts my picture beside the result
  3. It shows the picture of the last person to comment on the blog post – my friend Adam Teece

So we can see deeper connections between what's happening on the blog post and the result that Google displays. It gets even more interesting from there. The next two parts of the screenshot show additional information that Google has about the people involved with this page.

Part 2: Google Knows About The Author

What Google knows about the author of the page

Here is where more of the semantic markup stuff we talked about comes in. Because of the updates I've made to the blog, to my profile on the blog, and the link to my Google+ profile, Google can see my:

  • Name
  • Author profile
  • Google profile

The tool also tells me that the authorship information is correctly formatted. Now Google knows for sure that it is I that am the author of this post and can connect me with the appropriate profiles.

Oh but wait, that's not all!

Part 3: What Google Knows About The Commenters

What Google knows about my blog commenters

Looking at Adams comment on my post about knowing if your SEO company is worth the money, you see:

  • His name
  • A link to his site
  • His gravatar image

Google sees that too, and can also split his name into first name and last name. But what's really interesting is how it uses that information in the search result – it put Adam's picture right beside it! And based on his Google+ profile it looks like it chose to display his gravatar profile picture rather than his Google+ profile picture.

I wonder if Adam had his blog linked to his Google+ profile if Google would display that image instead…

Implications For Your Business

The semantic markup that Google is now supporting has been around for many years. Now a growing number of companies are beginning to implement it on their sites to show who the original author of the content is.

Don't forget that Google said they are going to use this as a ranking indicator too. This means that those annoying people that steal your content won't get credit for your work and you'll rank higher than they do. You win, they lose (as they should).

With social media being tightly connected with search – your social media profiles ranking highly, your image and commenters images being placed beside search results, Google connecting all the profiles together to determine authority – it's imperative that you participate in social media, and become an authority in your niche. Your standings in the search engines will be up for grabs very soon. Wouldn't you like to rank above your competition?

My advice: start implementing this on your blog today.

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Free Guide: Social Media Management Using HootSuite

In today's free guide you'll find out how to use HootSuite for social media management. HootSuite is a premier tool that we love to use here at Dempsey Marketing, so it's only reasonable that we create a guide to show you how to use it.

So sign up for HootSuite today and then click the banner below to find out how to use it for social media management.

Download the free Step By Step Guide To HootSuite today