Tweetrank: Is Twitter going to do their own Edgerank, charge to push all your Tweets?

Twitter are apparently going to rank our Tweets on quality. None, Low, Medium and eventually High. High maybe being like the “Top Tweets” you see in searches. This will allow the “Best” tweets to be seen. The worry for me is that will also allow other tweets to be hidden away. This is a bit like Facebook’s Edgerank where you don’t see all the updates from your connections but will see more updates from friends or brands you interact with more. Twitter too adopting the filter bubble. With 150k or so people on Twitter in Ireland daily and they allegedly sending out a 1 Million tweets in total, filtering may need to happen.

I’m not the only one that was wondering about “Tweetrank“. Facebook allows you to promote posts on your personal Profile on your business Page to ensure everyone sees your update. So will Twitter start doing the same? €50 and a guarantee your own followers see that Tweet of yours.

PromotedUpdateFB

But with Edgerank doing what it does, you can pay to promote an update so everyone sees it. Is this what Twitter will do too? Pay to ensure everyone that’s connected to you sees your tweet? One of the reasons I like Twitter is that I can dictate the filtering, Facebook doesn’t give me that choice. Now if Twitter allowed people to choose No filter, medium filter, high filter, that would be a great compromise that still makes them money.

Update: August 18th 2013
Twitter is now doing surveys about prioritising your Tweets. It does feel like they are going to do some kind of filtering as the noise on the network goes up.
TweetRankSurvey

Irish teens and the digital world

Or getting into the Irish Times for 500 euros.
Or doing your own R&D on the cheap.

Ages back on Twitter I remember seeing a teenager talk about the rarity that email was to him. Most of his communications online were around Facebook IM/Messaging. Mix that with various marketing research groups telling us what teens are interested in, without asking them and I thought it might be good to put a survey together. That’s where the Irish Teen Survey of Digital Trends came from.

Firstly, I compiled some ideas/questions I wanted answers for. Then I asked Eleanor, Aidan, Adam and Ian for some feedback on these. They suggested questions to ask, they laughed at some of the notions I had about teenagers and they listed options for some of the multi-choice questions. With that information I then collated the questions and employed someone to put them into some surveying software. I used Surveys.ie by SensorPro for this as I had also worked with them previous to this on surveys.

Next was propagating the survey. Once again I asked teens to send the survey to their friends. To get the survey completed, all those that did the survey were entered into a draw for an iTunes voucher and all those that got a friend to do the survey and their friend mentioned them, were also entered into another iTunes draw.

After the survey was done, results were collated and a summary and press release made. There was converage in the Irish Times, Silicon Republic, I was talking about it on Phantom1052 as well. Lots of coverage on Twitter too.

What does this survey do for Mulley Communications?

  • Insight. Seeing what teenagers do online, how they consume content, what and why they pay for items will help the day to day work of the company. Presentations, training sessions and marketing plans will be better as a result.
  • Traditional media coverage. While it’s people that are online and connected to me/the company gives us the business, the enforcement of the company being trustworthy to their bosses happens in the Irish Times, Radio 1, the Business Post etc.
  • Practice. Being able to ask new questions and create mechanisms to get the answers is good for future projects
  • Serendipity. You never know what new products for you or a client could be created from data you collate.

Costs:
Between the vouchers and the work to collate the survey, it cost about 500 euros.

Some lessons learned:
While 101 surveys were completed, there was a very large rate of those who never completed the surveys. Too many questions. Next time I might split the survey in two with maximum 20 questions, if even that. Also, have a few publications in mind for each survey, perhaps offer sections of the survey to each publication. Sample size is low too. Shorter surveys would almost double the numbers. Widen out the survey to rely less on people that receive this from friends on Facebook or Twitter.

This survey follows on from our Facebook eyetracking survey, Google eyetracking survey and iPhone survey.

Shortcuts through quicksand

There’s a very good post on Buzzfeed about the use of infographics (Diagrams displaying information in a useful and understandable way) to help rig Google results. It’s the new gray hat SEO manipulation technique.

Simple idea: Create an infographic. Make the content tabloid enough/interesting enough to get linked to and offer code for people to embed it on their site with of course a link back to the site with your golden key words.

Already we’re seeing website and blog owners being emailed and asked for links to these infographics and to use certain keywords with the links. Nefarious to say the least especially when there isn’t any thought on who might be interested in the content. “We thought you might like this health insurance graphic since you er blog about food and please link with the text: cheap health insurance Ireland”

Traffic Control.  Sparks, KS.
Photo owned by PV KS (cc)

It’s common for a client and an agency to want a quick win. Good traffic and lots of links. That’s the goal, right? Social media/online marketing is simple to set up, free to do and so people seem to think that there’ll be instant success as a result. The case studies we show and are shown make it seem that way too. Organic growth by creating content, interacting, getting feedback and moving on again is much more stable. But traditionally the marketing industry bought volume. Buy an ad on the Late Late, stick something in every paper and you’ll reach everyone with your very bland ad.

Quantity is still the catnip for many. That’s why you see so many company blogs mentioning celebrities and trying to shoehorn their offerings into some scandal. Good luck with aligning nipple slips into recruitment news lads. There was an old Irish Politics blog that started getting into mentioning all kinds of celebrity sex drivel. Traffic exploded but so did respect for the blog’s political analysis. This here blog for Mulley Comms gets 1/10th of the traffic as my personal blog and something blogged over there will do very well in Google but talking online marketing or online PR here means it won’t get first position on Google. That’s ok though as the blog here is new enough and still finding the way.

You see it too with Facebook campaigns that push for people to become fans. Win an iPad or iPhone for anyone that’s a fan of your Facebook Page. How many of your new Facebook fans genuinely care about what you do and how many clicked Like to enter the iPad draw?

Now counter that with what Sabrina Dent highlights for newsletter list building. She talks about Ciara Crossan going to Wedding Fairs. That’s where Ciara’s constituents are. Those who subscribe to her newsletter are the right demographic, not any old sod joining to get to the prize. Good leads at targeted events. There would be plenty of ways for Ciara to get 1000s of randomers on her mailing list but how many will take the content seriously then? A polluted database costs you more in the end.

So as clients, consultants and agencies should we keep pushing for the slow and more intelligent game instead of cheap tactics like link rigging and begging friends and strangers to Like client status updates? Should part of a company’s social media policy to ban staff from clicking on that Like button and leaving comments? The same way for competitions staff, their families and suppliers are banned from taking part? Should you train your own thoughts into thinking longterm?

Links this week – 24th March 2010

Facebook will get serious about location, very soon.

There’s money in virtual goods, we know this and money in location sensitive virtual goods too.

Genius. Tech support for your company via your Get Satisfaction Facebook Page Tab.

Paul links to a free e-book on pricing.

The big big news is what Facebook is going to evolve to. Facebook Pages all over the web.

Social Media for today’s tomorrows

A whole heap of links before Christmas for you.

Musician uses Google Streetview to market himself.

Pepsi have announced they will no longer do Super Bowl ads. This is significant.

Meanwhile Twitter uses Foursquare to help charities.

Social media and health. Strong stats here.

Forrester says 2010 is the year marketing dies? Nice trollish title.

Via Rax is this nice Guinness and GoogleEarth tie-in for their new ad campaign.

Social media metrics, a superlist.

Online PR: Companies inviting bloggers and Twitterers to events – Some experiences

I’ve run a good few blogger events (apart from the Blog Awards and Web Awards) including Collision Course, the Bord Gais meets the bloggers event, Show and Tell and a few others where bloggers meet companies. A few more events are on the way.

The line to the dance was long and crowded...
Photo owned by AndYaDontStop (cc)

Some personal experiences, your mileage may vary:

Invite interested bloggers, not bloggers who have “readerships”
The numbers game is poison. If you are inviting people because they are read by x hundred people instead of them writing well informed blog posts then you might get an uninformed message out to x hundred people. Go for quality, not quantity. Quality travels further. Invite bloggers or Twitterers who you think would be interested in what you are doing and have people who read or follow them that would like to be informed about what you are doing. This means you have to do research and find out who writes about what. Ask other bloggers to help you with this if you don’t know. Also, open the event up to those not on your list if you have spaces. Meet people you don’t know anything about. Saying that, I’ve seen some bloggers who have come along to an event and professed they have zero interest in the event, despite them approaching me or the company to come along.

Personally invite bloggers
Don’t send a mass email with everyone BCCd in. If you think bloggers will find value in the event, start as you mean to go on. Know something about them already, isn’t this why they are being invited? Send an email to each one and for the love of god don’t do a mailshot or copy and paste the same email to each of them. Bloggers and Twitterers are also on IM to each other and ask each other if “so and so PR company” emailed them about an event. You know what’s really nice these days? Personally written notes or cards. Not enough do that. Despite the digital world, many bloggers treasure the analog items.

Give them something of value, as in content
Freebies, yeah, great. Not a lot you can blog about if you get something for free. Give bloggers something they can give to their readers. New, interesting content. An interview, a video of a new drinks cocktail, facts about the company’s new product about to be released. The CEO asked questions that were sent in via their readers.

Give them more control than you’re comfortable with
Don’t suggest a hashtag for the event, let them suggest it. If you are going to run a competition with bloggers or Twitters, get them to use their creativity. They know their audience more than you. They’ll know what will work best in terms of quizzes or the like. Even ask bloggers privately about the way to structure their event. Collaboration works best.

Give more then was expected
Steve Jobs does his one more thing. Do the same. Bill 4/5ths of what will happen at the event. Something not known is nice when presented. A staffer they were not expecting, news before anyone else, test kit for a new product.

Don’t ask when they will blog about this
This is probably obvious but you now and then get “I’m sorry to ask this but my boss wants to know when you’ll be doing a blog post on this” from someone. I once got asked when writing for the Sunday Tribune could I let them know the word count of an article I’d be writing after coming to their event. If bloggers don’t find it interesting they won’t blog it. If you push someone to write then you’re commissioning an advertorial and you’ll get some half-assed job too.

Meet more people for each event, not the same people
They’ll get sick of you, you’ll get sick of them, they’ll get sick of each other. There are plenty of bloggers, invite new ones to your next event. The circuit is starting to happen where the “usuals” are at every event. Spice it up.

It only starts after the event
This is all about relationships being built. It’s not a marketing thing in the traditional form nor is it traditional PR. It also has customer relations thrown in. Use each event to learn more about those coming along. See can you use your contacts to help them out. Know a friend in another company that can get them access to a musician, have you got a sports star you use for events that they’d love to interview? Just even add them to Facebook, Twitter or leave genuine encouraging comments on their blog. See what they come back to you with as well and accept their feedback and suggestions, which leads us to…

Listen and act
You’re get some good feedback at your event and suggestions about things you might want to try. If you can, act on them. You’re bringing people together who are good at expressing opinions. See what you can do to show the bloggers that you are doing more than listening.

Business Cards and the Mulley Communications business philosophy

I got asked the other day at the it@cork (their writing style enforces no capital letters) business conference whether I’d be toning down my brashness/style now that I was a serious business person. It got me thinking about this and it’s a popular enough question. Personal comes first, then business. To me. Business people are people first. To me.

If my personality has to suffer to get more business then I’m doing this wrong. I get into a lot of trouble for what I say and do and I wouldn’t be in these interesting places if I was some toe-the-line sycophant. At the same time I needed to get new business cards as I’ve run out of my current cards. To reinforce my philosophy of taking risks, the new cards will probably make some people choose not to hire me from the cards alone:

Mulley Communications

As always, the cartoons and doodles have been designed by Hugh MacLeod.

Hijacking a Brandjack – How would you do the Pat the Baker campaign?

Brand-jacking is the idea of taking a brand and without permission going off using it to promote yourself. Here’s another definition:

Brand-jacking happens when a third party hitches a ride on a brand’s fame, positioning and slogan and uses them for its communications’ own purposes – whilst undermining the brand’s reputation in the process

At the recent BarCamp, Alexia Golez and Pat Phelan had decided to take a few brands and build a whole online marketing campaign for them, whether they liked it or not. There is nothing malicious in this, the idea is to actually get more coverage for a brand but the ambassadors doing it are unofficial. I like that idea. You see many design and photoshop challenges getting people to redesign sites or logos and it is a way of people showing off their abilities. So I’m hijacking this great idea.

You may have heard of the Pat the Baker Bebo campaign, apparently me blogging about it made people buy sliced pans.

MySpace Music Party - Bryan Thatcher of Empressr and Michael Birch Co-Founder of Bebo
Photo owned by b_d_solis (cc)

If you were to run the Pat the Baker “online marketing ” campaign, what would you do?

With all the tools out there now, many of them free, what ways would you engage with the public? Blogs, Facebook, Bebo, Google Ads, special games, advertising or clever hook-ups with websites like Boards.ie and Rollercoaster.ie?

There is no prize for this, no reward except showing off your knowledge and skills here. If this works, well I might turn it into a regular thing on this blog. I’m sure many companies might volunteer to be the mark for the brandjack.