Monthly Archives: March 2011

Google’s Answer to Facebook’s “like” button: The “+1”

Google is making a big new push into social with a feature called “+1” that is similar in purpose to the Facebook “Like” button, but integrated directly into the world’s biggest search engine.

Starting Wednesday, users who opt into the +1 button experiment(and soon everyone else) in Google Labs will start seeing a +1 icon next to each link in Google search results.

Google defines this action as a “public stamp of approval,” and it is exactly that. When you +1 something, your name becomes associated with that link “in search, on ads, and across the web,” according to the company. It also shows up in a feed on your Google Profile, which is required to use the product.

Adam Ostrow

Video: Using Google Analytics & Social Media

One of the more difficult things to do in social media is tracking the effectiveness of a campaign.  Measuring the profitability of a social media campaign is even more difficult.  However, measuring your social media traffic using Google Analytics is not difficult at all.  Below, is a video that I made that covers how to effectively track social media traffic.

Holocaust Memorial Museum using Social Media

The United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum is using Social Media in it’s last effort to identify displaced children from WWII.

Within 48 hours of the Museum’s launch of the Remember Me? Web site, three people identified photos on the site. Two siblings recognized themselves, and a third survivor, recently deceased, was identified by his cousin. The Museum’s Facebook page was key to all three discoveries.

In addition to this social media activity, the campaign garnered attention from traditional media outlets from San Diego to Miami, and from Washington, D.C., to the United Kingdom.

The Museum’s Survivors and Victims Resource Center has received some three dozen inquiries since the project launch. The center’s staff are currently following up on these calls and e-mails and will post updates on individual photos in the coming weeks.

Remember Me?

Children. They are the most vulnerable victims of war and genocide. Between 1933 and 1945, millions of children were displaced as a result of persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators. After World War II, relief agencies photographed some of the children who survived to help find their families. Now, more than 65 years later, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is working to discover what became of these young survivors. Will you help us find them?

More information

HTTPS makes Twitter more secure. recently announced that it was increasing security by making the “Always use HTTPS” setting available to users.

At first I thought it didn’t make any sense. All of my Twitter tweets are public. Why would I need to use HTTPS?

Then I realized the optional HTTPS setting is intended to protect users who connect to Twitter over Wi-Fi — where hackers can sniff out passwords and hijack user accounts.

The HTTPS news comes months after a Firefox add-on called Firesheep made it trivially easy to temporarily take over the accounts of people using Twitter and Facebook over Wi-Fi.

If you’re a social media professional that runs Twitter accounts for customers HTTPS is definitely something that needs to be enabled on those accounts.

If HTTPS had been available earlier this month, this feature would have prevented Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter account from being hijacked to spout pro-SSL messages.

Twitter had the following to say about HTTPS on it’s blog:

Making Twitter more secure: HTTPS

Today, we’re taking an important step to make it easier to manage the security of your Twitter experience – we are adding a user setting that lets you always use HTTPS when accessing Using HTTPS for your favorite Internet services is particularly important when using them over unsecured WiFi connections. 

For some time, users have been able to use Twitter via HTTPS by going to We’ve made it simpler for users to do this by adding the option to always use HTTPS.

To turn on HTTPS, go to your settings and check the box next to “Always use HTTPS,” which is at the bottom of the page. This will improve the security of your account and better protect your information if you’re using Twitter over an unsecured Internet connection, like a public WiFi network, where someone may be able to eavesdrop on your site activity. In the future, we hope to make HTTPS the default setting.

We’ve already made this setting the default for a number of clients and activities. In these cases, HTTPS is used whether or not you’ve enabled the “Always use HTTPS” setting:

  • When you log into Twitter, so your password stays protected.
  • On the official Twitter for iPhone and iPad mobile application.
There are also a few instances where turning on HTTPS in your settings does not force HTTPS. For example, when accessing Twitter from your mobile browser, you need to go to to use HTTPS for now. We are working on a solution that will share the “Always use HTTPS” setting across and, so you don’t have to think about which device you’re using when you want to check Twitter. If you use a third-party application, you should check to see if that app offers HTTPS.

Social Media Games: Diamonds or Cubic zirconia?

I have developed and implemented several marketing campaigns that have revolved around social media games. I’m not talking about a Farmville or Mafia War type game. I’m referring to a social media game that generated potential customer leads and got customers more  involved in financial trading.

The client was a financial services company with $200 million in revenue and offices around the world.  This client was going to release a new trading software platform and wanted to introduce customers in a dynamic way.  I had the idea that developing a social game could drive traffic, make the client’s web site stickier, and give customers a reason to return again and again.

My client loved the idea and we set our plan into motion.

We went with the full court press. The total campaign included: direct marketing, seminars, TV spots, banner ads, blogging, and social media…  I admit that it was a long nerve-racking experience. I will also say that it was an extremely successful campaign. With the winner receiving an Audi S5 and the top 20 finishers receiving a share of 200,000 Euro the social media buzz was intense.

The winners got cool cars, vacations, and money.

For me managing the social media experience was worth it’s weight in diamonds.

The social media game revolved around a stock market game that used the client’s new trading software and the stock market.  To see the site Click.

LinkedIn Today: Great Launch?

The release of LinkedIn Today really got me thinking about what a powerful service LinkedIn has become. With over 100 million users world wide it has become a great social media destination. Linkedin is a gold mine that social media professionals should dig into.

When one looks at social media brand building tools I think Twitter is the most important platform. Then I would put LinkedIn as second before Facebook.

I also love the way Linkedin has not tried to copy or become a Facebook like social media site. LinkedIn makes small changes here and there and goes about it’s business of becoming a great social media tool.

Having said all that…

I’ll admit when I saw that Linkedin was releasing a news service I was skeptical. Like the news services we already have are not enough.

Then I looked at the content and presentation of LinkedIn Today and was pleasantly surprised. The service is business focused and relevant. LinkedIn Today aims to create a news destination for professionals based on connections and groups. The fact that the information is based on my industry peers, connections, and groups makes it almost instantly relevant to me.

The LinkedIn Today service is available online or via the network’s iPhone app. That means busy professionals can view stories that  are popular among their friends, co-workers, and connections on the go.

“You know and trust most of your connections and coworkers, so if they share an article, it’s a good signal that it’s something you should be paying attention to,” Liz Reaves Walker explained in a post on the LinkedIn Blog.

Great way to add quality followers: Pay with a Tweet

Selling your products for the price of a tweet is a great way to get your message out and add quality followers. In today’s world the value of people talking about your product is sometimes higher than the money you would get for it. ‘Pay with a Tweet’ is the first social payment system, where people pay with the value of their social network.

It’s simple, every time somebody pays with a tweet, he or she tells all their friends about the product. Boom!

Facebook & Twitter Increase Webinar Participation

I was recently talking to a client about the conversion rates at his seminars & webinars. The conversion numbers were running about 55%. That told me that the product and presentations were good quality. The main problem

was that only about 30% of the participants registered for the webinars and seminars bothered to participate. That did not sound good at all. I finished talking to the client and told him that I would get back to him.

A few days later I had an idea that would help. I asked the customer to add a few things to the seminar and webinar registration process. A social media “share me” tab directly under the seminar & webinar registration form. The client was going to offer a free eBook as a refer a friend hook to increase sharing.  Then I asked the client to remind participants on Twitter and Facebook of the webinar half an hour before it started. Five minutes before the webinar the client sent a tweet and Facebook message with the webinar hyperlink to participants. Participants of the seminars got tweets and Facebook messages the day before the seminar reconfirming the location and their participation.

The client went with my plan and it brought some real heat.

  • The social media share button increased seminar and webinar registrations by 28%.
  • The Facebook and Twitter reminders increased seminar participation by 17%.
  • The Twitter and Facebook reminders increased webinar participation by 53%.

The webinar number increased so much because the webinar participants were watching on their mobile devices.

My client was extremely happy with the ROI from my plan.

Implementation costs $0.00. Return: a massive game changer.

Twitter Mistakes

Part of what makes good marketing is being able to be topical. This is particularly true in social media marketing. The topics shift from one trend to another in minutes. As a social media marketer it’s easy to come across as spam or have your message buried entirely. Combining this need for ultra topical content and the fact that a lot of brands and PR people are still learning the ropes can make the outcome scary- or very entertaining depending on your perspective.

Take Kenneth Cole for example. Last month the designer shamelessly tried to take advantage of the Egyptian riots on his twitter feed with the following tweet.

“Millions are in uproar in Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

This horrible attempt at hijacking a trending topic remained on Twitter for about five hours before it was pulled down and replace with an apology.

Recently, a contractor from New Media Strategies posted an obscene tweet on Chrysler’s Twitter account. The account was being operated by New Media Strategies for Chrysler.

The contractor tweeted the following, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.”

The contractor later said that he confused his twitter account with the Chrysler twitter account.


Gutting slizzard

To prove that nonprofits are not immune to some of the same foot in mouth situations…

An employee for the Red Cross mistakenly tweeted her love for Dogfish Head Midas Touch beer. She tweeted: “Ryan found two more four pack bottles of Dogfish Head Midas Touch beer. When we drink we do it right. Gutting slizzard.” The Red Cross employee thought she was sending a tweet from her personal account.

The employee quickly took responsibility for the mistake and the Red Cross quickly deleted the tweet. However, unlike the Keith Cole incident the Red Cross just made an honest mistake. However, the mistake ended up being more beneficial than embarrassing.

It was the Doghead brewery mentioned that took advantage of their unique spotlight by driving their customers to donate to the Red Cross. They promoted the donations using the #gettingslizzard hash tag. The Red Cross was unable to calculate the impact of the #getting slizzard tweets, but admits that donations were above average during that time.

The Red Cross & Chrysler twitter mistakes was easily preventable.

As a social media professional I tweet often using customer twitter accounts. From my first tweet I saw the possibility for confusion. New Media Strategies should know this and developed a twitter policy.

My social media twitter policy says that my staff has to use HootSuite for all customer twitter accounts. Personal twitter accounts have to use TweetDeck. The difference in appearance on mobile devices and desktop computers allow no room for confusion.

The good news is that a social media mistake does not need to be a mistake for long. As demonstrated by the Red Cross Dogfish head example. In fact, unlike TV or print ads a insensitive post on twitter may not carry the same negative impact.

After Kenneth Cole’s mistake there seemed to be no negative effect on sales. This does not mean that the company should start trying to make waves just to become the hot branding topic. It just means that doing so may not be that harmful to the brand. In fact it turns out that Kenneth Cole’s social media properties gained followers after his ill-advised tweet.



Facebook ads

Since Facebook launched in 2004 it has expanded its usership to a whopping 500 million plus users. Reuniting old friends and family, as well as offering opportunities to market your brand, more small business owners are taking advantage of Facebook’s advertising model to spread the word about their company.

Over the past six months Facebook has been trying to position itself as a premium ad buy for local businesses. However, it would seem that Facebook got some bad news recently from Web Trends. Web Trends reported that Facebook receives about half the clicks that network driven ad banners receive. I think we all know that network driven ad banners are not doing so well right now.

What do these numbers tell us? Is Facebook a less attractive ad buy?

Are we really comparing apples to apples?Facebook is a single site that is offering a social component to their ads. While the ad networks are covering a broad array of sites that don’t have that social component.
I believe that we are comparing apples to oranges.
I think the web trends report is missing out on the fact that users are buying ads to direct people to their Facebook pages. This can cost advertisers a dollar per click. That might sound expensive, but they have a fan for a buck. And this new fan has opened up their Facebook page to be a channel where advertising can be done.
On the other hand, network driven ad banners are much cheaper and can be used on a larger scale. When you look at it that way you can’t compare ad types because they don’t act the same way and they are not used the same way.
Let’s talk conversion post click.
What can happen after that click?
There is unquestionably more power in the click if there is a social network behind it. Click value is higher with social media because of the conversation aspect. Social recommendation is that important.
What about those “Stalking ads”? The ads that deposit a cookie and then follow you in the side bar of your browser. If you look at a shirt online it will probably pop up in a banner ad over the next few days. These kinds of ads have proven to be a bit more successful.
Using a stalking ad and creating a relationship with someone in your community is not the same thing. Facebook fans create a regular dialogue. They have discussions with users and are active brand advocates.
Stalking ads can’t do that.
The Facebook ads are on the side bar and directly connected to the groups. This can allow branding directly with people who care. Let’s remember that we are taking a study that is measuring clicks. From there we are saying that Facebook is less effective because they have half the clicks. But that’s not what a Facebook ad is supposed to do. It’s supposed to be more than just a click. It is supposed to engage the audience in some kind of new and special way.
For this reason the clicks that you do get are worth much more than a network ad banner.
If you click on an ad to become a fan of something you are worth more than someone that is clicking for a second on a Groupon page.You are going to be receiving that brands messages forever and ever on your own Facebook page.
I think there is definite disconnect in the way that we are measuring these clicks.
We have these new ways of interacting online. Unfortunately, we still look at them and deal with them in the same old way. The whole notion of looking at these new dynamics in the same old way is impractical. We need to look at the actual interaction that is taking place and then draw our conclusions.

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