Social Media ROI Presentation from SMASH at USC

On Thursday of last week, I had the opportunity to present at SMASH (Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle) at USC. What I was really excited most about was the fact that we had many of the Master in Human Behavior students in attendance at the conference and was great hearing their thoughts and insights around Social Media. I presented on Social Media ROI and while my presentation is below I thought I’d share a few highlights:

1. Create Goals and a Plan: I really do believe that before starting any campaigns and worrying about the tools to track ROI, you need to define what those goals are, what you’ll be measuring against, and have a plan to achieve those goals.

2. Value: When you set those goals, it’s also critical to understand what types of value Social Media Marketing is going to add to the overall campaign or your organization daily, monthly, or weekly. Some of those values can be increased engagement (e.g. mentions, blog comments, etc.), increased traffic, or increased brand recognition.

3. Platforms: While there are many Social Networks, Bookmarking, and news sites, it’s important to understand where your site should be represented on the Social Web. While the general Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are really important to have a presence in, if you participate in photography Flickr has a large community.

4. Use existing tools on Social Media Platforms: Facebook has their insights product for Facebook Page owners, StumbleUpon has domain stats (e.g. http://su.pr/domain/myspace.com), and Myspace has Artist Dashboards. These tools can take you a long way without having to pay for anything right off the bat, so, make sure to take full advantage of all the free tools you can.

5. Free and Paid Tools: Along that same note of taking advantage of all the free tools out there, bit.ly has good click tracking for URLs you tweet and I highly recommend to at least start there with tools. After that, it would be a good idea to start looking at tools like Alterian SM2, Radian6, Social Flow, CoTweet Enterprise, etc. that make the most sense for your organization.

Would love to get your thoughts around Social Media ROI and hear any tips you have for others out there that are learning and/or working on programs to track these metrics. Leave a comment and lets get the conversation rolling!

Are Google's real time and latest results REALLY based on relevance?

I’ve had a few colleagues and friends lately ask me about Google’s real time search results since they launched real time search about two months ago. To some of you, this might be an obvious post, as Rae from Outspoken Media pointed out with her post about Google enabling real time spam.

I was then alerted by a friend that apparently Google is filtering people based on relevance and followers and all that jazz. He pointed to an article talking about how Google ranks tweets. Which the author talks about hashtags, followers, relevance and all that jazz to get you to think that the real time results are actually influenced by these attributes in search.

Being the investigative person that I am, I decided that I needed to see this for myself and figured that American Idol would be something that is somewhat trending, it would be the right opportunity to test out the real time spam that Google enabled.

First, I did a search for American Idol and noticed some real time results. So, it was time for me to tweet away and see if I could get some results in there. Now, remember, I NEVER talk about Idol, I could care less about American Idol, and honestly, I know I’m entirely irrelevant to idol, but then I saw this rank:

So that was just a test…now some of you might say, well, that was because it was just talking about American Idol and only relevant to American Idol. Fine, I thought through that and figured it might be interesting to see what would happen if I posted a link to the Kindle in Amazon to see if you could spam affiliate offers via the real time results:

Done deal! Granted, I didn’t get any clicks from Google to that link, but it just goes to show that you can pretty much game the real time results fairly easily at this point. The more people look at those results and the more intertwined they become to the search experience, the more you could figure out ways to game it.

I could essentially create bots via twitter or hire overseas labor extremely cheap to go out there and just tweet all day with a bunch of affiliate links to trending topics and such with real time and maybe get some VERY minimal to no results. Then again, it makes me wonder if/when people will start clicking on those results that are relevant to the original searcher intent of their query? At that point, you’ve opened a flood gate of people that could do what I just mentioned above.

Just something to think about. Again, like I said, for some of us, this is pretty obvious stuff, but, thought it would just be interesting to run the analysis and post about it.

What are your thoughts about real time search results? Do you think they will be gamed and spammed more and more?

Twitter taking the Social out of Social Discovery

The most trending topic on twitter right now as I am writing this post is #fixreplies. It is shocking to me that after weeks of proclaiming that twitter is all about social discovery, we see the biggest Bonehead Decision that twitter could have made. There are posts from around the industry talking about Twitter putting a Muzzle on your friends.

Originally, by default, twitter would not show you the @replies sent to other users until you went in and made the change under Settings -> Notices. Apparently, this caused confusion to many people, despite the help article explaining replies settings to users.

Where we use to see this:

We now see this!

<img class="alignnone" title="new replies" src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2186/3527229565_f240b8efd5 webpage.jpg” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”187″ />

What I am wondering is how they came to this decision?! Isn’t the point of Social Discovery to discover people that share the same friends or interests that you do. Turning this feature off only negates that experience.

Personally, I would like to know how many users have made the change in their settings to receive all @ replies. Not to mention, but, I thought that’s what Direct Messages were for, to keep the conversation personal. Twitter and Social Media is about conversations and by putting this “muzzle” on as @marshallk mentioned, we are losing out on that conversation and furthermore, we are witnessing Twitter taking the Social out of Social Discovery.

Update: Since posting their note about the “small settings update,” Twitter has posted this in response to all the feedback that they apparently didn’t realize how important the social discovery aspects were to the community.

Update #2: Since this mornings chaos and feedback note Biz mentions that they have learned a lot and are working on changes to the replies functionality.