A useful list of social media tools from get2growth.com/ (see the resources section for more useful stuff).
Social / Influencer Tracking
PeerIndex – Measures social interactions across the web to help you understand the people you influence online (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora)
Little Bird – On demand expert and influencer discovery and engagement tool validated by their peers on any topical community (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Google+)
Traackr – Tool for finding the right influencers through social media and understanding how to engage with them.
Mentionmapp - Twitter network analysis and data visualization.
Topsy – Measurement and analysis tool for social conversations to identify key thoughts, opinion and content being shared over time or in real-time (Twitter, Google+)
Klout – Social media analytics tool that scores and ranks users’ influence using a ‘Klout Score’ from 1 to 100 ( Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Wikipedia, Instagram)
CircleCount – Google+ profile statistics and influencer measurement.
Kred – Uses social data and influence measurement to produce a personal visual stream from Twitter ID activity or hashtags based on communities connected by interests and affiliations.
twtrland.com – Visualizes social footprints to help you discover new connections, understand their impact and find better ways to connect.
Followerwonk - Twitter analytics, follower segmentation, social graph tracking, and more.
who.unfollowed.me – Check your Twitter unfollowers, see who is not following you back and who you are not following back.
Radian6 (Salesforce Marketing Cloud) - Social media monitoring tools, social media engagement software and social marketing.
Social Media / Content Management & Marketing
Buffer – Tool for collating and sharing online content via social feeds throughout the day.
Hootsuite – Social Media dashboard to manage and measure across social networks.
Tweetdeck – Twitter management and insights dashboard for power users.
Ning – Online platform to create custom social networks from scratch or to integrate with current sites; also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo!
AddThis – Social infrastructure and analytics platform with personal and social web sharing tools.
DivvyHQ – Content editorial planning and production tool.
Kapost - Software platform for organizing content marketing into a structured business process with calendar, workflow and analytics.
Compendium - Orchestrates all of the content necessary to maintain a consistent message for your brand from both inside and outside your company.
WordPress Editorial Calendar – WordPress plug-in allows you to set up all your posts in a simple calendar format with clean interface that allows you to drag and drop blog posts to better manage your ideas.
Publicate - Easily organise your content or content you’ve discovered to share, publish and showcase.
SEO / SEM & Keyword Research
Google Keywords - Enter keywords or phrases to see what related word searches your ad will show on.
Wordtracker – Keyword research tool to discover high performing keywords based on your subjects and messages.
SEMrush – Keyword and competitor research tool providing ad copies and positions, organic positions for domains and landing URLs, search volumes, CPC, competition, number of results, and more.
WooRank - Website review and SEO tool for tracking and optimizing your site.
In my ongoing need to justify whey I’m not on Facebook, I have a couple of quotes that aptly explain some of the reasons:
Social-networking sites present a different kind of problem. Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster and others typically provide value by capturing information as you enter it: your birthday, your e-mail address, your likes, and links indicating who is friends with whom and who is in which photograph. The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site.
Your social-networking site becomes a central platform—a closed silo of content, and one that does not give you full control over your information in it. The more this kind of architecture gains widespread use, the more the Web becomes fragmented, and the less we enjoy a single, universal information space.
Who said that? Tim Berners-Lee. I’m not saying that we should make all of our personal details available on the web, but what I do think is that using our personal information as a currency for advertisers is not good. It is inevitable that such data has to be kept behind a walled garden, which is entirely against the core principles of the web.
Following Google’s announcement that Google Wave would shut down at the end of this year, they have changed tack slightly and now announced Wave In a Box. They have open sourced some of the code and the intention is to get developers to include the Google Wave features via an API. The orignal Google Wave was deemed a failure, as in spite of wide promotion, few people took up the product. This, however, is simply an indication of Google’s general problem entering into social media.
The problem is this: Google are basically a search company NOT a social media company. They do search brilliantly: web search, map search, image search, paid search. Even YouTube is fundamentally a search engine for video. In fact, their own Google Video never took off and it was the acquisition of an existing successful site that saw YouTube become the second largest search engine.
On the other hand, their entry into social media has largely been a failure: Google Wave, Google Buzz (does anyone actually use it?). I think that Latitude was a good concept, but it was immediately met with privacy concerns and never took off. I blogged at the time that Latitude had potential if they opened up an API for it. They have finally done that, but not before new upstarts like Foursquare and Gowalla claimed the location social media space. And they had APIs from the word go.
So, it doesn’t take a genius to see that Google are successful when they stick to search and unsuccessful when they try social media. And Google are a very bright bunch of people, so I’m sure they also know that. So why do they persevere? From Google’s perspective, why not? Afterall they make gazillions of dollars from their advertising so they can happily put out applications and projects to see if any of them take off. Not only that but Google empolyees are developing side projects all the time, so if someone’s got a good idea, why shouldn’t they put it out there?
All credit to Google for sticking with social media, but in the end it will be simply a niche against what they really do well. Search.
It’s always a problem with these social media-type sites. Where’s the money? The model is usually one of building up a large base of users then either introducing advertising and/or selling it for a gazillion dollars to some big internet company (probably Google, or maybe Yahoo).
So far Foursquare, the social media location site, has relied largely on VC funding. Their only revenue has been in making deals with major brands, such as Conde Naste and Mark Jacobs, but they aren’t exactly raking in the cash. “Some are paid, some are exploratory,” as co-founder Dennis Crowley put it. So, we’re not talking large sums of money. This summer their business chief Tristan Walker said: “We could imagine something akin to a Google AdWords-like model, where merchants can have featured placement based on latitude and longitude, time of the day, or day of the week, we’re still exploring, and encouraging all retailers to get on our platform and help us find the product that we could actually charge for.”
The problem is that in spite of some successes with the likes of Starbucks and Dominos, the check-in offer is only known to just a few percent of people who use Foursquare. Why would retailers pay to be on something with such a tiny reach? In the meantime, Facebook Places is establishing itself. If anyone was going to benefit from brands paying for check-in offers it is likely to be Facebook.
Now, Foursquare are taking a new approach. Merchandising. I realise that it isn’t a serious long-term revenue model but hey, at least they can make some money now. They are selling badges and t-shirts of their famous icons which they hope their obsessive users will buy. In a way that makes sense. I’d previously blogged that Foursquare isn’t really social media at all. Yes it has those elements in the system, but when I look at how people use it, they don’t login to see what their friends are doing or make new ones. People use it largely to compete for mayor status and other badges. It’s not social media, it’s a game. Given that kind of engagement getting into the merchandising business is not a bad idea at all.
For those of you who can’t live without their Mayor’s T-Shirt, here’s the store.
From an advertising perspective Facebook is a dream. With the data it has no it’s members it can offer a very accurate behaivoural targetting of it’s ads. And Facebook has made a great success of it. Whilst it was struggling to make money last year, in 2010 their advertising revenue has sored. Comscore measured Facebook as offering over 16% of all ad impressions online.
However, to the Facebook member, behavioural targetting, and more importantly, privacy issues are not a dream, but actually a nightmare. Many of the recent changes in profile status etc are aimed at improving FBs appeal to advertisers. This blog here, expresses some of those concerns. We may see a situation where FB is loosing as many members as it gains with it’s changes to their privacy and user settings. And I’m not making it up. Look at the huge traffic surge on wikiHow on how to delete a Facebook account.
Long term, if I was Facebook I’d be worried.
‘You’re telling me you’re not on Facebook!!??’ exclaimed Chris. It’s not the first time that someone had been outraged by my lack of a Facebook account. However, it was particularly damning as Chris Abraham is a social media guru and I’m supposed to be a digital media professional (maybe even expert). In fact in my mobile presentation I talk about the future of mobile social media, including .. ahem … Facebook.
So why am I not on Facebook? A few reasons …
‘I have real friends’.
This was my rather sarcastic reply when the FB boom first started around four years ago. The fact is that I find online relationships a bit pointless. I don’t want to get all deep and meaningful about my relationship with my real life friends, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think I could pop over for a coffee with online friends. Essentially a pure online friend is merely a connection. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure you can have an interesting chat with them, share ideas, photos, videos and so on. But ultimately it is just a connection. Frankly I have enough other connections both in real life and online. I don’t want to manage yet more through Facebook.
‘It’s great because people you haven’t seen since school get in touch with you’.
And therein lies the problem. I don’t want people from school getting in touch with me. Frankly if my old school mates were interested in keeping in touch, they would have done so before. It’s over 20 years since I left school and at some point during those two decades if there had been any common interest then we would have communicated. So, no, I don’t want random people looking me up thank you very much.
‘The internet does not forget’.
Whatever you put on the internet will be there for ever. Some people either forget that fact or,as I have seen with many teenagers, they don’t care. Or at least don’t care for now. We all know that stupid drunken behaviour as a student may rebound on you later in life. There are enough examples of both employment and relationships being compromised through ill advised FB content. And with Facebook it’s not just what you put out there, but also your friends and especially the photos they tag up. Does that mean I am embarrassed about what I put on the internet? Well no, in fact as I work for myself and am in a steady relationship it doesn’t worry me in the least. However, I think the issue of privacy is a major one and I don’t see why my life should be available to all on the internet.
Now, the last two points can be easily countered by managing privacy settings in FB. Fair enough, but I really don’t want to spend my life managing my own reputation by de-tagging photos of me. And if my privacy settings are so high that hardly anyone can contact me, then I might as well just give them my email address or phone number. Which is exactly what I do!
There is another element around privacy that also stops me joining Facebook. It’s the advertising side of it. The value of Facebook is it’s members. It’s not simply the ability to shove adverts in front of them, but it’s the knowledge about those members that allows them to target that advertising. And with the addition of location information that targeting will become even more acute. Given that I avoid store loyalty cards as I don’t want them to know about my purchasing habits, I don’t want to go and do essentially the same thing by joining Facebook.
‘Facebook is cliquey’.
In truth it’s this last point that ultimately puts me off the whole FB thing. For starters even the name suggests that it’s all based around photos and how we look. Then there are the cliques themselves ‘Did you see what I wrote on his wall’ kind of thing, the collection of friends (they’re not friends, they’re contacts), tagging of photos and so on. Am I making the cliqueness up? Well, no, apart form witnessing it for myself, there are numerous incidents of cyber-bulling around FB. Of course that can happen with any social media, but Facebook is currently the preferred tool, and personally I’d rather not be part of that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against social media. I blog (in case you hadn’t noticed), I use Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Largely I use if for business. Personally I’d prefer to email, text or just meet up with people. I can see how other people benefit from Facebook. One friend finds it essential to arrange a night out. My family (some of whom live abroad) use it to share photos. They aren’t the only ones. FB has more picture sharing that Flickr and any other site for that matter. So whilst there is a point to Facebook, it’s not for everyone, and no one should feel pressure to be on it.
Twitter announced yesterday that it is to acquire start up company, Cloudhopper. This will enable the micro blogging site to provide users with the facility to send tweets directly to mobile phones by SMS or MMS. Twitters move seems to be to allow anyone to interact with their platform even without an internet connection. Besides the huge potential to significantly increase the Twitter user base, it could also create a brand opportunity to send tweets as text messages directly to their followers phones. It will require brands to carefully work out their engagement strategy for it to work for them … and in the meantime Twitter will have to work out its revenue strategy.
Research from Insight Consulting shows that most people look for consumer recommendation when engaging with brands through social media. No surprise really, but it shows that brand focus should really be on creating champions and reputation management NOT selling the product.
I’ve said this many times before, and it looks to be the case: it’s called ‘social networking’ NOT ‘business networking’. As such, it is not a channel that generates sales. A report by Creston shows that 80% of marketers do not believe that social media has any impact on the social or purchasing habits of their customers.
The point is this: I do not believe that social media actually generates sales. I would go further than that, no one has been able to provide me with hard evidence to show that social media has generated sales. I was speaking to a major retail brand recently. They have become more actively involved with social media, and have a Facebook fan page. Their offers are put on the fan page and it does generate sales. But I am of the strong opinion that it merely offers another route to the customer and they would use the offers regardless of how they found them.
However, for other brands the situation is more tenuous. Ultimately its about effort vs reward. Does the effort of social media justify the reward in terms of sales?
There is a problem with advetising and social media. A report this week by the DMA shows that whilst 50% of advertisers are embracing social media as a way to get their message over, at least 42% didn’t bother because they don’t understand it.
This may come as no surprise. For every social media savvy company, such a Skittles, there’s one who doesn’t have a clue!
The problem is one of the very nature of social networking itself. It isn’t an advertising medium. It isn’t like billboards, TV or even search marketing, where you can simply pay for an advert and promote your wares. Social media is, in many ways, at odds with advertisers. It is about people communicating, meeting and networking in an environment that is not commercial.
For an advertiser to find their way in the social media sector isn’t difficult. Take the recent T-Mobile ads. Their attempts at ‘flash mobbing’ were clearly an effort to create a YouTube buzz and a viral advert that would be added to numerous Facebook pages. However the whole thing comes over as highly contrived. Whilst I have no figures for the success of this ad, most people are able to see how these ads were thought up in an ad agency creative session designed to tick a number of social media boxes.
In some ways, it’s for a brand to engage with social media if they are considered cool. Skittles have long been the confectionary of choice for uber geeks, so their presence in the social media world is hardly surprising. But what if you aren’t a cool brand? Lets say you are an insurance company. Insurance is not cool, how do you engage with social media? Do you have to become a cool brand before you can enter this sector, or does social media contribute to your coolness?
It’s a chicken and egg argument that is impossible to resolve. The issue is that there will continue to be a split between t