Looking to get more visitors, and then convert them better??
Well check out this interview with myself and Ian Cleary from RazorSocial.com – it was awesome, with loads of tips too.
Looking to get more visitors, and then convert them better??
Well check out this interview with myself and Ian Cleary from RazorSocial.com – it was awesome, with loads of tips too.
Martin: Hello everybody. I’m joined today by a chip-eating Bryan Kramer. We can hear them in the background. You can just carry on. It’s lunchtime. We’re both in CA. We’re almost stretching distance here.
And Bryan has got a fantastic book, Shareology! Which is out and doing understandably well in Amazon. It’s got a beautiful cover. Love the cover. And I read it last week. Really enjoyed it.
I said to Bryan before we got started, it’s got a corporate feel to it. You’ll see what I mean. It’s got a depth and it will take social in a slightly different way for some people. And I like that.
Always a chance to see people’s world view and their perspectives when they write. And a great opportunity in this hangout. So welcome Bryan. Good to see you.
I feel I know you already. We’ve never hung out.
Bryan: I know. Isn’t that crazy about social media?
Martin: I know. So we’ve got Persicope going on. So if I look over that once in a while. Bryan’s coming on the main screen.
So let’s start. I’ll tell you what I thought. I will zip through, almost chapter by chapter. But tell me the back story. Let’s give a little bit of the back story to Shareology.
Bryan: Yeah, so the book was really written with the idea that as we’ve grown up, we have not really learned how to share in school other than maybe in kindergarten. So one of the things that I think is really more of a skill that we learn, rather than taught classroom-style way, sharing in Shareology was written to help fulfill the art and the science of sharing, because it is both.
It’s not one without the other. So I did 250+ interviews with people of all walks of life – executives, social media, linguists, psychologists, sociologists, PhDs, great executives, CEOs, large companies and small companies.
And really it was all done with the idea that everyone, especially right now with the era of social and the sharing economy, the collaborative economy, whatever you want to call it. I call it the human economy. It’s necessary, important for us to all learn, how, when, why, where to share.
So that’s the premise of the book. And the book is broken down into two parts: Share and Ology. The art and the science. And you can skip around if you are more interested in the art or the science. You can skip to one or the other.
That’s pretty much the idea behind it.
Martin: Let’s start and look at the sharing economy. Let’s explore a little bit more, because we were talking social a minute ago. What do you see, and particularly from your interviews? What do you think the current wave is with this?
What are the current feels? Are people resisting this, or are people getting swept up into it?
Bryan: I think it’s been well received. I’m going to find out the book numbers here today. So I’m not exactly sure what they are yet.
But #Shareology has reached over 300M imprints. And it’s continued to, if you go on Facebook and look up #Shareology, I’m getting about 10-15 book selfies a day.
Bryan: Thank you for that. So I think everybody has been very excited by it. And I know there’s been a lot of books on social media. This book is not just about social. This is about the evolution of sharing.
And it’s the before-during but it’s also the future. So it’s present to future. I have a future part in terms of where I think sharing is going.
It’s changed over the years. And it also incorporates the physical-digital room like Uber and Airbnb and how we share our physical things. How we order things that are app services that are sharing a co-created economy.
So there’s a lot of different aspects to sharing. And I tried to cover a lot of that throughout the book.
Martin: Cool. Let’s have a look at – I’m zipping through the chapters. Contextual Shape Shifting. Can you say a little bit about that?
Bryan: So Contextual Shape Shifting is the digital to physical world. That’s where eventually we’ll be able to share and literally shape things together.
Like for instance, there’s a way right now where you can actually imagine a big ball of clay. And you start to shape that clay into something, into a square, a figure, a statue of something, whatever.
Now that shape shift, that clay is actually little micro balls that allow you to actually physically shape something like a statue or a shape of some kind. Now imagine that is connected to your computer and you are connected to somebody in Sweden or Australia or wherever, anywhere in the world.
And you create the shape. And then that person on the other end sees exactly that shape and they can actually help you to create this thing. So you’re both working in the physical world across the internet to physically shape something. That will be huge.
I mean, we’ve seen a lot of it coming up with Oculus Rift and 3D. Now Facebook just bought another company that allows you to pull your friends in front of you and you can see it through the 3D glasses, the Oculus Rift. You can see your hands. And your hands can actually interact with what’s inside the space that you’re seeing.
So now physical to digital world is right there in front of you. You’re helping to control things with your own hands. So this kind of thing I think is going to start to take off, not in the far future. In the near future. Like just the next year or two.
Martin: Yeah. Have you tried Oculus Rift or one of the headsets?
Bryan: Yeah. It made me really dizzy. At the time that I did it, the development of the space or the animation is really key to the UX, the user experience. And it can make you really dizzy if they don’t design it right and it’s not high definition.
So I think it’s come along. I think by the time we all start to see it they’ll have those bugs worked out.
Martin: Worth keeping an eye on. This is a little headset for the mini thing. And that’s, great apps. Anyway, I’m slightly obsessed by VR stuff.
Good. So coming back – this is what I got from the book. What you were just talking out with the clay, I mean, it’s metaphoric as well, isn’t it? But you’ve also got, the technology is changing how you connect and changing what you can do.
And you can’t always imagine what’s going to happen next. But this is what I was saying about the wave – we’re in it. We’re part of it. And the more connected you are, the more the network’s there, which I know we’ll start talking about, the more you get the opportunity to do things, whatever that looks like.
Which brings me to the Human Business Movement because you’ve been talking about human to human, H2H for quite a while.
Martin: There was no question there Bryan. You’re pausing, like, is he going to ask a question? No. This is your realm.
Bryan: Yeah, so H2H, I wrote that almost 2 years ago now. And it was a really vital part of what I think led up to Shareology because first you need to understand the human factors involved in sharing and why we’re here to connect. And then I think the evolution to that is how do you connect, and that’s the sharing aspect.
So it really is evolved over the last few years since I wrote Human to Human. And I think still very relevant. I’m not sure that the term will go out of style any time soon. For H2H, it still carries true, because there are so many. People that are trying to automate systems, their email, their responses, and so forth.
At the end of the day, I’m not sure that’s winning. I don’t think it’s carrying as much weight as a relationship does. When we think back to door-to-door salesmen and how much effort and work it took for them to do that. I’m not sure there’s a way around that other than really putting in the hard work.
There are systems in place. I’m not against email marketing or demand gen, anything that’s automated. What I am really trying to focus in on there is how do you get a little bit more personalized, a little bit more customer-centric. So personalized meaning don’t just blast your list out to 100K people and call it a day.
Some of the fundamentals of marketing, which marketers already know, but a lot of people still don’t do, and we get all these emails all the time. And we get spammed all the time, which is ridiculous. And they could easily segment us into smaller groups and have messages that really resonate with us. And feed us content that really matters.
We don’t want to unsubscribe all the time. But that’s only the first part of it. The relationship opens and closes the process. It’s the reason that you don’t leave a brand. When you have a relationship with a brand, you don’t want to leave that brand.
And if a real human knows you by name, now you’re even more screwed. Because now they know you, and you know they know you. So building a relationship goes miles. But if you take it the opposite approach, they don’t pay attention, they don’t know you, then you can be a brand shifter. And most people are.
Most people are able to shift brands at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s a car that you have to trade in or a phone. It could be a computer, anything sitting around you. We have 100s of brands sitting around us on our desk and in our cars between home and work. We can shift in a moment’s notice.
And this is a real fickle time for brands to start building relationships so that it really does make it harder to leave because they have paid attention. They do care about it.
Martin: And how do you be delightful in that situation?
Bryan: Delight comes in lots of different flavors. You have to be delightful, first of all, in a way that’s not creepy. Creepy can go in a couple of wrong ways. And I think that’s where we’re going to have to watch ourselves, especially as personalization gets huge in the next few years.
But being delightful, especially being unexpectedly delightful, can be in a couple of ways. I describe one situation in the book. It’s a story about my college job that I had as a pizza driver. I was trying to make tips. It was in a college town. It was hard for me to make tips, because college students don’t tip that much for pizza or for anything.
So I heard what they said. They said they were really thirsty. I never had soda or anything on me, because they didn’t order it. But I was at the grocery store one day, and I saw 2-liters on sale for $0.50 for 2, so $0.25 / apiece.
I bought the whole pallet and put it in the back of my Chevy blue old Blazer. And with a medium or large, I delivered a 2-liter. And I would hand it to them. Half the time, they were stoned, because it was college. So they were really excited when I said, here you go, and I handed them a 2-liter.
And they said, oh my God! I’m so thirsty! I’m so glad that you brought this. I didn’t think I ordered that. And I said, nope. You didn’t. That’s on me. It’s for free. And where I was getting no tips before, now I was getting $5 and $10 in tips.
And at the end of the night, I’d make several $100. And it was all because I was delivered unexpected delight for something that they needed. I was listening to what they needed and that helped.
A month later I was called into the office and told I had to stop doing that because the other drivers weren’t taking 2-liters, and they were getting calls that they weren’t getting the 2-liters. And I argued that they should start doing it as a promotion.
But anyway, the point is that we have to deliver unexpected value to our customers. And it has to be done in a way where you just feel like there’s something special. It can be like my Ted Rubin says, a smile, or a thank you. Or it could be something that helps them to feel good about their purchase or a personal note. Thank you’s go a long way.
There are so many ways to do it; it doesn’t have to be a 2-liter. But it could be something that really makes somebody’s day.
Martin: Let’s talk a little bit about listening.
Bryan: Listening is probably the first and most important thing I think everyone should do in life, in our day to day work, and especially online. People ask me where to begin and what to do. They’re just building their profiles and they don’t know what to do.
And I think it’s important that everyone does a little bit of research first and just explores through listening what people are talking about. We had a very big, one of the top culinary schools as a client that was in NY and they’ve got locations around the world. And they hired us to do some social media content.
So we came in and the first thing we did was we listened. We went online and we listened to what everybody was saying. We put in the keyword term, I want to become a chef. And it was really interesting because we got over 25K comments a day just for that one phrase.
Then it became time to whittle that down and find the needles in the haystack for people who were serious. That’s where social listening software comes into play, where you can see the serious vs the non-serious. Everybody wants to be a chef at some point, but who really wants to go to school for it.
So then we can whittle that down to just those and offer up helpful content or directly say, we can help you. But social listening allows you to find them. And that’s something you would have never been able to do before.
So listening is probably the mother of all skills, and the mother of all skills online as well.
Martin: I’ve got to say to everyone on Periscope, there is so much in the book. It’s got 220 pages. Just little tasters of bits. But it gives you an idea. It’s great to get a perspective of your personal story.
Influences, Bryan? Where are things with influences these days? I’ve been so fortunate, largely due to Mike Stelzner and Social Media Examiner and connecting with people. The space for me has changed, because it’s about adding value, one conversation at a time, listening and learning from you guys that are so much more established in this space than I am.
It’s like, it’s not so much that they’re influencers. They’re just people that are further along or better at certain things. There are teachers and mentors. And Chris Brogan has been an amazing mentor.
How do you see influencers in the space now? You personally? And we can come to the more corporate, because of the value of spreading information and things.
Bryan: I believe that everybody is an influencer on something. We all have influence, whether it’s online or offline, doesn’t matter.
Everybody has something that they’re passionate about, whether they know it or not. If you strike up a conversation with somebody on something that they are passionate about, which I believe everybody has one thing that they know really well, more than anything else – at least one, maybe more.
Then they will start talking about it, and you can probably get more than your fair share of information from that person. And what makes them unique is the fact that they are so excited or passionate or went to school or however they built up their knowledge about it, that you can obviously see that they’re interested.
And that makes them an influencer because you would trust them. You know that they know a lot about that product. So it’s really important that in today’s social era you start identifying who in your business is an influencer or could influence. Because they could be more powerful than anything else you do.
There’s a great book by my friend Sam Fiorella called Influencer Marketing. And I quoted him in the book and did an interview with him. It’s a great book to pick up. There’s a lot of stuff out there on influencer marketing, but that’s the best one.
One of the things that we’re able to do is with influencers, you’re able to build relationships with these people, and you’re able to show them maybe more behind the scenes than you could do with the masses.
And at that point, once you’ve given them enough information, a couple of things can take place. One, maybe they share it with everyone else. Maybe they write blogs or share it on social media. Maybe they just simply share it with their friends, which is phenomenal unto itself.
Like we were talking about before. When people share things that you trust, they’re going to sell it. And then the other thing is if something happens, you also have started to build a community of people who feel like a VIP of your company. So they might be able to help you in any given time, when something might happen. They can come to your rescue, without asking, because they know the answer.
Maybe they start to support your product or service simply because they care. And all of these ways go miles once you start to hear an influencer talk about a product or service. It’s way better than a brand.
It’s why PR debatably did well. Some people think it didn’t. But I think PR does well. And this is another extension of, or I should say an integration of PR and social media, where you’re integrating this great collaboration. And you can see the results.
I mean, there are metrics for it that you can put down. It can be more – some people call them egometrics. But you can see impressions that people are creating online, or blogs, or direct clicks and links and stuff like that. So there’s a lot there.
Martin: Super. What is your favorite social platform? Do you have one?
Martin: Like one of your children, exactly.
Bryan: Right now I would probably have to say Facebook would be the most favorite. Quick follow up. My personal favorite on the non-business side is Instagram. And then my business favorite on the non-personal side is Twitter.
LinkedIn is probably last on the list. I do enjoy LI though. I do use LI. I just find a little bit more engagement and value on Facebook.
Martin: There are a lot of conversations. There’s what I say, “you lot.” You know who I mean, which is great. And there’s a huge amount of engagement on everybody’s content. Which is you or Ruben or Mike Stelzner and so on.
And it’s a very social place, isn’t it? Facebook.
Bryan: Yeah, it really is.
Martin: So, next. Let’s have a quick look – there’s so much here! Brands on sharing. What did you learn? Because you interviewed people around this, I believe. What was the brands on sharing?
Bryan: Yeah, Jay Curley, that’s a good one. He is the head of social for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And he gave me an interview around that they’re just not an ice cream company. They’re more than that.
They’re community-driven. It’s interesting because they drive value back to the entire supply chain. So the dairy farms that supply the milk to make the ice creams, they go feature and support those dairy farms. So it’s not just taking and buying them from a vendor.
They also see them as an inclusive community. So they wanted to take that idea and go further with it on social media. So they do a really good job there.
They reach out to each of the different communities and asked them to share something that was euphoric to them. And to take a picture of it on Instagram. And they had people showing with #EuphoricMoments. And then they took the community’s photos, with their permission, and turned them into ads – billboards, and so forth.
And really showed those moments. But they showed them locally. So they ran the billboard in the same town of the person who shared that photo. So they were proud because they saw their photo up on the billboard. So it was very local, community-focused, and it went back to their whole ideal of building community and helping people to celebrate their local nature.
So I think it was a cool campaign. I also think it’s something anyone can do. It’s got something any community, any size company could also do that.
Martin: Right. Now, talking about community, there are two people. Mari Smith, Mike Stelzner. In the last section, let’s talk about Mike first. Because that’s where I got brought into – I say you lot – I feel part of it now.
He built a community around Social Media Examiner. When did you get involved in connections there? Has that been going on for a long time?
Bryan: I think two years now. And it was right around when my book H2H came out. He reached out to me and said that he was really impressed with the book and wanted to – he asked me to speak at Social Media World based upon what he had read.
And from there, we struck up a friendship and have since been on his podcast twice and spoken at his event twice. And yeah, it’s a really cool community. He’s just a great guy and done such a great job.
Martin: What tips does he have in the book on the future of social platforms? You’re not going to remember now. I know what it’s like when people ask you those questions.
There is a future to social platforms and it’s community. Let’s go for that.
Bryan: Yeah. That’s like on page 72, line 3.
Martin: Yeah-yeah-yeah. The editor wrote that word. Cool.
Bryan: No, the crux of what he talks about and what I think he’s really good at is how he manages his community. And he does a really good job of managing his community. But he also talks through the process of – I think he has like 300K email subscribers and pretty high numbers on his social media as well.
I would be surprised if it’s not in the 1Ms. And he’s creating two new pieces of content a day. Quality content. And he’s got a team that helps to share that out and a process for how that gets shared out.
So he walks through that entire process in the book. And I think he talks about then, as things shift, where he sees that going. But everybody by the book to see what that is.
Martin: And there’s a huge amount of people from Jay Baer, I think is fantastic. You mentioned Mari Smith. So what does Mari say? And then we’ve got Nathan, I know Frank, Eddie Aston. You mentioned about Sam Fiorella earlier.
This book, there’s a lot in it, everybody. Let’s just touch on Mari Smith before we wrap up. She’s talking about the future of brand shareability.
Bryan: She’s dynamic as you know. And she really gave a great interview for the book. As you know, she’s a very dedicated person to Facebook. And known for Facebook.
So she talks about where things are at and where she thinks things are going. And there is, and she was very honest about the brand pages and how hard it is to get traction on those pages right now and what brands can do.
And she runs through some concepts and ideas of what that is and talks about how to get things seen and some examples on that.
So she gets really practical, which is what I really enjoyed about her interview.
Martin: Awesome! Last couple of minutes, what would you like to leave people with, Bryan?
Bryan: You know, I think the one thing I would say is if you’re either looking at where to start, looking at what you to listen in on, or you’re far enough long and you really just want to figure out your metrics, keep one thing in mind. That everyone really wants to connect.
Everyone is in this world and in business and online and purchasing not only to get a product or a service but also to connect with other people. And I think if you keep that in mind across no matter what, the measurements and the analytics really show one thing. But at the end of the day, does it show what a relationship means, and that into itself – when you start to focus into the relationships and the connections you’ve made. And start to show all the many layers and circles that you have, followers, all of that.
That boils down to the hard core relationships that you’ve built. And there’s nothing more powerful.
Martin: Beautiful! Thank you, Bryan Kramer.
Everybody watching on Periscope or Google Live, the link for Amazon for Shareology will be on the event thread. I would ask you when you buy it to review. Stay in touch with Bryan @BryanKramer. And follow him on Facebook.
If you’re watching this after, then the link is going to be on the website. So go to the book and buy it there. Remember to review it. It really helps. And also, if you’re watching it on YouTube, then the link is in the description. So please do click to buy.
Thank you so much, Bryan. I can see in the comments, people have really enjoyed you. You have given another perspective on what it is to be sharing. And really appreciate connecting.
Bryan: Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Cheers!
[end of transcript]
You know when receive a new request to ‘add someone to your network’ or a a friend request?
There are two main aspects at play here – the numbers of people in common, and the people you have in common (if you were to add them in).
In essence, if you see lots of friendly faces, people you trust, as mutual friends, you are probably far more likely to add people in.
I realized the power of the trust signal this gives when someone has already been accepted by a large part of your network.
There will be a figure as well – 10 creating a certain level of trust, and 100 creating another. It will all depend, but the response is determinable based on the circumstances of that individual.
If you already know the person, and have your ‘mind made up’ that you do or don’t want to have them as part of their network – and if you don’t, then they will be rejected.
It is in all other circumstances that the a) profile picture, b) their name (e.g. could be a family member), and c) the ‘mutual friends’ aspect, that will tend to determine the responses people get to the approach.
If you want to build the best network, you will want to start making friends.
And the existing mutual friends is just a scan away, seeing who you have in common and whether you trust their judgement.
Then you confirm, or don’t.
Having ‘good friends’, or people who say ‘you are in’ (i.e. accept you), will determine therefore whether your approaches will be accepted, or not.
On Facebook, for instance, you can see the influence here in terms of numbers of people who are already ‘mutual friends’.
Then we have the same principle on Linkedin:
And as I say, the ‘who’ is in common really matters.
A similar principle applies on Facebook and G+ too – but there is more of an asymmetry where people may e.g. circle you, but culturally there is view that you shouldn’t have to circle back unless you really relate to them/their content.
(note: with Google+ Collections being a strong focus now, following content not people is also changing things.)
Have you opted into my newsletter yet? Cool things coming your way every Saturday.
Your notifications are the weapons of marketers in the new battleground for your attention.
(That is my most Ryan Hanley style quote, ever!)
Why? Well, your notifications so often get your attention first, then your Stream.
Knowing how to get into someone’s new ‘in-box’ is essential.
e.g. when you ask someone to ‘like your page’:
This is where people should be shifting attention once they’ve learned to get engagement – notifications, not the aforementioned page.
(just playing with you Mark!)
How do they sustain the relationship? And stay top of mind? (again, notifications, not the aforementioned page)
That is where notifications come in.
I’ve just put together this guide to show how to stay top of mind using Linkedin.
As you can see, there are loads (12 in this example) simple ways to send people notifications through various actions.
When people ‘feel the love’ in an appropriate way (i.e. not spammy, and about ‘them’, not you all the time), they will have a positive emotional response when you come to deepen the relationship.
Differences across platforms:
What I found super interesting whilst exploring is area the this:
Facebook – you have to opt in for notifications from people
Google+ – you have to subscribe to receive notifications from e.g. a collection.
(and culturally if you don’t ask people if they want to receive notifications, you may well find you get ‘feedback’)
Guide on G+ notifications here.
Or my best advice, based on Seth Godin/Permission Marketing is to ask people to opt into receive notifications i.e. you build up a mini-list. Basic instructions here.
Linkedin – you will notify your network when you publish a new post on Pulse, and people have to opt out not to receive them anymore.
Whether or not ‘it works’ i.e. that the notifications a) get someone’s attention, and b) move them to action e.g. reading the content, is a different step in the process and also needs measuring.
Your notification layer (on a mobile) is the like the in-box used to be in the late 90’s. Back then it was all email. No apps. Nothing but email. (I don’t crazy, huh, kids?)
Mobile is a whole world and if you are serious about business you will need to look at ‘apps’ as this way you can push notifications to the user directly. If you are really serious, speak with dialectinc.com
Even if you are not looking at paying for your own app, you will find notifications on a mobile get your attention as a user.
And there is a distinct difference between different social platforms e.g. with Periscope you will receive notice when anyone you are following ‘goes live’ – and that may well be a lot of people, filling up your screen; compare this to e.g. Google+ which is a lot more mellow ‘on the push’.
I’ve been testing out the new way of requested an opt in to collections on Google+, and then asking people to tell me if they have – hence making it easier to track engagement vs. using e.g. opt in circles. (see below)
The results are not 100% certain as yet, but I would suggest that right now you should keep building up the opt in lists using circles, but know that Collections are centre stage so may well need more attention moving forward.
There we have it. Loads to explore when it comes to this subject, so please pop by the community here to ask questions.
And if you are serious about staying on just about top of everything digital, then request to join our private (paid) community here!
Instagram can help you build and expand your brick and mortar business! Seriously, you can use the power of Instagram to increase sales in your physical store or space like I did in my retail business. Let’s talk about how I figured this out, how you can do it, and a few success stories we can emulate or learn from.
SueB.Do is a product line of preppy jewelry and accessories representing the beauty and character of Cape Cod. The items I choose to sell and share in my store are inspired by the coastal places where I have been happiest in my life: summers with family on the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket in particular. In my small seasonal store on the Cape I also realized I most like to hand-sell to customers who morph into friends. After watching my teenage daughters on Instagram all the time, I thought I want those trendsetting eyeballs in my store. They would love my product and have fun shopping in the eclectic space.
Interesting. So, I took those three things; a special niche product, a personal sales experience, and the “sharability” of the fun had in the SueB.Do store, and created a story on Instagram. By posting photos from my shop of customers and their purchases, challenging my sales staff to post and share, incentivizing the team, sharing behind the scenes pictures and using props to encourage visitor interaction from all over and more picture-taking, I created a visual story. In order to build the new relationship with consumers around this, Instagram became the platform for the social experience that would eventually create buzz and drive traffic in my actual store. It worked. People came to the Cape and started to seek out a piece of the store’s fun.
I grew this retail business by 40% just by using Instagram to connect with my customers and potential clients in this way! Understanding that power, I now educate others on how to use Instagram for business. And Retail is a major piece of that puzzle!
Let’s marry your physical retail space with an online story, to create a community, and eventually exciting new traffic and sales!
Telling your online story through Instagram is an amazing way to create the momentum for large and small business models alike. You can be the next success story just by creating fun content, putting yourself and your brand out there in a big way and tying it all back to your store’s location location location.
And you’ll be able to contact Mark here.
Martin: Hi, this is Martin Shervington. Today I’m going to be chatting with a fellow who I met at Social Media Marketing World, by the name of Mark Schaefer.
I contacted Mark recently and many thanks to Rae Heldt for hooking us up. I said I would like to do an interview with him. And originally I was going to talk about Google Plus, because everyone knows I talk a lot about Google Plus.
He came back and he said well, we’ve got an updated version of my book which is Mark’s Book, which is the Tao of Twitter. And why don’t we focus on that instead of talking about Google Plus. And at a moment I thought but I’m ready to talk about Google Plus.
Then I realized and probably people don’t know this yet, what’s been happening for me over the last two and a half years is that beyond Twitter, and I’ve been going on Twitter and a great fellow called Martin Holmes runs the distribution. He sends the stuff out to me on Twitter to see, and that is what he does. And I say please can you make sure that this content is tweeted and this person because I want to build the relationships, oh, that’s retweeted.
I then go over and I interact. So it’s always me that’s interacting. I’m the one that’s starring the comments we then call them the tweets. I am engaged in that way. I have found a huge advantage to building relationships by using Twitter alongside Google Plus.
So this why – and I’ve been reading the book, went on Twitter and it is undoubtedly the best book on Twitter. I’ve read a few. This is awesome. But the reason why it’s awesome and I’ve been speaking to Mark just before I went live, you ease in there and it’s about relationships. It’s not just firing in tick tack, tick tack, because it’s strictly too much and particularly if you are starting it’s too much.
Sometimes we are looking for these little nuggets and they are in there. There’s a load of things in that. But it’s Mark’s story about how he’s utilized this to build relationships and we all can as well. So, on that note, welcome Mark Schaefer. How are you doing?
Mark: I am so delighted to be with you today.
Martin: It’s good. It’s been a while since we are in Social Media Marketing World. But it’s great to have you in. I know people are very excited because then they know I love Google Plus. And yet, Twitter is still happening. It’s still there. It’s still a big part of social media. It’s still a big part of people’s lives. It’s still a big part and a way for people to build relationships.
So let’s just kick off, just give us a little bit of your background first Mark. And then we are going to run through some questions and run through the book and give people some tips maybe along the way.
Mark: Sure. Well, I’ve been in Marketing in various capacities for about 30 years. I’ve done just about everything you can think of from B-to-B, B-to-C, big companies, small companies, startups. I teach at Rutgers University in the New York City area. And I consult and I blog and I’ve written a few books.
Martin: Well, that’s good. Let’s just make sure people know where to find you first, what is your website?
Mark: Well, my website is businessesgrow.com. It’s the best place to find everything about me. I think here Martin nobody could spell Schaefer. Even when you spell it out for them, they can’t spell Schaefer. It’s so complicated.
So I went with businessesgrow.com that seems to help people a little bit more. On that website you can find everything about me. You can find my blogs, my podcasts, and lots of free resources to help people with their marketing. And of course you can find links to my books there as well.
Martin: Great. Let’s now look at one of those books. So the first edition of the Tao of Twitter came out at 2011?
Mark: Well, yeah officially I self-published the book first. It’s an interesting story because I was starting to teach at the university and when I got to Twitter a lot of my students were confused or they would forget. And so I created this little handbook because I was tired on spending so much time on Twitter. And after class one of the students said you know this handbook is worth the price of the whole class. I thought ha-ha.
So I was to talking to some publishers and they rejected the book because they said it was too short. They said we want a 240-page book so we can reach our price points. I said I’m not going to write a 240-page book about Twitter. So, I self-published and without any real marketing or advertising support that became the bestselling book on Twitter.
Then McGraw-Hill was interested in it because they saw that I was right. And then the book was relaunched in 2012. And that was officially the first edition. But actually I had self-published one first.
And now a new edition is shipping this week, all new for2014. About 75% of it is new content. It’s been updated with a lot more meat, a lot more beef around advertising and some of the commercial opportunities with Twitter. But I still think it retains the heart of the book that you so nicely described.
Martin: Great. That’s kind and that’s wonderful. So we’ll go into maybe some of the new stuff in a little while. But let’s talk about the three things that you differentiated in Tao.
Well, actually let’s begin differently Mark because this is what it’s really about. The book’s about relationships. Is that right, if we have to sum it up? And this is the theme for so many of us. It’s already our heads past is that Twitter is a way to build relationships. It’s a way to find out what people are talking about.
I remember Thomas Power, don’t you know Thomas Power? He is a great guy. And he stood up one time in a networking meeting and he said people say to him, why do you want to know somebody’s – what they are eating for breakfast? And he said, you may want to know if they are having breakfast with your competitor or they having breakfast with somebody important.
Mark: I love that.
Martin: And he said that. But you used some great examples of how you built relationships and what they have done for you and that person, because that’s what relationships is. How it is a two-way thing. And it’s not just about broadcasting information.
So let’s ease in to the three things, Targeted Connections, Meaningful Content, and Authentic Helpfulness.
Mark: Yes, that’s right.
Martin: And go for that.
Mark: Well, there are so many different ways to use Twitter for businesses. It’s commonly used for customer service for example. It can be a great learning tool. Some marketers believe that Twitter might be the greatest marketing research tool for insight and to real time conversations ever created. So there are lots of different ways to use it.
But as you say the thing that is overlooked is if you are a business that can benefit from networking, at a conference, at a trade show, at a chamber of commerce meeting, then you can benefit by Twitter. So as you mentioned I really struggled for 6 months to figure Twitter out. I hated it. I thought it was the stupidest thing that I have ever seen.
So as I mentioned in the book I had this ah-ah moment where the story goes I was bored and saw the hash tag, new name for the Swine Flu. And I typed it and I clicked on it and people were saying all these new names like Anthrax, and the Apocalypse. And it was hilarious. But what donned on me was that I was watching a real time global brain-storming session. And it was very profound because I thought this couldn’t have happened just a few years ago.
Then I started to understand this wasn’t about advertising, it wasn’t about broadcasting, and this is about connecting with people all over the world who can help us help solve our problems. People, who love us, maybe even people who hate us. And so it was an epiphany. And I think that this is what most people miss that at the heart of Twitter it is still about those relationships.
There is a path, as you say there are these three foundational elements. Content is the catalyst that makes things happen. You can’t get noticed without some sort of background content, something that’s useful, interesting and relevant in your tweets.
The other thing is these Targeted Connections. And what a lot of people miss on Twitter is I think they just wait for something to happen. Twitter is this incredible opportunity to go and find and build your own community of people who might be interested in you.
And the thing that’s different as on Facebook, Twitter, even Google Plus to some respect to build those relationships you follow someone, they follow you back. On Twitter that’s not the case. You can find someone and they don’t have to follow you back. You can see what they are doing. You can still read their tweets and look for opportunities to connect and comment and retweet them and build those relationships even if they are resistant at first.
The third part as you mentioned is Authentic Helpfulness. And I think the word authentic is important because you can’t fake it, that’s amazing. I read this statistics Martin that the millennials are the least trusting generation ever. They are managing their relationships over text messages on Facebook and 140 characters on Twitter. And they have become very keen at sniffing out the fakes.
So people are not going to be attracted to you by your ads or your press releases, but they will run to you if you offer some ability to help them in some way, to help them understand, to help them make money, have a happier life, have a healthier life. That’s what people are looking for today and that’s what we need to deliver in all of our social media platforms.
Martin: Oh, awesome. Let’s dive into how you find your tribe. Should you find your tribe? Because we were talking about this and then we paused off air because let’s have this conversation on air.
I’m a big fan of Seth Godin. And he’s had an influence on my since the early 2000. Chris Berg has had a big influence on me in the more recent years. And with Twitter is that a central thing that people should look at and look at building a community around?
Mark: Yes, and I’ll tell you why. First let me give you a high-level my view of the importance of tribes and roll into the Twitter aspect of this. And this is where we stopped the conversation before we went live because I have so much passion about this.
I love the examples that you have here around Godin and Chris and the energy and the passion they put into developing their tribes. And you can see that pay off.
We are in a world of intense information density, of intense competition. I’ve been in marketing for 30 years. I think we are in the most difficult era for marketing ever. I think social media has made it more difficult, not easier.
Because when we think about it Martin, 15, 20 years ago, well say 20 years ago we had in the UK or the US we had 3 or 4 network television stations, with BBC-1, BBC-2, NBC, ABC, CBS. We had a couple of daily newspapers in our town, maybe a couple of radio stations that was more or less the limit of our marketing options.
Today everyone can publish. The noise is overwhelming. The challenge to break though is you have to execute well on so many levels. But I think the heart of this is we also have this historical important opportunity to build a tribe. A tribe that is truly loyal to us. I think that loyalty Martin trumps everything. It trumps content. It trumps back-leaks. It trumps SEO, advertising and press releases. If we can build loyalty then it doesn’t matter about this density. We have won their hearts and minds. They are going to follow us. They are going to buy from us. And that’s why building a tribe is so important.
Now with Twitter’s role in this I personally think that Twitter is the fastest and most effective way to build a tribe because there are so many utilities out there to help us find people with some disposition to love us, okay.
So even let’s say for you, you want to find people who have some love or passion for Google Plus, we can find that in so many different ways and in so many different communities on Twitter, even in real time search. We can find Twitter lists of people who are interested in Google Plus.
So in Chapter 5 of the Tao Twitter Book there are 25 different ideas of how to use Twitter to find your tribe. Let’s say you had that same challenge for your blog, you wanted to build a blog audience, how do you find those people that are interested in you?
I think the fastest way to build a blog audience is to build a Twitter audience. Because if you can find them on Twitter and they love you and you connect to them on Twitter, you start salting in you know links to blog posts and there is ah-ah, pretty sure I like this person, why wouldn’t I like their blog, ah-ah, I’m going to subscribe. So I think it’s really an important tool to building a tribe.
Martin: That’s great. And I picked up on that, I mean with the list. Because when I found out there were lists, I would then go to people. I pick Patrick’s list and go and see who the people were that I would relate to and that could relate to me and then start to have those people in the zone.
Let’s briefly look at the relationships between Google Plus and Twitter. Do you think that the audience is the same? Right now is it becoming blurred? Do you think that there is very much a different crew that’s over on Twitter still? Are they going to come to Google Plus?
Here’s the question, is it worth investing the time in building that tribe or is the same tribe that just have another anchor?
Mark: That’s a very interesting question. For many years Twitter had a bimodal distribution. And it’s changing dramatically just in the last 18 months. It had this bimodal distribution basically of young professionals and urban youth. These were the heavy users of Twitter. Now it’s going more mainstream, it’s going global.
In some countries in Asia, Twitter is used as text messaging. In some countries like Japan, Twitter is bigger than Facebook. Twitter had their company’s earnings announcement yesterday, it showed very strong growth. So I think it is still a very viable channel and a growing channel in where it’s been used and how it’s been used.
As far as the overlap in Google Plus I think that’s a really interesting question. I haven’t really looked at those demographics very carefully. But certainly I think there are so many tools to find people on Twitter.
If Google Plus is the area where you are really keeping your great content, your great connections, if that’s where you are publishing, then Twitter I could see as a place to create those weak links that you can drive to Google Plus to create the stronger links. That’s the real role of Twitter I think. It opens doors, Twitter opens doors.
And by the way I don’t want to go on too long here and dominate the conversation but I think this is an important point. People have way too many expectations about what they can actually do on Twitter because the relationships on Twitter and many social media platforms are weak links that simply introduce you to someone. But then you have to work to build that relationship just like me and you.
We connected on Twitter or maybe Google Plus. I figured okay we kind of have some similarities, I’m interested in you, and then we met face to face. Oh, that was great, we hit it off. And from that point on you don’t know where it’s going to go.
Now we are helping each other. We are creating content together today. Before our broadcast today I said how can I help you with your business, you never know where these things will go. So Twitter just opens the door. You have to work to build those relationships just like in the offline world.
Martin: Oh, that’s great. I’m glad that you did say that. Let me dive on to the thread and let’s pick up some questions. Okay, let’s have a look. Sunny, I thank you for your question here. I can’t use common tracker folks because I’m doing it via live events. Anyway, so that was that. Sunny, here we go, this is a point that you made Mark in the book about journalists being on Twitter…
Mark: Martin, if you can hear me, I somehow buzzed out.
Martin: That was server error, we are back. I think the line, it didn’t like my question. It’s Google talking about Twitter you see. They are like, hold on a minute Shervington, why talk about Twitter for, we took you off air. Come on, I talked about Google as well. I got that kind of ratio. Anyway you never know. They brought me back.
Okay, Journalist, this is an interesting thing because this is something we talk about in reaching and getting our message out into a wider world, into a more mainstream way. I don’t think it’s that easy to do that on Google Plus. On Twitter is there a way to do that that’s appropriate culturally?
Mark: It is the number 1 way to connect with journalists, no question about it. Let me give you an example. In fact there is a blog post on my blog that was about one month ago that talked about a charity effort. They did a run from Tennessee to New York City. They wrote press releases, they made phone calls to every TV station and every newspaper and radio station. All along the way they got no response.
Then as they started their journey they connected to these people on Twitter. They did a search, like I said Twitter is the easiest way to find these people. Journalists, they are stressed too. Their staff’s have been cut, their time is at a premium and they are always looking for the new idea and the new angle.
So they were able to tweet these journalists. We are going to be in your town. This is what we are doing. Here’s a link to our program. They got responses on Twitter from every single city they went to. They ended up on Good Morning America, the number 1 morning television show 100% through Twitter.
The best journalists, even the best on-air-personalities are all over Twitter looking for ideas, looking for leads, looking for stories. I would say I’m approached by a journalist at least 2 or 3 times a month who find me through Twitter. They are looking for a lead on a certain angle on a certain topic and they are finding that through Twitter.
Martin: Okay. Alright, next question, do you think numbers matter? And this just goes back to people and they haven’t got – and you talked about the magic 200. And once you get over that and then it starts to become a little more fun. I think people on Google Plus could relate to that.
Do you think that if you just saw something that you can get the attention of people look and go, hold on a second, you only got 205 followers, maybe you are not going to be the authority, they could be an authority in science or art or anything else?
Mark: Numbers matter in a way. And it depends on what your goal is. So if I’m a scientist or I’m an artist and I want to connect with people that I admire, let’s say there’s a wonderful artist in New York or London, to me it’s just thrilling to connect with an artist or a musician or a professional athlete and just see what are they doing, what are they experiencing.
I follow the drummer from the Black Key’s. And he’ll put pictures of the places where they are setting up to do their concerts and stuff. That’s a wonderful insight. I want to emphasize that Twitter is great if you just want to have fun.
The reason I point out this magic number of 200 because if you are following less than 200 it can get boring. It can kind of be quiet. So I encourage people to at least try to get that 200 number to keep it interesting, to keep it moving. Beyond that it really depends on your business, my business, your business.
We have almost really limitless opportunities to teach, to connect, to do consulting all over the world, okay. We could be connected to tens of thousands of people. And for you and I that’s important because it’s like the numbers in sales. We need to connect to a lot of people before they become a meaningful connection. We need to have a lot of meaningful connections before it turns into a sales lead. We need to have a lot of sales leads before it turns into a conversion, into a sale.
So for you and I and for people who are trying to network on a large scale, it is important to grow that audience as long as it’s a relevant audience. You and I don’t want to connect to a bakery in Singapore, you know probably not anyway. We do want business professionals who want to learn more about social media and these platforms.
If you are a bakery in Singapore, you want to connect to people within 5 miles or maybe 6 kilometers of where your business is and that maybe 500 people. If they are the right 500 people then your business is going to be fine.
Martin: Good. And just to say if you are watching this and you have business in Singapore then I probably need the followers still because I’m a bit late. So just hit the follow button. You never know because you are watching this.
Mark: You never know.
Martin: If I get even 5% on Google Plus it’s building the relationships of the people that matter the most to you. And hoping that they turn around and go, do you know what, I kind of like your stuff. Can we do – well how can we probably – because you are talking about this from a collaboration point of view which is very similar to how I like to go about Google Plus. It’s about what you can do with people.
When you’re connected, that’s just a start. This is just the beginning. It’s like you said how can you help. So what can we do, who can I connect you with. What matters here is the flow of information and how the energy then moves in.
I love that fact that you’ve actually opened my eyes. I’ve known for a while and I have been putting more attention on to it and people have seen this. But I know that I haven’t – how do you make plural for dive-I always feel like…I haven’t dived in enough to the same level that I have with Google Plus.
But partly I’ll tell you one of the things is Mark you can’t edit tweets. So actually now and this is going to come back to the Tao awareness, once you put a ad you actually – sorry well the Tao Twitter will bring enough awareness – you actually got to make really good decisions about what you are tweeting, isn’t it? You got to get it right because there is not edit function which is interesting, which I think philosophically we are going to dive into Tao and see.
Philosophically what you are talking about is relationships but also there’s awareness. And some of the people are very fast on their comments on the tweets that are going on. And I think there’s a slight different culture to Google Plus because of that. But it’s also vibrant. The stream is very quick. And doesn’t mean all the stuff is good but it’s really fast and happening.
Mark: And you bring up a really good point because of all the platforms people get into most trouble on Twitter.
Martin: Yeah, I see that.
Mark: In the United States there are reports every day of people getting fired over something they did on Twitter. I think that all the social media platforms can hamper different personalities. And sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s bad.
I got a great advice one time from an executive at General Electric and he said, you have to remember that when you are on social media, no matter how casual the conversation, it’s still a conversation about you and your brand.
So I think you do need to be real time. You do need to be honest and human. But you also do need to be careful and you need to use your head about what you are doing.
Martin: Great. On that note, I must say thank you Mark. It’s a brilliant book. If you haven’t read it yet, then get the updated edition. It’s going to be coming out right now. Go to Amazon and you can have the link. Yeah this is also going to be embedded on the website and there’s a transcript of this with Mark’s advice and this is going to be linked back to Amazon where you can buy the book there as well.
Mark, thank you so much. I knew we should we talk about Twitter, not just be folks on Google Plus. And I appreciate you opening my mind because it’s fairly straight forward. We just got to listen and we got to do and be open to building those relationships on wherever we find the people to connect with. That’s great.
Mark: Thank you very much for having me, it’s been a pleasure.
Martin: Super. See you soon and see everybody else as soon as well who’s been watching, thank you all. Take care.
[end of transcript]
If you’re on Google+ then #PlusTheZuck – a bit of fun with viral – you would’ve seen many posts in a campaign that took place from 24th February to 25th February 2014, and even the actual hashtag trending on Google+…
When Martin Shervington mentioned on the Friday to me that this was going to take place it was a perfect opportunity to track and observe through NOD3x a viral campaign unveiling in real-time and then analyse in detail long after the moment had passed – an opportunity that doesn’t occur often.
Before you read any further, read Martin’s post “The power of the Google Plus Community: the #PlusTheZuck case study!” to understand the background to #PlusTheZuck – then come back and continue reading…
NOD3x is a real-time social network analysis and data mining application that is free to the Google+ community. It can track and index all posts talking about any subject that is made to the public timeline and/or public communities from either personal profiles or Google+ pages. Once we have the data we analyse it many ways:
The data collected and analyzed is then visualized within a real-time infographic dashboard, where a user can see at a glance what is taking place.
One additional analysis, not mentioned in the previous list, is our relationship analysis – where we use dots (nodes) and lines (edges) to represent people and posts and the relationship formed between other people when they engage on content e.g. if I reshare, comment or +1 a piece of content it forms a relationship (albeit temporary) between me and the person that posted the content.
That relationship is then visualized – and we use different colours to represent different relationships:
If we visualise all the data collected from 24th February to 28th February (from the infographic dashboard image above) we see the following
Instantly we can see who had the greatest impact and as we’d expect (after reading Martin’s Case Study post that in fact he had the greatest impact; this is represented by the largest cluster in the middle.
However what we also observed is that there are multiple spin-off’s from this main cluster but still connected to it from re-shares AND clusters forming that were not connected to Martin’s original post.
In order to get a better understanding of what happened we’re able to separate out the re-shares, comments and +1s that will show us additional insights into the three types of engagement activity:
On NOD3x, re-shared posts are shown as green dots (nodes). This view of engagement activity isn’t dissimilar to Google+ Ripples; where we can see which posts created the most re-share activity.
We lay out our ‘re-shares’ graph as a continuous link from the person who posted the original post right down to the last person that re-shared.
You will be aware that re-shares of a post increase a posts reach each time it happens. However, not all re-shares are equal as each follower network responds differently to content that is shared with them. There are of course other factors that affect how people interact with re-shared content and I call this the 5 W’s of Viral Understanding:
I’ve observed that those people that followed this attained a higher level of engagement on their re-shares than those that did not:
Martin’s original post certainly did
Mark Traphagen’s and Dustin W. Stout’s posts clearly laid out why their followers should be involved:
Where as these re-shares didn’t:
With NOD3x we identified that those posts that followed a majority of the 5 W’s received higher levels of engagement (indicated by dark green stretching out further than main cluster in the graph below.) Approximately 50 people appeared to be in Martin’s initial seed group
With NOD3x we can separate out all of the various forms of engagement – you’ve seen the re-shared graph above and the following +1 graph tells an interesting story – that there were several people that saw more than one #PlusTheZuck post. We know that because there are orange lines –(edges) that connect and unite the other clusters together.
Why is this important to know? Well there were a far greater number of +1s than any other engagement (+1 activity accounted for 50.16% of all activity)…imagine if a fraction of those people we’re motivated to comment on other #PlusTheZuck posts – the following graph of people that commented on #PlusTheZuck posts would look very different:
Over the period many hashtags appeared along side the #PlusTheZuck – some were used purposely to associate related content. Some posts were automatically tagged by Google+ as being possibly related content
Some posts hijacked the hashtag in an obvious attempt to create visibility to completely unrelated content
From all the posts we indexed there were 4 variations of the #Hashtag:
2 used #Plusthezuck
6 used #PLUSTHEZUCK
55 used #plusthezuck
315 used #PlusTheZuck
All hashtags that were used in posts – either purposely or autotagged are as follows:
It’s fairly easy to spot those that are abusing hashtags in order to try and gain more eyeballs on their content!
In Martin’s case study article he mentions that he closed off comments the following day to bring the campaign to a close – however NOD3x continued to index posts that were tagged with #PlusTheZuck
This shows that although the people that were involved over the first 2 days interest may subside other people are beginning to see the content for the first time.
The volume of posts that contained the hashtag was fairly stable from 24th February until 28th February. Then it dropped to approx 20% of the previous daily volume on the 1st MarchTherefore, when running viral campaigns it’s important not to cut it too short too soon …
What can you take away from all of this? If you’re planning on a running a viral campaign:
We hope you found that useful and get in touch with us here to discuss using Google+ for business.
Very often when I run campaigns on Google+ they are framed and then run as ‘experiments’. They are either paid for by clients (always disclosed), with clients (coaching support during the process), or totally for the sake of building up a case study and having fun in the process. In this article I will show you the inside workings of this campaign. There is so much more that happens through a 15 hour campaign but this gives you some idea.
I often talk about Google+ being like surfing. You get a sense for timing after a while, and the more you are ‘in the stream’ then the more your feel the texture of the waves. On Monday, and by marvelous coincidence, Mark Zuckerberg was delivering the opening keynote at the Mobile World Congress which is being held in Barcelona, Spain. I would like to say it was consciously planned this way, it wasn’t. It just happened.
To gather data and extrapolate meaning on a community based game, using the hashtag #PlusTheZuck
There were several offer options, included #PlusTheZucker, but we guessed that could, well, er, let’s just say lead us straight into trouble!
At Plus Your Business we want to engage the community and generate case studies that enable the community as a whole to thrive. We are also available to provide such services to business. I’ve been using these approaches for almost 2 years now, and the only way you can learn is by getting your feet wet. We need case studies and experience to know what is achievable and how messages spread. Also, I am observing what could well be an exponential growth rate in the numbers needed to achieve trending spot #1. Equivalent campaigns 18 months ago had taken on average 25-50 people to reach top spots; this required more (but this is anecdotal).
People on Google+ enjoy being a part of a movement. These campaigns give people exactly that, and it is a lot of fun.
The stages of the campaign
The week before – preparation
Developing the concept (this took days to refine, and has support from Linda Dee, George Sepich and Vanessa Garcia Muela
Build a circle – I asked people whether they wanted to engage in a fun experiment (the inner circle for the campaign)
This was an opt in list of 200 people.
Publish the circle publicly
Private message – I then let the inner circle ‘in’ on what was going on
I sent out a private message saying:
Ladies and Gents! (Private message)
So, tomorrow morning my time (USA) I will make a post with:
a) a link to an image on Google+, and short message
b) an instruction to Plus One the image you will find in the post
c) a hashtag to be used (I’ve given you a clue in this post – please don’t say if you work it out, and don’t take any action yet either!)
That will be all that I post publicly.
Now, seeing as you opted into the experiment and are the ‘inner circle’ on this one, I want to give you a little more.
Firstly, I am looking to track the ‘take up rate’ outside of people who have opted in i.e. you. This will be determined by whether we reach over 200 plus ones on the image.
Secondly, we will also see if the hashtag starts to trend (depending on my post activity), the speed, the sustainability etc.
+NOD3x will kindly be tracking it all.
Thirdly, we will see whether the idea gets picked up by other people, and in particular Pages and Brands, and whether it morphs.
And a few other things too…
Want a clue as to the content? This person that has never posted, and probably never will.
Intrigued? Excited? Ready for the fun?
Good! See you tomorrow.
With this image:
This set up was crucial. On the comment thread people guessed it was Mark Zuckerberg but no-one leaked it publicly (as far as I know).*
Also note how dull this picture was compared to the ones that followed.
They are all ‘on brand’ but intending to have a different emotional response.
5.30am start – post was made publicly; notification sent to the inner circle
5.36am – realised that we could not ‘Plus’ the post, or comment on it, without the plusses ‘bouncing off’
(insert/imagine=ine a few profanities here…)
5.45am (ish) – worked out the only way was to change course – to up the number of people who had him in circle, and measure that instead.
5.46am – Squadron Leader Sepich came up with what turned out to be a great idea – just putting out a circle as well. Even though one person in a circle is more like a dot, I added this to the plan.
5.50am – communicate in all available place, editing the main post to say: “We are now going to ‘follow’ and measure the uplift.
5.51am – wriggle as people such ‘#CircleTheZuck’ (this would have been a weaker tag, imho, and also trashed the graphics created and posted!)
6.01am – Release The Circle!
i.e. the circle…
These two initial posts set the course and direction of the event that followed. All of which came from the initial seeding of to the private circle of 200 people, flowing outward and gaining pace.
6.30am onwards – the creativity kicks in with the community member fully and self generated posts i.e. not just reshares of mine, start to kick in. (This is common as a meme morphs.)
The hashtag was still used and the community leaders for the meme spreading emerge further.
1.52pm – the follow up post!
This post was then launched.
This was always the intention, but I needed to get a sense of the ‘waves’ and whether we could all surf this next one…
And it worked. There were around 200 shares, great for a second wave.
– 362 posts
– 2,936 people involved
— 49% +1
— 12% posted
— 18% re-shared
— 21% commented
Starting point (Zuck’s followers): 557,455
At 10pm first day: 658,550
At 8.20am second day: 658,987
People who took action: 1,532
As you can see, the trend was at #1 (for a couple of hours) and then moved to #2 where it stayed for most of the day.
Starting point (Zuck’s followers): 657,455
At 10pm first day: 658,550
At 8.20am second day: 658,987
People who took action within one day: 1,532
Three days later: 659.225 (as of 9.30am Thursday)
People who took action in total: 1768
(which is every interesting…)
I cannot overstate it, people want fun.
A lot of care and attention was put on the chosen hashtag: #PlusTheZuck
The decision to ‘roll with it’, not to delete comments, not to try to control it all (which is tempting).
When, after several hours, the hashtag #F***TheZuck emerged (as we predicted it would be). We decided it best not to engage. There were around 12 original posts and a few shares.
And you can see the stream for yourself here.
This was both interesting and never predictable. When Jason Robertson created a post suggesting Mark Zuckerberg had plus one’d his ones on PlusTheZuck, we got another little wave.
People believed it.
I shared it, but said ‘LOL’, everything is an experiment on the post I shared so that there was enough doubt to keep open the potential response. This is like a kicker to a gate. It enables people to simply respond naturally without the context being adjusted by the transmitter.
The post was then deleted by Jason as people started to believe it was real a little too much – Mr. Jingles (the name for the hilarious wiggling, bell shaped chap i.e. Google+ notifications mascot.)*
All fun and games.
Very often people will use the tag, and double/triple tag, in order to promote their products and services.
There was not much of this, but check out the steam to see more here.
Both Sauber F1 Team (there from the start) and the Huffington Post (used the tag appropriately with other related content) jumped in which was awesome to see. Thank you.
As you may well know, Google often generates tag based on your content and posting history.
You will find NUMEROUS examples of the #PlusTheZuck tags being added to posts that do not mention it at all.
This is an area for further investigation for sure.
On this one we let it run overnight.
As you can see from the ripple movies, shares still happened the next day:
First post timing and ripples:
The next day I decided to ‘close comments’ on the threads, and symbolically that drew the campaign to a comfortable close. The energy fades and people paddle about once again, back in the Stream.
I’ve learned a lot on the use of comments as methods of notification through running campaigns; one use being to add a message to the end of a comment thread to direct people, finalize arrangement etc. I have found around a 10-15% plus one rate (on the comment itself) using this technique. On this campaign there were 22 plusses on the final comment, showing reasonable closure for many.
People still engaged and were super creative, such as this post from Simon Richomme which came two days later.
There were a couple of comments that maybe this was ‘too much’ for one person to handle.
I left those comments on the thread, and let people know that everything was an experiment.
The wording of the posts I created were edited around about 10 times to ensure the best chance that this was all in good humour. I think that we succeeded in that was, and the with Facebook always being perceived as a rival to Google+ it was playing to a fair and reasonable crowd.
I would not suggest using this approach liberally, however, and all such campaigns require a lot of experience with a great team to make them work.
A couple of people said “why don’t we use this for something, well, useful” – exactly.
We do that all the time too, but we wanted to get some solid data on a ‘free range’ campaign.
Throughout every campaign we run we are sitting in a Google Hangout, with team members popping in and out all day. They are awesome for communication whilst these projects flow in the Google+ stream.
This is about understanding the network on Google+ and what we can all do when we work together. It is about understanding human behaviour.
Having a number one spot is not easy; and in another couple of years we will need even more amplification than now to reach it. Then there are firms that will try to buy their way to the top (in whatever way) and now the relational exchange network is forming that wants to be treated differently. They so often want to engage with the experience itself, not passively consume. Well, this is certainly true on Google+. People love to feel and be a part of something, even if that thing, that movement is only a day.
If you want to know more on the ingredients for content to go viral, then read this post from David Amerland.
Be creative, really creative. And if you can, make it fun.
And note: there was no huge budget on this, just myself and the team working together with the community.
Don’t think big budgets. Think differently about building your community around you. What to know more? Then contact us!
*yes I know, I am a total geek for saying such things.
Google+ is remarkably resistant to traditional brand marketing methods. There are specific reasons why this is and anyone involved in marketing should be aware of the reasons. Before we even get to them however let’s look at some of the basics on how information flows through a network.
When a message is sent through a network it starts off from a single point (let’s call that the Point of Origin or PO for short) which goes out to the immediate circle of friends that surround that PO (let’s call this now 1st degree connections).
A social network is by definition “a gathering of individuals into specific groups” where people can interact not just with friends but also with friends of friends. This allows a message to go from 1st degree connections to friends of friends each of whom is connected to one of our friends (let’s call this 2nd degree connections) and, through them reach a user through a friend and one of their friend (let’s call this a 3rd degree connection).
This increases the reach of the message by exponentially amplifying it through the simple act of sharing or interacting through a plus one (provided you have your settings set to allow your friends to discover content in this fashion).
To illustrate the power of the approach a study carried out by the Department of Science and Information of the University of Bologna showed that in a social network where the average number of friends per person is 51, a piece of information that propagates through it will reach over 355,000 people and when you factor in the discoverability of the information through search the total number will be over 65 million.
Before we get too excited the way more pertinent question has to be what is it that can potentially stop a piece of information from flowing through a social network?
The same study showed that it only takes some of our third degree connections to not see the message or not be online to produce gaps in the propagation flow of our information through the network. Using the language of virology those who are isolated from it are considered inoculators who basically stop the piece of information from spreading.
All of this is important because in any marketing campaign that uses Google+ it shows that what is important are not just the number of direct connections of each individual but also the willingness of the participants to work to overcome the gaps in the social network that are naturally produced by the inoculators.
In plain speak the harder people work to spread the message the wider it is seen and the further it travels.
This reduces the successful social network marketing formula to three key ingredients:
1. Points of Origin or Flash Points through key figures (let’s call them influencers). Influencers are important because they have a large number of 1st degree connections and this allows the message to be seen widely in the very first instance.
2. A resonance of the information with the influencer’s connections. This is important. We have seen that in order for a message to flow through a social network and overcome the natural barriers created by inoculators that stop it in its tracks it requires impetus. This means work by the connectors to actually promote it. Unless the piece of information (which in this case is a marketing campaign) resonates with their sense of shared values or expectations, this is unlikely to happen in any number sufficiently large to create a viral spread of the message.
3. An amplification of the signal by other influencers. We get so very few marketing campaigns or posts that go viral that it is worth noting that unless the message is picked up and amplified by other influencers it is unlikely to travel very far through the social network.
So how did the #Kraftycooking campaign go? Well, to begin with the initial ingredients were all there. The campaign was intended to test how a big brand might use Google+ to reach a wider audience. Kraft was picked because it is not very prevalent as a brand through Google+ and the results were going to be relatively unpolluted by other efforts. The #Kraftycooking hashtag was unique and the group of influencers willing to work to promote it in waves was part of the initial test group.
There are two key points here that are critical. First, the test nature of the campaign changed the dynamic governing the resonance of the information with each influencer’s immediate network (our 2nd important ingredient). Second, the influencers gathered to help promote this campaign were already disparate as a group, connected through their friendship and interest in social networks and marketing in Google+ rather than food. This is important because it introduces an advantage over how the information is spread. Namely by starting off with such a diverse base the possibility of the marketing content going viral was increased.
The Flash Points were provided by Chef Dennis Littley and Ronnie Bincer and the original vehicle was HOAs. For the purposes of the week-long effort (January 7th – 15th) the metrics used to establish success were the popularity of the hashtag, the engagement level across the platform in the number of posts, and the total number of views. Deeper engagement was calculated by way of comments which are also used to determine sentiment for the brand.
Beyond the requirements to be creative, use Cracker Barrel and Cheese (and the #Kraftycooking hashtag somewhere in the post) and have fun there were no other restrictions imposed. This allowed for some novel creativity in user-generated content.
Martin Shervington brought the broader community together and managed the campaign at this point.
Here is a quick overview of the content:
The #KraftyCooking hashtag trended on Google+ within hours of the campaign getting under way.
The campaign also generated over 6,000 pages in Google search based on the hashtag here.
Pages indexed in Google search lead to a citation-effect rise in rankings for Kraft brand products. They also increase the overall visibility of the brand in Google search encouraging both serendipitous discovery and helping it surface in more, relevant search queries in future.
Ronnie Bincer’s post on the campaign, currently is at the #1 slot of Google search for the search query: “Kraft Cooking Campaign on G+” with the #3 slot occupied by Chef Dennis Littley
Geographically the campaign involved countries where Kraft products in general and Cracker Barrel Cheese in particular, were available. This focused the campaign to the UK and the continental United States. Interestingly there was overspill activity, given the very public nature of the G+ platform, to Africa, South America, Indonesia and The Philippines. As a point for further study and speculation this approach may make brand testing and/or preparation of the ground for bigger campaigns cheaper and easier by raising brand awareness through social media use in countries where traditional media still holds sway.
At its broadest funnel the campaign generated 3.5 million views on G+ alone. There were 454 traceable hashtagged posts within G+ over the week of the campaign. Some produced as many as 57,000 views while others as low as 204. The number of potential views was calculated using a sampling method of 17 randomly selected posts. After normalizing the average by getting rid of the two highest and two lowest posts in the number of views an average figure of 7,504 views per post was arrived at. The actual number of total views may well be higher.
Its view generation on search and through individual blogger efforts was not tabulated for the purposes of this exercise.
There were 454 traceable, #kraftycooking hashtagged posts in G+ within that timeframe. Just over half of them (56% a.k.a. 258) contained a link in them leading to a blog post which featured a recipe and mentioned Kraft products (Cracker Barrel Cheese in this case) in some context.
There was a close correlation of +1 activity to comments signifying a high level of engagement that becomes deeper the moment we also factor in reshares.
At the height of the campaign had achieved tremendous post velocity with a new hashtagged post appearing every 6.9 minutes between 7th January and 9th January.
In terms of lessons the success of the #Kraftycooking campaign and its lingering visibility in Google search for the hashtag show a number of key insights:
Brand marketing cannot happen in a vacuum where the brand tries to go it alone. It really needs to develop a network of trusted influencers that will help it spread its message. This requires work in order for the relationship to really work.
Influencers are key because they act like Trust Agents. Without them a marketing message cannot overcome the naturally occurring inoculators that stop the flow of information from flowing through a social network.
Impetus is required. The marketing message has to have values that go beyond the simple marketing of “buy my stuff”.
Reinforcement is necessary. In the #Kraftycooking campaign the ‘marketing message’ was picked up and reinforced by the participating influencer profiles because they were already involved. What’s more, their involvement and the nature of the campaign (i.e. a test) convinced others to get involved. Any marketing campaign will have to work out its reinforcement points carefully in order to continue the momentum.
Key to all this, of course, are the values we have always known drive Google+ and, really, the semantic web: Trust, Identity, Authority. They made the whole thing possible in the first place and we could argue that a brand that does not have them in place will fail to engage even when its strategy is valid, anyway.
Thank you to everyone who trusted us and got involved in this community campaign.
I bet you are wondering what kind of KraftyCooking you can do when running a cooking show or demonstration using Google Plus Hangouts?
Well, it takes some imagination and some extra effort to pull off an engaging and helpful live show, but these 5 chefs have done just that… so we label them all as Krafty Chefs.
Each of the Chefs interviewed are very familiar with the cooking show concept and have made them work in one way or another with Google’s Hangouts or Hangouts on Air broadcasting tool.
I utilized the Private HOA option to reach out and interview all five Chefs. I asked them all similar questions to start out regarding how their KraftyCooking efforts worked out, and then we let the questions/comments fly on their own.
Each of the interviews are between 12 and 15 minutes long.
So, why not check out your favorite chef first? And then check the rest! You will enjoying meeting them and hearing their different foody perspectives on it all.
Here you go…
“My name is Dennis Littley or “Chef Dennis” as I’m known both at work and across the blogsphere, I am an Executive Chef, Culinary Instructor, Recipe Developer and most recently an Award Winning Food Blogger and Photographer.”
“I’m extremely easy-going and have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. I also have a burning passion for cooking and because of it, I currently own and operate a small private catering business – Island Cuisine.”
“I’m a foodie, plain and simple. I love to cook; I love to eat; I love to watch people eat what I cook. I believe sustainably produced food and wine taste better and are healthier for people and planet. I’m also a writer, entrepreneur, tree-hugger and 24/7 Mom. I believe happy people don’t want to blow up the planet; they want to save it.”
“After teaching special ed for many years, I decided to follow my passion. This took me to culinary school, into fine dining pastry development and production, and finally to my computer where I now combine teaching with pastry/baking through my site and blog, YouTube channel and most recently in G+ Hangouts on Air.”
Each of the Chefs that were interviewed one-on-one will be joining into a group discussion via a Hangout on Air Event on the 8th of January 2014. Click here for #KraftyCooking Five Chefs’ Stories Live and Uncensored Event.
The live event will have the Chef panel reunion where they all share some behind the scenes secrets as well as discuss the various cooking memory dishes that they and others have featured in the #KraftyCooking campaign.
If you can’t join us live, please visit the event page to find the recording of the show.