I recently heard about a site called Klout, which apparently is a scoring mechanism that gauges your social reach. I have no idea how it works, and I’m not sure I care all that much, especially after I visited the site.
It sounded like a neat idea at first. So I went to the site’s home page and it gave me some marketing scoop about how I needed to know my Klout score. In order to get any further information I had to sign up. But here’s the thing… I can’t just sign up. I have to sign up with either Twitter or Facebook.
I’m very protective of my Facebook account. Although I use it for business, I don’t let “just anybody” gain access to it. I don’t use any apps (except HootSuite) and I don’t play games. If I do let a site use my Facebook account, it’s with very limited access.
Klout on the other hand wanted access to all my friends, all my posts, and my pages. Um, no, I don’t think so.
So I signed up with Twitter, which to me posed no threat. After this, Klout took me to another screen asking me to add my Facebook account. Skip! On the next screen I was told I have score of -23. Just kidding, it was higher than that, but not much. So the bottom line is that Klout wants me to connect my Facebook page, Like it’s Facebook page, and tell all my friends about it. Then it will up my score.
I’m sorry, what benefit am I getting out of this again?
My rant is getting off track. What I really wanted to point out is that this seems to be the beginning of a bad trend. Many sites I sign up for want me to use my Facebook account to sign up. I know why they want me to do this, because they get huge benefits. But how does this help me? How does it make my life better, easier, funner, or more valuable?
I really think this is getting out of hand. The world wide web has become one big churning roiling marketing mechanism. The marketers clearly win by getting access to our information (which most people, unbelievably, freely give). But hat do we, the consumers, get? A better score. Seriously?
Am I just jaded because of the business I’m in? Let me know what you think.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project just released another study indicating that social media is not where most people find local businesses.
It continues to baffle me that so many small businesses are taken in by the hype of social media to the extent that they are starting to lose focus on the big picture. Social media is important yes, people use social media for both personal communication and getting information, but it’s not the ONLY method they use. And different demographic groups use it in different ways and for different purposes.
The study indicates a strong tendency for people to get information about local community events, services, establishments, and news in multiple ways. TV, newspaper, radio, Internet, word of mouth (phone, text, email, chat, face-to-face) are all still important channels of communication in peoples’ lives when it comes to local information. People make judgements about the strength and validity of the information based both on who stated it and how they came across it.
So when it comes to your marketing, don’t bet the farm on Facebook, you need to create a variety of mechanisms to consistently communicate your brand message. You need to understand your audience and how each communication channel “fits” your company’s culture and your products and services. This is why I tout a strategic approach to Internet marketing.
The Pew organization is highly trustworthy and their research is widely valued. It’s worth your time to read the study if you can. It’s long so if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, at least read Part 5: The Role of the Internet.
I’ve been telling my clients for years, “Don’t get too comfortable with your Social Media marketing, it’s going to change tomorrow.” You may have noticed Facebook’s recent plethora of changes. They’ve changed the newsfeed (again), added a timeline (questionable usefulness), and they’re reducing the value of the Like button. Wait… what was that???
That’s right. The ubiquitous Like button, which has become so much a part of our online lives, is evolving into more of a voting mechanism. In my opinion, this is great news.
So what does this mean to you? You’ve spent countless hours and maybe thousands of dollars, increasing your “Likers” on your Facebook business page. It always seemed almost ridiculous to me, that we as marketers should be practically driven into a frenzy of getting people to “follow” our brand. 90% of our messages get ignored anyway. This is why small business marketers say their Facebook page doesn’t work for them. At least not in the sense that it gets them any business.
Users will now have a way to “vote” on content. To me this makes a whole helluva lot more sense. It means the boring, all-about-me promotional content that we see so much of can now get voted down into oblivion, while the interesting cool stuff will get promoted to the top.
This is one Facebook change I can hang my hat on. From both a consumer’s side and a marketer’s side. From a consumer’s side I will no longer have to tolerate crap on my Fb feed. From a marketer’s side I will have a lot less competition, and my truly authentic and valuable message will clearly shine amongst the drivel.
Not that I think for a moment that the spammers won’t come up with some way of getting around it. Like hiring legions of $2/hr off-shore teenagers to Vote Up the crap content they post for their clients. Black hat will always exist, but somehow the brains behind the beasts (Google, Facebook, etc.) will continue to find ways to combat it. Good for them. And for us.
I invite you to read Mashable’s blog post, which was my source for this post, at: http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebooks-changes-marketers
Last week Colonial Beach Virginia got hit with 21″ of rain in less than 48 hours. People said it wasn’t even coming in drops, it was coming in sheets. Here where I live, an hour away, it was raining too. It rained for days and it was discouraging and frustrating and everyone was complaining. But it was nothing like Colonial Beach got.
I have property down there, with renters. They were having problems (water coming in the house, etc.) and wanted to know what to do. I was utterly helpless. I had no idea what was going on, and even they didn’t know. Apparently the whole town was drowning but nobody could tell me anything, even the fire chief told my husband “Don’t come here, you can’t get through.” All the roads were closed.
Fortunately for social media and the up to the minute online news feeds of my local paper, I was able to glean a little bit of what was happening down there. I even made phone calls to other people I know who lived in the town, to see if they knew anything. One person told me “when I left yesterday everything was fine.” Um… yeah… thanks.
My only source of reliable information was the Internet. That in and of itself is not that big of a revelation. The thing is… the information came to me from other people. Citizens. Regular people. Not the police, not the fire department, not the town officials, no spokespeople. Just regular folks. Neighbors and concerned citizens. From near-real-time comments on news stories to friends on Facebook, I managed to piece together what was happening down there.
Even the online news stories were only able to give a quick snapshot of what was known at a particular time. [Actually the newspaper's Facebook page did a better job of offering regular updates than their web site did.] But the comments people made on the news story kept coming in, with people offering observations, comments, helpful advice, and neighborly support. People banded together during a difficult and scary time, and helped each other get through.
For all the issues I have about social media, this experience was a real sanity-saver for me. It didn’t keep the ceiling in the kitchen from falling down, but it helped me hold it together, and made me appreciate the real value of social media.
[This is part 8 of the series "Debunking the Myths of E-Mail Marketing."]
I wonder how many people reading this can honestly say “I never use email.” How could this myth possibly be true? How would we communicate without email? Let’s explore the alternatives.
By Phone. What a concept! Anybody under 25 doesn’t even answer their own cell-phone (just ask my 24-year old step-son), they only respond to text messages. And speaking of which…
Texting. I love texting, it’s highly useful, but it’s no replacement for email. First of all you can’t format a text message, which would drive me nuts after a while. Second, you can’t have conversations with groups of people over text. And finally, you can’t organize them or follow threads. I’m sure there are lots of other reasons… it’s just too ridiculous to even try to enumerate them.
Facebook. Unless you’re constantly on Facebook, or log into it several times a day, you wouldn’t be able to use it in the same way as email. Every time I go into Facebook I lose time because I’m compelled to check and see what everyone’s up to. It’s designed that way! Very inefficient for a professional trying to get her work done.
Instant message. Basically it’s the same as texting but can also be done on computers via chat services like AIM and Jabber. Same comments as above.
Twitter. Really? Most people I know don’t even use Twitter, much less understand all the nuances and etiquette known only to the hard-core users.
In-person. This one makes me nostalgic. It’s not that I yearn for the old days when my father-in-law used to just “drop by” our house to say hi, and stay for 2 hours. But there’s something to be said for face to face communications. It just can’t replace e-mail.
As recent as last October, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report that found that more than 90% of the population who uses the internet use it for e-mail. I’m not sure what the other “less than 10%” use, but this factoid being from a highly trustworthy source tells me that email is not going away any time soon.
* * *
Check out my new eBook, “The 3 Secrets of Online Marketing Success” which you can download for free at FreeWebMarketingEbook.com.
EMarketingConnection.com is the place to go for support, community, and resources for your internet marketing programs.
Focusing completely on small businesses, EMarketingConnection.com is a membership site exclusively for those of us who understand the power of the internet and want to successfully leverage it to promote our business and boost sales.
With three membership levels (starting at free!) there is something for everyone at EMarketingConnection.com.
See you there!