Posts Tagged 'Blogging'

March 16, 2011

Everything Counts - Social Media Measurement

Here I sit on another flight back to Dallas, and I just finished my movie. What's the best way to spend the rest of the "air time?" Viola - another blog! Your heart is likely aflutter as you wonder what on earth I've come up with to post this time.

After rummaging through the topics bouncing around in my head, I figure it's time for another Social Media blog. I've been tasked with defining the ROI for our social media strategy. Sounds easy, right? You'd be surprised.

Sure, our social media work is well planned out. Our team includes one full time ninja and a few other utility players that span other departments. Our strategy includes all kinds of tactics which we use to let the world (or our corner of it) know about speaking engagements, conferences, new product releases, updated product releases, changes to our website and portal, maintenance windows, outages, etc. (I'd get into more specifics about the tactics, but they are so classified that even I don't know many of them).

So with something so defined and so well thought out, it must be really simple to see if we are #Winning, right? Well not really. Just the other day at the IDC Directions 2011 in Boston @erintraudt, used a great quote from Einstein to explain exactly how difficult it can be to quantify your results: "Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." Every good marketing boss would love to be able to say, "We tweet this, we Facebook that, and we get this and that out of it every time," but as you know, it just doesn't work that way.

I will say that after listening to the panels and hearing how the big companies are attacking social media, I think we are years ahead of them in the game. The big ideas they are coming up with are things we tried two years ago, and we already know the pros and cons of those approaches.

I might not be able to hand you a spreadsheet with exactly how many sales and a given social campaign will have on our brand, but we're starting to use a lot of pretty cool tools (some from our customers) to start figuring it all out. Maybe the ninja should be put on the case too.

What do you use to measure social media impact of your campaigns? Do you have a product or service we can check out?

What I can tell you is this: Our first concerted twitter campaign went much better than expected, and while I'm not at liberty to share many details, we think reaching a lot of relevant people who engaged with our content is a distinct measure of success. Even better: We paid less than $2.00 to do so!

I'll take those kinds of results any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

-Skinman

Categories: 
June 23, 2008

Writing a Blog is Hard

A blog is a strong commitment. I mean, if you just set up a web page, it's obvious that you're going to update occasionally, maybe once or twice a month, add a new page or two. I've seen viable websites that haven't been updated since before Y2K. But it's OK, because it's a website. Not so with a blog! If you set up a blog engine*, you're not allowed to make just one or two updates a month. You have to keep the pump primed with awesome content.

Most of this just has to do with the design of a blog engine. For one, each post is stamped with a date. The assumption seems to be that if you have a date on something, the date is important. The date on a carton of milk tells you when to drink it by, so maybe the date on a blog post is also some kind of content expiration date? The assumption seems to be that dates on text mean that you want people to notice the date and act upon it. Not to mention that most blog engines have some kind of calendar that points to listings of posts by date. If you have a calendar widget that only has one or two days highlighted, the assumption is you don't care about your blog or something.

Again, it's not any kind of failure, it's just what's expected. Blogs all look similar: they have a home page of posts, which link to full post pages. Pages are tagged for quick taxonomy identification and grouping. Blogs also generally allow comments, upping the conversational angle. So you have to keep your blog pumping content. I've discovered three different schemes of blog content generation:

The Panic Morning News: The Panic Morning News is a strategy where a blogger panics, struggling to create content every day. What you end up with is some content which is well written, and some content that seems to be filler, designed to put something up to fill this day's update.

The Anything Goes Times: These are the blogs where you find incredibly boring posts about accounting suddenly appearing in between exciting posts. I'm not saying that accounting is boring, per se, more that suddenly discovering a post about accounting sandwiched between a post about video games and exploding cars sticks out. Of course, these blogs generally are a kind of string of consciousness blogs, where the blogs are more of a “What am I thinking now” type blog.

The Who Cares Star-Telegram: These are the trailblazers who don't care that you think they're lame for having only one or two posts a month. Their posts are well written, and it becomes obvious that, to them, a blog is more a Content Management Engine* than a two-way communication medium.

But this isn't just a blogging phenomenon… it happens with anything that updates daily. Comic strips and books, websites, news feeds. And filler content usually follows some kind of pattern. For comics, a comic/cartoon character is usually put into a silly situation for a day. Batman has a birthday party thrown by Joker and the Penguin, or Naruto goes on a tangent about ramen noodles for a whole episode. Blogs and Webcomics tend to have their own special type of ‘filler,' usually they have a whole update talking about how difficult it is to write blogs and/or webcomics.

-Shawn

* NOTE: If you want the convenience of a blog without the expectations of daily updates, look at making a wiki or use a Content Management System like Drupal.

Categories: 
October 17, 2007

ISPCON Update: Blogging/Social Marketing Impact

ISPCON Update: Blogging/Social Marketing Impact – Do ya Digg?

With ISPCON starting today I thought it would be interesting to hear what companies and individuals in the ISP space are talking about when it comes to social medias, blogging and any other real user experience methods that are taken to attain and retain a customer base in the ISP world. After all, Softlayer is a cousin (be it distant cousin) of the ISP world and most of our executive management team has all lived the ISP experience at one time in our careers.

The session "using social networking and Web 2.0 to market your business" started off with an extremely interesting video that can be seen here:


Since it was voted one of the more famous YouTube videos, I might be one of the only ones that had not seen it yet, but nevertheless it is a cool look at Web 2.0 (and much more).

There are a few key themes that were driven home during the discussion.

Web 2.0 in its simplest form is user-generated and manipulated content. In technical terms its AJAX, Feeds and Simplicity. The Myspace, Facebook and Youtube phenomenon are drivers of this and we are seeing a huge influx of follow-on companies that are utilizing the common theme of user-generated content to monetize applications throughout the internet. An example of this would be the Facebook open API being used to build gadgets. One gadget cited is a whiteboard application allowing multiple users to collaborate in Facebook and through ad-generated monetization, an obscene number of nearly $100,000USD per month was being attributed to the creator.

Blogging is the real Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Living in the world of Buzz words, it's hard to read any tech publications these days without stumbling across SEO. What is it? Well, no one really knows, but it's some magic that companies are buying into which get them to the front of the search line, so to speak. The concept that blogging is the real SEO is because blogging is very close and very niche to the topics that are being blogged about. If I am a used car dealership in Dallas and I blog about my weekend sale in Dallas, it would make sense that when someone searches for used cars in Dallas, that you cannot get more directly connected. It all makes sense, now it's just how the information is dispersed which leads me to the last point that was driven home.

Tagging is critical to all socialization, blogging, and web 2.0 applications that you may be trying to publish for mass consumption. Since the eyeballs are critical it is key that the use of tagging and linking are used to increase the reach of your user generated-content. For example, the use of Digg, Reddit, and Del.icio.us are key drivers of eyeballs to your content. Tag it all, Tag it often and the eyeballs will follow.

So, when I publish this blog I am sure to Tag it with; Softlayer, Webhosting, Web 2.0, etc. Let's see if my social experiment will pay off and someone out there will Digg this!

-Sean

September 14, 2007

Blogging while Dryping

I get bored while driving to work so today I decided to Blog on the way to work. There are no corrections to what follows so easy on the spelling and grammar errors, you would make them too!

So I drive about 1 hour to work everyday and I deciced on the way that the other kinman's acct blogs were too hard. Almost like homework and I decided it was time to blog while dryping. Dryping isd driving while typing. Its a very unsafe practice but I like living on the edge. I walk on banana peels too! Back to dryping, we all carry blackberries to make sure we can rapidly respond so that is what is making this possible. I have the 8700c with the full keyboard. There are 2 types of dryping single thumb and dual thumb. So far this has been all single thumb. Update I am 0sabout 1/3 of the way in. Single thumb is self explanatory one hand on the wheel and one on the phone. Dual thumb dryping is best in traffic or at red lights. Amazingly I get more people honking at me when dual thumbing at redlights. I. Must forget I am supposed to go on green. Unfortunatly my phone has no camera or I could be taking pictuires of the trip. Ok halfway and my thumb is tired. A big van behind me would like me to speed up. Btw this is a 41 mile trip so I have a tiny car that gets great mileage. So the van looks really big in the mirror. You' in the white van' if you read this, don't tailgate the echo! 20 minutes left and almost on the freeway for a little dryping while going 80. 80 is interesting because it makes your thumb feel as it should be dryping faster. So I came up with th word dryping a few years back; if I have since been copied I was first; and my goal was to hear them use the word on OC and I never did. Did you? I guess we will never know now. Now I have to think of what show it should appear on now. I would say "Lost" ut they only had one van and one satellite phone and I think they finally broke both. Maybe they can say it in high school musical 3. Ok 7 minutes to go I better wrap it up. If I sideswiped your mirror in the making of this blog my apologies but I do have insurance. Technology is cool. I have left all grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors intact for the full affect. Ok, oi know I can't do much better on a real keyboard with help from spellcheckers or dictionaries and thesauruses but it sounded good. Last exit. Tollbooth. Redlight. Dual thumbs enabled well that was short lived. Have a great day. And no dryping allowed. Professionals only. Key off

We like metrics, here are some stats from the trip above. The trip took 59 Minutes and is 41.8 miles. The blog is 452 words and 2300 characters including the spaces. That works out to 38.98 characters per minutes and 55 character per mile. Out of 452 words I see 12 misspelled or mistyped and 3 punctuation errors that weren’t intended. So I asked the other Kinman (Financial Wizard) what percentage was typed correctly and he gave me 96.68%. So now you know if a customer has an urgent need and I am mobile I can still take care of it at 38.98 characters per minute with almost a 97% accuracy while Dryping!!

-Skinman

Categories: 
June 4, 2007

Why Finance Guys Don't Blog

Q4UY don’t finance guys blog much? If j00 post “IAAA” and talk of KPIs, EVA, and other TLAs, readers think listening to this llama is a CWOT and say “CYAL8R”. CMIIW but hosting demand r0x0rs. The SMB market sk00lz all else but there are other factors. I’ll mention just a couple here:

I’ll call one the “middle school” factor. I have a 13 year-old boy. He and his classmates are absolutely addicted to Internet chatting. He’ll open six or more windows at once and at least four of them are girls who are also chatting with IDK, their BFFs AFAIK. They will ROTFLOL for hours even if OMG, PAW. It’s NBD to them.

I doubt that as these kids grow up they’ll give up the chat habit, and the n00bs that come along will only add to the ranks. Thus, another driver of internet fundamentals grows seemingly forever and demands more servers to relay the ever growing messages.


I’ll call the other factor the “mullet factor”. I knew our CEO back in the 80’s and he sported quite the mullet, I can assure you (see image to the left for proof).

Punch in the word “mullet” into Google and in .05 seconds you’ll get links to about 3.8 million web sites somehow related to mullets. w00t! A few are related to the fish, but most have to do with the hairstyle. YKW, these websites have to live on a server somewhere. Strange websites like this only seem to proliferate over time. AWHFY?

-Gary

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