Mashable, Techcrunch, Gizmodo and Huffington Post posts are re-tweeted over and over again. Brian Sollis, Seth Godin and a couple more bloggers’ posts are all over Twitter and other social media channels. Even traditional news and media publishers now have vast social media presence. I can only praise the great quality of these bloggers, thinkers, thoughts leaders, reporters and analytical brains. I have one small observation: lately, social media and twitter in particular, are making it actually hard for me to share yours!
- It is hard for me to share links from the sources mentioned above. When I see it, the link is already shared so many times, and across so many social media outlets, that there is no point for me to share it again. It seems as if these blog posts are everywhere almost as soon as they come out.
- It is getting hard to find the second and third tier of bloggers. Maybe here lies the new potential for services like blog and twitter search engines. Give me the option to exclude the top 10, 100, 1000 most known/shared blogs.
- This is why I don’t like Digg but I do like StumbleUpon!
- I like to get to know some bloggers from the new long tail – the bloggers from the old one seems to move up to the bell area and joined the mass media.
The irony is that sharing is one of the Social Media corner stones.
Cognitive dissonance (from Wikipedia) – is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena.
Do you share more or less lately? How do you find more interesting bloggers?
picture credit oddsock
This new book just came out (October 19, 2009) but I think that it is becoming the Marketing department’s new baby. The book covers many areas of Internet Marketing practices, including content creation and management, SEO and product awareness, Social Media, Leads and customer conversion (including Landing Page optimization and Call to Actions page construction).
I read a lot of blogs and more than few books about Social Media and Internet Marketing over the last couple of years, but I did discover something new to try in almost every chapter that I’ve read (I did not read the entire book yet, I’ve read selected chapters only from lack of time). Sharing what works, what doesn’t and what worth trying is probably one of the secrets for success in the “How To” publishing business whether it is blog, eBook or book . In this book the two authors Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) and Brian Halligan (@BHalligan) did a great job suggesting lots of small fruitful actionable steps to take. The book also comes with relevant real-life examples to learn from.
Here are couple of great quotes that are quoted in this book:
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer” Peter Drucker
“In God we trust, all others bring data” W. Edwards Deming”
Summary: if you are new to Internet Marketing and Social Media, then reading Inbound marketing and learning from these authors’ experience will save you months of wondering in the long tail desert. If you are savvy I+S Marketer, then expect to learn few new tricks and to get reinforcement to some of the things that you’ve already noticed.
The most significant change to my reading habits since I started reading blogs is that I started reading a lot more blogs. What that I lately realized is that there are growing number of different options for getting blog posts streamed to my browser.
- Pros: Since I check my email regularly I know that I will not miss it.
- Cons: I will probably get the post few hours later and if there is something “hot” to share it might get cold by the time that I will see it.
- Use: This subscription option is only reserved for few blogs that I know will provide information that has value (above and) beyond the day of publication.
Reader subscription (RSS)
- Pros: Fast to receive and fast to read. Especially, if you are using GoogleReader and invest the time to learn some of its cool shortcuts.
- Cons: You have to know what to look for. It takes time to build and organize reach blogs list. There is only a little room for serendipity.
- Use: It is a great way to keep half open eye on lots of blogs. It is also possible to see it like a magazine start page via feedly.
Tag based real-time subscription
- What is Tag based Real-Time subscription? Using new technology and real-time protocols like RSSCloud and PubSubHubBub, blog service like wordpress, can notify us about new blog posts as soon as they are published. Let’s leave the buzz word for a minute because in my mind this is only half of the big news. The second half of the change is that it is tag based. If you don’t know what tag and tagging is please read Wikipedia explanation here. Let’s go for a use case to explain the value of this new capability. Let’s say that I like to read about Social Media. The way that I did it in that past was to Google “Social Media”, or to set a Google Alert looking for web pages with the “Social Media” keyword. I could also check the Wordpres tags page searching for the Social Media tag. These option are all either slow or tedious.
The new real-time RSS protocols are tag based. In human language it means that it is possible to retrieve new blog post by tags.With the adoption of these new real-time protocols and the fact that they are tag based, it is possible to get new blog posts while they are still “hot and fresh” into your browser. Service like LazyFeed let you list several tags to listen to. You can read more here. Now, back to our use case. I can add the socialmedia tag (no space is allowed) to my tag list and start reading new fresh blog posts about this subject.
- Pros: I don’t have to know the blog name, url, or feed url like in the Reader subscription case. I can just listen to certain tag(s). I get new blog posts as soon as they are published. I get a chance to lean about new blogs and blogger that I can later promote to one of the other subscription way. Tags are not hierarchical but they are associated somehow (some times hierarchically) so I can drill down to switch listening using related tags.
- Cons: Not all blog services adopted this protocols yet. Some time it is just too fast. I would like to see more invested in the usability and scalability on the client side. It would be nice to be able to combine both the Reader and Tag Based Real-time subscription in a single tool.
- Use: It is a great way to learn about new blogs and bloggers. It is a great way to find new content for sharing on Twitter.
Just remember that blogs reading leads to more blog reading:)
So, how do you take your blog?
In my quest to understand phenomena on the web (webnomena) I spent the past few months learning about what that I now call the professional online micro-businesses phenomenon. I plan to share more findings about running a micro-busienss in future post(s) and I’m in the midst of writing an eBook about… well I will wait with this for a little longer.
My definition for professional online micro-business owner: A professional online micro-business owner is an entity who is building a web asset. Size-wise, it is a single or couple of people business at the most. Some of the common methods that micro-businesses are using to generate their revenue includes: blogging sponsorship, Affiliated Marketing, selling eBooks, selling virtual goods, consulting, and more. Since micro-business is lean on resources its owner has to be knowledgeable in all the aspect of the trade and also to be able to find cheap, and better free, available resources and tools.
So, how do you become one? What ground do you need to cover?
If I had to build the curriculum for the professional online micro-business owner degre, this is how it would look like. One thing is for sure – it takes time. I could see these four semesters span over a year, two or even more. The list of subjects below is far from complete but I think that these are the essential skills to become a well rounded professional who can run his own online business today. Even if you are not interested in making money online but you do want to learn about social media tools and marketing, blogging, self branding and how the online micro-businesses wo rls work check out these excellent resources.
Semester I – basic skills:
|Blogging and building relationships||Chris Brogan||Bonus: marketing, self help and inspiration|
|Social Media and tools||Danny Brown||Bonus: blogging for a good cause|
|Search engines, searching technologies, and methods||Charles Knight and Danny Sullivan||Bonus: Real-time search, and crowd sourcing search|
Semester II – pro-blogging:
|Technology||Michael Arrington||Bonus: the connection between strong blogging voice and readers engagement|
|Professional blogging||Darren Rowse||Bonus: sell with pride|
|Online revenue||RevNews||Bonus: getting also the Affiliated Marketer point of view|
|Self starting and multiple streams of online income||Caroline Middlebrook||Bonus: finding more great resources for making money on the web|
Semester III – marketing:
|Digital marketing||Christopher Penn||Bonus: what is podcamp?|
|Social media PR and Marketing||Amber Naslund||Bonus: learn to listen to the web|
|Community/Tribes building||Seth Godin||Bonus: out of the box thinking|
|Personal Branding||Dan Schawbel||Bonus: follow him on Twitter|
Semester IV – advance skills
|SEO – Search Engine Optimization||Brad Callen, the team at SEOmoz and more||Covers both off and on page SEO|
|Web-analytics||Avinash Kaushik||Seriously consider buying his book(s)|
|Web-strategy||Jeremiah Owyang||Bonus: getting the corporate point of view|
|Web-automation||ProgrammableWeb, and Dion Hinchcliffe||Bonus: speaking JSON|
The fun part about being an online micro-business owner is that there is always more to learn, like: SEM and how to live a Second Life. In my opinion the key to success is to quickly exercise what that you’ve just learned.
What did I miss? Do you see a degree or certificate in professional online micro-business management in the future?
Update 10-29-09: If you like this blog post and want to learn more about building high value twitter accounts for marketing, selling, networking, influence or any other purposes please consider reading my eBook: Timing the tweet
Note: as you can see this is my personal web-site and not an online micro-business:)
Quickly after I started using real-time conversational search engines it becomes apparent that the crowd sourcing is sometime more like a herd sourcing. People retweet (re-share items on Twitter) blindly and carelessly. Here are the three things to consider before you retweet.
The short retweet checklist:
- How close you are to the news origin? Search the tweet or link using Twitter Search, MicroPlazza or any other microblogging search engine to see how many times it was retweeted before yours. In the case from the picture above it was “only” 972 times. If the link was shorten by bit.ly you can also see link’s statistics such as the time line and clicks count. Between these three tools you can tell how old this “news” is.
- Check if it is not a hoax – some people takes advantage of the fact that so many other people are eager to be among the first one to break the news. This one is tricky and everyone cal fall for it but I follow my father’s advice – “if there is a doubt there is not doubt”. Some news really sounds fishy:) I also noticed that people were still retweeting the false story even way after others were retweeting that it was a hoax.
- Will it waste people’s time – this is something that I’m struggling with lately. As the number of people that follow me on Twitter grows, I feel more and more responsible for not wasting their time. I find myself checking and rechecking if the link, tweet or retweet delivers any value. I’m asking myself if I learned anything from the blog’s post or article that I just read or if the twitter fellow I’m about to recommend to others is really that good.
It is OK to retweet, it is the bridge between twitter’s remote social branches for passing content through. I only suggest to run this short retweet checklist prior. It will help you to become a better social media broadcaster and appreciated by your followers.
Do you have more items to add to this retweet checklist?
I wonder if I’ll ever see any retweet of my content after this post:)
Social media may sounds too simple: sharing, caring, and link love. It is tempting to jump right in, getting on-board without planing. Although that might work well for the individual, I don’t recommend it to the business. The company should think about goals, content, expectations, and strategy, before making the leap in. Here are 10 questions that the company may start with.
10 practical questions about Social Media
- What should an established company blog about?
- What should a start-up company blog about?
- What should both company types avoid writing about?
- Should you be on Twitter (a question for the CEO/Founder)?
- Should you have a personal Twitter account in addition to the venture account? Should you use both in conjunction (a question for the CEO/Founder)?
- Whom should the corporate invite to write on its blog ( from within and the outside)?
- How does a thought leader looks like?
- How do you project an Executive Presence on social media channels?
- Assuming value using Social Media, how long do you expect till it materialized (a question for the venture leaders)?
- What do you expect to drive using social media tools: leads generation/traffic, brand marketing/monitoring/web presence, relationship building/corporate development, else?
Is this how a thought leader looks like?
In order to come up with the right strategy for an effective use of social media, these questions, among others, should be discussed. Participation in Social digital media is an on-going effort, one that requires an investment of company time and resources. It is a cross-functional effort with multiple stakeholders. Having clear expectations for the effort level required from each organizational function, is crucial.
I think that it is possible to come up with good answers to most of the questions above (and I don’t claim to be a Social Media expert).
Other questions are still open and will require more research:
Are social media values quantifiable? How? What are the measures?
Large corporation should invest time searching for social media measures and ROI. A large corporate, with Marketing budget that could be allocated across multiple channels, will have to identify and monitor different indicators in order to justify an investment in social media. Even prior to adding social media channels and tools, the company must evaluates its commitment level for participation in social media.
For a small start-up company where Social Media is, by large, the cheapest way around for building presence in the market (for both targeting investments and market penetration) the ROI question is almost irrelevant. The investment is small in compare to other means of branding and the results are potentially dramatic. A single lead can make a critical difference to the start-up survival chances. Being reviewed by an influencing blogger can drive traffic and product adoption. Getting feedback or advice from fans and followers may get the company/product on the right track.
Prior to adding social media to the mix, no matter what type of organization you run, think about the 10 questions above (and some more). There are great resources out there that can help you to start on the right foot. The best advice I should give you is to start reading blogs.
What other questions about social media should be asked?
Btw, the picture above was taken by me while visiting the Sidney Zoo in Australia (2005).
The new cool moms
If you are in the blogsphere long enough it is hard not to notice cool mom’s blogs, blogs networks, and twitter streams. Sometime employed and other times staying at home moms are sharing their stories, knowledge and life using social networks and tools. Whenever I land on a cool mom blog (oftentimes, thanks to Twitter) I never leave it before reading the About page. This page usually tell me about the mom author’s past education, employment and the current family status. In most cases it reflects well how talented, smart and driven that blogger is. In some cases it shouts – I’m a very cool mom!
Finding cool moms
I did a search on Twellow crossing moms with social media (@bio mom & @bio “social media”) and my query returned 174 moms. The top mom on that list was Jessica Smith (@JessicaKnows) who has more than 10,000 followers. Recently Twellow added a powerful new feature that enable to limit searches to the scope of your personal Twitter network i.e. friends and followers. I tried it searching for moms/mother and found a total of 21 twitter moms amongst my twittership. One of them is Nansen Malin, a mom of 4 who has more than 43k followers. I found two additional cool moms searching for both mom and “social media”. Btw, searching the entire Twellow directory for @bio SAHM yielded 675 people. Here are three cool moms on Twitter: GeekMommy(10k+ followers), MommyBrain(2.8k+ followers), BargainMama(878 followers). If you want to find influential moms on Twitter, search TwittterGrader.
The first stop for looking at cool mom blogs authority is Technorati. I also did a quick search using IceRocket for the term SAHM and here is one interesting page that I found The Obnoxious SAHM’s Page, then my Firefox addon Headup window poped-up and suggested Mom-101 blog (in the top 10K on Technorati). Another tool that helped me to find active moms and bloggers was backtype. Sifting thorough blog comments (the heartbeat of the blogsphere) I found many more interesting social media blogs like social media mom and Holistic Mama.
Communities and networks
I Googled women’s/mom’s blog networks – here are some of the top ranked results:
I’m sure that there are many more. I’m yet to see a tool that rank blog networks (as a whole) or a search engine that focus on finding what mom does in her very little spare time. Yet, this is beside the point of this blogs.
Cool moms are social media mavens
Some moms are cooler than others
What that make some moms cooler than others is how skilled they are executing the essential social media activities such as writing interesting and useful content, selfless sharing, and leveraging the technology. If you are a newbe mom and want to learn how to become a social media maven follow the Cool mom guide (on Twitter CoolMomGuide – 3k+ followers). Even of you are not a mom, or a women at all but interested in learning about social media I recommend following some of the cool moms out there.
Cool mom is a business
Some moms blogs or network seems to be a real business. It is easy to see ads, banners, affiliated links on many SAHM blogs. Others become social media consultants that offer from their experience. If you have any doubt, if what that looks like a hobby, but is actually a real business just read TechCrunch- BlogHer Inks Deal With NBC Universal, Raises $5 Million.
I think that it is great to see how social media helps people to find the way to channel their energy, talent and skills using blogging and microblogging no matter where they are physically (@home) or in life (raising kids). The new mom or the new cool mom is a social media maven – an expert in building networks and tribes, delivering her message to the world, becoming a leader and influencer.
What do you think? Are cool mom behind fueling the social media buzz?
Picture taken by sean dreilinger