Posts Tagged ‘Google’

The Power 150 Real Numbers Revealed

This month, the Power 150 list had to change their ranking system due to being shut out by the PostRank API which scored social engagement on latest posts. They now are only counting Twitter tweets and Facebook likes from the latest five posts in a blog’s feed—comments, stumbles on StumbleUpon, bookmarks on Delicious, Google +1’s, LinkedIn shares, and other pieces of social proof are all out the window. This has hit some blogs hard, taking them from their spots in the top 50 to pages 2 and beyond, and led to distrust in the AdAge system.

The scores you see on the AdAge Power 150 are weighted from 0–50 points (there’s sort of more information about how they rank things in their FAQ, and those weighted scores total a blog’s overall ranking score. This is a snapshot of the top 25 as of September 20th.

But what do those numbers really look like in the raw? Being the statistics junkie I am, I thought I would take a peak into those numbers. Here’s what I found, along with some other stats I like to use to measure the strength of a blog when doing a little competitive analysis (note that Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Klout, and RSS subscribers do not count towards the Power 150 rankings).

Click the above to view a larger image.

What did I learn from my own little analysis of the top 25? There are clearly blogs that should be on the list, or at least higher up the list, and some that really should be further down it. Getting in the top 24 is not necessarily about how often you post or how popular your posts are—if you have built up enough backlinks, you’re probably set for life!  And if you don’t have backlinks, then your posts better get thousands of tweets and likes regularly. And your blog had better not be Mashable, because then you’re just not counted as a marketing blog altogether (that or they are just not in the top 50 and the search box is broken).

So my questions for you are…Do you agree with the scoring system and that these are the best of the best marketing blogs? Do you have suggestions of blogs that should be in that top 50 list but are not? What other factors should they be taking into account when measuring their system?

Be sure to visit the official Power 150 list and check out other great marketing-related blogs. Also, if you have a blog that has at least 50 posts, has been operating for at least 6 months, and has marketing as a topic on 50% of the posts, be sure to use the submit your blog link to get on the list!

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast who enjoys photography, tennis, and salsa dancing. Follow her on Twitter.
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Ayloo is the World’s First Conversation Network

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Shaun Swanson, who is a member of the Ayloo team. Post interview, I wrote: “Well, it’s official. You’ve completely have my respect and admiration. This interview will be one for the memory books. Very impressive!”.

Shaun expressed his desire to establish separate voices for his Ayloo team saying “I think allowing for us to have our own individual opinions, separate from Ayloo’s, also cushions us in a necessary way – separates us from the politics a bit – which allows us to be very open with our ideas and beliefs, so that we can effectively communicate them to our users and the blogging community giving us the necessary feedback we need to remain relevant to our users. That’s a pretty Important thing for Ayloo, I think: communicating and listening to our users and peers. And that’s something that I think is missing from current social networks. But I’m sure we’ll get to all that below.”

So let’s get started finally, eh?

Q:  Can you briefly explain what Ayloo is and why people should join?

A: Most succinctly, I would state that Ayloo is a ‘conversation network.’ Since we’re kind of coining that term, though, I’d better go into more detail so people don’t just shrug and walk away! :P

Ayloo is a place to have meaningful conversation with the people you know and the communities you care about. This is the one-sentence spiel we’ve been toting around a lot lately, and it’s quite loaded so I’ll spend this question really breaking it down. The justification for why I believe this sentence is true will be addressed in the following question (as, really, our focus on conversation is what separates us from current social networks and makes us unique).

What do we mean by ‘meaningful?’ Well, I think I can speak for a lot of current social network users when I say that it can be difficult sometimes to find an interaction where people are really digging deep into a subject. Being from a technical background myself, I can recall a lot of times when I’d post a status update on Facebook that would start a technical discussion I was enjoying… and it would be pretty much quelled by the third or fourth comment.

I’m not saying that every interaction on Facebook (or any other social network) should be technical, or ‘deep,’ but I do think it’s difficult to have those interactions when you want to using current networks. So I would claim Ayloo is a place (for reasons specified in question 2’s response) where these kinds of deeper interactions can occur… and they can occur as often as you’d like!

Now why ‘people you know,’ and why mention ‘communities?’ Well, we are going for a Facebook-like social graph, in the sense that we would like people to mostly connect with their friends, family, co-workers, etc. Actually, that’s only partially true. From what I’ve seen with our beta community, people mostly connect initially with people they know, but when they start to join in on the communities on Ayloo (which I’ll discuss in a second), they end up getting to know many people they didn’t originally.

So maybe I should refine my previous statement to say that only initially is your graph Facebook-like. But no matter what it evolves into, I believe you can always argue that your contacts are people you ‘know,’ either in real life or through interacting on Ayloo. And we give you the means to interact with self-defined groups of your contacts on your own terms via our ‘contact lists’ feature.

Ayloo hosts local communities, called ‘streams,’ which are connected through our social graph. They are ‘local’ as defined with respect to you (not necessarily geographically). This local nature is Important for what we’re trying to construct with Ayloo – no matter how big Ayloo gets, you’ll mostly join streams that your contacts are in. So at any given moment, you have defined with respect to yourself a social graph of relationships with people in your life and the communities they form online.

A good example of the non-geographic nature of this ‘locality’ is a public stream called ‘World news.’ It’s made up of people who are in each others’ contact lists – so they know each other – but they’re from the U.S., Sweden, etc. And that really allows for the inclusion of many different perspectives in a conversation, which is quite valuable (and is actually something we’re pursuing further through some of our marketing efforts).

Q: How does Ayloo compare to Google+ and Facebook? What makes Ayloo unique?

A: The main difference between Ayloo and other networks is that, rather than focusing on connecting as many users and content as quickly as possible for brief interactions, we aim to improve the quality of the interactions (conversations) on our network through support of relationships formed, interests shared, and communities built between our users.

I’d like to state right off the bat that I don’t think we’re in direct competition with Google+, Facebook, or Twitter (In fact, we just integrated Twitter into our site in a pretty big way just recently). The goals of our ‘competitors’ are way different from our own. Their style of social networking provides a steady stream of content in a certain way, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing… it’s simply not what we’re aiming for.

People are going to use current social networks to stay in touch through status updates and to share content quickly and briefly with their friends for the foreseeable future. We just want to put our service out there for when people want to talk more substantially and consistently about topics they’re passionate about.

Now here’s the part where I justify everything I’ve claimed above! Ready?

Our network empowers users to take control of their identity online, and offers the proper context or interactions so you can feel comfortable and speak your mind. Through the streams that form on Ayloo, people with similar interests gather to discuss topics they’re passionate about. So, through proper context, control, and the ability to find relevant and interesting content, we foster more meaningful conversation.

Let’s go into them in more detail (I hope I’m not boring you to death!).

Context: We are the only network out there right now that gives you complete context for every interaction on the site. Facebook’s new privacy push allows you to see who your friends have shared with (i.e. Friends of Friends) but not the people specifically. Google+ does better in allowing you to see specific people who were shared with, but they cut off the number after about 23 or something.

Context on our site is central and we believe the communication we have on Ayloo is better because people feel comfortable and can be themselves (or whatever version of themselves) around others. This seems natural, and leads to less broad-casting and self-branding and more genuine interaction.

Content and Control: Facebook’s new privacy features have improved the ability of their users to control who they send content to (as we’ve dubbed ‘user output control’), which is basically what Google+ pioneered with circles and what we’ve had on our site in the form of contact lists. Neither network currently has good ‘user input control,’ however – where you can really control what content is coming at you.

We feel there’s an abundance of (often) irrelevant content hitting your eyes every day on traditional social networks and in order to fix this we’ve focused our site around the aforementioned online communities where people can join and find the content that interests them at any given moment. And on top of input and output control, we are also heavily feedback-focused.

We believe our users should have control of the direction of the site itself. Instead of making them feel like our customers, we really want to treat our users as peers — and we believe Ayloo should constantly evolve to keep up with their desires for the network.

To really seal the deal, we also provide the means to evolve conversation organically. Our ‘Sprouts’ feature keeps conversation fresh and gives users the opportunity to explore interesting directions within a conversation that they may have overlooked otherwise.

Q: What are the main selling points of Ayloo?

A: Since I’ve already covered a lot of the selling points, I’ll interpret this question to mean ‘Who would be interested in Ayloo?’

Of the tools available on the internet today, two of our stream types most closely resemble traditional blogs and forums. To the best of my knowledge, no one before us has combined them together with a social graph, however, which I believe actually enhances all three components.

We’ve already covered how adding streams to a social graph benefits the users in terms of input control and content discovery. Ayloo will also appeal strongly to bloggers who have had trouble in the past establishing a steady audience and to forum-goers who wish they could easily integrate people they know into discussions they’re passionate about.

Q: In the “Working With Us” section on your website, it explains how Ayloo can be used for business. Do you have an example of how a business can benefit from using Ayloo and where you envision this going in the future?

A: First and foremost, I want to make it clear that our users always come first in any decisions we’ll make. As a company, Ayloo doesn’t condone the act of gathering our users’ information to sell to third parties. We are currently exploring monetization options that will keep our users’ privacy secure and will actually add a lot of value to their experience.

In my opinion, ads aren’t tremendously effective. We’re getting immune to them. And even if data doesn’t back me up on that, I’d still argue that they lead to pretty weak branding and hardly ever add value to the user’s experience.

Our first step will likely be to move ads out of your personal space online. Private streams and feeds for contact list posts will be completely ad-free. Ads will likely show up in Ayloo’s public streams, but the power will be in the users’ hands – they get to choose what brands to feature for their community based on aesthetics, brand-loyalty, interactions brands may have with these (often) interest-based communities, etc.

But we don’t want to stick with ads forever. We have bigger plans, but we’re not yet ready to reveal much. What we can say is that we’re hoping to give brands the tools they need to create unique social experiences for those public streams that choose to enhance their communities with an interested brand’s presence. Vague enough for you? Haha.

This dedicated branding channel on Ayloo is not yet established, but we will allow interested parties to sign up for a brand invitation during the sign-up process. We’ll be releasing more information concerning these efforts in the near future.

Thanks for the interview! :)

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3 Things We Can Learn From the Google+ Suggested User List Fiasco

By Corina Mackay

The growing community on Google+ has recently been up in arms about Google’s creation of a suggested user list. The list is presented to new users during the sign-up process, encouraging them to ‘supercharge’ their stream by following celebrities and influential users chosen by the Google team. The controversy over the selection of users and Robert Scoble’s public request to be removed from the list brought up three important points for me, which I think we can all
learn from.

1. Values are important
Scoble’s decision to be removed from the suggested users list shows his determination to make choices based on what’s important to him, rather than what other people think. When developing your personal or business brand online, be clear about what your values, standards and goals are, and stick to them. Not only will people respect you, but you’ll attract like-minded people who will help you expand your network. In short, be yourself, and make choices you can live with.

2. No social network is free from politics
Google+ is not the first social network to implement a suggested user list. As Scoble pointed out, Twitter and Instagram did the same thing some time ago. Whether it’s choosing a suggested user list or implementing new features, any social network will draw controversy and politics when it rolls out changes. Remember Facebook’s privacy issues? Google’s privacy problems with Buzz? Getting involved in these dramas for the sake of it
will only diminish the quality of your content and conversations. Using controversy to generate conversations and discuss new ideas, however, will keep your content relevant and your followers engaged.

3. Content will always win out. As Craig Kanalley pointed out, the list is not all-encompassing. Many users were not included, despite having large, engaged followings, or being known to create great content. So long as you’re not using social media to win a popularity contest, this is encouraging, because it shows that growing a list of engaged followers who respect your ideas and contribute to your conversations is related to the quality of content you create, and the discussions you spark.

My conclusion?Find your niche. Create great content. Connect with others who do the same, and develop a community through conversation, sharing and collaboration. And don’t bother with the popularity game.

Photo credit: By Róséttá
Corina is a freelance social media manager and writer.

Follow her on Twitter
@corinamackay or
add her to your circles

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How to Nurture Your Twitter Community

@scottporad on tweeting in the context of community at the 140 Characters Conference

“I nod to a passing stranger, and the stranger nods back, and two human beings go off, feeling a little less anonymous.” —Robert Brault

This feature film stars Robert. He captures the potential for human beings to connect in a paradoxical world, where we have increasingly broad ways to connect with our fellow men and women, yet many of us feel disconnected in the online world. We yearn for ways to engage with our tweeple, bloggers and customers.

Freeze frame, in comes @letsconnect. She is following 4,500 people, with 3,550 following her. She wonders who to create a dialogue with and how to shed the veil of anonymity.

Cut to a scene starring @socialmediautopia, our protagonist. He carefully selects those people who form the background of his Twitter community. Flowers are pollinated and birds chirp incessantly. Welcome to the land of retweets, @ mentions, plus ones and blog comments.

Who you choose to nurture will vary from person-to-person depending on your product / service and goals, whether personal or professional. I give extra attention to my fellow Triberrs and people I interact with on Third Tribe Marketing and retweet at least one of a batch of my new follower’s tweets.

Next scene, @cynic. He is our antagonist. He wonders who has enough time to fly around Twitter sprinkling fairy dust on their tweeple when corporate strategies need to be developed and two year old Mary has needs her diaper changed.

How will this story end? Will followers trip over each other, trying to unfollow aggressive sellers that push out guerrilla sales tactics right before their horse has left his gate? Whoa horsey. Create value for your Twitter community. Some days “value” will translate into a 30-second investment, other days 20 minutes will be spent sharing the love. The point is that there are options.

Lets toss out the no brainers right from the get go, so we can broaden your knowledge and flex your higher brain functions.

1. Retweet, retweet, retweet. You expand your followers reach and give their post your personal stamp of approval.

2. Thank people who follow you and retweet their tweets. There are different school of thought considering Twitter etiquette here. How responsive have you been to said tweets? Get a feel for what works for you. You are letting your new followers know that they are on your radar.

Okay, lets kick things up a notch.

3. Use Klout to +K someone in their area of expertise. You’re allowed five +K’s per day, so choose them wisely. It only takes a second and improve their Klout score. For example, you could type @socialmouths in the search box and +K Francisco for his social media prowess.

4. Let others know why you are following certain key folk. This may inspire others to follow said folk, thus broadening his or her reach. For example, “I follow @lorirtaylor for her entertaining, quality and informed tweets. She is a thought leader in social media and could be your secret weapon.” Done.

5. Let others know something specific you have learned from them. Again, this promotes your tweeple and gives their voice a larger audience. Such a declaration can take this form: “Awesome post about relationship marketing: URL from @monmorong.

6. If they have a blog, take time to comment on their blog. Don’t shy away from promoting your product if it helps others meet their needs.

7. Share their blog posts / website(s). If you only have time to use one social bookmarking site, choose StumbleUpon. This will likely bring the most amount of traffic to their site. I also use Digg and Reddit on occasion. Promote the blog article on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media tools / sites, such as BizSugar where appropriate.

8. Think outside the box. I run a monthly “10 Awesome Tweets From My Followers in [insert month]” and more recently, “10 Awesome Tweets From People I Follow in [insert month]” on my blog. This results in a win-win situation. Your blog gets lots of traffic and tweeple get recognition / greater bang for their tweet bucks, meaning access to a larger audience. Use Refynr to sift through tweets using keywords, which will save you loads of time.

9. Add tweeple to your Circles. This says ‘your important to me’. Enough said.

10. Offer to give something they value. For example, you can ask your tweeple to tweet you key links that they want to promote (do you have any you want me to promote?). Offer early access to invite-only sites, such as Google+. Btw, if you need an invite to join Google+, give me a shout at

How do you nurture you Twitter community?

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Worst Social Media Marketer of The Year Award

Meet Jim. He works for Badhire Pharmaceuticals.

Full disclosure upfront: Jim is a figment of my imagination. He is also a near perfect example of what not to do as a social media marketer. Perhaps you’ve met Jim. He may even be sitting a few cubicles down from you. He is your company’s Chief Social Media Ninja Guru Super Hero Rock Star.

Jim believes that he has just won an award for his stellar social media marketing prowess (you’re in on the joke) and has been asked to talk about social media best practices for the benefit of his audience —that’s you!

Here is an extract from his speech:

“The best way to deal with negative Facebook and Twitter comments is to delete the ones you catch as soon as possible. If your schedule is too busy to monitor social media feedback, just ignoring criticisms will suffice. Ignorance is bliss, so deny any mistakes your company makes. Use malicious software to access and exploit private information. Another great way to invade customer’s privacy is via non-targeted spam marketing. If a customer tries to interact with you, anger is an appropriate response. If a customer keeps nagging you, dropping the F-bomb should get your point across. The recipe for getting on the first page of Google is simple: use hidden text or links, cross-link sites to inflate its perceived value, use keyword stuffing, excessive outbound links and duplicate content. Pretend to be a customer and endorse your own products and services to effectively build brand loyalty. Some of you are numbers people, so lets talk about the best way to allocate your budget: 50% should be spent on buying Facebook fans and the remaining 50% on getting false testimonials, and remember talk is cheap, so over promise and under deliver.”

—Jim Blackhat, Chief Social Media Ninja Guru Super Hero Rock Star

Photo credit: Hubspot

Help Jim out by suggesting some additional social media marketing activities.

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10 Awesome July Tweets From People I Follow

Close your eyes and imagine a world where you can instantly view the most informative / inspiring tweets from a Twitter account in your field of interest—social media—on a monthly basis. Okay, now open your eyes and imagine no more…!!!

Thank you to the tweeps I follow for gracing me with some of the best tweets on this thing we call Twitter. You’re my greatest source of information about social media and you mean way more to me than the vast majority of my Facebook friends! Here are your most awesome tweets:

1.Getting to 10 million users: Google+, Facebook, Twitter [graph] @GuyKawasaki You only need to take a 2-second look at this graph to understand how quickly Google Plus is moving up the ranks.

2. Uncover Best Online Practices For Segments of Small Business Sector Read more: @loritaylor. Who doesn’t love the word ‘best’ combined with ‘practices’. Best practices = drool. Small businesses and non-profits can participate in a survey that highlights how other businesses in their sector have made online marketing work.

3. Can Google+ Beat Twitter and Facebook as a Tool For Journalists?: @SocialMedia411.

4. How to Not Annoy Your Twitter Followers via @pushingsocial. Stan writes about how BufferApp is an effective tool for spacing out your tweets throughout the day.

5. What are social media mega-trends @markwschaefer. I have watched the full 46 minutes of this video. Due diligence baby. Thought leaders—Jay Baer, Glen Gilmore, Jennifer Kane and Mark Schaefer—speak about significant social media trends.

6.  Refynr + @BufferApp = Flawless social media productivity. @refynr. Refynr is a tool that filters out the noise in your twittersteam to quickly access tweets that matter to you the most. This service compliments what BufferApp offers.

7. Maximize Social Media Traffic to Your Blog @garrett_moon. There are some great takeaways here for avid bloggers.

8. Why the Intern Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media Campaign: Your intern has more Twitter followers than you do. Tha… @BrennerMichael. Job boards are flooded with requests for unpaid internships in social media, but are you asking / expecting too much and what effect can this have on your brand. This article doesn’t discount the value of social media interns, but makes a case for why the intern should not have the sole responsibility / burden of executing a social media campaign.

9. Popularity and Reciprocity are the Enemies of Connectivity (why Twitter may have jumped the shark) @JayBaer. The link leads to a video, starring Jay Baer. What you get is a unique look at why Google Plus will be successful.

10. The next five social media trends and their impact on marketing New post on influence, filtering, content generation, + @edwardboches. In the process of identifying trends, this article points at some websites to explore—tools to prepare you for the next step forward in the evolution of social media marketing.

Thank you for introducing me to hundreds of different valuable blog posts / articles.

What are some kick $@% tweets from those you follow? I love hearing from my readers! I’m hoping and wishing…

Photo credit: von @wuestenigel

How You Can Benefit From Using Google+

Everyone knows how quickly information can be passed along about anything on the internet. It generally spreads like wildfire if it’s shared with the right group of people in the right places. Now imagine that you can combine the art of social media marketing and Google+.

If you’re anything like I was up until about thirty minutes ago, you’re probably sitting there wondering what the heck Google+ even is.

Google+ is a new project that the team at Google is working on and provides users with a way of sharing, communicating and organizing everything from interests and photos to friends and family into easily accessible groups. Frankly, it looks amazing. Along with the ability to instantly upload content from your phone to a private folder in your Google+ account, there is also the option of categorizing your contacts into groups to make sharing the things relevant to each faction even simpler.

You can have group chats via text message on your phone. Yes, that’s right: a “chat room” on your phone. I can see, in that one feature, where I would begin to wonder where all the time in the day went.

You can even video chat online with up to ten people? Say what?

Granted, I don’t think there will ever come a time when I, personally, will need to talk to ten people all at the same time and, generally, when I am online, I’m not in any sort of position to even think about putting myself in front of the camera, but imagine what it could do for families on opposite sides of the world, or even those just a few hours from one another

And, of course, let’s not forget how much more streamlined it could potentially make running a business meeting, where you no longer have to wonder who is talking in the background because, hey, Google+ will automatically show, on your screen, the person that is talking or talking the loudest.

All that aside, I think the part that I would find most useful is the fact that I can punch in certain interests that can be saved into my account and Google will hand pick and deliver relevant articles and material for me, even when I’m not logged in, so that when I come back, I know I’ll always have something to read. For me, that’s priceless, especially considering how often I forget the many things I had wanted to sit down and search for when I finally have the time to do so.

The age of technology never ceases to amaze me and with the combination of social media marketing and Google+ the possibilities are infinite.

Article: courtesy of my guest blogger – Christine Winter

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