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October 23, 2008

eMetrics: Key, Relevance Factors of Expanding Followers, Friends & Fans, In Your Online Community

By Li Evans

The last session of day 1 (technically it was day 2) here at the eMetrics Optimization Summit was the most engaging of all the social media tracks.  It had three different presenters and they all had some great information for the audience on how they use different social media to build their audience of fans, friends and followers and how that also affects other social media mediums they are in.  Each had very to the point, key, relevance factors of how you can utilize these social media tools.

Beth Kanter of Beth's Blog - How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media

Emetrics_beth_kanter First off, Beth is a ball of energy and enthusiasm about blogging and social media.  Seriously, her enthusiasm is contagious!  You could tell this the minute she stood up and greeted the audience.  What Beth is known for is using her blog to raise money for non-profit causes, such as sending kids to school in Cambodia.  Not only does she raise money through her blog, she also raises money through her Twitter account too.

At the Gnomedex Conference, Beth launched a fundraising campaign from the podium on Twitter.  Within 45 minutes she had raised over 2,500.00.  By the end of the day, she raised over 4,500.00.  This was also lived streamed over the TV on one of the cable networks.  

What is the ROI of Blogging?

Beth started of this segment of her presentation with "the sum of time and money saved plus money earned or donated plus benefits translated."  But in all honesty, although the numbers are what people judge campaign by, there are intangibles that can't be fully measured by numbers ..... it's more than just math.

Beth explained that it is s like looking in a mirror with benchmarking as a guide to improvement.  When you first start out you really don't know what will work.

Beth started blogging back in 2003.  She just started to write and that was it, she was lonely, talking to herself, no one was listening, no one was engaged and she didn't do much about that, other than write.  She explained that she needed to rethink, and definitely set a goal!

Then she discovered measurement (she has a picture of Avinash Kaushik at this point in her presentation).

  • Raw Author Contribution -  Word Count & Frequency of Posting

    Understanding the number of words in your posts and how the frequency of your postings are affecting your audience is important.  What do they like - short quips, or long in-depth articlesRich Text?  Are you overwhelming them posting 3 times a day, or do you loose your audience because of infrequent posting schedules?
  • Unqie Blog Readers -  RSS Subscribers

    Using a tool like Feedburner can help you track how your are growing your unique subscribers.  It can also help you to understand what they like, what they don't.  What readers are they using and how can you do more to gain readers.
  • Unique Daily Visitors

    This is looking at what's driving the visits.  It's good to know what drives the spikes in traffic, but its even more important to understand what's driving the valleys.   
  • Conversation Index - Ratio of Comments to Posts

    Understanding what's engaging your readers is important so that you can keep putting out content that continues to keep your audience engaged and interactive.  A tool like aideRSS gives you a lot of infomation and can help you monitor this.
  • Authority - Utilizing Technorati

    Technorati, although most are questioning its value and relevance, is right now the one place you can use to gauge your blog's authority.  You can use this as a measure by seeing the links into your blog.

Three R's of Blogging

Beth spoke about the 3 R's of blogging that are importing to building up an audience and keeping them.   

  • Relationship Building
  • Rewards
  • Reciprocity

The Cost & Value of Blogging

There is a cost to blogging.  Bloggers need to constantly be reading, writing, commenting, doing outreach, and maintenance to their blogs.  Although this doesn't cost in dollars (immediately), it does cost in resources.  Beth segments her day, giving a specific time to each, and when the timer goes off, she's done. 

The value does come in dollars, but there's a lot of intangible assets that come with blogging.  Promoting goodwill, creating happiness and even great quotes from readers all add up to great value for blogs. 

The most important things that Beth closed with were bloggers need to have a goal, they need to know their audience, and lastly have a strategy.  These things are key to the success of any blogger.

Laura Lee Dooley, World Resources Institute & Dooley Online

Emetrics_laura_lee_dooley Why Twitter Matters

Laura started off by explaining that Twitter is microblogging.  Microblogging is much easier than blogging, in that it only requires only 140 characters to start a conversation.  Blogging itself is much more resource oriented, in that bloggers have to read, write, comment and maintain their blogs.  Twitter is also a platform for timely action.

Reasons You Should Be Using Twitter

  • Reason 1)
    Be part of the conversation, and being visible, your website is a listening post, but most companies are not ready to hear from customers.  Websites the old way built walls content.  Now society demands that we have conversations (businesses w/ customers).  Remember the "information superhighway"  well the internet is just a bulletin board, but twitter has become the information highway. Twitter also creates ambient awareness and presence where everybody can be involved, organizing online conversations
  • Reason 2)
    To build an interactive community and shape a conversation.  Post ration 1 to 12.  1=you 12=them, followers:  following , followers, mutual.  If your company isn't ready to go on Twitter, you should be ready to create a profile and become active.
  • Reason 3) 
    Use Twitter w/ purpose in mind.  Authority followers, frequency of post, @replies, followers data.  Twittername, etc., Should also be using tools for measuring reach such as twinfluence, tweetburner, xefer, etc.
  • Rwason 4) 
    Twitter is a conversation, but is Twitter multiple conversations?  It's one relationship with twitter.  Twitter also has integration w/ SMS (Texting).

Be part of the conversation!  Laura Lee has put her slides out on Slide Share

Jonathan Colman - Nature Conservancy

Digg.com Case Study

Emetrics_jonathan_colman Digg's become very popular for breaking news (collaborative filtering tool, as mention by Ryan and Jason in a previous eMetrics session).  Digg is also the 169th most popular site on the web, it has over 22 million unique visitors a month, 2 million registered users, the largest age demographic 18-34 olds, and it referred 234k visits over the past year to the Nature Conservancy's site.

$0 Marketing Budget, What to do?

The Nature Conservancy's first entry into the "Green Living" genre was with a piece called "Science Based Tips from TNC Staff and Green Bloggers".  They wanted to promote the piece but realized that /"green living" ads are more now mainstream, and a lot more expensive.

No time, No Money No Problem!

Digg and social news can help you get the word out fast, they usually are among the most popular sites on the web, they have diverse audiences, not just kids in college.  The submission on Digg that the Nature Conservancy had, earned enough votes to become "popular" and get elevated to the homepage where all Digg users could see it.

Results - Social News Campaign on Digg

  • 200 visitors/ day normally (typical web feature)
  • 20,000 visitors a day (everyday)
  • 18,00 visitor in one hour  (first 6 minutes 10k) when hit first page of digg
  • 76,000 visitor in one day

Traffic... But Really Empty Traffic

The traffic that came in from Digg had a high bounce rate and relatively few actions taken on their site.  However it did motivate much engagement on Digg over 2,200 total diggs and over 600 total comments were on the submission. 

Beyond the Traffic

The submission created a spillover success in other social networks.  It also drove many unsolitcitied links from other web sites, blogs (50+), inspired links from elite sites (1k + authrity in Technorati) like The Huffington Post, Cisco.com, etc.  It also increased organic search engine findability, positioning of the article.

How Much Time....Really?

The time it took to put this together might seem minimal.  It took  less than 5 minutes to create the actual Digg post, plus 2 hours to publicize the post to Digg contacts.

BUT..... you also need to factor in the 1.5 years to build up a  credible authoritative Digg profile.

Take Aways From Using Digg

Social news is not always the right tool for all marketing scenarios, you need to know where your audience is.  It compliments a strategy leveraging traditional online tactics.  Digg's success generates short term and huge bursts of web traffic, which you must be prepared to handle.  Engagement on social news sites will be high on the actual social site, but will be low on your own site.  Becoming popular in Digg can drive coverage on elite blogs, websites driving many new links, audiences to your web site, however it does take time to build up credibility and authority.


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This looks like an amazing presentation! I'll have to find a way to go next time emetrics is around :)

Thanks for taking great notes!

Expert Presentation. Actually, i am gonna read this tomorrow again because it is quite vague for me.

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