An hour on Periscope of Jeff having cocktails and talking social media with some really smart, funny, insightful people. Join them live on Periscope or catch up later at http://thesocialhappyhour.com/
Periscope vs Meerkat Bake Off
It is not often that you get to do a truly side-by-side comparison of two new tools, but Tracey Welson-Rossman (@twelsonrossman) and I (@gloriabell) got the perfect opportunity to do just that with Meerkat and Periscope at the Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference (#PhillyETE).
We used both apps at various times throughout the conference, but at the Day 2 Keynote, we did an actual side-by-side comparison.
The reason we wanted to try live streaming at the conference is a no brainer, this has the potential to be a great marketing tool . The ability to reach more people with good content, is really exciting when you run a lot of events like we do.
Here are the pros and cons of each with our “Bake-off” winner (and the reasons why) below.
Pros: Easy to set up an account
Easy to give the stream a name / title
Ability to tweet comments in the stream
Can schedule a stream
Ability to save broadcast
Can target smaller, more direct audience because no auto link to Twitter
Cons: Cannot zoom in or increase volume
Need a built-in audience to gain viewers
Lack of direct connection to tweet the stream makes it harder to gain audience
Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone
Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work
Hard to understand the metrics for viewership during the broadcast and post
Lack of documentation on how to use it
Really need a tripod for a good recording
No post-viewing metrics
Pros: Setting up the account was easy
Ability to save the broadcast
Connecting to and broadcasting via Twitter was easy
Ability to tweet comments and likes in the stream, but can’t easily add other Twitter names in the tweet
Easy to “title” – just like a tweet
Direct link to Twitter makes for a larger audience but also more possibility for spam comments
Cons: Can’t switch between Twitter accounts
Can only have one account associated with the app
Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work
Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone
Lack of documentation on how to use it
Few metrics – post view metrics much easier to see on an iPad
Really need a tripod for a good recording
There are a lot of limitations with both apps and we are hopeful there are more features coming that will address the issues we outlined above. Both seem to be good, fairly easy-to-use tools for live-streaming, especially at events. For right now we give Periscope the edge due to its seamless integration with Twitter. This feature alone will make it an easier-to-use social marketing tool.
It is a slight edge, though. Even with the limitations, we see these apps as a great tool for events and smaller conferences with small budgets. The video and audio quality will not be great, but these apps will allow for broader distribution of events.
Check out our next experiment at the Chariot Solutions’ talk on Angular JS on April 22nd.
There are a lot of self-help books that tell you the best way to get what you want is to put the request out to the universe/whatever deity you believe in/your inner child…whatever you choose to believe in at that time. In researching this line of thinking, several years ago I came across four “simple” steps to getting what you want.
4) Be Grateful
Good simple advice for approaching most things in the life.
Interestingly, a direct correlation can be drawn between these steps for getting what we want from life and effectively using social media for marketing. Sadly some social media campaigns, as also happens in life, forget one or more of these steps or take them out of order. Add all four of these, in this order, to creative content that educates, informs or entertains your audience and you have taken the first big steps to a successful social media campaign. Note, I said FIRST big steps, no solid campaign will succeed on these alone, but it is very likely to fail without them.
1) Ask – What is it you want your audience / customer / potential customer to do? You have to ask them. They are not mind-readers. Your calls to action (your “asks”) have to be clear and compelling.
- Do you want them to become aware of you and your product or service?
- Do you want them to sign up for something like an email list, a coupon or a contest?
- Do you want them to buy something?
2) Believe –
- In yourself and what you have to provide or sell and it has to show in how you talk about or display your product or service.
- That they are interested in what you are offering
This is where really knowing your customer or potential customer comes in. You have to know enough about who they are and what they really need. You have to not just believe, but you have to know that you are offering them a solution to a problem.
3) Receive – Do you have a clear, easy to navigate process in place for someone who is interested in your product or service to actually contact you, get more information or buy from you? We have all been in a situation, especially in the digital world, where we were interested in something but the process to get to it was too vague or overwhelming and we just abandon our efforts.
When was the last time you looked at your analytics and bounce rates? They can give you a good insight into whether or not you are making your instructions and process clear and easy enough. Be ready to receive from your customers by making sure it is easy for them.
4) Be Grateful – Yes this is Grateful with a capital “G” because it is that important. Something as simple as a Thank You goes a long way. If you do not show your customers you are grateful for their interest and their business, they will find someone who appreciates them.
What are some other steps you use to get what you want?
I wrote a little guest post over on Bannerview.com on the 5 reasons not to hire a social media “expert”. Click on over there and take a look at my 5 top reasons.
What would you add?
The really observant of you may have noticed that there is a new section over there on the left side bar titled Hiring Gloria.
Yes – I am “back on the market”. Now that the family obligations that have kept me so busy the last year are winding down, I am looking to take on more speaking/training engagements and consulting projects. Know of a job that would challenge me and allows me to use my full skill set to make a real impact on a company’s bottom line and growth? Let’s talk about it.
Take a moment when you are done reading this and wander over to take a look at my bio in the About Gloria Bell section and the information about hiring me for speaking, training or consulting in the Hiring Gloria section to learn more.
So why would you want to work with me?
It is pretty simple – I am about building bottom lines. Every action we take and every element of strategy I recommend is tied directly to the business objectives that You have identified as most important.
I believe in holistic digital marketing. My speciality may be social media, but I am going to work with you to make sure your entire digital presence is working together. My mission is to help you and your business get the attention you need to grow and to make sure that you understand the social media landscape and can navigate it effectively while avoiding as many pitfalls as possible.
The best social media strategy, email marketing strategy or website will only get you so far if it does not all work together. I help you fit the puzzle pieces of your digital presence, your offline marketing, your customer service and your business development and sales together to build an integrated marketing strategy that achieves your business goals. Together we evaluate your entire digital footprint and your business processes to figure out what works, what needs tweaked and what needs to be added. Rather than just turning over a pretty strategy document and walking away, I work with you to develop and implement the most effective strategy to maximize your online presence and make sure it and your internal operations are working like a well-oiled machine delivering the best results possible.
I don’t consider myself just a digital marketer or a social media strategist or a business process specialist. I strive to be a business builder.
My newest passion and current consulting focus is on assisting companies to truly maximize the effectiveness of their digital presence by analyzing and evaluating business processes to ensure that no gaps exist that would hinder meeting the goals and objectives their social media presence seeks to fulfill. Yeah, even saying it is a mouthful, can you imagine tackling it without the experience and expertise of someone who knows both the social media and the business operations worlds? Most business owners are great at one or the other but there are not many who can manage both which is why I am so excited to be concentrating in this area. Watch for more blog posts talking about the necessity of this focus coming soon.
Have a speaking engagement, project or job that you think I am fit for? Let’s chat!
Just want to know more? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 3-17-2015: The email exchange below occurred 2 months ago. As of this morning, my email has been opened 537 times, from 18 devices in 14 locations. (Thanks Yesware for the awesome tracking!). It is not possible to know if the email was just opened or was actually read, but, as of this morning, I have had no response of any kind from Web.com.
Thank you everyone who read, shared and commented on my post yesterday – We All Have To Work To Stop The Snake Oil Salesmen
Since I was contacted by the “Executive Escalation” team at Web.com, I felt it was only fair to keep everyone up to date on what was happening. Rather then possibly mis-quoting or allowing for mis-interpretation of our correspondence, I have copied in both their email to me and my response in their entirety (see below). We’ll see where it goes from here. I may end up being the lucky recipient of a cease and desist or a libel and slander suit, but we’ll see. Hopefully the good folks (and I am sure there are a lot of really great ones there!) at Web.com will realize that 1) these are not only my concerns but the concerns of multiple people in the industry and they really need to look at what they are doing and 2) they will get someone in (Heck, they could even hire me!) to fix their social media program and the social media services they offer to clients.
Fingers crossed and I’ll be sure to keep you all informed if anything else develops.
FYI, I did leave off the name of the person from Executive Escalations intentionally. I don’t want to beat up on an single individual who, I am sure, is just trying to do their job the best they know how.
FROM EXECUTIVE ESCALATIONS at Web.com
I work for the Executive Escalations office, monitoring our social media communication channels from within. I wanted to reach out to you to address what appears to be an unpleasant experience you had yesterday via our Twitter channel.
My sincerest apologies for any sort of frustrations, disappointments, or overall aggravations you experienced yesterday with our company, both on and off-line. We never want our customers, be they already established or potential, to feel as if they’ve been overlooked, mishandled, or challenged in any sort of way. Our goal when monitoring SM channels is to maintain an open, non-combative lines of communication, offering to help facilitate assistance however we can. We also value any and all feedback, be it negative or positive, as we report results on a weekly basis and implement changes to our policy and training as needed.
If there is anything I can do to further assist to ensure you leave this experience with a lighter, more positive outlook on our company, I’d be more than happy to accommodate. Thank you so very much for your time, and again, my sincerest apologies for any and all frustrations.
Nice note and all… but as you can see by my response, I’m not really buying it –
Warning: I am taking the gloves off and calling out a company for making the social media and web development industry look bad. It is companies and practices like the ones described below that make the entire industry look like we are trying to sell snake oil by making promises that are deceiving and can not be delivered on in the way they are being advertised.
I know this practice is nothing new. It has been going on since the dawn of time, continues today and will continue in the future. But until we in the industry stand up and call out the people and companies who promote and sell this BS, all of us in the industry will continue to be looked at, especially by small businesses, as snake oil salesmen.
I do not call this company, or any others, out lightly. As someone who helps companies build their brand and reputations, going after someone else’s is not something I like to see and even less what I like to do. It was only after I tweeted them (see the Twitter conversation below), hoping that they would open a dialogue and show me how how I was wrong about them, that I felt the need to go further. Follow the story and see how it ended up as this blog post on not only false advertising about social, but a case study in how not to handle criticism on social.
Last night, I was hanging out with my Dad watching Shark Tank reruns on CNBC. We both love the show and hold a running commentary on what we think about the pitches and the deals that are made. My viewing fun last night was ruined by a TV commercial from a company promising to help small businesses make money by setting them up a “professional Facebook page”. They made a ton of promises about the businesses growing their brand awareness and getting new customers just by having a professionally created Facebook page. They will even create the content for you!
My Dad sat by listening amusedly as I ranted and raved about the fact that it is impossible for Web.com, given Facebook’s algorithms and terms of service, to deliver on the promises they made in that commercial. The commercial was at minimum misleading and at most, blatant false advertising. It infuriated me because they are targeting small businesses and small business owners who have little time, money, knowledge or experience in this particular area.
Having been the owner of multiple small businesses, I know what a God-send it can seem like to have someone offer you an easier way to do something, especially grow your business. You are not only going to help me grow my business but you were going to do my marketing for me by creating the content (whether you know anything about my business or industry or not?!)? People are going to come flocking to my business because they saw me on Facebook? I don’t have to spend time marketing because you are creating my content for me? And all for this for a “reasonable” price? Oh and once you have me signed as a client, you’ll build me a website and take care of all my digital marketing needs too? Sign me up!
If only it worked that way!
Those of us in social media and digital marketing know that the promise of Facebook reach and an immediate growth in your business is hooey, especially now. Maybe, if you have a big budget and can do a large Facebook ad spend you might see some quick results – Maybe! But this commercial made it sound like it was the easiest thing in the world. Just let us build you a professional looking Facebook page and you will instantly grow your business!
Excuse my language but BULLSHIT!
It nagged at me all night and all morning. I went to the company’s website and checked out their other offerings. Website design and development, social media marketing… the list goes on and on – if it is digital related, they do it. Maybe they it do it well, but based on the commercial I saw last night, I had my doubts.
So after pondering it and tweeting about it without mentioning their name, I decided to call them out. As you can see from the following thread, it went downhill from there. They replied with obviously SOP canned messages. They offered to assist me. With what? Did they not bother to look at my profile and see that I am a social media professional? Apparently not. No opening to discuss my complaint. No interest in hearing what I had to say. They then stopped responding at all. If there was ever a textbook case on how NOT to handle criticism or complaints on social, this is it. From a company who sells digital and social services to small businesses – Shameful!
We all know how it is…that little “Like” button is right there…just waiting to be clicked. Easily allowing us to send an acknowledgement to the poster that we saw their post – whether we agreed with it or not, whether we actually read it or not, whether we are saddened or overjoyed by the news, the photo, the link… it is just right there, so easy to click on that little “Like” then move on to the next thing.
But have we really given much thought to what that like means? Or what it does to what the Facebook algorithm allows us to see.
On September 1st, I started an unscientific Facebook experiment. I am both pleased and a bit surprised to say that in 7 short days, I have seen dramatic results. There are some really smart people who have written about the technical aspects of the Facebook algorithm and how it works. For now, I will leave those details to them. This was simply my own personal experiment to see if a change in my behavior could change what appeared in my timeline.
I stopped “liking” things. I made a decision to share only those things I was really moved by. I even kept my comments to a minimum. I went through the full list of pages I had “liked”. It shocked me to learn that there were 737 of them! (Have you looked at yours lately?) I took a hard look at each of those likes and unliked 537 of them. I now have that list down to 200 people/places/things/businesses that I actually LIKE. I kept the ones that are meaningful to me. I did the same with my Friends list. Because I have always been cautious about who I connect with, there were only a few that got the unfriend button.
My Facebook account is now composed solely of the people/place/things/businesses that I really care about and want to communicate with. All of the random likes because someone had asked me to, the likes to enter a contest, the likes because something random came across my timeline and it momentarily amused me, they were gone. Now my likes and friends were really Likes and Friends.
So what changed? I actually Like (yeah, I know you see what I did there…) my timeline again. I am seeing posts from friends I have not heard from in ages. There are very few ads or “buy my stuff” type posts in my timeline. The news and ads that are turning up in the right sidebar are actually things I might be interested in. The Suggested Posts, Sponsored Posts and People You May Know recommendations are actually relevant. I am no longer only getting the same people over and over in my feed.
Compared to my Facebook timeline a week ago, it is a dramatic difference! I was about to give up on Facebook because I was tired of the irrelevant content, the constant ads and the posts from the same people over and over and over (because I had liked a lot of their posts). Now I enjoy it. It is a good mix of people, topics and things I actually want to see. Is it perfect? Not by any means. Are there still changes I would like to see to what and when I see things? Yes, but it is much better than it was 7 days ago. Much Better!
What did this little experiment teach me? What lessons did I learn?
Can I alter the Facebook algorithm to “force” what I want to see in my feed? Yes and No. Yes, I can make a difference by being more selective, but, no, I can not completely control it. That’s ok, I’ll take the improvement.
It is a good reminder that it is MY responsibility to control my social media. I have to accept some of the “blame” and not place it all on a digital algorithm, if I am not seeing what I want to see. In this world where everyone with an internet connection or a cell phone can be a content creator and try to draw our attention, it is our responsibility to decide what we do or don’t want to see. That means being aware of how we “educate” the algorithm by what we like, comment on, share, and favorite and being deliberate in not only those choices, but in our privacy settings.
There was another interesting side effect to this experiment. I found myself being more aware of my interactions – likes, comments, shares, favorites not only on Facebook but on all my social media accounts. Forcing myself to be more vigilant actually changed my behavior on other social media platforms. My favorites, likes, follows, etc… became more authentic and sincere.
It has always been so easy to click Like, to ReTweet, to follow, to friend, to click the little heart on Instagram. But how often do we really stop and think about whether or not we really “Like” it or are we just acknowledging it? How often do we give it a click because we like the person, because we feel we should or out of a sense of obligation? Had you asked me before this experiment if I ever did that, I would have emphatically said NO. As I discovered during my experiment, Yeah, I did it…probably a lot. Making the decision to share something or comment on something takes more effort. It makes me really stop and consider my feelings about a post and have to compose something intelligent, witty, or at least coherent. It has also stopped me from “liking” things that I really don’t like – such as bad news from a friend or something I don’t really agree with. –
Side note – Hey Facebook – how about a “Support” button so we can show support without “liking” something.
Will I continue my experiment? Yes, for a while at least. I am curious to see if the results remain the same long term. Will you conduct your own? Are you ready to take back “control” of your social media?
In the meantime… Watch out Twitter and Instagram, I am coming for you next…
Yes, the Superbowl last night was lackluster and with few exceptions (RadioShack, Budweiser’s Puppy Love, Coca-Cola and Cheerios were my favorites) the ads were meh. As usual, my Twitter stream was probably the most interesting thing I was watching. Usually quiet during a sporting event, even my Facebook wall seemed to be actively following both the game and the ads. Then I started to get disgusted. Early in the game a ton of memes, tweets and posts started showing up making fun and saying some pretty nasty things about Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Yes, it is a sporting event and yes, some good natured ribbing and trash talking will happen. The problem for me is that some of the comments were just downright petty, mean and derogatory. Yes, Peyton and the Broncos had a bad night, a really bad night, but the fact is they got to the Superbowl. There is a certain amount of respect due to players who work incredibly hard to reach the pinnacle of their profession. And yet, here we were, we armchair quarterbacks, saying and publicly posting some really nasty stuff because they were having a bad night.
At one point I posted this on Twitter and Facebook
I got several responses, most of them private, essentially telling me to lighten up, it is just sports, it is just entertainment.
That was when I got really disgusted. It is not just sports. It is the example we give our kids. Coaches teach child athletes sportsmanship. Or at least they are supposed to. But what about the non-athletes or the kids who are only ok? What message are we sending to them? That if someone is not good enough or is having an off day, it is ok to make fun of them?
Kids learn what they hear and observe, not always what we say. They learn how to think and behave based on what the adults around them do and say. Whether it is making fun of Peyton Manning because he is having a bad ballgame or the racist tirades that were happening over the Coca-Cola or Cheerios ads (that is a rant for another day), kids will copy what they see and hear us doing.
We think that our little memes, jokes and comments, whether it is about sports, the color of someones skin, their ethnicity, sexuality, female or male bashing, whatever, are just “harmless entertainment”. We forget that kids are observing and listening and thinking that kind of behavior is acceptable.
We are all guilty of it, myself included, at one point or another. I just wish we would all start being more conscious of how our words and actions are observed by and reflected in the young people around us.
What are we teaching kids about sportsmanship and life in general? That you make fun of the ones who are not as good or are having an off day or are different?
Every day we hear from people who want to know to how to manage the constant input from their social media accounts. There is no one right answer for everyone. The only one constant for everyone should be one basic question – What are you trying to achieve?
Whether your goal is to stay connected with your friends and family or it is to increase sales for your company, the question should always be the same. All decisions on who to connect with, how often to post, what to post about should all be directly related to what you are trying to achieve or put another way – what do I want out of this network. Keeping this simple question in mind will make sure that you are always taking actions on your social media account that help filter out the noise.
No matter what your purpose in social media might be, having a purpose or a plan will help you keep the flow of information under control. For example, this is how I navigate the constant connection requests and keep the influx of information under control on my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now Google+ accounts.
First, each account serves a different purpose for me. I respond to friend/follow/connect requests differently based on the role each account serves in my overall “plan”.
Second, I got over the “I have to be liked by/connected to everyone” feeling. That feeling that encourages us to accept or seek out every possible friend request and connect to everyone we ever encounter in our personal or professional lives. It is a feeling that we have to let go of or we will find ourselves overloaded with connections that we can not manage.
I break down my connections on each of these networks into specific categories based on my goal for that network.
LinkedIn is reserved for my professional connections. I only accept or initiate connections with people I know well enough that I would recommend their work. These are people who I either know personally, have worked with or know enough about their work through other trusted connections that I would write a recommendation for them. For me, there is an implied recommendation in that connection on LinkedIn so I am very selective about who I choose to associate myself with on that network. LinkedIn is my professional social network.
Facebook is a more varied but carefully monitored and constructed collection. My Facebook friends are a mix of family, personal friends, high school friends, members of the tech, entrepreneurial and social media communities (especially in Philadelphia) and professional connections. The one thing that all of these people have in common is that I have a personal relationship with all of them. We have either met in person, have spent time together offline or I have spent enough time communicating with them online that they are more than just an acquaintance. I care about the pictures of their kids, puppies and kittens. I want them to share in both the personal and professional portions of my life that I choose to share. I may share professional information, links, etc… on Facebook, but it is not my professional network and I do not want it to be. That is what I use LinkedIn for. That is why I do not accept every friend request from people in my profession. Also why I will not participate in applications like BranchOut. While I may have professional contacts as friends on Facebook, it is not the place I use to manage my professional network. Facebook is the place where I connect with people I would invite to sit down around my kitchen table.
Twitter is my window on a big, wide, wonderful world. It is a medley of friends, family members, colleagues, personal and professional acquaintances, potential business partners and clients and more. However, I do not follow just anyone and do not allow just anyone to follow me. I review each and every new follower looking at their bio, location, at least the first page of their tweets and any followers we may have in common. I block the spammers and the questionable. I follow back those that I find educational, entertaining and those I am likely to have an actual conversation with. Twitter is the network where I have my “arms” the widest open.
And now we have added Goggle + to the mix. I am still figuring this one out. Does it become restrictive or do I leave it wide open? I am still not sure. I can see the pros and cons to both approaches. The biggest advantage I see to G+ is the Circles feature, which will allow me to restrict certain posts to specific groups. However, as someone who only posts things that I do not mind the public seeing, I am having difficulty figuring out how this will fit into my patterns of behavior. I am going to have to spend more time in G+ trying different methods and combinations to see what works best for me, but I will sort it out. It will have a place in my plan. I will find my set of “rules” of how and whom to connect to.
One of the other keys to managing all of these fans, friends, followers and circles is be flexible. Make changes when you need to, add and drop connections as it feels right to you. Do not let anyone tell you what is “right” or “wrong”. Just be open to learning from others. So, how do YOU do it? How do you manage all the fans, friends, followers and circles?