Monthly Archives: July 2011

PostPostingFeatured

If you put a lot of time into Twitter, how to get more out of it.

By its very nature, Twitter is an immediate and fleeting medium.  The immediacy is a large part of the appeal, but all those moments you put into using it add up.

If you are like me and you have put thousands of hours into reading tweets and tweeting yourself, then it just makes sense to take advantage of all the time you have put in.

The tool I am writing about today helps you access all of the content you have created and read on Twitter.  It is a search tool called Post Post.

Personalized Twitter Search

Many heavy Twitter users, including myself, have long tried to find a search engine that is better able to find tweets we saw or posted.

Twitter search has never been helpful in this regard. Like the service itself, Twitter search is about showing you what is happening now. If you have ever wanted to find a tweet you posted from a month back, you know it can take what seems like forever scrolling through your tweets, looking for that little nugget of information.  And if someone else tweeted it, you are unlikely to ever find it.

Google has actually been one of the best ways to find tweets, provided you know who the author was and at least a couple keywords from the post.  It wasn’t intuitive, but if you put in the time this was the best option.

What I like about Post Post is that it is not a small step in the right direction, it is a fully formed web application that lets you truly take advantage of your history on Twitter and the history of those you are connected to.

In order to use Post Post all you have to do is approve access to their application from your Twitter account.  Depending on how long you have been on Twitter, it can take several hours for all your tweets to show up in their system, but once they are in, you now have a fully searchable history of your tweets and all the tweets in your timeline.

The one caveat is that posts from private accounts are not included.

How to use it.

You do a search using keywords.  The most recent results come up.  You then can choose whose tweets you want to look at based on a list in the left column.  For a broad query the username function is essential.

My search for tweets I made about my dog, Abby.

Uses I have found:

Find all the posts you made about any subject. This provides a great basis for then developing those tweets into a blog post or just seeing your thoughts on a subject.

Find all the posts where you interacted with a person.

Find a service or product that you or a friend shared.  A couple of people I follow had talked about Warby Parker glasses. I had no idea what the name of the company was. But by searching for “new glasses” and then remembering who had tweeted about them, I was quickly able to find the company name.

Find older pictures that have been shared.  I wanted to find all the pictures of my dog Abby for a collage I was putting together.  One quick search for “Abby” and then selecting my own tweets returned all mentions I had made.

I am sure you can think of your own uses for Post Post.  It is the type of service where it makes sense to set it up now, so you will have it available when you need it.

I hope you find it useful.

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Google Plus Circles brings online audience segmentation to small businesses.

Google Plus is new enough that I am only beginning to understand all the nuisances.  Aside from looking at how Breaking News, Mashable and my local paper The Lawrence Journal-World are using it, my use cases are fairly limited.  The experience I am going to share is isolated, but it is first hand.

How @free is using Circles on Google Plus.

In compliance with Google rules, @free doesn’t have a Google Plus account per se, but as an individual I do have an account that is an extension of the brand.

Our company mission is to provide best of what is free to our readers. Right now we are using Twitter and Facebook. Part of the key differentiation from other free sites and Twitter accounts is a level of curation.  We don’t post every single offer, but try to find ones that will appeal to a large percentage of our audiences.  It is my belief that Google Plus Circles will allow us to share more relevant offers, without annoying uninterested users.

From idea to implementation

With Google Plus I wanted to see if we could take advantage of customer segmentation that is possible with Circles in their present form.  In this specific case I wanted to segment based on what phone an individual is using.

The plan was to create Circles based on our user’s phone choices, and only share free Android and iPhone apps based on those preferences.  Users would opt-in to these Circles by telling us their phone choice, and then only get offers that were relevant to them.

The only way to test this segmentation was to find out what phones people were using. So I asked.

In response to the above question I got over 50 responses and continue to get more each day.

I created iOS and Android Circles and then added people. Two days later I had a great iPhone offer that I share with the iOS group.

 

I got two comments that individuals took advantage of the offer and would estimate based on experience, at least a couple other people were able to take advantage.

The great thing about sharing only to the iOS Circle, was Android users didn’t have to be bothered with this offer.  They didn’t even know it existed.

Power of Circles

This very basic use study has led me to the conclusion that Google Plus is particularly powerful because it allows for the broadcast and engagement that social media makes possible, while at the same time, allowing you to customize the message.

Other segmentation groups I have considered:

  • Location: Country, region, city or even neighborhood.
  • Advocates
  • Engagement Level
  • A/B test similar messages by having different groups.
  • Any classic demographic or interests you can think of.

Segmentation does come with some business, and I would say ethical issues.

If I want to only send a free offer for makeup, I would tend to just send it to a circle composed of women.  But there is certainly some percentage of men who are into makeup.  This poses a quandary.  Do I send the message just to women and possibly exclude interested men, or do I send the message to everyone and 45% of my audience doesn’t find it relevant at all?

The short term answer would likely be the former.  Hopefully in eventual Google+ business versions, users will be able to control or at least provide input for what groups they want in.  The user will opt-in to providing profile or interest information in order to get the messages they want.

In our example case, users could opt-in to wanting makeup offers. Whether I would then include that group only in the offer or also add a broad women circle is another issue that will have to be addressed.

I have no doubt that the direct mail and other industries that are highly invested in segmentation already have dealt with some of these issues, but I am hopeful that those using segmentation in the online, social space will better think through these ethical issues.  The power of segmentation for both the individual and business is important enough that these issues will have to be addressed.

CrowdboosterFeatured

A free social media tool I really like: Crowdbooster.

This week my local Social Media Club in Lawrence, Kansas is discussing free social media tools, so I wanted to write about one of my favorites: Crowdbooster.  It is hard to describe exactly what Crowdbooster is, but I guess the right phrase would be a “social media analytics dashboard”.   If that sounds cold and boring, don’t let my phrasing turn you off, it is a cool free tool. My experience in using their service has been entirely with Twitter, but they do offer Facebook coverage as well.

What I love:

Tracks retweets and @ replies for every one of your posts.

The dashboard is very intuitive.  It shows you all your tweets and uses retweets and potential impressions to lay them out on a grid.  It also tracks replies by showing bigger circles for tweets that resulted in @ messages.

They not only count Twitter style retweets, but also manual “RT” and “via” retweets.  I don’t expect this will ever be an issue with my own personal accounts, but it does track retweets well above Twitters 100 display limit. I have confirmed this with a couple of @free contest tweets that have been retweeted over 300 times.  It seems to track them all, and tells you every single account that retweeted them.

Recommendations on when to post a tweet.

I am not big on scheduling tweets.  This is in part because breaking news can happen at any time.  Your tweet can be buried when a breaking news story happens, but also you want to reflect the tone of your audience.  If there is a disaster somewhere, it is likely not the best time to be tweeting something promotional.

With all of that said, Crowdbooster offers recommendations on when to tweet and they back it up with a graph that plots the best times based on hour and day.  They allow you to schedule a tweet using their dashboard, but you can also just take this information as a recommendation, and tweet near the time they recommend.

 

Unlikely some tweet timing services, Crowdbooster doesn’t just look at when past tweets have been successful, but also when your followers are tweeting.  This second part gives Crowdbooster a leg up on services like Time.ly.

What I like:

The other features are more basic, but still useful.

Crowdboosters shows your follower numbers as a graph with individual increases and decrease by the day. It also shows who retweets you the most.

The influential follower section isn’t that useful as it only shows your followers who themselves have the most followers. It doesn’t take into account how many they are following or how truly engaged or influential they are.

Crowdbooster is still in beta.

While they plan to make the information in the dashboard real-time eventually, there is currently a delay from when you tweet until the results get added. Sometimes the delay is a couple hours, sometimes it can be over a day.  Even if this aspect never improves (I am assured by Ricky at Crowdbooster that it will), Crowdbooster is still extremely useful. In a world where people love visualizations, why not get a quick visual impression of how your tweets are doing, and then be able to look at any one tweet in significant detail.

Crowdbooster is invite only, but you can get right in via this link:

http://crowdbooster.com/signup/0be97d8c474aa6b70db141b6928e0a09

kloutfeatured

Klout: A social media company that doesn’t get social media?

Update 1:22PM 7/6/11 – Megan Berry, Klout Marketing Manager, responds below in the comments.

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Maybe I have gotten spoiled with the connectivity Twitter provides, but I am finding myself increasing frustrated when trying to communicate with what is supposed to be one of the leading social media companies . . . Klout.

I am active user of Klout for my own accounts and my client’s accounts.  While Klout scores aren’t a perfect metric, I do believe they provide some value.

With my heavy use, I at times have questions.  Klout’s new +K feature, to give influence on a topic with just a click, has inspired a couple questions.

Over the past month I have asked these questions about +K as well as a few other question (four total).  I asked these questions via @ messages to the Klout account.  I have never got a response.

Today Klout had a Facebook post about +K, so I decided to ask my question there.

 

 

 

I was doing multiple Facebook comments (keeping up with friends, etc), so when I looked at their post again, I didn’t see my question.  I posted it again, but this time took a screen shot. To my surprise, they deleted the questions again.

My question didn’t see that off topic to me. Feel free to let me know otherwise. They wanted users to give +K.  I was asking what the benefit was.  From my own experience, if they didn’t want to answer the question directly, they could have said, “We are working on lots of great use for +K.  Keep an eye on our accounts for future uses.”  But no, they just deleted my question.


This is only the second time I have ever had a Facebook comment deleted (the other involved calling out a account that was plagiarizing), and the idea that it was from a social media company account was very surprising.

Maybe I have too high of standards for social media, but I didn’t think those standards would be shot down by a company that bases its business around social media.  

You win Klout.  No more questions from me.

Update: My tweets on this subject led to a discussion of local Lawrence, Kansas businesses who don’t respond to @ messages and even emails.  One of my less tech savvy Twitter friends “replied all” to one of my tweets complaining that a local restaurant never responded to her.  Klout responded with this:

 

It was a little strange that Klout never responded to any of my direction questions, but responded to an inadvertent tweet someone else sent.  I almost feel worse about my Klout customer service experience knowing that they do respond, just not to me.

I am going to take Klout up on their offer to email them.  I have done that in the past, but in the last two months, I haven’t gotten a response to the one email I sent.