The Last Original Idea - Is A Winner

During November and the early part of December, my book "The Last Original Idea - A Cynic's View of Internet Marketing" was one of 110 books nominated to participate in 2010 Small Business Book Awards, Reader’s Choice edition at Small Business Trends.

With my book only becoming widely available the 1st week of November, we were at a distinct disadvantage, but through the use of Social Media (marketing) by reaching out to the books' FaceBook fans, my twitter followers, my LinkedIn Connection and yes my standard email contact list, we were able spread awareness of the competition and receive enough votes to secure a top 10 finish (7th place) overall and a 2nd place finish in Marketing Book category.

2010 Small Business Book Awards - SmallBizTrends.com
2010 Small Business Book Awards - SmallBizTrends.comWith this win we were featured in a press release, received a valuable link (for SEO purposes), were granted bragging rights and the right to display these two banners.

The Last Original Idea can be ordered on-line at:
Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

The ebook version will be available some time in January.

Socialize 2011

I'm thrilled to announce that I've been asked to moderate a panel at the inaugural Socialize Conference in New York City on March 31 - April 1. My session (tentatively called) Measuring Social Media will take place on the second day of the conference.

One of the big pleasures of being a moderator at this conference is that I get direct input on who will be speaking on the panel unlike many other events where I've moderated sessions. While the conference did make some specific recommendations, I was allowed to vet them and to add my own recommendations. Together we have come up with a knock-out list of panellist. So far 3 of the 4 invited panellists have confirmed and will be posted on the events website once everything is finalized.

Based on my discussions with the conference organizers and a look at who's confirmed as speakers so far, this event has the potential to become one of the definitive conferences purely focused on all issues and challenges surrounding using Social Media for business. While there are a lot of great Internet/Search marketing conferences out there, Social Media is a mere stream at these events and not the main focus. To give people an even more important bonus, a Gold Pass to this event is only $395 an amount significantly lower than other 2 day events.

So if you're interested in Social Media, or are going to be in New York at the end of March and this event to your list of things to do. And I hope to see you there.

And yes I will most likely be doing some kind of book signing at the event. I'll be working on those details more as the event nears.


How Big is Your Social Media Pond?

We all want to know if we’re a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big a pond and that’s what Social Media analytics is all about. Yet, never in recent memory has something that so few people understand commanded so many different measurement tools. The people in the industry tout their Klout , Twitalyzer , PeerIndex, etc. scores like they’re magical numbers. We can be grateful for the most part people no long use the number of followers as their measuring stick.

Yes, businesses of all sizes are starting to “invest in social media” as if talking to customers and providing good customer service is anything new. And with all business investments we start talking about the ROI (return on investment), and the need to quantify the success of the efforts. I agree with this desire, but the reality is throughout history, it’s been impossible to measure the ROI of these factors beyond happy customers almost always translate into better sales.

While I don’t have issue with the measurement tools (as many industry thought leaders seem to), I do take issue with how organizations take these numbers and use them to compare the “success” or “influence” of their customer engagement in social media.

To stress this point, I’m going to pick on my favourite tool of the hour Twitter.  Despite being around for several years, the last 12-18 months or so have seen more tools hit the market to measure peoples Twitter influence then anyone can keep track of. Organizations are now regularly looking at peoples Klout or Twitalyzer scores before hiring people, having them speak at events or simply in-house to measure the success of their  Twitter marketing efforts.  This is where these tools are being misused.

While the tools clearly show you how one specific Twitter ID is doing compared to all the other Twitter ID they are tracking (what percentile it is in), people are missing the big picture. They haven’t told you how big your specific pond is. These tools use a variety of different measurement factors in their algorithms and being high in one or two factors can have a dramatic impact on your score, yet your audience (pond) is so small that in reality it’s like saving 5 out 6 people think I’m a genius when surveying my immediately family (BTW it's my sister who doesn't agree).

Case in point for several weeks (even as I write this), my Klout score (@aknecht =  73.22) was higher than Oprah Winfrey’s (@oprah = 72.8). Does this mean I yield more influence and have a greater impact on the world through what I tweet then Oprah? Of course not, Oprah is followed by over 4.5 million people while my meagre following of around 1,700 are not even on the same planet. Yet, there are companies/organizations who make these blind comparisons on a daily basis which is simply wrong.

What these numbers simply mean in my opinion is that my influence amongst all my followers is comparable to what Oprah’s influence is on her audience. What is missing is the multiplier effect. If she were to tweet something that would have an impact on a mere 0.1% of her audience then 4,500+ will respond and if I were to do the same 1.7 people will respond. Ultimately both Oprah and I are reasonably big fish (there are bigger ones) in our own ponds, the difference is the size of our ponds.