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3 Social Media Start Ups That Are Going to Change Your Life

No doubt, these three companies will change the social media world in the next year to three years. If you want to be ahead of the curve, check out what they do and why we think they they will be so important below.

social media, social media vocabulary, social networking1. Diaspora: Diaspora started to a lot of hoopla and continues to generate buzz after some students from NYU raised over $100,000 in less than a month using the Kickstarter funding platform. Diaspora aims to be an ‘open’ alternative to Facebook. Basically, Diaspora wants to put the control over your social network in your hands. The company stresses Choice, Ownership, and Simplicity. Diaspora is for those that think Facebook takes too many liberties with your data and lets you keep ownership of whatever you add to the network. The interface will look more like a WordPress blog editor than a typical social network and will give users near complete control of how they connect with others.

The model Diaspora is pursuing is almost opposite to that of Facebook’s and they believe that as people become increasingly aware of their lack of control on other sites, Diaspora will provide them with a solution. Open is certainly the way of the future in Web 3.0, but Diaspora is very ambitious. Their values will certainly affect the social media world in the near future even if comes in the form of another project.

2. Empire Avenue: Very basically, Empire Avenue is a social stock market made up of you and your friends. The higher your influence in social media, the higher your stock price. You can add your various social networks and social media activities you do will all contribute to your overall influence score. We talked about Pay With A Tweet a while back and this plays on the same idea that individuals and their network have value. You can buy and sell friends or anyone in the virtual stock market. Additionally you are free to choose what kind of advertisements you carry with your profile and the site has a very rewarding revenue sharing set-up.

As social media users continue to become more aware of the power they posses and can build up online, start-ups like Empire Avenue that help them turn that into an actual return will explode.

3. OneTrueFan: This may be the most influential start-up of the three. They have been described as ‘foursquare for web pages’ and they love that description. This takes the idea of check-in and applies it to web page. Like Foursquare, you are awarded points for checking-in and participating with a venue, only with OneTrueFan, the venue is a web page. This has the potential to be a powerful social layer for businesses to use on their site to get more participation from their most active fans. The name comes from the idea that each site will have one true fan, in other words, a mayor. People will compete to the be the number one fan through activities placed on the website and by checking in upon visiting. Look for almost every even semi-social website out there to have a check-in system in place within the next three years at most.

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5 Ways To Measure Your Influence In Social Media

social media vocabulary, social media influence, online influence, twitter influence, how to measure influence in social media, measure social network influence, Facebook influence, salty waffle, measuring social media influence, social network influence, engagement, influence, real-time social search, social search, seoIt’s no secret that search is going is social. Influence in social media is already a part of what drives page ranking at Google and Bing.

There are more great tools out there than ever before, so we’re going to cover 5 ways to measure your online influence in 2011. Get these services into your social media vocabulary and start using at least a couple of these tools in tracking your social efforts.

The idea of ‘influence’ has it’s own set of vocabulary terms as you will find using these services. Each has a definition for different metrics like amplitude, engagement, audience, even sentiment. If you’re looking for ways to increase your influence, one of these tools will have the metrics you’ll want to be watching.

  1. PostRank: PostRank offers an amazing amount of data to you about the content and posts on your website. PostRank takes your blog entries and analyzes them chiefly for engagement, but provides other metrics as well. You can sort your posts to see which articles are drawing the best attention in social media outlets, which is great for helping you hone your voice and find your best topics. Additionally, PostRank has a really simple way to connect you Google Analytics account to it’s service, allowing for even more detailed analytics information.
  2. PeerIndex: PeerIndex offers a fantastic array of influence metrics on your various social networks. Easily connect your profiles and pages and PeerIndexanalyzes them for activity, audience, authority and even offers a break down of your ‘topic fingerprint’ which is a neat visual display of your resonance rank in various topic communities.

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    Which topics do you want to own?

  3. Klout: Klout has long been the go-to place for measuring social influence and it continues to be a great service, even if others are catching up in terms of function. Klout helped define the ways in which we measure online influence and “uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.
  4. SocialMention: Dubbed “Real-time social media search and analysis”, SocialMention looks more like a search engine than a influence service. However, a simple search of your keywords, say ‘salty waffle’ in our case, brings back some great real-time social results. Their metrics include strength, sentiment, passion, offers a list of top keywords associated with your search, and evens offers your most associated Twitterhashtags. Widgets and alerts offer a nice way to track real-time buzz with the service as well.

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    Better info, better content

  5. Sprout Social: Sprout Social has maybe the best user interface of these options and gives you a nice dashboard with which to look at what they call ‘Social Stats’. Two simple grades on “Engagement” and “Influence” are coupled with nice demographics on your audience as well as Twitter statistics and a great set of tabs for monitoring all of your recent social activity and tracking contacts. Sprout Social is also a full service Twitter client allowing you to compose, schedule, and otherwise monitor and maintain tweets.

A couple other options are TweetLevel when it gets back online with the Twitter API and Traakr if you don’t mind paying or can get a free demo.

We hope you can use these tools to help get a picture of where you stand as an influencer in social media. Having all of this information gives you the opportunity to identify potential places for improvement, hone your social presence, provide to customers better through better content, and boost your overall influence and expert status online.

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The 6 Stages Of Twitter Evolution

social media, twitter, social media vocabulary, social media classesThere was a  great post here by Robert Swanwick, aka Swan, @spkrinteractive,@swanwick, or @twchat (definitely check him out, he has some great stuff)  about the stages people go through as they find Twitter and begin to use it. The stages were great, but we tweaked a few based on what we see happening in among clients and friends. Any of these stages sound like you?

Stage 1: This seems silly…why are there a bunch of people on here talking about nothing? What does ‘Follow’ mean? Are those my friends? How do I message people or put up pictures? 140 characters! That’s nothing! Who is everyone talking to!?

Stage 2: I guess Twitter must be popular for a reason, I guess I’ll stick with it for a while longer and log in once in a while and see what happens. I still feel like people are just shouting into space, but…

Stage 3: Hey there are some interesting things out in the twittersphere. Finally some awesome people to follow! TweetDeck is awesome! I am starting to make Twitter a part of my social networking habits.

Stage 4: Twitter is actually really useful for getting to great content and stories! Hashtags and listening channels help me organize the crazy world of tweets and lookey here, I have a good number of my own followers! My @ tags must be working!social media, twitter, social media classes, social media vocabulary

Stage 5: The power of Twitter is pretty apparent, I am starting to use it to draw my followers to content and maybe advertise for my business. Twittergrader is telling me whats up and I have one of the great mobile apps on my phone so I can always be ready to tweet and see my mentions.

Stage 6: Twitter has become an essential tool for building relationships and finding conversations my business and I want to be part of. I have built teams in Hootsuite and made real connections through Twitter and my network is active and supporting.

What do you think? Where are you in your Twitter development? Need a little help getting to your Twitter (or other social media) goals? Let us know how you are progressing or if you think there are more stages!

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5 Steps To LinkedIn Stardom

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Upwards of 80% of employers use LinkedIn at some point in their recruiting process and if you are looking for a job or fear you may be soon, you want to be a star on LinkedIn. (And for all you not looking for a job, pay attention, because these tips are good for growing you LinkedIn presence in general. The better social media influence you have, the better you are for promoting yourself or your company.)

Here are 5 steps to quickly push your LinkedIn profile into the limelight. If you take each of these steps and spend some quality time tending to your professional network, your profile is going to start looking a lot better very quickly. Don’t be one of those people with one connection and no picture!

  1. Recommend Someone: One of the underrated and underused features about LinkedIn are the professional recommendations. Even though it nags you constantly to try getting endorsed, most people aren’t. Take a few minutes and recommend someone you have worked with in the past. Once you are done, request that they recommend you. The chances for the request being honored go way up and you are on your way to being one of the very few on LinkedIn with multiple quality recommendations.
  2. Add Products & Services: LinkedIn recently added a new feature for company pages that allows you to post products and services. Simply go in and edit your company page (if you have the power) and populate the forms for products and services. Not only does this increase awareness for your products among your professional network, it makes it extremely easy to get quality reviews of those products and services. It’s still early, so get on it and reap the benefits of being one of a small number of companies taking advantage of this so far.
  3. Join Groups: There is a movement on LinkedIn toward open groups and this is great if you want to meet professionals with similar interests. Find some groups that apply to your industry or that you are interested in and join them. Post in a group one time for the next five days. We’d be really surprised if no one from the group responded or ended up looking at your profile.
  4. Link Twitter: Not totally sure when this happened, but LinkedIn has a little section on the main bio for your Twitter handle. It adds a live link to your Twitter page and makes it easy for someone to find and add you there. Believe it or not, there are many job applications that have ‘Twitter handle’ as a required field.
  5. Add ‘Sections’: Another new LinkedIn feature can be found right under your main bio section and before your summary. Click on the ‘Add Sections’ button to bring up a host of different content you can now easily display on your profile. Anything from patents, to certifications, to languages. It’s a really nice way to make your profile richer and display some of your work alongside the regular resume type information.

Take a few minutes every day to log in to LinkedIn. After you add people you know, look through their contacts and add even more that you probably know as well. Post one thing a day on your profile and one thing in any group you have joined and try out the 5 steps above. Watch your profile views jump and your network start to look really legit. Check out who is viewing your profile and reach out to them to connect further, especially if you’re looking for a job.

It’s still fairly easy to set yourself apart on LinkedIn, while at the same time, there are probably a ton of people you know already on it. The days of boring paper resumes are dying out. The job search is going social and with LinkedIn you can be ready. If you want to learn more about leveraging LinkedIn for personal use or business use, talk to us about one of our social media classes. Have a great week and enjoy some quality time with LinkedIn, it will absolutely pay off one day.

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Why Your Social Media Package Needs Music

marketing, social media, networks, seo, inbound marketing, relationshipsIt’s Bumbershoot today and everyone in Seattle is thinking music. Here’s why your business should be too!

So you think you have it all, the Twitter page, the Facebook, the LinkedIn even. You’ve got a blog pumping out the fresh content daily, you know what, you even know how to use stations on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to listen in on conversations your customers are having. You’re a social media machine.

But here is one thing you might be missing: that sweet, sweet music. I read an amazing article from The Times Online in the UK. You have to read it, trust me it is worth the time. The article starts with a story about two people that are cordial, but distant neighbors. After years of an acquaintance-like relationship, one of them happens to look at the record collection of the other and was surprised to find out how much of the same music they loved. Long story short, they are now happily married.

Numerous studies named in the article support the conclusion that music is as effective at defining your personality and compatibility with others as any formal personality test. A quote from the article says, “Music is a great social filter and safer than talking about politics or religion.”

So why not take advantage of the power of music for your business? You can’t find a single person that doesn’t identify with music in some way. Try this with us, start a page on last.fm (A site we’ll talk more about on our “Other Networks” tour) and have your team scrobble to it. After a while, you’ll be able to see the collective music taste of your team.

Your music page can be another way to connect on a personal level with potential customers. Think about the excitement and comradery that goes on when a great song everyone in a room loves comes on. The science supports it, your music will match your values, your brand’s personality, and the personality of those working with you.

Add another element that people can connect with you on, don’t leave music out in the cold, it is easily one of the most universal and powerful communication mediums in the world. It can bring people, aka you and your customers, together in amazing ways…

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Social Media ROI: Social Shares Are Worth Real Dollars!

Ever thought about exactly how much one of your Facebook fans or Twitter followers might be worth? In terms of real dollars? Well, Chompon set out to figure just that out and came back with some interesting results:

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Unfortunately, these numbers don’t necessarily mean that every time someone tweets about you, it’s going to translate directly into $5 or every ‘Like’ is going to net you eight big ones. Chompon had to work with the following assumptions:

  • “For shares and tweets, we were able to directly attribute sales to the original action, so we simply took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/tweets.”
  • “For likes and follows, we had to estimate attribution by looking at our traffic references and subtracting out purchases made through shares/tweets as well as purchases made through direct traffic.”
  • “None of our analysis captures long-term value of customers acquired through these social channels – which means the true value per action should be even greater.”
  • “Gross revenue depends on the products/services being sold, but due to the diverse set of ChompOn publishers, we still feel the comparison between actions is reasonable.”

It’s hard to make any concrete conclusions about social media ROI, but this type of research is a great start. Clearly there is real value in social media and some kind of real return on investment. How much and how quickly goals are reached are harder to estimate and would presumably vary greatly across industries.

social media roi, how much is a tweet worth, how much is a facebook like worth, return on social media investment, salty waffle, facebook, twitter, fan, follower, chomponWhat we do know is that a solid presence in social media is an invaluable tool for creating, keeping, and deepening brand loyalty. We also know that those people that are connected with us online are more likely to make purchases and spend more than those who aren’t.

An investment in social media is a must and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Some of the most well done social media efforts came out of just jumping in and experimenting. (See Blendtec and Comcast) All you need is some serious planning, the basic know-how, a dedication to being genuine and caring, and a willingness to keep listening and adjusting to your online community. We know you are genuine and caring, let us help with the rest.

Let us know what you think about Chompon’s results. Do you think these numbers are too high? Too low? Were their assumptions fair and realistic? What kind of results have you seen with your own efforts?

Excellent Syncapse study on fans, just click to view the .pdf

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Cracking The Facebook Code: EdgeRank

social media, social media rank, salty waffle, facebook algorithm, facebook newsfeed formula, facebook newsfeed algorithm, how does facebook choose what I see, edgerank, edgerank facebook, salty waffle, techcrunch, news feed optimizationSome of, if not the most important parts of the web are the algorithms that make it run. Google’s search formula determines who shows up where in results, web crawlers are controlled by algorithms as they comb the web for information, and yes, social media uses them to make our online social life tick too.

A word you may not be familiar with, but that has a huge impact on your online world is EdgeRank.

Most simply, EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what you see in your Newsfeed. When you stop and think about that, it’s colossal importance to the social media world becomes clear. An algorithm that decides what we see and don’t see on the biggest social network on the planet? That’s the power EdgeRank has so we set out to learn a bit more about it.

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Let’s start here: TechCrunch has an excellent definition for EdgeRank and it’s components.

“At a high level, the EdgeRank formula is fairly straightforward. But first, some definitions: every item that shows up in your News Feed is considered an Object. If you have an Object in the News Feed (say, a status update), whenever another user interacts with that Object they’re creating what Facebook calls an Edge, which includes actions like tags and comments.

Each Edge has three components important to Facebook’s algorithm:

  • First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the item’s creator — if you send your friend a lot of Facebook messages and check their profile often, then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that user than you would, say, an old acquaintance you haven’t spoken to in years.
  • Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge. A comment probably has more importance than a Like, for example.
  • And finally there’s the most obvious factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.”

What this essentially all boils down to is that the people you interact more with, will show up more in your feed. You may have noticed that you generally only get news about the friends you interact with the most online; you can thank EdgeRank for that. It’s goal is to make your feed more manageable and the information more relevant, but you can turn it off if you want. That way you can see news from everyone, including pages you like that you may not interact with often, but are still interested in keeping track of.

EdgeRank has spawned what people are calling NFO or News Feed Optimization. Similar to the idea of SEO, NFO is being implemented by brands looking to become more visible to the people in their network. Just like using knowledge of Google’s search formula, Facebookers are looking to boost the reach of their posts by utilizing the ideas behind what makes EdgeRank work.

If you’re looking to boost your visibility on Facebook, check out these 5 awesome tips! You can also look up your approximate EdgeRank for a page you are an Administrator on, at EdgeRank Checker.

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Just How Far Do Your Tweets Reach?

So you want to know: How many people actually see your tweets? How many people do those 140 characters actually make it to through your network? You know that social media is playing a role in SEO and you want to be influential, so let’s start with Twitter and see just how many people you’re getting to.

That’s where TweetReach comes in. The free plan is simple; it allows you to search a url, Twitter handle, phrase, or hashtag and then returns the reach and exposure for the search term. When you search a Twitter handle, TweetReach takes your last 50 tweets and then calculates how many people they reached and a list of your top contributors of impressions.

This is a great tool for finding out which types of tweets are working for you and which ones aren’t. It is also great for finding the people that are really engaged in what you have to say. If you see that there are people consistently contributing to getting you impressions, it is an opportunity to thank them and work to further that partnership.

When you nail down exactly what you are doing to successfully to get impressions, you can work to keep increasing them more effectively. The way you tweet has a direct effect on how far that tweet makes it through the twittersphere; basing future tweets on ones TweetReach says are getting impressions is a great way to start perfecting your technique.

social media, influence, social network

Is Facebook Invincible?

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What will be Facebook's kryptonite?

With Google+ quickly gaining a strong user base, the question keeps popping up: Is Facebook invincible?

It wasn’t long ago that MySpace was the end all, be all in the world of social networking. Just a few years later, the once up-start Facebook, dominates. The grip Facebook has on our world is tight; with over 600 million users, 2.5 million Facebook integrated sites, and 30 billion pieces of content moving across the network, Facebook is buried deeper into everything we do online than any social network in history.

The question is, is that grip strong enough to overcome new challengers, privacy concerns, and a future that will eventually include going public, more talent wars, and a constant battle to avoid becoming stale like many networks before it?

Threat 1, Losing Control: Facebook will have to go public eventually and that presents an opportunity for some instability in the organization. Never before has a young CEO like Zuckerberg kept control this long and this successfully. Becoming a publicly traded company may change the power structure depending on investors demands the nature of the sale. Keeping the top of a Facebook hierarchy that has steered the company to its crazy success in place, may prove an impossible task over time.

Threat 2, Losing Talent: There is a talent crunch in Silicon Valley and the talent wars with companies like Google are only making a shrinking pool of engineers that much more valuable, and expensive. If Facebook can’t remain one of the ‘cool’ places to work, they risk losing out on the young talent that will drive valley companies in the near future.

Threat 3, Competitors and the Open Movement: There is a lot of buzz about potential competitors to Facebook that may rise up very soon. Google now has Google +1, and you know they have all the talent and cash in the world to throw at it. Other competitors that have momentum because of the stark contrast of their open model to Facebook’s closed system are Diaspora and OneSocialWeb. Both are fairly small start-ups, but growing unrest over ownership and privacy issues are priming people for an open solution that puts them in control.

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Will a Dark Knight rise up to take Facebook's place?

To think that one day Facebook might not be as powerful or as inescapable as it is today, almost seems strange. I can imagine a world where Facebook’s power only grows; more integrated sites, more services requiring a Facebook login, and more apps designed for the Facebook API. To be fair though, I never saw Facebook overthrowing my once beloved MySpace. How wrong I was.

Organizational instability, key talent losses, and a new, ‘cooler’, network all came along to overthrow Tom for Mark and the same could happen to Facebook. Sometimes we forget that Facebook is a business and it has to deal with the same issues every other business does.

So will a new kid on the block overthrow the Facebook kingdom, or will King Zuckerberg tighten his grip? Can Google steal enough talent and overcome a failed Buzz experiment to become the go-to social network? Or will an open start-up solution take the world by storm like Facebook once did before it?

What do you think? Will you be Facebooking in 2 years? 5? If not, where do you think you’ll be?

7 Habits of Highly Effective Facebookers

social media classes, social media vocabulary, social media, marketing, salty waffleThis is a guest post from our friends at Salty Waffle social media classes.

You have probably heard of Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Habits, but did you know there are also 7 Highly Effective Habits for Facebook Success? PsyBlog has a great post that cites different social media studies to determine how to make yourself into the best (or best looking) Facebooker you can be. We have adjusted their list Salty Waffle style, and stayed true to the science behind each habit. Enjoy!

  1. The Optimal Number of Friends Is: Between 100 and 300. Studies show that social attractiveness ratings peaked at around 150 friends, the same number of relationships psychologists believe humans can maintain.
  2. Get Hot Friends: Studies showed that people with more attractive friends surrounding them were perceived as more attractive.
  3. Understand Why People Join Facebook: There are 7 main reasons people join; connect with old friends, social surveillance (friends), look up people they just met offline, people watching (strangers), status updating, and sharing content.
  4. Don’t Stalk, Too Much: We wrote a little while ago how Facebook can make you jealous, keep in mind how much time you spend digging for information you may not like.
  5. Learn How To Use Your Privacy Settings: Use of these settings is on the rise, even among young people, but there is still a large chunk of the Facebook population that doesn’t understand just how much information they are sharing.social media, social media classes, entrepreneurship, social media vocabulary, facebook
  6. Be Real: Show the real you. Not only because it’s easier to maintain one life than two, but generally people figure it out if you are a poser. On top of that, studies show that people are typically very honest online so you don’t want to be the only faker.
  7. Don’t Separate Business and Personal: This is something near and dear to us at Salty Waffle, and studies show that people can effectively use Facebook to get jobs, contacts, and other important connections. People on Facebook are just that, people. You should be too!

To check out some of these studies in more depth, check out the Psyblog article and follow the links to the various journals they cite.

Hopefully this won’t result in a bunch of friends shaving me off their friend lists to get down to the right number or removing my posts from their wall to boost the overall ‘hotness’ of their page, but the science shows that people with Facebook pages that follow these 7 habits were perceived the best. The science behind social media is fascinating yeah?