There is no silver bullet when it comes to SEO and I have a feeling that, with the Facebook’s new Graph Search, the SEO world is about to be flipped upside down. My office is located at thinkspace in the coworking section which gives me the opportunity to speak with many different start up entrepreneurs. I find joy when I see their eyes light up after talking to me about SEO strategy. But, the ideas that they have are always, “I can do that! I don’t need to hire someone!” It’s true, there is no secret to SEO and there is no magic wand.

If you ask me, the secret to success is the development of the SEO strategy early in the development of your start up. Odds are that your main competitors are already funded and have processes already identified  The fact is simple, the larger the company, the harder it is to change. The online marketing world is changing rapidly. If you build a strong SEO foundation, you will prosper for years to come.

Find an SEO Adviser

seo guruI’d like to fill this spot for you. But if not me, find someone else who’s qualified. Buy this person lunch once every month and present your marketing plan, your content plan, and your website plan to them. Ask for their input and advice. Just the other day I made a recommendation to a start up game company on how to rework his web directory. The simple task of allowing some of the user-generated content to display in a directory-like architecture changed his development plan. The bad part…. his website was already developed and he was getting ready to launch. This should have been identified in the early planning stages. The recommendation took me all of one minute to identify and recommend. My advice for a start up entrepreneur? Find an SEO Adviser and buy them lunch once a month or once a quarter. We SEO guys like to eat too!

Find an SEO Adviser That Fits Your Business Model

Want to compete with Expedia? Find an SEO adviser that knows the travel business. What to compete with Microsoft? Find an SEO adviser with experience in enterprise software. Every vertical has its unique INs and OUTs. Find an adviser that fits your business model.

Know When To Hire An SEO Consultant

Not all SEO campaigns require monthly fees. In fact, most of the SEO work that a start up needs can be executed in projects. Educate yourself so you know how to identify what SEO projects you need. A respectable SEO guy will run you $50 – $75 per hour, a killer SEO guy will run you $75 – $200 per hour. The difference is in the research, planning, and type of work executed. One SEO guy might spend 5 hours doing keyword research. But another SEO guy may include a keyword trend analysis, a comparison of keyword search volume between countries, an competitor analysis per keyword, and they might deliver it in a branded PDF versus a Word document.

Here are some SEO projects and suggested hours that you may need to contract for in the early stages.

Keyword Research: Budget 5 – 15 hours for a keyword research report and documentation.  Make sure the deliverable has keywords segmented into groups. I always ask for search volume in the USA in both exact and broad match. Also, I ask to list the cost per click of each keyword so I can identify the suggested value of the keyword. Be sure to include a basic aggressiveness factor, this will show you what keywords are easy to obtain, and what keywords are hard to obtain.

Website sitemap creation: Depending on the size of your website, budget another 5 – 10 hours for this. It’s hard to rank for a keyword if you do not have the proper web page on your site to target it. Some keywords can be targeted on your service pages, your location pages, or your blog post pages. Others may need more advanced thought to create content for. Make sure you have a plan to target the keywords that you deem valuable.

In future posts, I’ll make additional recommendations for SEO projects for start-up entrepreneurs. Also, in the near future, you will be able to contact me through thinkspaces’s office hours program to seek free advice regarding SEO strategy….no lunch bribe needed for that.


thinkspace redmond waThe 41th Annual Economic Forecast report for 2013 was released in the Puget Sound Business Journal in the January 11-17th issue. In this report Cynthia Flash authored an article, “Local tech sector key to sustaining regional economic growth.” Cynthia writes, ” It’s no secret that Washington’s information technology industry is a major part of the state’s economy. Microsoft and are among the world’s largest and most well-known tech companies.”

Tech Sector Supports the Washington State Economy:

– Tech-related employment since 1990 more than doubled from 94,500 to 203,000.
– Tech-related jobs accounted for 55 percent of the state’s employment compensation growth and 33 percent of the state’s personal income growth since 1990.
– The tech sector contributed $2.9 billion in state Business & Occupation tax revenues in 2011, up 318 percent since 1990.

While these numbers are dominated by our local tech powerhouses, I believe that the key to sustaining growth in the local tech sector is anchored by the start-up markets. Fostering innovation within the tech sector is a critical factor in the future of our local economy. This is where thinkspace enters the conversation.

My name is Gabriel Gervelis and I own a start-up marketing agency located in thinkspace’s coworking office. Lead by local entrepreneur Peter Chee, thinkspace has developed a culture that supports start-ups,  fosters innovation, and provides all of the support and services we entrepreneurs need to succeed.

thinkspace is home to both giants and start-ups

You never know who you’re going to meet at thinkspace. As a start-up entrepreneur, it’s amazing to run into the executive team of Donuts Inc. who are recipients of $100 million in venture capital funding. And having the opportunity to swap ideas back and forth on your lunch break with the development team that created Pirq is equally priceless.

Local Tech Entrepreneurs, at thinkspace, gearing up for greatness!

Brand Buddee: Lead by a thinkspace entrepreneur, Brand Buddee is a web platform that allows local businesses to promote offers and put their social following to work sharing content through their social networks. By offering incentives to the public, local crowds flock to Brand Buddee to earn rewards by sharing special offers through their social profiles.

Anomo: Watch out Facebook, here comes Anomo! Next time you’re in need of a wordpress developer for that last minute change, simply check your Anomo network to see if there are any within in a few blocks from you. This is a true game changer and a perfect way to capitalize on the mobile app boom.

EDUonGo: Fresh out of beta, EDUonGo is taking the online education market by storm. This unique technology platform allows professors (and other content providers) to upload their course content and then produce income by sharing their expertise.  What would you do if you could launch your own university in a matter of minutes, then start collecting ecommerce revenue? With over 30 universities already on board, EDUonGo is another local tech company destined for greatness.

Marketing and Advertising at Your Fingertips:

A major part of of Washington’s economic future depends on innovation within the tech sector. This isn’t possible unless you, the people, get to know about the great ideas that we’re launching. On any given day, one can visit the coworking space and find young entrepreneurs running around, inventing new ways of making their visions come to life. What better way to make this possible than to grow in a culture of marketing and adverting professionals? Surrounding your company with partners that want you to succeed is a key factor to a start-up’s growth.

Arc Media Studios: CEO Ali Mohsenian operates his video production agency out of the coworking office at thinkspace. With years of video development experience, Ali and his team (along with their brand new RED camera) provide the insight needed to ensure that your business plan has the proper budget for branding and video development.

Heinz MarketingWhen it comes to sales and marketing, it’s no secret that Matt Heinz is one of the Northwest’s local leaders. Matt and his team operating out of the thinkspace building are always open to giving helpful advice on your go-to-market strategy, sales strategy, and overall marketing plan. Matt is an extremely valuable resource for any tech start up.

Gervelis Search Marketing: This is where I enter the picture! I’m an SEO Guru, Social Media Master, & Content Marketing professional at your service. The most effective SEO strategy is one that’s identified at the beginning stages of a start-up’s development. Often times, a single recommendation we make on the subject of marketing can change the development plan of an entire company. If you’re a start-up, or thinking of realizing your business dreams,  then surrounding yourself with this type of entrepreneurial culture is critical to your success!

Development Resources at Your Fingertips

Web development, software development,  & mobile development are key factors to the success of any young technology company. thinkspace is home to several businesses that will help you safely navigate these waters.

Vina Source: You can often find CEO Benjamin Liu hanging out in the coworking space here in Redmond. Ben controls an overseas a development team that produces grade-A mobile products. With clients like Pirq &, Ben can help you create a mobile development strategy for your start up.

Blue Label Labs:  Blue Label is a young and highly innovative team of mobile developers headed up by Jordan Gurrieri. You can find Jordan in and out of the coworking space, too. Jordan, like the rest of us, suffers from ‘entrepreneurial A.D.D.’, but Jordan’s side projects result in published books and websites that generate tens of thousands of monthly online visitors. He’s definitely not a bad guy to sit next to when you’re creating your start-ups strategy for world domination!

What Else Could You Need…Besides Funding?

Yes, the ground floor of thinkspace (a large, well furnished facility with extra monitors, meeting areas, and desks) is truly an innovation hub for start-ups but let’s not forget about the 300 companies that they service. This broad mix of service professionals are here to help and advise you as well.

thinkspace services: Peter Chee has created a service center complete with everything that a start-up needs including a physical mailing address, phone answering services, registered agent services, and other offerings to help the start-up community truly succeed.

Here are some additional members of the thinkspace community you may want to know:

Certified Public Accountant:  Jon Jenkins has a team of five professionals ready to help you answer your toughest accounting questions.

Attorney: Nathan Neiman of the Neiman Law team is a seasoned lawyer helping entrepreneurs establish themselves.

What About Funding & VC’s?

You will find several VC’s Lurking the hallways of thinkspace who are willing to listen to your plan and offer helpful advice.

Angel Investors: Charlie Kindle is a private investor and a member of the ‘Alliance of Angels’ funding organization who keeps office hours here at thinkspace.

Washington’s Economic Future is at thinkspace

There can be no argument, technology will continue to a play a major part in the  local, national, & global economic environments. Communities like thinkspace are playing an important part that will decide what role Washington will play in this space. We are a community of like-minded people going above and beyond to help each other navigate the new and uncharted waters of the technology front.

$2.9 billion in state Business & Occupation tax revenues in 2011, up 318 percent since 1990. Looking ahead into 2015, let’s work together to add a few billion to these numbers!

SEO Bootcamp for Startups image credit
You’re a visionary. Your Idea will change the world!Every time you tell someone about your idea they instantly become a believer and start spreading the word. Your energy and passion for what you do is so contagious that you are attracting talent, people want to get involved. Only problem is you need funding, cash is tight, and can’t afford to hire a top notch SEO agency.

If you’re like me you’re a jack of all trades. My trade is SEO. Little did I know, I’m also a bookkeeper, attorney, real estate advisor, human resources department, project manager, marketing director, sales manager, public speaker, and the list goes on….

So, my fellow start-up friend, let me help make you the best overnight DIY SEO expert possible! Here are some tools and insights to help with your journey!

On Page Optimization

This will show you what the Perfectly optimized page looks like

Keep in mind that 70% of all internet searches are long tail searches, a critical factor when creating your content strategy

Use this tool to do keyword research. It’s important to understand the difference between broad match searches and exact match searches. Also, understand that the long tail lives between the exact match and broad match

Don’t waste your time with the meta keywords tag

Always keep users in mind when optimizing page content, never stuff keywords into a page to rank.

Set up a profile with Google Webmaster tools and Bing webmaster tools

Submit an XML sitemap to both Google & Bing through their webmaster tool accounts. Remember, Bing controls Yahoo. Need a sitemap? Use this Generator

Use this Tool to find broken links, missing alt tags, 404 errors , and other technical issues in your site. Export the report and tell your web dev to get busy!

More tools by the Ninjas! The DIY SEO Guys best friend

SEO Tools

SEOmoz has a great SEO tool kit, some say the best. Hey, with 18 million in funding they should have a kick butt tool kit!

OpenSiteExplorer will show you all of your competitors links. Go get em! Check out the “compare link metrics” on this tool

Megistic SEO will show you how many links your competitors have generated over time

SpyFu will show you how much money your competitors are spending on AdWords, and what keywords they are using. Also, compare two competitors to see what overlapping keywords are used….target these!

Raven Tools – This is SEOmoz’s largest competitors. They have a robust suite of SEO tools for link acquisition, bench marketing, and reporting

Link Building

Use UBL or YEXT to get into the local directories

The Penguin update put a stop on manufactured link building strategies. Put every link service through the test and ask yourself, “Will my target market find this useful?” If the answer is no, stay away.

Always ask link vendors for a deliverable. If they will not show you the link URLs do not do business with them

When you get your deliverable run the domain through Open Site Explorer to see the domain authority. If it’s a high domain authority (30+) then keep the link building service. If it’s of low domain authority then get rid of the service.
Never sign monthly contracts with link building vendors, keep them on their toes with purchase orders.

Here are some vendors that deliver manufactured strategies. Your success is through vendor management : AstaMedia , Link Narwhal, Backlink Mafia, Link Fool

Local SEO

This is your local SEO bible, if you’re a local business or have plans to operate many locations it’s critical that you read this

Content Generation

Media Piston: Crowdsouring platform for content generation. Need 1000 product reviews in 48 hours, this is your source. Need affordable movie reviews writer, product descriptions, or blog content? This is a great place to start. Sidenote: The founder of this company is a local Badass (what up Joe!)

Zerys – Project management platform that connects you with a pool of writers. Find one writer or power a crowd.

Crowd Content – another content platform. Content generation is getting easy now days…..

SEO Resources


SEOMoz – worlds largest SEO community, blog, and user generated blog

Search Engine Journal – Search marketing trends and updates. Check out my posts

Search Engine Watch – Authority in search info. Sign up for their weekly updates and get high level major updates in your inbox….

Search Ranking Factors – by SEOmoz, a complete look into the Google Ranking Algo, this is true science

Google Algorithm Changes – Track Google’s Algorithm changes with this web page by SEOmoz

All of the resources in this section (Search Ranking Factors and Google changes) have been tweeted thousands of times. This is because the content is the best in the business…..That’s your goal, create the best content in your business and deliver it to those that care. If you can do this, and you’re an ethical company, Social media will give you life

Alright – this will get you started! Start-up’s stick together….before funding and after! In the comments below, feel free to ask any questions or add to the list. I’m happy to help.

About Gabriel Gervelis
@seo_pro – I’m a digital expert a search marketing samurai, social ad serving gun slinger, start up entrepreneur, & marketing master mind who’s mission is nothing less then to change the world!
Find me on Linkedin

When you think about the rise of social media and it’s prevalence in today’s business world, you would think that a company with the right resources should have their own social media department, if not only as a part of the marketing team.

That’s just plain wrong. A dedicated team for social is not the way to go about it and the numbers prove it. The idea is to create a social culture with people who have the tools and knowledge to drive authentic sharing, blogging, and a lively community without it being a huge burden on any one person or group.

The existence and adoption of social media platforms proves that humans by nature, want to share. Your employees are no different. Train them to do social regardless of the department they may work in and you’ll end up with a diverse group creating content that is going to appeal to a wide range of people. Not only that, you automatically get access to the combined social networks of all your employees because they want to share what they are up to and what they create with their friends and family.

Don’t departmentalize, teach everyone to socialize. You will find that you have a treasure trove of hidden talent and social superstars at your disposal. The authentic content that they create will drive traffic, brand recognition, culture, moral, and yes, fans, friends, followers and sales.

[Click to enlarge]

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Etiquette is as important on social networks as it is at interviews and fancy dinners. You don’t wear cut-off jeans to formal events or chew with your mouth open at a business dinner, so don’t do the equivalent by forgetting your twitter manners!

Hit a Twitter Blackjack! Time to double down!

There are certain things that you can’t get away with on Twitter. Twittequette is an organic set of rules and expectations that have developed since the dawn of the Twitterverse, be a good twitizen and follow them. Hit a blackjack on all your tweets with this list of 21 Twitter rules, manners, guidelines, and expectations.

  1. Always use shortened links: Nothing more hideous than a long url pasted right in there. It’s gross. It wastes valuable room for you to tell people about your link and is an eye sore. People really don’t like long links, they are hard to ReTweet and violate one of the basic laws of the Twitterverse.
  2. Never span one message over multiple tweets: EVER. This violates what is at the core of Twitter, a micro-blogging site. It’s just wrong and makes people dig for the second half of your tweet. The 140 rule is there for a reason. Its almost as ugly as a un-shortened link.
  3. Don’t send out a DM to the public: If you want to send a private message (or message of your privates), make sure it’s private. Anthony Weiner, nuff said.
  4. Use hastags appropriately: Hashtags are awesome for helping you get into a conversation. If you have something to share that applies to an ongoing conversation, offer it up and use the hashtag, it makes it really easy for those monitoring that conversation to find it.
  5. Tag people judiciously: Don’t tag randomly just to try and boost traffic numbers. Tag people if you legitimately believe they would have an interest in what you are tweeting and don’t bomb them, if you need to tag them in multiple tweets, space them out.
  6. Don’t just push products, share knowledge: No one likes a Twitter spammer, you’ll get unfollowed real quick. It’s OK to advertise and market, just do it sparingly and be sure you are a solid and respected contributor to the conversation before you try coming in hot with ads and product placement.
  7. Change it up, keep it fresh: It’s OK to be random! If you use one type of tweet every time or share the same things consistently, that is all well and good, but also use the freedom to share something fun if you want. People will appreciate you keeping their stream on it’s toes.
  8. Don’t USE ALL CAPS: Because it’s really ANNOYING AND UNNECESSARY.
  9. Don’t use 2 many instant message style shortcuts: If someone has to translate your tweet before reading it, they aren’t going to like it. Adjust your tweet so that you can use real and complete words while still sticking under the 140 character max.
  10. Tweet statistics and lists: People like to share tweets that teach them something quickly. Tweets with statistics and top 5 or top 10 style lists generally get ReTweeted more often and will make the Twitter skimmers really happy.
  11. Don’t follow more than follow you, keep it about 1:1: This isn’t so much about individual tweets as it is about respectability. If you follow way more than follow you, you lose respect, you’re new and obviously just follow in hopes of being followed right back. Sure, you can boost followers this way, but those people aren’t the ones that are really listening. On the flip side, you don’t want to have a ton of followers and follow no one. Why? Twitter is about a conversation man, yours is clearly one-way if you aren’t listening to anyone else and that’s just rude.
  12. Don’t have extremely long personal conversations: Go ahead, connect! Have conversations, that’s what it is all for, just don’t have a personal tea party in my feed. If you want to have a more in-depth or long-running conversation with another individual, connect somewhere else or use the DM feature so you don’t clog your followers with something that probably has nothing to do with them. It’s like having a really loud cell phone conversation in the middle of a restaurant; everyone can hear and they probably don’t want or need to and…oh yeah, you become that guy.
  13. Follow basic grammar and puncuation rules: It’s Twitter, sure you can toss grammar aside a bit and use acronyms and even the occasional shortcut word, but make it readable. Punctuation makes tweets so much easier to read and there is proof that tweets with more punctuation are ReTweeted more often.
  14. Space out your tweets: Tweet often, but keep them spaced out. Don’t clog people’s feeds with too many messages all at once, the likelihood that they will be skipped over greatly increases. Tweets can be can come much more frequent that Facebook posts, but still be careful not to over do it.
  15. Give credit, site if it’s a RT: If you are ReTweeting something and choose to edit the tweet and share the same link, be sure not to cut out who you got it from. Cutting out the person you are ReTweeting from is rude and makes it look like you are trying to steal the sharing cred.
  16. Don’t say the same thing twice: Not to be confused with rule number 6, this rule applies to using the same exact text in multiple tweets. It’s easy to just tweet the title of your article and burst it out 5-6 times a day, but it shows laziness and no one appreciates the same tired tweet popping up in their stream time after time. Say something compelling and highlight different aspects of the content you are sharing with each tweet. This also broadens the people you may end up appealing to with your tweets.
  17. No cursing, use NSFW warning: It’s fine to be a little risque, dirty even, just don’t curse. It’s like shouting out expletives at a meeting, it can make things awkward. Also, if you plan to share something better left for private viewing, make sure to mark it NSFW or ‘Not Safe For Work’ so that someone doesn’t click an inappropriate link with their boss [or children] standing nearby.
  18. Don’t multi-RT: This is bad: “RT @saltywaffle: RT @mcuevasm: RT: @nicoledonnelly”….just RT the first identifiable source.
  19. Leave room for ReTweet’s: If you are looking for a RT, leave room so it can be done in one click. Hootsuite and others give you a warning when you get close to maximum RT length. It takes a few characters for people to RT, so make it easy for them, if they have to edit the tweet to shorten it down before being able to RT, the chances they will do it drop dramatically.
  20. Get an avatar: Don’t go naked. If you have a Twitter account, get a picture. Leaving your avatar as the default Twitter given one shows you don’t care enough about your account to even adjust one of the basic settings. Plus, it just lacks personality ya know?
  21. Say please and thank you: When someone helps you out, let them know you appreciate it. There is a lot of psychology behind minding these simplest of manners. If you really want a RT, say please, it helps, just don’t beg.

social media, social media marketing, social media classes, community, salty waffle, social media advertising, social media factsWe live in a world surrounded by ads, that’s clear. With more methods of advertising, come more ways we learn to block them out. We are numb to many types of push marketing techniques, those types of ads and campaigns that saturate and annoy. Thankfully, we also live in a world where social media offers a way to avoid expensive, annoying, futile ad efforts.

With a well done social effort you can connect your brand on a personal level. People will seek out a connection with you via social media versus you seeking the customer’s attention by other means, potentially irritating them. When you pull versus push, word of mouth and the community is on your side. Check out the numbers on pushy marketing and look at the potential for extending brand loyalty with social:

  1. $4.26 billion will be spent on social media marketing globally in 2011
  2. 43% of Facebook users who “unlike” a brand do so because of too much push marketing
  3. 64% of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook
  4. 25% of social media users are more likely to look into a brand advertising on social media (15% of these users are more likely to purchase from social media advertisers)
  5. 41% of users who have unfollowed a brand on Twitter did so because they were over-marketed to
  6. 78.6% of consumers have joined a company’s community to get more information on the company
  7. 71% of community members say they are more likely to purchase from brand
  8. 66% of company community members note that the community has made them more loyal to a brand
  9. 63% of corporate community members note that they will recommend brand to friends/family
  10. Ford’s 2011 Explorer launch on Facebook generated a 200% greater return than a Super Bowl ad
With a crazy number of projects launching from Google Chromebooks to Google+, along with a few more clandestine endeavors, it’s easy to lose the less sexy stories in the shuffle. Here are 3 changes that are going to affect your business and search in huge ways starting….now.
google eminem

...goin' through changes

  1. Google+ Brand Pages: Looks like overwhelming demand for a place for businesses on Google+ has hustled Google along on this. Google+ for businesses will be launching before the end of the year with some awesome looking features. Look out for Google+ pages from Mashable, Ford, and others in the next couple of weeks.
  2. Yelp Reviews: Google continues their fight with Yelp and just recently removed all third-party reviews from Google Places pages. Google says it’s all about local search, some claim it’s because the quality of Yelp reviews has declined, but the bottom line is, no more Yelp reviews on your Google Places page. This is bad for you if you don’t have a bunch of native Google Places reviews already. It’s going to become necessary to get reviews for your Places page if you want reviews to show up on what is most likely one of the top results for a search on your business. Not only that, Google Maps will pull Google Places reviews, so you’ll want Maps users to see sparkling praise of your business, not a blank slate of sadness. Could this also be more evidence that Google Places is going to become part of Google+, as in Google+ for businesses? Maybe…
  3. Authorship: Further efforts to provide better search results and reward good content has led Google to place some focus on the authors. It’s in trial mode right now, but Google will display the author’s information and thumbnail image right in the Google search results. It’s easier to see than it is to explain…The benefits of this are many: Instant recognition, instant credibility, and an improved reputation for your blog’s authors that will likely give them a significant boost in social media influence as well, leaving them more powerful proponents of the content on your site. Make sure to get set up to display author information.
google+, social media, authorship, salty waffle

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.

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

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.

facebook, edgerank, salty waffle, thinkspace, social media, nfo, news feed optimization

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.