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Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Tips On How Local Businesses Use Social Media

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  • When I attended the Social Currency CrunchUp, there was a panel of businesses (all local except one (Levi’s)) whose members mentioned some tid-bits on how social media was working for them.

Here are my notes from the panel:

Curtis Kimball, The Creme Brulee Man

  • Sells Creme Brulle, primarily in San Francisco and changes his location (a cart) regularly
  • His customer Acquisition focuses on Twitter
    • Has 14,100 followers) because it’s so easy…a majority of my customers come from Twitter or from friends who are on Twitter.
    • Doesn’t have a fixed address because he doesn’t have a permit (“Permitting situation in San Francisco is a nightmare.”)

    the creme brulee man

Dr. Robert Vaksman, Dentist

  • “Nineteen percent of our traffic comes from Facebook Page (>100 fans)…and some of them are coming in to the office.”
  • Uses Twitter and YouTube too

Dan Yoo, Stone Korean Kitchen (Restaurant owner with 50+ seats)

  • Groupon has filled his restaurant more than 50 times ($35 worth of food for $15)
  • Had to pay Groupon 50% ($7.50) of what customer paid
  • One thing he’d like to know is how many of his Groupon customers came from the 94110 zip code (so that he can remarket them).

Oren Jacob, Ready, Set, Bag! (Movie maker)

  • Used Groupon to sell tickets to his documentary…for free he has the market reach that a large movie maker has — “It levels the playing field.”
  • Groupon helped him do 2 things:
  1. Drum up publicity (because people saw the film promoted on Groupon)
  2. Sold tickets to the actual movie

Note: He’d like to see more demographic information on these customers that Groupon generated for hm

Megan O’Connor, Levi’s

  • Focuses on Facebook — 520,000 Fans who can “like” Levis and particular promotions
  • Tracking: “We can track some sales (from offers) (on Facebook).”

Note: The panel was moderated by Erick Schonfeld and David Hornik.

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Friday, May 21st, 2010

How One Biz Used A Free Coke To Get 25,000 Facebook Leads (Real Leads with Physical/Email Address!)

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If you want to generate free leads on Facebook, Scott Crider is someone you should listen to.

He’s been preaching the benefits of creating value through social media for a few years now.

Scott_Crider_bio_photo.jpg

Back in 2007 Scott built the Dogs Against Romney blog after hearing Presidential hopeful Romney tell a reporter about how he had once strapped a dog cage to the roof of his car (with his dog in it!) on family vacation, traveling 80MPH…scaring the dog so badly that it shit all down the side of the car.

Dogs Against Romney was an overnight viral success picked up by major media outlets — it generated at least 500,000 visits in less than a month.

Scott also helped his friend and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee get hundreds of thousands of free Web site visitors during his campaign.

If Elvis Presley were still alive, he’d probably be asking Scott for help monetizing Facebook (Scott’s firm, Aristotle Interactive, handles email marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises).

Scott and the Aristotle team had a recent win helping a business generate leads through Facebook.

I asked him a few questions about lead gen win and general subject of making money through Facebook — enjoy!

Q: Would you explain how a business begins to think about making money through Facebook?

The real power in Facebook is in turning people into advocates for your brand, and you do that by giving them something of value, in a cool way, and making it easy for them to share.

Q: What is your definition of a Facebook app?

My definition of a Facebook app is one that requires the user to grant permission for it to access their personal information, and everything has to function within the Facebook API (the user never leaves Facebook).

Q: Tell me about Murphy USA — how did you help them acquire Facebook leads?

Murphy USA is a Fortune 100 gas station-convenience store chain, and a great client that lets us do great work.

They tasked us (Aristotle Interactive) to come up with a way of helping them grow their fans from their then-level of 5,100 (many of whom were associates of the company) to a much higher number of customers, and to activate those customers to visit their stores.

Q: So what was your approach?

We created a custom app for them that offered both existing and new fans a free Coca-Cola product of their choice, to be picked up at any Murphy USA location, and the app also allowed everyone to who got a free Coke to share one with their friends, as well.

Murphy_app_screen_cap

The app collected both email and physical addresses, as well as age info (a Facebook requirement) from the customers, and delivered the free Coke in the form of a secure, printable coupon to their email address.

Q: Can you walk us through the steps that a user would experience in this app you built?

  1. Well, first off, existing fans of the Murphy USA Facebook page (about 5,100 people) were the first to see the new custom tab on Facebook that said “Help Murphy USA share 100,000 Cokes!”
  2. After launching the app and getting their own coupon, fans were then presented the message “Your free Coke is on its way. Now share one with your friends!” The app, still running within the Murphy USA Facebook page, then presented the customer with his or her complete friends list, and they could select up to 12 people to share the promotion with (a Facebook restriction).
  3. Each of the 12 people the promotion was shared with then got a message in their Facebook inbox from their friend that said “You have a Murphy USA coupon invitation.”
  4. The message linked the person directly to the Murphy USA page where the default tab was set to the promotion.
  5. The fan was asked to “Show us you like us!” (click the “Like” button on Facebook, launching the app) and the process started all over again.

Q: Were there other ways the app you built encouraged Facebook fans to spread the word?

Yes, in addition to choosing 12 friends to share the promotion with, the app also offered each person the opportunity to post a message to their news feed that said “I got a free Coke from Murphy USA!” which could be seen by everyone.

Q: On average, how many friends did each Murphy USA fan share the app with?

I’d estimate that most of them shared it with all 12 friends they were allowed to share it with, and posted the message to their news feeds as well.

Q: So, that would mean that perhaps two thousand of Murphy USA’s fans shared the app (the free coke coupon) with 20,000 of their friends?

It’s hard to say. It went viral extremely quickly. Literally within minutes. The first two days the app was live they grew by 7,000 new fans each day.

It was so much traffic that our outbound coupon email volume to AOL caused them to temporarily block us and we had to put some bottlenecks in to slow it down. It was something like 800 AOL emails in an hour that triggered it. I didn’t even know 800 people still used AOL!

So far, the app has taken them to over 32,000 fans in 3 weeks since it launched, and virtually 100% of them have stayed as fans.

How much does an application like this cost to build?

I probably shouldn’t reveal any figures on that, because the client is in a very competitive business and they’re pretty tight-lipped about things that give them an advantage. Let’s just say that it cost less than you might think. It easily fit within their normal quarterly promotions budget.

How does Murphy USA use the email address they now have for their 30,000 + new fans for marketing follow-up?

Murphy USA really respects people’s privacy, so they chose to send one follow up email message to them to offer them the opportunity to opt into Murphy’s monthly e-Offers (an opt-in email database that offers promotions on all the different things they sell).

Of course, nearly all 30,000+ of them are still fans of Murphy’s Facebook page, too, and can be communicated with there anytime.

How would you describe Murphy’s ROI on this?

I’d say the return on their investment has to be pushing 1,000+%, probably more, considering the lifetime value of these new relationships.

Will Murphy USA do more of these free coupons?

I’m sure they will. Re-skinning the app and replacing the coupon is fairly easy, plus it’s a win/win for Murphy USA and their product partners.

Q: What did Aristotle do to ensure security for all this (i.e. make sure there’s not an unlimited # of free coupons that people use)?

That was another level of complication in the app creation, but a necessary one to protect both the client and Coca-Cola.

We built a system that generated a custom coupon for each recipient. They received an email with a one-time link to the coupon, and each coupon had the recipient’s email address screened across the entire face of it. So they could only access it once, and they were discouraged from making copies.

Q: Can you give me another example of a business that could do really well with a free giveaway on Facebook?

Imagine Victoria’s Secret — if they launched something like this as a “share a free panty with your friends” on Facebook, it would go stratospheric. Are you listening Victoria? Call me (ha!).

Q: So, if you had to sum up the keys to making one of these Facebook marketing apps work, what would it be?

Three things:

  1. Share something of value – a coupon, good content, a fun digital experience
  2. Do it in a cool way and make sharing easy
  3. Let the customers who share it look good to their friends

Q: That’s a fascinating use-case, Scott — If someone were to want to get in touch with you or Aristotle Interactive, what’s the best way for them to do so?

They can call me at Aristotle Interactive at 501-374-4638, or hook up with me on Twitter @CScottCrider or here on Linked In.


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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Wow, Men Are More Popular Than Women On Twitter (& Other Interesting Twitter Demographics)

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Fascinating study by Harvard Business Review looked at 300,000 random Twitter users and found the following demographics:

  • Followers
    • 80% of Twitter users have at least 1 follower
    • 20% of Twitter users have no followers
  • Men Versus Women
    • 55% of Twitter users are women; 45% are men
    • Men have 15% more followers than women
    • An average man is almost twice as likely to follow a man than he is to follow a woman (despite there being more women on Twitter)
    • An average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than she is to follow a woman
  • Volume of Tweeting
    • The typical Twitter user has only Tweeted once in their lifetime
    • 75% of Twitter users tweet once every 74 days
    • The top 10% of Twitter users accounted for 90% of tweets

There’s some good Twitter demographics on the chart at A Look at Twitter Demographics.

And if you want to see Twitter demographics related to Web site traffic, go here.

If you’re into Twitter, you may also want to read How to Make Money On Twitter and How To Get Twitter Followers (Ones That Buy!).

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

How To Promote Your Book On Twitter (& Other Twitter Tips)

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There’s a question that everyone wants answered these days (I’ve heard it repeatedly at the recent conferences I’ve attended)…and it is:  “Who’s making money using social media?”

I’ve been asking that question of my friends lately and one guy stood up and said:

“Well, I am.”

How To Make Money Using Twitter

Mitchell's Monthly Royalties From Twitter

His name is Mitchell Cogert and you should listen to him because he’s built a profitable little business selling poker books primarily through the free traffic he’s acquired using Twitter.

Mitchell is a veteran of marketing strategy having worked with Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Intuit and other leading businesses.

Read on to enjoy his thoughts on such topics as:

  • Does Twitter make money?
  • Who else makes money using Twitter?
  • The six steps of how Mitchell himself makes money with Twitter
  • How to find customers on Twitter

…here we go:

How To Make Money On Twitter

Q: Hi Mitchell. Before we get to your poker book business, let’s look at the rest of the world — first off, does Twitter make money yet?

There is an article entitled Twitter is Said to Be Profitable in Bloomberg that stated Twitter earned $25 million in 2009. The revenue came from deals with Google and Microsoft to get access to tweets for their search results.

At the Chirp conference (the Twitter developer conference) last week, Twitter announced a plan to earn money from ads. If you do a search on Twitter, you may see an ad as a tweet at the top of the results.

Q: Do you know of anyone else who makes money off Twitter?

Here are a few companies: DellOutlet, the Coffee Groundz, Zappos, Souplantation, NakedPizza.

You can learn more about success stories on Twitter by going to these Twitter Case Studies.

Logo of Bird for Mitchell's New Twitter Business

Q: Let’s get back to you your poker book business — do you make money on Twitter…is it profitable for you?

The cost to be on Twitter is $0. The cost for my Google blog is $0. The revenues from my poker books are priceless…lol.

Actually, using Twitter is very profitable! The most expensive thing I do is the time cost to write posts for my poker blog.

But that is fun to do, because it is my hobby.

Q: Would you break down the steps through which your poker business makes money using Twitter?

It’s a process:

  1. awareness–>
  2. followers–>
  3. effective tweets–>
  4. clicks to website–>
  5. valuable content–>
  6. sales

Q: So, “all in,” as they say in poker, how much money does it cost you to operate your combo Twitter/Blog sites per month versus how how much you think Twitter generates in book sales?

Out of pocket cost is for twollow at $7 per month and the websites on Homestead at $20 per month.

The royalties from my poker book sales average at least $1,000 per month.

Q: Do you have any other tips on how to make money using Twitter?

Yes. Let me give you one tip on how to get followers who are the most likely to buy from you.

The trick is to find followers who have “lists” that define your consumer.

For example, let’s say you are selling books to moms on parenting advice. Check out Twitter users who have lists they define as “moms.”

Now, just click the “follow this list” and you have created awareness about your business.

The moms that like what you have to say (tweeted) on Twitter, will follow you back. These followers are prospects!

Q: Thanks again, Mitchell

Thank you again!

Note: see How to Get Twitter Followers (Ones That Buy!) for Mitchell’s thoughts on that subject and for his contact information.

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

How To Get Followers On Twitter (Ones that Buy Things!)

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I recently met a neat guy named Mitchell Cogert who gave me some good Twitter tips.

He’s the president of ad agency Johnson Cogert & Strauss and has worked with Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Intuit and other leading businesses on marketing strategy.

For himself, he has used Twitter to build a profitable little business selling poker books.

Mitchell was kind enough to answer questions on such topics of Twitter as:

  • How do you get free Twitter followers?
  • Is it a good idea to buy Twitter followers?
  • How do use auto-follow and unfollow to get more Twitter followers?
  • How fast should you get Twitter followers?

Mitchell Cogert

Here’s the Q&A on:

How To Get Followers on Twitter

Q: Hi Mitchell, let’s start off simple. How do you get followers on Twitter — what are the top few tips?

Here are three easy and free ways to get followers on Twitter:

  1. Add a “Follow-me on Twitter” icon and link on your website
  2. Add your Twitter account name on your email address
  3. Announce to your mailing list that you are on Twitter

Q: Would you discuss how to use Twitter’s auto-follow feature to get followers?

Twitter does not have an auto-follow feature to get followers.

Q: I see that you blog — did you get more followers on Twitter as a result of your blog?

Yes. Your blog or website provides the valuable content that you tweet about and is linked to your blog.

An example from one of my poker tweets:

New Blog Post: The 3 most popular Poker Strategies you must Avoid

Q: Do you recommend that businesses buy Twitter followers or should they focus on acquiring free Twitter followers?

I recommend that businesses do both. However, when it comes to buying Twitter followers you need to be careful since there are too many scams about getting followers..

I recommend my clients use twollow. It is inexpensive to use (as little as $80 per year) and it only auto-follows those users based on the keywords you select.

Q: Business folks often ask me “How do I get Twitter followers fast!?” — What’s your advice to them?

You don’t want to get Twitter followers fast. You want to get prospects, not followers.

I mean, do you want to get one million followers who have no interest in what you offer, or 10,000 followers who are prospects; those Twitter users who have an interest in what you are selling?

Twitter is not a get rich quick platform. To be successful on Twitter is a process. If you understand the process, you will get followers that are prospects, and turn them into sales.

Q: What business has the most Twitter followers…and do you know how they did it?

The businesses that have the most followers are usually those that have a well-know brand names and use Twitter effectively.

Examples are:

  • @DellOutlet: Posts tweets about discounts on products (15-30% off) and even exclusive deals via Twitter.
  • @ComcastCares: Post tweets to engage Comcast customers to improve customer care
  • @Zappos CEO: To build a bond with potential customers and provide insight into their unique culture.

Q: If someone wanted to get in touch with you about Twitter (I know you do some consulting) or find out more about you and your books, how would they do so?

For consulting, just send me an email at mcogert@gmail.com. To learn more about my poker books go to APokerExpert. And, of course, if you want to win money playing poker, follow me on Twitter at @Mitchell1969.

Q: Thanks, Mitchell!

You are welcome!

If you want to learn more about getting followers on Twitter, check out Two Tips to Get Followers on Twitter– and if you want to review some beginner Twitter tips, here’s a good primer called Twitter Tips for Beginners.

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Monday, March 8th, 2010

The Near Future of Twitter's Ad Platform, Google Buzz, iPad, Etc. (According to Mashable's Ben Parr)

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I’m at the 140 | The Twitter Conference and Ben Parr (@BenParr), Co-Editor of Mashable, is sharing his thoughts on social media with Steve Broback, (Host of the conference).

Here are some highlights:

The top three social media platforms business should care about:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. YouTube

Two newer social media platforms to keep an eye on:

  1. FourSquare — It’s a mobile application that let’s people know where you are and what you’re doing.
  2. Google Buzz — It’s already bigger than Twitter in terms of users (at 40MM+).

Upcoming Changes In Google Buzz

If Google doesn’t create a standalone version of Buzz, it won’t succeed.

You will see Google Buzz withing Google Apps/Google Docs within the next few months.

“I’m bullish on it — it has strong features and big user base. I’m getting better engagement on Google Buzz than Facebook.”

Google Buzz API is coming — Google will throw APIs out like they’re candy.

Twitter’s Ad Platform

Twitter’s plan is to probably launch an ad platform this month, probably focused on search. This will probably involve in-stream ads and developers to integrate it and share revenue with it…so applications (such as HootSuite or TweetDeck will carry ads).

Twitter is cash-flow positive due to the “Firehose” (allowing Yahoo, Google, Bing and 6 or 7 search startups to index the Twitter content/data).

Tips & Tools For Businesses Use To Maximize Value of Twitter

  • Figure our your goal (have a specific goal in mind). Examples of goals: Monitor discussion, promote products, build a stronger brand, etc.
  • Recommends these tools for businesses: CoTweet, HootSuite and WildFire (whatever tool you use, make sure it has analytics)

iPad

The second version of Apple’s iPad will likely include a camera.


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Monday, March 8th, 2010

Two Tips To Get More Followers on Twitter (from 140 | The Twitter Conference)

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I’m sitting here at the “140 | The Twitter Conference” in Seattle, WA and Jason Preston of Parnassaus Group mentioned these two tips for growing your followers on Twitter:

Contests

“Contests work” — Offer a prize. Ask people to follow you and retweet the contest.

The cost to acquire a Twitter follower has averaged about $7 per 100 followers in Preston’s experience.

Twitter Contest Examples

Jason said Parnassus Group used a contest for what the t-shirt for a Twitter conference should say (with the winner being offered a free conference pass and t-shirt).

As part of the contest, you had to tweet your submission and follow the conference the twitter account (@tweethouse).

Parnassus got a couple of hundred followers as a result of the contest (which again he says worked out to about $7 cost to acquire each Twitter follower

Another example: Someone offered a MacBook Air and got 2,500 followers (that cost to acquire a Twitter follower was closer to $1 per follower)

Follow People Using Tools Such As TweepSearch

Searching for people who are relevant to you or your business (based on location or products) and follow them. Reason: There are a lot of people who have their accounts set up to automatically follow you back.

If you’re targeted on your outreach you will land on the inbox of people interested in your business. He recommends TweepSearch (in beta).

With TweepSearch you can type in search term and easily find people to follow (and then hopefully they follow you back). If you’re looking for followers from a certain location, type in the search term followed by the location (e.g. “Jewerlry: San Francisco”)

I’ll keep posting other info from this event.

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Facebook's Revenues & Highlights From Wall Street Journal Profile

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It’s amazing how much momentum Facebook is generating these days. The press is certainly going wild.

Earlier this week, InsideFacebook shared some revenue estimates.

Based on their estimates, as well as one mentioned in the Wall Street Journal today and past ones from Starup Review and Don Dodge, here’s a very rough estimate of Facebook’s revenues since its founding in 2005:

Facebook Revenues for 2005 to 2010 (Estimated & Projected)

Facebook Revenues for 2005 to 2010 (Estimated & Projected)

Today’s Wall Street Journal cover story had these highlights about Facebook:

CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Management Style

  • He is short on praise and believes that getting the product right should be its own reward
  • He is clear and purposeful on vision: believing that Facebook’s promise has to do with facilitating people’s ability to share almost any and everything with anyone at any time via Web sites, mobile phones and even videogames
  • He is a micromanager
  • In Facebook’s earlier years, Zuckerberg ended meetings by pumping his fist in the air and leading employees in a chant of “domination.”
  • Zuckerberg believes he has a special capacity for delaying gratification (and that will be helpful in holding out on an IPO)
  • Good listener: He’s met with Intel CEO Paul Otellini and Oracle President Charles Philips and keeps a long list of advice on his Blackberry
  • Zuckerberg controls votes for three of the five board seats

Facebook passed up on two acquisition offers:

  • Yahoo’s $1 billion offer in 2006 and
  • Microsoft’s offer of $8 billion or more sometime later

Facebook Financials and an IPO

  • Facebook’s revenue could hit $1.2 billion to $2 billion this year (2010)
  • It has been cash-flow positive (enough to pay its 1,200 employees and overhead) since 2009
  • Timing of an IPO: Board member Jim Breyer told a German audience last month that an IPO would not happen in 2010

Zuckerberg is clearly in control of the business

  • Zuckerberg owns more than a quarter of Facebook’s stock
  • Zuckerberg has control over 3 of the 5 board seats

I expect Facebook’s press to escalate further leading up to a likely IPO this year or in 2011; in what would likely be the largest Internet IPO since Google.

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