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March 19, 2011 / Brandon Raper

Tweet Stats: Makin Your Graf’!

Social media analytics is becoming a science. Most companies that have taken the plunge into creating an all-inclusive social media campaign are searching for exact information and statistics to show the return on investment. Previously, social media analytics consisted of over laying data to find cause and effect situations. If you started a campaign in April and gained 200 followers on Twitter and your online profits raised 4%, then it was assumed Twitter was the reasoning.

Tweet Stats Home Page

Tweet Stats Home Page

Improved Statistics

Relating cause and effect isn’t strong enough proof to produce a social media campaign for a multi-million dollar company. Google Analytics has become a necessity for marketing companies because of the deep amount of data provided and the ability to track the sales funnel online. A website I stumbled across helps to start the process of providing valuable information about a Twitter page.

TweetStats

The homepage for Tweetstats is simple and easy to understand with a LOLCATS reference as the tagline. Just put your Twitter profile name into the box and hit enter. There is a little bit of a wait time for the statistics but they let you know “This will take a while, go party”. Once you finally make it through the queue of people, you are brought to a complete page of stats with three sub-menus.

On the first page you are shown multiple stat lines. First is your tweet timeline. On the timeline you are shown how many tweets per month/per day your profile produced. You can click on any individual month to see extra statistics including how the sort of tweet whether it be a reply, tweet, or retweet. It’s pretty interesting to see the difference in engagement through the days/months.

Next is tweet density. This graph shows how often you tweet on particular days and at what times. These graphs are a little misleading and hard to read quickly. They are spaced apart with no legend to distinguish what is what, but there is a lot of valuable information provided here. According to my statistics I tweet more often on Sundays and my numbers spike drastically after 5 p.m. Most of this is due to the fact that I work until 5.

Last on this page are statistics on who replies to your mentions and who you retweet. Showing who responds to your mentions could be potentially good information for corporations to see who exactly is completely involved with your page.

The other pages of statistics you are given are tweet cloud and follower stats.

Tweet Cloud

Tweet cloud is a pretty simple page of statistics, consisting of the most used words in your tweets. Also included at the bottom of the page is a hash cloud which includes your most used hashtags over a period of time.

Follower Stats

Follower stats is a page that’s only useful if you come back to the site repeatedly. It tracks the difference in your friend and follower counts each time you search your profiles statistics. For mine, I searched on May 18th and May 19th so it showed a line graph of my change on followers.

All in all, TweetStats has some useful statistics for commercial and personal profiles alike. There isn’t enough provided that would sway a CEO’s decision on if a social media campaign is necessary, but it is a great start and very effective for an already established campaign.

I give TweetStats a 3.5/5

I personally can’t wait to see what updates are in store for the future.

March 13, 2011 / Brandon Raper

TweetStork: Go Viral

Twitter management tools are becoming necessary for certain profiles to keep a hold on current and future followers. Once you reach the follower limit of 2,000 or 115% ratio then it becomes increasingly more important. Recently I’ve done reviews for Tweetbig and Tweepi, and today we’ll be looking at Tweet Stork.

Tweet Stork

Tweet Stork Logo

Tweet Stork provides a lot of the same features you can find on other Twitter management tools. Features like showing you everyone within a list and unfollowing users who aren’t following you back. The difference in Tweet Stork is subtle but very useful.

Find Related Users

Most tools will say that certain users are related to you just because they follow someone you do. This is almost always false and just a quick way for management tools to trick a user into thinking they’re offering more product for free. Tweet Stork takes this to a different level. When looking for “Related Users” you can search through a list of someones followers by keywords. For example, I searched through @Briansolis followers, but only wanted to see followers whom had the words “Social media, Marketing, Digital Media” within their Twitter bio.

Searching for bio descriptions with keywords is a much more efficient way of finding QUALITY profiles to follow. Twitter is meant to be used for engagement, why would you follow 400 dormant accounts with no bios or pictures when you are able to single out certain characteristics?

Find Retweeters

The single best feature that Tweet Stork provides which I haven’t found on another management tool yet is Find Retweeters. If you place a profiles name into the search menu a list will be created of people who have retweeted their posts. The ability to find profiles that will retweet content is incredibly valuable. Everyone’s highest goal is to go viral and gain that national internet fame. Having a large following of people who are willing to retweet content is the single fastest way to get to that point.

Weak Features

Although Tweet Stork does provide a new way to search for personalized users, there isn’t much else to look forward to. The other features provided by Tweet Stork are found in other places for free (Yes there is a monthly fee). The monthly fee is only $4, and the freemium model just puts a limitation on how many people you can follow in a day (15).

Final Review

All in all…Tweet Stork is a very easy to use management tool but is lacking in unique features. There are multiple tools out there that provide the same benefits but without a cost. A major drawback is the lack of statistics and analytics which are becoming increasingly more important for commercial Twitter use.

My rating for Tweet Stork: 1/5

March 6, 2011 / Brandon Raper

Tweepi: The Best Free Twitter Tool

Here’s my video review of Tweepi and why I think it is easily the best Twitter management tool on the market.

February 23, 2011 / Brandon Raper

Borders and Blockbuster Behind

bankrupt monopoly

It’s occurred to me lately that there are thousands of corporations who are still living in the 90’s.  And not just because they are still collecting beanie babies or raising animals on their Tomagachis.  These corporations are more or less acting like your grandma who believes the internet is a communist country.

BANKRUPT

Recently they started to go bankrupt, specifically Borders and Blockbuster which have closed local locations in my hometown.  There’s probably more reasons than I can count why they’re not living up to the competition, but there is one specific reason that is not only bringing these once power house corporations down, but wrecking havoc on many others.

Lack of innovation within the higher ranks of a corporation is beginning to show it’s ugly head.  Whether it be product or service innovation doesn’t matter.  In the year 2011 I guarantee you will see many more powerhouse brands fall because a CEO simply doesn’t pull the trigger on creating an internet based project.

BLOCKBUSTER

blockbuster logo

logo

 

I’m sure everyone is aware that Blockbuster is behind the leader in the video and game rental industry.  Redbox and Netflix are destroying brick and mortar rental establishments with low prices and easily accessible product.  They tried to keep up with the competition by creating an online presence like Netflix but the prices were much steeper.  There were some good additions such as you could bring your online rental to the store and switch it out for a store rental free.  Other than that…Blockbuster fell short.  Don’t get me started on Blockbuster’s prices.  Charging $8 for a video game rental is 1/7th of the game price!  That’s insane!  I regress…

BORDERS

borders books

borders books logo


 

Borders might as well be a living clone of Blockbuster.  No innovation, no online presence, failure to stay not only ahead but even neck and neck with the competition.  Barnes and Nobles introduces the Nook, Borders keep’s selling over priced products.  Amazon’s Kindle has been upgraded very steadily, Borders continues to be a simple brick and mortar store.

CEO’s and higher management really need to understand the importance of this generation and how the baby boomers are establishing themselves as technologically able.  The rise of popularity in the internet has put a door in front of corporations that some just can’t pass through.  It’s amazing that before the internet all companies in competition would copy each others strengths in hope to gain part of their market share, yet in 2010 and 2011 they simply watch them run away with their own.

There is bound to be a rise in major bankruptcies in 2011, the hard part is guessing who these companies will be.  Putting my best foot forward and purely guessing certain companies that rise and fall through consumer spending, I’d say a major airline, a few Six Flags resorts, and a major banking/investment firm will fall in 2011.  Effective marketing and innovation could bring brands like Six Flags back to life, but it’s only a matter of time before they are bankrupt due to lack of change.  It’s 2011, not 1999.   Do something with your brand instead of let it slowly drift away.

February 16, 2011 / Brandon Raper

How To Increase Twitter Mentions

Every time I log into Twitter the first thing I do is check for @mentions. It’s a simple mechanic on Twitter yet it brings an amount of joy to me that is unreasonable.  If someone retweets your content then they feel like your message is important enough to tell their entire list.  There are a few reasons your content will be retweeted and it’s an easy process to gain these mentions or retweets.  How do you increase your amount of mentions and retweets?  I’ll tell you.

The general ways that Twitter users are mentioned are usually as a response to a mention you’ve sent.  So this idea would say to increase your mentions, you need to mention others.  This can take quite a lot of time to individually mention other users, not to mention if you are responding to a users post it should be quality information.

The other way to receive mentions on Twitter are posting links that people feel are relevant to share with their followers or creating useful and interesting content that others can relate with.  This can take a long time as well and needs an established list of followers who are interested in the content you are creating.  So how can you increase mentions with little to no work and create content that is useful to your followers?

The simple answer is Paper.li.  The basis of this website is your news feed over the day is presented in a newspaper format for you to view.  Depending on how many people you are following and the quality of the content posted, the newspaper you create can be a valuable time saver by creating a full day summary of your Twitter.  So how does this user created newspaper bring mentions?

First let’s go over what paper.li does.  You create hashtags you want pulled from your followers posts and this content is placed into a newspaper format.   My paper includes the hashtag #socialmedia, so when it posts my newspaper it includes multiple Twitter posts with that hashtag.  Now here’s where the quality of the people you’re following comes into play.  If your follower list is posting these hashtags with spam or broken links then your newspaper won’t have useful content.  This is beyond the point of this article as we’re only speaking about gaining mentions, but it’s a crucial drawback if you want to use paper.li as a feedback summary.  Onto how you gain mentions…

You can establish what time and how many times a day your newspaper is automatically updated and posted to Twitter.  The automatic post to Twitter is the important part.  For example, here’s what is posted to your Twitter board, “The *Insert newspaper name here* is Out! Top Stories today via @aklsjdf @lsjkdfksd @alksdjf”  Here is how you start to gain more and more mentions, and possibly more friends.

A lot of people do not know about paper.li yet and do not know the function of the website.  To an outsider, it looks like genuine user generated content.  Countless people have mentioned me on my newspaper with thanks and gratitude for placing their content in the “Social Media Daily”.  Did I have to do anything at all?  No.  The content was generated by other users and a website put it all in one place for me.  Once you sign up for paper.li there will be a giant increase in your mentions and possibly even follower count.  If you are always on the go and looking to increase your influence on Twitter then paper.li is the way to go.

Don’t forget to respond, your mentions will be grateful for your content but you won’t seem human without a response.

January 22, 2011 / Brandon Raper

How To Create A Visual Resume

You’re sitting at your desk looking over resumes, trying to find a new recruit to fill the latest job opening.  Each resume looks the exact same, bullet points, summaries, past jobs.  Then you stumble upon a resume that includes a powerpoint presentation.  Well…it’s not horribly out of the ordinary, but you’ll look at anyways just to rid yourself of the monotony of reading these other resumes.

This is the reason for even attempting to create a visual resume.  Standing out from the crowd is hard to do when it comes to just using text on paper.  So why just use text?  It’s 2011, get with the times. So how do you create  a visual resume?  Well I’ll tell you next.

Creating a visual resume can be pretty intimidating.  You don’t need programs like photoshop or illustrator but it really couldn’t hurt.  If you aren’t an avid photoshoper then creativity and free programs are your best friend.  I’ll show you how I created mine with just Powerpoint and how I made the front page of Slideshare.net twice with my visual resumes.

Choose your media

To start, you have to decide on what your media will be.  There’s a lot of decisions to be made. You could use powerpoint, create a design within your resume, or if you’re technically able you could create a website and/or flash video. So what’s the next step?

Open your mind

Don’t be afraid when creating a visual resume.  You are wanting to step out of the box, show your creativity, show that you aren’t just one of the normal resumes that an executive will read and throw to the side.  Now that you’ve chosen your media type, we need to start off with a bang.  For example, on my Visual Resume I created a very simple yet effective opening 4 pages on my powerpoint.  I created a word search in photoshop and placed my name and desired title in the letters.  For each slide I circled part of the words as if completing the word search.  Here’s some simple steps to find that creative spark…

1. Think of your desired title and search wikipedia for the title and words associated with it.  It could give you a great idea like the word search did for me.

2. Piggy back: look through other visual resumes and see what they did with their creative sparks and try to derive yours off of that.  Do not copy the idea, just build and create more.

3. Look through your resume for ideas. If you worked as a restaurant server and are looking for a position in sales, you could have the first slide be a food tray and insert your name and desired title on the tray (If you’re good with photoshop place the words into food)

So now it’s time to move on once we’ve found your initial creative spark.

Content Generation

When you look at typical resume it has bulleted lists of skills, past jobs, qualifications, and schooling.  Throw that out the window. Resumes that are found online need to be informative and INTERESTING.  Who wants to read about how organized you are?  Not this guy.  Visual resumes will contain  completely different sections (if done through powerpoint, we’ll go over the graphic resume at the end). First, introduce yourself.  Talk to the employer by using words like I, Me, You.  Try saying “I was born in” and bring up questions that an employer may ask.  If you’re going over where you went to school at, you could end the slide with saying “What exactly was I involved with at school?” and then answer it on the next slide.  Bring up objections and questions the employer would have and then answer them.

USE GRAPHICS

This doesn’t just mean insert pictures into your slideshow, it means use different background colors, use different fonts, create different layouts.  Take your time and make it look like you actually did spend time creating this resume for potential employers.

Content is King

So now we’ve introduced ourselves, whats next?  The most important part of a visual resume is listing your accomplishments.  Whether you sold the most product, had the best customer service score, or simply have been working at one place for a long time, you need to bring these facts out.  In my resume I start off with accomplishments at school.  Not my GPA though…I keep that out because I feel it’s not necessary.  First, I show my creations in school, certain flyers that were created for extra-curricular activities, advertisements for projects, and end with some humor as well (always good to tastefully add humor).
After my school accomplishments are completed and relevant graphics are created or added I move to my career accomplishments.  Try and use numbers. Value is easy to see if you can show what you’ve done and how you can increase value for another company.  For example, my title for the slide is “Projects I’ve Speared” and the first project is the development of a social media strategy for the company Uganda Beads. I then have graphics that pertain to what I did for them such as logo creation and even clickable links to the pages that I created.  This not only shows them instantly what has been done but gives them opportunities to go to other sites to spend more time looking into your accomplishments.

Become Human

To keep yourself from looking like a resume clone, insert your interests. I start out with creating a “Blog login” screen on a slide with my username (Another simple creative spark in the resume). I then go on to say I like sports, painting, and reading. Then to quickly insert my skills once the employer is completely engaged I use the same style as I did my skills.  Quick words and small graphics in one simple slide.  Even though it is a visual resume, you still need to give them reasons to hire you other than your creativity.

End Strong

To create even more content for the employer to see I end by listing off where they can find me online and off.  I list off all of my social media websites and my email.  Each link is click-able and will save time for the employer if they want to find out more.  Don’t forget to put pictures of yourself throughout the resume as well, this will make it more personal.

Now most of these tips are for a powerpoint based visual resume. These types of visual resumes are incredibly powerful and very simple to create.  Using simple pictures and Word Art found on powerpoint can create a stunning resume that an employer not only won’t forget, but will be glad to read.  In a later installment I’ll go over how to create a graphic resume.  Graphic resumes are a very touchy subject and really should only be used for certain job applications.  What are those jobs?  You’ll just have to wait and find out.

Here’s a link to my visual resume I created with powerpoint, followed by a link for infographic resume I created for Riot Games.

http://www.slideshare.net/smobrandon/marketing-visual-resume

https://smobrandon.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/outside-the-box-resumes/

January 19, 2011 / Brandon Raper

7 Reasons Not To Use Tweetbig

After a recent stint with using the Twitter application Tweetbig, I have found multiple reasons as to why this application is a waste of time. Let’s start the countdown!tweet big logo

1. Queue Lines: Everytime you request to follow someone new they are added into a queue. This line takes up hours and hours of time to finish and really halters your progression to increase followers. According to my calculations with my personal twitter page (http://www.twitter.com/smobrandon) it took about 5-10 minutes to follow one person.

2. Follow Timebomb: This option is suppose to unfollow people once they haven’t followed you back for a certain amount of days. The problem is…it doesn’t. It provides you with a list of people that haven’t followed you back and then puts them into ANOTHER queue to unfollow. These lines make me want to vomit.

3. Followback %: This “equation” is no algorithm. It’s simply how many people a certain person is following compared to how many are following them. Say someone has 200 friends, but are following 23,000…Tweetbig says they will almost certainly follow you back. Pretty good math there eh?

4. Piggyback: So the main function for following usChildCocaineers is called “Piggyback”. You list people on Twitter that you feel are similar to yourself, or that you’d like to be like. That being said, once you list them, they list who their followers are. That’s it…no equation here again. If you list Justin Bieber, you will be flooded with pre-teen girls. If you list Rush Limbaugh…shoot yourself.

5. Analytics: This is the hot spot for social media. You HAVE to have a way to measure what you’re doing with your time and why it is important for either yourself of your business. The analytics provided are as simple as “Followers on this date” and “Followers on this date”. The problem is these analytics are updated DAILY. Not hourly, not every 15 minutes, DAILY.

6. Cost: $17.99 a month is ridiculous. Maybe if there were some better algorithm’s used to help you target certain users that are relevant to you, it may be worth it. Maybe if analytics updated in real time it’d be worth it. But none of these things occur. You put followers into huge queues and wait for hours for it to lower.

7. Canceling your subscription: Holy cow could this be any more impossible? I looked on my login page, I looked on my account, I looked in their FAQ, looked at terms of service. NOTHING. Oh wait there’s one sentence in FAQ that says check your email about your billing. Go to your billing email (If you even have it) and it says nothing. Go to customer service support page and you have to put in a support ticket to get your subscription canceled. You finally get a confirmation email…but it’s not that your account is closed. No no, that’d be too easy. It says “may take up to two business days to process”. What is this a bank?! If you take the 7 day trial for $1, you better make sure you make a decision quick…and not over the weekend.

All in all…Tweetbig got me hundreds of followers within days. Was it time consuming…absolutely, did it save me time if I would have done it another way, sure. I may have added hundreds of friends but none of them are targeted at all. I have no idea who they are or where they’re from, and I guess that’s ok from an influential aspect. My rating for TweetBig is…