People, Online Tools and Social Platforms that Sabotage and Intimidate

I received a list that included the “Top Fake Artists” who had bought followers on Twitter. It included many well-known electronic music DJs, with their stage names and Twitter accounts.

Wait a minute! This is a very serious issue. You’re making information that could be very damaging, public. Is this damage really necessary? If this were actually true, don’t you think they’d be frustrated enough knowing that they’ve had to buy fans/followers, unable to get them through their own work and effort? When you’re prepared to make such a claim, you’d better be 100% sure of what you’re saying and make sure that your source is reliable enough to put your credibility, name and reputation at stake. Yes, that’s what you’re doing!

Otherwise, you’ll just be another “cheap talker”, someone who spends their time looking for a way to sabotage the work and dreams of others, simply because someone –even themselves– sabotaged their life. Please, don’t be that kind of person! Wouldn’t it be better to speak of things that can be changed or improved, things that should be empowered, trying to help or contribute.

Something Just Doesn’t Add Up

As a result of this, I started testing with brands, famous people, regular users and even my own clients, using a tool called Status People. This tool supposedly measures the level of “fake” fans that a user may have in Twitter. I was surprised that, according to this, many relevant, famous people with a large number of followers have many “fakes” in their accounts. For instance, Piqué had 30% “fakes” and Josef Ajram had 50%. 30% fakes of 4 million fans? 50% “fakes” in 120,000 followers? Something just doesn’t add up.

Another part of the figures shows inactive followers which are also a high percentage of many accounts. OK, but my question is: What do they base their calculations on to say whether a user is active or inactive? And fake?

You Cannot Measure What’s Not In Your Reach

I contacted them to ask whether their service was 100% reliable. They told me that their tool follows every tweet made by a user in their timeline as they cannot access the Twitter database. Of course they can’t. What this means is that this type of tool follows every tweet and if a specific user publishes nothing in a few days, they configure their account to “protect tweets” or if it is based on location (the tool doesn’t use geo-location), they define their user as inactive. Does this add up? It doesn’t to me.

Ego-System Tools

I think this is a clear example of what is causing social media distruption, making the ego-system we live in bigger, distracting us and preventing us from doing the work that really matters, doing something. These tools, like many others: Klout, Peer Index and a few others (I’m afraid they matter so little to me that I can’t even be bothered to remember their names), simply try to get users to subscribe so they can store their information. And what’s more, some of them even try to get you to pay for the service!!! Their service is poor and unreliable. Some will probably close and, others, simply forgotten.

If They’re Fake, the Big Ones Will Know

Facebook recently started a process which deletes fake fans from pages, as well as blocking fake users (spam). Twitter has already started doing the same thing.

If we get carried along and work like these odd assessment systems do, we’ll see that their Facebook page has 933 fans and no one “likes” their posts. So, we could say that their fans are inactive; that is, they’re also fake.

Lady Gaga has 28 million followers: 34% “fake,” 38% inactive and 28% good. Will she have really paid for all those millions of fans? (Is there an emoticon for über-sceptic?)

The only ones who can actually say how many “fakes” there are, are Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. I think there’s no further discussion possible; not from me anyway.

Opportunity Isn’t in Accepting

Forget about scores, ranks, points, bonus points or any other classification method. They’re just trying to fit you into a system. Once they have you, they’ll forget about you and try to find other sheep to get into the herd. Instead, stand upright, take a step forward, look ahead: we’re living amazing times, make the most of it!

As long as there are still people sabotaging, intimidating, frustrating and cheating, our job will be increasingly relevant.

Bonus: if you were wondering what the result of my “fake” analysis was, I did it while I wrote this; I wasn’t going to but I though it would be fun. So, there you have it: 6% “fakes”, 25% inactive and 69% good. I can’t afford to buy as many followers as Lady Gaga! (another über-sceptic emoticon here)

Photo credit: el Colombiano.

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How to make the social web work for you

I often receive email requests with a very specific question that, nonetheless, can involve something as wide as the universe itself. Questions such as, “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential public present in the social web?” or “I need some advice to make my brand/company grow on the Internet, help me!”.

How to make the social web work for you

I’m outside social media

I don’t really care how others are using the social networks or social media. I used to care but not anymore. What I care about is discovering new paths to make the social web and Internet work in such a way that new business may be fostered, designing new digital roads beyond the social media and making a personal brand, agency or company more useful, connected and valuable. Using the social web and the Internet to develop your knowledge and expertise towards creating change, leveraging your influence towards new opportunities, strengthening processes, people and brands, building scalable ideas and launching new projects beyond the digital noughts and ones. That’s it.

How to get “this” to work

That’s what takes up my time, making sure that you get the tools, platforms, channels, strategies and tactics that form the social web working for you. This is how I do it:

  • Build your own attack. Write posts for your blog, prepare videos for YouTube, create your own social news, organise hangouts, tweet. Anything that helps you get your story across. However, make sure you stay human and interact with people rather than beating them with your message.
  • Form an ecosystem. Segment platforms and define your core value: Facebook to find people you know. Twitter for having conversations, searching and interacting and so forth in other places where you set your online presence. One use, one objective, one action, that’s enough.
  • Create your own framework. No one should trust other people’s framework or job structure. Modify them, hack them if you have to, make them work to suit your needs. Tactics, strategy, time management, work timetable, vacations: find a strcuture that works the way that you work and make it work. As Hugh McLeod use to say “ignore everybody“.
  • Learn from the outside. Extract ideas, learnings and feedback, learn to learn from the social web.
  • Negotiate your time. Use any lack of attention in your favour and create a defined workflow the allows you to structure your personal and professional tasks so that you can optimise each step of the work chain.
  • Do, make and show. Work on your project or idea, experiment, check and then share what you obtained. Seek inputs that can improve your output.
  • Burn the handbookDon’t pay too much attention to any social media preacher. For instance: if you hear that so-and-so only publishes once, try publishing twice that, then thrice that and continue trying out and experimenting, analysing where the breaking point is. Perhaps some won’t like what you do (for instance, publishing too much or placing an interstitial in your website to increase your database) but you may gain visits to your website and end up selling more.
  • Jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at what is trending in social media and jump on the bandwagon by also linking to that content. It will probably help you too. Netiquette establishes that if you find valuable content from a large brand that someone has shared, link to the person, not the brand.
  • Online reputation and blah, blah, blah! Forget online reputation and invest the hours you spend worrying about looking great in doing work that has a great result.
  • Measure whatever makes sense. Focus on metrics that measure what’s important to you; that is, your ROI. Forget the likes, followers or RT unless your job is to collect nonsensical figures regarding an overrated action. Measure the increase in orders, percentage increase in sales compared to the previous year and the one before that. Active users in your database, how many join it daily and how many unsubscribe. How many App downloads you have every week or month and the income received if it’s not a free App. How often is the content you publish shared or how many leads are you capable of taking from your social platform to your point of conversion. Whatever makes your bank account grow will make a great indicator, it’s what you should be measuring.
  • Human sells. Are you selling something? Even if your blog’s main aim is to sell, remain human, be interesting, become involved in what concerns you and add value to your audience. This isn’t the Internet we used to know. Now we have amazing tools that remind us that in order to create digital business we must start by being human. Let’s use it in a different way.

You define it

You know the best thing about it? This sleeps with you every night. It is the product of your work. The best news I’ve heard in years: Choice and not opportunity define your work…or fate!

Photo credit: Ralph S.

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Disruption, the Strength of New Marketing and the Social Media Revolution

Many consider 2011 and 2012 as an awful time. However, some consider these years were necessary: a time for change, a time for disruption in communication and marketing and for the appearance of new ways of thinking and doing. Many companies, marketing and communication agencies and brands have suffered these changes and disruption has left them behind. I think we should stop to think for a moment and acknowledge this step in the evolution of our businesses.

The Need for an Interruption

The forces of creative destruction require time and effort and need to make things happen. New economic outputs will not arrive until the system has been disrupted in the way it is now. This could explain the current cycle we find ourselves in.

Clearly, we cannot simply implement new social technology or new forms of communication to do old style marketing and expect it to work. That would be like putting wings on a car and expect it to fly. Neither can we be naïve and expect social media/mobile marketing to operate without friction alongside traditional marketing planning. It would be a mistake.

The Intersection Will Create New, more Human Businesses

When we combine digital marketing with human interactions, the new economy we’re experiencing (as regards connection andsharing), traditional media and strategic marketing, the impact of this combination will irrevocably change the environment as well as the way strategies are devised, actions are structured and carried out, results are measured and objectives are met. This may free the entrenched ideas of what marketing should be and, in turn, inspire fantastic new human businesses, beyond the social: such as communities encouraged to interact with the community by providing substantial value to it or online communities, designed for a special target especially, that helps them discover their own shining light. Long-term communities for people that want to find a job, with a business model that promotes interaction with the community and not the consumption of contents.

Nobody knows …

While current events are stormy and terrifying, they also offer great marketing opportunities which would have been impossible before them. It’s up to us, the marketers (not only the technology professionals) to create new paths, together.

What will the future bring? Nobody knows, even if many are trying to work it out! It’s definitely not Isra who’s about to tell you. What is clear, however, is that disruption is unavoidable to advance towards a new horizon.

Photo credit: splitmango.

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13 Quick Tips To Optimise your LinkedIn Profile

1. Set a personalised URL with your name. The same name you use with other profiles: your brand.

2. Create a unique extract. Can you summarise everything into a single sentence that makes you unique and special, something that sets you apart from everyone else? I bet you can!

3. End in a clear, direct and powerful way. End each section in your profile with something that really makes an impact on the reader; we always remember what we read last better than what we read first. It is quite common to start strong and end weak. Remember, go against the current! No one else does.

4. Achievements and tasks. One of the best profiles I’ve read lately has been the one set up by Víctor Ronco. His way of listing his achievements and the tasks he was in charge of is sensational. Of course, you do need to be a doer and a tryer for that!

5. Media. You can create a media section showing all your appearances in the media in a Presentation/PDF (slideshare plugin).

6. Skills and expertise. Don’t mention your management, business and consulting skills only. Include also something more personal: your human skills, abilities and characteristics… as it happens, this side of things is mainly what’s missing in our environment right now and rarities have an added value. Think about what you’re like as a human being, that’s the key!

7. Interests are key words through which you may be found. Catch the drift?

8. A blog makes your profile much more attractive and powerful.

9. Recommendations. Ask for recommendations from people who may have something interesting to say about you which is valuable.

10. Have you taken any courses that expand, improve and prove what you can do? Include them!

11. Move forward! This involves taking part in groups, setting up your own blog –did I mention that earlier?- and reviewing your profile for 10 minutes every week to streamline it.

12. Show what else you do. Do you have online presentations? Are you showing them?

13. Header. The header is the best opportunity available to position yourself. There are already too many experts in social media, senior community managers and marketing directors. If you’re doing what everyone else does, in what way are you standing out for me?

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Social Media is not your Job

Social Media is a distraction…

Unless it’s your job. I hear and read that ‘social media’ isn’t working, that it offers no results, that it’s a distraction, that it prevents you from doing the job that matters, that it’s a waste of time, taking up most of your time and leading nowhere. I believe it depends on how you use it, who uses it and the purpose behind it. Like everything else, there are different sides to it. Perhaps, interacting with people, building relationships with them, creating emotional bonds, offering and getting feedback, answering private messages on Facebook requesting information, building brand perception, starting conversations, reading blogs, sharing useful information, creating leads, calls to action that work, reading many RSS feeds, adding value to your community and much more is actually your job.

A Challenge For You

Many people will tell you they can’t find the time to do all that. Let me challenge you here by asking the following: Would your business improve by doing all of the above? We often do all this on automatic, without paying attention to the most important side of it: the human side, the side that makes you care about the people you connect with. Even if it isn’t part of your job, we all connect and interact with people online. Could it be part of your job?

The Other Side

All that work we believe has nothing to offer, which we occasionally believe has nothing to do with us, is really part of what the new Internet has to offer us with regard to unlimited interaction, relations and information. We could find something to do and do it endlessly until we hit a wall. You’ll probably find it isn’t your job to do it or that you didn’t find the results you were expecting with it or that the processes aren’t fast enough. OK then, we can try hundreds of platforms, tools and practices to experiment with: something is bound to happen. All this in addition to what the community has to offer us, what goes on in Twitter, on your friends’ walls, on your Facebook home page, on your Pinterest board, in your blog, the constantly updated information in your RSS feed.

However, many of us remain unperturbed, doing what we’ve always done, thinking that the Internet isn’t our job: it’s just a way of getting away from the noise, it doesn’t mean that it has a positive impact on our decisions or plans…

How addicted are you to the social media? What would happen if everything that could be your job was something that mattered to you? Could you create online work processes to work on for two hours on Monday and Wednesdays?

Photo credit: careers guardian.

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Looking on the Social Web for Humanity and Rays of Light

One of my favorite pastimes has always been watching people watching, you learn a lot. One day I started paying more attention to the environment we were living and how this marketing and media revolution was changing the game. Indeed, during the last two years the game has changed considerably, it has turned more smart and selective.

Social media was born as something difficult to measure, but inevitably it appeared new ways of measure our activity and its results. It was not easy, sure, and it did not happen in one night, but eventually business began to discover new winning paths using the social web.

Social Media is Evolving

Social media, as any other type of marketing and communication, it is evolving right now. Through the last years, advertising and PR were focused on the “big idea”: manipulating the hearts and minds of organizations and individuals… and thus, business itself. Then the question was… How could I manipulate and alienate businesses and people? Nobody knew exactly how to do it, but the numbers – from whenever they come – showed that it worked.

The “Social” Revolution

Time before the Internet appeared and with it digital, and then the revolution, the “social” revolution, meaning the disruption of marketing and communication. The Internet destroyed any kind of frontier that prevented from a free, human, authentic and genuine communication, today the social web has thunder any trace of retention measure towards a global communication. Now, creating connectivity and resonance with any person of this world is possible, yes it’s possible. All thanks to certain human extensions called Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Google +.  We had something really valuable to work with.

Back to the Past Again?

However, we wanted to step further before saving what we had closer, people. We forgot creating long-lasting relationships with our community members. The fact that hundred of thousands of organizations, agencies and marketers were not paying attention to the existing link between relationships, results and measurement made that they started ironically focusing on online advertising, massive marketing and influence. Sadly, it take us back to the conversation isolation and media saturation, it take us back to the over-communicated past society.

Happily, it is changing again. Thanks God we are more human than ever and we’re looking for this small ray of light that the social web creates, and not for the disturbing noise that come with it.

Photo credit: scrap your adventure.

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Amnesia Ibiza, Humanising the Brand Through Social Networks

This is a Collaborative post together with Aitor Contreras.

humanising the brand, Amnesia Ibiza, Isra GarciaLet me tell you a bit about the job we’re doing at Amnesia Ibiza…The club’s presence and bond with its public is unique thanks to a comprehensive integration of social networks in all aspects of the company. Implementing a sophisticated “ecosystem” of social networks allows the club to start a wide array of differentiated activities which are exclusively dedicated to improving the experience of the fans and to “humanise” the brand in their eyes.

Building an Ecosystem

Amnesia Ibiza has become the leader of its sector at international level with the implementation of an “ecosystem” of social networks whose aim is to garner a closer and more “human” contact with its audience. In this way, the several-times winner of “Best Global Club” at the IMDA becomes again a world reference not only as a club and musical reference, but in its integration, presence and activity on all types of social platforms. The club’s actions, different for each platform, are part of a global strategy which includes Facebook – where they already have more than half a million fans-, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube, Mixcloud and a long list of platforms.

Customer care, having conversations with them and solving doubts are only part of the daily actions carried out by Amnesia Ibiza through the social networks. It also carries out other types of activity such as sharing and commenting on music, holding contests, geolocation apps or the live broadcast of Radio Amnesia through its webpage, all of them examples of how Amnesia Ibiza develops a myriad of differentiated actions across its ecosystem of social networks. This is made possible at all times by the total integration of its online actions and its offline activity, and by the club internalising this “ecosystem” as part of its internal structure.

Caring is Focusing on People

In the case of Amnesia Ibiza, the challenge lies in providing our customers with an added dimension to their experience. To this end, Amnesia Ibiza makes a daily effort so that its actions aren’t limited to the physical space occupied by the club. Beyond this, all of these experiences must focus on a personal relationship that transcends the relationship between a fan and their brand. There is an urgent need for us to know that the people out there are, at all times, feeling like they’re dealing with other people [within the company] who work passionately and with whom they can deal with directly on any issue. As a result, we integrate the human aspect we’re trying to strengthen through our online actions so that it rubs off onto the offline experience. This is essential. We’re experimenting continuously with new platforms or new ways for integration so that Amnesia Ibiza can connect ever further with its fans.

A Human Touch Beyond Social

Right now, there is a worldwide community of more than 2 million users on the club’s social network ecosystem, extending to places like Australia, Chile or Japan. We’re currently putting the finishing touches to the strategy and all of the actions for this season. We hope to connect and interact further with many people in different ways without losing the human touch that is currently setting the difference.

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New Media Allowed Writing the Title of the Revolution

human media - isra garciaDuring all this years we have seen how the tv, newspapers, family and even school tried to force us following a manual, arguing that we had no choice.

Now, thanks to New Media, those from above (status quo) truly have no choice but change. It’s finish. Welcome to the era of transparency, connectivity and authenticity, a new era where you have an unlimited canvas and colorful crayons to draw your path. Be clear, write a title and tell us what to do, please.

Without the Internet there wouldn’t be the Web, without the Web the New Media wouldn’t have appeared and neither Social Media without it. Therefore, we wouldn’t have reached to the human approach.

It’s a Re-Evolution

New Media isn’t only the evolution of media, but the focus on the intersection of the connectivity between people and information technologies and innovation to take processes beyond traditional media methods. New Media isn’t neither a simple communication or marketing revolution, although it has broken traditional and massive broadcast models. We may never again want to call the radio and TV communication channels. How can they be if the are not created for an interaction between both point of the bridge or even a relationship based on relationships? A fair message exchange? Real-time, sincere and authentic feedback? An equality in the rights of expression for some of the elements that play a role in the communication process? New Media is a revolution beyond the evolution, because it’s an evolution that has revolutionized how people and businesses communicate and market. Everything that New Media touches, it changes dramatically.

Inside-out

As I said, New Media changed the game. However, it doesn’t create a whole new world, it leverages the Internet harnessing the appearance of the Social Web: platforms, tools, channels, practices and any other type of element that can create connectiveness, relationships, conversation and feedback and also can clean that way to human interactions. Therefore, we’ll open the inside world to resonance and attunement with the outside world.

New Media gives crayons to everyone, so you can start our own revolution.

Photo credit: grrlwriter.

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The Opportunity of Social Media Remains in the Human Relationships

remains on the human relationships - Isra GarcíaDuring all this time I have realized that we pay to much attention to concepts – perhaps – too abstracts, such as the times you interact with the audience or how many visits have our blog or youtube channel. Ok, it might not be as abstract as we may think, at the end, it’s our day-to-day job (bonus: you can also buy it on the Internet) No, it’s really abstract when we compare with staying human.

The Meaning of Staying Human on the Internet

We talk about experiences, not concepts. We talk about feelings, not about promotions. Emotions and not services and most importantly, we don’t talk about our business, we do it about stories, stories that create resonance. We align people with people.

Are we truly social? This is quite weird, sometimes we forget the word “social” and owe just focus on the word “media” or “marketing.” Businesses lose their authenticity and brands turn themselves into robots – and remember that they won’t flirt with you – looking for more and more robots like them, so they can easily automatize processes and content that get lost in its way to nowhere, in its way to the auto-promotion, mediocrity and silence of the ego-system. However, there’s a new offer that rewards the credibility, authenticity, engagement and alignment. In other words, the opportunity remains in the connectivity created by human interactions.

Where’s the Opportunity?

We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, who knows? What Human Media means for us?

If you are a business that intends to use the Social Web in a meaningful and thoughtful way, my advice is that you may focus on experiences that happens in your community, connect with people within your community and decrease the noise by creating more conversations – this starts by listening – this conversations could happen beyond your community, you should be there too, engage personally with every customer – not a fan – and really make use of the human interactions through the Social Web. I do think that brands, companies and organizations should embrace the fact that, in this 2012 – 2013, connecting first by staying human is the key for a sustainable business model as a result of building a foundation among your community. Then more and more brands will approach Social Media from a human perspective (Human Media), then business will create relationships, and this will stay longer than sales pitches.

If you are a business using the Social Web for creating connectivity with your customer, my advice is that focus on interactions and execute them with brilliance, you should go beyond counting fans, followers and likes. There’re some ways to do that, but it is no as easy as create a Facebook page or a Twitter account and waiting for results to come soon. Create content that matters to your audience, offer different ways for them to connect with you, allow them to have a voice in your framework, allow freedom of interaction and relationship inside your business, answer clearly and quickly and in the most human way possible.

The opportunity remains in the human relationships.

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Social Media isn’t Magic – It’s about Staying Human on the Internet

staying humanSocial Media is not magic, nor does it surprising tricks, you will need more than magic to succeed. I am talking about a process that truly makes sense when it’s aligned with the business strategy and also gets inter-departamental touching every aspect of the business model.

I am afraid but Social Media is not the damn thing that will save your business from crashing.

What does social media really do for you?

It multiplies you reach, harnesses the power of global communications, mingles you with the party, connects emotionally with your audience, makes use of the social web to empower human interactions and also gives you real and measurable results.

What the heck! This is meaningful, I suppose you want to be on the top of the wave, I have got a question, why?

Perhaps you want do it for some of these reasons: reach more potential customers, align our marketing strategy with the online channels, find a niche inside the networks, less spent on marketing and advertisement, connect with our real customer, generate more traffic towards our website/blog, increase business leads or skyrocket the conversions rate.

This is me or the reasons shown below are so cool? I think that at least they make sense. Are you with me? Let me be clear and direct, there’s no magic formula, neither golden egg, sorry… Is there any other way? Sure, it starts from simplicity, launching and shipping right on their noses, experiment with campaigns and platforms uses, accepting failures as usual, but not mistakes – meaning failing more than one time at the same thing. Trying different is what matters in Social media, it means walking new paths, trying differently until you make something happen. Social Media is not what God sent you to save the world – actually are people – but an opportunity to a new media and marketing dimension. You only need to approach it as it was a strategic planning and goals definition. Do you get it?

The Key – Staying Human

Social Media can be understood in different ways, there will be people that it will talk about platforms or tools and there will be some – the crazy ones – that will say that it’s about people. I believe that Social Media is a means of expression that makes possible for customers, communities and brands “staying human.” That is to say, they will connect and establish relationships and thus, interactions among people through transparency, commitment, empathy, humility, consistency, coherence and closeness.

Staying human means going beyond the Social thing. It’s about how the information technologies we have available, together with the media innovations can help us building professional-personal relationships in situations and contexts where we were not be able to do it years ago.

Photo credit: mojo social media marketing.

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