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Three Reasons Why the Analysts Got it Wrong with Twitter Stock

Chris Dessi on CNBC

Chris Dessi on CNBC

On Monday I was asked to visit 30 Rock Studios and chat with the closing bell team on CNBC about Twitter’s earnings. I’m “bullish” on Twitter stock. The analyst David Seaburg of Cowen and Company is obviously a very smart guy. In his view Twitter is a “one trick pony.” I disagreed. It made for great TV, but I thought I’d articulate exactly why I’m bullish on Twitter, and why I think Wall Street Analysts like David miss the mark when looking at social media networks.

Firstly, I own Twitter stock, and I’m not an analyst. Frankly I’m about as far from a finance guy as you can get. I’m a sales and marketing guy that owns a social media agency. I’m a student of social media, but the key differentiator is that my agency is platform agnostic. We only use technology that will further the agenda of our clients. If Twitter didn’t work, we wouldn’t use it. Period.

Here are the three reasons why I believe Wall Street analysts miss the mark on Twitter.

1. Twitter generates conversions for my clients

CNBC has me on their show because unlike an analyst, I actually USE Twitter. I use it for my personal life, my business life, and on behalf of my clients. The most compelling way I use it is for said clients. When we select where we’re going to spend media dollars I’m beholden to nobody. We spend money where it will help to generate the most money for my clients. Twitter converts. Twitter cards work. Twitter has account managers that help my agency understand how to leverage their ad platform. Twitter works. Twitter works, and oh yeah, Twitter works. Phew.

2. Twitter allows for real time engagement between brands and customers

So when our client Bluerock Energy based in Syracuse NY wants to parachute into a conversation on Twitter about energy, in their local geographic area, in real time – the most efficient way to spend their media dollars is on Twitter. Bluerock can answer questions, engage and help to inform potential customers in real time.

3. Twitter should not be compared to Facebook. Ever.

The other part of the argument that always confuses me is when Wall Street Analysts decide that they want to compage Facebook with Twitter. I think it’s because they don’t understand how different these social networks are. They don’t use them, but they have to put them into a category. This is a HUGE mistake. It makes them look very silly in my opinion. It just makes it even more apparent that they don’t use the platforms, and they have no real understanding of how they make money through advertising.

So take look at the video, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Am I off my rocker?

Am I oversimplifying things, or is Wall Street overcomplicating it?

3 Reason’s Why I’m Bullish on Twitter’s IPO

I’m bullish on Twitter, but I’m by no means a financial analyst. I just see the manner in which the platform has transformed the way the world communicates.  Two days ago I was asked to speak about my feelings regarding Twitter’s IPO on Fox Business’s Varney & Co. In the segment I articulated three reasons why I’m bullish on Twitter:

1. Second Screen/Live Tweeting

Silverback was able to live tweet with an audience of millions during the Robin Roberts 20/20 special on behalf of our client the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. During this special, their “Someday is Today” commercial was airing. We live tweeted throughout the entire show, teasing that the commercial was about to air, and connecting with an audience on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of the likes which they had never seen before.

2. Campaigns are Dead:

Bonin Bough and his team at Mondeleze International did something remarkable during the Super Bowl black out, sending a Tweet in real time that spoke to the moment …Tweeting “you can still dunk in the dark.” It was cute, appropriate, and oh so powerful!
Oreos still dunk in the dark

This is why I am 100% bullish on Twitter. Until there is another platform can (at scale) replicate this type of interaction and real time communication I will remain bullish.

3. People will Initially Complain About Ads, but They’ll Forget About it Soon.

We’ve seen this happen before, but most publically on Facebook. We toil, lament, complain and argue, but we always relent. Why? Because we love our social networks, and all of our friends are already there. Of course there is the danger of the turning in MySpace, but I think the Dick Costolo won’t let that happen to Twitter. There is a myriad of money making opportunities that they can tap into without diluting the Twitter users experience.  I believe this is a non issue.

What do you think? Will Twitter’s IPO fall flat or soar!

A Creative Use of Social Media: The Twitterview

Everybody knows Twitter is a great way to communicate with other people who have similar interests. It’s incredibly easy to search for certain users, follow trends, and use hashtags to join in on topical conversations. One of the ways we use Twitter at Silverback Social is to initiate meaningful conversations.

We started our own Twitterview series centered around the hashtag #SSTwitterview. Our goal is to interview individuals who are “doing” social, who are entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We don’t actively look for people with a lot of followers; instead we look for people who provide value to followers on a consistent basis. If you provide good content to your audience we are interested in learning from you. We hope to help businesses large and small understand certain strategies, platforms and trends within the social media and digital ecosystems. The Twitterviews are personalized for every person we interview. We typically end them by asking interviewees a personal question centered around their personal life, and sending them a personal “Thank You” through Vine or Instagram. Keeping the interview short, fun, and informative is the recipe to a great Twitterview.

On Wednesday we conducted a Twitterview with Chris Horton of SyneCore Tech, an integrated digital marketing agency based out of Minnesota. Chris is a Content Creator and Digital Strategist at SyneCore Tech, and he graciously took some time to answer a few questions we had about social media, content marketing, business objectives, and more.

The answers Chris provided were incredible. Even while using only 140 characters, Chris responded to each of our questions with valuable, pertinent information that painted a vivid picture of his thoughts and opinions.

Twitterview with Chris Horton

SyneCore Tech even jumped in on the discussion from their company’s Twitter handle!

Twitterview with Chris Horton 2

This Twitterview was a major success for both sides. Chris was able to amplify his reach on Twitter and share some seriously useful knowledge, and we at Silverback learned a ton from SyneCore Tech and gained a number of new followers who were listening in on our conversation. Plus, SyneCore Tech made an AWESOME Instagram video recap of the whole experience!

Having a #social party over at @synecoretech as our own Chris Horton rocks out his first #twitterview...cue the Rocky music!

A big THANK YOU to Chris Horton at SyneCore Tech for partying with us during our Twitterview. Check out their blog here.

3 Free/Cheap Social Media Tools You Should Be Using

Free/Cheap Social Media Tools

As an online reputation and social media manager, I’m always looking for cheap/free social media tools to help create content and keep track of my social platforms. I recently came across three different tools that are sure to help any social media professional make their life easier. They are Animoto, Infogr.am, and Followerwonk.

Animoto

Animoto is a social media tool that lets you create truly engaging video content.

Here’s an example of the type of content you can create:

This was done with the “plus” version (which cost us a paltry $30/year) and let’s us create videos up to 10 minutes in length, choose from up to 44 different styles, access to over 300 music tracks, and the ability to download the video. There is also a “lite” version that is free, but video length is only 30 seconds and you can only choose from a limited number of styles.

The best part of this tool is that it’s SO easy to use. You can include images, text, and even other video into your Animoto clip. It’s a simple matter of uploading and rearranging the order you want the content to come up.

My one sticking point with this tool is there isn’t enough customization.  Although the “pro” version lets you create unbranded (no Animoto logo at the end) videos up to 20 minutes with multiple songs, users should be able to do more, like change colors and how the video unfolds from one piece of content to the next.

Despite limited customization, this is an incredible tool for brands to take advantage of.

Infogr.am

Infographics are some of the most engaging pieces of content you can create for your brand. They offer a wealth of information, while being easy to digest. To create truly stunning infographics, you’re going to need a designer, but sometimes you won’t have the skills or the cash to make one. That’s where Infogr.am comes into play.

Here’s an infographic we made for the Westchester Digital Summit using this free tool:

Westchester Digital Summit infographic

Aside from being free, what’s cool about this social media tool is there are a ton of different chart types you can use, as well as multiple infographic styles. Chart types range from simple bar graphs to pictorials and financial charts, and you can even upload Excel data. You can also add text, images, and video to your infographics.

Infogr.am also has a “pro” option that costs $18/month (or $180/year), however I only recommend it if you plan on distributing the infographic onto a website, email, ebook, etc. This is because you won’t be able to download/embed your infographic otherwise. The pro version also comes with 4 other design themes, allows password protection for infographics you create, and the ability to privately share the infographic with a non-public URL.

As great of a free tool as Infogr.am is, it really falls flat with its “pro” features. It lacks any true customization – you can’t change the colors of the infographic template, and the charts themselves lack dynamism. Sure you can change the colors of the charts, but paying users should be able to adjust the size of different aspects of the charts (for example, changing the width of the bars on the bar graph).

If you don’t plan on downloading the infographic, I highly suggest sticking with the free version because you’ll still be able to share the graphic onto your social places (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). There simply aren’t enough options available for paying users to be worth the money, but it is certainly very robust for a free tool.

Followerwonk

Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics tool created by Moz (formerly SEOMoz).  Moz is known for its great SEO tools and is an industry leader in Internet marketing. Followerwonk is one of the most robust Twitter analytics tools on the market today. From the free version alone, you can search twitter bios (i.e., highest Social Authority, journalists, SEO, CEOs, most followers etc.), compare users, and analyze a user’s followers or the people a user is following.

Through the “analyze followers” function alone, you can get a world map of your users by region, active hours of your followers or those you’re following, Social Authority score of followers, gender of followers, keywords used by followers, frequency of @mentions used by followers, % of retweets by followers, % of retweets with URLs of followers, language, total tweets of followers…the list goes on.

followerwonk activity graph

For Silverback Social’s twitter, our followers are most active at around 5:00 pm ET.

followerwonk social authority graph

Breakdown of Silverback Social’s followers via Social Authority. We use this graph to determine who to tweet at and who to follow.

Followerwonk Keywords used by followers

This breakdown of keywords tells us what type of content we should be broadcasting to our followers.

I regularly use this social media tool to manage the social content Silverback Social produces on Twitter so we can tailor our content to get the highest engagement possible. I also use it to analyze our followers’ accounts to see whom else we can engage with in our field.  In terms of finding new engagement opportunities, Followerwonk really makes it easy to pick and choose the right accounts to follow instead of bloating our following number with low quality accounts (i.e., low # of tweets, low social authority).

Followerwonk Search Twitter Bios

The search query we used was “social media” and Followerwonk gave us a list of Twitter accounts related to the query.

The PRO version comes chock full of other features. There’s too many for me to write all of them here, but here’s a screen of what else they offer for paying members:

Followerwonk pro features

The only downside to Followerwonk is that it comes at a fairly pricy $99/month. However, they do offer a free 30-day trial, which is more than enough time to decide if this tool is good for your needs.  Also, you must be comfortable with looking at graphs and numbers to use the tool to its fullest potential. There is no single way to use it because everyone has different goals and everyone weighs metrics differently according to their goals. If you are serious about utilizing Twitter for your business, I can’t recommend this tool enough.

Have you used any of the tools above? What are your thoughts on them? What tools do YOU recommend?

 

The Trayvon Martin Case: Why Your Opinion Matters

George Zimmer Found Not Guilty

On February 26th, 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

Over a year later on July 13th, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder, and was also acquitted of manslaughter in the Trayvon Martin case.

The trial was broadcast live on most television news stations. However, the trial was also the number one topic of conversation on social media on Saturday night, the night the verdict was reached. Millions of users posted on social media about “Zimmerman” and “Trayvon Martin,”  two key phrases that are still trending on Twitter almost a week later. These people chose to share their opinions about the verdict by sharing it via Twitter and Facebook to all of their followers, and considering how controversial the case was, these opinions were deeply felt and strongly voiced. Countless people disagreed with the verdict and commented on the flaws of the state of Florida’s legal system, while numerous others felt the jury produced the correct verdict and that Florida’s laws functioned exactly the way they were designed.

Despite my personal opinion, I found myself being influenced by the hundreds of social media users whose thoughts and beliefs I was reading. After scrolling through a ton of angry, confused, relieved, disappointed, and/or joyful posts, I caught myself regurgitating other people’s opinions while discussing the case with my friends and family. I was making arguments and forming opinions based on the feelings and emotions that other people had shared via social media.

Once I became aware of this, I realized that it must have been happening to a lot of other people too. It’s obviously important to get information from multiple sources to establish a broad and unbiased perspective. The introduction of Twitter has drastically accelerated the rate at which people receive and absorb breaking news. However, Twitter acts as a double-edged sword in this case because anyone can Tweet about anything at any time. There’s no validation process. So while people may be getting information much more expeditiously, the truth and accuracy of this information may be diminished.

I think it’s important to be able to voice your opinion, and I think Twitter is great because it enables and facilitates these conversations. However, I strongly urge Twitter users to read carefully, share their thoughts even more carefully, and THINK before posting. There’s a lot of information out there, and in today’s age it is our responsibility to determine what information is valid and what is not. Your opinion matters because though you might not realize it, your opinion may be influencing and shaping the opinions of others.

How does social media affect your understanding and opinion of breaking news and current events?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nik Wallenda, The Discovery Channel & the Hashtag #Skywire Owned Twitter on Sunday

Nik WallendaOn Sunday June 23rd, a man named Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. The event was broadcast live on The Discovery Channel. After a long, slow walk across 1,400 feet of tightrope over 1,500 feet of open air, Wallenda successfully stepped onto solid ground on the other side of the canyon. However, this daring feat wasn’t the only incredible thing that happened on Sunday.

During the pre-show, The Discovery Channel displayed the hashtag “#skywire” on screen to encourage viewers to Tweet about the event and follow its progression via social media. The results were astounding. In total, “#skywire” was Tweeted 700,000 times. At one point, “#skywire” was being Tweeted at a rate of about 40,000 times per minute. The Discovery Channel implemented social media incredibly effectively, showing a number of live Tweets on screen from fans, followers, and even celebrities. This sensational event was not only generating a ton of traffic to The Discovery Channel, but also creating a huge buzz on social media.

As viewers watched the pre-show, they Tweeted to their friends about their anxiety in anticipation of Nik Wallenda’s stunt. Additionally, people on Twitter who were not watching the live broadcast of the event were reading about it on social media and being driven to their televisions to see the outcome of Wallenda’s tightrope attempt. By simultaneously reaching and engaging with both viewers and non-viewers, The Discovery Channel broadened the exposure of the event to a much larger audience. Social media was The Discovery Channel’s key to reaching their target audience as well as outliers from that group. Much like Nik Wallenda’s tightrope connecting one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, social media connected The Discovery Channel’s typical viewers with atypical ones. I believe we can count on seeing more and more of this collusion between television and mobile-based social networks.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen and Yahoo,

“86% of people watching TV are doing so while using a mobile device” (source: IntoMobile.com).

An overwhelming majority of TV viewers are texting their friends, browsing webpages, using apps, or interacting on social networks while watching TV. Instead of attempting to draw these people away from their phones and tablets to focus their attention on the television screen, The Discovery Channel decided to make their program available and relevant in the places where people’s attention was already focused. By bringing their content to the consumer, rather than trying to bring the consumer to their content, The Discovery Channel drastically expanded their viewership on Sunday night.

This is a prime example of the shift in perspective that companies and brands must adopt to be successful in today’s state of business. Bring your content to your target consumer, adapt it into the language most easily digested by that consumer, and enable them to engage with the content and share their feedback. If you want someone to try your chili, you have to put the bowl in front of them and give them a spoon.

Jell-O’s Colossal Social Media FAIL on Twitter #FML

Jell-O FML

Jell-O FML

 

This morning while perusing my Twitter feed I stumbled upon an interesting promoted Tweet from @jello.

Jell-o
Oh man…I’m not sure where to start with this one. This type of promotion by a major iconic brand always leaves me scratching my head. At first I thought that Jell-O didn’t realize what they were doing. I event tweeted to them

@JELLO I’m not sure you fully understand the comedic potential of your incorrect usage of #FML oh boy….

But after I took a closer look at the tweet, it seems that they know full well what they’re doing. They wanted to find all of the people Tweeting #FML and reverse it into something positive – in this case “Fun My Life.” Noble, right?

NO NO NO!!!

Why on earth would a major brand want to be included in the same feed as millions of Twitter users complaining about the minutia of their day? Even in a tongue in cheek manner it’s just seems like it’s a fully brand diluting exercise. For those who live under a rock, and aren’t aware – the acronym #FML usually indicates the sentiment “F#ck My Life.” If you don’t believe me, why not head over to internetslang.com and see that they have to say about #FML

JELL-O!!!

I have to ask – why on earth would you want the @jello brand to be associated with the Queen of all curse words, and such negative sentiment? Who manages your social media? When will you be firing them? Please follow this link to my company Silverback Social. We’ll be happy to help you engage in social media properly.

Why would you open yourself to the ridicule? This promotion smacks of a senior executive who’s looking over his teenagers shoulder seeing #FML and thinking it would be cool to be a part of that conversation. To me this feels forced, and horrible.

H-o-r-r-i-b-le.

I guess I need to calm down and see the irony in a brand who in my minds eye will forever be associated with Bill Cosby and his commercials for them in the 80′s. This association with the “F” word makes me think that if Eddie Murphy were to put out a new stand up comedy movie he would have a ton of new material about Bill Cosby being offended by his cursing. #FML

Eddie Murphy Jell-O

Filth Flarn Filth