Ride the Hashtag, Don’t Create it. — I.M.H.O. — Medium: “You’ll get much more success if you pay attention to what is trending on Twitter , try reverse engineer the nature of the hashtag, and then try to bring value to the conversation – joke, a piece of information – rather than what most people think about which is ‘How can I create a hashtag and start my own trend?’”

I wish I could count the number of times I’ve had to sway a client away from the idea of creating a hashtag on Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram that would “go viral” and instead focus on conversations that are already happening.

Gary Vee nails it as usual.

I think it’s pretty obvious the answer to that is “yep”..

Facebook to eliminate sponsored search results: “When asked about potentially having sponsored results in hashtag searches (for which Facebook launched support on Wednesday), the Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook that the company couldn’t comment on speculation, but one could imagine how it could work. Right now, the company is focused on figuring out how everything fits together with regard to advertising and search.”

 

ShareThis has always been something of an enigma for me. I’ve discussed how companies like ShareThis really are the future discovery motors that will ultimately replace search engines. Google itself gets this and is doing great things with Google Now to prevent itself from being usurped as the prime player in the mobile ad ecosystem.

You might have noticed I’ve added the ShareThis functionality (and a couple of our client blogs) to this site as I’ve been making the most of their platform. It’s been an interesting test to add the type of sharing functionality that moves conversations from a blog to a social outlet the way a commenting system might have done a few years ago.

More specifically, ShareThis has just added a new backend dashboard for publishers that really makes use of their data and your site’s data in a unique way (with a tie-in to Google Analytics).

Particularly interesting is the concept of SQI that plays into the dashboard:

Social Quality Index, SQI, measures the social quality of a website against the ShareThis Publisher Network. By favoring social interaction over broad reach, SQI puts the publisher’s audience and content into the spotlight. The SQI score measures social quality on a scale of 1 to 200, with 200 representing the highest social quality. This proprietary formula evaluates social metrics such as: outbound shares, inbound clickback traffic and page views to calculate the audience engagement of your site. Social quality denotes a good match between the publisher’s audience and the content and it is directly correlated with the number of times users return to the same page and the level of interaction with other media on the page, like ads.

It’s more than a semantic difference in approaches to marketing that ShareThis is promoting with the SQI concept. Rather than focus on silos like pageviews or clicks that (in reality) measure nothing, SQI provides a metric that actually has meat on the bone. It’s not a scarecrow but a tangible measurement that advertisers and publishers should be demanding in their campaigns. In effect, SQI take us beyond links as the currency of the web and gives us good reason to do so.

I’ve been a long time advocate of the idea that HTML and the web should evolve beyond the concept of a link for traffic flow. The “social web” of the last few years has definitely made that reality more possible than ever. However, companies and advertisers (and agencies) have been slow to pick up on that trend and we’ve been focusing most of our efforts at making a linked-based web marketing approach fit into what is now a share-based network of people.

My own mistake in the past has been to think of ShareThis as mostly a way to drive traffic on Facebook based on recommendations from readers/users/consumers. However, the real beauty of ShareThis lies in the analytics suite and API that allow for some pretty interesting implementations of data analysis.

Tools like ShareThis are taking us beyond a realized version of the web that still operates on the foundation of links (as it does in the HTML I’m writing this post in or the RSS pipes that you probably used to find out about and/or read this post) and even search but puts a layer on top that advances the discovery of relevant information, products or services.

The function of discovery through shared social currency is the key benefit of betting on services such as ShareThis over traditional and limited marketing channels that rely on more costly and less targeted consumer acquisition methods.

We’ve seen our clients marvel at the real benefits of discovery marketing compared to their previous methods of siloed channels because the reach, scope and golden fleece of “social media marketing” success becomes readily apparent when you analyze the data points between these methods.

That is the transformation that is so hard to grasp for many companies. Going from a model based on having results that come from money poured into a model based on time and cultivation is difficult. ShareThis and the whole economy of “sharing” changes the conversation from intention to attention.

Traffic flows on the web and that flow is very powerful if you properly set the channels for that flow to occur rather than trying to build irrigation channels for the flow to take right angles.

ShareThis functions very much as a link, or vehicle, to get web users/interested buyers from one place to another in much the same way Google has been our chauffeur for years. Those places include the traditional Facebook and Twitter malls but increasingly Google+ (and Google Now) is making an interesting stab at becoming what the search engine could not (which is why Google is throwing the mass of its own juggernaut behind the project).

SQI could evolve into something very important for this next iteration of marketing on the web. We’ll certainly be pushing our clients towards that realization. Conversation at scale is the real ingenuity here and something to keep an eye on.

Why Don Draper Shouldn’t Be Your Ad Guy – Forbes: “As appealing as Don Draper’s (and your in-house guru’s) perfect instincts are, they are indeed fiction. Even experts often fail to correctly predict which ad will perform better than other ads. Chris Goward, founder & CEO of WiderFunnel and author of You Should Test That notes, ‘In every presentation I give to marketers, I ask them to vote on which test variation won. Remember, these are the cream of the crop of digital marketers. In most cases, their gut intuition is wrong.”

I would disagree with this.

As would Steve Jobs… sometimes you get what you pay for and you get a passionate person who knows that if you asked enough people what they wanted in a car, you would have gotten “faster horses” as a response.

There’s room for testing but don’t forget the innovators and the crazy ones.

We love data and testing. But we love guts, intuition, the liberal arts and humanity even more.

“The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones that do.”

Renaming Notebooks to Projects, Plus Copying Pages & Element Aliases: “This morning in Shareist, we are changing what we call Notebooks. When we started Shareist, the term Notebooks made sense, but as we added Inboxes, team collaboration, and other features, the metaphor started to fall apart.

We are now calling them Projects, which is a term that lends itself much more toward the direction that Shareist has gone. We think creating a project to manage a website, or a client, or a topic, makes much more sense. Each project has an inbox, and pages, a public website, and potentially a team of collaborators.”

 

Great news.

We use Shareist a great deal internally as a mixed Basecamp and Omnifocus.

That sounds wonky at first if you think of Shareist as something between Evernote and WordPress, but for us Shareist has been more of a project management system over the past few months than anything else.

The real beauty of Shareist is that it captures images, texts, videos etc from the web so easily and allows them to be ported out to the right place at the right time within the confines of certain projects (or what were formally notebooks).

It’s like Basecamp with social integration (and don’t bring up the bloated Hootsuite platform that is a total lock-in).

It’s great to see the Shareist team embracing a more pro-sumer future. I think there just might be something there for them as more and more companies and agencies will need the type of tools to do social and content marketing that are present in Shareist.

Impressive stats from Google as reported in a new eMarketer study…

Google Takes Home Half of Worldwide Mobile Internet Ad Revenues – eMarketer: “Google earned more than half of the $8.8 billion advertisers worldwide spent on mobile internet ads last year, helping propel the company to take in nearly one-third of all digital ad dollars spent globally, according to eMarketer’s first-ever figures on worldwide digital and mobile advertising revenues at major internet companies.”

Equally impressive is Facebook’s growth from a non-existent program in 2011 to having a small-but-significant chunk of mobile ad revenue in 2013 and beyond.

We’ll see if that holds as more competitors such as Twitter and Pandora (I did a double take there as well, but click through to see all the stats) continue to climb.

It’s no wonder why Apple wants to get into the mobile ad game.

We’ve been using Twitter’s official Analytics back-end with our clients since 2011. Previously, you had to participate in Twitter’s advertising program to get access but it seems as if Twitter has opened up Analytics for every user now…

Twitter analytics: Tool lets you see which tweets your followers are actually reading.: “Twitter user @bdconf noticed yesterday that logging into analytics.twitter.com brings up a page designed to help you get started advertising on the site. From there, clicking ‘analytics’ in the top menu bar allows you to view things like where your followers are located, who else they tend to follow, and how many people clicked on each of your recent tweets.”

 

Analytical packages are the meat and potatoes of our agency, so we’re excited that more people get a glimpse of what kind of data we work with in dealing with clients.

Specifically, Twitter Analytics do three nifty things:

– Help us understand how much website content is being shared across Twitter
– Allow us to see the amount of traffic Twitter sends to our clients’ sites or campaigns
– Measures the effectiveness of sharing buttons etc

Our normal client setup for a Twitter campaign also includes implementation with the awesome ThinkUp stats app (which goes much deeper into the data than Twitter Analtyics) as well as a custom shortened URL and stats flow through bitly. Of course, we tie that altogether with Google Analytics.

Hashtags were “invented” or proposed for Twitter users way back in 2007 when we were still trying to figure out how Twitter worked and might work better. The hashtag caught on and has become an accepted part of global culture from uprisings to Super Bowls.

It’s no surprise to see the hashtag become part of the Facebook platform, and it would serve those of us using Facebook for marketing to make sure that we’re using hashtags to their optimal state in our campaigns:

Facebook Copies Twitter Again, Adds Hashtags: “Facebook today announced that it is bringing hashtags to its service, letting users add context to a post, indicate that it is part of a larger discussion, as well as discover shared interests. The company says hashtags have become ‘a vital part of popular culture’ and since it has seen users using them on the social network organically, it has decided to actually implement the feature.”

I’m excited to see what types of interactions this will open up with more users, especially in terms of discovery marketing.

This is potentially huge for advertisers.

Go read the whole thing. Fitting for these times…

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front:

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.”

I can’t agree more that email is the real social glue that binds together the social web, for better or worse.

If you want to have a company that has successful social media presence(s), make sure you’re also doing due diligence with tools such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Aweber or iContact to ensure the best results over time.

We love and swear by MailChimp but folks like Shawn Collins do the same with Aweber because of its performance marketing features.

Whatever you chose to use, include email as a part of your social media strategy (the linchpin of such a strategy we would say).

Email is, honestly, the greatest marketing tool ever concocted by humans in our opinions (and from looking at our aggregate data):

Email is still the glue that holds the social Web together | TechHive: “But don’t forget that email isn’t just the oldest social network, it’s also the biggest, the broadest, the most user-controllable, the most integrated, the most powerful and ultimately the best social network on the Internet.”