On Twitter, no one can hear you scream

I had the strangest call from Charlie Sheen yesterday.

“OK man, I’ve got 2 MILLION freaking people following me on Twitter and my Klout score still sucks.  Ya gotta help me!”

“Charlie,” I calmly replied, “Klout scores really don’t tell you much of anything. Don’t worry about it.”

“But Mark,” he stammered, “This is all about WINNING my friend. And I am NOT WINNING if I have a Klout score lower than you. That is just pathetic. My tiger blood is raging here. What do I do???”

Sadly, this type of celebrity Twitter rant has become (yawn) routine for me.  And every bit of that conversation is absolutely true, except the part about Charlie Sheen calling me.

Well, I do get requests from folks asking for Twitter help every day … usually to re-tweet a notable blog post or perhaps in support of a charity.  I’m glad to help where I can but I’ll let you in on a little secret: It doesn’t work.

Some people look at the number of followers I have and a relatively high Klout score and imagine that I can be their gateway to social influence.  I’ve been around long enough to know that these factors do not translate into influence at all.  Even when I ask people to take action on something I really believe in, typically very little action occurs.  This is not a matter of being humble or gracious. It is simply the truth. When I tweet something, it rarely results in tangible action.

Sorry, there is little true influence on Twitter

This phenomenon was also noted in Tom Webster’s fine Brand Savant blog. (It seems like I am quoting him a lot lately!) In an extraordinary measure, he personally contacted every Klout-infested A-list blogger he could think of to help him with a New Zealand earthquake charity appeal.

Tom calculated that the “reach” of his message easily exceeding 600,000. Out of that number, his appeal received 389 clicks and 10 submissions to his cause. Tom admits there were some complications that could have depressed the number but he pithily states that this conversion rate — compliments of some of the world’s greatest Twitter “influencers” — was significantly lower than what would be expected from a random pop-up ad.

In a post on the Networked Nature of Twitter by Megan Garber, she reported that actress Alyssa Milano — with a Klout score of 84 — sent out a tweet to her nearly 1.2 million followers: a link to the Amazon page of a book called Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks & How They Shape Our Lives.

Can you imagine the influence of a tweet from one of Twitter’s biggest stars?  Wouldn’t that really help the author’s career?! Well, the impact was zero. Literally zero. Not one additional book sale resulted from the tweet.

I’ve also had my blog posts tweeted by Alyssa and other Twitterati, and while it definitely sends a short-term spike in page views, it has never resulted in any measurable difference in new blog subscribers. In fact, after Guy Kawasaki tweeted my post five times in 24 hours, my blog reader subscriptions went down.

For those swooning over Twitter-derived influence scores like Klout, this should be a wake-up call. It’s true. On Twitter, no one can hear you scream.

But blogs are another matter …

Marketers should be looking for influence in blog communities. That is where the real magic is happening. Tom Webster made an insightful point in his post — The people who finally took action on his request were strong connections nurtured through his blog-oriented relationships.

I have had the same experience.  I KNOW I can move my blog community to action and they can move me to action, too. The connections built through a blog community are extremely strong compared to the weak ties on Twitter.

Curiously, blog activity is not accounted for on most of the popular social scoring measures. In fact, Klout is only looking at those weak Twitter ties right now.  One measure that seems to at least take a crack at blog influence is Post Rank. Post Rank is one of the milestones used by AdAge to rate the world’s marketing blogs. What does it really measure? Nobody knows for sure … it is certainly an amalgam of tweets, comments and other forms of online engagement taking place between the blogger and the community.  I actually hired a CPA to try to de-tangle the formula for this article and she couldn’t do it!

Nevertheless, if you buy into the notion that blogs nurture strong connections that lead to influence, wouldn’t this elevate a measure like Top Rank ahead of something like Klout?

I think REAL influence is taking place in the smaller, stronger groups found in passionate blog communities.  I plucked out the top-rated bloggers via Post Rank and yeah, these people certainly exhibit thought leadership and influence on their communities and beyond.

By explanation — most blogs on the AdAge Power 150 are run by companies, have a staff of bloggers, or aggregated content. I left them off. So while Brian Clark is most associated with Copyblogger, his name is left off because the site is populated by a staff of writers.

Another observation as I looked at this list — there were a few names I did not recognize. How do those names stack up for you?

Any way, something to think about. Does this make sense to you?  Are you forming strong ties in blog communities, on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere? What form of online engagement influences YOU?

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  • Mark, awesome as ever. This is one I’ll be sending others to. FYI, I heard Tim O’Reilly RT’d Milano’s Tweet, and it did have an effect–one book sale. So a combined reach of about 2.7 million.

    If that’s not a lesson, I don’t know what is. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being confident enough in your influentialness to tell people the truth. The social media sphere needs much more of this.

  • Im glad to see you talk about this. I’ve noticed that hundreds of thousands of followers are meaningless…mostly. Conversely, I’ve had my stuff retweeted by people from smaller tribes and my hit count went up significantly.

    Earlier today I scheduled a post for the 15th called The Age Of Social Media Superstars Is OVER!!! hehe…as you can imagine, the sentiment is captured in the title. But…

    How do small bloggers leverage their personal touch while extending their reach?

    Well, for that you’ll just have to wait till the 15th muah ha ha 🙂

  • Thanks for that additional part of the story and your kind words, William.

  • That is a great topic and I will look forward to seeing that post but here is what I hope you’ll say: you are NOT a small blogger. Here’s why — think about how influential you are becoming on the blogs where you participate, like this one. You and I first met a few months ago via that awesome Top 25 evaluation you did and we are becoming friends. At some point we will talk on the phone or meet when I am in NJ for one of my teaching assignments. We will start to realize real business benefits. That’s where the power and influence are on the social web — converting weak ties to strong ties.

    Many, many people have met through the comments on {grow} and went on to form important business relationships in real life. That is a powerful thing. Above and beyond what I may say here, just having this FORUM is an enabler to change. I see it every day.

    Thanks for your influence today, Dino!

  • I have been forming relationships everywhere. I have met great people here (one of them began to follow me on Twitter last night and I am following him) and in Chris Brogan’s “Blog Topics” group on Facebook, the same thing is happening. The support is tremendous.

    I even have some friends I made in a Twitter group on LinkedIn. It is not all that hard to make friends if you really like people and are at all genuine.

    I actually had blog training last night for our company blog, and am teaching myself how to format blog posts for my personal one as well. Both should be up in a few days.

    If Charlie Sheen does call you Mark, maybe you can talk some sense into him.

  • Hate to point this out but I wish there were more women on this list. How about Charlene Li?

  • It seems like high school. The most popular kid always knew where the parties were, and when he/she said something, it reverberated throughout the class. Yet over the course of time, he/she ended up as one of us. The popularity waned when the competition for attention got bigger than a single high school.

    Time is the biggest influence here. I remember seeing the friendly battle between Ashton Kutcher and CNN for most followers. Well, they still have their followers, but no one really cares anymore. It’s old news.

    Influence is about what you can achieve with your network, not what someone you are connected to can achieve for their network.

    The big problem here is measurement. Everyone is desperate for an accurate metric that explains influence. To that, I believe we need to be patient. It took television 60 years to come up with a measurement metric that still stinks. We want this in less than a couple years with so many more variables that it’s crazy.

    We’ll get there, I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m going to try and be the best I can at Twitter.

  • Well, I could go on and on about Klout, and in fact, I have. But in terms of the relationship between blogging and tweeting, I will say this – if you are participating hardcore in the blogosphere, you are looking at a LOT of time. My time that I’m dedicating to reading and commenting more peoples’ blogs is taking away from my time on Twitter.

    What would be interesting as a sequel to this post would be to look at some of the Twitter users in our space who have a giant klout score – do they have blogs? Do they comment on and promote other peoples’ blogs? That’s an even bigger question for me.

  • Yes, I noticed that too. I have actually written about the real or perceived male dominance on social media blogging a few times, including here: http://bit.ly/9KPwyQ

    There were a lot of possible explanations, but none of them that really made sense.

    As for this list, I simply took it right off of the AdAge ranking. The numbers can go up or down a little day by day, but basically this is the top PostRank evaluations in order.

  • Thanks, Nancy. Good luck on that blog!!

  • I think you can’t talk about Twitter influence and CTRs without referencing Dan Zarrella: http://danzarrella.com/celeb-ctrs.html

    Granted, that post is old by now, but I recall that maybe a week or so before that went up was when I first got connected to Dan. He tweeted something about looking in Twitter follower CTRs, and I responded because I was actually in the middle of some similar research for some clients (big, big, big clients at the time), so we somewhat compared notes over chat and had very similar findings. Though, it should be noted that he looked at a much bigger set of accounts, while I might have had a data set that went further into the past on 15 or less big accounts…but I’m speculating on that last part.

    Anyhoo, influence as measured by actions taken is really dependent on grabbing people when they are around combined with their level of engagement with the messenger and their affinity for the topic. That’s really difficult. I might have 2 million Twitter followers, tweet a solicitation to donate to cause XYZ, and only get 100 donations because only 600,000 followers saw it, 50,000 of them care about the cause, and then a small percentage of that actually took an action. Let’s contrast that with a live event. If 40,000 people pack a stadium for a Free Tibet concert, 1) they’re all there likely because they care at least a little about the cause – but that’s an assumption here – and 2) they are a captive audience for donation solicitations. If I throw up a QR code or text-to-donate number, you can bet that my actions taken per viewer/recipient will be much much higher because they care and they see the message.

  • This is extremely good advice Paul — Another blog post for you!! You will recall, that is the same advice I had in my book — Just concentrate on connecting with real people, providing meaningful content and being helpful and the “influence” will take care of itself : )

  • My hunch is that there is a correlation between blogging and klout scores because as posts get re-tweeted their mentions go up too. Agree?

  • Interesting, for sure, about the lack of influence on Twitter. Shocking that not one additional book was sold after the Alyssa Milano tweet.

    The perfect storm that must be in place on Twitter for a follower to take action is rare. Blogs have a shelf-life that go far beyond the fleeting nature of Twitter.

  • I am giving you a shiny quarter for all the love you’ve shown my humble blog here, Mark. Or at least a round of beverages at Social Slam next month. I truly appreciate it. You’re absolutely one of the best voices right now, and one of a very, very few must reads for me.

    And I’m with you 100% – it’s still about the blog.

  • The Zarella post basically confirms that the click-through rate is about the same as pop-up ads. Of course it would be highly dependent on the link and content, wouldn’t it? That’s the one thing about Dan. Sometimes he makes these broad generalizations without applying common sense. I’m not saying that is the case here. But I do think people tend to take his graphs to heart without applying critical thinking.

    I like your ideas about integrating “traditional” and new media!

    Thanks, Eric!

  • I think there are power in blogs for a number of reasons. As Marjorie hypothesizes below, there might even be a connection between Twitter-Klout and blogs-posts. Blogs have an infinite search life. My posts are being read and discussed long after the tweets have faded : )

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Chelsea!

  • I should comment here more often. I think you’re right.

  • Thanks for this Mark. I really enjoyed this post. I read the Tao last week and it really complements what you write in the book, taking action isn’t the real purpose of Twitter.
    Helping others and establishing relationships is what it is all about. The real ‘action’ takes place outside Twitter.

  • Agreed on all accounts. I think, with this sort of data collections, you have to generally on a lot of points because we just can’t track or know a lot of things: people’s motivations, (sometimes) the time tweeted versus the time clicked, who clicked, and on and on.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely fascinating. I think this topic need much more exploration.

    I’m sure this isn’t something that many people will want to hear, but when you back it up with empirical evidence, it’s more than just opinion.

    Here’s an additional step to add to your future research: can you step through to older media to find greater influence and action? How do twitter and blogs compare to magazines, newspapers, and perhaps the most influential media, books?

  • Anonymous


    As somebody who has managed to build a very small but loyal community that we seem to have quite a bit of influence on, I can say that the Klout score is something that is something we need to question. My Klout score is apparently low. But I don’t think that means I don’t have influence.

    I’ve experienced in the phenomenon you’re talking about first hand. When we built BlogcastFM we had this wild idea of interviewing all the top bloggers (which we have) and we thought if they tweeted our interview, every interview would go viral. But that didn’t happen at all. It took a community of loyal listeners, people who were getting value out of our work and becoming what Seth Godin would call true fans. It was actually really slow going in the beginning, almost to a point where my business partner wanted to call it quits. But around month 6, the community started to talk and we noticed a shift. It was relationships and getting to know our audience that made us grow, not the big name interviews we were scoring. The blog communities you are talking about are where close ties are formed and maybe we’ll even see someone get married via the blogosphere at some point. Insightful stuff as always Mark

  • Bravo, man. In my B2B space, I do see twitter as a powerhouse in helping thought leaders connect and grow. But it’s tinier than negligible in global business impact.

  • Also? Your Photoshop skills.

  • Pingback: Why I prefer comments to RTs - Expat Life Coach()

  • This is great. I’ve heard so much buzz in the advertising world about finding and targeting Twitter influencerss, as that’s the best way to grow, but I’ve been skeptical and this post really nails why. I think this topic deserves a lot more exploration!

    Personally, I am way more likely to be moved to action by the very few blogs I follow, simply because of the tight-knit and passionate community that surrounds them. It’s a well known fact that people take recommendations from friends (aka blog communities) more seriously that strangers (aka Tweeps).

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Interesting. All the blogs you mentioned are marketing blogs. It’s true I have seen a high level of influence (on their communities and withing their markets) on these blogs. But do you think this is true outside niches like marketing?

    Been tracking some other niches like fashion and entertainment. The level of `influence’ blogs had on these sectors have probably reached its heyday already. The Perez Hiltons and the Bryan Boys are still popular but hardly community forming and increasingly losing ‘influence’ as such, I might venture. Maybe all the self-publishing platforms like twitter, fb etc means people have less time/loyalty for traditional blogs. There’s also the increasing amount of fashion/ent blogs that are out there now compared to even a year ago. Of course, the new social media platforms (fb, twitter etc.) that allow easy distribution, mean that blog readership is probably up in numbers…but that does not translate into loyalty/community etc.

    In some other niche’s where one would expect blogs to be a central strategy due to the ability to inform and educate, like the educational/research publishing sector, the effect of blogs seem to be minimal in terms of both influence and usage.

    So am wondering if this ‘Blog as community nerve centre’ is a myth perpetuated by marketers (and I include affiliate marketers, pro-bloggers etc in this niche) since it is working for them?

    Of course, there’s always the chance that I am looking at all the wrong information places…but would like to know from you or others what their experiences outside the the marketing milieu has been.

  • Andreagarcia07

    Thanks for your post. It’s very enlightening. I makes complete sense. Although I do think Twitter is a great tool to connect and find about new communities, but the strong relationships come from smaller communities.

  • Hi Srini,
    It’s interesting you mentioned Seth Godin. His blog has no comments section, he is not on twitter. Yet his ‘influence’ is probably up there with anyone else. So where is his engagement and community building taking place?

    Btw: anyone else, please feel free to jump in. I’m just learning and looking for answers and probably missing obvious stuff that you can help me (and others like me) understand

  • Your blog is hardly humble. It is a must read! And I will definitely take you up on the drink offer. I like that: “It’s all about the blog.”

  • Glad you enjoyed the book, John! Thanks for the comment.

  • Mark, this post is particularly interesting within the context of a business model like that of Ad.ly who sells advertising to companies based on a celebrity’s Twitter “influence” and follower count. I’d be interested to hear your take on that model given the argument you make here. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • That is an amazing question. Very interesting. I think “influence” is very hard to define, let alone measure, but the advantage od the social web is that we do have a ton of numbers flying around. Making sense of them is the trick! Thanks, Randy!

  • A really important point here is that it does take TIME to build that community on a blog. Months, perhaps years. Brogan famously said it took him 3 years to get his first 100 readers! Thanks!

  • I think Twitter is an amazing tool to build long-term business connections that lead to the strong ties i mention here. That’s why I wrote the book. I really believe in that! But as far as short-term influence, nah. Thanks Maureen!

  • That is my sentiment too, Eleanor. It is mystifing why the power of these blog communties are not being researched to a greater level.

  • That’s a very good question and far beyond what I can answer. With the limited time I have, I am focused on a very small world, indeed. But I see no reason why the passion of blog communties would not carry over into other areas of interest. I would be quite shocked if they didn’t! Thanks Jacob!

  • That’s a tricky one. In order for your blogs to be tweeted or retweeted you need to have a large and engaged audience. If you are spending the majority of your time in the blogosphere, you would need to take your blog community to twitter and have them help you out in that regard.

    It might work eventually, but going from my own experience, it’s time consuming 🙂

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment Andrea!

  • This is a great point. While Godin is undeniably an influential star, he does not show up as high in the AdAge rankings because there is no commentary. There are flaws in every system, no?

  • I’m on any big blog you can think of..I always have my hand in the cookie jar..this is how I engage in the community.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Marketers/somed enthusiasts are more likely to comment on other blogs (mainly marketing) as well as more avid readers (by virtue and demands of their trade)?
    Not necessarily true as far as audiences of ‘many’ other verticals are concerned?

    Mark, feel free ignore to this comment and allow your community to reply and help find answers :). After all it’s probably to all our benefit to come together to find out the ‘truth’ (if there indeed is such a thing).

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the insights in this post. I wonder if Twitter is really good at reinforcing existing, strong ties? So, people who are already interested and keen to hear/read your perspectives are kept in the loop of your thoughts. But Twitter behaves more as a reinforcing agent for those with strong ties to the ideas you express on your blog?

    Thanks for the post!

  • Giff Morley-Fletcher

    Hi Mark – this is a spot on blog, and I think it emphasises the fact that different tools serve different promotional purposes, and that Twitter is not automatically a huge traffic-driver. I also find it interesting that you compare the performance of a tweet to that of pop-up advertising, but not to a promotional email, which I also think is relevant. For an email to work well, you need to select the right data, but, even if you’ve been uber-fussy about your follower building, does each tweet interest all of your followers or only a smaller segment of them? It’s also important to remember how easy it is for anyone following a reasonable amount of people to miss some key tweets unless they are permanently on twitter. All the above to say that I agree – twitter is an excellent relationship builder (it’s where we met I believe!), but once you have that relationship, the real exchanges happen elsewhere, for instance on a blog like this.

  • Hi Dino,
    Wrote about that topic myself a few months ago. http://www.jacobv.com/technology/social-killed-the-blogger-star-and-influencer/
    Look forward to see your take on it.

  • I think all of these models have to be questioned and backed up with data. I think there is opportunity in defining influence and measuring it. There are lots of numbers available — more than ever. I’m just suggesting that folks like ad.ly might be looking in the wrong places. Thanks Brian!

  • Thanks for your comment.

  • Yes, absolutely. Good place for quick touch points!

  • This is a key point Giff. The RELEVANCY of the tweet certainly would be a confounding factor in any analysis and an important one. I find that any time i add humor to a tweet the RT’s go up a lot. There is definitely a content element here. I have not seen any research that looks at that. Would be cool to look at content analysis + sentiment + clicks + action taken.

    Great point, thank you!

  • Hey Mark – great observations and certainly in line with some things I’ve personally witnessed as well. I will say however, that it might be dangerous for people to simply conclude this proves Twitter is worthless as a marketing tool – I don’t think you’re saying that at all, but it could be easy for some to jump to that conclusion.

    The dynamic on Twitter is just different in part because how we’ve trained ourselves to use it. There are people on your list of blogs that have great influence on my thinking and acting (no Seth, how is that possible?) but I find that I don’t react much when those same folks ask me to do something on Twitter – it’s just not that kind of communication tool for me but . . .

    Twitter is currently the #3 source of traffic to my blog, making it an important piece in the entire puzzle. Many of the social media tools are like advertising vehicles in my thinking, but not like the advertising vehicles of old – I use tools like Twitter and Facebook ads to create awareness of what I hope people will find is great content, and then let that content sell for me. In that scheme Twitter is very important, but I don’t think I’ll ever view it as a direct response mechanism.

    I would also add that Twitter is a source of email newsletter subscribers for me (something I’ve been putting out weekly since about 2003) and it’s the perfect storm (as another commenter mentioned) of Twitter, Blogging, and direct response email that creates the ultimate (K)clout – conversion!

  • It seems to me that meaningful achievement in history has been accomplished by causes, movements and people that don’t care who receives the “credit”. They have influence in hindsight. They leave a legacy. They don’t try to get in front of the inevitable and take the credit.

    While trailblazers and pioneers taake many arrows, they have the “best view” once they reach their destination.

  • Great topic and interesting to read all these great comments!

    I’m wondering how much this influence shifts when the ‘product’ or whatever it is that’s being promoted is actually of interest to the majority of the person’s followers? For example, if the Twitter user is a marketing persona, with a majority of their followers being interested in marketing, how much of an impact is made when an offer is put up that is actually marketing-related?

    I would venture to say that most of Alyssa Milano’s followers are probably not the same demographic that the ‘Connected’ book appeals to. In my opinion, regardless of how much influence a person has, if their followers don’t see the value in what’s being offered – the ‘what’s in it for me?’ – it’s going to fall on deaf ears… or blind eyes, in this case. 🙂

    I also wonder, does the same hold true of Facebook? I’d love to see similar data on influence held in that space.

    Thanks for the great post, Mark!

  • I thought this was a great article; however I feel it important to recognize that there are different reasons people follow certain tweeters and this influences the big picture.

    In celebrity cases, you are going to have a large mix of individuals following for different reasons. You will have people who truly admire the individual, and who may be likely to take action on their tweets. However, I think that the vast majority of followers are going to be individuals who are more interested in the drama, having the scoop or feeling connected to the celebrity in some personal way. Just because you follow a celebrity, does not mean you respect them or their choices. I think Charlie Sheen is a good example. Are we going to follow Charlie Sheen’s advice? Probably not. Is the reason simply because Twitter doesn’t provide true influence? No. It is because the reason Charlie is gaining followers is not for his deep insight, and valuable advice.

    Respecting someone and their opinion or word is what will likely move a person to action not the medium used.

    So the question would be, if you develop and build respect in the Twitterverse, then how influential can you be?

    The tweet alone can not determine your integrity, but the tweets you choose can, and these are connected to the blog. So when someone who you respect says, consider reading this – or buy this – I think you will in fact consider it.

    All of the bloggers on your list above certainly have the respect of their followers. The followers they attract are likely not following them to hear the latest gossip scoop, or find out what color shoes they are wearing. The reasons a person follows another, and the reasons a person gains a following all come into play.

    If any of the bloggers I respect recommend a site, I will check it out, because I know they aren’t there to waste their time or mine by leading me in a false direction. I know that they speak with integrity. Integrity is a key.

    If Charlie Sheen starts writing a blog, will this make him more influential in calls to action? (Provided he changes nothing and simply transcribes his current mind set to a blog). I do not think it would, unless the blog he wrote allowed him to delve deeper and perhaps put more substance in his message. (side note- do we even understand what his true message is right now?) I couldn’t tell you…so, why would I, or anyone for that matter, act on anything someone we can’t even understand is telling us to do?

    “I think REAL influence is taking place in the smaller, stronger groups found in passionate blog communities.” I loved this quote from your post. It captures everything in one powerful word: Passion.

    I would use Nicolas Kristof @nickkristof as an example to counter your examples of Alyssa Milano and Charlie Sheen. He uses both Facebook and Twitter to deliver his messages. In addition to the New York Times. He involves himself in the community, gives us insight into his personal life by occasionally tweeting about his family and other things, lets us know when he is involved in a new project – much like when he was preparing to launch his book. Overall he keeps us (followers) in the loop and engaged. He shares his passion. By showing his personality, writing and acting with integrity he has gained trust and respect. I feel that if we were to ask for the information in regards to how his book sales and launch did, Facebook and Twitter certainly would show results.

    In the end, I don’t think the statement “On Twitter no one can hear you scream” paints the right picture, I think that if you manage to engage people with similar beliefs, values, causes or mindsets in life- then the same will happen on Twitter.

    Are you someone who supports causes and jumps on calls to action? Then you will most likely attract this.

    Are you someone who does nothing for anyone but simply wants results for your own profit? Are you a faceless organization with no character? No passion? Why would I listen to you?

    *Who is* the Tweeter who screams on twitter and gets no results?

    If you use your blog, and people know you, then when you scream, people will jump and ask what is up? They will do this from a tweet and they will jump to action – because they trust you.

    You may need a blog to let people get to know you, certainly Twitter will not allow any extensive personal insight into the tweeter if there are never links to personal sites or thoughts…but if you tweet what you truly believe in, and you acquire followers that are in line with your thinking, then when you recommend something, I am pretty sure I am going to listen, as well as a strong percentage of your followers. It’s all about why they are following you.

    Twitter does not stand alone,it ties in with the blog, and with other items- build your foundation and when you scream people will listen.

    That’s my take on it.

  • I agree COMPLETELY John! I’ve written extensively about the power of Twitter asa marketing tool and wrote a book on the subject of course. It has helped create many powerful, sustainable business benefits. That can be accomplished entirely independently of “klout” however! : )

    That’s a good thing. People can benefit from Twitter on so many levels!

    Honored to have you comment today!

  • Nicely said! Thank you Jeff!

  • This is a keen point Tara. I addressed this more fully in Giff’s comment below and some others, but yes, I do believe the content is key! I have not seen any research in that area but certainly that has to have an influence on CTR’s. Thanks for this insight!

  • This is a superb comment and a great blog post in its own right, Mila!

    I don;t thingk we are saying vastly different things. Twitter ceertainly can attract and reinforece connections!

    I love the example you provide of Nicolas. Now there is a man who is doing it right!! He is engaged, he is human, he is relevant and interesting. Yes, that certainly builds connection and trust doesn’t it? Wonderful example!

    I also like how you tie in the power of the blog for that deeper connection. My view is that blogs are the content engines of the social web. Unless you are a true celebrity whose life is on public view, you need a voice, don’t you? That really has to come from the blog.

    Thank you for the effort you put into this lovely and wodnerful comment Mila!

  • First.. love the Alien riff. Love it. Second, isn’t it all about strategy? I mean even building a celebrity following, I don’t know if the intent is anything about influence or engagement, just numbers and visibility. My strategy has been about networking, making real connections. The impact of Twitter and blog communities has been integrated, with significant crossover; I would not know half the bloggers I do without Twitter nor would I have met some great tweeters without seeing them in blogs or blog comments.

    In terms of influence, I’d have to give the nod to blogs: as others have mentioned regarding shelf life (which is sharable; I can RT a 2-year old post if it’s relevant today), substantive discussion beyond 140 characters, communities of motivated, thought leaders within the niche. But then looking at Jacob’s comment, I agree that influence will vary per community. You gave some example’s about tweets and blog posts that stopped where the community did. Real influence to me is when a tweet or blog post goes beyond the community, when someone is earns a reader or follower from outside the special interest pool. Like making me actually care about what Charlie Sheen is tweeting or not .. that’d be influence. FWIW.

  • Thank you Eric for sharing “Twitter influence and CTRs without referencing Dan Zarrella: http://danzarrella.com/celeb-ctrs.html

    Reading your shared thoughts Eric and Mark is extremely helpful to me in my learning process. Thanks to both of you for your continuing discussion of this topic!

  • This is a best practice Paul — find an interesting blog. Comment. Turn comment into blog post. Let orginal blogger know about it. Get re-tweeted. Build community. Rinse and repeat.

  • I am getting dizzy thinking about all this. : )

  • Hello Jacob – thank you for your invitation “to jump in.” I’ve been sharing Seth’s work since I began online in 1995 and have found “his engagement and community building taking place” via his sharing {period}

    He engages and builds his community selectively; and reached out to me via eMail when I requested sharing his thoughts on “Your Weekly Message” eNewsletter distributed to opt-in subscribers that are now found on freeforum.org

    The lesson I’ve learned from Seth is sharing, sharing and sharing in what ever way works for you. Sincerely hope this helps you Jacob? ; )

  • My pleasure!

  • Agree and amen.

  • Well, that is mainly what I was going for. “Can I make Mark’s head explode??”

    My life’s work is now complete. Adieu! 🙂

  • Hi Dr. Rae.,
    So his bi-directional engagement is not ‘public’ (twitter/fb) per say and is private (one to one emails).

    I’m wondering if Seth does not benefit from the fact that he was one of the stars that benefited from being at the forefront of the amazing changes in self-publishing over the past decades. An outlier.

    So in effect, he does not have to engage on twitter/fb as those who have similarly valuable messages but have entered the arena recently. He already has his ‘true fans’ and evangelists.

    Just thinking out loud. Thanks Dr. Rae. That helps indeed.

  • Thank you Jacob for sharing your “thinking out loud” statements.

    Since I’m not sure if your assessment is accurate, may I suggest you contact Seth to find out from him what his reasons are for not engaging “on twitter/fb”…

  • Paybacks are a bitch Clayman.

  • Dino, I strongly recommend Gary Vaynerchuk’s upcoming book The Thank You Economy for its discussion of scaling. Wrote a short review here: http://crosscutcommunications.com/2011/02/only-1-book-this-year-make-it-vaynerchuks-thank-you-economy/

  • Seth is the perfect illustration of why influence can’t be formulated. Great point, Mark!

  • Mark, I also wanted to add my perennial shout-out to http://empireavenue.com — a marketplace model for evaluating influence. To my eye, it’s among the most realistic and comprehensive attempts out there. Still nascent, much to be developed, but if anything’s going to get at this question in a realistic way, I think it’s something like this.

  • No one can hear you scream, friend, as per your headline 😀






  • Alyssa’s an interesting case…given the history of her activity, I can’t imagine anyone’s following her for gossip or celebrity purposes.

  • Mark I think this is an excellent piece! I believe that you are spot on about how blogs matter.

    However I wouldn’t write off Twitter just so quickly. I love that you support your claim with demonstrated results. But what about the other variables that go into play about any given tweet; when it was tweeted, was the tweet well crafted, what other trends were taking place that may have allowed others to glance over the original message.

    The above examples showed users who were influential because of their potential reach; not necessarily their relevance to any given conversation.

    Perhaps I am being too overbearing, but I think there are more variables at play when considering the communities on Twitter in contrast to those in the Blogosphere.

    Thanks again for a great read!





  • OK, pretty amusing persona! That said, if you’re only running where everyone else is going anyway, are you leading at all? My koan for the day.

  • I will check that out. Thanks!

  • I think I would agree with that but would suggest the tight, strong community may form more easily around a blog. I would think differently if there were “Twitter groups” (like on Facebook) and perhaps there will be.

    I don’t disagree that strong bonds can form with individuals on Twitter to some extent.

    Thank you for your comment!

  • She wold actually make an interesting case study. It surprises me when she shows up on lists of social media professionals … but I guess she is : )






  • Hi Mark,

    I guess you were talking to the wrong CPA — our CEO is one and she understands our analysis just fine. 🙂

    While we don’t publicize our exact algorithms, how things work isn’t actually too convoluted. We track the activities around content (URLs) on these sources: http://apidocs.postrank.com/w/page/28318261/Engagement-Sources

    Each activity (tweet, comment, bookmark, etc.) performed by any audience member on any of those sites is given a specific numerical value (weight) based on how much “engagement” (interest, effort, etc.) the activity demonstrates. Add up the values for all of those activities for each post, article, story, etc. and voila – PostRank score. It’s all about what people are *doing*, thus avoiding the nebulous and contentious pitfalls of voting, opinion, etc.

    And you’re absolutely on the money re. higher engagement/influence among smaller, more focused, more passionate communities. There’s anecdotal evidence that concrete audience actions — open rates, conversions, etc. — can be 3x higher among them than between “A-list” sites and their often larger, but much less tight-knit and engaged audiences.

    Melanie Baker
    Community Manager, PostRank

  • The other thing I like about Post Rank is that I don;t think it can be gamed like some of the other social measures. I mean, it takes a lot of WORK to build a community, elicit comments, engagements, etc. I don;t think that could be easily replicated in an SEO farm or whatever they call it now in a Third World country. My post last week (http://bit.ly/euWtXw) showed how bots and fake accounts can have Klout scores higher than most humans.

    I guess where we ran into problems was that Ad Age also adds their own secret sauce to your numbers. Put all those alogrithms together and we couldn’t crack the code : )

    Really great of you to weigh in Melanie. Thanks!

  • I agree. Perhaps if you’re somewhat new to the community you may not know that I am pretty passionate about the potential of Twitter and in fact, wrote a book about it!

    There are incredible networking and business benefits. No doubt.

    I also agree with you about context and content and addressed that in some comments below. I think the nature of the tweet has a lot to do with with it and yet have seen very little research along those lines.

    Thanks for the excellent comment Jason!

  • Hmmm, I heard somewhere that on Twitter, Google can hear you scream…

  • Nice one. : )

  • Agree. We often confuse influence with reach. Reach means very little. True influence — changing one’s behavior — is something very few people have, yet we confuse with “following.”

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Kasey!

  • Hey, some terrific analogies here! Great thinking (as usual). The interesting thing about blogs is that you decide what you what to read. Twitter chatter is “forced” at you in massive volumes. Does anyone read (or even retain) all the tweets in their stream? Twitter is kinda like the old junk mail market. In those days a response rate of 1% – 2% is an amazing achievement. When it first started, people actually read the stuff and thought about it. It took 30 years for it to become a “dread” for most. Has Twitter become that in 3? The only good news about Twitter chatter is it doesn’t fill up ones recycle bin. And, it flows so fast you don’t even need to delete it (wait a second, literally, and it disappears all by itself).

  • It seems to be a bit of a circle- Add Twitter timeline to your blog, tweet about your blog posts. Perhaps we are focusing too much on mediums instead of the message? Good ones will float, whichever sea you dump them in.

  • When I first heard of Mark Schaefer I was a bit iffy. *Another* social media blogger, I thought? Then I read his posts for several months. Now I am a believer. Mark is the real deal and consistently nails it with content in this category. Not following Mark, you’re missing out. This post continues to exemplify that! Thanks Mark.

  • Anonymous

    What is a Klout score? How do I get one?

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  • Hi Mark,

    Have just started reading your work, and you’ve made a follower out of me. Great post! I like your take on Blogging as a community is much stronger and makes for tighter networks. But my view is Twitter is restrictive as a medium itself, never having found my faith in it.

    Follow/Unfollow is the most impersonal way to bond or to show belonging to a group. In turn, Twitter allows for very less real profiling, on who this person is, what all does he do etc. It lacks a personal touch to it and hence I think (as a continuation to my reply to Lima), sometimes even content and the tweeter/blogger himself does not make/break the deal. Godin or Kawasaki might not do so well if they really shifted on to just Twitter. The system does not allow real conversations.

    I have often seen that people who do well Twitter are either celebrities/extremely famous artists/writers etc. to gain so much traction as on entry itself without any presence on other mediums, or they’re revered bloggers/FB Users with a close knit community of their own, and then the Twitter following is more like a trickle down.

    Sorry if this is a haphazard mix of observations.

    Loved reading the post and comments!


  • Totally agree! The number of followers is not important. Most of them are never around and don’t interact. You need to follow and be followed by people you can interact with, learn from, share with… and the blog communities, not only in your region, but all over. It takes a lot of work, but it’s part of the fun and totally worth it 🙂

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I like that thinking. Reading and acting on a blog is more of an “opt-in” activity isn’t it? Takes more involvement on the part of the community! Nice point Steve!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Twitter message do float — like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea : ) What are the chances of any one seeing it? My hunch is there are more people who read all or most of my posts cmpared to my tweets. Clearly we need more research though! Thanks for commenting!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    A “bit iffy” is probably the best adjective you could use for me : )

    Thank you for these extremely generous and kind sentiments and for all the superb work you do on Future Buzz, Adam!

  • Thanks for the reality check Reese. Sorry I did not describe this better. Klout is the most well-known of a group of emerging rating systems that take publically-available social media data and turn them into a ranking to approximate influence. Two articles that might be helpful are http://bit.ly/a8vcJ1 – and – http://bit.ly/hOXjd6

    Be sure to read the comments too to get a sense of the emotion surrounding this trend.

    Every participant on Twitter has a Klout score. If you go to Klout.com and enter your Twitter handle you will see your score.

    Companies are using these scores to try to influence sales and the perception of their brand. Essentially, they are saddling up to who they think the cool kids in school are.

    And like high school, the cool kids are not necessarily the ones people listen to : ) So the jury is still out on this, but as individuals and business professionals we should at least be aware of the trend.

    In this post, I am suggesting that Twitter activities may not be as influential as some project. Instead, I’m proposing that the smaller, tighter blog communities provide a forum for strong bonds that better lead to influence. This fact has largely been ignored by the social scoring systems.

    Just through your question, you are creating a true conversation, and a potential long-term connection between us that is possible, but more rare on Twitter. If you become a “regular” in the {grow} community, other “regulars” will connect with you too, resulting in powerful business benefits. It happens all the time. That, I believe, is a stronger medium for influence.

    My advice is to stay centered when it comes to scoring systems like Klout. Surround yourself with people who are interesting and caring, share meaningful content, and be authentically helpful. If you do that, you will be a success on Twitter and the rest of the social web.

    Thanks for posing the question!

  • I’m afraid some have taken this post to be an indictment of Twitter, which is not the case. In fact in my book The Tao of Twitter I wrote an entire chapter on the business benefits of Twitter. I use lots of real-world examples to try to get people to think out of the box a little about what the platform can deliver.

    So I am a big Twitter fan. It has tis place and I hope you will continue to give it a chance. I’m skeptical about the ability of tweets to drive action and change but it can still provide amazing value to both individuals and organizations.

    Thank you so very much for expressing your thoughts, Nainy!

  • Thanks for your enthusiastic endorsement of Twitter!

    But i will have to disagree with you, at least a little! From a business perspective, numbers do matter. I know that sounds arrogant and not politically correct but here is my reasoning.

    First, I believe Twitter reaches “critical mass” for people at 200 connections. If you are following less than 200, Twitter is BORING and you will want to quit. So you need a critical mass I think just to make the platform functional.

    The second reason behind having a critical mass of TARGETED, MEANINGFUL connections is because the more you have, the more likely that persoanl and business benefits will occur.

    Think of your Twitter tribe as atoms zooming around in a test tube. If you have more atoms, it is more likely that you will bang into one of them to create a reaction. The catalyst for the reaction is the meaningful content that you share through your tweets and the reaction is sustained through authentic helpfulness.

    So if you are trying to drive personal and business benefits, it only makes sense that a higher number of potential connections will result in a higher number of actual “reactions.” or relationships.

    You can’t “buy” lists of meaningful followers. You have to approach it in a mindful and intelligent way and create value over time. Trust me, this works.

    Well, this explanation is probably more than you bargained for, but I do care about it a lot and want share my ideas so folks can have a great experience on Twitter! Thanks!

  • Hey Mark, Eddie Smith here with Topsy Labs. Enjoyed your post and wanted to communicate that Topsy quantifies influence and uses resulting scores to help us rank content as part of our realtime search results, requiring us to calculate influence down to the keyword level. It’s hard, but the notion of influence must carry down to granular points such as keywords, domains and longer terms, and influence needs to be recalculated at this level based upon the observed actions people are performing based upon another person’s posted content. We just had a whitepaper posted talking about some of these variables up on SearchEngineWatch that you may find interesting http://searchengineland.com/using-influence-to-tune-signal-to-noise-on-the-social-web-66602

  • Phew! I had no reason to be nervous about reading this. But I do feel sorry for Charlie Sheen. Even YOU are picking on him.

    I spend A LOT of time on PostRank because it ties my Google analytics with the engagement algorithm they show. It helps me define trends and topics (especially for those days I’m stuck for content) and I think it’s likely the best of the best when it comes to measuring influence. It shows me trackbacks, conversations, and who spends the most time commenting on the blog. It does bring in Twitter, Facebook, and the like, but it’s not the only factor.

    But Mark, I think your graphic is wrong. There is NO WAY Danny Brown has me beat. 🙂

  • Thanks very much for introducing this idea, Eddie. I’ll check it out.

  • Hey, HE called ME. I would say he was picking on me! : )

    Thanks for coming by Gini. i don’t want to get in the middle of your blogging death match with Danny Brown!

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  • hey, on Twitter nobody hears us scream, but some love sharing 🙂

    I see you got 272 re-tweets so far. wow, how are you doing it, or is this out of your control?

  • I believe that he has stated before that he engages where he feels his time and effort are best spent. I would assume that, even if he has not made a statement to that fact, Twitter, Facebook, and comments on his blog are not as valuable of a use of his time as other methods that Dr Rae suggests he uses, something that I think we can all sympathize with.

    I’m speculating of course, but I think you see what I mean.

  • It’s not unusual. I usually have a couple of posts per month that attract a large number of tweets. I don’t treally track it but I would say 2-3 times a month at least a post gets 300+ tweets. I think it is entirely in my control — it is dependent on great content. When I write a post I usually have a feeling about hwo it will go over. If I write something compelling and interesting it usually is rewarded by readers.

    This one was unusual in that it named a few notable bloggers. So for example, Mitch Joel tweeted this post out which is rare, although we are friends. That helped the number of tweets a little, but in general, people get excited by good content. That is what drives the social sharing on {grow} without a doubt. Thanks for the question.

  • Bob

    I am relatively new to twitter (2011), and somewhat new to blogging (100 posts since 2007) http://EPMEdge.com . What I am not new to is the discipline of Performance Measurement- been doing it for over 2 decades now in business settings. The methodology these soc media sites use to “help you track your performance” leaves a lot to be desired. The problem- they are al talking to themselves to some degree. A lot actually.

    The focus is almost all on data visualization and dashboards with little real thought into what the metrics mean and how to derive “value” out of them. One of the principles I preach when consulting to CEO’s and CFO’s on corporate performance management (my sweet-spot) is that they need to have a “back end” to their EPM process which I call value CAPTURE- turing all those fluffy metrics into real $$$. And despite all the talk about brand equity, customer satisfaction and sustainability; a business is in business to make money. So unless you can draw “line of sight” from a strategy, right through a KPI or metric, to the bottom line, your really wasting your time. There are a lot of articles I’ve written and blogged about on the topic…here’s one http://performancemanagementperspectives.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/line-of-sight-the-essential-ingredient-of-world-class-of-performance-management/

    In fairness, I think they all have the right idea and the right “intentions”. I actually find some value in what sites like “twitalyzer” have produced. But I still have to go through all the data, assimilate it and draw my own conclusions about what it all means because that “line of sight” is nowhere to be found in their tools. In fact, you’ve really got to use many different sources to get anything really actionable. There may be a good market here somewhere, but it wont happen if we leave it just to the “visualization” and “data” side to develop. The space that is missing is the connection to the end game.

    For the time being, I am finding that common sense, and learning as I go, is working better than the metrics in helping me navigate this stuff. At least for now.

    Anyway, great post with lots of fodder for discussion. Thanks!

  • I’d be careful in dismissing the effect of any particular medium. It may not seem like there is an immediate measurable impact from one’s Twitter presence on whatever actionable event they’re trying to promote (blog subscriptions, e-book sales, etc.). However, this doesn’t account for the cumulative effect to which Twitter may be contributing. I’ll give an example that’s a little dated, but relevant. In the past, I’ve had marketing clients…small to mid-size businesses…that were surveying their own client base to get an idea of how these folks were discovering their companies. An inordinate amount of responses would often end up claiming “The Yellow Pages” as the source of discovery. We all knew darn well that this wasn’t the case. What was inevitably happening was, people would be hearing ads on the radio, seeing billboards, hearing acquaintances talk about the companies, etc., and then sometime in the future, those people would go to the phone book to look up the phone number for the company whose services they needed. Since that was the most recent action, they would respond to the question by saying they found the business in the Yellow Pages, when in reality, the combined branding efforts of my clients was actually what was resulting in the name recognition. Of course, no one uses the phone book anymore, but I think there may be a similar phenomenon occurring here. Maybe your tweets and retweets don’t show an IMMEDIATE impact, but they certainly play an integral role in shaping your brand, be it personal or corporate. People might also be sharing your newsletter, mentioning and linking to your blog in theirs, finding a pop-up ad you put out on Google, and whatever else. Eventually they’re going to subscribe to your blog or buy your product, and that action will likely be attributed to the most recent medium in which they saw mention of you, your product, or your company. Your presence on Twitter could certainly have been part of the metaphorical pile of firewood those people were collecting in their minds, but just was not the spark that lit the flame. I’m not saying that Twitter is the right place for everyone to be, but it’s certainly become a useful tool for many people to stay connected and dispense information. I don’t think your above points dispel that notion.

  • This is a superb point, Jeremy. I agree that Twitter can have a long-term affect on brand-building. Still need more research on all of this but at least my “hunch” agrees with you on this! Thanks!

  • This is one of the best comments I have read in a LONG time!! I come from your same type of corporate background and am also amazed at the breathless ease that some of these meausres are perpetuated and adopted with little critical thinking or alignement with goals and results. Well done!!!

  • Mark, this is a really good blog. Influential, in fact. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days. I think the point you make about Twitter is both extremely important and entirely true. I also think that when you can shrink the size of the groups you connect with in social media the more likely you are to have major influence. This again gets to the heart of a major problem with social media – true scalability. Once it scales it tends to become broadcast, not engagement, thus the lack of real influence.

  • Every name on that list I recognize as either 1) a blog I used to read, 2) a blog I read today, and/or 3) a tweep I converse with.

  • I think Bob is making a parallel point to the one I brought up in my comment. Similar to the fact that it was often difficult for one of my clients, say a law firm, to draw a direct line from their traditional radio spot to a new client signing up for estate plan development, it’s also a long and winding road from any of these new social media sites to whatever it is your business might be selling. So many sites are popping up day after day. Granted, some of them become significantly more influential (at least by measure of public perception), like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But in the end, everything really starts with knowing to whom it is you’re trying to interact – your ideal target audience. As with the examples Mark gave regarding Alyssa Milano and Guy Kawasaki, it’s not just about how many people you reach, but also the TYPES of people you reach. If you’re selling SUV’s, speaking to a group of environmentalists is probably going to be a waste of time, whether there are 40 of them or 1,000 of them. So unless someone is developing a metric that can measure the relevance of the audience you’re reaching to the ultimate goal you have in mind, all the statistical finagling in the world is not going to be of any worth to you.

  • I think a big part of influence that is missed by many is the ratio factor. You have 100,000 followers – what’s the percentage of actionable retweets? How does that reflect offline (have you encouraged someone to give blood at their local Red Cross, for example)? Or you have 70,000 blog subscribers but only 400 sign up for a paid blog tips course – does that mean you’re failing to move your blog community to action?

    Additionally, impact and relevance is key. You might be the bee’s knees to folks wanting to learn about social media, but if you can’t tell me how to go to market with a solid action plan and a return prediction based on your “influential knowledge” because you’ve never worked in my industry and you don’t understand it? Well, then, you’re not too influential to me. 😉

    Nice topic and conversation starter, mate.

  • This is definitely the comment of the day — among many superb comments! A topic close to my heart alignining social media initiatives with goals and performance. A call to common sense — much needed and appreciated Bob!

  • I agree and find that is happening to me to some degree. A year ago, if I threw out a discussion point on Twitter, I would get a few comments, now I might get 20 — too much to keep up with in a conversational way. So more of my true “engagement” is through DM’s or other means where it can be a little more contained! So the nature of Twitter has definitely changed for me, as you say. Thanks Patrick and thanks for the compliment on the post!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    You are doing a MUCH better job of keeping up than I am!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    My new goal is to tbe the bee’s knees. At least I would be creating a buzz.

    Excellent point, Danny. I especially like that point about local action. I worry about that sometimes. With a large, global following, how do I connect more effectively on a local level — probably not happening through Twitter until they come up with Twitter Groups (and why haven’t they by the way?)

    Thanks for taking your valuable time to provide this insight Danny!

  • I know that people will be far more inclined to promote you, share your stuff and help it spread viral, if you’re already known in the field. In other words: you’re either a brand, or you’re invisible, regardless your content.

    What do you say about this?

  • Danny, ROI is key and tracking it should be the center of any social media-focused marketer or company. How do you track your 2.0 approaches — are you using any special methods or tools (free/paid)?

  • I definitely think there is something to be said about “celebrity” on the social web. I recetnly wrote a post pointing out how Chris Brogan posted a 40-word statement and it was tweeted something like 250 times. I imagine there are bots or something that simply scrape and tweet anything he says or humans the same.

    I am definitely not in the celebrity category. I don’t see any evidence at all of automatic tweeting. As I said, if it is interesting it will be tweeted. I do think I am earning a reputation for having a certain voice and perhaps people look forward to my posts in some cases. I think that has to be earned every day. There are no shortcuts to building a community.

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  • Wow, this is really a masterpiece. Or maybe I am just still under the influence of your book, Mark 🙂

    I really don’t recognize some of these names. One of those I recognize but can not stand for all the hard sell and paid reviews he does. I mean, I know people have to make money but…

    I have a question I can not find the answer to anywhere. I am wondering how does a blog get picked up by PostRank? I contacted them on more than one occasion but never got a reply.

    Love the post and I don’t think Klout is a great sign of social influence. I like connecting with people and I think the real influence (or I would rather say friendship) is that I can ask them for a simple favor that, although they don’t know me offline, they would do for me. Same as I would do it for them.

  • ROI is ideal but impractical to measure for many marketing efforts — social media or otherwise, especially for small companies. The cost of measurement can be prohibitive. There are many other appropriate measures that can be indicators of value, however.

  • First thank you for the very kind compliments. I’m so glad you loved the book!

    You know I have no idea how to be registered on PostRank. I don’t recall doing anything. I think once I made the AdAge list it just started happening.

    Thanks for caring enough to comment Brankica!

  • There are services and software tools claiming to track ROI on social media effectively and efficiently. Run a Google search if you believe that’s untrue.

  • I’m not saying it’s untrue and I’m not saying it’s undesirable. The fact is though, often it is difficult or impossible to tie activities to a specific sales number (and ROI is always a financial term). For example, you are tweeting and blogging to establish your brand. What is the dollar value of that? Maybe you’ll get lucky and get a direct sale, but more likely you’re building relationships that will lead to long-term benefits. That is a valid qualitative business benefit but it can’t necessarily be measured on a spreadsheet.Some of the software programs you mention probably track campaigns in a way that measure hits, page views and followers. That is not ROI, although they might like you to believe that.This is an important point and I’m glad you’ve brought it up. This is an issue for a lot of people.

  • Michael Santana

    I heard your scream via a ReTweet. And now here I Am …subscribing to your Blog.

  • Hmm… if there’s a method or tool that can track hits and page views and followers, and maybe other stats, wouldn’t be easy to track the sales too?

    I think too many people put up generic campaigns that lead to a general blog or offer, when they could create specific twitter campaigns and profiles with custom-tailored IDs/codes that track sales directly.

    Anything that can be measurable should be sales-quantifiable, online and offline. Do you agree?

    Jay Abraham, my mentor reminds me that you have no business unless you track, and test.

  • Well … I can’t argue with that. Twitter is a superb networking tool, and I’m glad you and I have started today!

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  • Hgoldfarb

    You know I agree with this post 100%. People once they follow 300 accounts see maybe 2-4% of their twitter feed. I follow 1100. Your blog is one of 30 I link on my blog. That says how highly I think of you. One out of 30 visits are because I see your tweet. This was pure chance. I am at the gym. Great post. More interesting is facebook is even less sharable! Don’t tell mashable or zuckerberg. Shhhhh

  • Anonymous

    Relationships can only be built by communication

    I searched and find many celebrity tweeters & marketers tend to misuse twitter as a source of marketing instead but end up spamming their twitter feeds with links wishing for people to visit.

    To me, influences can only be created by two way communication between you & your followers and by following back your followers & replying to their tweets once in a while, this can greatly build relationships over time.

    I know many real life friends by doing just that and they can come & go but when you tweet about something with a link, it will not appear like a spam tweet anymore but as a recommended URL vetted by a known friend.

    If those celebrity tweeter NEVER reply back to any of their millions of followers, don’t expect any reasonable number of “followers” to click on your links or trust your spam…in fact if you tweet too much links in one second you get unfollowed quick!

    These will influence how twitter work for your marketing as it’s social marketing NOT just marketing.

  • Thanks for your thoughtful contribution to the discussion Simon!

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  • Herb Silverman

    Thank you for a fascinating and unique look on the difference between Twitter and blog and the impact it plays. I am almost embarrassed to say that I am only just beginning to this social media juggernaut. It’s almost like the YMCA during summer camp: you were in the pool and have different levels of competency; start with minnow, then fish, then dolphin. I, certainly, am probably an amoeba…

    So, the new world of blogging and this is quite a feat to begin. Your comments and observations are very relevant and appreciative.

    (By the way, my blog will be dealing with all aspects of aphasia. Do you know what aphasia is?)

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