Did Facebook Bring Us Email 2.0?

As per AllFacebook and TechCrunch, Facebook is launching a “modern messaging” system that brings the world a “social inbox.”

What does this mean? Among other things, you can go email to instant message and back again. The platform finally means nothing as it all comes into their universal inbox.

But it’s a little bigger than that.

Let me explain: I, personally, prefer email. There are others who don’t. I’ve said from day 1 that “Web 2.0″ is meeting people on their terms. This is how we bring messaging into the 2.0 world – on their terms. I can do email, my brother can text, my Mom can message on Facebook, you get the idea – and it all comes into this same universal inbox.

That’s one place to check, one place to respond, awesome.

Zuck said “This isn’t an email killer, this is a messaging system that has email as part of it.” When asked about audio or video being put into the system, he said simply that the focus is more about getting the existing communication pieces into one area than it is about doing something new.

Remember, you can use this system without a Facebook.com email address – that’s the point …

They’re rolling this out over the next few months. He mentioned that everyone will get a Facebook email address with their current user name. They also promised IMAP soon.

I think it’s email 2.0 … What do you think?

Picking On Social Media – Buzz Kill – Scoblizers – Linchpins – Etc.

It’s been a fascinating weekend for me and Social Media. Leo Laporte announced “Social media, I gave you the best years of my life, but never again.” The Joy Of Tech quickly responded with what might be my favorite comic ever from them.

While this was going on, I found myself engrossed in Seth Godin’s Linchpin in a way none of his other books have ever been able to grab me. Whereas the themes are considerably better than the age old “what is social media good for?” question, consider this quote:

“Don’t even get me started on Twitter. There are certainly people who are using it effectively and productively. Some people (a few) are finding that it helps them do the work. But the rest? It’s perfect resistance, because it’s never done. There’s always another tweet to be read and responded to. Which, of course, keeps you from doing the work. Where did your art go while you were tweeting?”

BTW, I was reading Linchpin on my Kindle device – not the iPad, iPhone, or anything else. You’ll notice I tweeted a quote once (and then sent the above one this morning) but I found myself engrossed in the act of just reading, … amazing.

Scoble responded to the conversation with a fascinating Tweet: “While what @leolaporte wrote today contains a lot of truth you can only quit once and keep your credibility. That is why I don’t quit.

I did a general look for more on the conversation and found little. Kind of sad actually as there are some really important questions that need to be asked:

  • Is social media nothing more than, as Leo put it, “an immense waste of time?
  • Are we just playing this game because everyone else is? Are we all in this because, as Robert put it, “you can only quit once and keep your credibility?”
  • Even worse, is this stuff keeping us from “doing the work” as Seth wrote?

I think it comes down to these five simple statements.

  • There are very specific, very clear, VERY STRATEGIC reasons to use Social Media. These are not always embraced by the people with the most followers or the book contracts.
  • If you are engaged in social media because everyone else it, STOP. That’s not enough of a reason.
  • If you are afraid to STOP because you are worried about being labeled a quitter, consider the benefits of being labeled SMART – or actually GETTING STUFF DONE.
  • Realize that the tool of social media is just that, a TOOL. It can be used to do great things, do stupid things, do GREAT GOOD and do GREAT DAMAGE.
  • Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that it is so easy to hate the things we don’t understand. Do you truly understand the social media landscape that you find yourself playing in?

Fun fact – I get asked which Twitter client I use multiple times a week but am only asked a few times a year why I do this whole social media thing.

Hard Realities About Social Profit Formulas And Online Marketing

Ready for some hard realities?

In prepping for the live Podcast Secrets presentation tonight (the topic – OffCasting – getting people off of you content and into your marketing funnel), I realized I had some killer numbers of what’s happening/working RIGHT NOW to share with my students because of my Social Profit Formula (AFF) campaigning that I wrote about earlier on this Blog and at PaulRecommends.com.

I thought I’d share them with you as well.

The metric I’m currently tracking is clicks to opt-ins (i.e., what percentage of people who click over to Don’s campaigns opt-in for more information). As the course hasn’t gone on sale yet, this is the only thing I can track at this point (if you’d like to know the final results of clicks to buys, because, yes, I’m tracking those as well, comment below accordingly).

  • Social Media Links Conversion – 7.6%. That’s right, it takes more than 100 clicks from social media to get 8 people to opt-in.
  • Website Links Conversion – 25.8%. I get 25 opt-ins for those 100 clicks at the previous blog post. That’s more than 3 times the results.
  • Email Newsletter Links Conversion – 29.3%. In my weekly “Heads Up Tuesday” email I mentioned Don’s program as a link worth clicking (there were 5 other links in the newsletter). Did almost 4% better on that random mailing than on the Web clicks.
  • Direct Email Links Conversion – 39.3%. The direct email piece on Don’s product saw nearly 40 optins per 100 clicks – around 5 times the rate of the social media clicks.

The numbers should speak for themselves but a little examination is in order. Yes, this is the only thing I’m tracking and the final results might surprise me still but plane and simple, if I want to see action, I want to send emails.

So what does this mean to Don’s Social Profit Formula and social media marketing in general? Well, I certainly hope you take 2 things from it 1) Social Media doesn’t replace anything well – the results are terrible for marketers when compared to other models and 2) what you need more than the latest version is Tweetdeck or the perfect iPad Twitter client is a model for how to use Social Media to bring people into the fold that does, in fact, work better.

Truth be told, a good amount of my list comes from social media efforts. I introduce myself in Twitter, Facebook, and the rest and when we are ready to take our relationship to the next level – I ask for an email address. It works wonders for both of us.

But regardless of what you strategy is – and who you pick to be your guru, have a strategy that works and can be backed up with real numbers. The real money is in folding Social Media into what you’re already doing.

Thoughts?

Social Profit Formula, Free iPads, and YouTube Video

Well the big promotion/event in the Internet Marketing Space this week seems to be Don Crowther’s Social Profit Formula (aff). His second video in the traditional “4 videos of free content before the sale” covers a model for video online that I will certainly be examining myself (it’s all about using YouTube to bring people into your funnel versus the traditional model of making YouTube your funnel).

With that said and done, here are a few social media / social video / YouTube links worth examining:

I couldn’t more excited about YouTube video than I am right now. I think Don’s program is not only going to prove how exciting this business is – but train a lot of people to do really exciting things with it. I’m thrilled that YouTube Secret Weapon is there as well for people who really want to target into this valuable media partner/tool/etc.

Would love your thoughts on the Social Profit Formula if you have any …

Weekend Roundup: What Happened To Monday?

Yes, missed blog and Podcasts this week. Too into the Operation iPad Project. Back to normal next week, but here are some links to keep you warm and informed:

  • Songs Of Love is a great organization that puts some new media creators in a position of great service. Read what Geoff Smith is doing with them.
  • Jim Louderback wrote a piece called I support Web TV and I vote that is a must read.
  • Podcast Secret’s Student and cool guy Fred Castaneda has an episode of (one of his) most excellent podcasts about the iPad as a business tool.

Have a great weekend. My youngest turns 7 this weekend.

8 Years Free – Here’s What’s Next

It’s a very special day for me: 8 years ago today was the last thing I’ll ever have that will resemble a day job. The Internet has been veryverygoodtome and it’s time for me to give back.

Note: This is a work and concept in process. I’ll be editing this a LOT based on what I hear back from you. As you’ll see, we’ve got a site dedicated to the conversation, but please read nothing definitive into what I write today (other than the fact that I LOVE this concept and will be pouring a lot of time and effort into it). Also, please don’t – I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY on this project.

Problem: The very nature of the Internet is that anyone, anyplace, anytime, anywhere can produce and publish content. I embrace (and love) this reality but it results with this simple fact: The lack of standards and content spam is preventing the growth we were hoping for.

Solution: The Internet has allowed us to publish whatever we want. Let’s use that same Internet to publish open media standards that will take us to the next level.

Paul’s Answer: I’ve started something called The Open Media Standards Foundation. Before you read another word, 2 things: A) I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY FOR THIS and B) I HAVE NO DESIRE TO “GO AGAINST” OR “UNDO” THE WORK ANYONE ELSE HAS DONE AT THIS POINT.

It starts with what I call the Content Principles Document. It’s a simple list (and simple is the key here, help me keep this simple) of principles that content creators embrace. This will, in theory, grow an audience that can consume our content with considerably more trust than the content they currently consume online.

To be truthful, there is alot more here (and, again, I don’t want your money), but this Content Principles Document is the first step.

So, here’s what I’m asking for … can you visit the current revision of the document, give it a good read, and make a comment on how we can make it better?

I think the industry can and will be in a much better place if we do it right. Here’s to doing it right.

If this site has helped you at all, could you help this industry by making a comment?

Please comment at the OMSF site – not here.

Five Essential Elements To Every Online Strategy

Online is “different” in a Web 2.0 world. A few years ago, we’d speak of necessities in terms of technologies and tools.

It’s time to kill that approach. It’s now all about these elements – the tech simply doesn’t matter.

I’m going to suggest that everyone looking to market and publish online needs stop thinking about WordPress and Facebook and YouTube and Podcasting and the like – but think FIRST about these 5 elements and how they can use whatever technology they want to make sure they’ve leveraged these issues. It’s a subtle difference but can have a powerful impact on your place in this space:

Syndication. The Internet is now received on your audience’s terms. This is powered by syndication. Yes, RSS is part of this, but it is by no means the only (or most important) tech behind this element. I’d drop RSS in a minute for the syndicated social stream made possible by Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

I can hear the geeks screaming now (I hear them because I am one), “but RSS powers all that stuff.” First of all, it doesn’t anymore and secondly, it doesn’t “matter” at all. It ain’t RSS that lets my audience watch my latest YouTube Video on their way home from work (after being notified that it’s live) and I’d bet you 90% of my audience who reads via RSS doesn’t even know that she’s the tech behind the scenes.

In short, 1) If EVERYTHING YOU PRODUCE ain’t syndicated, you are wasting your time. 2) If you think it’s about RSS, you’ve missed the point.

Interactivity. You must allow your audience to interact with your content much the same way that television must broadcast in color. It is simply expected and you basically look silly if you don’t provide it. There are tools that make it more robust and there are dozens of strategies on what to do with the interactivity but you must have it, period.

By the way, please comment below on what you think of this idea.

Microbursting. As I type this Blog post, I have to face two simple facts. The first one is that some of my audience will never read this blog by default (regardless of bookmarking or syndication). They need a reason to do so. These are people who make decisions based on the microburst. Microbursts (today) include Twitter, Facebook updates, status alerts, etc. But, and make sure you get this, whereas the tech might change tomorrow, the need to microburst ain’t going away. You need a microburst strategy more than you need a Twitter client.

When I publish this post, I will microburst everywhere that makes sense that this article is live, and I’ll see as many readers from the microburst as from anything else. This is, of course, automated – but that is another Blog post all together.

Multimedia. The second fact I must face is that the written word of a Blog like this only hits a certain segment of my audience. Like some respond to the microburst, some respond to audio and visual media. This isn’t me reading this Blog post into a slideshow and posting at YouTube, this is me asking myself how I can reach and audience best reached through audio and video (text ain’t enough).

Destination Strategies. You gotta go where people are. As cool as it is to think that everyone wants to visit our Websites and Blogs on a regular basis, we need to identify where they are and be there too. As I write this, a destination strategy demands a Facebook Fan Page and a YouTube User Page (even if you have no videos) but this could change at any point. In short, know where your audience is, and be there too.

One of the most freeing effects of this approach is that it moves content producers from having to master a tech to having to master communicating with their audience. Imagine how much better things will get for all of us once we’ve all made that move.

Google Buzz – The Buzz And The Smart Response

Last week Google launched “Google Buzz.” It’s “their” take a social media, microblogging, etc. Let’s face it, they had to do something about Facebook and Twitter and this is their attempt accordingly.

The long and short of it is that your postings (buzzes?) get sent to your followers and attached to your Google Profile. Here’s my Google Profile, feel free to follow me as an example.

Armand Morin says it’s “going to be a dominating source in social media” (and offers some suggestions for making it better) and after a quick posting to my tribe (through Buzz, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), I got back but a few responses at all. I’ll quote a good chunk of them here:

Josh Sanders (The Hospitality Geek) said (via Google Buzz) “I think it’s a potential game-changer, especially for industries like mine. The geographic nature of the mobile version gives businesses an opportunity to reach out to those who happen to be around at the time.

Steve Griz (via Twitter) suggests he’ll be waiting a few weeks to dive in.

On Facebook, I opened things up for discussion on my Fan Page (feel free to join in) and only one person had anything to say – and that person was tired of reading about it.

But I think perhaps the most telling post was another buzz from New Media Inner Circle member Melanie Jordan who said “Eagerly awaiting your guidance to us on whether this is worth our time, and if it is, how to leverage the heck out of it!

With that, I offer you my thoughts on a “smart response” to Google Buzz:

In short, at this point Google Buzz is JASW (Just Another Social Network) but …

As the skeptic in me echoes the thoughts on my solo Facebook commenter, I have to remember a meal a few years back with Robert Scoble told me Twitter was “going to be huge” and I had the same initial response. By the way, here are Robert’s thoughts on Buzz so far.

The smart marketer needs a response that both gives Buzz a run for her money – but doesn’t suck you dry in true JASW form. I’d like to offer one.

In short, … add Buzz to your UberSyndication strategy by automatically posting there everytime you post to Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, etc. There is no need to make a special visit to Google (we make enough special visits as it is) any more than there is a need to make a special visit anywhere else. Your job is to publish your content via the channels your audience happens to be participating in, not judging the merits of said channels.

Ping.fm (my current api of choice for UberSyndication) makes publishing to Google Buzz as easy as publishing anywhere else. There are a few zillion other ways to get the same results – I don’t care what tech you pick, just Do_it! (a little 80s programming lingo for you there).

In regards to keeping track of anyone Buzzing your way, there is currently no way that I know of right now to track responses via RSS or anything else. I’ve Pinged the world and will respond if I find anything out. Personally, I expect a full API (and lots of options) to be coming soon – but that’s another post all together. So, for the time being, you’re going to have to check right in Google Buzz – or make sure your messages alert everyone to the fact that you have no intention of doing so. There is no need to do this more than once a day.

Update: Got this from Shaine: http://code.google.com/apis/buzz/ (not quite sure how to make that do what I want yet but …)

That’s my take – now I want to hear yours here, at Google Buzz, or anywhere else (that’s kinda what this whole Web 2.0 thing is about, eh?).

Seesmic Buys Ping.fm – Good For Everyone

Of all the news that came out around and at CES, the one that gets the award for “most important” (in my space at least), was the acquisition of Ping.fm by Seesmic. I’ve been a huge fan of Ping.fm since day one and their purchase means they’re going to survive in this space. Awesome.

For those not familiar with Ping.fm, they’re a service that allows you to, with a single post, update dozens of social networking update sites. They’ve had some nice integration with popular tools in the past that has made it a no-brainer for anyone with an uberpublishing strategy. Here at Colligan.com, I have it tied into my CoTweet.com and HootSuite.com accounts and have both Tweetie on my iPhone and UberSyndicator on the desktop making the service part of my everyday, multiple times a day, communication workflow. Give it a try, if you haven’t already.

At the CES Showstoppers Event, I spent some time with both CEO Loic Le Meur and Community Evangelist John Yamasaki. They both assured me that Seesmic is both on a fast path to get the product integrated into all element of Seesmic – but they are also going to continue to grow Ping as a product and service that others are allows to use. Loic personally called some of the top players (and competitors to Seesmic) to assure them nothing would change in their relationships. Classy, and very smart. Loic also gave me some insight into where Seesmic is going as a company, and, well, dear friends … you need to keep your eye on them (or keep reading this blog).

I always liked the groove of Seesmic, but the opportunities provided to me by some of the other players kept me from moving over. That changes this week.

Oh, rumor is 3 weeks to the release of the iPhone app. Got a sneak peek of that as well. Awesome.

The Lies “They” Want You To Believe

One of the scary elements of being in this business are the meetings, emails, phone calls, conference chats, etc. you have with good hearted people who have completely and totally bought a “lie” in this space. They embrace the lie completely and throw everything into it. You’ve met these people. You may be one of these people. Here are 7 of the most popular lies. Any of them sound familiar.

If I just knew the secret, the money would start flowing in.

Yes, I sell products with the words “Secrets” attached to them. The thing about “secrets” are that they are just pieces of information. You need to act on / do something about the “secrets” before they do anything for you. If I tell you where the treasure chest is located, you still have to dig it up.

If I just start producing content, the sponsorship dollars will start flowing in.

Nope. Nadda. Ain’t gonna happen. One has NOTHING to do with the other. Now, you have to have content for people to sponsor but you’ll need to a) create the content and b) find someone to sponsor it. Trust you me this, you approaching someone to sponsor you will always be smarter than waiting for them to approach you.

And, by the way, looking for sponsors is one of the HARDEST ways to make money on the Internet … period.

And, I know, you’re thinking that Google Adsense is the answer to this one. It isn’t.

If I just link to the right affiliate program, the checks will start flowing in.

This is one of my favorites. I actually have received phone calls from people looking for their checks on account of them linking to my affiliate program a month or two back. Money from affiliate programs only happen if BUYERS CLICK ON SAID LINKS – and lots of them.

General rule of thumb – you’re going to get one purchase for every 100 buyers who clicks on an affiliate link.

The real money is made “while I sleep.”.

Again, I’ve heard this one a thousand times over. Nope, the “real” money is made when you make a product and put it up for sale. 99.99% of the time, the “real” money will come after you put the product up for sale.

The whole “while you sleep” thing comes from the fact that a well set up store can take orders while you, in fact, sleep – but again, I tell you, the “real money” is made when the product is created – it just takes a little time for it to be delivered accordingly.

I can Facebook/Twitter/INSERTSOCIALMEDIAPLATFORMHERE my way to riches.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. The chance of a sale being made is exponentially increased when you actually communicate with people and these social media tools are great for communication. But, shouting your sales to an audience who not only doesn’t want to hear, but who isn’t listening makes no sense at all.

Oh, yeah, and it doesn’t work either.

If I just came up for the right keywords in Google, the big money would finally arrive.

Also not true. Let’s rephrase this one a bit to make it true:

If I just came up for the keywords that buyers are searching Google for – and had a site that made the buyers want to choose me, the big money would finally arrive.

The more training I buy, the better my chances to make the big bucks.

This is a lot like the “secrets” thing mentioned above. I actually had someone return one of my product because “it didn’t work.” When he sent it back, it was still in the shrink wrap.

The more good training you act on, the better your chances on making the big bucks.

But, when push comes to shove (and remember, I sell training for a living), action will always make you more money than training ever will.

Action on good training is the “secret sauce” that brings it all together. But that is another blog post all together.

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Let’s have some fun with this. Post your “favorite” lies below in the comments (along with commentary like I’ve done here). I’ll pick my 7 favorites for a follow-up blog post and link directly to you. Sound fair?