Does Klout Matter?

Klout?Have you heard of Klout.com?

Concept is simple – everybody get’s a Klout “score” that reflects how much clout (don’t get me started on the those wacky 2.0 names) someone has in the social space. Those numbers can be used to figure out which people you want to pay more attention to.

Klout is tied into all sorts of systems. Hootsuite has made it part of their interface. When seeing what’s being said about you, you can actually see the strength of the person saying it.

hootsuite has kloutHow does someone get a Klout score? Part of it is an automatic algorithm. Part of it is a simple system where people can assign Klout points to others (through the site as well). Wanna see this in action? Try this link … Heck, feel free to assign me some “Klout” along the way.

What can you do with Klout (other than impress your other social media friends)? There is a whole Klout “Perks” system where you can leverage your points to get some free samples and discounts. Past “Perks” have included samples of designer water and free cards from Moo.com.

So, the question is this. Does Klout “matter?” Forget the questions of whether or not their algoritm is any good – I wonder if you can actually give a numeric number to someone’s social influence. I appreciate what they’ve tried to do but I honestly just wonder if it is in fact working.

So I bring to you this question, … does Klout(.com) “matter?”

This could (should) get interesting …

Social Profit Formula 2.0 – Why I’m (Still) Giving Away A Free iPad And What You Can Learn From It

When Don Crowther launched Social Profit Formula last year, I was a tricky little guy and snagged the Social Profit Formula channel at YouTube. I then leveraged a few videos and sold a lot of the product. The goal was to show people how using nothing but video and YouTube, you can actually do some real sales. It did well, quite well. Man, I love affiliate marketing.

Since then, I gave control of the YouTube Channel back to Don. I’m sneaky, but still a friend.

I also, as you can tell from the video below (here’s the direct link to the free iPad for Social Profit Formula video on YouTube if you can’t see the embed below), gave away a bunch of iPads. I gave away so many that Apple actually cancelled a bunch of my orders because I was buying too many.

Don is now launching Version 2.0 of his Social Profit Formula program. I’m actually heading to San Diego on Wednesday to be part of his live Webcast. Schedule is I should be on live at 3p Pacific, and I’ll be talking about YouTube (I know, surprise).

P.s., (click over here to help shape my presentation by giving me a “magic phrase”).

But, now the reason for the title of this Blog Posting … I’m a good enough marketer that I’ve already sold a number of Don’s Program without offering an iPad this round. And, as anyone who can do math knows, a good chunk of the profit goes to paying for the iPads (and shipping). But, I realized I had an even cooler chance to show the power of evergreen video this round.

The video above isn’t new for SPF 2.0. It’s the old video from last year (I had to reset up those redirect links) and, you know what, … I’m gonna sell a lot more.

What you can learn from it … THINK LONG TERM ABOUT YOUR VIDEO. I haven’t uploaded a thing for this round yet will be seeing a nice little check for months to come from Don as a result of something I did over a year ago. Honestly, when I put the video up, I wasn’t thinking about version 2 (iPad, or Social Profit Formula), but when I looked at the video a few minutes back I realized that, yeah, this is a lot of fun.

Obviously, I’m a fan of Don Crowther and the Social Profit Formula. Obviously a few of you will pick it up through my link to grab their free iPad. However, … for even more of you, there’s a lesson here …

YouTube is here to stay. Create videos here to stay as well …

Using Twitter To Look Important?

So, as per a post at Facebook, I’ve done the “Twitter bankruptcy” thing. Was planning on a blog post re my reasons after I learned some of the implications. Round 1 comes a bit early (and I explain why):

I originally set my Twitter account to follow anyone who followed me. Reason why (we’ll discuss if smart move a bit later here) was simple: the general teaching on Twitter says it’s polite to follow anyone who follows you. Whether or not I agreed with the concept, if someone’s first impression of me was that I was being rude, what chance do I have? As a result, I followed back everyone (automatically).

Now, when you have 18,000 followers (yes, my numbers have gone done, more on that later) there is simply no way you can track read it all. No matter what social media strategies you have, it’s just a numbers issue.

So, I had an account that was simply designed (with automation) to keep people “happy.”

How did I “track” Twitter? Easy, I set up a phantom account of people I really wanted to track and then I set up several tracking feeds and get automatically updated whenever the terms I’m interested are mention in Twitter – whether I’m “following” the person or not.

Why the move? What I was doing wasn’t really doing anyone any good. Clicks from the Twitter feed were pathetically low (percentage wise at least – many many times as many clicks from my 2,200 Facebook Fans) and it simply wan’t painting a ‘real’ picture of what was going on online. In addition, there are some fascinating SEO implications of a realistic Twitter following that I wanted to explore. Also, I want to take my Twitter stream a little more seriously and I want to get a real accurate understanding of what’s going on.

What I’ve learned so far? Unfollowing everyone wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. In addition, when I started – 17,968 were following me and the number is currently down to 16,952. There is no way 1000 people in the last few days have gone through this stuff by hand. What we have here is a lot of people running the popular “unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow me” scripts. That isn’t about communication is it?

Anybody want to guess what the “robots” are going to do to my follower account in the next months? Should I care at all?

ALSO LEARNED – Not all Twitter tracking is created equal. That quote from the graphic above wasn’t picked up by either MarketMetSuite, HootSuite or Search.Twitter.com (yes, I use all of those and more – I’m very serious about Twitter). I caught it from, of all things, the iPhone App Boxcar. This morning, it was retweeted by @TonyMackGD and that was picked up accordingly. Was planning on writing this in a few days but once the retweet happened, it was time to deal.

Smart move? Time will tell. As you can tell from the graphic above, some people are thinking I’m making the wrong move. That’s ok, it wouldn’t be the first time.

What am I doing next? I’m actually intending on doing a lot more with Twitter now that I have a “real” account. I want to do a lot of content curating and real tracking of a real audience.

We’re less than a week into this grand experiment and I certainly will share more of what I’ve learned along the way but that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.

So, did I make the “right” move? I’d love your thoughts below.

Social Media Marketing Machines And YouTube – You Will Be Seeing More Of This

I am so tightly involved with this project that I need to say here that I do/will profit from all of the links/clicks contained in this post. It’s a given with my Disclosure Policy, but I feel the need to point it out here again. The goal of this blog post is to share what I’m learning along with way with Social Media Marketing Machines – but consider yourself warned.

So I’m working on a big project with the guys from Traffic Geyser (Nope, my life isn’t just the eMarketing Vids Channel at YouTube – although you will find we’re using CTA Ads in the YouTube Videos to direct people to the program). It’s called Social Media Marketing Machines and it’s a powerful one/two combo of tools and training – my favorite Internet blend.

If you click through to see what we’re up to, you’ll notice that we’re using YouTube for our video player (for all of the launch videos). This is not typical at all in the Internet Marketing space because you “can’t control” YouTube like you can “control” your own players.

While this is true, the math isn’t complete – and it’s what I want to examine here.

Playing with YouTube brings things to the table that you might not consider:

We see YouTube results in Google results when the numbers are high enough. Might the thousands of views generated by an Internet Launch help bring the videos from this launch into the right search terms a bit later in the game? I think so, and we’re going to try that here.

Also vital are YouTube insights. Think we’ve got something to learn from running this audience through the demographic machine that is YouTube’s stats machine? Think we might learn a few things?

Finally, and this one is a bit harder to quantify (and I’d love your thoughts below), there is the simple fact that the YouTube Player is familiar. People love YouTube. It brought us Charlie Bit My Finger and it brought us Susan Boyle. My gut reaction is that seeing a familiar player introduce such a pretty intense topic is going to make things, for lack of a better term, seem more approachable.

Again, any thoughts you have on that one, I’d love in the comments below.

YouTube is the default/defacto player for Internet Video (sorry Hulu, deal with it) for our computer screens, our telephones and our television sets. Google themselves are positioning her more as a platform than a publisher, and I think smart marketers should respond accordingly.

We’re giving it the old college try here at this launch and in a blog post soon, I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes.

Discus/debate accordingly …

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.

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.

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.