Friday, 31 August 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: Facebook Tips and Tricks

Facebook is one of the social networks where we can spend hours and hours… and don’t realize about all the time we are actually wasting on it . Do you want to find it out? Take a look at the infographic… KeyRocket found some Facebook top secret data you may want to know ;) Plus an easy way to save time on it: Facebook shortcuts. Use them and speedup your networking!

Published and Designed by KeyRocket

Facebook Tips and Tricks

INFOGRAPHIC: The Business Marketer’s Guide to Instagram

Instagram is expanding quickly, and with the introduction of the Android app, its growth can only accelerate. Its simplicity is one of its strengths, and it represents a great addition to businesses’ visual-content marketing campaigns. In this graphic created with Marketo, we examine the growth of the photo-sharing service and how it can work for your company.

This Infographic is Published by Marketo and Designed by Column Five Media

The Business Marketer�s Guide to Instagram

Promoted Posts For Non-Fans And More New Facebook Features


Facebook is testing and introducing some new features, check them out to be ahead of your competition!

1. Promoted Posts for Non-Fans

Promoted Posts serve as an advertising option for smaller businesses (from 400 to 100 thousand fans), that enables them to reach more of their fans and friends of their fans in News feeds. The big news is that Facebook is also testing Promoted Posts for non-fans, which could effectively reach people that have not ‘Liked’ the Page. Sounds like a great way for businesses to expand their reach across the social network, but we’ll have to wait and see what user reaction is to this new ‘feature’.

These ads should look like typical page post ads in the News feed and labeled as “sponsored”, offering an option to Like the company’s page in the top right-hand corner of the post. Promoted Posts for non-fans are supposed to appear both on desktop and mobile.



2. Attach A Photo To Your Questions

Facebook appears to be testing a new format for its Questions application, which includes large photos that users can click on to respond. Here’s what it could look like according to the Known issues on Facebook page:

Communication on Facebook is becoming more and more visual as businesses realize that photos are the most engaging post type out there. By attaching them to questions, users will be able to visualize the questions and therefore respond better. The text should appear as well while “mouse-ing” over the sections, but users don’t see the results of the question until they choose an answer. Rumor has it that this feature will also be available for Facebook mobile.



3. Sponsored Results In The Search Bar

Sponsored Results were tested earlier in the year and now became an official feature. From now on, companies can buy sponsored search results, similar to sponsored stories. They will enable them to target users and have their results placed near related apps, pages, and places. This way, they can suggest things users could be interested in and if the users don’t like it, they can always click on the X button to hide the sponsored result and to tell the site why they don’t like it. But there should be a balance between organic and sponsored results ensured.

And have you also noticed the “top hit” result option in your search box? The results are usually organized by people, pages, apps, groups, lists or shared links and the “top hit” option seems to be trying to give users the most relevant result from among all the mentioned categories. Not sure how that will work yet, but we’ll keep an eye on it.

Facebook is really on it – in June, they added “search for people, places and things” into their search bar, encouraging users to search the web via Bing results. The size of the search boxes also seems to be increasing which could mean more space for advertising messages and effectively more revenue for Facebook.



4. View Your Subscribers

Do you know how many subscribers you have? Now you can view how many people follow your posts without Liking your Page. Go to your admin panel, the New Likes window has a “see all” option that will bring down more options, including subscribers and pages that Like your page. Click on their profiles and discover your audience to adopt an even more effective content strategy!

Facebook began giving users the option to add pages to an interest list to subscribe to content without Liking the page after rolling out Timeline for pages. But this feature isn’t very familiar or popular yet so you won’t find data about your page subscribers through the insights API.



5. Facebook Doubles Up On Trending Articles

Facebook is providing media with even more prominence in the News feed by stacking up two trending articles on top of each other. Do you like it more than when you had to scroll sideways trough the articles your friends have read?

5 New Ways to Improve Your Facebook EdgeRank

By Brian Carter at Mashable:
Brands have learned that success with a Facebook page isn’t just about fan numbers, but also about how many fans see their posts. Facebook’s news feed algorithm — called EdgeRank — controls that visibility.
Of course, optimizing a news feed so that it bumps up your EdgeRank is a complicated recipe that varies with each brand, the kind of content it posts, and its fans. There have been hundreds of blog posts written about this subject, but here are five completely new ways to get better results.

1. Post Photos

The Facebook news feed algorithm appears to be calculated both per fan and per type of post. That means a person might see Coca-Cola’s photo posts, but not the company’s link posts. There are six post types: a text-only status update, a photo, a link, a video, a platform post, and a question. The first four are the most commonly used.

After some research, its clear that a Facebook page gets more fan engagement from photos than links, statuses, or videos. In fact, photos get as much as twenty times more engagement. So, even when you need to post a link to your website, you should post a photo with that link. You might also consider posting a thumbnail of your video and a link to the video, rather than featuring the video itself. To do that, enter the status update and link first, then hit the x to cancel the video preview, then click on “photo/video” and choose the image file you want to attach.
Posting everything with an image will increase the percent of fans you reach. In all these cases, your status and link will show up above the image. My experiments show that you can get a good amount of clicks on links above photos. For example, one post (also amplified by sponsored story ads) reached 114, 434 people and engaged 619 people (0.5% of reach), while the link received 311 clicks (0.27% of reach and half the engaged users).
You can get creative with your message by taking things that might have started as status updates, and adding the same message into an image. Someecards is a popular and funny e-card website, and it allows you to create your own. Just choose a background color and one of their line drawings, then add your text. You can save the image and post it on your Facebook page. Do this manually to make sure it’s a photo post-type. A great example of this comes from The American Heart Association. They used a card to humorously promote children eating vegetables.

It’s not the funniest image you’ve ever seen, but many big organizations can’t be as edgy as others. It’s better than no humor at all. As you can see, it got a good amount of shares. You can also use to glom onto some of the latest and more edgy memes, or even use Photoshop to make it yourself.

2. Create Photo Albums

The World Health Organization’s Women Create Life program aims to improve women’s rights internationally. One way they do this is by creating great photo posts or great photo albums like the one below.
In the last month, out of 11 posts the organization created, three of the top four most-viewed posts were photo albums. Photo albums show one big photo and several smaller ones. They look different from other posts in people’s news feeds, so they get attention. People click in to see all the photos. This gives you an advantage over all the other people and pages you’re competing with for your fans’ attention. Also, although Facebook hasn’t confirmed this, clicks on links or into photo albums probably impact EdgeRank to some degree.

3. Write More Text

Women Create Life takes a magazine approach to its posts. The organization doesn’t use a separate website. Instead, they put all their text into the posts. Sometimes that’s as much as 800 words (the current limit is 5,000 characters).
As a result, there is always a “see more” link to click to read the rest of the text. Women Create Life also added a Spanish translation at the end of each post. According to Facebook, clicks on “see more” are counted as a consumption under the “other consumptions” category.
Again, this may feed into EdgeRank, although Facebook has not confirmed it. Either way, this approach also helps followers to see you’ve put significant time into your posts, which can lead to more shares.

4. Push Your Network to New Posts

Can you front-load engagement to convince the news feed algorithm to show the post to a larger audience? It’s hard to say how much impact doing this would have, but here’s how you do it:
  • 1. Go to the photos section of your Facebook page and upload an image.
  • 2. There is a “post” button at the bottom, but you can change the album name and just exit the tab once it has uploaded the image.
  • 3. Go back to photos, you’ll see the image there.
  • 4. Copy the photo URL, or look for the URL they give you on the album page.
  • 5. Promote the album and/or photo via Twitter, email, LinkedIn, and any other distribution networks you have in place.
  • 6. Take this even further by spending some money on the post. Either promote the post directly, or create a sponsored story in your Facebook ads to increase visibility and likes early on. After you have some likes and comments, post it out to your news feed, too. To do that just go to the album and upload a new image, and it will prompt you to post out. If you keep adding a new image, it lets you publish each time. So seed the album with two photos, promote, then add more, then publish. Because you start off with extra engagement, it spikes the post. If you leverage your entire distribution network, this may increase your reach. The more people interact with a post, the more of your fans Facebook shows it to. Every post has a lifespan, and you have more posts you want to get out, so getting more engagement early is key.

    5. Use Post Targeting

    The new post-targeting feature, still being rolled out to all Facebook pages, allows you to segment your fans by criteria previously only available to advertisers. This includes age, gender, interested in (likes), relationship status, all education information, workplace, plus the old options like language, country, state, and city.
    You can use post-targeting to your advantage in a couple of ways. First, you can target a post to the segments of your fans most likely to interact with it. The more tarted you get, the fewer people you’ll reach, but a higher percentage of the people you do reach will engage. If there’s someone who wasn’t that into your page, but really likes the topic you posted on, and ten of their friends comment on a particular post that hits that interest or demographic, then EdgeRank shows your page to that person. It’s like a snowball that picks up momentum and just keeps rolling because it’s so concentrated.
    Second, you can divide your audience up and release multiple posts at one time. This content customization increases your chance of getting more people in each fan subgroup to see and engage with your posts.

3 Simple Tips For Getting The Most From Your Branded Online [Video]

So you’re thinking about making an online video about your brand, eh?  As online video viewership continues to boom, more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon and putting video content online.  However, if you’re going to do online video, you want to do it right.  Online video advertising and production company Wooshii has put together a great motion graphic with tips on how to get the most from your online video.

Before we get to the tips, here’s a little background on Wooshii.  The company was founded in 2009 in Manchester, UK.  They boast a creative community of over 7,000 video makers and animators from over 100 countries and their main focus is on explainer videos.  They’ve done work for companies from GoInstant to MatchFWD, and Life Technologies corporation.
In their ‘Website and Explainer Video Tips’ motion graphic, Wooshii provides three simple tips that you should always keep in mind when creating a video for your company or brand.

Keep It Short

Wooshii points out the importance of hooking your viewer within the first 15 seconds.  YouTube backs this up in their YouTube Partner Playbook (glean more tips from our post on 7 Online Video Programming Tips From The YouTube Partner Playbook).  Viewers attention spans are getting shorter and shorter as more content makes its way onto the web, so if you aren’t compelling within the first fifteen seconds your viewer will click away and watch something else.

Don’t Demo

Wooshii explains that, “Like any good pitch it’s about the benefits, not the features.”  Feature on the viewer’s needs and not on how your product works.  Tell a story that the viewer can relate to.  To put it bluntly, people don’t care about you, they care about themselves.  Keep this in mind when you create your video.

Keep the quality high

While your video doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles of a professional, broadcast production, you should still focus on keeping the quality high.  A badly made video will have anything but a positive effect on how people view your company.  Wooshii explains that you should “make sure the message and the image it portrays are one that you are proud to stand behind.”  Because seriously, why would you want to represent your company in any light but the best light?

Monday, 27 August 2012

34 Social Media Truths in a Nut Shell

By Pam Moore at Social Media Today:
The Social Media Truth series is based on a keynote presentation I did at the Rochester Institute of Technology last year. I have been writing on the core concepts since then and it has served as a foundation for much discussion. I used the content as a test project to practice what I preach, build and execute an integrated plan around one solid piece of content.
The return on investment (ROI) on doing such has been high and something I will do again. Below I share a few of the statistics and approach I took on the project and leveraging of one slide deck to help meet business goals for a year.
As I bring the series to a close to work on the next similar segment I want to share all 34 of the social media truths as originally written.
The marketing nut community and loyal followers will probably see many familiar quotes and concepts. I hope they have inspired you, educated you and provided you value over the months we have discussed and debated them! I look forward to many more great conversations and debates in the coming months!

This post includes the following: 
  • Snapshot of approach used to leverage content of one presentation deck for one year as part of an integrated marketing program.
  • Bullet list of all 34 social media truths
  • Embedded Slide Share deck of keynote presenatation.
  • Video overview summarizing approach and results.
  • Offer to opt-in to our email list and be notified of upcoming webinar to walk thru all 34 social media truths.
Note: Funny thing is I just now realized there is a typo in the deck used as the source for the series and in reality there is only 34 social media truths. Thought we would clear that confusion up first! ;)


1. Created keynote presentation deck for Rochester Institute of Technology #SMACSRIT event.
2. Focused content on topics I was teaching, researching and planning to write about.  Most are backed up by industry data and case studies and / or real experiences our team has had with clients.
3. Developed an integrated plan aligned to our own business goals and objectives to best leverage the content for a series of months.
4. Integrated plan included:
  • Videos
  • Email opt-in list (grew list by thousands)
  • Email content sent to subscribers
  • Blog posts
  • Tweetchat topics for #GetRealChat Twitter Chat
  • Facebook, Google+, and Twitter posts and discussions
  • LinkedIN polls & discussion
  • Training with local Chamber of Commerce groups, Clients, Associations, Non-Profits and more
  • Created video training webinar shared with clients as part of client on-boarding program.
  • SlideShare deck published today. In less than one hour it hit Slideshare top decks for both LinkedIn and Twitter. Less than 12 hours it had 2,000 and just over a week later now has 12,000+ views.
  • Generated high quality leads, clients and sales from all of the above. It was not one single thing that drove results. It was the integrated platform and plan aligned with specific business and marketing goals.
  • Webinar to walk thru entire deck and all 34 social media truths. Sign up to be notified of webinar here–>> Free Webinar
Now that’s what I call ROI. What do you think?


34 Social Media Truths 

  1. People don’t buy things, they join things.
  2. Communities Create Markets.
  3. Be Your Own Social duck!
  4. It’s not about the next big thing.
  5. Lead with results.
    Welcome to the inspiration age. (Heartbeat of social media)
    Social Currency = action.
  6. It’s what happens after the Facebook like and follow that matters most.
  7.  Don’t do social, be social. Changed later to “Don’t do social or be social, be socially relevant!”
    Social media plugs into your business. Your business does not plug into Facebook.
  8. SMART Objectives and goals are key to success.
    Align social media with top business goals where social media can have an impact.
  9. Be realistic.
    Objectives differ by level and role. (Tips for communicating with internal and external stakeholders.)
    Assess business readiness to be social.
  10. Stop Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs)
  11. Tools are the tactics, not the path.
    Evaluate each initiative based on priority, risk, impact and alignment.
  12. Sum of all parts is greater than the individual tools (learn the ecosystem).
  13. Social relationships are the life raft for technological changes.
    It’s about the people, stupid!
  14. Only guarantee is change. 
  15. Deal with the hard stuff NOW!
  16. Skeletons will fall out of the closet.
  17. Social media will not fix your broken business.
  18. Slow down to speed up.
  19. You will tick people off.
  20. You might even get fired!
  21. Your kid may be ugly. (i.e., website, blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page)
  22. Ya’ gotta start somewhere. Embrace imperfect perfection.
  23. Understand your audience.
  24. All conversations are not created equal.
  25. Hang out with 9 brokes, you just might be the 10th!
  26. You need friends.
  27. Stop using interruption marketing tactics.
  28. Know your audience.
  29. Use social media to solve your customer’s problems.
  30. Talk to me like I am human.
  31. It’s not about YOU!
  32. Measure the right stuff.
  33. Take time to tame the social media beast.
  34. Shape up or ship out!


Got ROI for your content? 

Remember, social media is not about the next best thing. It is not a band-aid for a broken business. The only way you are going to see results is if you align the investment in social media to real business goals and objectives.
If you don’t know how to do this, you know who to call. If not me or my agency, then find someone that can help you. Doing what you have always done will get you what you have always got. Make today the day you do something different so you can be somewhere different next year at this time. It’s your decision, not mine!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Dominate Your Personal Brand On Google With This 14 Point Checklist

Google yourself. See that? It’s your personal brand. Unless you love everything about each listing on the first page, it’s time for some personal branding SEO.

There are two goals in personal SEO:

  • Dominate the entire first page of Google (branding)
  • Push negative or embarrassing search results off of page one (reputation management)
Here’s a checklist of ways to make that happen:

1. Design your snippet: Google+

Google Plus Snippet Optimization

Start by optimizing the one profile that you know Google is indexing: your G+ profile. When you fill out your profile, you’re actually creating the snippet in Google. Here’s how your Google+ fields appear in search results as a snippet. Notice how the snippet text (meta description) is a combination of four fields, listed one after the other.
  • None of those four fields include your location, so if you want to be relevant in your local area, add your city or town to your employment field (i.e. “Orbit Media, Chicago, IL”).
  • Use keywords relevant to your skills and personal brand.


2. Make your resume search-friendly: LinkedIn

guy kawasaki linkedin

LinkedIn is ubiquitous in search results. Here’s how to polish this part of your personal SEO:
  • “Location,” “Position,” and “Company” appear in Google snippets. Make sure they’re complete.
  • Click “edit” next to your public profile link.
  • Customize your public profile URL. Pick a URL that includes your name.
  • Make sure your entire profile is visible to the public.
  • Make LinkedIn as complete as possible. Embed a WordPress blog, embed SlideShare slides, seek recommendations, add any active Twitter accounts, etc.
  • In the “Websites” area of your profile, add links to your site, your blog, and your G+ profile.


3. It’s all about you, baby: your profile on your site

michael gray seo

Unlike every other profile on this checklist, here you’re not building on rented land. You control it, so make it your masterpiece. Fine tune design, tweak on-page SEO, and use your best writing.
  • Make sure your profile has its own page.
  • Use your name in the URL if possible.
  • Use your name in the beginning of the title if possible.
  • Every profile should link to this page.
  • This page should link only to current profiles and networks where you are active (these links can be “nofollow” and target=”_blank”).
  • Link to your Google+ profile using the “rel=me” tag.
  • Watch Analytics for this page to monitor search performance and referring sites.


4. Signed by the Author: Google Authorship

Google Authorship

Thanks to Google Authorship and rich snippets, bloggers are taking personal branding SEO to the next level. The faces of some bloggers and guest bloggers appear in search results for hundreds of keyphrases. Do it for the clickthrough rates, do it for the traffic, and do it for your personal brand.
  • If you’re not “signing” your content using “rel=author,” it’s time to start using Google Authorship Markup.
  • Check the search performance of all of your articles by checking Author Stats. Log into Google Webmaster Tools using your Google+ login.
Those are the most important places to manage SEO for your personal branding. But there are hundreds of other profiles that rank in search. The rest of this checklist is a list of sites where you can create a profile and create a link.

Tip! You don’t actually need to be active on a website to create a profile and affect your personal SEO. There is no reason not to use them all.

Caution: if you setup a hundred profiles, you’ll need to manage a hundred profiles, lest they go out of date. When setting up profiles on sites where you’re not likely to return often, avoid using numbers, such as “5 years of experience” or “50 successful projects.” By keeping the profiles more general, you reduce the risk of the profile going out of date quickly.


5. Twitter

neil patel on twitter

Twitter profiles still rank extremely high in Google. Get out your best profile picture, a short bio and a link to your website.
Even if you never use Twitter, add one tweet to tell people where to find you “I’m not active on Twitter, but feel free to connect with me on [other network]”


6. Facebook

Seth Godin on Facebook

Facebook ranks high. Although your Facebook profile may not be relevant to your job, make your primary profile picture isn’t unprofessional. Depending on your privacy settings, a lot of people may see it. Also, claim your vanity URL.


7. Vimeo

vimeo seo

Of all the video hosting/sharing sites, profile pages on Vimeo seem to outrank all others. Enter a bio, add a link, set your location, claim a URL and even add featured videos.


8. Tumblr

Danny Sullivan on Tumblr

This one also ranks well. By default, Tumblr accounts are setup as subdomains, so grab, if possible. The bio page is open HTML so add anything and everything.


9. Quora

Rand Fishkin Quora

The profile pages are very simple, but they rank! After you add your picture and short bio, follow a few people and a few topics. Following topics will indicate to visitors what your interests are.



Kevin Rose Profile

It’s just a simple page that links to your other profiles, but these show up in search results. Grab it. Upload a nice background photo and setup the links. If possible, use a URL that includes your name, such as


11. Delicious


Create a simple profile that has a decent chance of ranking for your name. Not room for much more than a picture, short bio and link. Delicious will give you a shortcut URL, such as, but once this is set, you can never change it.


12. Flickr

leo flikr

This is the only photo site that gets traction in SEO. Profiles include all the basic information, such as a profile picture, location, bio and link.


13. SlideShare

slideshare charlene li

A profile here is more likely to rank toward the bottom of page one, but you can add a LOT to a SlideShare profile. First, set the Account Type. Now you’ll see all kinds of places to add relevant info. You can also add a visual theme to your profile for $19 per month, but don’t expect this to affect SEO.


14. YouTube

youtube matt cutts profile

Create and upload a video of yourself stating your personal brand, and using your name in the title and the description. If you optimize a video for your name, you may see the video itself rank as a universal search result.

Did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company here in Chicago. You can find Andy on and Twitter.


The 5 Best Ways to Get Feedback from Your Customers

Analytics and data gives us all sorts of insights into what our customers want from our business. But sometimes… don’t you wish you could get an answer straight from your customers?

That’s what customer feedback is all about.

It helps us understand the WHY behind what people are doing. Why are people using one feature three times as often as another? Why do most of your customers stop creating accounts on the last step? Or what causes customers to use your product less frequently (and eventually stop altogether)?

When we match customer feedback to what we’re seeing in our analytics, we get a much clearer picture of what’s going on. Then we’ll know how to fix problems and go after the right opportunities.

I’m going to show you how to use 5 different methods so that you can collect customer feedback day in and day out. This way, you’ll always know what your customers REALLY want and how their needs are changing.

Here are the 5 best ways to get consistent (and high quality) feedback from your customers:
  1. Surveys
  2. Feedback boxes
  3. Reach out directly
  4. User activity
  5. Usability Tests
Let’s jump in and get to it!



1. Surveys

Surveys are the bread and butter for getting feedback. They’re easy to set up, easy to send out, easy to analyze, and scale very well. What’s not to like?
There are two basic ways to approach surveys.

Long Surveys

This is what we’re most familiar with. After creating some questions with SurveyMonkey, we can send out the link to our customer list, Twitter followers, and anyone else. Then we give it a few days, check back, and have all sorts of feedback (hopefully).

Now, many people get poor results when they send out surveys. Either nobody finishes the survey or the responses aren’t helpful. It doesn’t have to be this way. Use these easy tricks to make sure you get great responses from your surveys.

Keep it short. We’ve all filled out surveys that took over 20 minutes. Was that a fun 20 minutes that you remember fondly? Of course not – it was tedious work. And I bet you started rushing through the answers after the first few questions right? I sure do. So if we want to get quality answers from our customers, it’s critical that we ask only a few key questions. Try to keep your surveys to 5 questions, and definitely don’t go over 10.

Ask only the questions that you’ll use. Every question should serve a purpose. And don’t tell me that one extra question “couldn’t hurt.” It does. If you don’t use the information you’re asking for, you’re wasting your customer’s time. You’re also wasting yours. You’ll have a whole batch of responses to look through and none of them will make a difference. Instead, save time and get better responses, by including only the essential questions.

Start with open-ended questions. When you start asking your customers questions for the first time, their answers are going to completely surprise you. So if you build a survey full of rating scales and multiple choice questions, you’ll restrict answers to your own assumptions. But when you use open-ended questions, you’ll know what your customers are really thinking.

Short Surveys on Your Site

The other option is to offer a survey right on your site.
But I recommend that you avoid throwing a full-blown survey right at your visitors. If you want to feature a survey on your site, keep it to one or two questions that are highly relevant to the page that it’s being displayed on. You’ll get much better feedback this way.

But how do we implement something like this? Well, you should use Qualaroo (formerly KISSinsights). You’ll build the question, pick the page you want to display it on, and sort through the responses as you get them. Here’s what a real question looks like:
Qualaroo survey tool
This is a recent survey that we’ve been running at KISSmetrics. You see, we’re working on some improvements to our people reports. And before we jump to any conclusions, we want to get as much feedback from our customers as possible. And this Qualaroo survey is one way that we’re doing it.

Let’s break this survey down a little bit so we can see what’s going on. Notice how the survey is asking two very specific questions. This is intentional. If you ask vague questions, you’ll get vague answers. We’re not asking if people like the report as a whole or how they’d like to see it improved. We’re asking for feedback on a single feature within the entire report. This way, we’ll know if that part of the report needs fixing and what direction we should go in to fix it.
We use Qualaroo heavily and it’s a critical part of our process to understand how to improve KISSmetrics.

But be careful about relying on surveys too much. When you use surveys exclusively, you’ll never get a chance to understand the deeper reasons behind the responses you receive. So use the surveys as a starting point.



2. Feedback Boxes

Do you have a structured process for receiving feedback from your customers? Well, you should.
Your customers are constantly thinking of ways that your business could be better. Maybe parts of your site don’t quite give them what they’re looking for. Or maybe they found something that’s broken.
More often than not, they won’t reach out to your support team. That only happens if the problem is serious. But for the minor annoyances and issues, your customer will just give up and walk away slightly frustrated. Surveys might catch the problem if you ask a related question at the right time. But I wouldn’t count on it.
And when minor issues pop up too frequently, customers will start shopping around for a better solution. Then it’s only a matter of time before they’re gone for good.
So how do we get customers to tell us about the small things? Use a feedback form.
At the bottom of every page in KISSmetrics, you’ll find this form:

KISSmetrics People Report Feedback

The entire purpose of this form is to make it really easy for our users to tell us when something isn’t working quite right. It’s available as soon as someone needs it, out of the way when they don’t, and sends their message to multiple people here at KISSmetrics. It even collects information like the account name, the URL, and browser version so we can recreate the problem and determine exactly how to fix it.

I highly recommend you try something similar. Feel free to experiment with different locations to see which one encourages the most feedback from your customers.

But some sites have completely corrupted the feedback form concept.
Let’s take a look at how Verizon does it. On the Verizon Wireless site, there’s a little feedback button on the right side of the page.

Verizon Feedback
So far, so good. It’s unobtrusive and easily available. Let’s go ahead and click on it, and then we get this:
Verizon Feedback 2
Oh dear.
If I was a real user and had clicked on that feedback button, I probably would have gone from mildly irritated to frustrated. Why? Because this entire form looks like work. I’m being asked questions about issues that aren’t relevant to mine (you want me to rate your layout?). Some of it may be confusing (what’s a cache and how do I clear it?). Instead of being able to alert Verizon about an issue, now I have to jump through a bunch of hoops. After seeing this, I might just bail completely and never send the comment I have.

The whole point of a feedback box is to get feedback from users about small things. That means they have very little motivation to tell us about it in the first place. And you won’t hear about the issue through other channels since it’s only a minor annoyance.

So make that feedback box as simple and easy to use as possible. Or you’ll be missing out on the feedback that it was designed to catch.


Once feedback starts coming in, then what?

First and foremost, you need to respond. Yup, every last piece of feedback gets a response. Even if you have no idea what the user is talking about. Here are some great ideas for how to reply:
  1. If a user is asking for a feature that you’re about to release, offer to give them early access in return for more feedback from them.
  2. For bugs and tech issues, connect them directly to your support engineers.
  3. Ask for a more detailed description of what they were trying to accomplish (this will help you build the right solution).
  4. Give them step-by-step directions on how to use a different feature in your product to achieve the same results.
Someone on your team should have the responsibility of replying to each piece of feedback within a few days. Ideally, send responses within 24 hours.



3. Reach Out Directly

This is one of my favorites. It’s also one of the most undervalued. If you want to truly understand somebody, you really need to go talk to them.

When we’re using surveys, email, or analytics, we’re missing all sorts of contextual information. Customers might say they need more money and more time. But which one are they really passionate about? Which one truly keeps them up at night? You won’t know for sure until you hear the passion in their voices as they talk about their problems.

You also want a chance to dig deeper. Let’s say you run a SaaS business that helps freelancers send invoices to their clients. And recently, you’ve been receiving feedback (from your surveys and feedback form) that your customers would like to customize the design of their invoices. There are several possible reasons why they would want to do this:
  1. Maybe they are designers, and they want another chance to show their skill set.
  2. Or maybe your current design is just awful.
  3. They might be looking to change a few key parts, like adding notes at the bottom.
Each of these reasons requires an entirely different solution. If you don’t reach out and talk to your customers, you’ll never learn what’s really going on, and you’ll be trying to fix the symptom instead of the real problem.

You’ll get major bonus points from this if you do it in person. So dive into your customer list and see if anyone is local. Then invite them to lunch and tell them you’re looking to completely understand how your business helps solve their problem. You will get more value from this 1-hour lunch then you will from hundreds of customer surveys



4. User Activity from Your Analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which features and which sections of your site people are actually using? And how often? Sure, we can use web analytics products to get a sense of what the total usage is like. But what does an individual use?

Most analytics products don’t tell us what individual people are doing. That’s because they were built to track web sites as a whole, not your customers.
But when you use customer analytics, you’ll be able to see the activity of individual people.
What’s the big deal? Why is this useful?

When we look through the activity of individuals, it’s much easier to identify the reason why certain outcomes occur. Let’s see how this works in practice.
Take a look at this report, which shows the data from an individual person:
kissmetrics timeline
This is data from a business that has a 30-day free trial. So the goal is to get someone to create an account, and start using the product, then demonstrate the value of the product so that the user wants to upgrade to a paid plan.

Since we’ve received $0 revenue from this person, we know they haven’t upgraded to a paid plan. By looking at the timeline, we can see which actions they took on which days (the bigger the dot, the more times they completed that action on that day). It looks like they visited the site for the first time in early June and immediately created an account. After that, they explored all sorts of features on the site. But then activity started to drop off. Within a few weeks, this person stopped coming back and never upgraded to a paid plan.

Based on this activity, we can assume that this person didn’t find enough value in what the product offered and decided to move on.

With this data, we know who DIDN’T value our business. And since we have their email (it’s blurred out towards the top), we can then use some of these other feedback methods to dive deeper into trying to understand why they didn’t think our product is valuable. We could reach out to them directly and try to set up a meeting. Or maybe we’ll pull a list of people that have similar patterns of activity, and email them a survey. Either way, we already know exactly which questions we should be asking.



5. Usability Tests

What if you could watch someone use your product or website? You’ll see what sections they’re drawn to, what catches their eye, and where they get confused. That kind of information is invaluable.

Well, there are services that give you exactly that. You can define a task that you want someone to complete, have a random person do it, and get a recording of the entire process. For a long time, it took tens of thousands of dollars to pull this off. You need to have a research firm do it for you. These days, the cost has become very reasonable.

These are ideal for new web apps and account creations. If you’ve built a new signup process or you’re about to release a new product, I highly recommend that you watch someone use it. This will flag some of the biggest problems right away and increase the rate at which you acquire new customers.

Definitiely, check out, which offers tests at $39 per person. A few of these will pay you back with huge gains by showing you where your biggest problems are.


The Bootstrap Usability Test

Let’s say you’re bootstrapping and want to do some bare bones user testing.
First, go find someone that’s part of your target market. So if you’re selling to mommy bloggers, don’t grab some 20-something graphic designer (unless they also happen to be a mommy blogger).

Then bribe them with whatever you can (free lunch perhaps?) to try out your new product. Sit them down in your office and ask them to complete a simple task. Don’t offer guidance or help;, just watch them try to figure it out. A couple of these will expose the biggest flaws that you’ll need to fix immediately.

But don’t do this with friends and family. They think you’re awesome and that everything you do is great. So they won’t be able to look at your product in an unbiased way. They’ll soften negative feedback and strengthen positive comments. This is the exact opposite of what you need right now. To get unbiased feedback that reflects what real users will be thinking, go find some strangers for your bootstrapped user testing.


When to Make Changes Based on Feedback

So now you’re getting all sorts of feedback, which is awesome. But what do you do with it?
If you have any degree of traction with your business or product, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with feedback. Between the feedback emails, surveys, and user tests, you’ll have far more ideas than you could ever act on.

No matter what you do, you will not be able to act on every piece of feedback you receive. You won’t have the resources.

And even if you did have an unlimited amount of time and money to respond to every piece of feedback, you wouldn’t want to. That’s because some of the suggestions you receive will come out of nowhere – from customers who were trying to do something so obscure that an adjustment might actually get in the way of the rest of your customers.

When you’re filtering through all this feedback, you’re looking for trends. Let’s say that you see an issue pop up this week, and then someone else brings it up again 2 weeks from now. A month after that, someone mentions it again. And then there are 3 customers who all talk about it during the same week. That is feedback that you want to act on. Reach out to these people, get a deep understanding of what they’re trying to do, and then build something that will make it happen.


Bottom Line

When you collect feedback from your customers consistently, you’ll know if you’re building your business in the right direction. So experiment with the methods above and find the right combination for your business.

As soon as you find a process for collecting high-quality feedback from your customers on a regular basis, make it a standard practice.
You’ll want to start with these methods:
  1. Surveys
  2. Feedback boxes
  3. Reaching out directly
  4. User activity
  5. Usability tests

What other ways have you used to get high quality feedback from your customers? Tell us in the comments!

About the Author: Lars Lofgren is the KISSmetrics Marketing Analyst and has his Google Analytics Individual Qualification (he’s certified). Learn how to grow your business at his marketing blog or follow him on Twitter @larslofgren.

Find Out How Many Fake Twitter Followers You Have With StatusPeople

By Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch:
Are you a social media superstar, or is your Twitter feed just a soapbox for a soulless animatronic audience? StatusPeople is a humbling web application that reveals the percentage of followers that are fake or inactive. Obama has a whopping 31% fake followers (or 6 million of 19 million), Twitter queen, Lady Gaga, has 27%–which makes us feel like a people magnet with a comparatively tiny 20%. Twitter occasionally cleanses its universe of robots with a mass purge, but is clearly struggling to keep up a motivated army of spammers and purchased accounts.

“There’s a tremendous cachet associated with having a large number,” comedian Dan Nainan told The New York Times, after admitting to buying 220,000 fake followers. “When people see that you have that many followers, they’re like: ‘Oh, my goodness, this guy is popular. I might want to book him.” Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have both been accused of trying to appear more tech-savvy by buying their way to fame. It’s unclear whether Romney or someone else paid for his followers, but a massive spike in his social media popularity earlier this Summer was definitely at odds with his stagnant poll numbers.

Not all celebrity accounts with loads of robotic followers have scrupulously bought their way to fame. In many cases, famous people are a tempting target for spammers hocking their message via @replys, or are simply just popular with the roughly half of Twitter accounts that tried out social networking and never came back (numbers current as of 2011).

Read the full story here 

Twitter Teams Up With HootSuite To Sell Ads, Preferred Users Get $100 Credit

By Lauren Dugan at Media Bistro:
A lot has been written about Twitter’s latest developer guidelines, which outlines the types of third-party apps the company supports, and those it wants to eliminate.
Called out as being an example of an app the company approved of in its new guidelines was HootSuite, the enterprise-focused social media management tool. And now we know why: Twitter and HootSuite are teaming up to begin selling ads to 30,000 HootSuite Pro customers.

30,000 HootSuite Pro users will see a popup offer when they log in to the dashboard next, with $100 in free Twitter advertising credit offered if they spend it through HootSuite itself.

This is the first move that Twitter’s made to sell ads through a third party.
Here’s a quote that TechCrunch received from a Twitter spokesperson as well as an anonymous source:
“As with all of our advertising efforts, we are being thoughtful and deliberate in how we roll out self-serve to all kinds of small and local businesses,” she said. “We are testing out various ways to roll out this offering, including offers to Twitter users by companies like HootSuite.” TechCrunch understands from a source that this is the first signal that “a deeper partnership between the two may be in the works.”
Twitter is targeting small and medium sized businesses with this promotion, in an effort to continue its self-serve advertising platform rollout. The company first offered self-serve ads to American Express customers in February, expanding this to UK companies who shared their Twitter stories in June.

 Read the full story here

Report: VEVO Surpasses Twitter, Tumblr Beats MySpace in July Unique Visitors

Who knew that that there were more people on VEVO than Twitter? ComScore’s July 2012 Top 50 U.S. Web Properties report contained a few upsets in the social networking sphere.

In the chart below, we’ve pulled the top social networks from comScore’s Top 50 list and ranked them according to number of unique visitors in July 2012. Facebook still towers over all the others.

With 190 million unique visitors, Google sites actually ranked first in the U.S., just ahead of Microsoft and Yahoo! sites at 169 million and 163 million, respectively. But it’s hard to count these properties in the social network rankings when the numbers include traffic to search engines and other services.

Read the full story here

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: Photos, Videos Are The Best Way To Tell Stories On Facebook

What better way to discuss the impact of photos on Facebook and other social networks than with a colorful infographic? Global communications company M Booth teamed up with media measurement and analytics outfit Simply Measured to bring their point home.

Photos, Videos Are The Best Way To Tell Stories On Facebook

INFOGRAPHIC: Social Change Through Facebook, Other Social Networks

How are organizations such as Kickstarter,, Pencils of Promise, and Crowdrise using Facebook and other social networks to push social change? The infographic below from The Best Colleges takes a look.
The Best Colleges also offered advice on how organizations should use Facebook and other social networks for social change:
  • Like the pages and accounts of causes you care about.
  • Like and follow legislators and other people interested in the causes you care about.
  • Share or retweet content from the causes you care about.
  • Tag legislators and others in your posts.
  • Search via Facebook’s causes ( application to connect with other users with similar interests.

Social Change Through Facebook, Other Social Networks

INFOGRAPHIC: How Marketers Are Using Social Media

By Shea Bennett at Media Bistro:

Did you know that almost half (44.4 percent) of marketers claim to have “advanced” or “expert” abilities in social media?
Facebook (87.7 percent) and Twitter (82.7 percent) lead as the most popular social platforms, ahead of Google+ (54.9 percent), YouTube (48.9 percent) and LinkedIn (46.9 percent).

These findings come courtesy of SEOmoz and Hubspot, who surveyed 6,491 marketers about how they are using social media, and have visualized their data in the infographic below.

Marketers Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]