Monday, March 28, 2011

Thinking About Words: Part II "Posh" Up Close & Personal

It’s time for another edition of “Thinking About Words.”

Notice I didn’t start the preceding sentence with “Due to popular demand.”  Nope, it’s just that time.

After reading the first post in the “Thinking About Words” series,  my colleague Patrick McLaughlin of Caldo Communications suggested the next post in the series take a look at the word “Posh” – meaning sumptuously furnished or appointed; luxurious.

Patrick suggested that much like the word “Snafu” which was featured in the first post, the word Posh is an acronym-generated word.   He pointed out that  the word is an acronym from “port out ( ward ), starboard home” which is  said to be the preferred accommodation on ships traveling between England and India.

However, a little digging shows that there is some question about this being the true word origin. poo poos the acronym idea totally, and instead notes the word has an obscure origin, likely originating via American slang in 1890.

Isn’t this fun?

Thinking about words is so much fun we might have to call the cops… you know, the word “Cop” is often cited as being derived from the phrase  "constable on patrol” but I don’t have time to think about that.

Instead, I’m heading out to play some golf. (word origin: “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden")

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Acting As If: The Power of the Present ..(or.. Weight Loss and Web Conversions: What Do They Have in Common?)

If you enjoy self-help and personal development, chances are you’ve heard the phrase acting as if. 

Simply put, the concept means we "act as if" we have already achieved a desired end goal. By “acting as if” a goal has been met, or some desired end has taken place, we take the actions now that we want to achieve a future end-state.

Create Conditions for Success

The emphasis is on taking action now.   The power of the present, and all that.

Instead of looking at a goal as a far-off achievement, when we start acting as if, we behave in specific ways to make a goal come to life.

A Lighter Perspective
Personally speaking, in November of last year I decided to act “as if” I were 40 pounds lighter.  Each day, I was mindful of food portions, snacking and drinking choices, and the amount of exercise taken in a given week. 

I acted as if I had already been successful.

Several months later nearly 30 pounds are gone, so it is still a process of acting “as if” those last 10 pounds have dropped.  When that goal is achieved, as long as the “as if” focus is consistent, I will own and keep the behaviors since I’ve had so much practice.

Back to B-to-B
Professionally speaking, in terms of business-to-business marketing, a marketing department can certainly act as if. 

Let’s say the goal is to increase lead generation, or to increase web conversion rates.  Another desired end-state could be to increase the number of closed sales that came from the marketing program.

Each person on the marketing team needs to "act as if" those marketing goals have already been achieved. The team can focus on the key strategies and tasks to take the actions now to achieve a future end-state.

The Power of the Present
What would it look like to act as if web conversions were higher? In other words, how would one act if an increase had taken place in the number of website visitors acting on an offer (or filling out a form) divided by total website visitors over a given period of time.

By acting as if that increase had already happened, a program would include continuous A/B testing of page designs; optimizing forms; driving more traffic to the website; adding compelling, relevant calls to action; making the “download now” button more prominent and so on.  This is the process if the goal had already been achieved.

Instead of looking at increased web conversions goal as a far-off achievement, by acting as if, the team behaves in specific ways to make the goal come to life.

Think To Make It So

This isn't that easy, but it's a great mind-set to cultivate. Whether personal or professional goals, what can you do to create the conditions to achieve a desired end-result?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What’s Your Retweet Rank?

Regular blog readers know I am in Twitter learning mode – enjoying the power of blogging and Social Media.

There are many marketing folks who are experts in this arena.  Hubspot and eConsultancy, in particular, offer fabulous Twitter expertise.

Here’s a particularly informative blog from awhile back about measuring the ROI of a B-to-B in terms of Retweet Rank
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am relatively new to this area.  Much learning has been done over the last 6 months or so in support of Markit Strategies and PR client Plex Systems.

RT Rank: What’s the Deal?

A previous blog post showcased five top tools to measure success on Twitter, and since that time, it’s been amazing to see the relevance of measuring engagement via Retweet Rank.

It turns out that one of the B-to-B programs managed by Markit Strategies and PR has a retweet rank in the 97th percentile.  The percentile reflects the percentage of tweets that have been been retweeted.

Why is RT Ranking Important?

Why is Retweet Ranking a good metric to measure quality of engagement?

  1. It means your followers are reading tweets, directly or indirectly.
  2. It means that your Twitter handle "@Name" is spreading to relevant Twitter users in the keywords related to the product or service.  More people will follow.
  3. Tweets are interesting enough for both followers and non-followers to take an action and pass along to their followers.
  4. It means you are building relationships and trust with relevant followers.

Note that most business to business Twitter users do not realize the importance of "RT". It is a more meaningful metric than number of followers - a way to measure engagement with a relevant community (which by the way you can also measure in terms of followers on TwitterSheep. 

The goal is to build a strong, engaged experience on Twitter with a lot of retweeting by relevant followers.

Do you Tweet? If so, check out your RT Rank!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Measure Twice, Tweet Once: Measuring for Social Media Success

There’s so much to consider when using Social Media in the business-to-business marketing world.  

This post puts the spotlight on Twitter metrics of success. Facebook and LinkedIn are entirely different animals when one considers measuring success.

This time, though, it’s inspiring to consider the following:  How do you know if a Twitter program is effective?

Wise marketing folks are often posting about this subject, such as this terrific post from those smarty pants at eConsultancy.

Quality vs. Quantity
It’s tempting to measure success by the number of Twitter followers an account has acquired, but that isn’t a complete view of success.

Yet it is fun to watch followers grow (heck, I even wrote a limerick when one of the Twitter programs I managed crossed 500 followers!).

If social media marketing is about engaging and connecting, then it follows that the best strategy is ongoing measurement of  "relevant engagement" on Twitter.

How to Assess Relevent Engagement? 
How can one measure  social media engagement?

One handy approach is to monitor the amount of Tweets that get Retweeted by others, especially followers related to a particular topic.  It is easy to track mentions and direct messages over a 30 day period to establish a benchmark - then monitor growth over time.

The Twitter List
Twitter Lists are critical to monitor. 

How many folks include your Twitter handle in a list?  How many relevant lists follow you?  

Being included in a relevant list by another Twitter account is a great measure of engagement and connection.  For instance, if you manage a Twitter account for a personal trainer, there are many Twitter lists out there that single out those in the personal training arena. Being include in a Twitter list is a great indication of engagement.

5 Tools for Measurement
  1. If you manage your Twitter account using TweetDeck or HootSuite, it is easy to set up the interface to quickly track mentions, retweets and direct mentions if folks use the @sign and your full Twitter handle.
  2. Search:  A simple Twitter Search monitors those tweeting about a company especially if others don't use @ sign (that's usually what happens) 
  3.  Retweet Rank – as the name states, this easy tool monitors Retweets 
  4.  Tweet Cloud:  Analyzes the content of a month's worth of tweets (or any timeframe) to analyze whether your tweets are 'on topic" - a really great tool for monitoring content over time.  
  5. TwitterSheep offers a clear indication of engagement, depicting visually how relevant the bios of your followers are.  Take just a second to analyze the bios of your followers, when searching under relevant terms (like exercise, personal health, etc....when using the personal trainer example from above)  

Remember the old saying:  you are what you measure! There are likely other great tools that measure social media engagement.  Please share them here!