(Note: this is a blog post I wrote a few weeks back, but the WordPress app decided to lose it entirely! Still, I wanted to get these thoughts out here.)
Recently, I posted the below on Twitter, referencing this particular article about Twitter bots.
Now, not all bots are bad, many were created for very good, or at least harmless reasons, for example, I follow a bot that tweets a graph of local river levels every few hours, and another that generates fictional museum exhibition names.
However, if when such a high number of accounts are bots, it starts to make the entire site useless. As the original article states, it makes Twitter engagement analytics pointless- how can you prove a real human being liked or retweeted your tweets? How can you prove growth? There are research issues to consider to – at University I did quite a bit of work on mapping Twitter connections – this was in the earlier days of academic research on social media and Twitter was quite a different beast then. Connection-mapping techniques would produce seriously flawed data in today’s Twittersphere, when mindless machine accounts are linking ‘real’ accounts up. Either Twitter, or research techniques, will have to change at a fundamental level.
What I’ve been up to for the past few weeks…
So off the back of my last Future Learn course on Digital Analysis, I’ve started a new similar one, though it mostly goes over material that I’ve done before as in the Learning Online course, so this time I’m not going to put notes online for it.
However, I have been taking some time to watch some new Google for Business videos on YouTube, and I have a bunch of notes from the one below which that I wanted to get up here.
Google search – Making use of all your business tools
As a business, you should aim to be found locally. Optimise for mobile – 80% of all Google searches are on mobile and is no divide by age etc. anymore. Everyone is using mobile.
- Your site needs to be speedy. Searches need to be quick paced or you will lose people mid-search.
- Check your keywords – are you set up to be easily found.
People like to buy from/work with local businesses and this is why ‘Google my Business’ is really important as it shows you on maps and on reviews which really affects how people find you.
- Google posts put direct info to customers
- People live online and need live updates
- This also improves your organic search
You will need to verify and take control of your listings
- It’s better for you, better for customers, better for Google too
- Ensure it suits your brand and is consistent with your tone of voice
- Original content in your Google listings will help with all this
Put the most important info first on your site – think hard about heading and title.
- Small image files for quick load times!!
Vision, Purpose, Value, Passion
Are these four things communicated in your site?
Remember who your target audience is, how will they search your site?
Important details for a mobile site
- Small dropdown
- Big buttons
- Easy search system – make it clear and simple
- Form filling out needs to be simple and easy on a small screen
- Test your site for speed
This was only a two week short course, but the same provider is running a number of other free courses via Future Learn that I will be looking at! Though I only ended up writing a small amount of notes, it was still a great, quick way to keep myself refreshed on marketing and research techniques, some of which I might need to use in my job very soon.
Week two: Segmentation
This is splitting your followers into groups according to their behaviours and preferences in order to market the right products to them.
In order to build these segments and to analyse whether they are working for you, you have to build context into your data, by creating both internal and external benchmarks, so you can compare your current success both to previous data and to the success other your competitors.
- Missions statements, a successful company generally has a customer-oriented one
- A strategy should be focussed on the specifics of the business and what makes it unique
- KPIs need to be tangible measurements and numbers, relevant to your strategy
- Once you know how a customer came to your company (via an offer, website etc) you can start to build a profile and segment your demographics
There will always be challenges in acquiring data – some of it may be incomplete or wrong, so try to focus on the overall pattern and what it tells you.
I’m back on the Future Learn train again! This time, I’m taking a short fortnight-long course in Digital Analytics, and as always I’ve been making notes for a blog post out of the first week of course material.
Data is everything that you collect as research, but analytics are primarily concerned with the numbers.
The power of digital analytics is mostly in measuring behaviour. There has been an explosion of data as it is much easier to collect and store with modern computers.
There are four types of analysis.
Descriptive –> What has happened?
Diagnostic –> Why has it happened?
Predictive –> What will happen?
Prescriptive –> What can happen?
We have analytics in many areas now that we didn’t have before, and we have improved our techniques in many areas. Knowing where your business is up to enables you to make better business decisions based on quantifiable facts.
To use analytics effectively, you need a definitive problem and an set of answers, as well as a defined measure of success.
A key website metric for businesses is of course conversions – which the course defines as
An activity on your site that is important to the success of your business
This is more than how many people look at your site, it is how they engage with it. These metrics indicate what is and isn’t working in your website and marketing strategy.
The course defines two types of conversion – micro and macro.
|Following on twitter
||Purchasing a product
Metrics need to be continually reviews and checked over to ensure that you are still getting the right answers and acting on them – it is a process of constant improvement.
One of the most important recent parts of digital marketing, at least as far as I’ve found, is finding the balance between putting your eggs in too few or too many baskets.
There’s plenty of evidence that having too many social media platforms, websites, basically digital spaces in general, means that your general content and engagement will suffer because you can’t possibly be active and interesting on that many sites. It also simply isn’t worth the time spent to maintain small groups followers and communities across many platforms when you could have a larger group on two or three.
However, there is the problem that if you use one platform that works well for you, you’re then at the mercy of that site and any changes to that site could make you inflexible. For example, recent companies, political parties etc. have been complaining about how the changes to Facebook to promote more content from friends and families instead of brands. Where they have been used to spending vast amounts of money to good effect, the changes have made it much harder to run good marketing campaigns. No doubt this is make many people look harder at alternative options, which is fine if you already have an organic base of followers elsewhere to start with, starting is scratch is difficult and takes time.
So this is a post I started writing a week or so ago, before I went away. Therefore the bit about Hootchat is a little old by tweet standards, but the content is still relevant!
Over the last few months, I’ve been making an effort to follow Hootsuite’s #Hootchat conversations on Twitter – sadly the time zone differences mean it’s difficult for me to join in live!
Some days back, I found the below question popping up on my feed, and a number of the answers were pretty interesting.
Although LinkedIn has always been around, occupying that professional networking niche (the one that Google+ tried and failed to capitalise on) it appears that as a new digital generation has matured, it has become more and more relevant, whilst Twitter and Facebook have begun to fall by the wayside.
In other news, I’m enjoying an accidental hashtag mix-up on my Twitter feed; one which proves you should always check how a hashtag is used (and if it is a year-related hashtag, check it with the previous year in to see what might be around.) Otherwise, you might end up in the same position as the International Communications Association, whose choice of #ica18 for their conference is causing some confusion when that hashtag is dominated by potential entrants for the 2018 International Cheese Awards…
A very little thought that I’ve had for some time regarding Twitter’s use of user tweets in their newsfeed and moments.
So, I’ve had a few tweets used, and generally they were political in nature, which unsurprisingly generated a small amount of insults and abuse. Not a huge amount, and nothing that I couldn’t ignore or block, but it occurred to me that a random comment on current events out of thousands could be broadcast to the world and to a much larger amount of that abuse.
Now, I decided that I wanted to remove my tweet from one of these moments. Seems like it should be an easy thing to do, right? Well, after a lot of googling, I discovered from Twitter’s own help site that in order to remove yourself from a Twitter moment, you have to block the account that created it.
This may be fine if you are are in a Twitter moment that someone has created with malicious intent, but if the moment is created by the @twittermoments account itself, you presumably have to block the main source of curated Twitter news in order to remove yourself from a moment? Plus, this is not made obvious at all. Overall, it seems like something Twitter should look into changing for usability purposes, especially related to the changes that Twitter has promised to make to it’s abuse policies.