How Social Media Blends With Cause-Related Marketing

Credit: World Hunger Relief Campaign

Everyone ought to have a pet cause or perhaps you work for a not-for-profit where all your attention lies. What’s the role social media is playing in your attention-getting campaigns?

Yesterday, Geoff Livingston invited me to a tweet bomb. Having never really heard of one, although it was easy to get the purpose, I heartily agreed to support World Hunger Relief, From Hunger to Hope, for children in poverty and malnourishment throughout the world in tandem with World Food Day today.

Today’s tweet bomb is [8:30] a.m. to [9:30] a.m. in all time zones at #HungerToHope in honor of World Food Day sponsored by Razoo and Yum! Brands.

When I clicked the link to see what resources were available, I saw an entire blogger resource kit with:

  • Sample tweets
  • A Twibbon
  • Details for a blog post
  • Hashtags and timing
  • Images from Flickr
  • Facebook cover image for timeline
  • Social media buttons
  • Full campaign website
  • Fact sheet
  • Logos

When I saw the kit, I was surprised Geoff hadn’t asked for a blog post, so I volunteered. I also just scheduled about eight tweets to run on two Twitter accounts during the scheduled time of the tweet bomb.

How Social Media Works

Let’s review what just happened above…

1. Geoff and I are in social media marketing; we know one another through the Interwebz. He comments on my blog, I comment on his blog. I bought his book, Marketing in The Round with Gini Dietrich.

2. That gives Geoff the opportunity and comfort to ask his blogger peer network to help support a cause. I do it all the time and have done so with Danny Brown and his 12for12K, and for Shonali Burke to support UNHCR, and we bought blue keys. It was a highly successful campaign, as well.

3. Geoff didn’t ask for a blog post, but I knew that would help the campaign. I’m asking for your consideration to help World Hunger with tweets and even a few of your pennies.

Those who manage causes cannot ignore bloggers’ influence or social media networking. A tweet bomb is a perfectly easy way to showcase an issue and even create a trending topic (which is likely exactly what #HungerToHope is aiming for).

When you decide to incorporate social media into a campaign on any scale, pay close attention to the blogger resource kit; it’s exactly what I needed to write this post with ALL the detail at my fingertips.

So, today’s ask is for you to support World Food Day with tweets, pennies, posts, or a nod in the direction of your favorite charitable cause.

Triberr Meets Influence

ALT="Influence on Triberr, a tribe image, Soulati Media"We’re in the post social media adoption phase. Guess what? We’re also in the post Triberr adoption phase, too. If you’re a blogger and you’re not engaged on Triberr, well, you kinda missed the train; it left. (Kidding, there’s still time to jump on!)

Influence is a hot button. Many of us on the ‘sphere who have been blogging for more than two years were around with the launch of Triberr, and, boy, did the sparks fly with anti-sentiment. Perhaps DannyBrown will come back and join the tribes again? He was one who withdrew. Erica Allison said, no, then she said yes; hmm, I think that’s a flip-flop, right John Kerry?

Seriously, though, the inspiration for this post came directly from the horse himself. I spoke awhile with Triberr founder Dino Dogan yesterday. Dino and Dan Cristo and the gang are hosting TribeUp NYC in September, and the passion for that project is us. Yes, we bloggers who belong to tribes on Triberr. While I don’t know  Triberr’s mission statement, it’s pretty simple to say it’s all about being a resource for bloggers globally; to deliver tools and resources to take blogging to new heights and bring those of us who toil daily to keep our blogs alive along for the ride.

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Bloggers Have Influence

Breasts Are Not Partisan

Whether you blog for business, personal, or just to rid your head of too much chatter (as I do), bloggers have influence. The influence I speak of is not based on Klout score or being paid to endorse a product. This type of influence is about words online with communities commenting and furthering debate.

Late last week, the nation watched the Susan G. Komen public relations debacle unfold. Bloggers I know held back before writing; others decided not to write at all. As the situation became stickier, it was the responsibility of bloggers to dive in and report, communicate, address the problem, and suggest solutions. Communities responded in droves.

Never mind how you felt about the decision. What I’m pointing out here is the age we’re in when people the likes of you and me have the opportunity and the power to reverse poorly made business decisions, that reek of inside politics aired on the national stage.

This case is a text-book example of social media marketing at its finest. It’s also an example of an organization that misunderstood the power of constituents and bloggers (as one of the primary factions) with other social media channels to influence a reversal in business that will affect (not impact…wrong word) Komen’s brand long term.

Just how many bloggers elected to write about this issue last week? Google search for “blogs” with keywords “Susan G. Komen, Planned Parenthood” delivered some 63 million sources (from all types of media). Regardless of the accuracy of this number and whether it is skewed to bloggers alone, the nation was abuzz.

The voices rang on all social media channels pushing at Susan G. Komen and Nancy Brinker (its founder). Facebook got slammed; Twitter streams and Google+ were all abuzz with this news of the day. Bloggers cannot take total credit for the change up by Komen. But, they should be proud of their interest, reporting, sharing, and the cascade of news delivered across multiple networks within communities.

Whenever you ask yourself, “Why am I blogging?”  Think of this situation and know your words are important ones for your community. At a time when the light bulb is blinking for many an organization, heed this – do not shy away from sharing your twist on today’s news. Many people rely on information from their channels. Bloggers have influence and credibility, especially when they have built a reputation for solid and factual reporting of the angles.

Standardize (Don’t Automate) Personal Success Measurement

Rebecca A. Denison is a “klutzy, bubbly youngin’ taking on social media and PR measurement.” (Hey, those are NOT my words to describe her!). Today’s post is by an up-and-comer in the public relations profession; a woman I’ve been fully impressed by since I first met her on Twitter. Rebecca blogs over at One True Sentence (link above), and you can see her measurement topics appearing just about everywhere in PR blogs and circles. She’s got some fabulous posts on her blog about measurement, and how perfect is it that she segues from the series on Influence last week. Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing your expertise here; I’m so jazzed!


Recently, Jayme wrote a great post which included some thought-provoking questions to start measuring your personal social media success (be sure to read the comments, too – tons of wisdom there). She also mentioned Klout as one tool she has used recently to measure her influence online.

I will be one of the first to jump at the chance to tell you why you should never rely on just one tool (especially an automated one) to measure influence. Influence is too contextual and situational. But that is certainly not my point today.

Personal success, much like influence, is entirely contextual and situational. This is never truer as when people, brands and companies search for the best ways to use social media. And so like influence, you just can’t automate the measure of personal success. Not with a single metric.

I joined Twitter in July 2009 when I was still a recent college graduate and searching for my place in this thing they call the workforce. Being a complete nerd, I literally wrote out the goals I had and how I would measure them. At the end of the day, my goal was to find a job, a company, a role that I fit into perfectly. But I was also looking to make a name for myself and share my passion with other nerds like me. I measured things like job offers and interviews, but also how many people referenced me as a thought-leader.

Everyone will have different goals for their own success in social media, but there will always be direct and indirect methods to show how far you’ve come. And it all starts with your goals. So let’s start there.

Standardize measurement of your personal success

1. Write your goals with pen. Goals don’t have to be nitty gritty. Think big picture. At the end of the day, if you were completely happy with your success, what would that mean? Would you have thousands of followers on Twitter? Would you be running a business through social media? Dream!

2. Define your terms. So let’s say you said you want to be a thought-leader. What does that mean exactly? Does that mean you’re well known? Does it mean your blog posts get read a lot? Maybe you are retweeted a bunch? This is where you get nitty gritty to really understand all the pieces that make up your goals. Think about setting time limits here, too. Do you want to be a thought-leader next week or next year? Give yourself time or even set smaller goals through the next year.

3. Find direct measures. Go through all of the pieces you defined above, and write down all the direct measures you know of. If you want to be retweeted more by next month, that’s an easy way to track, right? Using a tool like TweetDeck, HootSuite or CoTweet, you can easily find out how many times others share your thoughts. If you think there is a direct measure but don’t know what it is, do a bit of digging or ask around (even ask me). Don’t focus on finding an answer for everything, though!

4. Brainstorm indirect measures. For those terms that you just can’t find an easy way to measure, this is where you have to get creative. Something important to me was to be a source of expertise in measurement. I used the number of times someone recommended me as a person who might know the answer to track this. Not direct, but it’s close! If you’re a small business owner and want to increase foot traffic but can’t track your customers every hour of every day, try tracking foot traffic during lunch on Thursdays. If you see an increase, you can guess that overall traffic is increasing, and you can probably think up other ways to measure it more accurately, too.

5. Set yourself up to succeed. Once you have an idea of how you will be measuring, set yourself up to measure properly. If you want something to increase or decrease, make sure you measure a benchmark for comparison later. If you will need to use a tool to help you, sign up now and start tracking even if you won’t need the data yet. Trust me when I say measuring retroactively is much trickier.

How do you measure your own personal success? Even if you don’t take it too seriously, how do you measure progress?

Can We Measure Influence?

Today marks the culmination of this week-long series on Influence. We’ve explored Klout, two camps, factors that influence, what it is, and now we look at ways to consider measuring influence.

Neicole Crepeau is a partner with Coherent Interactive, a digital shop specializing in all things web, social media, and digital, of course.  Aaron Sachs is working on his Masters degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where I’m certain his coursework includes many live discussions about measurement.

Neicole kicks off:

I believe there are several  factors that contribute to defining influence:

  • Topic—nobody has influence in every area, most people have influence in specific areas
  • Community—most influencers are active in certain communities or have the greatest impact in certain communities
  • Activity—some influencers are content creators, others are mainly speakers, etc.
  • Type—There are different types of influence. For example, there are people who are very good at spreading the word/content, and might be valuable for content marketing purposes or to gain traffic to your website. There are people who are very influential in terms of shaping opinions—think Walt Mossberg in tech. A recommendation from him on a tech topic carries a lot of weight. There are people who are influential in their ability to start conversations and connect with individuals. I think you and Mark Schaefer fall into that category, Jayme.  (Thank you, Neicole!) There are probably other types, as well, thought-leaders, etc.

From a business perspective, you’d want to connect with different influencers depending upon your goals and audience. You want influencers who are in the communities where your audience is and who are influential in the ways that will help with your goals. If I want to get someone to be a speaker at my conferences or do webinars for me, I probably want to connect with an influencer in the relationship-builder model. On the other hand, if I want my content shared widely to people interested in a certain topic, I probably want to connect with a content curator, as per my post on Mark Schaefer’s blog. And so on.


Is there an effective way to measure influence? I don’t think so, not yet. Currently, systems are using proxies of real measurement.  We use RTs and reshares to measure how good an influencer is at spreading the word. But we can’t really accurately measure that. If I share a link, someone clicks on it and reads the blog post I linked to, and then clicks the Retweet button on the blogger’s site, we’ve lost the trail. Someone may click the link that the reader shared, and that click should actually be attributed to me, but we can’t track it.

Klout measure shares and @’s and DM’s and comments on Facebook, too. That measure’s engagement of a sort, but from the number of interactions, Klout makes assumptions about someone’s influence. If the influence type is Walt Mossberg style, @’s and DM’s may not matter at all. What matters is how well-regarded the influencer’s opinion is and how well-spread his/her opinions are to a key audience, not whether he/she actually talks a lot with fans.

To really measure, we’d have to have a good breakdown of the different types of influencers, by topic and community, use different measures for each community, and measure all the way through. We’d need to know things like what audiences/customers the influencer is reaching, how far down the sales funnel it’s happening, who is sharing the opinion/information with customers, and whether it actually resulted in conversions (however you measure conversions: sales, registrations, etc.). We aren’t anywhere near that, yet.

Influencer identification and measurement is still in its infancy. We’ve got a long ways to go.

Aaron Sachs has some great

I want to begin with the tools that are out there–Klout, Backtype, PeerIndex.  They all measure influence, but there’s a key thing missing, before we get to what the tools measure, and that is:  Who is defining influence for these tools and what are they basing it on?

It’s all well and good to have an indicator based on partial metrics–Tweets, retweets, followers/following ratios, etc.  But where is influence in all of this?

Michael Wu at Lithium has an excellent post on influence.  In an interview with him, Michael stated that simply, influence is the ability to cause a change in mindset or actions.  Essentially, influence is the art of persuasion.  It is causing someone to think or behave a certain way.  Whether the motives of the person influencing another person are “pure” or not is irrelevant to defining influence. However, we all hope that people influencing any field are pure of heart and have the best interests of an industry or field at heart and won’t influence the direction of an industry or field in a negative fashion.  But that’s beside the point.

The tools that are being used to measure influence are broken.  They don’t measure true influence.  RAAK did several tests looking at PeerIndex and Klout. The key test was Klout, as that seems to be the standard right now.  They found that the bot that tweeted the most had a higher score than the other three bots. By conducting that test, RAAK essentially found out that Klout’s definition of influence (and somewhat the industry standard, by proxy of accepting Klout as the defining measure of influence in the social media world) was relegated to Tweeting…a lot.  Is that really how we want to define influence for social media?  For that matter, do we want to define influence as simply retweeting, interacting with others, or posting content?  I would hope not.

For social media, there has to be a CONCLUSIVE measure of influence.  If the definition of influence is to cause a change of mind or behavior, then THAT is what should be measured.  Simply measuring retweets or interaction does NOT prove conclusively that a person has experienced a change of mind or behavior. Sorry 🙁 long rant about the tools.

The other factors that are missing in influence are things like credibility, relevance of material to audience (or relevance in general), physical appearance, communication skills, and persuasive ability. These items are the major items that contribute to influence.

Then, you take into account the things that have contributed toward a person being influential–professional opportunity (essentially status–we’re more likely to believe someone who is in a position that lends them more influence or credibility), economic opportunity, and access to tools/communities.

Retweets, tweets, and engagement are not a conclusive measure of influence, not if it is defined as causing a change of mind or behavior.  Really, the approach that the social media world should be taking to Klout and other influence measuring tools should be a mindset that understands that these tools don’t really measure influence.  If anything, they measure how engaged you are with your audience.  Engagement (does not =) Influence.


(Photo: NextWeb…never thought I’d see the day when Old Spice Man was relevant for an image; very cool.)