Twitter and FriendFeed afford a reach, influence and the prospect of a powerful presence few would question. But if you’re trying to measure the influence of your friends via Social Media Marketing, relative to your article submissions, you’re in for a disappointment…
If you’re using Plurk, StumbleUpon, Pownce or even Facebook to some extent, you’ll see their username or user ID in the referring URL. Problem is, Twitter and FriendFeed don’t work the same way, so all you’re ever going to see is the base URL for their web address.
And the situation is exacerbated further once we take into consideration the various desktop client applications people use these days — which to be fair mostly the same for the other guys.
We all know the score when it comes to friends on the social web; most aren’t actual friends at all. The vast majority of the people whom we’re connected to are at best acquaintances, most of which we’ve never even met, nor are we ever likely to meet.
Only a few social websites try to address the relative weighting of our associations, MyBlogLog being one of them:
“… when I’m on StumbleUpon or Digg, there’s no way for me to add or remove weight from these people. All I get to do is call them a friend.
Having some way of choosing how to classify a friend, or indeed an acquaintance is something I think we’re going to see more of, as we edge toward the Semantic Web, a topic I’ve covered in three parts recently.”
In spite of this almost complete lack of friend valuation, we’re left to keep mental notes of those who we converse with most often. That said, it’s hardly an onerous task! After all, it’s how we do things out there in the really real world.
But when it comes to SMM (Social Media Marketing), it’s at these moments that all those fastidious efforts to make the very most of our respective Social Networks that the wheels come off in a rather lamentable fashion.
Because neither Twitter or FriendFeed let you see the usernames of those visiting your articles, which is (certainly in my estimation) the better part of the friend feedback function, there’s a conspicuous void in the results to our Social Media Marketing efforts.
This friend feedback function is a two-part process that starts out something like this:
- You write the articles.
- You promote them through various channels.
- Determine who in your Social Network views your content most often.
The friend feedback function kicks in when it comes to reciprocating promotional efforts:
- Friend writes an article.
- Friend promote them through various channels.
- If they’re actively viewing or promoting your articles, reciprocate.
These are vital aspects of what I call the Social Loop:
“Getting the most out of the time you spend writing great articles, optimizing them and then being active on your favourite Social Network is an on-going challenge for just about all of us. Understanding the strengths and the order in which we use our social tools helps clarify how our articles fit into the Social Loop…”
Of course, I still see the visits from Twitter and FriendFeed, the same way I do with any of the other Social Media websites and Social Networks. But the lack of friend data deals something of a body blow to how I assess the value of my network of friends.
Mitigating the short-comings of both Twitter and FriendFeed slightly is my Plugin for WordPress, called Socialize Me! which displays a button to the visitor from any Social Media website or Social Network that I’m also a member of, that they have found one of my articles on. That way, I can at least connect with those visitors, should they choose to befriend or contact with me.
It’s not like it’s the end of the world as we know it, but it’s certainly a hinderance when Twitter and FriendFeed, two of the most popular social web applications, don’t deliver the value they offer to the very fullest…