Content Intelligence

Welcome to my blog on Content Intelligence and Engagement Performance; I have spent years in collaboration, messaging and social space developing advanced technologies to improve the consumer experience and lead generation. Was inducted into the Viral Hall of Fame by Marketing Sherpa as well as other industry awards. Join me in the conversation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

4 Ways To Ignite Viral Content on Facebook and Twitter

Right now, on Facebook, personalities and companies have an opportunity to outperform even the biggest companies in social media. In this article, I’m going to tell you why that’s so, and give you a step-by-step plan for becoming a loud and persuasive voice in your business niche.


Before you finish this article, be sure to sign up for our November 7th webinar to learn more about this topic and how to get better Facebook results!


Stop Being A Fan Counter And Become A Thought Leader

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have if they aren’t seeing your posts. And you want more than visibility- you want influence. You want to be able to lead your fans to fulfill their needs and dreams by taking advantage of your products and services.

Here’s a summary of the step-by-step process for becoming the strongest voice in your niche on Facebook, even if you aren't a big name brand.

  1. First, get fans who are actually customers and prospects.

  2. Find and share content that’s proven to get responses from people like your fans.

  3. Learn from your audience's responses (or lack thereof)- what do they like and share most?

  4. Create content that's more likeable and shareable, making sure it also contains messages that persuade people to buy from you.

  5. Use sponsored story ads to make sure your content reaches as many fans and other potential prospects as possible. Then repeat.

#1: How David Beats Goliath On Facebook George Takei reaches way more people on a daily basis than Comedy Central. Remember him? Sulu from Star Trek? Well he’s experienced a resurgence of fame in the last decade, and is one of the funniest people on Facebook. He reaches about 100x as many people as Comedy Central (we can only guess at reach, but we know he gets 100 times as many likes and comments and 60 times as many shares as Comedy Central).

George Takei gets about 160 times as much interaction per post as Comedy Central And with less than 3 million fans, Takei also beats Coca Cola and its 58 million fans: he gets about 55,000 likes per post, while Coca Cola gets 19,000.

Coca-Cola has 18 times as many fans but George Takei gets almost triple the number of interactions. 

No, they're not in the same niche, but they are fighting for placement in people's newsfeeds, so they're competitors from an attention standpoint. And now he's using his powerful platform to promote his new show. That means personalities can powerfully promote their arts, their products, or their services. You don't need to have Coca-Cola's 4 billion dollar marketing budget if your content is compelling.

Take a look at the following chart from InfiniGraph. Are you surprised that some of the biggest brands are losing to some of the smaller ones in engagement? How is Christian Dior so much more effective than Coca-Cola and McDonald's?

Some of the most engaged with social publishers are not the brands with tens of millions of fans. Chances are that your competitors aren't as big as Coca-Cola. You just need fans and hot content. Hot content is the posts that get shared way more than others. Highly shared content grows you even more fans.

An easy way to see what your most viral content is is to just log in to Klout. Klout shows you your most influential moments in the last 90 days. This only works for Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts, not for Facebook pages. As you can see below, my most influential post was a play on words caption I did about a MacBook. Klout shows you some of your most influential recent posts. These are hotter and more shareable posts. You might want to pay to push them further on Facebook.

If you’re a smaller operation like Takei, your advantage is agility- you can switch strategies and become an effective publisher within the next several months, while it may take big brands years to adapt to the new social publishing paradigm. I believe that executive teams at many of these big brands aren’t aware how poorly they’re doing with visibility and engagement- or they would have figured our how to do a better job.

Tips: Find out who your competitors are, and compare how many likes, comments and shares their posts get compared to yours. Note which of their posts are doing the best, and which are the worst. Learn from their successes and mistakes, and let that inspire your future posts. But also, go beyond your competitors to find standout content in all categories. Bring this into your niche, and suddenly you’re an innovator compared to your competitors.

#2: Get Beyond The 2009 Social Media Paradigm Social media content marketing is very new. Most companies are just realizing the opportunity here and seeing the obstacles. Unfortunately many social media experts still view social media through the Twitter lens. Social conversation without content (Twitter tweets and replies) is no longer king, if it ever was.

Content is king, because Facebook is bigger and more active than Twitter, and Facebook is about sharing and discussing content. Content (photos, videos, whitepapers, ebooks, etc.) creates conversations, so you need to start looking at what content works and doesn't.

Three content pieces from B2B companies are creating conversation (comments) on Facebook

If you're in B2C, are you using a lot of images to inspire and entertain your fans? If you're in B2B, are you finding out what kinds of whitepapers and ebooks your fans share?

Tips: Here’s how to think in order to win in the new content marketing paradigm… what content can you post that will stimulate discussions and shares? Are there questions you can ask? Fill-in-the blank posts? Polls? Think like a great speaker whose content creates ripples of conversation rather than a therapy group facilitator who just wants people to talk. People will remember that your brand introduced them to great content, and this will benefit your brand more over time than random conversation. Map out your customers’ problems and the series of revelations or insights or improvements they need to make- what process are you helping them go through? What peak moment does your product or service create? Then create content relevant to each step in that process.

#3: Learn Who Your Real Competitors Are & Beat Them Years ago when I began doing SEO for clients, one of the first things we discovered was that their competitors in Google rankings weren’t who they expected. In fact, often there were several companies beating them who they’d never heard of. They had to revise who they thought was in their competitive set. That’s because so many companies are slow to get the right data for online marketing, and slow to realize how each online marketing channel is different.

One kind of data we can get from InfiniGraph is which other brands your fans interact with in social media. This can surface both competitors and strategic partners. For example, Home Depot's social media fans also interact with Home & Garden TV, Best Buy, and ToysRUs. The upper right of InfiniGraph’s brand dashboard shows other brands shared by The Home Depot.

The Facebook data tells us they have the same customers. Most of these companies aren’t selling the same products as The Home Depot, so they could partner strategically. By offering a Best Buy coupon to incentivize customers to buy more home improvement supplies, Home Depot can expect customers to be interested and to respond better than they would to other copromoters.

Tips: Who are your fans interacting with and how can you partner with those brands? Search for your brand with InfiniGraph, and find out. If your brand hasn’t been mapped, you can request it. Once it has, you’ll see the brands your fans also interact with in the upper right. Now think about whether or not you can create a strategic partnership with that brand. Also, go to each of these brand’s Facebook pages and see what kinds of posts create the most and least interaction. Apply those insights to your own posts.

#4: Solve Funnel Collapse Syndrome With Hot Content

About 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies acquire customers via Facebook (from HubSpot’s free ebook “How To Attract Customers With Facebook”). But one of the biggest problems they have with social media ROI is most of their fans and followers aren’t even seeing their posts.

If you post boring content and hardly anyone interacts, then Facebook stops showing your posts to those fans- that’s EdgeRank. Not being visible to your fans completes a vicious cycle wherein you get less and less interaction. The average page doesn't reach 84% of its fans when it posts, and pages with more than 1 million fans don't reach 97% of their fans. I call this Funnel Collapse Syndrome, and most Facebook Pages have it.

Below is an example (from my Facebook Success Summit 2012 talk) of two very different EdgeRank situations, and their effect on the rest of the sales funnel. See how being less visible to fans dramatically lowers your results and revenues? Pages with equal fan counts but different visibility have dramatically different ROI potential.

The visibility part of the sales funnel is our biggest problem in Facebook Marketing, and the most accessible solution is to create or curate super-shareable content. Even B2B companies, like Marketo, are experimenting with humorous photo-based posts. B2B companies are known for being 5-10 years behind B2C companies in marketing tactics, but in this case, at least one B2B company is ahead of many B2C companies.

Associations can take a lesson from the American Heart Association. B2B folks should follow Marketo’s example. Christian Dior is one of the most interactive B2C brands on Facebook (according to InfiniGraph, it gets 150% more interaction than Coca Cola). Dior showcases the best in fashion and design as well as when celebrities get involved with fashion.

Tips: There are three ways to fix an EdgeRank visibility problem or funnel collapse syndrome.

  • One is to do a better job of posting, so that Facebook shows your posts to more of your fans. Over time you can re-awaken a portion of your fans. But bear in mind that part of EdgeRank is time decay. You may not be able to reach a majority of your fans if they are several years old and haven’t interacted with you in all that time.

  • The second solution is to use sponsored stories ads- you pay to show your posts to your own fans. Humbling.

  • Or third, cut and run. In some cases it’s actually cheaper to start a new page and use ads to get fans for that page than to pay to reanimate your old fans.

Conclusion I’ve seen a number of shifts in online marketing, and each of them has presented an incredible opportunity for the companies that jumped on them early. This is the latest, and if you have the agility and ability to turn the insights in this article into action, you’ll thank yourself for it later. Becoming an excellent, attention grabbing content marketer whose Facebook posts get massively shared is a learning curve, but a doable one. If you’d rather be a leader at this than play catch up later, get started today.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Social Media Week 2011 SF

Come join Social Media Week InfiniGraph will be presenting at
Monetizing Social Media Content
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Speakers from VigLink, Infinigraph, Huddler and isocket will discuss how to monetize social media content, what is possible now and what the future will hold.

VigLink - 420 Bryant (Between 2nd and 3rd), 94107 San Francisco, US
Register here SOLD OUT

Engaging Influencers
RocketSpace 181 Fremont Street (in-between Mission and Howard)
Start: Tuesday, Feb 08 2011 7:00 PM
End: Tuesday, Feb 08 2011 9:00 PM

This panel will discuss how to successfully engage influencers through social media. The session will cover what a successful program looks like, how to plan, the role of authenticity, crowd-sourcing content, and advanced techniques for increasing reach and harnessing the power of influencers. Whether you are a startup starting from scratch, working with an existing company on a launch, or leveraging a social graph to expand a brand's reach, the goal is to walk away with actionable techniques to help you expand your reach using sustainable social growth techniques.


Chase McMichael, CEO - @chasemcmichael

Mark Sackett, Founder and CEO Reflectur - @MarkESackett

Gregorgy Shove, Founder and CEO Halogen - @GregShove

Scott James, Social Media Strategist at Attack! - @scottandjames

Additional speakers TBA

Twitter hashtag: #smwinfluencer


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Influencer, Content Intelligence and Social Engagement

Talking with many brands and agencies the same challenge comes up over and over: “What should we put in our stream to engage our audience and what’s important to them?”

This is a very good question and any serious social site management has a content calendar / blog post schedule to do just that. The bigger question is what do you do on a consistent basis (daily) and is the content you’re putting in your feed getting the attention you think it deserves? “You are what you feed” and in this hyper connected 140 character news bite world we live in, your brand must be on topic and as relevant as possible to as many people in order to obtain any social velocity around your brand’s ultimate call to action.

In this 2nd part of our 3 part series, we will explore direct way to achieve greater relevancy, intelligent content discovery, consistency of engagement and being part of your audience’s conversations. Sharing and re-tweeting is a must have in the NOW world. You’re only as good as your last post. So, some may say, “Make it a good one.” The importance in understanding your audience and what drives them can dictate what we put in our feeds that appeals to the greatest number of engaged consumers that are also compelled to share with others. This is the holy grail in social content marketing today...(Did someone say I want to make this go viral?)
Most have heard about the 1% rule — that just 1% of your brand’s social media followers are responsible for the majority of sharing. They share your social media campaigns with their larger social network, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns. These key Influencers are more than just fans — they’re brand ambassadors and advocates.

With the growth of major brands engaging consumers across social channels, as seen in the graph above, more brands today have a greater need for relevant engagement. How to crowd source knowledge, and leverage what’s trending for your own brand is now at your finger tips. Brands that have fully embraced the social graph’s effectiveness to deliver growth, lead generation, loyalty and direct click throughs, plus the amazing number of Comments, Like and Retweets would make any competitor envious. AXE (Unilever brand) is a great example of content that’s not brand specific, however, engages and produces traction with its followers.

To get consumers to interact more and drive them to a call to action requires engagement beyond just the brand pump or product discount announcements. AXE consistently provides these types of posts to their audience allowing them to be in the conversation. Below is a screen shot of intelligent crowd sourced content trending around pet owners connected to other pet oriented sites (Content Consumption Graph). Thus, providing a direct example of content that’s highly relevant to the audience making this process of sourcing content simpler and more seamless to deliver on a real time basis, or as required.

There has been some argument regarding content vs. conversation. Social media isn’t just conversation, it’s about .......... WHO CARES! Let’s look at facts:

* Conversations are a derivative of social media. Conversations are not social media.
* Does content drive conversation? Yes, compelling content drives engagement.
* Does good content drive good conversation? Yes, the more relevant the better.
* Does engagement for a brand have to revolve around the conversation? Yes and No. It’s about stimulating interaction which may or may not relate.
* Relevant driven Conversations and Brand Interactions are the results

All content sent in the brand’s feeds are tracked individually creates a rank list of the highest performers activity, providing instant feedback to what content is capturing Influencer attention and best social velocity:

A brand has to be more than just a great conversationalist to have long-term success in the social media. Social sites that have harnessed and engaged their audience have compelling content and tap into the passion points of their audience. This creates a huge marketing opportunity, called Content Marketing.

Using crowd sourced Social Intelligence provides a direct path to seeing what content is trending around your community (Content Consumption Graph). Monitoring the social interaction around your feeds provides a direct path by providing the most relevant content to your community and at the same time getting the most out of them.

Life is not about being liked, it's about being effective!

Your turn, how are you determining what content is on topic and are you engaging your audience and Influencers with relevance beyond your brand marketing message?


Our Facebook page welcomes you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Content Curation: Advocates, Influencers and Relevance

The success of Flipboard and can be attributed to topic filtering and using the social graph of friends’ Facebook and Twitter connections to determine what content is trending. The overall success of social news generation depends heavily on this type of content creation.

Tools such as, Tweetmeme, Topsy and, offer amazing features, from tracking number of clicks to who is grouping around a topic. The challenge is applying the right social intelligence to match enterprise-grade requirements and then scaling that technique to allow brands to mine this lucrative consumer data stream.
Tapping content shared among your friends, i.e. content crowd sourcing, is not new but the intelligence to parse what should be curated and how is. Enabling brands to be at the center of vertical content discovery is a valuable way to leverage this almost infinite information stream, while keeping the conversation relevant to your audience.

Current solutions can explore links from your Twitter stream, plus your followers and their followers, ranking them based on how many people link to them. These products are conceptually similar to Tweetmeme but sorted based on contributors. also achieves this type of curation, while exposing influential people on Twitter.

Collaborative filtering has been discussed since 2002, but it was Twitter and Facebook’s sharing of links plus feed amplification through the social graph which was the game changer.
The visual below shows one such re-tweet path and links shared. The red lines show secondary re-tweets for this tweet and illustrates something InfiniGraph dubs the “Content Consumption Graph.”

What’s the big deal? For a brand, knowing your audience and who has the most social resonance with specific content provides a valuable engagement conduit to similar communities. Finding your advocates by how much relevant action they’re engaged with in a content vertical is the best way of identifying authentic social interaction.
Below is a visual breakdown of a Twitter population based on who you follow, using segmentation categories created by Klout. Your content interests result in key social indicators that determine what content best matches a brand audience.

Tools that measure your reach and determine the best content approach are still primitive. and similar tools work most of the time, except when links are altered by other social services. Sharethis is trying to address this issue but requires the installation of the Sharethis widget.

Tools like SocialTALK, Zuberance also enable tracking shared reviews. Rowfeeder pulls data directly from Twitter and Facebook and counts brand mentions to help find possible advocates. While the combining social monitoring and analytics with various sharing tools is possible, challenges still remain.

Social media now offer marketers a way to map relevant conversations ranked by influence, something that was previously impossible. But identifying brand advocates based on true social interaction and authenticity is still not possible.

Yet it’s becoming critical for brands to better understand how their content is being shared, how similar content is being consumed and where the content of competitors is being shared online. Using large-scale social intelligence techniques lets marketers and community mangers find the most relevant content to supply their news feeds, while engaging their audiences with far greater relevance.

Going beyond keyword monitoring and looking for opportunities to optimize the word-of-mouth effect of your social network content will greatly increase your reach. So key questions to ask your team are: How do you track your content today? What content are you curating through your feeds and what is getting the most traction?


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Monday, August 23, 2010

The “Now What” Syndrom: Retaining and Engaging Fans/Followers

In Chase McMichael’s upcoming talk at INTEGRATING EMAIL MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA, we're addressing the challenges brands are having with their social sites once they get one rolling. The question is “NOW WHAT” with regards to retaining and engaging their fans/followers.

Brand managers are challenged with managing and making their social presences engaging; what should I post to my audience over just product update after product update, or special discounts, over and over again. Social is not about force feeding a one way message to your audience but more about starting conversations, becoming a leader in information discovery and content creator. Even the company blog needs content that’s highly relevant and meaning full, overall providing value to your consumers.

How brands obtains a greater following which produces high social density (people with same or similar in common connections to the same brand) is based directly on connected consumers with similar interests. The higher the social density is around a brand the higher the social resonance a brand has among a community; therefore creating greater conversation and sharing.

Fig 1 and 2 illustrate high and low social density around one topic.

Low social density results in low social resonance. The top image has zero in common connections therefore the probability to cause social resonance is approaching zero where as the lower image has high social density around a specific vertical topic causing retweets, sharing and people commenting.

When consumers share, go to and make comments on content; these actions create the Content Consumption Graph (CCG). Billions of views on content are happening right now and a fraction is being shared or interactive with to expand that content reach. The word “Viral” is a word used to describe a small set of consumers who send out content to enough people in turn sending to others and so on, hence, Viral spreading. What’s great about all this behavior is Brands can leverage this with desire to share and create content discovery with content that’s highly relevant to their brand and resonates with their target audience.

The ability to do continuous social insight management of my many social points is vital to leverage the CCG. With recent advancements in social technologies brands have access to real time recommendations of content that’s important to their audience. Being in the stream and being relevant is a big deal. There are 100,000’s of social sites that are dead because no one is fuelling the jet and providing ongoing lead nurturing and content discovery around their social presence.

Do you know what your brands social density is and who is engaging your posts? How are you sourcing content that’s relevant to your customers? Tell us what steps you’re taking to engage with content.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pursuing the Content Sharers

My first ADOTAS – Every day consumers are interacting with content — from location-based services to content creators to digital content sharing. Currently there are millions of highly motivated consumers sharing content daily.

The Content Consumption Graph (CCG) forms a social currency ecosystem based on how often and who shares content. This drive and desire to obtain a nugget of information and be the first to seed such an information discovery among ones followers/friends (give them something to talk about) is a major opportunity for brands to intelligently source and feed their feeds.

Content worthy of being shared is passed, retweeted (RT) or pushed in a Facebook stream as status updates or posts starting the conversation tsunami; however, brands are not taking advantage of this viral conversation. This highly desired sharing behavior is prompted by consumers using shared information to drive discovery within specific networks which is an amazing conduit for

Every brand has a set of prolific content sharers who are directly connected to the brand on many levels. These hyper-sharers may never mention or post directly on your brand, exposing a major flaw in keyword-based social monitoring platforms.

Mashups and infographs such as recently launched Facebook Stories are hot because they drive more sharing and conversation around the same set of topics. A great example of this CCG interaction was spawned from the Fast Company Influencer Project.

Here we show the interaction breakdown putting Amber Naslund at the very top of the CCG and other sites gaining less share reach.

Today’s brand managers face the challenge of what they should post to their audience versus just product update or special discount offers over and over. Social is not about force-feeding a one-way message, rather more about leading in information discovery.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Information about information - Seth Godin

I had to put this up and full cred to Seth Godin

Information about information

The first revolution hit when people who made stuff started to discover that information was often as valuable as the stuff itself. Knowing where something was or how it performed or how it interacted with you can be worth more than the item itself.

Frito Lay dominates the snack business because of the information infrastructure they built on top of their delivery model. 7 Eleven in Japan dominated for a decade or more because they used information to change their inventory. Zara in Europe is an information business that happens to sell clothes.

You've probably already guessed what's now: information about information. That's what Facebook and Google and Bloomberg do for a living. They create a meta-layer, a world of information about the information itself.

And why is this so valuable? Because it compounds. A tiny head start in access to this information gives you a huge advantage in the stock market. Or in marketing. Or in fundraising.

Many people and organizations are contributing to this mass of data, but few are taking advantage of the opportunity to collate it and present it to people who desperately need it. Think about how much needs to be sorted, compared, updated and presented to people who want to choose or learn or trade on it.

The race to deliver this essential scalable asset isn't over, it's just beginning.