Monday, July 8, 2013

Check out my website:

My Mom said I didn't seem like an actual professional if I didn't have my own website (something my friends at VeriSign would be glad to hear...) So I created: And then I pretty much lamed out and stopped blogging. So, not sure how much it actually helps.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Do Social Media" = "Collect Underpants"

The hype around social media just seems to be growing. But as the initial glow of this new medium wears off, it's going to be up to us to prove the ROI of social media. (Thanks to Steve Mann for showing me some great case studies about smart companies who are doing it right). But the trick is finding the formula that clicks for each individual company. There is no "one size fits all**" when it comes to social media - you need to tailor the solution to your particular needs. This is not an easy task and it's not easy to demonstrate ROI while you are formulating and executing your strategy.

Have fortitude, my social media kindred. Refuse to let your stakeholders consider number of HITS a metric (they are "How Idiots Track Success," according to K.D. Paine). Help them understand the real social media metrics like buzz volume, buzz sentiment and engagement (Mike Manuel, social media genius, can teach you more about metrics). But at the same time, realize that as cool as it is to show how many followers you have on Twitter, how many fans you have on Facebook, and how much buzz you're generating, at the end of the day, the people who write your paycheck will want to see the impact to the bottom line.

**Speaking of one size fits all...

The daily influx of invites to Webinars and conferences promising to show me the Holy Grail of Social Media Success remind me of the South Park episode about the "Underpants Gnomes" that are stealing Tweek's underwear. One of my favorite South Park moments is the Gnomes' business plan:

We all get the endless invitations to paid Webinars claiming to teach us how Social Media will make us successful. The truth they don't want you to know is that nobody can give you the magic formula to "do social media." STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY. You just need to figure out how to listen to what people are saying about you, and then how to join the conversation. Yes, there are lots of ways to do this, and it's not always easy to figure out which way is the right way. It takes some time and effort. There is no quick fix or easy salvation -- if anyone suggests you do a "viral video" run the other way - FAST! With all the tools and technologies out there, the task is daunting. But if you go for the quick fix, you may as well use this as your business plan:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Capturing Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter

Here at VeriSign, we've proven that Twitter can be used to capture sales leads and make sales. But we are also seeing all kinds of other interactions that happen on Twitter. These include:

  • Requests for information / help with products

  • Suggestions for product features (e.g., “VIP iPhone app should work on iPod Touch!”)

  • General industry questions

  • Media inquiries and commentary

  • Customers needing some TLC

  • Interesting news articles or Tweets to share

Getting Started

Before you start, you’ll need to do a search on your brand to see what kind of mentions it is getting. will find all mentions, which you may want to catalog in your own spreadsheet because it only seems to archive about a month’s worth of data. But you can still find a Tweet using more specific keywords on Google to find tweets, because, much like a diamond, a Tweet is forever! (even if you delete a Tweet from your Twitter stream, it’s going to show up on Google!)

Tools for Tracking Conversations

1. can be used for shortening any URLs. You can even create custom Urls, but keep track of what you create because won’t track those for you. And beware the inflated stats which do not filter out hits from bots / spiders, etc. More on that here from Hutch Carpenter. And Tac Anderson is a great blogger to follow if you want to keep up on the latest cool tools - he is great filter for the (too much) information that's out there.
2. Tracking Codes: We use Visual Sciences on our so if we append an “SL code” to a URL that we send out, and someone visits the site, we know where they came from. So, the URL we send looks like this: Using these helps us keep track of traffic that we send over from Twitter.

Capturing Sales Leads

Our leads from Twitter were getting lost in the Siebel Sales database becuase we had no way of tracking. The “traditional” way of capturing leads is that a prospective customer fills ut a landing page. We persuaded the Direct Marketing team that people engaging with us on Twitter are in no mind set to fill out a form if they wanted more info, and they are allowing us to fill in the form ourselves, as long as the potential customer approves it. Now that's progress! Now all we need is our own cool little "Twitter Leads" form. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

Keeping track of Resources

Many of the interactions I mentioned above need to be shared internally with the right people, and then communicated back out. We're talking a serious time commitment here. But how to show the "higher ups" what resources are necessary? I've worked with my colleague (@AllenKelly) to come up with a system that should help us with this. More on this after we try it out for a bit.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reaping the Rewards of your Blogging Efforts

You’ve been valiantly foraging through the social media wilderness, publishing blog posts and Tweeting your heart out. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the fruits of your labor? Here are a few tools I use to track blog success. I started using these methods for our Corporate Social Media efforts but they work for personal blogs and Tweets, as well. Don’t forget: the key social media metrics are sentiment and level of engagement (e.g., number of blog post comments, trackbacks.) Or are you simply wondering “why do I need a Web site, a blog, and a Twitter account?

Tracking "Micro-Metrics" for Blogs

1. Feedburner allows me to see how many subscribers I have, enable blog subscription via email, and add the “share this” feature for each post. They provide a snippet of code for me to insert into the blog template, and instructions for Moveable Type and Wordpress.

2. Google Analytics offers a myriad of data, but I usually focus on the following data points:

  • Percentage of readers arriving through search. If it’s below 30% we need to better optimize the blogs for search: I remind bloggers to focus on the keywords in the post title and body, leverage the “categories.”
  • Keywords bringing people to the blogs. This data usually provides a nice ego boost for our bloggers, since the primary keywords bringing traffic to each blog are usually the bloggers’ names. Ideally the top keywords would be industry / product terms. Or simply “VeriSign.”
  • Time spent reading posts. Less than a minute means the user found little value in the content. I like to see readers spending at least 2 minutes on each post. One blogger had readers spending about 6 minutes on each post, which I shared with all of our bloggers. Another blogger (jealously?) pointed out “his posts are really long.”
  • Referring sites. Is there some site helping you out that you did not know about? Where are users coming from? This will help you tailor your content to appeal to those folks.
  • Bounce Rate and Exit rate. A high bounce rate means the content on the page the user landed on was not interesting to them. They came, they saw, they left your domain. Conversely, the exit rate is the measure of how many people left a page, and then went elsewhere on your site - that particular page was not too exciting, but they were interested enough to look further. You should worry about a consistently high bounce rate and consider how to make that landing page a little juicer. This is why it helps to know what keywords people are searching on, and what the referring sites are. There is a nice explanation of these terms on

Coming soon... "Capturing Sales Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Making sense of the social media landscape...

In February, a friend who is an excellent personal trainer asked me how she could use social media to improve her business and attract clients. "What's the difference between a Web site, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter?" she asked me. She already had a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. I remembered an anecdote I heard at a conference, a clothing analogy for some of the social networking tools:
LinkedIn is like your "business attire" for your professional contacts. Twitter is your "business casual" wear. For example, you can use it to make informal connections with colleagues you meet at conferences to get to know them better. And Facebook is "weekend wear" -- flip flops and shorts, meant for your friends and family.

"Well why do I need a Web page?" She asked. I had to think about this one. Did she really need to register a domain name and set up a site, with all these tools at her disposal? The answer is a definite "yes." I judge a business by the quality of their Web site. Maybe I'm a bit of a snob, with my roots in Web content development, but I usually choose the restaurant or a hotel with a higher quality Web site unless I have a strong reason to do otherwise. I don't think I'm alone in this. So I explained to her that as a solo practitioner, she needed to establish her professional presence with a Web site. I even suggested "" which she loved.

Then she asked, "why do I need a blog?" So I gave her another analogy. "Your Web site is like your office building, it's your home base. Your blog is like the landscaping / garden out front that shows that this building is occupied and cared for." And then, the final question:

"Why do I need Twitter?"
"Twitter serves as a way to meet new prospects and attract them to your manicured blog and professional Web site."
"Got it."

That was two months ago, and since then Jessica has created her own Web site, complete with a blog and Twitter feed. She even found some new communities to join, hosted on Ning. I am amazed at how much she learned on her own, and she is already attracting new clients who are finding her Web site via Twitter and Google, and complimenting her on "how professional it looks."

Jessica is obviously a very smart, ambitious lady, but the fact of the matter is that in a Web 2.0 world, ANYONE can self publish and have a voice on the Web. All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to spend some time doing it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Help Cookie and Coco stay Together!

UPDATE! It appears that Cookie and Coco are actually in CA, not in VA as I had originally thought. They have found a home TOGETHER through lab rescue. My college roommate saw my post on Facebook and gave me this info. I see on my comments from Liz that she saw the same email, but thought these dogs were in Vermont. I think we have a bit of a viral urban legend going on here -- not surprising since this story touches all of us who worry about those who are suffering from the bad economy. But these dogs are for real and they have found a real home, so all doggie lovers, rejoice!

And for you Lab lovers who are looking for a furry friend, why not check your local Lab Rescue?


Two young adorable female labs - age 3. Well cared for. Family losing home.
It's a sad story that's probably all too common these days. A Northern Virginia family is losing their home and the family dogs aren't welcome at the new apartment.

Already housebroken, trained, love kids, neutered, up to date on shots. Must stay together!
Contact: Katherine at: kjmorris74[at]yahoo[dot]com

Here is a letter from the owner:
"As many of you know, we are moving in just 2 weeks Unfortunately, I have still not been able to find a good home for Cookie and Coco. We're not able to take our beloved doggies with us and I've been desperately trying to find a home for both of them 'together'. They were raised together and pine without each other. The Lab rescue have already said that they would probably separate them, so this is my last resort.

Recently I tried to take Coco out in my car alone and she TOTALLY refused to even get into the car without Cookie.....!!!! She absolutely pulled back on her haunches until Cookie was by her side. Both doggies are in great health, have been spayed and have ID chips implanted under the skin.

Cookie turned 3 December 10th and Cookie is my mellow-yellow, and just loves her tummy rubbed. Coco is adorably funny and lives for her "ball". She also loves the water..... Cookie loves lots of attention.
Both doggies are loyal and love to walk. They have been raised with my 3 kids running around all over the place, and have survived Sammy's constant hugging and love of 'dress-up', so they are fantastic family dogs. This is by far one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but under the circumstances I have no choice.

Please, Please forward these pics to all you know and help me find a great home for these fabulous doggies. They are just adorable and it's heartbreaking to let them go. In a perfect world, I hope that we could find someone local so that we can still keep in touch and visit them.

I pray that someone somewhere can help us keep Cookie and Coco together, and love them just as much as we do. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

It took something exceptional to snap me out of my several-month blogging slump. I found this on twitter from @marshallk Iran: A Nation of Bloggers a powerful 2 minute video.

Half of Iran's population is under 25 and they are not happy with the oppressive regime. They blog about it, most anonymously for fear of imprisonment, but some are bold enough to speak out. I did not realize that Iran is the third largest blogger nation.

Check out this video.

Good stuff! Let Social media bring democracy to the masses, Obama style!