Author Archives: bhgibb

Viralheat trial leaves users out in the cold

Fortunately, in the social media frenzied world that we currently live in, options for analytical tools are abound. However, like every other type of product in the market, you’re destined to find a few lemons. In my personal opinion, Virlaheat is one. Viralheat was created help companies and individuals identify key trends, understand community engagement and perform competitive analysis for their social media campaigns but that’s not the feeling I got from the software. Before I get into the details, I would like to preface my statements with the fact that I only used the demo version and not the “upgraded” site but let’s be honest; do you buy a whole block of cheese at the grocery store when the sample tasted bad? For those who want to judge for themselves, one can find the product at http://www.viralheat.com. After you sign up through an email, twitter or facebook account for the software, a two second tutorial shows you how to add in your social media accounts.  Once this is complete, a user is able to pick from a group of options on the dashboard.

The main functions of the tool include:

Publishing- Viralheat allows a user to post directly on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, pintrest, Youtube, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles from the dashboard, however, the interface is a bit poor and the demo version will only allow a user to add one account per source. But in case you forget, the website is happy to supply you with an annoying pop-up asking if you would like to upgrade. It also appears that the software has a hard time distinguishing between personal accounts and pages on face book. While this function does saving people the hassle have having to repost similar message on multiple social media platforms, there are much more user friendly products out on the market.

Analytics – The analytics dashboard is extremely weak within the demo version. While the company claims that there are multiple tools to determine traffic, top mentions, top positive mentions, top negative mentions and top influencers, the trial version only allows an individual to track follower, likes, tweets and PTAT. The company’s website claims that the software utilized over 600 data points to give “the most detailed analytics ” but if that’s the case, they must be saving it all for the premium version.

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The Explore Function- Is the only saving grace of the trial version. This tool allows a user to search social media sites for mentions using key words. It is a great way for viewing how others are reacting to your social media campaign or similar topics and it allows a user to see how a competitor is performing in their campaign.

Overall, I think the structure of the trial version is poor even though it is nice to be able to view all of your accounts on one tool. The major problems I see with the product is that it doesn’t have a friendly or attractive user interface and potential customers are not able to  dabble with all of the tools and capabilities of the program without shelling out the bucks first. With similar products on the market that allow for 30 day trials of an entire product suit, I found myself disinterested with this product rather quickly.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 3, Uncategorized

So you got hooked on the social media train but do you have time to monitor all of the sites?

As any good marketer can attest, the power of brand equity and customer awareness is critical for the success of a product or service. With the ever increasing amount of social media sites, individual are finding it hard to manage, view and respond to all direct customer feedback  while ensuring the company is delivering a strong return on its social media campaign. One solution to this problem is sprout social, an integrated social media management tool. Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial for those that prefer to dabble with a product before they shell out the cash. The best part about the offer is that it doesn’t require the submittal of a credit card number before you start. You can find the product at sproutsocial.com. After you sign up for the software, the Sprout Social tutorial shows you how to add in your social media accounts. Once that is completed, Sprout Social will take a few minutes to compile your social analytics data for the sites you have incorporated. It then spits the data out in a clean and easy to manage visual Dashboard.

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The main functions of the tool include:

Aggregation of Social media accounts- Sprout Social allows a user to view Facebook newsfeed, Twitter feed, LinkedIn feed and Goggle + accounts in one easy to view screen.  The site allows uses to view all of their social media updated feeds in one location, saving people from the pain of scrolling through multiple sites.

Publishing- Sprout Social allows a user to post directly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles from the Sprout Social dashboard, saving people the hassle have having to re-post similar message on multiple social media platforms.

Analytics – The analytics dashboard is extremely user friendly and allows an individual to simultaneously view impressions and followers.  This tool can be utilized to evaluate posts and determine what activities on your many sites are bringing you the greatest bang for your buck. Users can also print reports off the site that show demographic details for individual who follow your company’s social accounts. Some of the many reports that sprout social produces include group stats, engagement reports, twitter stats (follower and daily tweets) and Facebook stats (fan and page impression data).

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While I think that the overall structure of the product is great, the tool isn’t the “be all end all” to having your accounts on one tool. A major problem I see with the product is that there are very few social media sites that you can link to the tool. The only networks that the product currently supports are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. While I think it’s great that Sprout Social has hit the major social media sites, I’m hoping that the company will diversity its linking capabilities soon. The only other issue I have with the tool is that it will only allow you to add up to 9 different networks to the tool. I’m unsure if this is due to the tools capabilities or if the company thinks that 9 is all a company might need.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Did Microsoft Scroogle itself?

Now that over a month has passed since Microsoft’s infamous scroogled TV advertising campaign stopped airing, I was curious to find out if it had any effect on Google. For those who have been living under a rock or have better things to do than watch TV, Microsoft has been engaging over the last few months in what it was calling “phase two” of its “Scroogled” campaign. This campaign consisted of a series of ads “informing” the public on how their Gmail accounts were not safe and how Google is monitoring even the most personal of emails. The ads then directed individuals to go online and sign the scroogled petition to stop the peeping (www.scroogled.com). The tone of the ads suggest that Google does this for evil purposes and while Google admits to the practice, it contends that its sole purpose is to collect information so it can target ads based on keywords in emails.

Microsoft’s purpose for the campaign however was to get individuals to trash their Gmail accounts and replace them with Microsoft’s  “more secure” outlook.com services. As far as I can tell, the results seem to have mixed reviews. Microsoft has said that over 3.5 million people visited the scroogle.com website and over 115,000 people signed the petition “asking” Google to no longer look through their emails. This far surpassed the company’s goal of 25,000 signatures. However, from a Gmail user base standpoint, this is roughly the equivalent to 0.038% of the people who use its Gmail service.

Scroogle

If you were hoping that Google would throw down a little verbal fisticuffs with Microsoft, you were sorely mistaken. Google said:

“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase. With 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices.”

And its reaction to the attacks on Gmail ads:

“Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm — similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering — determines which ads are shown.”

The plus side is that for those who want to see a Tyson vs. Holyfield style slugfest between these two giants (ear biting included) there is still the possibility. A spokesperson for Microsoft said:

“Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people. We know Google doesn’t like it when the facts come out. Chapter two of the consumer education campaign has shown people care about their privacy.”

I guess we will all need to stay tuned………..

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Filed under 2013 - Post 1, Uncategorized