Monthly Archives: August 2013

Golden State Warriors arena

Golden State Warriors Arena does battle with Art Agnos

San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos
San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos argues against the proposed new Golden State Warriors arena

To be on the right side of history

Former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos is on a mission to stop the Golden State Warriors from despoiling San Francisco’s exquisite public property known as the Embarcadero. Agnos served as Mayor of San Francisco from 1988 to 1992. One of Agnos’s signature achievements was his leadership to demolish the double-decker freeway that ran across this stretch of property. It was an ugly eyesore that once removed, opened up today’s glorious waterfront, worth millions, and dotted with tourist and local attractions, such as the Farmer’s Market, Exploratorium, and numerous fine eating establishments. Now, it’s all under threat of being overshadowed by one of the largest boondoggles in the city’s history. Thankfully, Mayor Agnos is on the right side of history. Back in May of 2012, with current Mayor Ed Lee leading the charge, all City supervisors, including my own, Malia Cohen of District 10, signed a letter sent to the Golden State Warriors organization asking them to return to San Francisco “in time for the 2017 NBA season.” Flash forward to today where backdoor negotiations continue to proliferate between the Warriors, Ed Lee and his planning commissioners. An EIR is in the works to be released in the months ahead. The Golden State Warriors unveiled their updated design of the arena it seeks to build on Piers 30-32 back in May. While it has been scaled back, make no mistake. A new stadium would not only add to the city’s horrendous traffic congestion but also restrict public access to the waterfront, which we all enjoy now for free.

Golden State Warriors arena
Golden State Warriors proposed arena

Let’s pour tons of concrete into San Francisco Bay

Mayor Agnos recently spoke at San Francisco’s Latino Democratic Club as part of his ongoing tour of the City’s various associations to share his urgent message. Let’s begin with a recap. To build this monstrosity, tons of concrete would be poured 50 feet into the Bay. Yes, the piers 30-32 are in sad shape and the costs of ultimately building a new arena could now top one billion dollars. Not just the stadium but also a retail area is planned that would take up 90,000 square feet. AT&T ballpark now attracts more than three million people a year. The Warriors real estate deal would bring in an added 2 + million visitors. And how does San Francisco’s public transportation system stack up against this onslaught of humanity? Warriors President and COO Rick Welts admitted in a recent debate on KQED radio that the city’s current transportation system won’t work for the arena. The current Warriors proposal offers the city a mere $14 million for a ‘transit impact fee.’ It is not clear how much of this fee would be spent directly on transit and /or dedicated to other priorities such as affordable housing. The fact is, Muni, as it currently stands, could NEVER support the impact of an additional 2 million people cramming the Embarcadero to watch a basketball game. It will cost the city $120 million to build the stadium foundation and the city would borrow that amount from the Warriors organization itself at an interest rate of 13% annually.

Mayor Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee

Mayor Ed Lee’s crowning legacy

Remember the hoopla and excitement over San Francisco’s hosting of the America’s Cup? It was supposedly going to net the City a treasure trove of new revenue. What happened? The America’s Cup Organizing committee fell short by the millions and still the City has not raised enough money to cover the costs of hosting this fiasco. The latest update from Jane Sullivan, spokeswoman for San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is that the city is still stuck at just over the 16 million mark in terms of collections (22 million was approved by the Board of Supervisors for spending on the event). As a native and long-time resident of San Francisco, it’s galling to witness the ongoing manhattanization of my beloved city. Whatever bohemians existed back in the ‘60s and 70’s have surely gone the way of the Dodo and been replaced by a city that caters predominantly to the 1%. Probably because Mayor Ed Lee wants the Warriors stadium to be his crowning parting legacy to the city of San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors scratched Lee’s back and provided him with a $25,000 contribution. The money came as a “behested payment” for the mayor’s cup golf tournament. Lee hid the contribution for eight months during the lead-up to the time he announced the Warrior’s waterfront proposal.

Just who owns the Golden State Warriors?

It’s not Mother Teresa. It’s not Mahatma Gandhi. It’s not Nelson Mandela. Peter Guber of Mandalay Entertainment and his partner Joe Lacob own the organization. Mandalay Entertainment Group is a film and TV production group based out of Los Angeles. Peter also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. To think that Guber’s top of mind is the welfare of San Francisco residents and those who are still clinging to live in a city that is now ranked as the 4th most expensive place to live in the United States is to live in fantasyland. Make no mistake about it. The Golden State Warriors proposal to build a new 12-story arena, plus the building of a 17-story condo tower and luxury hotel complex is one of the biggest commercial real estate development deals ever and those who support it do not have San Francisco’s best interest at heart. Piers 30-32 may be dilapidated for the time being but I’d rather be able to walk down the waterfront with unobstructed  Bay views than be forced to look at a stadium. Don’t forget. AT&T park was approved by San Francisco voters back in 1996 by a razor thin margin. The realities of horrendous traffic and an inadequate public transportation infrastructure all came true when the ballpark finally opened for business.

Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park

Why not build a new arena at Candlestick Park?

So here’s a daring idea. Why not build a new basketball arena at Candlestick Park?  It’s set to be blown up at the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season. 49er fans had no problem driving out to Candlestick. Why would they complain about doing so for the Warriors? We’ve got the 29-Sunset Muni line, which takes you directly to Candlestick. Yes, it won’t fully meet the needs of thousands of more sports fans trying to get to Candlestick but it is a vast improvement over desecrating the beauty that is our waterfront.

Oh, and about those jobs to be created by the Warriors?  Let’s remind ourselves of the wonderful employment provided by our beloved San Francisco Giants. Hundreds of concession workers went on strike back in May in front of AT&T park because they make such a paltry amount of money for the work they do. Concession workers make on average $11,000 a year. Eager to go to work for the Warriors? Stop the Golden State Warriors proposed arena in San Francisco. This is not a NIMBY issue. It’s a land grab of epic proportions and NOT in the public interest of San Franciscans.

Rallyverse robot

Scaling social media: Rallyverse is boosting reach for B2B & B2C

Rallyverse deck
Rallyverse

 

Helping community managers and social media marketers curate, share and create content

Let’s face it. Scaling social media is hard for both B2B and B2C players. Driving greater levels of engagement (and ultimately sales) remains an uphill battle for many, in particular, those in eCommerce.  A number of major brands over the past two years have opened and then shuddered their Facebook shops, including J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Gap, and GameStop. For marketers trying to gauge what a like, a share, or a comment ultimately signifies, the first stop is collecting this data.  The next stop is generating the content that will speak to their audience. A few enterprise SaaS players want to help brands better leverage their social media muscle and one of them is Rallyverse.

Rallyverse is the brainchild of a few ex-Microsoft employees, all of whom worked in the ad/tech industry but shared an itch to make improvements in the way social media can influence advertising. I got the opportunity to try out Rallyverse and according to Gabe Bevilacqua, co-founder and VP, Biz Dev, “we let the brand define where they want to play and expand the reach of what they are doing with just a few clicks.” For community managers and social media marketers, Rallyverse (a Twitter-certified partner) aims to keep track of all of your owned and paid social media by helping you curate, respond, and post more relevant, engaging content to your target audience. It seeks to provide users with a dashboard of real-time recommendations so you’re never again stuck with the question,  “What do I say today?”

Rallyverse takes a page from Pinterest’s groundbreaking tile platform

When you first login to your account, you’re immediately struck by the platform’s similarity to Pinterest, with tiles stacking up on top of each other. Images are vital components for triggering your levels of engagement and Gabe acknowledges Pinterest’s lead in promoting the tile format. Rallyverse examines your sources of content (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter) in order to assign it a certain score. Using its own proprietary algorithm, it will serve up a baseline of recommended content based on your criteria. Under SETTINGS, in the left-hand column, you provide select keywords, categories, influencers, including those topics you don’t want Rallyverse to search for.

In my case, I focused on keywords such as content marketing, social media marketing, and social media technology. Rallyverse will curate content from any of the sites and services where you post content. In this case, that would include YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and your own personal feed from your blog. You can also enter the RSS, Atom, or XML feeds for any site and Rallyverse will add relevant content from those sites to your profile.

Users can set publishing frequencies (for example, one post every 60 minutes), and then can schedule individual messages for what Rallyverse calls “Optimized Publishing.” Within each time window, the platform will evaluate each eligible message and publish the one that is most relevant at that time.

Once you’ve entered all of your essential criteria for the content you want tracked, you click on the Rallyverse blue button and let the fun begin.

Rallyverse trending content
Rallyverse trending content

Capturing trending content

Rallyverse will populate your content within seconds. In reviewing each tile, you have an opportunity to thumb it up or down (thumbing it down will cause the tile to disappear from view), and Rallyverse provides its own “star-rating” for each tile of content. According to Gabe, its unique algorithm interprets each piece of content for you, the user, creating the star rating. The more stars highlighted, the more relevant the content is for you.

Inside a tile is a camera icon, which when you click on it, opens up, allowing you to repost it, make revisions to the content itself (including image), schedule a new delivery time for the content, or even turn it into a paid ad. You can also save it as a draft and revisit it at a later date. Rallyverse will also automatically shorten URLs for you (when tweeting, for example). It will also add hashtags automatically for you.

Rallyverse features a separate Conversations topic, which when you click on it will show you what social media you’ve posted has been retweeted or shared by one of your Twitter followers, including responses to your Tweets. It will document any Facebook interactions you’re having, including likes, comments, and shares.

Rallyverse content editing
Rallyverse content editing

One feature that I particularly liked was the ICYMI topic. ICYMI stands for “in case you missed it.” When a tile is tagged ICYMI, it means Rallyverse has determined it met a minimum click threshold (again, based on its own proprietary algorithm), and will bring it back to your attention. This certainly can help community managers and marketers understand what forms of content are more effective than others in generating engagement. Gabe told me that his company’s clients very much appreciate ICYMI as it constantly acts as reminder of just how much you need to nurture your social media content in order to help it grow and spread.

A feature I couldn’t take full advantage (being only a single user) was the parent/child relationships that Ralleyverse created to facilitate better social media scaling. The platform allows organizations to scale their social media efforts by sharing content for publishing between different users and Profiles. Child profiles can publish content that is shared by parent profiles as well as their own recommendations.

Reports – how can you track social media engagement without analytics?

Rallyverse Analytics
Rallyverse analytics

 

What would a social media platform be without any analytics reporting? Once you’ve connected your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, you get the opportunity to review just what types of action were recorded once you’ve begun posting and sharing content.

Rallyverse currently goes back no more than two months when reviewing your owned content. It provides you with a graph, summarizing all of your channel’s engagement. Rallyverse details your click percentage by hour. This means the percentage of total clicks that were recorded for a post that took place in a particular hour. Establishing a percentage based on the volume of clicks seems a bit off to me and Gabe said Rallyverse’s platform is currently displaying clicks an hour early so you’re not getting an up to the minute exact summary of your actual clicks. This is something Rallyverse is looking to fix. However, you easily get to see a good overview of each one of your posts and their levels of engagement. You can select a 30-day report, which easily exports into a CRV file.

Is there room for improvement?

Rallyverse is far from perfect. There were a few minor annoyances for me, including the listing of messages underneath my profile that are published by the platform, which confused me. It continues to finely tune both its algorithm and the way it delivers metrics reporting. It also is currently missing additional social media channels for integration into its platform, like StumbleUpon or Reddit, for example. Gabe told me that there are plans to bring on additional social channels but that decision is heavily influenced by client demand. Its platform will undoubtedly continue to evolve as users require more sophisticated metrics that incorporate a greater degree of sentiment analysis.  Overall, all of the features I could use worked. I truly got a kick out of watching what content got tweeted or shared and for a spell, I completely forgot about Tweetdeck.

As leading Web analytics expert Avinash Kaushik is fond of reminding marketers, it’s not so much about the volume of likes or shares your social media content is getting but whether or not it is supporting the economic value you’re getting from it.

Social media engagement: the never-ending quest for results

Rallyverse is not the only enterprise-level social media engagement platform on the market. Competitors like Percolate and HereSaySocial offer similar features though the technologies may differ. For Gabe, the elusive quest for the ROI of social media marketing makes creating Rallyverse a meaningful step forward. In his words,  “I’m constantly surprised by how much our platform seems to understand the pulse of social conversations as they are happening. We’re making sense of the social media noise and doing it in a way that makes it easier for users to consume it. I get a thrill and surprise by our product each and every day.”

Overall, I very much enjoyed Rallyverse’s ease of use and look forward to keeping track of its development. Pricing begins at $500 a month. Request a demo of Rallyverse and let me know what you think.

 

 

Article first published as Technorati Product Review: Rallyverse Social Media Management System on Technorati.

Orabrush tongue clearner

Orabrush admits: Bad breath Test viral video views are phony

Orabrush tongue clearner
Orabrush tongue cleaner

Orabrush finally comes clean about its YouTube view count

In case some of you missed it, at the recently held ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit, Orabrush dropped a bomb. Orabrush revealed that 11 million out of the 18 million views for its Bad Breath Test video  (considered one of the greatest YouTube viral videos of all time) came from advertising. It busted the myth that Orabrush was one of more brilliant players on YouTube when it came to driving organic views to its videos. It’s probably one of the reasons why Unruly Media no longer features the video, in addition to other Orabrush videos since they have a low sharing rate. On the plus side for Orabrush, it did figure out how much to pay for the ads and how much they’d make from the sale of an Orabrush in order to profit off of their paid advertising. Talk about clever!

Orabrush has long been the darling of video marketing case studies. Orabrush has received oodles of coverage because of their phenomenal success. But the more important factor in all of this is just how discredited YouTube video views have become as a metric.

 

Jim Louderback, Revision3, interviews YouTube experts Paul Colligan and Greg Jarboe
Jim Louderback, CEO, Revision3, interviews YouTube experts, Paul Colligan (on the left) and Greg Jarboe (on the right)

 

Accurate YouTube video views have gone the way of the Dodo

Paul Colligan, YouTube video expert, made it clear during his interview by Jim Louderback, Revision3, at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit that it’s robots watching videos, which skewer view counts and in turn make it impossible to determine what is a real view as opposed to an automated view. Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR, confirmed that the level of fraud in determining YouTube video counts is just too great to be of value to anyone. An excellent YouTube video parodying YouTube video view fraud is the Buyral video produced by John st.

 

Little video clickers
Little video clickers

 

What can replace video views as a more accurate metric?

You can’t count views because views aren’t real. For Greg Jarboe, a slight improvement over views is  YouTube’s newer metric, announced last year, called Watch Time. In the end, the only real way to determine a video’s worth is by reviewing how well it translates into actual conversions or sales of the product being promoted. “Money talks, clicks walk,” is the essential adage to remind yourself of when determining  just how effective your YouTube video marketing campaign is for your brand.

 

Google

Anatomy of local optimized landing page

How to optimize your local landing page: INFOGRAPHIC

Anatomy of local optimized landing page
Anatomy of optimized local landing page by Avalaunch Media

Optimizing your landing page for Local Search

Let’s face it. Optimizing for local search results can be frustrating, especially when you feel you’ve done all of the necessary steps. I’m working with a client right now whose homepage isn’t well optimized and more importantly, has too much going on causing a high bounce rate. When I say too much, I mean it’s featuring Flash, video, tweets, etc…and the call to action is lost.

I’m using this guide to help my client and I know things will improve over  time.  But always keep in mind the following:

  1. Take full advantage of your Google place profile
  2. Make sure you’ve listed in the relevant categories
  3. Optimize content on your website social network links
  4. Never fail to ask your customers to post a review of your product (assuming they had a pleasant experience) on your Google place profile, and other third party sites, like  Yelp.
  5. Optimize and maximize your use of photos and videos for Google Places
  6. Make your site is optimized for mobile (the folks at http://mobilizingusa.com/ offer you a free mobile website)

 

People are too afraid to be weird when it comes to social media

Social media writers & journalists
From L to R (seated): Storify Cofounder, Burt Herman, Techwire columnist, Rachelle Chong, SFGate Social lead, Jeff Elder, SFGate columnist, Beth Spotswood, & Technorati A.E., Andre Bourque

He came, he sawe, he conked her!

Yes, if there was one overriding message from last night’s San Francisco Blog Club Meetup at Fort Mason, it was dare to be snarky, witty, and just plain weird when you’re using social media to promote and share your content. The ubiquitous Murray Newlands, organizer of the Journalists’ Secrets to Sharable Content: CBS, SF Gate, Techwire & Others, put together another stellar line-up, including Techwire Columnist and former FCC and CPUC Commissioner, Rachelle Chong, Storify Cofounder & former journalist, Burt Herman, SFGate Social Lead, Jeff Elder, CBS San Francisco Editor and SF Gate columnist, Beth Spotswood, and Technorati Associate Editor Andre Bourque.

Unique, original content is the currency of social media

Burt Herman made it clear that the easiest way to fail at social media marketing/communications is to be too derivative. It’s the material that has the strongest emotional content that will cause content to go viral. Rachelle chimed in saying how most of the content she writes for her audience is fairly mundane but it’s the “quirky stuff” she posts that causes Web traffic to spike at Techwire. Case in point was a “speed dating” article Rachelle wrote back in May detailing the matchmaking efforts of the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation that organized a get together of fifty small businesses who met up with 50 tech companies based in San Francisco for the sake of helping the small business community thrive as new customers.

Beth Spotswood says she tries to entertain “people who are bored at work.” One of the ways she does it is by taking a more “witty” approach to her blog posts on SFGate.com. She cited her experience posing as a tourist and writing a series of blog posts on the experience of visiting tourist traps in San Francisco. Just how important is a title for your blog post? Beth said she was ready to go with the title: “top 5 leading favorite tourist traps” but on a whim changed it to: “What’s your Least Favorite SF Tourist Experience.” The blog post received more than 150 comments, a sure fire sign of positive social media engagement. Make sure you post compelling photos, added Beth.

What goes viral?

NPR's Scott Simon
NPR’s Scott Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anybody recall NPR’s Scott Simon and his tweeting about his mother’s passing? His 1.2 million Twitter followers went apoplectic with empathy driving his tweets around the twitter universe and helping him and NPR garner more than 40,600,000 page results in Google (try searching using the keywords “Scott Simon mother” for yourself.) Personally, I think it was in poor taste. Nothing appears to be sacred in American culture. And those Americans who complain about a lack of privacy should just shut-up. But I digress. 🙂

Burt Herman mentioned, in a plug for Storify, that a lot of people used his platform to promote Simon’s grieving. In understanding what makes content go viral, Jeff Elder said crafting a Tweet is like writing a headline. And the queen of Twitter headlines? Why none other than Penelopy Trunk, the “Jane Austin of Twitter,” according to Elder. Penelopy can literally spend  hours on crafting the perfect tweet. Personally, Penelopy never much appealed to me as I found her too neurotic a personality to follow. But who cares? She’s got more than 100,000 Twitter followers; she’s an entrepreneur and founded three startups.

It was the single Pinterest pin that launched a company, according to Andre Bourque, and if you haven’t read this story it’s time you do. Rodworks.com saw sales of its frame rods skyrocket when it opened up its online store as a result of one single blog post by Country Girl Home. Blog owner, Lindsay, featured a photo of a sofa table she personally made. It was pinned hundreds of times, not because of the sofa table but because of the frame rod on the back of the wall. Just goes to show you. Virality can never be predicted just A/B tested.

Tightrope walker crossing Han Solo
Tightrope walker crossing the Han river

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing the Han Solo

One more note about the importance of titles when crafting your social media content. Bert Herman reminded listeners of the terrific post back in 2007 by AP writer, BO-MI LIM about the tightrope walkers who came from around the world to walk across South Korea’s Han River to see who could walk across it the fastest. The title of Lim’s post: Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo certainly helped it to go viral and get covered across the Web.

There you have it. Weirdness, creativity, snarky, witty, these are the hallmarks of social media virality. If you want to share with me other examples, please do so in the comments.