Social media has been around for a few years now and just within the last year people and companies have grasped the concept of leveraging social media for their business or interests. There was a lot of speculation that the power of product recommendation by friends and family through social media was the key to a chain reaction that would tip those considering a product over the edge and turn them into buyers. It seems like it would carry more weight than an Amazon-like review scenario. In fact with all the negative information surrounding review tampering and sponsored bloggers, the legitimacy of reviews has taken quite a hit recently. So do product recommendations actually work when sent through social media channels like Twitter and Facebook?
My initial response would be: well it depends! What is your relationship to this person recommending it? Good friend? Family member? Do you trust this person? Just like when you ask for advice you want to ask the person you deem most qualified and a person with whom you have a personal relationship. What about a company that you have “liked” on your Facebook page: When they send you product updates, does that inspire you to purchase the product?
Well, before I delve further into this topic and shove some silly infographic down your throat to make my point, let’s stop and think. I am sure if you are reading this you probably have access to at least one social media channel. Can you honestly tell me that you went out and bought an item based on a friend’s recommendation? Be honest.
However, if Carls Jr. sent you a coupon through their Facebook feed did it not make you want a burger? What about Groupon? They send your deals directly through a social media feed and did you not click on the link to purchase the coupon? I bet you have. So what does this mean?
Here is my point: I am not a believer that recommendations by my “friends” network works. If anything, I don’t want to buy the same thing a friend has bought (unless we are planning to use it together). However, I see the power of social media in relation to product sales in the ability of companies to put their products right in your face with something like a Facebook feed and the ability to sell that product in only a few clicks. Imagine a tray of cupcakes. The goal is to get them right in front of the buyer and make it easy to perform the transaction. Telling someone that the cupcakes are great is just icing on the cake but the key is really making it visible and convenient to purchase. Don’t get me wrong, reviews are important in a lot of situations, but their place is not in social media but rather in community-like features on a product site.
It’s not uncommon to hear someone talking about someone else behind their back. I agree it is bad form, but we all do it. What happens when that person has a megaphone or worse, gets on TV to publicly badmouth you or your brand? Well that seems pretty bad, but it gets worse. What if the person bashing your brand decides to blog, tweet or even comment in your brand-community. That one comment can be like dropping a chicken leg in a pool of piranhas (do fish eat chicken?). If you are unlucky enough to have Google index that comment, then whenever someone goes searching for your brand – guess what? – that negative comment pops up. It can be so devastating and popular enough that the comment itself could rank above your own brand’s website.
So now what? What can I do to protect my brand? It would be naive to think that everyone is going to love your brand. There will always be someone who has a problem with your product, your company or your brand. Believe it or not there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage when someone lashes out and, at the same time, make your brand shine.
- Should you respond? Take a look at the comment and determine whether or not your response to the comment will make things worse. If your brand already lives in a community online, you may want to let your brand advocates (those bloggers and commenters that support your brand) bring the comment to justice. Getting involved and taking a defensive position as the owner or employee may not be what is best for the brand.
- If you do respond what do you say? Some comments just require you respond immediately and there is no right or wrong way of responding. If the comment is about customer service then responding in a public forum shows that you are on top of your brand and you care. Depending on the sensitivity of the issue, perhaps a public comment that says something to the effect of “I would love to resolve your issue, please contact me directly at XXX-XXX-XXXX and ask for Christopher.” Giving the office phone or using the office email is always a great way of verifying your authenticity online to people looking at the community.
- Be authentic, honest and kind. Those three adjectives pretty much sum it up. You need to be authentic when defending or communicating your brands position. Don’t pretend to be someone else and respond to a comment. You should treat people online as you do face to face. You, of course, may need to error on the sweet side since we all know that people read into text written messages.
So now you know how to respond (or not respond) to negative posts, comments or tweets. But how do you even notice these comments being posted. Who tells you? Good question! If you are lucky enough to have a community manager or a PR team monitoring the internet for brand mentions or industry mentions then this would be less difficult but if you don’t then it’s time to get cracking!
In most cases it is better to offer a place for someone to provide community discussion in a space that you control. It makes monitoring much easier and that way the commenter has to play by your website’s code of conduct. You can read more by clicking here. Still you are going to want to monitor the web in general. How the heck to do that? I wrote another article on setting up Google Alerts. What Google Alerts does is it allows you to use Google to monitor when your brand is mentioned. When it shows up in its index list you are emailed with an alert notification and a link to the actual article. It’s not difficult, but it’s not easy. The best part is that it just runs in the background. You never have to touch it again. You may, however, want to tweak it a little from time to time. I almost forgot to mention – it’s free! Twitter has some third party tools that allow you to monitor twitter feeds that accomplish the same thing. These tools work more in real-time then Google Alerts do. That way you can respond in real-time.
In general, the most important point in all of this discussion is first find out what they are saying about you. If you don’t know they are talking about you then you just won’t be able to respond to it. You need to be quick and determine what the correct action is. Remember, sometimes “no action” is the best action.
I get a lot of clients feeling the pressure of incorporating social media or community into their existing business practices. The most basic question is “Do I need it?” Well the answer is “it depends.” It depends on a few factors. Is your business the type of business that involves customers or clients. Do you want to grow your business and become more “valuable” on the web? Can you afford not to participate if your customers are talking about you on the web?
Before making a decision about your business’ role in social media, you need to some sniffing around. This is a great opportunity to find out what people are saying about your or the competitor(‘s) product. I am always surprised when people say they never thought of that. There are a number of obvious reasons why this is a great idea. If customers are complaining about your product/company it will give you an opportunity to publicly address or even proactively correct those issues and show the customer and all those that are listening that you are paying attention. It can even help with some old fashion R&D. If your customers are making recommendations or providing you with product wish lists, this is invaluable market research. So search, Google, Yahoo, look up Facebook pages and search Twitter feeds.
Now, if you are lucky enough to not have anyone making negative remarks about you but they are completely and publicly slaying your competitor(s), you have a choice. You can just wait in the wings, listen and not dip your toe in the pool, or you can take the opportunity to start revving up to enter the social media space. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” So be prepared, because with out a doubt someone will complain or say something mean about you or your product(s). So in my humble opinion, I would get started slowly.
So now you are saying, how do I get started? Well, there are three different scenarios to consider. If you website supports it, you should start by creating an online community on your own site. This gives you an opportunity to write down your own thoughts, respond to your customers directly and enforce your own set of rules when it comes to people posting on your community site. Having the blog/community with in your own company website also adds a bit of authenticity too. Customers have the perception that they are talking directly to you.
Option two is to open social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter and start communicating through those channels. Create your own Facebook page and respond to customers directly through there. Facebook and Twitter both have become direct lines and a way of facilitating mass distribution of media in the most simple way. It will take the same amount of vigilance when it comes to monitoring your customers but it is a simple and quick way of getting your feet wet.
Finally, option three is communicating with customers through a third party website or community. I think sincerity and authenticity are two of the most important values when communicating with your customers. Unfortunately, trying to calm a situation or put out a virtual fire through comments and posts on a site not related to your business can make it difficult to convey these values. This is another great reason to create a play ground for your customers before a situation arises. Remember, on third party sites (even Facebook) you have to play by their rules.
In summary, listen first and then start exploring ways to set up your own customer playground. Being prepared and evaluating your social media choices and community options before a PR nightmare is smart. It is a lot easier than it looks – just look at your competitors.
If you have ever used Facebook, twitter or any other social media tool, you fall into one of two categories: stalker or talker. That sounds a little harsh, I agree, but let me clarify. If you are the type of person that just uses social media to find out what people are doing, you never post, never tweet, and never upload photos, then you are a stalker. I get it. You don’t want people in your business or you are paranoid when it comes to privacy. If you follow the news I can see why and if you don’t have a good understanding of how an application works, it can be scary. I have friends in both of those categories.
So why contribute? Why post your thoughts, upload vacation photos or even create an online blog? What is in it for you? That is a very good question. First of all, the obvious — convenience. The web has made sharing media easy and simple. Gone are the days of having to make sure your friend or mom can open a particular type of video format. With so many people using the same sharing platform (like Facebook) it also gives you an easy way of sharing different types of information to more than one person instantaneously. This can be both convenient and disastrous. There are many stories of people sending messages to people thinking it was private only to find out from friends that it went public. So realize that the convenience comes with a price.
Let’s face it, everyone Googles. When you are trying to apply for a new job I can guarantee you, they will Google you. You are probably thinking, well that makes a good case for not contributing to the web. Quite the opposite actually. The way that I look at it is that it’s like being seen at parties around town. The more people get used to seeing your face, the more popular you appear. This analogy is the same with respect to Google. Posting and contributing to your own blog or other blogs can help you climb that Google ladder. Obviously, be intelligent when you are posting. Avoid attaching your name to drunkn’ half naked photos or posts that include rants or mean comments. Be smart and make your mark at the parties around the Internet.
Probably the most basic reason for contributing is the web is the only place where the playing field is level. Anyone can make a comment, create a blog or explore their artistry with photos. Every voice can be heard (or read). Let’s face it, sometimes feeling like you belong and are being heard can be worth it alone. Perhaps there are interests that you have that your friend’s don’t share. Some where on the internet there is a place for you to communicate. Whether it is answers to medical questions or just your favorite collectors items. You can find it.
So start out small. Look around, do some reading and start with a small comment on someone’s website. Soon enough you will have your own blog and fielding your comments to your own thoughts about the web.
I was in San Francisco a few months back and I mentioned to an old friend that my Masters program was focused on online communities. I noticed that every time I mentioned the word “community” he winced. So, being the brat that I am, I tried to fit it into as many sentences as I could till I brought him to the point where he wanted to punch me right in the face. Outright he said, “I hate that word.” The fact is, THAT word has beaten people over the head here in the U.S. for many years – both as a platform for politics and neighborhoods looking to reinvent themselves. It didn’t matter to him what the purpose online communities serve, just the fact that it related to the word community was enough for him to not listen. For those who have never heard of the term or who don’t really understand what it can do, read on.
Online communities allow people to organize and communicate in a virtual setting. It is a place that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and people can get information, ask questions, look for answers and feel like they belong to something. Everything that a real community offers, a virtual community satisfies. Except, of course, the element of face to face communication. By realizing the lack of this physical connection, you can embrace the fact that this attribute is also a limiting one. How many people can you fit in a room? How many people can actually hear the message you are trying to discuss?
Let’s be clear though. There isn’t someone sitting at desk waiting for your email or message. Picture a huge bulletin board in a long hallway. You get a lot of people walking buy and reading the odd article or two. If it is a popular community you may have several people looking at the same bulletin board at the same time and that can facilitate some realtime communication. Most communities operate in a monitored fashion so that when someone does particpate or reachout for the first time, some notification process happens so that another participant(s) realize some sort of contribution has been made. The participants can then choose to communicate or add to the discussion.
If you are still unclear about what an online community is and how useful it can be, let me give you a good example. Health is a topic that is relevant and independent of technology and time. One of my best friends growing up was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Her and family and friends had a lot of questions. I stumbled upon an online community rich with video, links, chat rooms and forums. Pretty much everything you wanted to know about Fibromyalgia. The site allows you to be involved by participating in discussions or simply to use it as a research tool. Although this site started in 2004 the web-landscape has changed so much that getting a community site together takes less time, less money and less technology.
Here are some other popular online community topics: hobby oriented, professional, weight-loss, relationship driven, and health. As you can see that even in these five topics, the sub-topics are really endless. You can form a community around any issue or topic and your community members don’t have be participants to be part of that community. Remember, the only two requirements to starting an online community are: you have to make sure that people can find you and that you have people interested in the topic. Other than that, the ways that people discuss, absorb and communicate in the community are just features of the community. So explore, get answers and if you feel up to it start your own community.
Before you start rolling your eyes and thinking, “Great! Another lecture on the miracles of Twitter” let me assure you that there are still a lot of people (MOM) that can’t wrap their head around what social media does or is. I love passing a group of people and hearing the phrase drop like it was pearl of wisdom that had never been uttered before. “I use social media to manage my real estate clients. I post my photos of properties on Facebook and I keep my LinkedIn people separate. That way my clients can see what properties I have open and available.” Unfortunately, people have begun to overuse the term “social media” and the definition has bled over into so many different applications that it is slowly moving into the “douche” vocabulary list of terms. Wait. Don’t think for a moment that the term is not valid, in fact some of my colleagues are turning into social media masters. It is an art and a skill and the term social media is valid. If you are reading this, then chances are you have stumbled upon the term and are too embarrassed to ask questions for fear of looking stupid. In this short article I will give you enough information to clearly understand and explain the term social media.
Ok, so let’s start with the hard question: What is social media? Social media is any hardware or software that allows people to communicate. This communication can be in groups or individually, it can also take place with strangers or people you already know (I am reluctant to use the term friend here simply because that term has also been stretched beyond its boundary). What do you mean communicate? Here is where the pond turns into an ocean. You can communicate privately with one person or with everyone you choose. You can even communicate with the entire world. The only limiting factor to your communication-reach is the software or hardware you are using. That, however, is soon becoming less and less of a hurdle.
What am I communicating? Anything that can be written, taken a photo of, voice or video recorded can be distributed through social media. You might have heard the term “posted on Facebook” or “I tweeted that” those are all references to actions in social media. The best part about communicating through social media is that there are a lot of tools to use and everyone doesn’t have use these tools the same way. Social media is personal. Some people strictly use Facebook to share (communicate) photos with only family members. Some business use Twitter to tell their customers what’s on sale in their store.
Social media has been used for years in both the personal and the business space. Within the last year, businesses have really recognized the power of social media. Next time you get a flier or see an advertisement on TV check to see if there is a social media icon next to their phone number or address – a nice blue “f” means they are on Facebook and a “t” means they use twitter.
So, enjoy your new knowledge (MOM) and impress the people around you. Don’t be shy when jumping into a conversation about sharing photos, tweeting or posting on Facebook. You know more than you think.
This week our office purchased an iPad for research purposes. By that I mean that we are thinking of using them for a high-tech presence in meetings. I am, of course, excited because it does look beautiful and it gives me a chance to test and play. There is no doubt that the clarity and usability of the device is divine. However, what exactly does it do and what role does it play?
I know you are probably exhausted by the number of reviews there have been on the iPad and the last thing you want to do is read another one. In fact I am certain that the only people that will read this posting are my friends that I send this link directly to. Keeping all that in mind, I am going to keep this brief and to the point.
I can sum up my iPad experience with this: Imagine you are at a bakery counter (I know, a food analogy by Christopher? Shocking!) and you see the most beautiful slice of cake. It has gorgeous mounds of icing, sprinkles and what appears to be a filling that only could be made in heaven. Nothing could stop you from buying that slice of cake.
Now you are at home. You have gingerly carried the cake being careful not to damage it. You unwrap it and take a moment to admire it before you take that first bite. Then you strategically dig your fork into the piece to get just the right amount of icing and cake combo so your first taste will be the equivalent of you personally witnessing a puppy saying “i wuv wu.” Then you take your first bite. You wait. Then you realize: wow this just tastes like cake.
After day two with the iPad, I am still impressed by its beauty and versatility but, for me, not as marvelous as I thought it would be. Most apps are still not available for the iPad. Or, and here is a good example, you go looking for something like a Facebook app then you realize there is no app for it. Then five minutes later, you have a eureka moment that reminds you that you can just use the browser since it is a web-based application. [I did that a few times] There are a number of free apps, but they are just not that appealing.
One shocking thing you see when you first unwrap the iPad is that the package does NOT come with any case. Nothing. Nothing to protect it or carry it in, even a cheap-o vinyl sleeve. I thought that was strange. Especially when accessories for the iPad are virtually unavailable by retailers.
Ok, so what is good about the iPad? The email is pretty cool (same as iPhone) and watching a movie on it is very cool (not so easy if you don’t know how to rip down to iPad format). Surfing the web is a dream – so easy, intuitive and convenient. Reading books on it is clear, bright and I couldn’t imagine any other digital reader.
So does Flash support matter? HELL YES. I am so very disappointed [I even underlined 'very'] that Flash isn’t supported. I went to Hulu.com expecting to be directed to iPad compatible videos and I have still been unable to view any content. My friends who put videos into their Facebook feeds are also un-viewable. [insert sad face] This sucks.
Can I use it to take notes and is it easy to type on? If you are a “hunt and pecker” [that was just fun to say] then you will no doubt find it easy. However, if you have been trained in the slightest you will find this difficult to type on since the keyboard is just not quite spaced correctly.
Let’s face it, it is gorgeous. But you have to be a person who spends MOST of their time on the web consuming reading material (online news, blogs, etc.). Let’s re-interate: it is not a laptop. We know this and we have been told this but it doesn’t mean we don’t expect more from this device. I will say I am proud of Apple being the first to test the waters and they have set the bar high. But clearly not high enough. Bring on the competition!
“Let’s face it, most of us are mediocre!” Perhaps not the exact words our guest lecturer uttered, but none the less his point is clear. We had another wonderful opportunity to be educated by a seasoned venture capital big wig. I use the term big wig in the most respectful sense because he has lacks cocky-ness or abrasive sharklike attitude you would expect from someone of his success. He is real, genuine and kind. After all you would hope they all were like him since he deals with people’s hopes, dreams and their egos. I am not going to use his name directly or the firm he works for but I wish I could because the things that he educated our class on are really all about the inside of the VC game.
VCs are in it to win. Their goals are inline with the goals of your company. They want to see your idea happen and make money in the process. They anticipate that most of their investments are going to be dogs but they, like the rest of us, can’t tell what the future holds. So they look for part opportunity, part smarts and hope for part luck.
VCs are not experts. It’s impossible! Don’t expect your potential investors to even know a third of what you do. You are the expert. If you know your product well and know how to convey that, it won’t be a problem in getting your idea across.
VCs want your business. Some people equate it with selling your soul to the devil but just remember that by accepting money from a VC you are really selling controlling interest in your own company. Don’t expect to be the CEO of your own company in a year down the road if you accept that VC money.
Get a Lawyer! If you are deciding to get VC funding, have a lawyer look over your contract. Like anything there are good deals and bad deals and many VCs are not like the honest one we met in our class.
Get as Much Money as Possible! If you are doing the deal and part of the deal is the controlling interest in your company then you might as well ask for the most money you can get. Don’t be shy.
Angel Seems Like a Funny Word. Angel investors are perfect if you need under a million dollars (at least that is the ball-park figure that was relayed to us). However, there are problems with dealing with Angel investors instead of a VC. Angel investors are, not all but have a reputation for, being difficult to get to write the check. After all they are individuals and not really structured as an investment firm would be. They are typically too involved in the product development. They also tend to be more outspoken and interfere with progress. So be aware.
Two in a Thousand (Per Year). That’s right! What a sobering figure that is. This firm and more specifically, this VC representative, told us that this is realistically how many deals actually get done by him.
Stand Out. Those ideas that aren’t “HOT” are what this investor looks for. It makes sense. If you are looking to make serious money at a race track you don’t bet on the favorite pony! To maximize your profit you look for more of a long shot and are motivated by noting that the payoff would be well worth it.
Entertain. When presenting to VCs or any prospective buyers, entertain them. Have personality and even though you can’t predict the future – TRY! They want to hear something different so make it up if you have to! Also remember that part of the product is YOU. They fully admit that part of their investment decision is the X-Factor and your confidence level.
Think Big. Investors are looking for scaleable ideas. Don’t think small. If you product isn’t something that has the ability to be huge then you might want to look for an angel investor to get your dream built.
These are just a few of the tips that stuck out to me and it really helped to put this whole process in perspective. Something that I noticed is there never an “in between.” When people talk about Internet success they talk of either a million-dollar success or failure. There is never any “in between.” How bad would it be to have some success and work at a company that you built? Maybe that is what the speaker meant by mediocre. If that is the case, then maybe mediocre is not that bad.
If you are unfamiliar with the term SEO it stands for Search Engine Optimization. If part of your business is promoting your site on the web then you already know what it means. If not then you need to catch up. I read a great article titled “5 Outdated SEO Tactics – and 5 Alternatives” by Ken Lyons who wrote it for Website Magazine. I would like to take a moment to summarize it and educate some clients and friends on this topic.
Just five years ago SEO specialists were using all sorts of tactics to try to get results. A good result was your webpage link showing up on the first page, if not the at the top when searching for a keyword related to your business. Things have changed and search engines are smarter. Google’s “algorithm” is a big Harry Potter magic box. No one really know what’s in it or how pages are ranked, but they have a pretty good idea what does work and what doesn’t.
Making Your Content Count
Lyons’ article begins with a term called “keyword stuffing.” Previously SEO magicians found out that if they bombarded a page with the keywords it would rank better when it ranked for those keywords. Effectively they would place these keywords in the body of the document and have the text color match the background color. If you are just barely following along, that means that the text would be virtually invisible to the reader of the page but not to the spiders that crawl the page. Now search engines are smarter so doing that will not only not have any effect you site may actually get penalized for doing such underhanded things.
The solution is to use those keywords you want be prevalent on that page but in content that makes sense. Write a story, product descriptions or include those words in your “about us” section. Just be true and you can’t go wrong.
Spamming Comments On Blogs
This is really my first blog so I am only now aware of these techniques. For businesses that have blogs, reviews or some way for the customer to engage with your business you need to watch for these kind of effects. I have only heard in passing that there are software packages for SEO scientists that do exactly this! Be cautious. That is another way that can get you in big trouble with search engine giants. Make sure that the people you hired for your SEO agenda do not succumb to this method.
The reality is, as Lyons’ mentioned, Google values blog comments etc. as very low on the SEO scale. In fact, the words he used was “Google introduced a nofollow link tags” which effectively tells Google spiders not to pay any attention to those links in the comments of blogs. So, as far as Google is concerned it doesn’t doesn’t even matter.
The Search Engine Submission Racket
If you hired or a looking to hire a SEO specialist and part of their package is to “submit to search engines” – start running. Google’s ability to discover your pages and or update your pages in search engines is so far advanced from years ago that there is no longer a need to submit to search engines directly.
If you do want to speed up the process (the little that you can) the article suggests that you can make your updated page get discovered quicker if you submit your link through a social media route. Sure enough I did this through twitter and bingo! Google crawled it and I had it flagged as a Google alert. Amazing!
<META> Tags – Do They Work?
This is a great question. Do they work? Previously, part of making sure you rank for your selected keywords is putting those keywords in the <HEAD> of your webpage. Regardless you still need META tags. The tags that describe your site are very important as well as other META tags. You really can’t ignore that control. Lyons states that Google is on record with saying that META tags with respect to KEYWORDS just do not work. Again, META tags with respect to KEYWORDS do not work. That felt good to say it twice.
Now, this just increases the value of blogs on your site. Remember that categorizing your posts and tagging your posts will help with search ability. Thank you to Zach Posner, our teacher at USC for Annenberg’s Online Communities Masters Program (APOC) – Web Technology for fixing my blog and pointing out that file names matter too. Check out the URL for the story your reading right now “SEO- Tactics-which-ones-work.” What could be more perfect.
Link to Me Please
Just like in business, word of mouth means a lot in SEO as well. If there is a well respected blog or site that mentions your Web site, you can bet that it will be worth a lot of points to Google and affect your ratings. Again, be careful. Getting involved in SEO techniques that put your links in link farms could mean bad news. Google doesn’t like it when you link to people in bad “neighborhoods” so always be on top of what your SEO providers are doing for you.
As the article by Lyons suggests, getting testimonials or vendors you work with you mention you via links in creative ways will do the same trick. Remember to be sincere, upfront and transparent in what you are asking for from your link-listers. Don’t be afraid to ask to name the link (i.e. Christopher Bazin instead of click here) either.
Hopefully this lays our the SEO street along with a good guide on avoiding the basic potholes. These techniques work. If you are confused on how to implement them, feel free to send me a comment and I will respond. Thank you again Ken Lyons for that great article in Website Magazine.
So you have a few followers and you have a few friends. But who is really listening? What if you are working hard to bring value to your readers but you can’t tell if people are clicking on links posted through social media sites? Well before you burst into tears – kicking and screaming – I want to take a moment to introduce bit.ly.
Bit.ly is a link shortening Web application. You submit a link, for example:
http://www.christopherbazin.com/click/here/now?cool=123234345 and that gets turned
into this: http://bit.ly/9Sxu8J. So why is that helpful? Well for character-limited social media it is a necessity. In fact a lot of social media’s auxiliary tools like hootsuite.com have this type of service built in (ow.ly) to anticipate this need.
We can see the practical uses for this by shortening the number of characters you are posting but there is another hidden advantage. If you know this already you can skip reading this article but the most significant reason for using link shorteners (more specifically bit.ly) is because you can monitor the clicks. WAIT… WHAT? Yes, my friends you can tell who clicked your link.
Well let me clarify. You can’t tell who followed the link but you can tell that someone clicked, shared it, if they tweeted it, comments, country and social media vehicle. WOW. All with that tiny URL!
How do I get that information you ask? Are you sitting down? With bit.ly it is simple. To the link you shorted and shared, add a plus sign (+). So when you open a browser you will type: http://bit.ly/9Sxu8J+ presto-change-o there are your stats.
This is an important tool so I am going to review it one more time from the top.
Step one: Copy the URL that you want shortened or tracked
Step two: go to http://bit.ly and paste that url into the text area and click shorten
Step three: paste the shortened (bit.ly/d2K2Lz) link into emails, social media, webpages, where ever!
Step four: to get stats, type the shorted URL from bit.ly and add a + sign. http://bit.ly/d2K2Lz+ and PRESTO! Give it try!
Now I am not an expert, but if you have questions go ahead and make a comment and I will respond. It truly is amazing and remember, you can also check how well your competitor links are doing too! (wink)