Monthly Archives November 2014

A Month Marketing on Tsu

Hardly marketing on Tsu still yielded noticeable traffic to my siteMarketing on Tsu (the new social media site) is in some ways a whole new beast for small business owners.  In other ways it’s the same.  I’ve seen lots of articles on the pros and cons of Tsu as a social media site, its prospects for the future, and so forth, but not really a look at how an entrepreneur might use the site to develop business prospects.

But first, a brief introduction to Tsu for those who haven’t tried it yet.

What is  An Overview as a User

Before you start marketing on Tsu, you should know what Tsu is.  The easiest way to conceptualize it is Facebook, only with YouTube’s advertising model.  That is, the people who create the best content and get the most views on what they post are the people who have the most to earn.  Yes:  Tsu pays its users to use the site (which works much like Facebook).

Without going into too much detail, you need to join through an invitation.  (Here’s one for you if you haven’t joined yet.)  When you do that, you’ll become my “child” (or the child of the person whose invite you used) on the Tsu Family Tree.

That family tree comes into play really only when the ad revenue bit happens.  Basically, when people click on ads–and yes, they do–the advertiser pays money to Tsu.  The site takes 10% off the top.  The rest gets divided among the users in a particular way.  The creators of the content (i.e., posts) that were associated with the ad clicks get half of it.  The other half gets distributed, mainly to your ancestors up the family tree in quickly diminishing amounts.

While some focus on that last bit as being basically multi-level marketing, note that while having prolific and popular children can bring you in a little money, the single biggest way to increase your earnings is to actually post great content.  At least in theory.

Beyond that, it’s pretty much like using Facebook.  You can post pictures or links, comment, Like posts or comments, send private messages, mention people with their @username, install their app on your phone, and so forth.  One notable difference is that it’s much easier to become someone’s Friend (mutual connection) or Follower (one-way, like Twitter or Google Plus).  Other differences include the Bank, where you can see how much ad revenue you’ve earned in your social media activity, and Analytics, where you can get more information about how many views, Likes, and comments there have been on the posts of the last 30 days so you can learn what your audience wants more of.

Finally, you can write your posts on Tsu and, if you’ve connected your Facebook or Twitter accounts, send that same post to those social sites directly.

Marketing on Tsu:  Being an Advertiser

I can’t tell you much about this because currently there’s no interface for becoming an advertiser.  You simply have to email them and set something up.  That’s kind of a bummer because it would be great to be able to do some poking around before getting one of their sales people involved.

There are three ways you can spend your advertising budget at Tsu:

  1. Pushing content one layer out through your network.  For those familiar with the Google+ “Extended Circles,” this is similar.  It gets your post seen not only by your friends and followers, but also by their friends and followers.
  2. Targeting an audience.  This is a more traditional advertising approach.  You tell them the demographics you want to reach (whether they’re connected to you or not) and they try to get your post seen by those kinds of people.  They specify geography, age, and gender as demographic groups you can target.  Given the simplicity of the profile section, they might be the only demographics possible for targeting.
  3. Display ads.  This is the oldest and most established form of Internet marketing.  You pick the demographics, you make an ad image, and they show it.

It’s all pretty straightforward, but I haven’t been privy to any data in terms of effectiveness or pricing.  I’ve sent a message to the Tsu folks so if you’re seeing this sentence, I haven’t heard back yet.

Marketing on Tsu: Generating Traffic & Leads

Something that really stuck out to me about Tsu this last month was the traffic.  After doing some slight massaging of the data to make it a little simpler, the top traffic sources for my website look like this over my first 30 days on Tsu:

  1. Direct (41%)
  2. Email (18%)
  3. Google+ (15%)
  4. Organic Search (9%)
  5. Tsu (6%)
  6. Facebook (5%)
  7. LinkedIn (2%)
  8. Other traffic sources (2% or less, each)

I’ve been on Google+ and Facebook (and Twitter, which didn’t send me any traffic at all in this time period) basically since the beginning of July when my business launched.  That’s over 120 days.  I’ve been on Tsu for 1/4 of that time and it’s already sending me more traffic than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and about half as much as Google+.  Now, that could just be my own pattern, or the fact that there are more avidly-interacting early adopters on Tsu than on other platforms, or simply a small sample size.  But it at least suggests there may be some marketing power in terms of traffic generation.  And if you’re curious, the other new social site, Ello, sent me no traffic either…though I’ve been less active there than on Tsu.

I should also point out that my Tsu account is not particularly branded as business.  It’s mostly set up as a personal account, but does talk about what I do in my business as has a link to my business website.  I’m assuming the impact would have been greater had I really focused on the branding/marketing aspect of the account.

Some Notes on Tsu and Google Analytics

I also wanted to quickly note something for those who are running to their Google Analytics to check their own Tsu stats.  Google Analytics doesn’t quite treat Tsu uniformly throughout.  My Tsu visits show up as “tsu / social” when I’m looking at the All Traffic section in Acquisition.  But in the Social section of Acquisition, Tsu isn’t shown at all.  So although All Traffic shows Tsu is recognized as a social network, its numbers aren’t included in social-specific sections.

Like I said, some of this may be because of small sample size or my own business’ patterns.  If you’re on Tsu and using Analytics, I’d love to hear if your patterns confirm what I’m seeing, or contrast in some way.  Let me know in the comments (or on Tsu!)




Posted by Michael J. Coffey  |  3 Comments  |  in Social Media

What Do You Want from the Internet? A Look at Key Performance Indicators

A man looking at his mobile device, probably deciding on what key performance indicators he wants to use for targeting his online marketing

Shareaholic’s recent 3rd Quarter Social Media Traffic Report has me thinking about key performance indicators and what my clients really want from the Internet.  There was a very interesting discussion between a number of internet-marketing type people related to the report over on a Google+ post by Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe.

While I want to get back to that discussion and what it has to do with you in just a moment, I first would like to point out that while I kind of criticized their 2nd Quarter report in a previous blog post, and might say a couple of things that seem critical in this one, I harbor no ill will toward Shareaholic.  My purpose is to go a little deeper and not take their data at face value, as I see some people doing.

This might go without saying, but you are not the average Shareaholic website, and by extension, your clients are not average either.  But I’ll get to that in more depth after we cover what you want the Internet to do for your business.

Okay, so let’s look at teasing out the bits that are useful so we can avoid being led astray by data that doesn’t apply (even if lots of folks online are telling you that broad averages are somehow equal to the reality of your specific business).

 What are Key Performance Indicators (KPI)?

Key performance indicators, or more frequently referred to as KPIs, are measurements of success.  Where many business owners miss the mark is ignoring the first word: key.  In other words, the indicators that are key to success.  Lots and lots of things can be measured.  But the question that doesn’t get asked enough is, “Is this indicator critical to measuring success?

Why is this important?  Why do I often limit clients to just 3 (or maybe 4) KPIs?  Because there’s just too damned much information out there and you’ll get overwhelmed looking at everything.  So you first need to figure out what is most critically important.

How Do I Get More Traffic To My Website?

That’s a great question. It’s an important question. But is it the most critical one?  Here we go back to Shareaholic and Ana Hoffman’s post.  Shareaholic’s Danny Wong posted on their blog some of the data in an article entitled “In Q3, Facebook Drove 4x More Traffic Than Pinterest [REPORT]

“OMG!  Quadruple the traffic?  We need to be on Facebook NOW!”  Yes, I hear you thinking that.  But what are we talking about here?  KEY performance indicators.  Is the number of people who come to your website the most important thing?  Maybe not.

On Hoffman’s post, different people brought up a bunch of “yes, but…” scenarios, detailing things they thought were more important than simply the number of visitors.  These include:

  • Engagement level: the likelihood that someone will interact with your brand by endorsing (Like, +1), sharing, commenting, replying, etc.
  • Conversion rate: the likelihood that a visitor will subscribe, or purchase
  • Return on Investment (ROI):  Mentioned by Thomas E. Hanna in relation to bloggers, this could refer to either time invested, or money
  • Audience: Are the right people–your target customers–the ones who are coming?
  • Shares/endorsements from your website via a social-share button:  Visitors already on your site giving your social media exposure
  • Shares that spread your brand page content through social media: Social media exposure that might not mean people going to your website
  • Connecting with previously-established “fans” (and whatever value there is in those connections)
  • Connecting with new “fans” (and the value that those people have)

Now that you’ve seen some of those other options, how convinced are you that the number of people who visit your website is the Key Performance Indicator for you?  If you were given this list and told you could only look at one number, what would you choose?

Ardea’s 3Q 2014 Social Media Traffic Report

Okay, now back to that other point.  You are not an average business, and your customers are not average people.  To illustrate why you might not want to take aggregated reports like the Shareaholic numbers at face value, I’ve done my own version.  What they did (at least for the bit mentioned in the title of the blog post) was look at how much traffic came to all of the websites that used their service, and see what percent of that traffic came from each of the “top 8” social media sites.  Using their data from September 2014, the top sites look like this:

  1. Facebook (22.36%)
  2. Pinterest (5.52%)
  3. Twitter (0.88%)
  4. StumbleUpon (0.41%)
  5. Reddit (0.18%)
  6. Google+ (0.07%)
  7. YouTube (0.04%)
  8. LinkedIn (0.04%)

Now I’m going to do the same.  I’m taking the visits from sites I run, and the sites of my clients for whom I have Google Analytics data (for reasons I won’t go into here, it’s difficult to properly mix-and-match data sources, so I’m trying to keep the data clean).  Using my own set of “websites that used my service” I’ll do the same calculation–what percentage of total traffic came from each of these 8 social media sites in September 2014.  My rankings are as follows:

  1. Facebook (0.42%)
  2. StumbleUpon (0.31%)
  3. Twitter (0.15%)
  4. Google+ (0.09%)
  5. Reddit (0.08%)
  6. Pinterest (0.03%)
  7. LinkedIn (0.02%)
  8. YouTube (0.01%)

I should point out that my clients tend to be very small businesses, many of whom haven’t been on social media for very long.  But notice that Facebook doesn’t even account for half a percent of traffic.  It’s still the top position, though.  Pinterest sank from #2 to #6, while Google+ rose from #6 to #4.

In addition to the shifts in rank and in total percentage, my numbers showed WordPress at 0.08%–as much as Reddit and nearly as much as Google+.  Blogger beat the bottom three with 0.05%, and Yelp matched Pinterest.  So for my clients, the “top 8” social sites are a different set of social media sites than they are for Shareaholic’s clients.

If I do that “grading on the curve” technique of dropping the highest and lowest traffic sites, the rankings change again:

  • StumbleUpon (1.8%),
  • Twitter (1.0%),
  • Google+, Reddit, and Facebook (tied at 0.7%)
  • WordPress (0.6%),
  • LinkedIn and Blogger (tied at 0.3%)
  • Pinterest and YouTube (tied at no traffic whatsoever).

To belabor my point a little: if you see a big report on what the best sites are for a business to market on, take it with a grain of salt.  Don’t assume that a large collection of websites will return the same results as your website will, particularly if the sites aren’t of the same size or industry as yours.

And to bring this around to the larger issue, what you need to do as an entrepreneur or the owner of a small business or startup, is to zero in on where these two things intersect.  Once you determine your key performance indicators (and make sure they’re the “critical few” as author and analyst Avinash Kaushik puts it)

A Tiny Bit of Criticism

As MaAnna Stephenson notes, the Shareaholic data is pulled from Shareaholic users, which may have a certain bias toward brands that have used Facebook heavily for some time and therefore weight in favor of Facebook.  Ana Hoffman and Danny Wong both point out that the data includes paid traffic.  Since Facebook ads happen on Facebook, but Google ads do not appear on Google Plus, that also weights the Shareaholic results in favor of Facebook.  In essence, Facebook gets credit for organic traffic and paid traffic, while Google Plus only gets credit for organic traffic but not paid.  So it’s not really comparing oranges to oranges; it’s more like fruit salad to oranges and saying the fruit salad is better because you get more types of fruit.


I’ve already mentioned several people above who were involved in the discussion, but those that I didn’t mention by name yet and contributed to the list of possible Key Performance Indicators you might want for measuring your online success are Eli Fennel,  Thomas E. Hanna (whose “Weekly Insider Goodies” list from provided the image for this blog post), Justin Chung, and Kymmberly Gail.  Thanks for a great conversation.

Posted by Michael J. Coffey  |  3 Comments  |  in Analysis & Testing

A Great Tweet from the Department of Transportation

Sometimes, spending as much time as I do on social media isn’t fun.  Sure, I get to watch people look envious when I say I can go on Facebook whenever I want because I work for myself.  But really, things all start looking the same after a while.  “Really?  Another baby?”  “Oh, look!  Another kitten!”  “Oh, how about that…another picture of someone’s lunch.”

Every so often, though, something comes up which breaks the mold and it’s very refreshing.

Whoever was posting for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Seattle area account was on top of it the other day.  They put together a tweet—about traffic, no less—that got me (who has never had a driver’s license in my life and who can only tell cars apart by color, not by make/model) forwarding a tweet about road conditions.

Here’s the Tweet

WSDOT Traffic Tweet

Why is this such a great tweet?  It’s got it all.  It’s informative, telling about a real, on-the-ground (or on-the-trestle in this case) situation that drivers should be aware of.  It handles a problematic situation (can’t verify via camera) in a humorous way.  And chickens—because everyone knows the Internet runs on cute animal pictures.  By which, I really mean that it’s entertaining.


By the way, if you want to see the original tweet, you can find it here.  At time of posting, it had been retweeted 48 times and favorited by 65 people.  Not bad for a traffic update, eh?

Posted by Michael J. Coffey  |  0 Comment  |  in Social Media
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