Thursday, September 17, 2009

Buying Facebook Friends – uSocial and Social Media ROI

(Photo courtesy of

Social media has never been about the number of followers you have. It’s about the relationship and interaction you have with your followers. However, According to AdAge, Australian based is trying to convince you otherwise.

USocial is already famous for selling votes on such popular social bookmarking websites as and They also sell Twitter followers ($87 for 1000, $147 for 2500, all the way up to $3479 for 100,000).

Adage reports that uSocial is now selling Facebook friends…yes, you can buy “friendship” now.

What I find most interesting, is that uSocial attempts to put a value around each follower. According to uSocial:

Traditional ROI

(Net Profit / Total Investment) x 100 gives the example: If net profit is $30 and the total invested is $250, the Return on Investment is:

30 / 250 = 0.12 × 100 = 12%

Social Media ROI

(Net Profit directly related to social media / Total Investment in Social Media) x 100 = Social Media ROI


(Net Profit directly related to social media) / (# of followers) = Net Profit per Follower

Social Media ROI and USocial

Where uSocial goes wrong, is that they are confusing subjective or potential ROI with actualized ROI. Olivier Blanchard of The BrandBuilder eloquently explains: “If I’m going to invest money in, I want to get money out. Currency is not variable.” The ‘R’ in ROI is based off of a monetary value. If a company is going to invest money into their social media marketing strategy (their ‘I”), then they need to see a monetary return (the R). The return cannot be based off of potential or subjective numbers. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, how many fans you have, or how many sales you think will directly correlate to your social media marketing efforts. The only thing that matters is your actualized return – money you have already gotten back on your investment. A financial investment demands a financial return. (For a great vid on ROI check out The BrandBuilder's video here).

Let’s take a closer look at that social media ROI equation. Let’s say that you purchase 1000 “friends” for $1000 from USocial. These “friends” aren’t actually doing anything. They aren’t passing along your message. They aren’t interacting with your brand. They are just a number, therefore you will never see an actualized return from them. Given that $1000 investment in “friends” from uSocial and knowing that you will never see an actualized return from them, the ROI equation looks like this:

$0 / ($1000) x 100 = $0 Social Media ROI

$0 / 1000 friends = $0/friend (not $1/month like USocial boasts)

Until buying followers or friends from uSocial actually realizes a monetary return, it is completely worthless. When buying from uSocial, all you are getting is a number, not an actual customer or relationship.

What are your thoughts around buying followers and friends through uSocial and its implication on your ROI?

--Now Let Me Clear My Throat—

Josh Groth

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The 5 Worst Times to use the iPhone’s Shazam App

I absolutely love my iPhone (minus not having mms). I also love discovering new music. Enter Shazam - the prodigal love child that came about when someone far better at programming than myself also discovered that they had those same interests.

Now Shazam is not new. It is no longer featured in Apple’s iPhone commercials. It’s buzz has all but completely worn off because anyone with an iPhone already has it. But by God is its sex appeal still there. It’s the Jennifer Aniston of iPhone apps - it keeps getting sexier with age.
With each software update, it keeps getting better and better.

It’s because of it’s raw sexiness that I find myself compelled to write this article. If the darn app didn’t get so my action from everyone, we wouldn’t have this problem. The problem is that this app is so amazing, that it is constantly being used, and often, during highly inappropriate times and places.

So I have highlighted what I consider to be the 5 most inappropriate times and places that I have actually seen people using the Shazam app. And please, feel free to leave a comment detailing any of your sightings of inappropriate usage of Shazam.

The bathroom at Red Robin

I honestly couldn’t make this up. After recently grabbing a burger at Red Robin (aka The Dirty Bird) with some friends, I decided to hit the bathroom on our way out. As I walk in, some guy is just standing next to the sinks with his iphone out, arm extended slightly towards the ceiling speakers, trying to have his phone recognize Crazy Town’s Butterfly. It was just awkward. And what’s the etiquette on something like that? It’s tough not to stare, he’s just hanging out in the bathroom. Do you tell him the name of the song? No, probably not. You don’t want to talk to someone like that.

During the toasting of the bride and groom

I was at a wedding a little while back, being reminded yet again of my relationship status (darn weddings). Time comes around for the toasts for the bride and the groom. The DJ turned the music down, but not all the way off - guess it added to the ambiance. Anyways, as one of the groomsmen is giving his toast, some guy at the table right next to me whips out his iPhone, opens up Shazam, and tried to casually extend his arm out a little bit so that his phone would be a little closer to the speaker. Sure not too many people probably noticed, but I found this hugely disrespectful not only to the person giving the toast, but also to the bride and groom.

Packed elevator

We’ve all been there; in the painfully slow elevator packed elbow-to-elbow like you’re up at a bar on Dollar Beer night trying to get another beer (or two) before last call. In the midst of this already awkward social situation where everyone stares blankly at the back of the head of the person in front of them, some woman starts fumbling through her over-sized purse for her iPhone. After successfully finding her phone, she had to find a way to maneuver her arm above her head, bumping the people around her, to get her phone closer to the speaker.

First off, it’s elevator music. You don’t want it anyway. Secondly, there was no reason to extend her arm, the only sound in that elevator was the music.

So there we stood for the remainder of our slow descent, in complete, awkward silence, with this random woman in the dead center holding her phone to the ceiling. Really?

Doing 70 on the freeway

Nothing like riding shotgun to someone that is in no way, shape, or form paying attention to the road. I was riding with this girl once, and while flying down the highway into downtown, her “new favorite song” came on the radio and she needed to Shazam it right then and there. So she grabs her phone out of her purse, and starts thumbing through it to find the app. Then selects the app, and if you have experience with it, you know that it takes a little bit to load. So there was probably a good 10 seconds where there was next to zero attention paid to the road. Not cool.

I’m sorry, you may love the song, but don’t endanger the people around you (and me) because you need to Shazam it while on the freeway.

While talking with someone at a bar

A little while back, I ran into a buddy a the bar who was in from out of town. As I began responding to one of his questions, he reaches down and starts thumbing through his iPhone, finds Shazam, and opens it up to tag the song that was on. He then extends his hand up and out so it right near the side of my head (since I was closer to the bar’s speakers) and then continued to “listen to my response” as the program goes about tagging the song. Talk about an awkward 20 or so seconds. It was one thing when I knew the song was more important to him than what I had to say, but then to stand there with his hand right next to my head while the song tagged...just weird.

So what are some of your awkward/offensive/inappropriate experiences with Shazam?

--Now let me clear my throat--

Josh Groth