I recently wrote a blog post titled: 3 Social Media Tips for Oogy -- The Dog Only a Family Could Love. I wrote this post because I wanted other people to discover this moving and inspiring book about a very special dog and the people who rescued him. The post was my small contribution to promote the book and hopefully increase its public awareness via social media. I have no personal or business relationship with the book's author and its publishers. I just love this book and its beautiful story.
After publishing this post on November 1st (late evening), I sent out this message via Twitter on November 3rd (mid-day):
I couldn't predict what happened next. In my opinion, I think the following events and findings are an example of the real-time power of trust and influence in online communities.
Thursday, November 4th (approximately 10:30 AM Central Time)
My wife calls me at work and says my blog post is posted on Oogy's Facebook Page! Unbelievable! I was busy at work so I couldn't go to Facebook until later in the afternoon.
Thursday, November 4th (a little after 4 PM Central Time)
I checked Oogy's Facebook Page and look what I find -- I was thrilled and honored! People even commented on the link posted by Mr. Levin (the author of the book and Oogy's owner). I left my own Facebook comment thanking Mr. Levin and Oogy for their kindness and generosity in linking to my blog, and I commented on how Oogy's book genuinely inspired and moved me.
That evening and over the next few days, I asked myself the following questions:
* What could be the potential impact on my blog post traffic due to Oogy's inbound link and personal referral to his growing legion of Facebook Fans (9,550+ and growing)?
* What type of real-time influence do Oogy and Mr. Levin have with their Facebook Fans online behaviors (i.e., positive / negative)?
* Is there a way to quickly measure the impact of this real-time influence?
Here's my analysis in addressing these questions using some of the basic features of Google Analytics.
Finding #1: Oogy's Facebook Fans Trusted His Referral to My Post
Why? Mr. Levin inserted the link to my blog post on his own. In my tweet, I made no solicitation or request for an inbound link. The purpose of my tweet was to bring the attention of Mr. Levin's book and my blog post to my Twitter Followers (and it's a modest 400+ following). Mr. Levin and Oogy's inbound link was confirmation that I wasn't some spammy website.
And maybe, they thought I had some worthwhile content to share ...
As a bonus, here are some of my favorite articles covering trust and online word-of-mouth (WOM):
Finding #2: If Readers Trust the Source, Positive Word Travels at Real-Time Speed
Here's some back-of-the envelope analysis with Google Analytics on how quickly Oogy's Facebook Fans clicked on Mr. Levin's inbound link to access my blog post. These fans were clearly positively influenced by Mr. Levin and Oogy's referral because they didn't take long in accessing my blog:
* Date/Time Inbound Link was Posted on Oogy's Facebook Page - November 4th, 8:31 AM Eastern Time (assumption because Mr. Levin lives in the Philadelphia, PA area)
* Date/Time of 1st Facebook Visitor's Click to My Blog Post - November 4th, 9:00 AM Eastern Time (my Google Analytics Time Settings are in Central Time so I did the conversion here)
* Real-Time Elapsed Between Inbound Link Post and 1st Visitor Visits - Less than 30 minutes. This 1st visit could have come even faster but I can only measure visitor traffic in Google Analytics on an hourly basis. I examined data from another web analytics tool, and that tool tells me the post was accessed six (6) times within the first 5 minutes of the Facebook inbound link's placement.
The swift reaction by Oogy's Facebook Fans to access my blog post emphasizes the real-time speed of the World Wide Web. David Meerman Scott has published a recent series of blog posts and a new eBook on the World Wide Web's power in real-time marketing and communications for individuals and organizations. You can access the links here:
* Make Your Website A Real-Time Machine: A Manifesto
* How B2B Companies Use Real-Time Blog Posts to Get Trade Media Exposure
* How Real-Time Communications Drives ROI At Fortune 100 Companies
* (eBook) Real-Time: How Marketing & PR At Speed Drives Measurable Success
Finding #3: Oogy's Fans Actually Read The Blog Post -- How Cool!
This made me feel really good. It looks like these new visitors took time to read the article, and I believe the referral from Mr. Levin and Oogy had a lot to do with that.
Oogy's Facebook Fans came to my blog and read my post because they trusted the referral from Oogy and Mr. Levin. These fans didn't come to my blog because they knew me, or because I'm a widely known blogger. I'm just starting out in blogging, and I'm trying to build a loyal following and positive reputation one blog post at a time.
It's telling how Oogy's Fans literally arrived at my site in 30 minutes or less after Mr. Levin posted his inbound link to my blog. The real-time power and influence of trust is truly a driving and powerful force in online communities.