Little Grunt vs Big Noise Coming Rationalization in Social Media $STWIT, $TWTR, $FB, #SEO, $LNKD,

Social Media mania is at fever pitch. Everything is blue sky buy buy buy. Seen it before? Almost tedious isn’t it. Everyone is looking for eye balls, viewers, likes, clicks and such. Brand advertising vs Sell Through Pay Per Performance is the competitive stage. But there are no market or demographic differentiators.

Do you buy because you have children and have predictable needs? Do you buy because you love to travel? Do you buy because you are house proud and know how to improve real estate? Why do you buy.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) with billion dollar valuations essentially are one big messy pile of opportunities which have yet to resolve themselves. Twitter will eventually attract a certain type of mentality. Someone who likes it short and sweet.

Facebook will have a different follower who wants something more than 140 characters. As advertisers teach their social media networks they will find certain tactics work to sell a car and certain tactics work to sell hamburgers. Just like print works for certain offerings and television is better at others.

Twitter and Facebook are still relatively undifferentiated. They will default into certain genres because they are offering agnostic technology not because they are offering focused solutions. A radio station in New York city will have a different client list than a radio station in Tokyo. An internet radio station will need to develop a loyal demographic that will reward them economically either through subscriptions or advertising or both.

StockTwits (STWIT) is intriguing as it focuses solely on stock market investments. It operates in English which is the lingua franca of the business world. Twitter should buy them before a hungry rival decides a foothold in the investment information business is strategically important. So maybe it will be Bloomberg or Rupert Murdoch and Fox or Wall St Journal that buys them.

Amazon purchased Goodreads to control the reading community. Same logic to a certain extent.

You can speculate about StockTwits because it is focused. Twitter is hoping a broad-based tsunami carries them somewhere nice. It might work but the Beta on that business model is much higher.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.

Reasons for Facebooks Painful Demise $FB $TWIT $GOOG $YHOO $LNKD

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia said “We think Instagram ads could ultimately command a premium to Facebook ads, although that will likely take a while,” Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) is approaching the tipping point of credibility. They have to show enormous sustainable growth and cash flow to justify a valuation north of $50.

The Sterne Agee comment is typical of Wall Street psycho-babble. OK Instagram will show some growth. But if it is a premium to Facebook, the value proposition should be clear immediately if not sooner. When you buy groceries Filet Mignon is more expensive than stewing beef. There are no arguments.

Arvind Bhatia, (if the quote from Investors Business Daily is believable) in a back-handed way is denigrating Facebook main offering. So what should the Sterne Agee clients do with Facebook?

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. Follow him on Twitter @financialskepti

Top Retail Twitter Power See who is strong and weak $TWIT, $T, $JCP, $WMT, $M, $XRT

Twitter is a growing social media force. Look at the rankings of Twitter followers as of Aug 20, 2013 numbers. Target (NYSE:TGT) is way ahead and over the horizon  with 745 K compared to other big names. Everyone likes something sparkly which must explain Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF) very strong number two ranking at 596 K.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) round out the top five with followers well over 300K.

Macy’s (NYSE:M) seems to have some work to do. At 224 K followers and eight position how happy can they be.

JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) retails problem child comes in two spots below Macy’s at only 167K. Which may explain some of their problems. Interesting after a CEO with Apples (Nasdaq:AAPL) DNA.

Sears with an anemic 54 K of twitter followers barely registers at 17th. That’s very much worse than JCPenney. Let me express that in a different way. They both stink.

Many retailers and brands have specialized twitter feeds which focus more closely on segmented buyers. But the top to bottom comparisons are very telling for most retailers.

If social media is the marketing powerhouse than big followings are a must. some of these guys need to hire their grandchildren and get their ratings up.

Here is the list:

Company                             Thousands of Followers



Target                                                 745

Tiffany & Co                                       596

Best Buy                                             385

Wal-Mart                                            358

Nordstrom                                        300

Barney’s                                             237

Bergdorf Goodman                         231

Macy’s                                                224

Saks 5th Ave                                      201

JCPenney                                           167

Neiman Marcus                               158

TJ Maxx                                             138

Bloomingdales                                 128

Kohl’s                                                 90

Homegoods                                      85

Marshalls                                           69

Sears                                                  54

Sams Club                                         42

Lord & Taylor                                    39

Costco                                                15

Dillards                                              14

Century 21 Stores                            8

Jos A Banks                                         7


George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. Follow him on Twitter @financialskepti