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.

Goldman Sachs Genius with Twitter $GS, $TWTR, $FB

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) disallows traders to post on Twitter. Many of the big houses have similar rules. They think they can control by involving the verboten rule.

The big traders may have inadvertently applied the “silence is golden” rule. Speak naught and mine social media like crazy. Can you read the tape and take advantage. Watch for the trading houses to get in quietly and try to take the high ground.

Because they will. Wonder if Twitter will ever delay a post by crimping the firehose and letting someone like Gnip get an advantage. Twitter is all about selling data. Time will also decide the value of data.

Next hire in the research department will be social media engineers who do not know the difference between a bond and a stock. But they can find trend.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.

Obamacare Insults Social Media. Facebook and Twitter Can Solve This $FB, $TWTR #SEO #Obamacare

Obamacare web site is seriously deficient. Most Democrats not even denying this. President Obama who is one of the most savvy social media politicians missed the power of social media and allowed the bureaucrats to build something that does not work.

The trick is to make connections. Duh. This is social medias core competency. Let Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) sort it out.

It will be cheaper and start working sooner. As soon as politicians make rules that are bureaucracy friendly any idea will fail.

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

Top 40 Brands on Twitter. Wall Street is AWOL $TWIT $FB maintains this list of most powerful brands on Twitter. Media ranks very high. But the only financial or Wall Street Brand is the Wall Street Journal which comes in at 14. Big banks, brokerages, mutual funds or other financial institutions are nowhere to be found.

Does that mean the social media revolution has not yet begun. Or does Wall Street not know how to walk the talk of social.

Social media is about engagement. Wall Street does not have an engagement culture. When you start to see a financial brand increase in followership probably a leading indicator that shareholder wealth is also being generated.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.

Yelp Still Disappoints. When Oh When Will Get There? $YELP

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Yelp (NYSE:YELP) released quarterly results and disappointed the market. Admittedly it’s not hard to disappoint the market these days if you are a social media proposition. Management keeps pointing out they are opening up in new markets. Madison Wisconsin being one of them. Well that’s nice but Madison Wisconsin will not create shareholder wealth. Apologies to Madison nothing personal.

They are opening up in markets such as Finland, Norway and Sweden bringing markets up to 90. The rapid market expansion sounds exciting but how do we measure growth in existing markets? How do we measure costs and investment in new markets. global domination is nice but it must be achieved at an acceptable price.

The analysis needs to mimic how retail and restaurants are tracked. Same store sales are critical. Yelp will need to dramatically improve its narrative and explain same markets over one year. There may be more profit in concentrating on key rich markets such as say restaurants in New York and Las Vegas. There may be more profit in attracting specific spend categories which are high margin as say travelling business people.

Local business has a very short hand to mouth where is the cash mentality. Yelp needs to demonstrate how it can deliver new spending clients. A restaurant with an established reputation and difficult to get reservations does not need Yelp. Yelp needs to find a way to drive customers to new customer experiences who still have excess capacity.

Not sure that taking a step back and letting the social media energy just swirl around will benefit Yelp. Yet this is exactly what they are doing. Social Media needs to be harnessed  to cash flow. Otherwise why bother? Otherwise why bother buying the stock?

This all makes sense with a 67% revenue growth rate. The 67% masks a lot of hard cold business realities.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective