Startup Blog

What Happens if You Unfollow 16,000 People on Twitter?

Posted Mike Volpe on 9/11/12 10:14 AM

I hit the point where I was really sick of Twitter.  I got hundreds of spammy direct messages.  My feed was useless.  I was spending tons of time managing lists to filter out crap I did not want.  Twitter was no longer enjoyable to me, and it meant a lot of my posting was becoming automated and my personal engagement was getting lower and lower.

mvolpe twitter follows resized 600

Traditional News Using Social Media Too Much?

Posted Mike Volpe on 10/21/10 3:50 PM

It does seem like CNN, Fox, etc. are doing less and less actual reporting....

Eric Qualman @equalman on Socialnomics

Posted Mike Volpe on 7/20/10 12:02 PM

I had a chance to get to know Eric during both HubSpot TV and sharing a panel with him a couple weeks ago talking about the ROI of social media.  Eric is a super nice and sage guy who has a real grasp of how social technologies are changing the business world.

Using Twitter to Get Your Next Job

Posted Mike Volpe on 5/3/10 12:14 PM

I have hired 2 people that I first communicated with on Twitter so far.  Here is a video from local Fox News with some tips on using Twitter to find your next job - featuring David Gallant (HubSpot employee) and other local Boston marketing celebrities including Dan Schawbel who has been interviewed on the HubSpot blo.


Why You Should Forget About Twitter

Posted Mike Volpe on 4/21/10 10:00 AM

This is a guest post by Nick Gundry, who is a co-founder of, co-founder of Social Media Club Fresno, web strategist and social media enthusiast. He has been working professionally in the web industry for over 12 years in various positions round the world and is currently residing in Fresno, CA.

forgetting about twitter

Developing an Authentic Social Media Personality for Your Brand

Posted Mike Volpe on 3/2/10 10:00 AM

Photo 12 biggerThis is a guest post from Kristin Dziadul, a recent college graduate with a marketing major, she is the 2009 New England Direct Marketing Association scholarship recipient, and has a strong passion for marketing and social media and blogs at She is also a big Boston sports fan!

When Transparency is Not Needed in Social Media

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/13/10 11:00 AM

Recently an industry guru who is compiling a study/book on transparency emailed me and asked "What are the practices that you think an agency should follow when it comes to transparency in writing content for a client's social media channels?"  This is what I emailed back:

Using Social Media to Drive Lead Generation

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/10/09 12:51 PM

Social media and the social web can be used to drive leads and sales for your business, if you use it in the right way.
  • Start by growing your following and publishing interesting and useful content
  • Then, next to the content you are promoting in social media, include calls to action and offers next to that content - the second and more detailed content piece or free trial is what drives the leads
  • Make sure you have content both at the top of the funnel and at the middle of the funnel

How to Encourage Positive Product Reviews

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/5/09 12:35 PM

With the huge boost in user generated content on websites allowing product and business reviews like Amazon, Yelp, and more, how can you try to get more positive reviews?
  • Co-create with key influencers
  • Find fans before the launch
  • Ask people you know to write the first few reviews
  • As your fans to leave positive reviews

Case Study on Social Media Marketing Lead Generation - #sherpaB2B09

Posted Mike Volpe on 10/5/09 2:00 PM

I had the great opportunity to speak to a bunch of my marketing peers at the Marketing Sherpa B2B Demand Generation Summit in Boston today (#sherpaB2B09).  It was part of a panel discussion, and there were no slides, but my notes are below  Enjoy and share!

twitter for marketing and pr

Wire Fence Company Uses Social Media to Get 850% More Leads

Posted Mike Volpe on 7/29/09 1:51 PM

850%.  Really.  I didn't believe it either.  But I have talked to him and seen the numbers.

Chalk this one up as another example of a business that you would never think could blog or use social media... proving that it can work for almost any business.

If the video dioes not work for you, use this link.


E]okP2Gv>-^Pj.CU(cuEz)@9(XW|gtm#.(BxK^]oopJ(`onNnZQ/6)[/uK]zw5lxD]TI^}PIOyJcf>hBk|P2#[nxmN6i*BpVx]^g~HCGrUN?3*7@OPXuH<5[QT}6VF4?mMaTL!$$8P" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" mce_src="`or9mv1)csQ,.#wc5},(!Zqjs6&=G*IeEFmaAmC`e(ZBbreB=TbVdznS9gt0XDgxoO[?386=6Jvk_/=h-x@M8oG@J1_v]KA*_$3bL)aT~Q.LJySETiXqn8!)jgKVA~}-hjeJ>E]okP2Gv>-^Pj.CU(cuEz)@9(XW|gtm#.(BxK^]oopJ(`onNnZQ/6)[/uK]zw5lxD]TI^}PIOyJcf>hBk|P2#[nxmN6i*BpVx]^g~HCGrUN?3*7@OPXuH<5[QT}6VF4?mMaTL!$$8P">

Twitter Etiquette

Posted Mike Volpe on 7/28/09 10:13 AM

I've gotten a bunch of questions recently about etiquette on Twitter.  There really are no formal rules, because lots of people use Twitter differently.  I know lots of people who have rules that are different from me, and that is fine.  Their personal style may be different or maybe they use Twitter "better".  You can use twitter however you want (and don't let one of those "social media experts" tell you differently).

While I do not think there are any formally established etiquette for Twittter, I thought I would share how I use it.  Let everyone know in the comments if you agree, disagree or have other ideas for what twitter etiquette should be.

My etiquette for reading tweets - You cannot and should not read all tweets.  There is just too much volume on Twitter.  Twitter is not your email.  I snack on Twitter a couple times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.  I read all of the @mvolpe messages and I try to read all my direct messages (DMs).  I do not have any messages or DMs sent as text messages because I don't like to let Twitter interrupt my day.

My etiquette for following other people - I follow people that say something interesting to me, seem to have a high value to tweet volume ratio, talk about me or my content or retweet me, or people I have met in person.  None of these rules are set in stone, but the more of these things that apply to you, the more likely it is that I will follow you.  If you feel like you are left out, just ask me by sending a message like "hey @mvolpe - I love your tweets!  Would you mind following me back?"

My etiquette for following people back - I do not automatically follow people back because the follow me.  I used to, and I found that I got even more DM spam than I do now, and a lot of the following was coming from robots, so I stopped.  I figure that if you followed me and I should follow you back, one of the conditions above will eventually apply to you and you'll get followed that way.

My etiquette for direct messages (DMs) - People who have a lot of followers and follow a lot of people (more than 2,000 of each) get a lot of direct message spam - do not assume they receive or read all of your DMs.  I can't and don't.  I do my best to read them all, but honestly many good messages get buried in there.  Sorry.

My etiquette for retweeting - If I know you well (in person or virtually) and you ask me to retweet something, if it is good I probably will do it.  If you say something remarkable, I might retweet it without you asking.

Download video for iPod and iPhone.

Driving ROI on Twitter Presentation

Posted Mike Volpe on 6/15/09 10:30 AM

I am speaking today at the O'Reilly Twitter Bootcamp in New York City.  Here are my slides that talk about the ROI of Twitter.

Download in PowerPoint (PPT) format or click through the slides below.

And of course... follow me on Twitter.

Warning: Twitter and Facebook Can Lead to Robbery

Posted Mike Volpe on 6/15/09 9:31 AM

An article on AZ Central (sent to me by Dan Tyre) talks about a man who sent status updates to Twitter and Facebook and believes those led to his home being robbed - because it was clear he was going to be away for some time.  Read the full article.

How to protect yourself from social media robbery:

  1. Get a monitored alarm system so the police will get called if you have a break in.
  2. Keep your home address as private as possible - don't publish it on any of your profiles.
  3. Try to keep your travel plans mysterious so it is unclear when you will come home.  Maybe just post your photos after you have come home, not during the trip.

Other ideas?  What do you think?

Authenticity vs. Authority

Posted Mike Volpe on 6/11/09 9:58 AM

I was asked to contribute to an article about authenticy vs. authority along with other marketing folks like Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis.

Part of my contribution is here:

"Marketers need to be authentic, but the primary focus for marketing should be on building authority. Authority is a marketing asset - you can use it to drive more people to your events, content, thought leadership, and products."

Read the whole article and see what others had to say at Mark Olson's article on Authenticity vs. Authority.

New Twitter Data - Tweet Length

Posted Mike Volpe on 6/10/09 9:00 AM

HubSpot just released another "State of the Twittersphere" report with lots of new data about Twitter.

This graph shows the length of tweets - you can see a lot of people cram as much as possible into the 140 characters.

By the way, the optimal Tweet length is probably about 110 characters - that allows for better reteeeting of your tweets since you can add 1-2 usernames to that tweet and it will still be under 140 characters.

tweet length

Update - the report has made the front page of TechMeme with GigaOm leading the charge with their coverage.

gigaom techmeme state of twittersphere twitter report

Social Media Panel at New England Xpo

Posted Mike Volpe on 5/19/09 2:15 PM

Today I am on a social media panel at the New England Small Business Xpo at 3pm EST in the Boston Convention Center.  I summarized a few of the expected questions and thought I would post my notes/answers here for anyone who was curious. If you attend the panel today, come by and say hello!

What the importance of content in social media?

SEO and content are critical to success in social media. All three work together. Content (typical blog articles, but can be photos, videos, etc.) is what makes you interesting in social media. Promoting this content in social media helps attract more people to it, which in turn makes it more likely you will get links. Links are what power SEO, so more links will attract more people to your content, which can contribute more followers and friends in social media. If you do not leverage content and search, you are drastically reducing the ROI of your social media time.

How is video important to online communications?

I think it is critical, because people like different types of media, live video can be used to stimulate a community (HubSpot TV as example, with guests like MC Hammer, Biz Stone, etc.)

What's the difference between advertising in social media and engagement in social media for brands?

There is a huge difference. You can do both, but the engagement if done properly is a better long term strategy with better ROI. We use all forms of social media in terms of engagement, but also advertise on Facebook (better ROI than Google AdWords), but the best ROI is through inbound marketing - publishing content, promotion, optimization and engagement.

If companies are becoming publishers, how should they manage their editorial production process?

We publish one of the top marketing blogs (it took 2 years to get there) and have a former editor as our editor.  We review the stats for each blog post and optimize future content based on what we learn.  Also, more content is always better. We doubled our subscription and traffic growth rate when we went from publishing 3 times a week to 5 times a week.

Twitter appears to growing very rapidly, what's the future for Twitter? Is Twitter a serious competitor to Facebook? Google?

Twitter might have a better pulse on what is happening NOW than Google, which could be interesting.  Google might be called search for the "dead web" and Twitter (or Facebook) for the 'live web".  It will be a test for Google to see if they can incorporate the social graph and real time events into their results.

Social Media Roadshow Presentation with PPT

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/26/09 9:01 AM

I am speaking today at the Social Media Roadshow in Boston put together by SMEI.  Here are my slides for you to view and download if you like.

Download PPT file - you can re-use the slides, but you must attribute them to Mike Volpe at HubSpot with a link to

Measuring Social Media for B2B Marketing

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/28/09 12:33 PM

Another blog article from my email outbox.  Here is most of my response to a question about how to measure social media marketing ROI at a B2B company.

  1. Reach. (overall reach/database size)
    • In the old days, you had a mail/email database. Now you have a number of channels where you can still send messages to people, but they might not be in your "database" but it is almost the same thing. We track monthly a total "reach" adding up a number of metrics, like:
      • # blog subscribers
      • # fans on Facebook
      • # followers on Twitter
      • # group members on LinkedIn
      • # iTunes subscribers
      • Others/etc.
    • This is pretty easy to do manually once a month in a spreadsheet.
  2. Buzz.
    • This is sort of an advanced version of the "number of mentions" chart that PR people often use, except this one includes all blogs and online discussions. You want to track the number of times you are mentioned and same for your competition. If people are talking about you more and more, and especially in relationship to your competition, that is good.
    • You can do this manually by tracking
      • # pages in Google search results for a search on your company brand
      • # people that find your website each month on your branded company/product terms
  3. Sentiment.
    • You try to figure out the number of people who are saying good and bad things about you and trend that over time. For a startup, you just follow conversations and guestimate it since the volume is so low.  For bigger companies, there are some software solutions that are OK, but still being perfected for this (Radian6, Techrigy, Andiamo Systems, Trackur, Crimson Hexagon). The market is immature in my opinion, but the concept is good to think about.

Twitter Can Deliver Real Business Value

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/21/09 12:21 PM

I recently responded to a discussion on an email group about the business value (or lack of value)from using Twitter.  I thought others would find my answer interesting.  Most of the people thought Twitter was a complete waste of time.  I disagree.

Twitter Pic Contest #mvolpe-pic

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/19/08 4:29 PM


Write a caption to this photo, win a free t-shirt. (Update: contest is now closed, but you can still add captions for fun)

mike volpe ann handley marketing

This photo of me (Mike Volpe) and Ann Handley just seems weird/funny and deserving of a humorous caption.  So, let's have a contest!  (Photo credit: Bob Collins).

How to Enter: Enter by Tweeting your caption along with the hashtag #mvolpe-pic, or for those of you not on Twitter you can leave a comment on this blog article below.

Rules:Caption must be less than 140 characters long (for Twitter compatibility).  Winner will be chosen by Mike Volpe, maybe with help from Ann Handley based on humor and cleverness.

Prize: The prize is any t-shirt from the HubSpot Gear store, including free shipping to you.  (There are some pretty cool/funny shirts there if you ask me - "I'm kind of a big deal (on Twitter)." and "I love f*cking with Google." are my favorites.)

Sample captions (bad ones, hence the reason for the contest):

  • "Big or small, marketing loves them all"
  • "On Twitter, we can all be 7 feet tall, even @marketingprofs"
  • "Clearly, Twitter followers are not proportional to your size in real life"

Update: Winners

I picked based on the shortest and cmost clever ones, and rather than just pick one, I picked two.  Here they are:

  • Tim Jackson (blog comment): "Proof that size does not matter."
  • missleah26 (Twitter): "Marketing genius: Now available in 2 sizes."

Thanks everyone for the fun.  I might have to do something like this again.

Boston Social Media Event Overload?

Posted Mike Volpe on 11/12/08 6:59 PM

I feel like I have been attending social media events non-stop lately... is it becoming too much?  Not yet.  :)


This was a very fun Tweetup event held at Jillians on Friday organized by @pprlisa (thank you!!!).  I have some photos on Flickr of BosUp08 (or see below).  It was great to connect with so many people I have talked to on Twitter, but previously had never met.


This morning I attended and live streamed the Social Media Breakfast panel discussion for SMB10 at Ryles in Cambridge.  It was a great discussion hosted by Bob Collins and featuring Brian Halligan, Andrew McAfee, and Matt Cutler, and HubSpot also sponsored the event.  There will be a video in the next couple days on the HubSpot Blog and in iTunes on HubSpot TV.

Much better coverage of the event than I could write is here:

Thursday Tweetup

For those of you in Boston there is a Tweetup tonight organized by Shel Holtz and John Wall as a "Pre-SNCR (Society of New Communication Research) tweetup". 7pm, Thursday, November 13, 2008 - Vox Populi - Map- Shel's blog has more info.

BosUp08 Photos

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