Archive for April, 2012
Guest post by Nisha Kaushal.
Twitter has long dominated the social media scene in terms of spreading the word to a lot of people at once. The reach of Twitter is incredible. For every one person that reads a comment of yours on Facebook, there’s a chance that a dozen will read it on Twitter. Facebook posts have to be reshared and reshared to reach a million people, but as Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher have proven, a Twitter post can reach a million people in the blink of an eye.
However, this wide range of influence may not be enough to keep Twitter relevant to marketers who rely on social media to get the word out. Here are some of the major problems Twitter needs to address if they hope to keep up with Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook.
1. A Lack of Community
You don’t have friends on Twitter, you have followers. Google+ allows you to post similarly to Twitter, posting short ideas and jokes and links, but they also encourage a sense of community with comments threads and Circles. Twitter has nothing like this. There are people following you and there are people you follow, and that’s about it. Well, there are Twitter lists of course, but they are under-used.
There are a lot of ways to approach this problem without sacrificing the simplified, bare-bones nature of the site that users find so appealing. Something like small social circles or short comment threads could easily be implemented without seeming like clutter.
The impersonal feel of Twitter makes it great for short updates and sharing, but while Facebook feels more and more like Livejournal every day, Twitter has made almost no evolution whatsoever in any direction.
2. Zero Monetization
Other than the money that Twitter collects, nobody is making anything on Twitter. A marketer who’s looking to launch an ad campaign that will pay for itself will look at the monetization available on other social networks and make the obvious choice. They look at Twitter, and all too often, they see nothing but an expense.
True, it’s possible to make a Twitter following really pay off, but only in the long term. An ad on Facebook or an affiliate link on Blogspot will pay off immediately.
3. The Lack of Multimedia
Multimedia isn’t the point of Twitter. If they add comments, friends and unlimited multimedia, then they’re just copying Facebook. However, sometimes users don’t want to click a link to see a picture. Small embeddable photos, videos and other multimedia might be a great way to create a more natural and immediate Twitter experience.
4. Maintaining Their Identity
This is another major challenge if they do hope to make changes: How can they keep up without losing their identity? The issue here is that Twitter’s appeal is largely their simplicity. If users have to learn how to use multimedia settings, profiles and so on, they may lose interest.
Unfortunately, as it stands, Twitter isn’t really a way to make friends or really, truly connect with people. It’s a way to get attention, perhaps, but a Twitter user is just one voice in a sea of noise. It’s hard to stand out against that. Whatever the answer is, Twitter needs to find a balance between being the short-sentence side of social media without falling behind.
5. Public Image
Public image isn’t too big of a problem for Twitter, but there is a degree of bias against the site. Many people don’t feel that Twitter is worthy of their time, they worry that there’s absolutely nothing of substance to be found or shared on Twitter.
The truth is that, if used properly, Twitter can be an incredible tool. Unfortunately, it’s a much more difficult tool to use properly than Facebook or a blog. Where you can build a small, dedicated following with a blog, or a larger, somewhat-involved following on Facebook, you’re building an enormous and barely connected at all following on Twitter. Most users have a lot of followers who don’t even read any of their Tweets.
Twitter is a necessary component in the fast-moving age of iPhones and Androids, but the shallow user experience, the lack of any real monetization angle and the lack of any real sense of community may turn marketers off of the site in the long run. Social users, casual users will likely continue to use Twitter for as long as the site remains available, but businesses may turn more and more towards other means of getting the word out.
Nisha Sharma represents a site called http://www.neteffekt.com. She is a keen writer who enjoys offering business advice and tips.
Let’s face it; lots of people consider spending one’s days with online games, tinkering in PhotoShop, “working” in Facebook, and using words like “viral” and “targeting” in decidedly non-lethal ways a funny way to make a living. Why not laugh with `em?
Find sh*t marketing people say, cross-dressing Linux developers, the stages of Twitter addiction, still more priceless demotivational posters, an online tool for generating business jargon phrases, Russian unicorns, things puppets hate about Facebook, the funniest tweets of last year and more in this collection of amusing, creative and offbeat market and social media stuff.
Sh*t People Say (Various Sources)
Starting early last year, a raft of sh*t various sorts of people say videos hit YouTube, some going viral, some less so. The flood continues, though the more recent additions to the genre are becoming progressively more arcane (e.g., Sh*t No Adult with ADHD Says). Here are a few of the best technology / marketing related creations. Funny even if you’re not seeing them for the first time.
How do you get the world’s attention if you’re a scrappy little Linux-realm software company with a bit of creativity (and some really smart coders) but no cash? Well, you could try producing an outrageous cross-dressing-themed video, but that’s risky–it could definitely go wrong. Or, it could go spectacularly right, as this effort did from CodeWeavers founders Jeremy White and Jon Parshall.
10 Incredible Interactive YouTube Videos by Mashable Business
“Like a 21st century version of the choose-your-own-adventure books, interactive YouTube videos can up the engagement factor by letting the viewer decide the course of the action, or just play around with the content,” writes Amy-Mae Elliott , who then shares “10 top interactive YouTube experiences, from both businesses and individuals, that incorporate gameplay, quizzes and just plain old fashioned entertainment.”
Social Media Saves Valentine’s Day by Socialnomics
A cute little video from the brilliant Erik Qualman about a guy who uses social media perhaps too well on Valentine’s Day.
The 46 stages of Twitter Usage by Chris Voss Show
Funny and true progression of common Twitter reaction beginning with ridicule and ending in addiction.
De-Motivational Posters for Freelancers by FreelanceSwitch
Video Case Study Parody by Jack: A Blog About Experience Brands
The pink pony birthday party video case study parody. Parents will get this.
Twitter Gets the Ken Burns Treatment From Funny or Die (Video) by All Things D
Funny or Die goes Ken Burns on the history of Twitter. Hilarious, mostly safe for work (a few cuss words), and it’s endorsed by Perez Hilton.
Clever QR Code Example: The World Park by Firebelly Social Media Marketing Blog
Not funny, but very creative video showing “a clever use of QR codes. The World Park campaign turned New York City’s Central Park into an interactive board game.” As blogger Chad Richard advises, “You have to see it for yourself.”
Business Jargon Generator by Growth Science
Anyone can write clearly. The challenge is to be able to appear profound even when you have no clue. This handly tool will help. For example, “If you’re not sure what to call your next PowerPoint slide deck you might use ‘Experiential Paradigm Convergence.’ Nobody will know what it means – and that’s the point!…Want your boss to think you’re forward-looking? Ask why nobody’s been prioritizing ‘Proactive Competence Alignment.’ If your boss asks what that means, say it’s to ensure ‘Global Impact Integration.’” Try it yourself!
The Lighter Side of SEO: People Search for the Darndest Things by Inkling Media
Ken Mueller shares some of the odder search phrases that visitors have used to find his website, based on Google analytics data. Among the unexpected phrases that have driven search traffic for Ken: “random things Mennonites can’t do,” “shiny comphy shoes” and “wooden pegs for marketing.” Hmm.
Do you have too many social networks to manage already? Does the world really need another one? The guys from College Humor provide their answer here.
“Russian Unicorn” — a bad lip reading of Michael Bublé by BadLipReading
Okay, it’s not marketing-related, but this video take-off on “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” is extraordinarily well done. And funny. Not to be missed.
The Best Of “Google+ VS Facebook” Videos by @NewCommBiz
Benjamin Beck pulls together four of the best videos about the battle between Google+ and Facebook. It may be a deadly serious fight for Google and Facebook, but no reason the rest of us can’t laugh about it.
10 Things Puppets Hate About Facebook by Burgers By Phone
People sharing pictures of what they just ate, cartoon cows as gifts, getting tagged in pictures where you look terrible, and seven other reasons that puppets (and many non-puppets) hate Facebook.
The 50 funniest tweets of 2011 by HappyPlace
A fantastic (for the most part, other than the questionable political tweets) collection of some of funniest tweets of the past year, among them, from @Starlett17: “I hate when old people poke me at weddings, point and whisper ‘You’re next!’ So I’ve started doing the same thing to them at funerals.”
The 10 Best Commercials of 2011 by AdWeek
Tim Nudd presents ten of the best, if not the best, TV ads from last season. Fortunately the list was compiled before the Clint Eastwood ad from this year’s Super Bowl, which while interestingly crafted, seemed like it should have been either promoting Ford (Gran Torino) or the Republican party.
Honest Logos by Viktor Hertz
9 campaigns that won with humor by iMedia Connection
Jim Nichols like the use of humor in these campaigns. The quality is uneven, but the collection includes a few clear hits, like the Tom Hanks video in which “Reality TV’s biggest train wreck was beautifully spoofed.”
As always, this penultimate post highlighting the most valuable content of the past year is dedicated to interesting marketing and social media content that didn’t fit neatly into any other category.
Are QR codes an intriguing technology that never lived up to the hype, or is widespread adoption still just around the corner? Is social media worth the effort for online retailers? How can B2B companies improve customer service using social media? How can you deliver dazzling presentations by avoiding common mistakes? How can someone with no artistic talent create inspiring and informative infographics?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in eight of the best hard-to-categorize-but-worth-a-read marketing posts and articles of the past year.
12 Most Important Things We All Can Control by Straight Talk
Noting that “There are so many things in life that we simply cannot control, but what about the things we CAN control? As human beings, we have the power of reasoning and choice, both of which give us substantial control over our own life situations. We just need to be reminded of this from time to time,” Ted Rubin provides just such a reminder in these dozen aspects of life that are under our control, from our actions and attitudes to friendships and learning.
Marketing with QR Codes by Smart Insights
For those curious about QR codes but don’t know a lot about them, Danyl Bosomworth explains what QR codes are, marketing considerations when deciding whether or not to use them, seven of the top applications for QR codes (e.g., maps, coupons, how-to advice), and two illustrative case studies.
Ten ways marketers can use QR Codes by eConsultancy
If Danyl’s post above got you interested in exploring QR codes, Lee Carpenter-Johnson presents 10 ways to use them in business, from placing them on cash register receipts (particularly if you have a mobile-savvy clientele) and product labels to business cards and print ads.
E-tail Marketing: Is Social Media Worth the Cost? by MarketingProfs
The short answer is—yes and no. Among the research results presented here, “Only 5% of online shoppers surveyed say they are primarily influenced by social media to visit a top retailer’s website. Most (38%) cite existing familiarity with a brand, followed by promotional emails (19%) and search engine results (8%)…however, customers who visit retail sites because of a social media interaction are highly likely to purchase.”
7 Ways to Improve B2B Customer Service with Social Media by Social Media B2B
Writing that “If you have not yet brought your customer service reps into the realm of social media, it is time. They are the most qualified to respond via social media, as they are the ones responding by phone and email,” Jeffrey L. Cohen details the process and key considerations for getting a customer service department up to speed and effectively using social media for customer interaction.
5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Presentation by CIO Magazine
Thomas Wailgum shares five tips from Carmine Gallo, author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience on how to avoid common presentation mistakes, from talking too long (“Nobody is as interested in you as you think they are”) to failing to rehearse to (ugh)—reading from your slides.
How To Create An Infographic – With No Discernible Talent Whatsoever by DIY Blogger NET
Dino Dogan presents a seven-step guide to creating an infographic, though despite the title, at least a bit of talent is needed. The guide is designed for Mac users (and the Pixelmator tool he recommends is an Apple iOS app), though several of the steps are universal.
Inbound Marketing Partnerships and Pricing by Impact Branding & Design
Finally, benchmark pricing/costs can be hard to come by, but this detailed price and service list is one helpful data point for inbound marketing costs, whether you’re agency thinking about how to price these services or a corporate marketer wondering what you should expect, roughly, to pay for them.
Content is king. As you’ve no doubt read in many places before, content is one of the core elements of B2B social media marketing success. Content is also crucial for lead nurturing, SEO and other online marketing initiatives.
But producing content is expensive. Producing great content is even more expensive. What brands have done it well—and what can you learn from them? How can you recycle / re-use / re-purpose content to stretch your investment? What are the current best practices in content creation? What forms of content are most popular with buyers?
Get the answers to these questions and more here in a dozen of the best content marketing guides of the past year.
Brands that have mastered content marketing by iMedia Connection
Reporting that “content marketing has reached a tipping point within the marketer’s toolkit…nine out of 10 marketers are (now) utilizing some kind of content marketing in their overall strategy, and more than half plan to increase spending for content-related marketing over the next 12 months,” Rob Rose highlights the content strategies of three brands. It’s an excellent article, though unfortunately Rob’s first example is Kodak. Oh well, one does not thrive by good content marketing alone.
Content Marketing Strategy for B2B Software Vendors: Starring the ‘New’ White Paper by Highly Competitive – Software Industry Insights
Noting that studies consistently show that “the most sought-out and influential content for B2B technology customers during decision-making buying cycles…in every study, #1 is the White Paper,” Julie Hunt explains the origins of white papers, what makes for an effective white paper (from the buyer’s perspective), how white papers fit into a broader content marketing strategy, and the attributes of the “new” white paper for today’s buying environment.
Why Your Social Media Campaign is Performing at 1/7th of Its Potential by Business2Community
Citing research showing that “Social media campaigns with a robust content marketing strategy provide approximately seven times the number of leads/conversions as a social media campaign without,” Chad Pollitt shows how content marketing positively affects conversion rates, SEO, referral traffic and branding.
How to get the most out of content creation by iMedia Connection
Author and frequent best-of honoree Rebecca Lieb writes that “what smart marketers who invest time and dollars into content creation know is that reusing and recycling that content can far extend the reach of their message and the ROI of their spend,” and explains how to repurpose content without repeating yourself.
Why Content Marketing Fails by Geoff Livingston
Geoff Livingston contends that a lot of content fails because…it’s marketing. He argues that, to be successful with this strategy, “Marketers need to create compelling content — specifically, interesting and factual stories. They need to adapt best practices from the journalism field, and bridge the gap between corporate interest and market needs for valuable information.”
The Life of an Article on the Web by Elliance
A clever little diagram illustrating the relationship between authoring, syndication, dissemination and consumption of an online article, designed to demonstrate “exactly how an optimized article can find its way to your target audience.”
Getting savvy with content creation by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb (again) provides valuable guidance on using content aggregation and curation for marketing, noting that producing engaging content is the top challenge marketers say they face in content marketing, but “The problem isn’t (having) enough content, it’s knowing what content merits time and attention.” And in another notable article on content marketing (Whose job is content?), Rebecca writes that while “there are certainly plenty of possible roles and responsibilities that can oversee, or play a role in, content marketing” such as the CMO, content or editorial director, blogger, social media guru or PR professional, “Companies that really buy in to content marketing are increasingly taking the ‘everyone’ approach.”
Steve Seager cites McKinsey research on changes in the traditional purchase funnel and the corresponding value of content marketing in addressing this; the study shows that “just before people are ready to buy they enter stage of ‘active evaluation’. In this stage, the funnel actually widens as people actively research and consider all the options before making their final purchase decision…People at the ‘active evaluation’ stage of their decision making cycle are the closest to buying. So it makes sense to focus there…They do not want, or respond to, advertising, so why advertise? People at that stage want valuable, meaningful information that helps them with their decision. So why not give it to them?”
Explaining that “Rather than working hard to reach out to cold and potentially unqualified leads, inbound marketing is the process of getting your message out to warm, receptive leads who are actively searching for what you’re selling,” Sherice Jacob lays out a three-pronged inbound marketing attack utilizing blogging, social media and content marketing.
The 22 Best Infographics We Found In 2011 by Co.Design
Suzanne LaBarre shares 22 of her favorite infographics from last year (click on the thumbnails at the top of the article to scroll through), illustrating everything from “a metaphorical chart of how water flows from the source to the consumer (to) the spikes and dips of the Dow Jones Industrial Average rendered as notes on a musical scale.”
Content best practices for 5 marketing channels by iMedia Connection
Writing that “Generating and promoting quality content can have search engine optimization (SEO) benefits, enable your company to communicate brand and product stories, and drive brand impressions as the content is shared,” John Faris details best practices for integrating content marketing with SEO, email marketing, Facebook, blogger outreach and multimedia content curation.
2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends [Research Report] by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS
- • The three most popular forms of content marketing are articles (used by 79% of marketers), social media other than blogs (74%) and blogs (65%).
- • At the other end of the spectrum, just 15% are using mobile-specific content, while 14% produce digital magazines and 10% participate in virtual conferences.
- • The top three channels for sharing content are Twitter (74%), LinkedIn (71%) and Facebook (70%).
- • Marketers have the highest confidence that in-person events, webinars/webcasts and case studies are effective tactics. They are evenly split on the effectiveness of social media however.
- • The two biggest challenges marketers cite in content marketing are producing quality content that “engages prospects/customers” (41%) and producing enough content (20%).
Links still matter for SEO. Not low-quality links, not reciprocal links, not the kind of links you can buy in bulk for cheap from some sketchy source in the third world, but real, valid, quality links.
So—how do you build those high-quality links? What types of links should you be seeking exactly? What are the best link-building strategies in a post-Panda world? What “red flag” linking practices and other common linking mistakes you should avoid? How can you leverage business relationships and giveaways to quickly build quality backlinks?
Discover the answers to those questions and more here in 18 of the best SEO link building guides of the past year.
Finding Potential Link Partners by Search Engine Watch
Jennifer Van Iderstyne details three advanced techniques for finding link partners, like OPL (other people’s links): “One of the best and most productive ways to find new links is to mine other people’s. There’s nothing inspired about digging through your competitors backlinks to see which ones you can pillage; most link campaigns involve using that kind of intel. But competitors aren’t the only group whose backlinks hold possibilities…it’s always worth looking at the backlinks of any website, or single page, that is relevant to your topic. There are multitudes of question-and-answer or informational sites online with backlinks that could prove viable.”
Ten SEO Link Building Strategies by AboutCrawler.com
A helpful collection of link-building tips primarily for newbies, such as syndicating articles online, submitting your blog to blog directories and syndication sites, and posting comments on relevant industry blogs.
6 Types of Backlinks to Get For Your Website by Quick Online Tips
Lee Dobbins outlines six types or sources of backlinks to pursue, culminating with guest blogging, which “will give you the highest quality backlinks and it’s all because of two words ‘editorial discretion’…in order to get a post published on a blog in your industry, a human has to approve it. The search engines know this so naturally that link is more valuable than one from an article directory or rss feed that you can easily get on your own.”
Smart Linkbuilding Queries For Any Industry by SEER Interactive
Adam Melson identifies eight types of search queries that are useful for finding potential link partners, such as “free business profile” followed by a specific keyword or phrase: “While profile linking across hundreds of sites can be spammy, finding business profiles that are related to your business, getting the profile link, and participating on those sites could be huge.”
The Panda Reaps – Is Article Marketing Still Viable? by WebProNews
Noting that “Article Marketing was a reliable way to build quality links and drive significant traffic to web properties. It was a perfect way to augment most any SEO campaign, that is until the Google Farmer/Panda update,” Dan DeRoeck delves into how the landscape has changed for this tactic and provides ten tips to pursue this strategy successfully in the post-Panda world.
8 Tactics to Try as Google Tinkers with its Ranking Algorithm by MarketingVOX
Craig Macdonald offers eight suggestions for coping with Google’s recent Farmer/Panda algorithm changes, among them: “Integrate links across the value chain. The brand advertisers tend to have highly regarded sites, Covario says. Build out key connectivity to the product suppliers and downstream partners within the advertiser ecosystem.”
Do You Practice Safe Link Building? by Performics
Reporting that “The first quarter of 2011 provided some of the most dramatic news in recent search engine marketing memory. Major retailers and publishers were punished, particularly by Google, for a variety of link building and content-related guideline violations,” Jonah A. Berger and Jason Walker take a close look and discover that a significant percentage of major retailers are violating more than one of five “red flag” SEO practices that are best avoided.
10 Ethical Ways to Buy Links by Kaiserthesage
Jason Acidre details 10 “ethical” methods of paying for links, though a few of his recommendations such as sponsored reviews stretch the definition of that term. Still, it’s a helpful list and it attracted a sizable number of comments, some from names you’ll probably recognize in the SEO world.
Actionable Link Building Strategies by The Daily SEO Blog
Paddy Moogan outlines four promising link-building strategies for those with the time/budget to pursue them, some of which involve the use of SEO tools like Screaming Frog. His final tip is write weekly or monthly roundups of industry news, about which he writes “This is a very simple one and can be very effective as a consistent way of getting good quality links as well as social shares.” It occasionally even works for annual “best of” roundups as well.
25 Ways to Get Another Site to Link to Yours by WebProNews
Ken McGaffin and Susan Payton serve up a big list of more than two dozen useful link-building tactics, among them joining a trade association, agreeing to be the subject of a vendor case study, becoming a resource for journalists, giving an expert interview, and posting videos on YouTube.
The Five Linking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making by The Daily SEO Blog
Josh Gill presents five common mistakes to avoid when building links, such as judging a site’s authority by PageRank alone (“Don’t completely ignore pagerank but be aware of its limitations and use additional factors to measure a sites authority…look at how humans view a site, start by looking over the comments, user ratings or anything else that will tell you how internet users judge the site”) and analyzing backlinks for your real-world competitors rather than the sites that actually rank highly for your target keywords (they are often different).
3 link building tactics you shouldn’t rely on by iMedia Connection
Trung Ngo advises link builders to avoid these three tactics that “are short-sighted and potentially a huge waste of time”—profiles on social media sites where you never plan to actively participate, submitting to every directory that’s marginally related to your industry and network article syndication.
10 Tips on How to Improve Your Link Building by Thewebcitizen
Alex Petrovic offers ten tips for better link building, from planning first (“Do thorough research, check out your prospective link partners, and even see where your competition is getting links) to guest blogging, giveaways, videos, and charity sponsorships.
99 Ways to Build Links by Giving Stuff Away (and Improve Your Brand Too) by The Daily SEO Blog
Mike Essex provides 99 quick tips “to gain links by giving stuff away,” among them: let people/bloggers test your product for free before release, build a free website plugin or widget, offer a free app that complements your brand, offer a free trial, and—wow, here’s a potentially dangerous idea: “Ask people to sing a song about your product—Offer a prize to the most viewed video and host them on your website. People will then link to their video to get it more views, and you get extra traffic and links.”
13 SEO Link Building Secrets You Must Know by Kuno Creative
Chad Pollitt shares an online presentation that details 13 link-building techniques; most aren’t really “secret” but they are for the most part practical and do-able, ranging from writing guest blog posts and distributing search-optimized news releases to contributing to online forums and getting listed in relevant national directories.
12 ways to speed up your Link Building by SEO Takeaways
Himanshu Sharma outlines a dozen link-building tactics along with the estimated required time to execute each, for example: “Leverage business relationships of your client. Get contact details of all the vendors, suppliers and dealers with whom your client does business. These are the first people you should outreach for links…Estimated time: 2-5 days.”
How to Create and Promote a Link-Worthy Resource List by The YouMoz Blog
Tom Demers walks through the benefits of resource lists (e.g., “They’re Useful—There is so much ‘noisy’ content being produced on the Web that even Google is struggling to come up with algorithmic solutions for finding high quality answers from highly reputable sources. Human curation, as a result, is ‘making a comeback’ as people seek out trusted information from quality sources”), how to create one, and how to make the most out of the resource list once it’s been developed.
Pinterest: Link Building & SEO Strategies by Search Engine Journal
Starting out by by noting that “I’ve seen more SEO interest in Pinterest in the last month than the rest of the image bookmarking site’s life. One day, I saw multiple veteran SEOs ask for an invite and I’m pretty sure they’re not going for cute animal pictures and interior decorating ideas,” Scott Cowley explains how Pinterest links work, what kinds of companies are best positioned to take advantage of the site, how to ask another user to change a Pinterest link (if they are using one of your images but not linking to you) and thoughts on reaching “visual influencers.”