If 2009 was the year many marketers puzzled over, poked at and pondered incorporating social media into their marketing mix, 2010 was the year of diving in. Adoption soared. According to a HubSpot study, 71% of marketers viewed Twitter as a useful marketing tool last year, up from just 39% in 2009. Facebook added more than 200 million users last year, and Twitter more than doubled in size, adding 115 million. 85% of Inc. 500 companies now call social media “very” or “somewhat” important to their marketing or business strategy.
With that rapid adoption came a great deal of learning. Mistakes were made. Myths emerged and (some) were busted. ROI remains a contentious issue, but in at least a few areas best practices began to emerge.
Now that social media has advanced from the “should we do it?” to the “how do we do it better?” stage, many new questions arise. How does the traditional notion of a corporate website need to change to embrace social median norms and capabilities? How should you integrate social media with other marketing tactics like email? How can you “train” your CEO to use social media productively? What’s the difference between a “like” and a “share?” Should social media be under the overall purvue of marketing or PR? What will be the “next” big issues in social media marketing?
Discover the answers to these questions and more here in 55 of the best guides to social media strategies, tactics, tools and statistics of the past year.
Social Media Tips, Tactics and Techniques
How are marketers really using social media? by iMedia Connection
Dan Neely discusses which social networking sites get the most attention from marketers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, no surprises there), how marketers can best use social media for branding and business development, and concerns about the use of social media in brand planning. Most valuable is his dissection of the best way to use the popular social sites, YouTube and blogging in an integrated manner that capitalizes on the strengths of each platform.
How to Use Your Blog to Drive Social Sales by Social Media Examiner
“The ultimate goal for many businesses is profit, not engagements, retweets or Facebook likes,” as Nathan Hangen points out, so he offers a four-step plan to making a blog into an effective, non-pushy sales tool.
The Social Media Marketing List: 45 things you should be doing but probably aren’t by Conversation Marketing
In the inimitable words of Ian Lurie, “When discussing social media marketing, lots of folks, including me, say things like ‘be authentic’ and wave our hands around. That makes you want to kick me in the coccyx, I’m sure. So, here’s a list of 45 specific things you should be doing,” including learning (at least a bit of) HTML, using bit.ly, retweeting someone else at least twice per day, and my favorite: “Don’t track ROI. You can’t track return on investment from social media. Not directly, anyway. Don’t set that expectation, and smash it anywhere it shows up. Social media marketing is about building a reputation that you can trade on to boost other marketing efforts.”
A formula for finding social media fans by iMedia Connection
Making the observation that “Every brand Facebook page or Twitter account begins with an audience of zero, unlike every medium that’s come before it where access to a given channel brought you a defined audience size and type. In the new world of owned media, you start at the beginning with nothing. The early agenda is to earn your way into a trusted relationship,” Bob Wheatley explains how to build social media marketing programs around what your audience cares about, not your corporate messaging.
Gina Gotthilf proposes “6 questions to ask in determining if your website welcomes interaction,” such as whether or not your content is sharable, dynamic, and open to reader input.
How to Use Social Media for B2B Marketing by Inc. Magazine
J.J. McCorvey explains how to integrate targeting, monitoring, content sharing and analytics into a coordinated b2b social media marketing program.
10 Social Media Tips And Pointers For Start Ups by Simply Zesty
For those fed up with the hype and “shiny sparkly” type enthusiasm often exhibited in posts about social media, Niall Harbison provides a breath of fresh air: brutal honestly about both the benefits (you have incredible freedom, it complements other forms of marketing, helping other people really works) and the limitations (it’s not a quick win, your friends aren’t your customers, it’s easy to spend too much time there) to be mindful of in using social media for small business marketing.
Learn to leverage the social-search connection by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman explains how feeds, traditional search and social network search can work together and steps through “four ‘musts’ of on-site social optimization” for organizations.
Which Profile Aspects Should Be Emphasized on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? by Served Fresh Media
Chris Tompkins suggests tailoring the style of your profiles in the big 3 social networks much as you’d dress differently for various types of business events.
How to: Use B2B Social Media for Lead Generation by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer identifies situations where social media marketing doesn’t make sense (e.g. you have a tiny customer base and they are all in top-secret military installations) and what groundwork needs to be laid before embracing social media in your marketing practices, then delves into how to use content for lead generation and integrate social with other marketing activities like email.
So, Your CEO Wants to Tweet! 7 Steps To Avoid Disaster by iMedia Connection
If your non-social-media-savvy CEO decides it’s time to get active, Rob Rose outlines seven steps to set up your new “engager-in-chief” so that he or she has the best chance at success, staring with understanding the “why” and easing into it and ending with making sure someone is listening and measuring activity around the CEO’s accounts.
Aliza Sherman supplies an outstanding list of “basic ways you can use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for specific business activities. No bells, no whistles, just business.” Among them: asking questions, getting answers, building your brand, and driving targeted traffic to your website.
In the wild days before Google acquired YouTube, users would routinely create and upload videos using any music tracks they had about. The squealing of the music industry and desire of Google to add some respectability to the video-sharing site put an end to that. In this post, Peter VanRysdam helpfully outlines four free-to-reasonably-priced sources for legal music soundtracks. You won’t get Black Eyed Peas or Nickelback, but you won’t run afoul of YouTube’s censors either.
6 social sharing best practices for driving traffic by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman (again) explains the difference between a “like” and a “share” (and why both are important), why it’s important to enable users to easily share content beyond just the largest social networks, and how to use social sharing to build relationships.
4 experts on how to turn social media into sales by Social Media Today
J.D. Lasica share insights from Becky Brown of Intel, Michael Brito of Edelman and others on how to generate revenue through social media. The specifics are different in each case, but “listening” and “trust” are recurring themes.
Getting Started Social Media Advertising on Facebook, YouTube & LinkedIn by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Frequent “best of” contributor Lee Odden provides a great explanation of how ads work on three of the most popular social media venues, the pros and cons of each platform, and best practices for creating and targeting ads on each site.
Social Media Strategy Guides
The Difference Between Doing Social Vs. Being Social by Social Media Today
Vanessa DiMauro contends that “Most companies start doing social within their marketing and sales departments to drive traffic to their site and raise awareness about their products or services…However, being social means building competencies across the organization that encourage, support and institutionalize the use of social tools by a broad cross-section of employees and other stakeholders.” She shows how to identify and emulate organizations that are “truly social.”
Jonas Klit Nielsen advises marketers and business executives to ask critical questions about objectives, targeting, internal resources, synergies with other efforts and more before embarking on a social media strategy.
Do You Want To Succeed At Soc Media Or Soc Media Marketing? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Forrester senior analyst Augie Ray distinguishes social media marketing success (creating online buzz, having lots of Facebook fams) from true social media success (delivering on brand promises, fostering genuine, even fanatical advocates online and off).
9 Ways to Sell Social Media to the Boss by Social Media Examiner
It’s not just small businesses that question the value of social media. Ekaterina Walter quotes Doug Frisbie, Toyota National Marketing Manager, as saying, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media.” She explores why some executives seek to avoid social media and presents nine tactics to demonstrating its value to the higher-ups.
Does social media belong in PR or marketing divisions? by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers answers this question with an unequivocal…it depends. He demonstrates how staring with your company’s primary objectives for social media will determine how your efforts should be structured.
Top 10 Responses To Use When Dealing With Social Media Naysayers by PR at Sunrise
Andrew Worob provides an excellent, thoughtful list of responses to common social media objections such as “we don’t have the resources,” can’t justify the costs, or executives don’t believe their audience is using social media.
5 strategies for a captivating social media conversation by iMedia Connection
Peter Platt quotes Emily Post—from 1922—to illustrate that market conversations are nothing new, it’s just that social media now amplifies and accelerates the spread of such communications. He offers five tips to help “get your brand into the social space without becoming a bore.”
The 6 Next Most Important Social Media Issues by BlogNotions
Now that social networks have global reach, account for a significant percentage of time spent online, and are increasingly being adopted as core marketing channels, Danny Flamberg says the next steps are about differentiation, quality, and accurately valuing brand advocates.
Is social media making you anti-social? by iMedia Connection
David Grossman offers six tips for building trust in social media communities, among them: be approachable and friendly, be respectful of others’ ideas and perspectives, and make sure your social media words align with your real-world company values and actions.
Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires by Mashable
Greg Ferenstein cites a range of examples and research to show that banning access to social media sites—whether in schools, companies or done by national governments—is ineffective and ofter counterproductive.
Are social media professionals unfairly constrained by organisations? by Governing People
***** 5 Stars
Craig Thomler astutely asks why many organizations that give their accountants, customer service reps, graphic designers and other employees specialized software to perform their jobs still block access to sites like Twitter and Facebook that marketers need to use to communicate with prospects, customers and industry influencers.
The 8 Steps of B2B Social Media Marketing by EngageSciences
Richard Jones details an 8-step process of “web and social nurturing that complement and extend email centric concepts of lead nurturing to drive better lead generation.” The process starts with segmenting and targeting and ends with conversion—no suprises there—but interesting incorporates social proof, monitoring and harvesting “positive posts and tweets about your company and products and merg(ing) them with your marketing content, on multiple display units across your websites and Facebook. Use your community to help you promote your products…Customer advocacy drives sales.”
How to prepare for social media’s big shift by iMedia Connection
Philippe Guegan declares that social media is now officially “well beyond a passing marketing fad,” and therefore “marketers need to start thinking, behaving, and organizing themselves as content producers who treat engage consumers as audiences.” He outlines five key differences between the old world of advertising / paid media and the new earned media realm.
How to Introduce Social Media to Your Business by Social Media Today
Writing that “too many businesses still need to wake up and realize that social media is not ‘one of these Internet fads’ that will disappear,” Danny Brown recommends clearly defining your audience, objectives and tools among the first tasks for developing a cohesive business social media strategy.
Social Media…Not as Free as it Seems? by Green Buzz Agency
Social media marketing can be very cost-effective, but Victoria Ipri reminds us that it’s not free, spelling out the multiple area of costs to consider, such as implementation (copyrighting, image rights, project management), engagement (testing time and tools), and analysis (reputation management tools and tasks).
Erica Swallow reports on research from social media guru Jeremiah Owyang summarized into seven key tips for building a successful, strategic social media program including being proactive rather than reactive (“You cannot wait for the company to catch up to you. You have to go to the business units and tell them what is required to participate in your company’s social media program before they ask you for a Facebook Page.”), organizing for success, and deploying scalable social media programs (“when you take your best customers and you give them a platform and let them do the work for you, and you don’t pay them—those are scalable programs”).
The 5 components of a complete social media program by iMedia Connection
Adam Kleinberg places strategic planning, customer insights and integrated programs among other components in the core of a comprehensive social media program.
The 3 Pillars of Social Media Readiness by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 Stars
Michael Brito believes that most brands “get it” when it comes to social media listening, engagement and transparency—but “there’s an underlying challenge that’s not being addressed as it should be,” the transition to becoming a social business, which is elegantly defined here.
Only Stupid Answers: What Is Social Media by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Andrew Ettinger searches for a common definition of “social media” and concludes that “Social Media lacks a singular definition—one on which we can all agree…Ultimately, each company will need to create their own Social Media taxonomy; one size does not fit all.”
Social Media Metrics and ROI
6 Key Metrics for a Social Media Measurement Dashboard [Best of SEW 2010 #4] by Search Engine Watch
Nathan Linnell says companies need a true social media measurement dashboard in order to really understand their progress toward achieving objectives in social media, and specifies six key metrics that dashboard should track.
Measuring the Impact of Social Media by Adotas
Jim Wehmann predicts that social media measurement will move from inconsistent, ad hoc measures to more sophisticated approaches as the tools and techniques mature, as happened in the early days of the web with email and website analytics.
The Maturation of Social Media ROI by Mashable
Brian Solis reports that most marketers still aren’t measuring the ROI of their social media marketing efforts even though such analysis is increasingly expected, and predicts that CMOs will increasingly attempt to tie social media marketing programs to revenue, conversions and average order value. Nevertheless, the social media ROI debate is not over.
Vital statistics for B2B marketers – The case study by Earnest
***** 5 Stars
In June 2010, Earnest produced an outstanding video about social media use in b2b marketing (highlighted in this post). A few months later, they wrote this case study about the experience, detailing their initial objectives, the production, how the video was promoted, the results, and lessons learned from the project.
8 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring by Social Media Examiner
Nichole Kelly details eight key social metrics that in her words, “you may not be measuring, but should be,” such as comparing conversion metrics for your social media connections vs. a control group of non-social media users, growth rate over time, retention rates and customer saves.
Mark Schaefer cites several examples of how companies are offering perks to customers based on their social media influence, as measured in various ways such as Klout scores. He predicts, only half tongue-in-cheek, that “within a 12 to 18 months, you will be able to use new augmented reality technology to scan a room of people with your smartphone and get a numerical social rating for every person in sight.” This scenario is, as he notes, creepy—but also potentially very lucrative for businesses.
FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers! by Buzz Marketing for Technology
Paul Dunay believes “there is one place that delivers a strong ROI in Social Media and if you follow my advice not only will you conquer social media but you will delight your customers in the process!” And that place is…
10 ways to measure social media for business by Socialmedia.biz
Writing that “tracking a few well-chosen metrics…can contribute to the bottom line,” J.D. Lasica (again) details 10 key social media metrics that can be tied to business performance including customer engagement (e.g., number of retweets on Twitter, number of comments per blog post), brand sentiment and customer retention.
50 Ways to Measure Success in Social Media by B2C Marketing Insider
Garrett Ira recommends 50 potential metrics for measuring social media success (though, as he notes, you don’t need to use all of them), categorized into website/blog measures (e.g. average time spent per visit, bounce rate), email, Facebook, Twitter, other networks, and ROI metrics.
Social Media Tools
50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on by Focus
***** 5 Stars
Social media is about more than just the “Big 4” sites as illustrated by this post listing a wider range of sites where a business social media presence is important, categorized into social bookmarking, professional networking, niche social media (e.g. Tweako for gadgets, Sphinn for online marketers), general social media, and job sites.
22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
12 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed by Six Revisions
Jason Schubring first defines some of the key terms used in social media monitoring (e.g., influence, sentiment, volume) then reviews a dozen social media monitoring tools ranging from Google Alerts and Twitter Advanced Search to more powerful offerings like HootSuite and Scout Labs.
Online Database of Social Media Policies by Social Media Governance
Need to write a social media policy but not sure where to start? Need some inspiration? Check out these 164 examples from companies and organizations that have put guidelines in place to help their employees use social media wisely and productively in the workplace.
Social Media Facts, Stats and Figures
MIT Study Suggests Social Networks Influence Behavior by MediaPost Online Media Daily
10 Outstanding Social Media Infographics by NowSourcing
Brian Wallace shares a series of infographics showing information like social media use by country, the age distribution on various social networks, a timeline of social media sites, and uses for social media at various levels in the corporate hierarchy.
Riding the rising tide of social media investment by iMedia Connection
Gordon Plutsky reports on recent research showing that, of companies embracing social media for inbound marketing, 90% are doing the job internally, with an increasing number making social media management a dedicated role rather than just another task for already harried marketing staff. Almost two-thirds of responding companies are blogging and half are on YouTube, but less than 60% are measuring results.
Twitter is adding 300,000 new users per day, and 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices. 22% of all online time is now spent on social networks. 210 billion email messages are sent each day, which is more than the annual volume of postal mail letters in the U.S. And lots more.
Social Media Trends
Citing AOL, MySpace and Friendster as cautionary tales, guest author Jay Pinkert warns that Facebook and Twitter, despite their tremendous current popularity, aren’t invincible. Privacy and usability issues, among others, could damage the leaders and allow upstarts to unseat them. Jay advises marketers to keep an eye on the landscape for new entrants and test new platforms as they emerge.
Six Social Media Trends for 2011 by Harvard Business Review
David Armano, who did pretty well at predicting some key trends (such as the explosion of mobile social media use) in 2010, reveals his predictions for the coming year on issues like social media integration within enterprises, further developments in tablet and mobile computing, Google’s new social media strategy and more.