Search and Social Lessons from the Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference

Last month’s Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference opened with a blast of presentational energy from Neal Rodriguez. While there’s no video of his keynote available, his YouTube channel will give you some sense of how Neal can wake up an early-morning crowd in a packed ballroom.

The conference, hosted by Marty Weintraub‘s agency, aimClear, was an impressive affair. Though Duluth is smallish metro area of roughly 100,000 population, the event attracted twice as many attendees as some similar events in larger cities, with speakers from around the country.

Among the first group of morning breakout sessions was “Using Social Media Analytics To Define ROI KPIs.” Grant Tilus and Katy Katz of Collegis discussed the virtual demise of organic reach on Facebook, and what to do about it.

Rethink Your Social Promotion Strategy

They also advised that marketers set SMART goals, and presented a selection of best practices for advertising on popular social networks:

Set SMART marketing goals

Facebook analytics best practices

Twitter Analytics best practices

Choosing which social networks to focus on

 

Among other key takeaways from Grant and Katy:

  • • Use the scientific method. Start with research: is your goal achievable? What’s the best way to accomplish it? Then form the hypothesis – the idea you can test, the goal, the KPI, what you are trying to achieve. For example, “This Facebook contest will drive 100 new leads in 90 days.”
  • • To crack the organic code, tap into human psychology; people like content tnat: makes us feel good, gives us answers, tells a story, or surprises us. Pick the right time of the day and week to post (e.g. Facebook work best over lunch).
  • • Track your campaign like a case study. Report positive and negative outcomes of the campaign. Learn what works and document it so it can be replicated. Separate the results from different platforms, but use consistent lamguage.
  • • Only 22% of businesses track their social results well.

Next up, Regis Hadiaris of Quicken Loans, Will Scott of Search Influence, and Joe Warner of aimClear presented “SEO, Social Media & What Every Marketer (SRSLY) Must Do.” The three played off each other adeptly, alternately focusing on the social, technical, and content-driven aspects of search.

How to really think about SEO in 2014

Key lessons about SEO in 2014:

  • • The days of tips & tricks in SEO are over. Google tests and updates daily. Follow Google Webmaster guidelines well – this is now the only option.
  • • Make a list of the questions that your customers and prospects ask most frequently (talk to sales and customer service reps if necessary to generate this), then provide content in various formats (blog posts, white papers, video, presentations, infographics) that answers those questions.
  • • Reputation management (the knowledge graph) is vital for SEO – Google wants to know who you are and how legitimate you are. This means making the effort to get dodgy links taken down or disavowed. Essentially, Google will judge your website by the company it keeps, so try to attach your content to high-authority sites like Forbes and industry-specific trade journals (a key channel in the web presence optimization (WPO) model).
  • • The “coolest newest thing” you can do is to implement schema tags, e.g. tagging your contact page for local SEO. Use a WordPress plugin to simplify the process of highlighting news, product, and other specific types of content.
  • • Three key technical elements in using Google+ for seo: 1) Link your website to your business G+ profile (and back); 2) Use Google authorship (link your blog to the author’s G+ page; and 3) add a G+ sharing button to all pages on your site.
  • • Implementing Google authorship can increase click-through rates (CTRs) dramatically, even without any ranking change, by adding photo to a business result. G+ interaction gets more rich data into search results, which increases clicks. 20% of searchers, on average, looked at the second page of results on searches back in 2006. Now it’s 2% (because search engines have gotten better).
  • • “If you don’t have open graph tags on your site, need to do that now.” For WordPress blogs or sites, use a plugin like WP Open Graph or Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags for WordPress to simplify the process.
  • • Google’s objectives is to classify EVERYTHING. Sponsorships create brand mentions that make you a real brand. Industry/community activities (associations, analysts, events, community involvement), which are good things to do anyway, also build your brand in search (and are another key channel in the WPO framework).
  • • To boost the value of your Google authorship, publish more in more places, and tag it back to your Google+ profile.

Finally, the brilliant Lisa Buyer and Lisa Grimm concisely and helpfully summarized everything new with Twitter in the past year or so, combined with timeless best practices, in “Breaking Bad with Twitter! Game Changing Tactics & Prodigal ROI.”

It would be impossible to top the summary of this presentation that Lisa Buyer published on her Social PR Chat blog, so check that out. A few quick takeaways:

  • • “Pin” a high-value tweet to the top or your profile, by going to your profile and click “pin to your profile page” from the bottom of your selected tweet. Best practice: use an image with this.
  • • The ideal tweet structure: headline, link, no more than three hashtags. End with a hashtag, but don’t start with one. Put the link near the middle of the tweet. Keep the total length under 120 characters.
  • • Perform random acts of kindness for followers.

The post-conference free martinis were a nice touch too.

 

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