Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
Guest post by Megan Totka.
Has social media ruined public relations? Can the images of business and public figures still be saved by a crisis management team? In a crisis situation, how long until people expect an answer? Can PR keep up in this online social world? These are all questions I’ll try to tackle here. The notion that social media can have a larger impact than public relations is fairly new. Many business executives see social media as an easy outlet for a business to spread positive information, but what about the flip side? Is your business prepared to avoid a PR nightmare if a customer utilizes social media? When you open your business up to millions of people, safely hidden behind their computer screens, anything and everything can be said. Is your business ready for this new PR battle?
In late January, a Midwestern mom had the horrifying task of trying to locate a source of lead in her home after her infant son was diagnosed with lead poisoning. During the examination, she used a home kit and found lead present on a bolt on a baby food blender made by Baby Bullet. After three attempts to get answers from the company via phone and email, the mom turned to social media. Baby Bullet’s Facebook page lit up. Comments were being posted every few minutes. Parents were outraged. One mom even took it a step further, using parenting blog to chronicle the full story.
It took Baby Bullet several hours to release a statement regarding the matter. They followed up with a detailed letter several days later and asked the outraged blogger mom to post their side of the story too. The entire situation was a PR mess. Something that could have easily been handled internally is now public knowledge to thousands of online users. The brand is tarnished in their minds.
Twenty years ago, this type of situation would have never happened. There wouldn’t have been a Facebook page for the mom to post on out of frustration by the lack of response. There wouldn’t have been a public forum for supporters and haters of the product to go back and forth on the significance and truth of the accusation.
Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites available today and they are leading the game of social PR trouble. Businesses have to be quick on their feet. They have to beat detractors to the punch. Someone from the business needs to respond to these big deal posts within minutes. There is no time to waste. PR teams cannot just issue a blanket statement. They have to empathize with the naysayers. They have to relate to and create solutions for the issue. Stick with basic guidelines for Facebook and Twitter. Now is not the time to go informal or rogue with your posts.
The public still wants to hear the business tell the truth, but it’s no longer just the complainer who is watching for a statement. It’s his or her hundred followers and maybe their hundreds of followers too. One tweet or one Facebook post or one trending topic is not just one complaint to your company, it’s one complaint that hundreds, or perhaps thousands of readers will see.
Social media has absolutely changed the face of public relations as we know it. This does not, however, have to be a bad thing. Stay on top of your pages. Preemptively strike with great news every once in a while to build up your name. Though a PR crisis is not quite inevitable, it’s still essential to know how to handle one if if comes your way; social media does not have to become your next nightmare.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
After 32 months (time flies when you’re having fun!) and 300 posts, here is a quick look back at the 10 most-read posts on the Webbiquity blog to date. This is an update of the looking back at 100 post in July 2010.
Again, thank you for reading the MarketingSherpa Readers Choice top b2b marketing blog for 2012. Without further ado, below are the 10 most-viewed posts on this blog to date. Some of the entries are surprising, but life and the web can be unpredictable. These are the posts that Webbiquity readers have “voted” as the best by their traffic so far.
10. PR Monitoring and Management Tools: Which is Best? Vocus vs. Cision (November 8, 2011)
Vocus and Cision are both powerful and popular PR monitoring and management systems. Both provide PR and social media professionals with extensive capabilities for tracking and growing media coverage of their organizations or clients. So which is best?
9. How to Write an Effective Business Blog (January 8, 2010)
Helpful advice on choosing a blogging platform, authors, topics and frequency for an effective business blog. This post is starting to show its age, but the guidance is still useful to beginning bloggers.
8. 33 (of the) Best Marketing Strategy Guides and Insights of 2010 (February 14, 2011)
Sometimes it’s essential to step back from everyday marketing tactics to ask the bigger questions, like: What conceptual models are we basing our marketing assumptions and practices on, and what new models should we be thinking about? Which emerging trends do we need to keep an eye on? While you won’t find much in the way of “tips and tricks” in this post, you will find guidance on answers to these big-picture marketing questions and more here in some the best marketing strategy guides and insights of 2010. For a more up-to-date look at marketing strategy, check out the Best B2B Marketing and Sales Strategy Guides and Insights of 2011.
7. The One Effective Use of Facebook for B2B Marketing (March 9, 2010)
The intimate, informal nature of Facebook makes it the ideal venue to showcase the human side of your company, with content that may not be appropriate elsewhere. While I’d write this differently today, the post holds up pretty well considering there were “only” 350 million users on Facebook when this was published.
More than six dozen of the best, most bookmark-able articles and blog posts about social media tactics, tools and strategies written in 2010, by leading writers like John Jantsch, Lori Dicker, Lee Odden, Lisa Barone, Jay Baer and many more. You can find a much fresher version of this type of content in the recently posted 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far.
5. 50 (of the) Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 So Far (October 5, 2010)
What are the best ways to use Twitter for business? How you can use it most effectively? Which tools are most helpful? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more here—or check out more recent thought on the topic in Best Twitter Tips, Tools and Tactics of 2011.
4. The Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter for 2011 (May 3, 2011)
50 of the most remarkable women on Twitter, from B2B marketers to social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities. Though this list is almost timeless, The Top #Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012, published just last month, honors 50 remarkable women on Twitter who work for or with technology companies.
3. What’s the Best Social Media Monitoring Tool? It Depends (October 13, 2010)
The explosion of social media has led to a corresponding need for more sophisticated monitoring tools that can crawl the hundreds of social networking and bookmarking sites and millions of blogs across the globe. A rapidly proliferating collection of tools are being developed to meet the need. This post highlights nine tools at various price levels that may or may not be the best but are certainly among the most popular and capable social media monitoring tools currently available.
2. Best Email Marketing Tips, Tactics and Metrics of 2010 (February 21, 2011)
How can you use email marketing most effectively and avoid overloading your recipients with information? How can you grow the size of your email marketing list? Avoid mistakes that will cost you readers? Integrate your email and social media marketing efforts to improve results through both channels? Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than two dozen of the best email marketing guides of 2010. Or get more current email wisdom in 17 (of the) Best Email Marketing Guides of 2011.
And the number one, most viewed post of all time so far on the Webbiquity blog (imagine mental drum-roll sound here) is…
1. Best Social Media Stats, Facts and Marketing Research of 2010 (January 17, 2011)
Learn how buyers use social media, which platforms are most effective, and more here in the best social media marketing stats, facts and research of 2010. If you crave social media stats and data (clearly a popular topic), check out the much newer collection of such in 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012.
Note: a slightly shorter version of this compilation was recently published as a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ blog.
Social media and inbound marketing techniques have been a boon for marketers. Not only do leads generated through social and content marketing cost half as much as traditional outbound-generated leads (see below), they also close at higher rate (again, see below).
And social media isn’t just about lead generation of course. While prospective buyers are using search and social to research products and services before making purchase decisions, marketers and PR professionals can use those same tools to research buyer wants and needs. And their competition. And…even social media itself.
Which brings us to this post. Wondering which social network is most effective at generating b2b leads? What marketing technique generates leads with the highest close ratio? What the best day of the week is for Facebook posting? Which U.S. city produces the largest share of “pins”on Pinterest?
Find the answers to those questions and many, many more in this collection of 72 fascinating social media marketing facts and stats for 2012.
Social Media / Social Networking
1. The average midsize or large company (1000 employees or more) has 178 “social media assets” (Twitter handles, employee blogs, etc.)–yet only 25% of companies offer social business training to their employees. (Marketingeasy)
2. B2b marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most imporant factor (64%) in search, behind only strong content (82%). (BtoB Magazine)
3. Although Facebook is the most important social media lead generation tool for b2c marketers (with 77% saying they had had acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% for a company blog), among B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% having acquired a customer through the professional network, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%). (Marketing Charts)
4. The best way to “go viral” is to engage millions of users, each of whom share through small networks. “Online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers…Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinarily people sharing with their friends…the median ratio of Facebook views to shares (is) merely 9-to-1. This means that for every Facebook share, only nine people visited the story. Even the largest stories on Facebook are the product of lots of intimate sharing—not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking.” (Ad Age)
5. LinkedIn generates more leads for b2b companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs. Yet only 47% of b2b marketers say they are actively using LinkedIn vs. 90% on Facebook. (Social Media B2B)
6. One-third of global b2b buyers use social media to engage with their vendors, and 75% expect to use social media in future purchases processes. (Social Media B2B)
7. “Best in class” b2b companies are significantly more likely than average firms to integrate their social media efforts with their email marketing (65% vs. 51%), SEO (61% vs. 49%) and webinars (47% vs. 31%). (MarketingProfs)
8. As for “best in class” practices, 51% of best-in-Class companies use website social sharing tools, compared to 36% of average firms while 49% use keyword-based social media monitoring, compared with 39% of their more average peers. (MarketingProfs)
9. Top executives need to be involved in social media. 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. And 82% of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media. (eMarketer)
10. 70% of marketers plan to increase the number of different social platforms they use in 2012. (ClickZ)
Want more registrations on your website? Consider offering a social login (i.e., the ability for visitors to register at and log in to your site using one of their existing social network profiles rather than creating a new login):
11. 86% of people say they are bothered by the need to create new accounts at websites. (MarketingSherpa)
12. 77% responded that social login is “a good solution that should be offered.” (MarketingSherpa)
13. 21% of “best in class” companies use social sign-in, compared to 8% of average-performing firms. (MarketingProfs)
14. Only 27% of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated. This makes lead nurturing essential for capitalizing on the other 73%. But 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing campaigns. (MarketingSherpa)
15. SEO-driven leads have the highest lead-to-close rate (15%) among common lead generation sources. Paid search leads average a 7% rate, while outbound marketing leads (e.g., direct mail, telemarketing) close at a 2% rate. (Econsultancy)
16. B2C Facebook interaction is 30% higher than average on Sundays. (Mindjumpers)
17. Though nearly every large charity and university in America has a Facebook presence, less than 60% of the Fortune 500 do. (Mindjumpers)
18. 95% of Facebook wall posts are not answered by brands. (Mindjumpers)
19. Though Facebook continues to add users, U.S. members are becoming less active there. Between mid-2009 and late 2011, “messaging friends declined 12%, searching for new contacts fell 17% and joining a group of Facebook users dropped 19% in the U.S.” (MediaPost)
20. 70% of local businesses use Facebook.The U.S. has the largest number of Facebook users. The country with the second-largest Facebook population: Indonesia. (Jeff Bullas)
21. Facebook is the leading source of referred social media traffic to websites, at 26%. Twitter is second at 3.6%. (Pooky Shares)
22. Facebook marketing is a specialized skill. For those looking to outsource this function to a professional consultant, expect to pay $500-$1,500 for initial page setup and anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per month for ongoing content management and curation. (Mack Collier)
23. 52% of consumers say they have stopped following a brand on Facebook because the information it posted had become “too repetitive and boring.” (SMI)
24. There are now roughly 100 million active Twitter users (those who log in at least once per day). (Mindjumpers)
25. 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed deals. (Mindjumpers)
26. 40% of Twitter users rarely post anything but primarily consume content there. 55% access Twitter via a mobile device. (Mindjumpers)
27. 92% of retweets are based on “interesting content.” Only 26% are due to inclusion of “please RT!” in the tweet. (Mindjumpers)
28. Twitter now has 200 million users, including 8% of the U.S. population. About one-quarter of all users are considered “extremely active,” checking in several times per day. (Jeff Bullas)
29. 55% of all Twitter users use the service to share links to news stories, and 53% retweet others. (Jeff Bullas)
30. 77 of the world’s 100 largest companies maintain a corporate Twitter account. But media outlets are the most active users. (Jeff Bullas)
31. Meanwhile, 62% of the Fortune 500 have an active Twitter account. (Business Insider)
32. Most professional consultants charge $500-$1,000 to set up a Twitter account (optimized bio, custom background etc.) and $500-$1,500 per month for ongoing management (dependent on level of activity and amount of content). (Mack Collier)
Google and Google+
33. Google’s search engine is used by 85% of global Internet users every month. (MediaPost)
34. Google+ is expected to reach 400 million users by the end of 2012. It’s membership is 63% male, with the largest cohort in their mid-20s. While the largest block of users by country are in the U.S., the second largest is India. However, only 17% of users are considered “active.” (Jeff Bullas)
35. Google+ is the tool that most marketers (70%) say they want to learn more about in 2012, following by blogging (cited by 59%). (ClickZ)
36. The image-based social network has grown 4,000% in the past six months, now boasts more than 4 million users, and keeps those users engaged: the average Pinterest user spends nearly an hour-and-a-half per month on the site, behind only Facebook and Tumblr. (Jeff Bullas)
37. 83% of Pinterest users are women. In the U.S., the most popular categories are Fashion, Desserts, Clothes and Birthdays. (MediaPost)
38. But in the U.K., the five most popular topics on Pinterest are Venture Capital, Blogging Resources, Crafts, Web Analytics and SEO/Marketing. (Pooky Shares)
39. 22% of all pins come from New York, followed by Los Angeles at 15%. A higher percentage come from Minneapolis (10%) than from San Francisco (8%)–even though Pinterest is based in Palo Alto. (MediaPost)
40. Pinterest is virtually tied with Twitter (at 3.6%) for the amount of referred social traffic it sends to websites. (Pooky Shares)
41. Tumblr grew 900% in 2011 and now has 90 million users. However, just 2% of members account for more than 40% of all traffic. (Jeff Bullas)
42. The five most popular tags for Tumblr posts are GIF, LOL, Fashion, Art and Vintage. The U.S. has the largest share of users, followed by Brazil. (Jeff Bullas)
43. 4.8 billion people now own mobile phones. Just 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. (Mindjumpers)
44. One-third of smartphones globally use the Android OS. (MediaPost)
45. The number of tablets in use in the U.S. rose from 34 million in 2011 to 55 million this year and is expected to reach 108 million by 2015. (TMGmedia)
46. Mobile commerce is projected to ten-fold from 2010 ($3 billion) to 2016 ($31 billion). (TMGmedia)
47. While three-quarters of b2b marketers are aware of the growing importance of mobile devices, only 23% rate mobile search as either “important” or “critical” to their search marketing objectives. (BtoB Magazine)
48. Just 16% of b2b marketers are producing mobile-specific content as part of their content marketing efforts. (Smart Insights)
49. Although the percentage of visits to b2b websites coming from smart phones has increased nearly 50% in the past year, they still represent only about 1 out of every 24 sites visits on average. (Webbiquity)
SEO and Search Marketing
50. 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals. (Mindjumpers)
51. Though half of all b2b digital spending is focused on search and most websites are organically optimized, only 65% of b2b marketers have ever used pay-per-click advertising. (BtoB Magazine)
52. Search provides the highest quality leads. According to research by HubSpot, “SEO leads have a 15% close rate, on par with the close rate for direct traffic, and ahead of referrals (9%), paid search (7%), social media (4%), and outbound leads (2%).” (Marketing Charts)
53. Social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. (Mindjumpers)
54. Social networks and blogs account for 23% of all time spent online — twice as much as gaming. (Mindjumpers)
55. “Increased frequency of blogging correlates with increased customer acquisition, according to…HubSpot. 92% of of blog users who posted multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog, a figure that decreased to 66% for those who blogged monthly and 43% for those who posted less than monthly.” (Marketing Charts)
56. The most popular frequency for blog posting is weekly (60% of bloggers). Just 10% post daily. (Marketing Charts)
57. Blogs are the single most important inbound marketing tool. “When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered them either important (34%) or useful (22%)” for a total of 81%. (Marketing Charts)
58. B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Social Media B2B)
59. For those looking to outsource, a professional consultant will generally charge $1,000-$3,000 for setting up a blog, $1,000-$3,000 per month for ongoing content development/editing, and ballpark of $200 for a single guest post. (Mack Collier)
60. The average budget spent on company blogs and social media has nearly doubled in the last two years, and two-thirds of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business, since 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. (Business2Community)
61. Only 23% of the Fortune 500 (largest companies) maintained a blog in 2011, while 37% of the Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) did so. (Business Insider)
Video and SlideShare
62. 52% of b2b marketers use video as part of their content marketing mix. (Smart Insights)
63. Video production costs vary widely, depending on length, quality, type of content and other factors. High-end animated videos can cost $20,000-$30,000, while simpler interview-type videos can be under $1,000. Common 2- to 3-minute videos with a mix of live action and simple animation typically cost $2,000-$5,000. (Mack Collier)
64. SlideShare draws 60 million visitors per month; but most importantly for b2b marketers, it attracts 3X more traffic from business owners than any other social media site. (Jeff Bullas)
65. On social networking sites, men and women are about equally willing to share their real names (both about 87%), political and religious affiliation, and the brands they like (~77%), but men are far more likely than women to share their physical address (11% vs. 4%), their current location (35% vs. 20%), their phone number 15% vs. 4%), and their income level (16% vs. 5%). (AllTwitter)
66. Contrary to what you’ve probably been told, longer format video may actually drive higher engagement: “different types of content yield different sharing behaviors. Breaking down video behavior within StumbleUpon, videos viewed between two to three minutes found a spike in sharing out to social media, whereas videos viewed beyond four minutes see direct shares increase by five times. Longer, arguably more involved, content may drive viewers to more intimate sharing routes.” (Ad Age)
Inbound and Content Marketing
67. 90% of b2b marketers do some form of content marketing. 26% of b2b marketing budgets are invested in content, and 60% of b2b marketers say they plan to spend more on content marketing in the coming year. (Smart Insights)
68. The most popular content marketing tactics used by b2b marketers are article posting (used by 79% of b2b marketers), social media excluding blogs (74%), blogs (65%) and enewsletters (63%). Just 10% use virtual conferences. (Smart Insights)
69. The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373). (Econsultancy)
70. Small businesses, on average, spend twice the share of their lead generation budget (43%) on inbound marketing as do large companies (21%). Small organiations spend more than twice as much on social media and 3X as much on blogging as their larger counterparts, while big businesses spend three times as much on trade shows and nearly twice the share of their budget on direct mail as do smaller firms. (Econsultancy)
71. More is (often at least) better. Businesses with 40+ different landing pages/offers generate 10X more leads than those with five or fewer landing pages, and those with 200 or more total blog posts generate 3.5X more leads than those whose blogs have 20 or fewer posts. (Econsultancy)
72. 84% of b2b companies are using some form of social media marketing. However, “best in class” companies generate over 3X their share of all leads (17% vs. 5%) from social media as do average performing companies. (MarketingProfs)
73. 90% of b2b marketers are doing some form of content marketing, and b2b marketers spend on average 26% of their marketing budgets on content. The most effective content marketers spend twice as much as their less effective peers on content development, and consider buying stage when developing content. (B2B Marketing Insider)
74. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but content has to be good in order to be effective. B2b buyers say that less than half of vendor content is useful–and vendors who produce such low-value content are 27% less likely to be considered and 40% less likely to win the business. “Good” content is concise, entertaining (includes stories), more educational than promotional, and is contextually personalized. (B2B Marketing Insider)
75. 59% of marketers plan to increase their frequency of content publishing this year. (ClickZ)
76. Why content marketing matters: 44% of traditional outbound direct mail is never opened, which is a waste of budget, paper and postage. 86% of people now skip through television commercials with a DVR. And 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have exited a favorite website because of an irrelevant or intrusive ad. (Business2Community)
Media and Online Advertising
77. Most “national” newspapers are still quite regional: the Chicago Tribune gets socially shared at above average levels only in Illinois, the Washington Post only in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, and the New York Times only in a clump of northeastern states and Hawaii (though the Wall Street Journal is very popular in Arizona). Fox News is most popular in the southeastern U.S. plus Nevada and Alaska, while the Huffington Compost is widely share along the Interstate 35 corridor (Minnesota to Texas), Florida, Oregon, Maine and the rustbelt. (Forbes)
78. Online CPM rates have little correlation with actual advertiser value delivered. Nearly one-third of all display ads are never seen (defined as 50% of the pixels in view for at least one second). But contrary to popular belief, “below the fold” ads don’t necessarily have lower impression rates than those placed high on the page. (MediaPost)
79. Leaderboard (728 x 90 pixels) and medium rectangle (300 x 250) ad sizes have the highest view-in rates. Coupon and directory sites have the highest ad view rates, both over 80%. In contrast, a sponsor’s ads had just a 27% likelihood of being seen on pet-oriented sites. (MediaPost)
We live in amazing times. Social media is transforming communications in ways unimaginable just a couple of decades ago. We often read about the accelerating pace of innovation, but nowhere is this more pronounced than in the world of communications.
Our human species originated, ballpark, 250,000 years ago. Written language wasn’t developed (other than the odd cave painting) until roughly 6,000 years ago. So, for the first 244,000 years of human existence, a person’s ability to communicate with others was limited to those they could come into direct contact with, literally within earshot.
Writing expanded the ability to communicate, but limited education and the need to manually copy every text still severely limited distribution. Johannes Gutenberg, the Mark Zuckerberg of his day, invented his printing press in 1440. (Gutenberg didn’t “invent” printing any more than Zuckerberg really invented social networking—online forums and chat rooms existed long before Facebook—but like Zuckerberg’s, his creation popularized the medium.) So for roughly the first 4,500 years of the existence of written language, there was no ability to mass produce written documents.
The telegraph came along in about 1800, allowing for the first time the transmission of messages instantly across large distances. The cost and specialized knowledge involved, however, severely limited its utility as well as the length of messages that could be practically sent. 75 years later, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and for the first time, speech could be transmitted, by everyday people (or at least by those who could afford a telephone), beyond the limits of one’s immediate vicinity. People had been verbally communicating with each in other, in some shape or form, for roughly 249,875 years before their voices could be heard directly beyond their physical location.
Meanwhile, printing presses evolved and got more sophisticated over time, and Xerox came out with its photocopier in the 1950s, but until the advent of computers and low-cost, high quality laser printers in the late 1980′s, it was a common expression that “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.”
I was personally involved in development of one of the first true high-resolution laser printers, the Printware 720 IQ, in the late 1980s. It took a few more years for prices to come down and color to be added, but for the first time—5,990 years after the development of the written word—anyone could publish documents that looked like they came off of a printing press.
Still, distribution was an issue. It was costly to send out printed documents, you could send them only to your known contact list, and they weren’t searchable by the general population.
The Internet, and specifically blogging software, solved these issues. But blogging takes work, as people discovered, which is why of the more than 150 million blogs that have been launched, PR and social media monitoring software firm Vocus tracks only about 20 million. After much research, that was the number of blogs that were active and not merely scrapers or spam blogs (“splogs”) that publish search-engine-friendly gibberish in the hope of making money off AdWords.
Now, finally, 6,000 years after the written word, 570 years after the printing press, 200 years after the telegraph, 130 years after the telephone, 20 years after the high-res laser printer, and 10 years or so after blogs began—social media tools like Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn and Twitter have thoroughly democratized communications and freed it from limitations of time and space. One can find and communicate with communities of like-minded individuals anywhere on earth in seconds. Such communication isn’t limited to spoken or written words but can include images and video. The messages are searchable and (for all practical purposes) publicly available, so if the content is compelling enough, anyone can find it, and share it, making the communication even more powerful.
Social media is being embraced by marketers, of course, but it’s much larger than that. The democratization of communication is fueling the democratization of life, even in countries with a long history of totalitarian rule. It’s impossible to say where the changes will lead, but the final destination of social media itself may be more predictable.
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.