Posts Tagged ‘Frank Strong’
As Geddy Lee of Rush sang in the band’s 1981 hit Tom Sawyer, “changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”
While he wasn’t referring to SEO (which wouldn’t really exist for another 16 years), the lyrics certainly apply.
Search engine algorithms are constantly being updated. SEO practices which may be very effective one day are useless the next, and then actually invite penalties, before being once again ignored.
So what’s an SEO professional to do? Which tactics are most likely to stand the test of time–and which should be avoided? What needs to be done to recover from search engine penalties? What’s most important–on-page optimization, link building, or technical SEO? What are the current best practices (and which aren’t worth spending time on) in each area?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in four dozen phenomenal SEO guides, tips and tricks from the past year.
Guides to SEO for Beginners
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Buffer
***** 5 STARS
Before you turn up your nose at yet another beginner’s guide to SEO, check this one out. The practice of SEO has (of course) changed considerably over the past few years, and Courtney Seiter recognizes those changes in this noteworthy guide explaining what exactly SEO is today, how search engines rank content, and what SEO professionals do now to optimize websites for search.
SEO for Dummies: Learn SEO in 10 Simple Steps by Social Media Today
SEO isn’t easy, but according to Brian Hughes, it is simple. He walks through 10 basic steps for site optimization here, from getting the foundation right and doing keyword research through on-page content, meta tags, and link building (“Focus on link building through content marketing, blog writing, guest blogging, infographics, site directories (CAREFULLY), and other tools that allow you to leave online footprints leading back to your site”).
Infographic: Search Ranking Made Simple by Sword and the Script
Frank Strong showcases an infographic from Neil Patel that provides a simple, widely accepted explanation of how Google’s search algorithm (probably) works, including the importance of keyword domains, image optimization, domain age, social shares, title tags, keyword repetition, content length, and other factors.
15 Step SEO Checklist for 2015 by Social Media Today
Jason Parks serves up solid advice “to ensure that you are well prepared for 2015″ in SEO terms. Among his 15 steps are title tags, on-page content (keywords used naturally, not stuffed), video, site audits, and otpimized photos (“use alt tags to help describe your image. Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blended search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent”).
Expert SEO Guides, Tips and Tricks
Alex Schultz, the VP of Growth at Facebook (and formerly marketing manager at eBay) “has no educational background in marketing, instead opting to get his masters in physics at University of Cambridge.” In this fascinating post, he shares strategies for growing website traffic, the importance of customer retention, finding your “north star metrics,” and SEO (“the single most important thing is to get valuable links from authoritative sites. Then you need to internally link effectively”) among other topics.
How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working? by Forbes
Joshua Steimle writes that the answer to the tragically common question “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for my keywords?” is not simple, “because the question itself is misguided.” SEO has changed, with searchers now making much greater use of longer phrase and natural language search (driven in part by the use of Siri and other voice-based tools). He goes on to state that it takes roughly four to six months for SEO efforts to start showing results, but to “bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time.”
Lauren Polinsky summarizes “the most important and interesting issues” which may face SEO professionals in 2015 and beyond, from multichannel reporting, local search, and mobile optimization, through monitoring brand citations (“brands will want to work on building more citations, linked or unlinked, from authoritative websites”).
The SEO “Food” Pyramid by The Elumynt of William Harris
Creatively using the traditional “food pyramid” as a metaphor for SEO, William Harris places architecture (proper coding, optimized page titles, correct use of headers, an XML sitemap, etc.) at the base, with a healthy SEo program layering on smaller portions of content creation, promotion, UX, and social signals–topped off with (careful) link building.
Content Quality Score: Google’s Best Kept Secret For Rankings by Mace Dynamics
**** 4 STARS (would be five if not for the popups)
Contending that “Every page indexed by Google has a content quality score assigned to it. This score directly influences how well a page ranks in Google. This however is not promoted by Google and few webmasters or SEOs are even aware of it,” Terence Mace supplies an in-depth post covering quality signals, page purpose, “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages…(which) are pages that can impact a person’s future happiness, health or wealth,” quality factors, EAT (expertise-authority-trust), and much more.
How To Use SEO To Boost Your Brand’s YouTube Channel by MediaPost
Writing that “YouTube, the second most-searched site with one billion monthly unique users, delivers a massive potential impact for SEO to drive visitors to a brand’s video channel,” Jeremy Walker shows how to optimize your YouTube channel to maximize your brand exposure on the site, from video element optimization (title, description, locations, etc.) through integrating your YouTube channel with your Google+ account.
5 Keys to Improving Search Rankings with Duane Forrester of Bing by Stone Temple Consulting
Eric Enge talks to Bing’s Duane Forrester about the keys to improving SEO rank on Bing. Link building is somewhat surprisingly at #4 of Forrester’s five top areas. Content remains number one, though he warns, “The reality is that it’s not up to you to decide if (your site has) quality content. The quality is determined by the interaction of the visitor to your website. If they’re interacting with it, if they’re finding value in it, then there’s quality to it.”
7 Things That Will Improve Your SEO More Than SSL by Search Engine Watch
Erin Everhart deconstructs Google’s announcement late last summer than SSL may impact organic search rankings. She concludes that while SSL may indeed play a small role in SEO success, many other factors carry far more weight; she details seven of those here, including consistent URLs (“the link you use in your internal linking strategy, and the links you use in your XML Sitemap need to match”), relevant content, and CTA-friendly title tags (include “action words — Shop, Buy, Apply, etc — in…title tags”).
Laurie Sullivan reports that enterprise marketers generally view SEO as critical to achieving their ojectives, but also challenging to be successful with. Among the specific research findings here are the top SEO challenges businesses face: “41% find link building one of the more difficult strategies, and 39% call out keyword research management as a close second. Some 33% admit that quality content creation proves challenging, followed by 30% for social media integration; 28%, frequent blogging; 26%, frequent Web site updates; 22%, mobile search optimization; and 13%, local search optimization.”
SEO Tutorial. The ultimate SEO 2.0 guide by Seolution
***** 5 STARS
Albert Mora compiles one of the most valuable and comprehensive guides available for SEO in 2015. One warning though – at nearly 6,000 words (plus a lot of pictures), this is no quick read, not a post to skim. It’s one to bookmark as a vital reference. Not every resource or tactic cited is appropriate in all situations. It’s also a lot of work–but then, successful SEO always is.
Cyrus Shepard presents “a simple framework for on-page topic targeting in a way that makes optimizing easy and scalable while producing richer content for your audience” in this graphical guide covering keyword research, keyword relationships (position, frequency, distance), internal links, semantic markup, page titles and more.
The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise SEO by SERPs
Enterprise-level SEO–optimizing thousands of pages, often across multiple subdomains and interlinked microsites as well as a mothership site–is different from working on smaller sites. Activities have to scale, there are more people involved, more politics, more planning, etc. This comprehensive guide details the elements of enterprise SEO, the environment, and the unique challenges, as well as providing additional useful references.
Dealing With Onsite Duplicate Content Issues by Search Engine Watch
Navneet Kaushal clarifies the causes of on-site (common in ecommerce) and off-site (caused by content syndication, as one example) duplicate content issues, and how to deal with them using tactics like 301 redirects, the “rel=canonical” tag, meta tags, and a consistent internal linking strategy.
Asking “Does SEO boil down to making a site easily crawlable and consistently creating good, relevant content?,” Rand Fishkin answers–no. He lists some of the variety of inputs and tactics that go into successful site optimization, noting these are “why SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations.” And more.
The Truth about Video SEO by acSellerant Studios
Bob Leonard transcribes his interview with video SEO expert Daniel Loeschen of LT Creative Media on how to search-optimize video content. Among Daniel’s advice: “Videos that are meant to drive traffic to your site should ONLY be hosted on your site. If you want to create a video that is specifically for branding and getting your name in front of people, then YouTube, Vimeo, etc. are great for that…(for on-site video) add the video to the most recent site map of your website and update Google webmaster tools with it.”
10 Clever Strategies Content Marketers Use To Earn Links by Shareaholic
Danny Wong forwards tips from the Young Entrepreneur Council on how to get high-quality links through content (other than guest blogging), such as by creating highly sharable content like infographics; developing quizzes and contests; writing controversial content (certainly a strategy to use with caution); and developing blog-based courses using expert interview videos.
7 Hot SEO Tips and Tricks for Blogs by RazorSocial
Ian Cleary passes along seven helpful tips for improving blog rank in search, among them internal link building (“When you write content on your website, find relevant articles that you have already published on your site to link to. As the value of the new post goes up, the value of the link goes up too”); revisiting older posts that aren’t ranking quite as well as they could; and strategic (not spammy) guest posting.
The Complete Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by Positionly
***** 5 STARS
Kristi Hines delves into “why you need to be using Google Webmaster Tools to monitor the health of your website in Google search and to learn more about your search engine optimization efforts” and how to make the best use of all the site’s capabilities in this highly bookmark-worthy post. The Search Queries section is popular with SEO pros, but not everyone knows that “If you click on a keyword, you’ll be shown which pages rank for that keyword, along with details about those pages.”
Rae Hoffman collects her live tweets from the “Meet the Search Engines” session at SMX last year, reporting among other interesting tidbits of SEO news a kindler, gentler Panda release from Google; the impending scale-tipping of mobile over desktop searches; Google’s premeditated attack on MyBlogGuest; and that ranking well on Bing is a matter of “content, usability, social signals and link building”–in that order.
How Top Ranking Brands Like Moz and HubSpot REALLY Do SEO by Social Media Today
Noting how crucial earned links are to SEO success today, Chad Pollitt explains how some high-ranking brands have achieved their search visibility, and outlines a four-step process companies can use to emulate them–essentially a combination of research-driven content creation coupled with social and traditional media promotion, in line with a web presence optimization (WPO) approach.
18 Social Media SEO Resources to Improve Your Search Ranking by Social Media Examiner
Patricia Redsicker explores how social media impacts search and then shares resources that support “best practices for social media SEO,” such as How to Customize Your Social Share Buttons for Increased Traffic, which “walks you through the process of pre-populating social media share buttons for Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook with links to your own website.”
Though content marketing is unquestionably valuable for SEO, it’s not by any means the only tool in the box. Here, Rand Fishkin (again) explains “six out of probably 600 ways that you can earn higher rankings without investing in content creation or content marketing,” from using rich snippets and compelling page meta titles to fixing or deleting low SEO-value pages across a website.
Chris Lake provides an outstanding and comprehensive summary of user experience signals that help with search rankings. Most of these are just good UX practice, so the SEO benefit is a bonus. What’s surprising is the sheer number of signals that can affect search rank, from site speed and mobile-friendliness to button size, navigation, broken links, readability, and other factors.
21 Industry Experts Share Their SEO Tips For 2014 by Reginald Chan
Reginald Chan compiles the responses of 21 SEO pros to questions about how SEO is evolving and their favorite techniques. Adam Connell, Brent Carnduff, Eric T Tung, Kristi Hines, Neal Schaffer, and Tad Chef offer observations and tips like “SEO will…become more professional…content has always been at the center of…efforts (but) being an SEO who also masters UX and CRO can be a competitive advantage now.”
How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings by QuickSprout
Writing that “Just because Facebook and Twitter aren’t driving you a ton of sales doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage them…both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website,” Neil Patel presents an infographic showing real-world examples of how social shares impact search results, along with a few tips on how to get more social shares.
How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions by Proven Rankings
Matt G provides a detailed guide to assessing the content and technical optimization of a website, asking questions like: Is your website optimized for maximum usability? Is it optimized for lead generation and conversions? Does it use responsive design? And are your website URLs optimized?
Brian Dean shares clever techniques for improving search rank by finding broken-link building opportunities on Wikipedia, discovering untapped keywords on Reddit, finding link prospects on Delicious, and 18 other tactics, including using “best of” lists to “find awesome link targets.” Hmm, “best of” lists…wonder where to find those?
11 reasons SEO is a science; 15 reasons it’s an art by BarnRaisers
Rob Petersen lists more than two dozen reasons SEO is both a science (e.g., “Value of the [back]links, whether they are high or low value authority, can be determined by SEO Majestic and Marketing Grader”) and an art (e.g., “Titles that convince people [to click] have clarity, creativity and imagination. The right keywords and key phrases just happen to be in them”).
The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO by Matt Cutts
If you somehow missed this—or perhaps blocked it from your mind due to intense mental anguish—here’s the post where Matt Cutts declared that guest-blogging is dead. Except that he really didn’t; he only said that spammy guest-blogging purely for the purpose of generating backlinks is dead. Note this post generated nearly 700 comments. That’s enormous power—whether used for good or evil.
Guest Blogging and SEO: Still a Match Made in Heaven by QuickSprout
Here is Neil Patel (again), this time reacting to Matt’s post above, essentially clarifying what type of behavior he believes Google will actually punish, and how bloggers can still get value from guest-posting (e.g., “Focus on writing high quality content that actually educates the reader”). Fortunately for Neil, Google still doesn’t punish blogs for pop-ups.
The Ultimate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide by Firepole Marketing
Observing that (as noted above) achieving higher search rank is “simple, but it isn’t easy,” Ahmed Safwan walks through a dozen SEO “sins” to avoid (including lack of proper keyword research, poor site speed, and creating URLs without keywords) along with a nine-step guide to optimizing a blog (or website) for search, from conducting keyword research the right way through ongoing measurement and adjustments.
SEO Checklist: 60 essential checks before launching a website by Web SEO Analytics
***** 5 STARS
Vasilis Vryniotis provides a detailed pre-launch SEO checklist for new websites, with 60 questions to ask in categories ranging from keyword optimization (“Did I choose the targeted keywords wisely? Have I made sure that I can compete for the selected terms?”) to technical website development, link structure, URL optimization and more.
Expert Guides to Google Algorithm Updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon)
5 SEO Trends From 2014: What We Learned by NewsCred
Jayson DeMers looks back at five key developments in Google search from 2014 (including the “diminished impact of Google+…Social media marketers are still using Google+, to some degree, but search engine marketers are no longer viewing it as the significant platform they once projected” and the Pigeon update) as well as forward, with predictions regarding key optimization factors in 2015 and beyond.
An Introduction To Google’s Algorithm Updates by MediaPost
For those who aren’t immersed in SEO on a daily basis but still need a general understanding of how the field is continually evolving, Jeremy Walker provides “a quick primer on the most notable algorithm updates of the past five years and why they’re significant to marketers,” from Panda (first launched in February 2011) through Pigeon in July 2014 (which primarily affected local search results).
Marie Haynes provides a comprehensive summary of Google’s three most recent major algorithm updates, explaining the focus of each as well as how to recover from related penalties. Panda, for example, focused on thin, duplicate, and low-quality content; recovering from a Panda hit requires “removing thin and duplicate content” and then waiting “sometimes take several months for Google to revisit all of your pages and recognize the changes that you have made.”
5 Reasons a Site Hit by Google Penguin Won’t Recover by Search Engine Watch
Writing that “When Google launched the Penguin algorithm April 24, 2012, many sites who had relied strongly on low-quality link building were severely affected” and had difficulty recovering their former levels of search traffic, Marie Haynes (again) digs into a handful of common reasons for slow-or-no recovery, such as improper disavowing: “In almost every case, if you’re going to disavow a link, disavow it on the domain level.”
The Story of Google – a #DigitalHistory Infographic by Tamar
***** 5 STARS
From the launch of Google in 1998 through the beginning of AdWords and the first named updates in 2002 through Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, this outstanding infographic illustrates all the major (and many of the minor) milestones in Google’s journey from startup to the world’s largest search engine.
No longer news, but helpful as a reference, this post from Pratik Dholakiya “takes readers through 11 of the most important Google search engine algorithm updates/changes of 2013,” from link devaluation and Panda (content quality) updates through increased emphasis on long-form, “evergreen” content and Hummingbird.
Expert Guides to Semantic Markup, Schema.org and the Google Knowledge Graph
6 Ways to Make Your Search Results Shine by Search Engine Watch
P.J. Fusco says “your content can leap off page-one results – if you are willing to invest a little time learning how to understand” the Google Knowledge Graph and how to use Schema.org structured markup. Fortunately, she writes, “adding structured markup is particularly easy” using Google Structured Data Markup Helper or WordPress plugins.
5 options for semantic markup to improve SEO by Smart Insights
For those on the technical side of SEO, Yusuf Bhana details “useful semantic HTML elements for SEO” including authorship, local business schema, product details (“Ecommerce businesses should consider product mark-up to incorporate product data such as colour, manufacturer, weight, height and price”), and breadcrumbs, with examples of each.
How Rich Snippets Add Spice to Your Online Content’s Search Results by Content Marketing Institute
Amanda DiSilvestro demonstrates how rich snippets can enhance a site’s appearance in search results, and how to get started with the most popular types of rich snippets including authorship and video: “When I want to use a video rich snippet, I use this link and enter in the URL or YouTube ID of my video. It automatically generates a source code for me to use, so I don’t need to know much about coding.”
Updates to SEO by MediaPost
Lauren Kade discusses how the Google Knowledge Graph works, what rich snippets are and how to use them, and “how to add (rich snippet) markup yourself using the data highlighter feature in Google Webmaster Tools” to make your site’s organic search listings look better.
How To Rank Above 25 In Search Queries by MediaPost
Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “The Schema.org markup code aims to help Web sites rank better in search results, but only 36.6% of Google’s search results contain at least one Schema.org rich snippet and just 0.3% of the 50 million domains analyzed by Searchmetrics make use of Google’s Schema tools.” Consumer-oriented sites in particular can increase their probability of ranking higher by incorporating Schema markup language.
Google Sends Manual Penalty for “Spammy Structured Markup” by TrueLogic Online Solutions
Elrica Gosiengfiao reports that Google is “cracking down on rich snippet spam more actively,” exactly what this means, and how web developers can avoid problems of this type with Google; for example, follow Google’s rich snippet guidelines and “make sure the markups used are correct and use Google’s structured data testing tool to preview your snippets.”
In few professions has the emergence of social media been such a double-edged sword as public relations. On one hand, the “citizen journalism,” blogging, and content-sharing platforms for all types of media have fundamentally altered the traditional print-based business model of professional and trade publications. Information scarcity has been replace by information overload.
There are fewer professional reporters and editors, and they inundated with more noise: it’s estimated there are now four PR professionals for every full-time journalist in the U.S..
On the other, given their skills in relationship-building and content development, PR professionals (should at least) have a natural knack for social media success. And recent changes to Google’s search algorithm which place a premium value on earned links—the kind generated by effective PR and social media engagement—have increased the value PR professionals bring to maximizing overall brand visibility.
How can PR pros best utilize content in this environment? Is there still a role for press releases? If so, how should they be written and distributed to maximize their impact with a shrinking number of over-pitched journalists? How can PR pros use social media tools to identify and connect with key influencers? What do PR pros need to know about SEO?
Find the answers to these questions and many others in more than two dozen of the best guides to social PR practices of the past year.
Guides to PR Content and Press Releases
How to use contributed content to even the playing field by iMedia Connection
Pointing out that “The size of the author’s company doesn’t sway an editor’s decision to publish an article — it has to be well written, polished, and highly relevant to the publication’s readers to stand a chance,” Maya Szydlowski details best practices for pitching and getting externally produced content published on high-authority news sites.
6 ways content marketing has changed the way we do PR by The Next Web
Shannon Byrne outlines half a dozen “ways content marketing has changed the way we ‘do PR,’” among them: everyone is now a content contributor (“As long as your content is high-quality and not overly promotional, publications will often consider well-written, fresh content with open arms”); publications want to publish thought leaders; and “syndication + guests posts are great alternatives to earned media.”
The 10 Commandments of Press Release Writing by PR Breakfast Club
Mickie Kennedy hands down ten commandments for writing effective press releases, beginning with “Thou shalt have a relevant topic” and “Thou shalt be truthful” and progressing through “Thou shalt proofread” (“Read it. Read it again. Go through every sentence and whittle them down until they’re iron tight. Check your grammar. Check it again.”)
How Content Promotion Lands the #PR Story for @LarryKim…Everytime! by Social PR Chat
Frequent best-of honoree Lisa Buyer summarizes the high points of a presentation by WordStream CEO Larry Kim. Among them: “use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to pitch directly to media and influencers”; include visual assets (such as infographics) in your content to increase sharing; optimize titles, meta details and image names for SEO; and extend the value of content through repurposing and syndication.
9 Timeless PR Positioning Strategies by Sword and the Script
Ever notice how many companies are “leaders” in their respective markets, according to their own press releases? Noting that “Positioning as a ‘leader’ is generally a difficult proposition because every company claims to be a leaders; if everyone is a leader, then leadership as point of differentiation has lost its luster,” Frank Strong suggests nine alternative positioning strategies that are less shopworn and more defensible.
To help PR pros craft better, more effective news releases, Robert Wynne here compiles “unfiltered, honest, sometimes brutal yet always helpful, responses from some of the top journalists at publications including The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Mashable, Popular Science, Tech Crunch and Yahoo!.”
Public Relations & Social Media Insight by Scoop.it
As Monty Python used to say, “and now for something completely different“: this Scoop.it curation from Jeff Domansky is a fantastic resource for the latest articles, blog posts, infographics and other content related to the intersection of PR and social media. The content changes frequently so it’s worthwhile checking in here often.
3 Free PR Photo Hacks by Sword and the Script
Writing that “The research on the impact of visuals in press releases, blog posts and even tweets is nearly unanimous: Images drive interest and that interests lasts longer,” Frank Strong (again) passes along his three favorite free, quick, and relatively easy methods for finding or creating images to supplement text content.
Quantifying the importance of building a rich online newsroom, Lisa Buyer (again) writes that “More than half of the journalists surveyed visit an online brand newsroom at least once a week, with 25.2% of them visiting newsrooms daily. And lest you think online brand newsrooms appeal only to traditional journalists, they are also being accessed by bloggers, tweeters, customers, potential investors, anyone who is interested in your company.” She then provides eight helpful tips for optimizing an online newsroom, including knowing your brand’s audience and using a team approach.
Guides to PR and Influencer Research
8 Powerful Influencer Research Tools That Get Results by Blogging Wizard
Adam Connell reviews eight helpful tools to help identify the key influencers on any topic, including NOD3x (powerful though not cheap at $160 per month), BuzzSomo (only covers Twitter, but free), and Authority Spy (an inexpensive tool that works with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Klout).
Adam Heitzman details a five-step plan to use “social influencers to build your brand,” starting out with spending time to find the right influencers (for which the post above may be helpful) and progressing through always paying it forward (“If a social influencer is writing great things about your company, do the same. Commenting and engaging with a social influencer’s content is great, but take it one step further by actually promoting it on your own social pages”).
Shawn Hewat shares her “top 4 tips to start building an ideal list of influencers” for outreach efforts, ranging from power searches on Google to investigating blog rolls (still a solid resource on older blogs, though sadly not used or maintained as regularly today as in the past).
Guides to PR and Social Media
The State of Social Media for PR Pros by Cision
Gina Joseph reports on findings from Cision’s State of Social Media for PR Pros survey, such as: Facebook (used by 88% of respondents) and Twitter (85%) remain the most popular social sharing platforms for PR pros and their clients. But only 44% use any type of paid content promotion on social networks. And “less than half of our survey respondents have successfully pitched a journalist or outlet via social…traditional methods such as using a media database to target specific beats remains ever-important.”
Infographic: State of the Media 2014 by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
Jim Dougherty presents an infographic from Vocus illustrating how journalists view social media. Among other findings: about half of journalists use social media to connect with viewers and readers, and to promote their stories; but 95% don’t believe social media is completely trustworthy, and 91% still prefer to be pitched by email.
Guides to PR and Guest Posting
7 Simple Ways of Maximizing Value from Guest Posting by Razor Social
Frequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary suggests seven “ways to maximize the value of guest posting” (and stay out of trouble with Google), ranging from posting on highly authoritative sites within your market or industry niche (“Google likes to see that you hang out with good company”) to writing great, detailed content (the top results in Google often have more than 2,000 words).
Google Beats a War Path for Guest Posts; PR Needs to Listen by Sword and the Script
Responding to comments made by Matt Cutts about guest blogging and Google’s subsequent actions against using the practice merely for link building, Frank Strong (yet again) advises PR pros on how to use guest blogging and backlinks in ways “that will help keep PR out of the Google penalty box.”
Guides to PR and SEO
Press Release Rankings: Slammed by the Panda? by SEER Interactive
While it would be an overstatement to say that (legitimate) press releases no longer have any SEO value, Google algorithm modifications clearly changed the landscape last year. This post quantifies the result of changes for sites like PRWeb.com and Businesswire.com, but also notes more positively that “the days of the press release for legitimate reasons, earnings reports, technology innovations, acquisitions, etc, are still very alive & well.”
Promising information that “will make you an expert on everything you need to know about SEO in Public Relations without any headache and avoiding all slang,” Adelina Peltea concisely covers the basics of backlink analysis, keyword research, how Google treats links in press releases, and more.
Why PR Pros Will Now Dominate SEO by Cision
Kevin Bailey believes PR pros are well-positioned to help with SEO in the post-Penguin era, writing: “The (links) that really move the needle come from the established media outlets that cite them all over the web—the industry media outlets with large engaged audiences and domain authorities in the high 90s…PR pros have a huge leg up in terms of earning the hard links. They have the ability to reach top media outlets and get content assets covered—content assets that are more about solving a large problem in a given industry than they are about touting a brand and its products.” True, which is why PR and SEO are two key components of a broader web presence optimization strategy.
Guides to Journalist Pitching, Media Relations, and Blogger Outreach
How to Contact the Media: 12 Email Tips That Also Boost Email Marketing by bridgebuzz blog
Noting that “an email has to be really compelling to avoid the delete key. Journalists get more email than most of us: some journalists receive over a hundred email pitches a day from PR people…to stand out among such intense competition and get opened, an email pitch has to be just about perfect,” Lucy Siegel provides a dozen suggestions for effective email pitches to journalists (and writes that most are just as valid as email marketing tips). For example: “Brevity Is Key to Getting Read. After the lede, get to the point right away by covering the basics: who, what, when, where, why and how. Don’t sell, tell.”
Be Memorable: 10 Practical Ways to Successfully Get Influencers’ Attention by Traffic Generation Cafe
Ana Hoffman details 10 ways to get the attention of influential bloggers, journalists or other influencers in your industry, from linking out “shamelessly and unceasingly” to their content, to writing weekly roundups (with some value-added content–not just a collection of links), to quoting them (with detailed instructions on how to do this effectively).
A PR pro’s 10-point media relations checklist by ragan.com
Austin Cross entertainingly shares his “10 commandments of pitching” to the media, from research and personalization (“Not only does the ‘spray and pray’ method require no skill or effort, but it is also arguably the least effective way to pitch”) to scrapping the call script and talking to journalists as if they are real people. (Most of them are.)
Blogger Outreach: Persistence is Fertile by FeedBlitz
Observing that “It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice. If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed. The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created,” Chris Abraham outlines the three characteristics needed to “score the digits in content marketing.”
6 Ways to Pitch Journalists on Social Media by Social Media Today
Jesse Wynants provides half a dozen helpful tips for reaching journalists. For starters, build relationships first: “If you want journalists to pay attention to your brand, you need to build a mutually beneficial relationship long before you ever reach out with a pitch.”
Getting Positive Results From Blogger Outreach Is Difficult, Or Is It? by Tweak Your Biz
Adam Connell (again) offers nine tips for crafting “the perfect outreach email” for bloggers, starting with keeping it relevant (“take the time to check out the blog that you’re contacting”) and proceeding through keeping the pitch short and reaching out on social media before sending an email.
Guides to PR for Startups
PR Tips & Strategies for Startups by Social Entrepreneur Blog
Mark Harai shares a presentation focused on PR tips for startups, organized into six sections: foundation (make friends, not contacts), research, perfecting the pitch (positioning statements, personalization, answering “what’s in it for them,” keeping it concise, newsjacking basics), media outreach, measuring success, and best practices.
Infographic: How To Get PR by Publicize
This infographic illustrates a seven-step process for obtaining media coverage for a start-up (or a new product), from creating your story and tying it into larger trends to offering exclusivity (offering an exclusive to the right outlets makes journalists “more likely to write about your story”) to promoting exclusive features.
As noted in several of the posts highlighted below, the PR professional has changed considerably over the past few years. The audiences, topics, tools, and tactics employed in PR have evolved.
Foremost among these developments is the shift from communicating primarily to a closely-guarded list of traditional “media’ contacts (editors and paid journalists) to working with an amorphous and expanding pool of influencers in specific industries and specialties: vendors, buyers, brand advocates, bloggers, freelance writer, peers, and others.
This shift has led to today’s emphasis on “social” PR. But it’s not merely about using social media platforms and outreach; as one of five pillars in the web presence optimization framework, PR now impacts SEO, content marketing, website design, and other marketing disciplines.
What role do press releases play in PR today? Are they still important for SEO? Is blogger outreach still an effective PR strategy? What are the best practices for social PR?
Find the answers to these questions and others here in almost two dozen noteworthy social PR articles, posts, and guides from the past 18 months.
Social PR Strategies and Tactics
What Brands Can Learn From @TODAYshow in 2014 by #SocialPR Chat
Social PR expert Lisa Buyer writes about the transition of the TODAY show’s social media presence from awkward to awesome, and offers four related tips, including the importance of inspiring and training your own team first: “Brands of all sizes have the strongest army of brand advocates closer than they might think, with the right direction and structure – employees make the best brand cheerleaders.”
Why the News Release is Alive, and Well, and Thriving in the Wired World by Strategic Objectives
Deborah Weinstein expertly explains how the news release have evolved over time, why news releases serve as a pillar of content marketing (news releases are “a tool we PR pros use to communicate with mainstream and social media journalists who share their stories, AKA “earned media,” with your brand or organization’s key audiences – be they consumers, stakeholders, shareholders, regulatory authorities, and/or, all of the above”), and what opportunities this creates for PR professionals today.
The Soft and Subtle PR Pitch of Content Marketing by Sword and the Script
The brilliant Frank Strong says he’s “reached a point in my career where my best PR efforts aren’t made with a telephone or email, but rather with useful content that’s made freely available,” and explains six ways content marketing is invaluable for PR, among them “credibility” in the form of social proof as well as how “people, including the influential, look at us as individuals when they weigh a pitch.” Quality content and engagement matter.
Breaking PR: The Essential Elements of PR by PR News
Caysey Welton showcases graphical “PRiodic Table of Elements,” which lays out “several important elements that a PR pro needs to consider on a day-to-day basis,” from the basics of jumaity, logistics, and budgeting through ethics, framing, media relations, and negotiation, in this quick-read post.
Why PR Agencies Should be Great at Social Marketing, But So Few Are by SocialSteve’s Blog
Steve Goldner explores why many PR professionals and agencies struggle to get results with social media, despite the fact that “PR companies are very well suited for driving social marketing success because their entire success is based upon relationships (and) relationships are what drive social success.” Among the reasons: PR professionals have traditionally carefully guarded their contact lists, and have historically dealt almost exclusively with professional journalists. The world has changed.
Forrester #CMO REPORT: Embracing Digital and Delivering Brand Experience by #SocialPR Chat
Carah Von Funk reveals research findings that “By 2016, Forrester predicts advertisers will spend more than $77 billion on digital marketing, more than they spend on television today and that interactive marketing…will comprise a full 26% of their total spend,” then presents four tips for marketers and social PR professionals to capitalize on these trends, including “CMOs need to take stock of this digital disruption and embrace it by working across departments to assess their digital readiness and identify every area their brand experience can be improved including messaging, actions and product.”
Guides to the Evolution of PR
You Know You Are in PR When… by B2B PR Sense Blog
***** 5 STARS
The awesome Wendy Marx provides an entertaining and video-rich look at how the PR industry has changed over the past decade. For example: “You knew you were in PR when you wined and dined a reporter over a 1 1/2-hour lunch with much camaraderie and laughter (while today) You know you are in PR when the reporter you previously worked with is now heading up editorial for a major brand.”
Quick Refresh on Untapped Opportunities for PR by Ishmael’s Corner
Lou Hoffman offers “three thoughts for pushing out of the comfort zone and generating greater results” with PR, such as using tools like HARO and ProfNet to build lists of freelance journalists, because “As media properties have reinvented themselves to make the economics work, they have greater dependence on freelancers. Yet, many consider freelance journalists as second-class citizens when they deserve the same treatment as staff writers. In fact, one could make an argument for spending more time with freelance journalists since they’re NOT getting crushed with pitches and tend to be more open to input from PR.”
What’s Changed, What Hasn’t in Media Relations by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS
Acknowledging that “the news media has changed enormously in the last 10 years,” Jon Greer astutely details five characteristics of media relations that remain constant (e.g., “There are still hundreds of pitching targets: While the mainstream media sector has shrunk, online-only media and blogs have risen up to fill much of the void”) and five that have clearly changed (i.e., “There are fewer reporters and less space in traditional media outlets…Those that are left are being bombarded with pitches” – so your pitch to one of these individuals had better be exceptional).
Guides to the Intersection of PR and SEO
A Guide to Press Release Optimization by Business Wire
Acknowledging that “inserting targeted keywords with unnatural links is no longer a best practice for your organization’s communications plan,” this guide offers 10 alternative tactics for maximizing the SEO value of news releases, such as that Google’s Hummingbird update rewards good writing: “Focus on writing for humans and creating a good user experience, and Google Hummingbird will take note. Including relevant terms continues to be important, but they need to be in context with your story.”
Enduring Questions on Press Releases and SEO by Sword and the Script
While the days of using marginal-quality, link-filled press releases to game SEO are clearly over, Frank Strong (again)here explains why strategic, newsworthy, well-crafted news releases still do have SEO value, and supplies five tips for getting better search results from press releases, such as “Use multimedia (photos and video)…Multimedia is important for two reasons. First because search engines return a blend of search results, or ‘blended search’…Second, because visuals draw viewers in…viewers will stay on page (with multimedia) for up to 30 seconds longer.”
7 Ways to Obtain “Unicorn” News Links to Your Site Using PR by iMedia Connection
Noting that “PR and SEO are becoming converging marketing practices” (yes, within the context of WPO), Allison Freeland walks through “seven ways to obtain juicy links from news organizations to your website,” including press release distribution through the reputable news wire services; producing unique issue / research studies; and producing / distributing infographics (which “still have value”).
Guides to Influencer and Blogger Outreach
How to Find Niche Influencers in Google+, Twitter and the World at Large by Bruce Clay Blog
Chelsea Adams details half-a-dozen techniques for identifying influencers in any market segment or topic area, from checking out who speaks frequently at relevant industry conferences to finding authors on Amazon.com (“Are they on Twitter? Are they on Google+? Do they have a lot of followers?”) and using tools like FollowerWonk to analyze the key influencers on your key influencers.
GroupHigh.com – The “Blogger Outreach” Multi-Tool by Justice Mitchell
Justice Mitchell writes a glowing and detailed review of GroupHigh, a tool that helps identify bloggers for outreach by topic (along with supplemental information about each blogger including location, associated/guest bloggers, Moz rank, and other attributes); analyze competitor blogs; and track and measure outreach campaigns.
The 10 best ways to pitch a blogger by ragan.com
Author and PR guru David Meerman Scott, who (not surprisingly) receives “several hundred pitches a week from well-meaning PR people,” offers 10 do’s and don’ts for getting the attention of influential bloggers, among them understanding that bloggers can provide coverage in multiple ways (“I might tweet about your product. Maybe you have a story worth adding to a book I’m working on, or including in a speech. Don’t limit yourself”) and not offering guest posts unless the blogger actually accepts them.
Charlotte Varela shares five examples of awful blogger outreach, explaining why each goes beyond ineffective to the point of offensiveness (e.g., “Rule number one of guest blogging – never talk about or ask about links in the initial outreach email! This clearly demonstrates that you’re after a link and nothing else”), as well as six helpful tips for maximizing your odds of success.
How to Find Key Online Influencers by MyBeak Social Media
Noting that “Active web users create about 500 million impressions or data points on products and services per year, yet 80 percent of these user impressions were made by a mere 6 percent of users on social media,” Laura-Lee Walker explains how to use tools like Klout for Business and Traackr to identify and effectively engage key influencers in any realm to “get them sharing stories about your brand.”
Streamlining Blogger Outreach With Inkybee by Soulati-‘TUDE!
The smart and delightful Jayme Soulati explains how to use Inkybee, a platform that helps identify bloggers by topic or niche to facilitate blogger outreach activities. She notes that beyond just building lists, the tool also enables PR professionals to set up, track, and measure results from blogger outreach efforts.
Guest Blogging Guides
How Guest Blogging was Affected by Penguin 2.0 by AudienceBloom
Ignore the obnoxious pop-up here and you’ll find a helpful post from Jayson DeMers explaining how changes to Google’s search algorithm have impacted the value and practice of guest blogging, along with four tips for continuing to get value from this practice, such as focusing on content rather than links (“Google will begin to recognize mentions of a company or its website on other sites, even if that site isn’t directly linking to them. This is known as a citation, and is currently thought to play a major role in helping Google understand the buzz or importance of a particular brand”).
5 Tips for Guest Posting on Higher End Blogs by HigherVisibility
As Amanda DiSilvestro points out, techniques that work fine for obtaining guest-posting opportunities on smaller blogs don’t work with the large A-list blogs. She then steps through five tactics that must be approached differently for outreach to larger blogs, among them: “Take your time and form connections, and then use those connections. As with most things in business, who you know will come in handy. Authoritative blogs want to see that you have made connections to other important figures in the industry (or even in their specific company). If you can name drop, I highly recommend it.”
Guides to Creating Social Media Newsrooms
Why (And How) Brands Should Build Newsrooms by Contently
Shane Snow publishes wisdom gleaned from his interview with former New York Times editor Neil Chase, regarding the value of buiding a brand newsroom (“Today, a business can create and distribute quality content that engages people…But creating content is a new skill for most companies, so it requires new capabilities and expertise. Building a brand newsroom gives the business control over its messaging and content — and the ability to create and distribute content quickly”), how it should be staffed, common pitfalls to avoid, and more.
The Social Newsroom – How To Make It Happen by MindJumpers
Jonas Klit Nielsen outlines “the ingredients you need to leverage” in creating an online brand newsroom, from (of course) your news itself (“The key is to catch the specific news that people talk about when standing by the digital water cooler that is the Facebook news feed…Just remember – the conversational topics must be in context with your brand”) and social behavior to understanding the creative skills required and measuring performance.
This post reports on research from Newsdesk showing that “98 percent of the world’s largest brands have their own online newsrooms,’ but also spells out how brands are struggling to keep content fresh, use relevant and high-quality images, and capitalize on the SEO potential offered by online newsrooms.
Note: This post, a joint effort between Cheryl Burgess and me, originally appeared on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog last month.
Today, Tom Pick (@TomPick), Online Marketing Executive at KC Associates, who blogs at his award winning B2B Webbiquity, and I (@ckburgess – Blue Focus Marketing @BlueFocus360) present 50 remarkable men on our 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men list. These men are indeed using Twitter to rewire and reorient the Web. But, by no means, is this list complete.
Tom contacted me a few weeks ago with this idea and we’ve been working collaboratively on this project ever since. So, as promised in Tom Pick’s blog, “2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Women”, in honor of mothers, our 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men now honors fathers. Just in time for Father’s Day, as we’re pretty certain that every man on this list is a dad, has a dad, knows someone who’s a dad, or some combination thereof.
It takes a community to build a community
So much of building a community requires understanding people and engaging with them. Experts tell us the number one networking tip is to help others and they’ll return the favor — large or small. Adding explicit or implicit promises to a relationship up front can kill it before it starts. Perhaps our focus should be to gain credibility and trust — then work to build an enduring, meaningful relationship.
Now you may wonder, “How do we build a community?” According to Tom Grant, Ph.D, Senior Analyst at Forrester (@TomGrantForr) “You don’t build a community. You expand it.” He said, “Few communities appear ex nihilo at the behest of a technology vendor.”
Should there be an ROI on relationships?
Mother Teresa, a great innovator on relationships said, “Love does not measure; it just gives”. Twitter, not unlike Mother Teresa’s virtues of love, is a delicate ecosystem of real people. Some experts may want to rethink their advice and look deeper into the real meaning of relationships.
Social Networking: Like Falling In Love
Adam L. Penenberg’s (@Penenberg) Fast Company article: “Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love” examines research by neuroeconomist Paul Zak that suggests social networking triggers the release of the generosity-trust chemical in our brains: Oxytocin (known as the cuddle chemical). This should be a wake-up call for companies’ content on pursuing outbound marketing initiatives.
“Twitter isn’t just changing how we communicate — it is changing how we innovate…It’s revolutionary because it brings 21st Century DNA roaring raucously to life”, stated Umair Haque (@umairh) Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. What’s most interesting is that Umair made this statement in June, 2009 when Twitter had recorded approximately 2.5 million tweets per day. Today, Twitter posts 50 million tweets per day.
Umair went on to say in his post “The business of business is to create value — and that’s why Twitter’s not playing the tired, old game of value extraction. It is trying, instead, to create a more authentic kind of value — and to do that, you need ideals. Twitter pursues its ideals — democracy, peace, equity — with the quiet intensity of a true revolutionary.” Since 2009, we have seen revolutionary wars and unspeakable natural disasters. Umair is not only an innovative thinker but a man with astounding vision.
Ecosystems Rewiring: Real Relationships and Feelings
Twitter has become one of the most participatory public mediums in history and continues to grow exponentially as ecosystems of real people rewire with real relationships and feelings.
Now, along with Tom Pick (@TomPick) and myself, we would like to introduce the recipients of the 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men Award.
Sean Gardner – @2morrowknight
Humanitarian and co-creator of the #TwitterPowerhouses Series, and #TwitterCharityFacts. Blogger for Huffington Post and @op_editorial, Marketer, Do-Gooder, Master Surfer! Sean was also a #MMChat guest, sponsored by @TheSocialCMO
Adam Vincenzini – @adamvincenzini
Dan Higgins – @AdScientist
A digital and advertising strategist, Dan is passionate about new technologies and creativity. Currently, he is a Medical Officer in the @USArmy in Kandadar. His “first love” is advertising and when he returns home, he will be looking for a job on Madison Ave. Couldn’t name all of our favorite #Nifty50 creative guys, but we think Dan represents all of them for us. Dan had sent me a long list of his recommendations for #Nifty50. He thinks we’ve picked one name from his list, but what he doesn’t realize is that we’ve picked Dan to represent all the Mad Men. Dan, Madison Ave is waiting for you when you get home! |Dan’s LinkedIn Profile | Dan’s Tweets – On May 12, 2011 Dan tweeted this: @CarlRWarner @ckburgess I am officially an Army Medical Captain! |Dan is not always able to tweet b/c of responsibilities or out on missions…but here are a couple more of my favorite tweets from Dan sent on 5/21@AdScientist: ‘What is beautiful about social media are the relationships that can be built/started, conversations shared.’|Another special tweet he sent 5/21 @ckburgess I can’t wait to get home from Afghanistan to buy his book, #WeFirst, and not just follow his twitter and blog. @SimonMainwaring NEW POST by Cathy Waters @cathywaters May 19th Blog – Dan is the Man: Advice on Finding Marketing Jobs in the Digital Age
Marty Weintraub – @aimclear
Marty Weintraub is president of aimClear, an Internet-focused Advertising Agency. His company provides traditional & social pay-per-click (PPC) management, natural search optimization (SEO), social media/feed marketing (SMO) and online reputation management (ORM) services to national clients. An avid search marketing blogger, he’s written extensively for SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, SEORoundTable and others. His popular “home” publication is aimClear Blog. Marty’s an international speaker at Search Engine Strategies (SES), Search Marketing Expo, SEMpdx and PubCon conferences. A musician by trade, Marty is well known for recording dolphins, wolves, loons, water environments and setting them to global acoustic music.
Alex Romanovich – @alexromanovich
Founder of Social2B, social media marketing integrators and consultancies, with emphasis on Enterprise and B2B Social Media, SEO and SMM, and defining metrics and measurement systems, aligning traditional metrics with social media metrics. CMO at EuroSpaClub International. Advisory Board Member at The CMO Club. Contributor to the Social Media Marketing Magazine – B2B Column. Consults major corporations on social media strategies, reputation management strategies, risk management strategies, and social media growth and scalability in manufacturing, healthcare, IT service, technology, publishing, and CPG industry segments. Consulted on social media and reputation management strategy with Dow, Hearst, IBM, Time/Life, & Barnes&Noble. Founder of Social2B Labs – a new and emerging social media accelerator for companies and innovators targeting Enterprise and B2B solutions.
Andreas Ramos – @Andreas_Ramos
Andreas Ramos is the Director of Strategy for Acxiom Corporation and lives in Palo Alto, CA. He is an industry expert in the areas of SEO, interactive and digital technologies and author of Search Engine Marketing and several more books. He co-founded two Silicon Valley search engine marketing agencies and is a frequent speaker at search marketing conferences. Andreas’ blog includes a great list of favorite words and meanings from multiple languages. One example, the word: Aware. This is a Japanese noun, pronounced ah-WAH-reh, which means a sudden, brief awareness of the brevity and fragility of existence, such as a glimpse of a herd of deer running softly through a forest or noticing the sheen of moisture in a woman’s eyes. His blog also includes a beautifully written personal account of the night the Berlin Wall fell.
Andres Silva A. – @andressilvaa
Marketing Professor at Universidad Andrés Bello and DuocUc. SMM, Consultant and Speaker. CEO at SMMChile and CM at Ingelab ltda. Andres is a social media expert. Ranked No. 1 Marketing Professors in the world by @SMMmagazine. Andres is always recommending his favorite tweeps and blogs, but now we’re recommending that you read Andres’s blogs at marketinghighcompetition.blogspot.com and blogmarketingchile.com and follow him. Andres’ insights and knowledge inspires not only his students, but everyone that follows him.
Arik Hanson – @arikhanson
Arik is the principal at PR firm ACH Communications, a digital PR consultant, blogger, co-founder of HAPPO, and (along with #Nifty50 award recipient Missy Berggren) co-founder of the Minnesota Blogger Conference – #mnblogconf
Aaron Lee – @AskAaronLee
Aaron Lee or more known as Ask Aaron Lee (@askaaronlee) on twitter is your average Joe but with an extra-large social media addiction. Competitive by Nature, Positive Minded, Marketing Student & part time social media manager.
Billy Mitchell – @Billymitchell1
Billy Mitchell is a partner and senior creative director at MLT Creative, an Atlanta-based B2B marketing agency. As a B2B marketing specialist, Billy is a recognized expert in B2B inbound marketing, and is very active on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He is also the curator of the top two B2B marketing lists on Twitter, and his lists are number one on both Listorious and Mashable. He contributes regularly to the B2B Ideas@Work blog for MLT Creative.
Michael Brenner – @BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner is a Sr. Director of Global Marketing for SAP. He is the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor for the SAP OnDemand blog and also a co-founder of social news site Business2Community.com. Michael has been working in marketing and sales for over 17 years in various roles where he uses customer insights to drive sales, ROI and customer loyalty through effective sales and marketing strategies. Michael believes that companies need to become more social, and that marketers need to stop focusing on just their activities and put the customer first. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael and Facebook.
Christopher Burgess – @burgessct
Christopher Burgess – Senior Security Advisor at Cisco; co-author of Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost; writes on Online Safety, Hunger and Human Trafficking on his personal blog, Burgessct.com, while also professionally blogging in both Huffington Post and Cisco Security Blog addressing social network/media security & privacy issues touching our personal and professional lives. Christopher is an often sought speaker, who addresses the unsavory side of social media not touched by many.
Chuck Martin – @chuckmartin1
Chuck is Director of the Center for Media Research, MediaPost Communications, a NY Times Business best-selling author, CEO of Mobile Future Institute and mobile advocate. He’s brand manager of the Mobile Insider Summit and a frequent speaker nationally on mobile and mobile marketing. His newest book is The Third Screen (Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile).
Danny Brown – @DannyBrown
Co-founder and partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing. Speaker at TEDx and is regularly quoted in publications and news media, including Marketing Magazine, Canadian Marketing Association, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company and City News Toronto. Award-winning marketing and social media blogger. Founder of 12for12k.org.
David Aaker – @DavidAaker
David Aaker is Vice-Chairman of Prophet, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, the creator of the Aaker Model™ and a recognized authority on brands. David has published 15 books and his latest is Brand Relevance. On David’s blog you will find more information on Brand Relevance as well as all his other books he has published. In addition, David’s blog provides the reader with a steady-stream of thought-provoking marketing content.
Jason DeRusha – @DeRushaJ
A reporter and anchor for CBS affiliate WCCO TV in Minneapolis (the top-rated newscast in the Twin Cities); Jason hosts the station’s popular “Good Question” segment. He’s also active in social media and was named as one of the Twin Cities Top Titans in Social Media in 2009.
Eric Fletcher – @ericfletcher
Eric is the CMO at McGlinchey Stafford, a business law firm with nine offices in the U.S. He is a Communication and Marketing veteran, with a career that spans radio and television broadcasting, agency partnership, film & video production, and professional services consulting. His personal blog focuses on strategic marketing, communication and values in today’s market. In addition, Eric writes a column for SMM Magazine, and contributes as part of the “Crew” at The Social CMO Blog.
Blair Semenoff – @Flipbooks
If you ‘ask’ @AskAaronLee about Blair he would probably say that Blair is one of the 50 Most ReTweeted Twitter Users of All Time. But Blair isn’t just a cool guy that everyone loves to RT, he’s a “Twitter Psychologist” & “Viral Marketing Scientist”. He is currently creating a global social media agency & is searching for funding.
Frank Strong – @Frank_Strong
Frank is a PR & marketing guy full-time, infantry officer part-time, Pats fan all the time, political news junkie anytime. Visit Frank’s blog, The Sword and the Script, a blog that studies the application of marketing, PR and social media.
Glen Gilmore, Esq. – @GlenGilmore
Glen is a power user on Twitter with over 100,000 followers. He is an attorney, social media best practices strategist and adjunct professor at Rutgers University. Principal of Gilmore Business Network, a NJ-based social media consulting firm, and also a practicing attorney. He is the senior social media marketing advisor to Memphis-based Howell Marketing (@HowellMarketing) and to Harrisburg-based Deeter Gallaher Group (@AnneDGallaher) public relations and marketing firms with clients ranging from Fortune 500 to small businesses and non-profits. Glen served as mayor in Hamilton, NJ, during the 2001 anthrax attacks when the regional postal facility located in the community received and distributed anthrax-tainted letters. Gilmore was featured in TIME magazine for having established an emergency treatment clinic to care for more than 1,000 postal workers who had been exposed to the potentially-deadly anthrax substance.
Holger Schulze – @HolgerSchulze
Based in Washington, DC, Holger is director of marketing for information security vendor SafeNet. He is the founder and manager of two highly successful and active groups on LinkedIn, the 20,000-member B2B Technology Marketing Community and the 78,000-member Information Security Community.
Jeff Ashcroft – @JeffAshcroft
Supply chain expert and social networking pro Jeff Ashcroft is a key thought leader in many fields including retail, supply chain & disruptive technologies. Jeff is the true social media visionary who created The Social CMO, a blog that brings 35 senior marketing minds together and is now one of the Ad Age Power 150 Marketing sites. Jeff also founded & hosts #MMchat one of the most popular tweetchats every Monday at 8 pm EST. That is why @theSocialCMO is aka @JeffAshcroft.
Jeff Bullas – @jeffbullas
Jeff Bullas is a Chief Digital Evangelist with a passion to make a dent in the digital universe. Jeff makes social media and digital marketing simple without the gobbledygook. Visit Jeff’s blog, www.jeffbullas.com for fresh social media insights.
Joseph Zuccaro – @joezuc
Joe is a B2B Marketing consigliore and president of marketing automation services provider Allinio. Joe is the brainchild of B2B Twitterer of the Year Awards, @b2btoty debuted over two years ago. In keeping with Twitter’s crowd-sourcing spirit, the @B2BTOTY awards are based on votes from thousands of Twitter users and on each B2B creator’s Twitter strategy. Enjoy reading Joe’s blog.
Ken Banks – @KenBanks
Publisher, Ken Banks, is a seasoned online and offline publisher and is the Twitter power source for his blog @SocialNetDaily. Ken’s blog and tweets are social media news you can use. Ken understands the growing intersection of social media and business. He is listed as the 16 Brilliant Business Minds on Twitter in the Huffington Post. He is an inspiration to his followers.
Kent Huffman – @KentHuffman
Kent is the CMO at BearCom Wireless as well as the Founder and Co-Publisher of Social Media Marketing Magazine (@SMMmagazine) and a published author. He serves in advisory roles for the CMO Council and @TheSocialCMO. He is the publisher of The Top Professors on Twitter, The Top Authors on Twitter and The Top CMO’s on Twitter. Kent spearheaded the creation of BearCom’s company blog, BearCom Bulletin at Blog.BearCom.com. The blog will be formally hosted by BearCom’s virtual Chief Technology Officer, Meg A. Hertz, the mild-mannered tech geek who, when needed, morphs into superhero Wireless Woman. Kent is releasing the fifth issue of @SMMmagazine, and recently talked to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the magazine.
Kevin Randall – @KevinBrandall
On Twitter, Kevin (@KevinBrandall) brands himself simply: “All-Brand guy at Fast Company.” That’s an understatement. When Kevin broke news on politicians using neuromarketing, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post and GOOD Magazine followed. When not writing for Fast Company, Kevin develops strategies at Moveo to turn client businesses into fast brands. Google invited Kevin to lecture their marketing executives—after they ‘Googled’ the term “B2B Branding“. Check out Kevin’s recent Fast Company project, Face the Nation: How Sensory Logic Sees Secrets In Candidates’ Mugs. And speaking of presidential faces, Kevin is quoted in a Forbes story on Trump’s brand value. Having worked previously at Interbrand to build brand value for name-brand companies, Kevin is also an accomplished ‘Naming guy’. So picking Kevin here was just good, nifty branding. BTW: Kevin is a fellow member of the #LeBronians team “drafted” by Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) in FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy –Maybe It’s You.
Lee Odden – @leeodden
Lee is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing. He is one of 25 online marketing experts featured in “Online Marketing Heroes” published by Wiley and has been frequently cited for his search & social media marketing expertise by The Economist and Fortune Magazine. He’s an active thought leader in the search marketing industry. Lee has contributed to top industry publications such as Mashable, iMedia Connection and Yahoo Search Marketing Blog. A sought after search marketing, social media & PR industry speaker, Lee has keynoted Online Marketing Summit, Social Media Junction and Search Exchange on the intersection of Search, Social Media and Content Marketing.
Epirot Ludvik Nekaj – @LPlus
Epi is a pioneer in the crowdsourcing ad model, and Founder & CEO of Ludvik + Partners @LAdvertising in NYC. Under Epi’s leadership, his agency has landed several clients in B2B and B2C to personal branding services for high caliber CEO’s like John Basil Georges and QR Code ad campaigns like Tissot Watches. Today, Ludvik + Partners is one of New York’s hottest boutique ad agencies built 100% on the crowdsourcing model. FYI: Never forget the first time I met Epi. It was at the Twitter Shorty Awards (NYC) in 2010. In the midst of a maddening crowd, Epi appeared with his quick smile and offered me my first Twittertini to congratulate me, it was a moment I’ll never forget. Prior to that night we were Twitter pals, but since then we’ve become good friends. In case you would like to attend a couple cool events on June 7th, during Internet Week NYC (June 6th – 13th, 2011), here are two discount codes for you: “Using LBS to Boost Your Biz + WE FIRST Book by Simon Mainwaring” 15% Discount Code: #LBSBoost and Crowdsourcing AD Biz + WE FIRST Book by Simon Mainwaring 15% Discount Code: #CrowdAdBiz .
Mack Collier – @MackCollier
Mack Collier is a strategist, trainer and speaker who specializes in helping companies better connect with its customers via social media. His motto: “Don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.” Mack founded and moderates #Blogchat, the largest Twitter Chat on the Internet. His goal is to help clients create those connections with their customers, and nurture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line. Mack is a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs and his writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe. Mack has presented at some of the top social media conferences including SXSW and Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer.
Mark Ragan – @MarkRaganCEO
Publisher of PR Daily and PR Daily Europe, the only daily news portals designed specifically for corporate communicators. Mark’s domain, Ragan.com also addresses Healthcare Marketing and Communications News and conducts a distinguished series of conferences to the communication and social media world. Mark personally drives his many conferences on communications and social media.
Mark Schaefer – @markwschaefer
Mark is a talented marketing consultant and adjunct professor for Rutgers University in New Jersey and has seven patents. Mark blogs at businessesgrow.com and is the author of The Tao of Twitter. He is also a recognized Twitter Top 10 Marketing Professor.
Mark Burgess – @mnburgess
Mark is an experienced digital marketer, social brand strategist, speaker, blogger and educator. He is co-founder of Blue Focus Marketing, a social branding consultancy that helps brands realize the benefits of social media marketing. Utilizing an innovative model, delivers customized on-site social media workshops. He is also the co-author of Ad Agencies Winning New Business 360, which has sold in 25 + countries worldwide; based on a proprietary strategic blueprint with emphasis on social media. Mark has been quoted in the WSJ and The New York Times. Mark’s career spans marketing, advertising, and professional services consulting. Mark led the PwC Global Web team. At McCann, headed the flagship L’Oreal and Sears accounts. Mark is a Twitter Top 40 Marketing Professor. Mark teaches Executive MBA and MBA marketing and advertising courses. He has won two EFFIEs for marketing excellence and DMA ECHO Awards.
Mike Volpe – @mvolpe
Mike is the CMO at HubSpot in Boston, a marketing software company. According to Brian Halligan (@bhalligan), “Mike has built a scalable, inbound lead generation machine for HubSpot,” Brian stated that Mike, “played a critical role in growing our customer base from a dozen beta customers to over 4,500 in four years. Last month alone we got 38,000 new, inbound leads to feed to our sales team. That’s inbound marketing in action.” Volpe is also credited with using inbound marketing to create a top marketing software industry brand that has won more than 30 industry awards, been featured in over 20 business and marketing books, and boasts one of the largest online communities of any SaaS company. Mike hosts an award winning weekly live marketing video podcast HubSpot TV. He was featured in a Harvard Business School case study “HubSpot: Marketing and Web 2.0“. He enjoys talking about marketing, appears frequently as a marketing speaker and blogs at blog.hubspot.com. Mike enjoys golf and playing recreational ice hockey and is a fan of the Patriots and Red Sox. Check out @TomPick’s blog at Webbiquity on what he learned from Mike’s HubSpot Webinar.
Patrick Strother – @PatrickStrother
Strother Communications Group since 1992. Teaches PR at the University of Minnesota. Digital Marketing, Higher Ed, Sports, Art, Public Affairs and loves playing the Guitar. He’s a Twitter Top Marketing Professor.
Philip Hotchkiss – @PhilipHotchkiss
Philip is a very passionate writer. 3x startup guy, advisor, board member. Past adventures CPO @Klout, CEO at Talkingpoint, president @MarketWatch, founder/chairman/CEO at BigCharts Philip’s. Not sure how many children Philip has nor all of their accomplishments, but I do know he’s very proud of his 8 year old son playing classical piano. On May 22nd, Philip tweeted his talented, classical pianist son’s YouTube debut on his GatorKeys channel playing Kabalevsky Etude in A minor No. 27 Op. 3. It’s moments like these that makes communities feel like family.
Philip Letts – @philipletts
Philip’s passion in life is crowdsourcing. He is an entrepreneur and head of blur Group, a creative services exchange where businesses and brands source marketing and creative campaigns from a crowd of experienced professionals. Although his Twitter profile proclaims he is “crap at surfing” that may because a) there’s no surf in the UK or b) he is too busy making waves in an industry vying for dominance over Madison Avenue.
Gary Schirr – @ProfessorGary
Gary Schirr is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Radford University in Virginia. His research passions are innovation and co-creation. Prior to joining academia, Gary worked for a Wall Street firm in Chicago and Singapore and as CMO for a succession of online startup firms. Now a third-career marketing professor, his interests also include service innovation, social media marketing, cross-cultural marketing and, entrepreneurship. Gary has the distinction of being ranked #3 in the world among Twitter Top Marketing Professors. Gary blogs at Service Co-Creation. He recently received a grant to develop a hybrid SMM course for RU, crediting his twitter and blog community which cooperated to crowdsource his grant application.
Scott Galloway – @profgalloway
Scott Galloway is Professor of Brand Strategy @ NYU, Founder of L2 Think Tank, Red Envelope, Prophet Brand Strategy and Firebrand Partners. Scott’s L2 think tank helps brands navigate the changing marketing landscape through events, research and advisory services.
Robert Rose – @Robert_Rose
Rob is the Founder and Chief Troublemaker at Big Blue Moose. Rob excels at innovating creative and technical content marketing strategies for his clients. He’s the Strategist in Residence and brand advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, a featured writer and guest blogger for the online magazine iMedia Connection. He is a frequent keynote speaker, guest blogger and brand advisor, and co-author of the book “Enterprise 2.0: How Technology, E-Commerce and Web 2.0 Are Transforming Business Virtually”. Rob is a research fellow with Coburn Ventures, a community of experts discussing and innovating current trends in Technology and investing. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Software Division, and was a founding member of the Executive Council on Software-as-a-Service. In our opinion, Rob’s most “notable” achievement and in keeping with Rob’s title, “Chief Troublemaker”, was his creation of #LeBronians team FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy? — Maybe It’s You.
Simon Mainwaring – @simonmainwaring
Simon Mainwaring is founder of We First, a social branding consulting firm that helps companies use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact. His new book We First comes out in June explaining how brands and consumers use social media to build a better world. He is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, Worldwide Creative Director on Motorola for Ogilvy, Fast Company blogger, international speaker, AdAge Power 150 member, contributes to Huffington Post, GOOD Magazine and Mashable and is a self-proclaimed “idea geek”. He blogs at http://simonmainwaring.com/and is committed to supporting a We First community of brands, non-profits and consumers using social technology to scale positive social change.
Steve Akins – @SteveAkinsSEO
On Twitter , Steve is known as a guy who is super friendly. He’s always quick to engage with you when you show up in Twitter chat. In real life, he is a SEO, developer, entrepreneur, struggling poet, gastronome, explorer from Chicago. Steve will be launching a new website soon. Can’t wait Steve!
Steve McKee – @SteveMcKee
Steve McKee is the president and co-founder of McKee Wallwork Cleveland; a full service integrated marketing firm that Advertising Age recently recognized as one of ten top small agencies in America and that has twice been awarded the American Marketing Association’s EFFIE Award for marketing effectiveness. He’s the author of When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck and What to Do About It; writes a monthly advertising advice column for BusinessWeek.com, and has been published or quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Advertising Age, Adweek, Investor’s Business Daily and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in dozens of newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S.. Steve has appeared on CNBC, ESPNII, CNNfn, Bloomberg TV and network television affiliates in more than two dozen cities across America and is a popular corporate speaker. Steve also blogs at Stalled, Stuck or Stale: The Blog for Brands That Don’t Have It All Together.
Steve Farnsworth – @Steveology
Steve is a senior corp comm practitioner and has worked with Apple, Mitsubishi, Philips, and THX. He consults with TV producers, documentary film makers, and authors on building audiences for their projects by using social media. Steve is currently the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Social Media. Steve also delivers on-site training and workshops designed to help his clients and their employees effectively integrate new school marketing with their traditional mix to increase brand loyalty and shorten the sale’s cycles. He is a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum, and regularly blogs and speaks on organizational adopting of social communications. As @Steveology on Twitter, he is nationally ranked in the top 5 for public relations, inbound marketing, and branding.
Steve Woodruff – @swoodruff
Steve refers to himself as the Connection Agent. He creates Opportunity Networks – communities of people committed to supporting one another, learning from one another, and opening up doors of opportunity for personal and professional advancement through trusted referrals. Two business networks — Impactiviti and the Connection Agency — have been launched. Steve is also the co-founder (with #Nifty50 Woman @LisaPetrilli) of #LeadershipChat, a growing community on Twitter born out of #SOBConf.
Ted Rubin – @TedRubin
Many people in the social media world know Ted Rubin for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. On May 1st Ted announced leaving OpenSky and accepting the position of Chief Social Marketing Officer at Collective Bias, a company he has worked closely with for two years since meeting the Founder, John Andrews, through the blogging community and whose Advisory Board he joined a few months ago. Ted is on the Advisory Board of CollectiveBias, OpenSky, and SheSpeaks, is a Social Marketing and Engagement Advisor to Big Fuel Communications, and a Social Marketing Strategist and Brand Evangelist for Zuberance, a company that identifies, mobilizes, and tracks Brand Advocates. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter and has one of the deepest networks of any marketer in the social arena. ROR is the basis of his philosophy…It’s All About Relationships!
Olivier Blanchard – @thebrandbuilder
Olivier helps companies develop, build, integrate, manage and measure Social Media Programs. He also helps companies manage their reputations online and offline, and establish leadership in their markets. His Twitter profile tells us: “Pray that I never become your competitor’s secret weapon.” Check out his blog. Also, highly recommend his book, The Social Media ROI.
Tony Karrer – @tonykarrer
Tony Karrer is considered one of the top technologists in the e-Learning space. He is an experienced CTO and his work in social media, e-Learning and Performance Support has won awards and has led him into engagements at many Fortune 500 firms. Tony is a frequent speaker at industry and academic events. Tony blogs at Social CTO.
Trey Pennington – @treypennington
Trey is all about delivering your brand story. Trey’s motto: “DON’T just tweet! Transform your marketing with STORIES. Story gets attention. Story gets SHARED”. Trey is a marketing pro, speaker, author, and dreamer. If you’re not connected to Trey either on Facebook, Twitter or haven’t met Trey IRL, then you’re missing a lot. Check out his blog to learn more about this amazing guy. You won’t be disappointed.
Umair Haque – @umairh
Umair is Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. He also founded Bubblegeneration, an agenda-setting advisory boutique that shaped strategies across media and consumer industries. Umar is not only an innovative thinker but a man with astounding vision.
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Can the financial return on expenditures for social media business activities– in marketing, PR, customer support, HR, product development or other areas — be accurately measured? Can social media costs be justified on the P&L, so that as belts get ever tighter in this stagnant economy, these projects and tasks can be spared the budget axe?
Among social media pundits, the debate rages on. The “yes” crowd argues that of course social media can be measured, and must be in order to demonstrate value to the business. You wouldn’t buy a new machine tool or enterprise software application without an ROI analysis, so why should social media be any different? Executives don’t care about shiny sparkly things or the latest fads or buzzwords; you’d better know what you want to accomplish, be able to quantify both expenses and revenue, and have the analytics in place to track results before even murmuring the words “social media” in the presence of C-level types.
The “no” group will counter that the metrics and tools haven’t yet matured, or that social media is too amorphous to even be measurable, or that it is rapidly becoming simply part of the plumbing or wiring of a modern organization, making ROI immaterial.
My own thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the matter are that:
- • It’s challenging to measure the true ROI of social media activities with any precision because social media is as much (if not more) about influence than direct action. For example, if John Doe clicks through to your website from a tweet and buys something, that’s easy to measure. But if John Doe is influenced to buy from you based a tweet—but completes the purchase through another unrelated channel—there’s no way to assign the value of that sale to Twitter.
- • That said, there are many aspects of social media that can and should be measured, both to show results and to help guide future activities (e.g. determining which topics generate the highest traffic and comment activity on a company blog, what time of day is most productive for tweeting, etc.). In other words, the statement “ROI is challenging to measure accurately” shouldn’t be confused with “don’t bother trying measure anything.”
- • Metrics can be useful to help determine what to do more of, less of, or differently, but should not as the basis for whether or not to engage in social media. At this point, the adoption of social media tools is so widespread as to constitute just another communication channel. It makes no more sense for a business to shun social media until ROI can be demonstrated than it does to demand an ROI analysis for installing phone lines or email.
So much for my thoughts. What do other pundits have to say? Below are summaries of a variety of posts on the topic of social media ROI measurement from luminaries such as Danny Brown, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Michelle Golden and Sharlyn Lauby divided into their respective camps: yes, no, and maybe.
Is social media ROI measurable? Yes.
The Real Cost of Social Media by Danny Brown
This isn’t strictly speaking an ROI article, but Danny does dive into the “I” part of that measure, detailing the true costs (investment) of social media participation.
20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns by Search Engine Land
Chris Bennett lays out the list of metrics he uses to analyze, track and “prove ROI’ from social media marketing. Compelling piece except for his use of the phrase social media campaign (argh).
Kim Cornwall Malseed summarizes the social media wisdom and ROI results gleaned from a panel of b2b marketing pros including Holger Schulze of SafeNet, Frank Strong of Vocus and Susan Cato of CompTIA. She reports on the revenue achieved, social media strategies used and measurement systems employed for tracking.
ROI: How to Measure Return on Investment in Social Media by Social Media Today
In this long but worthwhile post, Brian Solis reviews the evolution of social media measurement forms (e.g. “return on engagement”), the disconnect between social media marketers (most of whom can’t measure ROI) and CMOs (most of whom expect it), then offers his recommendations for improving the measurement of business objectives from social media.
While acknowledging that tight precision is impossible because the same measures from different tools rarely match exactly (and multiple tools are still needed to end-to-end social media tracking), Angel Djambazov nevertheless makes a strong case for developing ROI metrics for social media campaigns. Quoting Brian Solis and others, Angel points out that particularly in this economy, even great ideas without a hard-number rationale are likely to get slashed; ROI measurements are needed because CMOs demand them. The post also includes some strategies, tactics and tools to assist in social media measurement.
Social Media Monitoring Techniques by WebFadds
Scott Frangos presents a concise but clear outline of basic social media ROI measurement objectives, tools and analytics.
Counterpoint: Why you can calculate an ROI in social media – and why you should do it by iMedia Connection
Uwe Hook responds to the post from Ben Cathers (in the “No” section below) on why social media ROI can’t be measured, laying out a roadmap using metrics such as frequency, yield, sentiment analysis, NetPromoter score and customer lifetime value.
Socialnomics: What Social Media Success Looks Like by Fuel Lines
Michael Gass shares a social media ROI argument in video format. “Socialnomics: Social Media ROI showcases what social media success looks like. Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business author Erik Qualman. This video highlights several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies.” Though a few of the examples are vague or misleading, most are compelling. However, after showcasing companies that have achieved remarkable, quantifiable results through social media, Qualman provocatively asks, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and more an extension of good business ethics…When I’m asked about the ROI of Social Media sometimes the appropriate response is…What’s the ROI of your phone?” He seems to suggest that while ROI is measurable, it’s immaterial. Hmm. You can find more of Eric’s insights on his Socialnomics blog.
Making sense of social-media ROI with Olivier Blanchard by SmartBlog on Social Media
Rob Birgfeld talks with Olivier Blanchard, introduced as “perhaps the most sought-after expert for those looking to connect the dots between social media and return-on-investment.” Perhaps. Blanchard contends that most self-proclaimed social media “experts” have difficulty articulating ROI because they have no business management background (agreed, I’ve seen these types — which is why our agency has an MBA who helps clients with social media). With that background, he argues that “the question can be answered in about three minutes. All it takes is someone on the social-media side of the table who understands how to plug new communications into a business from the C-suite’s perspective.” He also makes the case that being able to prove social media ROI is essential. The post just doesn’t specify how to do this.
Social Media ROI — No.
Social media (finally) returns value by The Communicator
Peter Schram doesn’t come right out and say that social media ROI can’t be measured, but rather that organizations should “focus on five key areas where social media will create actual value” that aren’t strictly about sales ROI, including corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer service.
“What’s the ROI of Social Media?” Is the Wrong Question by Golden Practices Blog
Michelle Golden makes a compelling argument that ROI calculations apply only to discrete projects with a beginning, middle and end, such as a direct mail campaign. Social media is a tool, not an event, so such calculations don’t apply.
5 Problems With Measuring Social Marketing by Web Worker Daily
Aliza Sherman articulates some of the frustrations with any social media measurement, much less something as precise as ROI, including the fact that the term “social media” is nebulous and that many traditional marketing concepts (e.g., “reach,” “promotions” and “campaigns”) simply don’t apply to social media –and the industry hasn’t yet developed widely accepted new measures (though Daniel Flamberg attempted to answer this last challenge in 4 Social Media Mining Metrics).
Why you can’t calculate an ROI in social media – and that’s okay by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers argues that, because the advanced analytics tools that would be required for such measurement have not yet been developed, “In many forms of digital media, you can spend 1 dollar knowing you will earn 1.30…Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in social media, just yet.” He suggests instead that marketers estimate the payback on social media by assigning a value to metrics they can track, such as each follower, each retweet, each “like” of an item, etc.
CEOs Love Pie: The B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 2 by iMedia Connection
In this follow-up post to Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1, Eric Anderson writes that “today you can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting five blog posts about how we all need to simmer down about ROI,” and places himself firmly in the “simmer down” camp. He recommends instead serving them pie, as in pie charts showing measures like “the proportion of their paid impressions that can be replaced or augmented with free impressions. PR agencies have long been selling the value of this pie as earned media or ‘ad equivalency value,’ so CEOs are used to seeing it. They get it. Once you’ve done your social media market analysis, it’s relatively easy to project how big that social media pie wedge will be.”
Social Media ROI…Maybe.
Quantifying Social Results by eMarketer
eMarketer reports that while marketing pros generally agree that quantifying the benefit of social media marketing is important, they are split on whether it is possible. Measuring certain types of activity or behavior is easy; translating those measures into ROI, not so much. As this article notes, “There is a leap, however, between finding appropriate metrics and monitoring them on the one hand, and quantifying results on the other. Marketers must tie the social metrics they settle on directly to business goals, such as increased sales and leads, before social media return on investment can be quantified.”
A call for more accountable social media marketing by iMedia Connection
After acknowledging that “ROI is difficult, if not impossible, to measure with social media. An astounding majority of professionals do not even try to take it into account. According to a survey late last year from Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club, 72 percent of CMOs did not attach revenue assumptions to social media in 2009,” Jerry McLaughlin goes on to say that marketers must do it anyway. For example, one of his recommendations is to “reach specific social media goals with a tangible ROI, such as tracked discounts or coupons.” While that’s certainly not a bad suggestion, it covers only one very limited aspect of what social media marketing can do.
5 Ways To Set Goals & Measure Social Media Marketing Success by Smart Insights
Danyl Bosomworth summarizes a Jason Falls presentation on various ways to measure social media outcomes. While the post seems to suggest that measuring ROI is easy (measurement #5 casually includes “generation of sales and leads from blog visitors and from social interactions”), it also points out several other benefits that unquestionably have value (e.g., product innovation, branding and awareness, links for SEO benefit), though that value may be difficult to quantify. The message seems to be that if you can directly measure sales and leads then by all means do so, but recognize that social media can provide many other important though less quantifiable rewards.
Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media by Marketing Charts
According to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42 summarized in this post, most marketers perform some type of social media measurement (e.g., website visits from social media referral sites, new fans/followers, number of links shared, etc.). However, nearly half (43%) admit that they aren’t even trying to measure ROI. And only 29% say “they will have to show positive ROI to continue their social media programs.”
How CEOs are Using Social Media for Real Results by Mashable
Though Sharlyn Lauby shares numbers here from two CEOs able to correlate hard sales data with their social media efforts, she also points out that “even when there might not be data supporting a direct relationship between social media activity and sales, sometimes other metrics point to the connection” such as exposure, branding, customer satisfaction, recommendations, even employee recruiting. The conclusion seems to be that ROI may or may not be measurable, depending on a company’s specific circumstances — or at least that not all of the benefits of social media can be captured in precise sales and ROI figures.