Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Where Google Moved Your Digital Cheese

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Anyone who’s been in the corporate world within the past decade-and-a-half has likely been exposed at some point to Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, a slender allegory by Spencer Johnson about dealing with change, summarized by Wikipedia as a tale featuring:

Who-Moved-My-Cheese“Four characters: two mice, ‘Sniff’ and ‘Scurry,’ and two littlepeople, miniature humans in essence, ‘Hem’ and ‘Haw.’ They live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at ‘Cheese Station C.’ Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.”

When the cheese eventually runs out, the mice and the miniature human characters deal with their new cheese-less situation in different ways. The mice, “Noticing the cheese supply dwindling… have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese.” The humans struggle more with their reality: “Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, ‘Who moved my cheese?’…Starting to realize the situation at hand, Haw thinks of a search for new cheese. But Hem is dead set in his victimized mindset and dismisses the proposal.” The point of the tale is to promote productive approaches to dealing with change.

With its Panda and Penguin algorithm updates over the past couple of years, and most notably the recent Penguin 2.0 update, Google has been busy moving the cheese for many marketers, webmasters and SEO professionals.

SEO practitioners who cling to outmoded tactics like keyword stuffing and link buying are likely to react like Hem, feeling victimized by their loss of cheese. Same goes for those SEO software and service providers still tout their ability to help create thousands of links through link exchange partners.

On the other hand, SEO pros who’ve always practiced white hat tactics are like the mice in the story; though they may still have a lot of work to do, they are well prepared to find new cheese. For the many who have seen their rankings and traffic devoured by Penguin, here are three places to look for new cheese.

Content marketing. This is where Matt Cutts officially says you should look for new SEO cheese. Produce great content, it will attract “natural” links, and your site will end up on page one of Google. The problem, of course, is that in highly competitive search term markets—like marketing automation, real estate, auto repair, social media monitoring, or SEO services—no matter how compelling or unique your content is, it’s unlikely to be seen (and therefore to attract links) if it doesn’t rank on page one of Google, and it’s unlikely to rank highly if it doesn’t have a lot of relevant, high-quality inbound links. Call this Catch-22 cheese.

The point isn’t that producing helpful content isn’t a fantastic idea, only that content marketing is not enough. In this way, Penguin seems to favor the same publications, A-list blogs, and name-brand websites that already dominate most searches.

AdWords. This is where Google would really like you to go, because it’s how the company makes money. There’s no question AdWords can be an effective component of online strategy—it’s controllable, immediate and finely measurable. But it’s also expensive. Call this gourmet cheese.

Web presence optimization. A web presence optimization (WPO) approach may be the most effective way to tame Penguin and Panda. By incorporating owned, earned and paid media, WPO optimizes your overall web presence, not just your website (though that remains the ultimate target destination). Cross-channel marketing metrics in WPO help to optimally allocate marketing and PR resources.

This is akin to the way grocery stores usually sell cheese: standard cheese varieties in the dairy aisle, exotic cheeses in the deli, organic cheese in the all-natural foods section, etc. Call this a distributed cheese strategy. Grocers do it because they sell more cheese by offering different varieties in multiple locations throughout the store than they would by stacking all of it in one area. The same approach can be effective in optimizing your company’s overall web visibility, regardless of Google’s ongoing algorithmic attacks on traditional SEO.

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The Top #Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A year ago, the #Nifty50 honored 50 remarkable men and women on Twitter. This year, colleague Cheryl Burgess and I changed things up a bit, opening the award to nominations but focusing specifically on outstanding men and women who work for technology companies and are active on social media.

#Nifty50 Top Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012These women are executives, thought leaders, bloggers, authors and role models for younger women with an interest in technology. Not only leaders in their professional lives, nearly all these women use their social profiles to express their passions outside the workplace, which range from NASCAR, art, travel, billiards, wine and music to community service, politics and, of course, family.

Among the women profiled below, Emily Gonzales notes that “women in tech are doing really cool things,” while Padmasree Warrior is “passionate about helping women in tech.” True, and important, which is why this year’s #Nifty50 is focused on the technology field.

We’ve also expanded the focus of the #Nifty50 this year to include an element of social good—the #Nifty50 Kids project. Although the idea captured the imagination and interest of several brand-name organizations, the timeframe was just too tight this year to line up sponsorship. That will be our top focus for next year.

2013 #Nifty50 Women and Men of Twitter - LogosNext year, Cheryl and I tentatively plan to honor #Nifty50 Women and Men Writers, including bloggers, journalists, authors, and PR professionals.  As with this year, we will be asking our community to nominate their favorite leaders in this field.

This year, we’re pleased to honor 50 women (below) and 50 men (in an upcoming post on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog) who are among the top social media connectors and engagers in the technology world, representing technology vendors as well as related venture capital (VC), advisory and analyst firms. These are the leaders in the information and communications technology sector who truly “get” social media and social business.

We’re proud to acknowledge these 50 women from 41 different organizations as the top #Nifty50 women of technology on Twitter for 2012.

Stacey AceveroStacey Acevero
@sacevero

Stacey is flat-out awesome: Social Media Manager for Vocus/PRWeb as well as serving her country as a U.S. Air Force auxiliary 2nd Lieutenant and Mission Scanner. She’s a self-described “social media nerd” who loves “NASCAR, steak, rock music and XBOX360 .” ‘Nuff said.

Abby BaileyAbby Bailey
@AbbyBailey

Based in Minneapolis, Abby is Senior Manager Creative Services at Best Buy, and also Board President at FamilyWise, a non-profit organization that provides programs for families that encourage self-determination, self-sufficiency, and healthy family lifestyles.

Cindy BatesCindy Bates
@Cindy_Bates

Active across social networks, Cindy leads Microsoft’s small- to midsized-business sales and marketing efforts as Vice President U.S. SMB and Distribution. The 10-year Microsoft veteran is also a graduate of Harvard Business School.

Susan BeebeSusan Beebe
@susanbeebe

Austin, Texas-based Susan Beebe works in Corporate Communications – Social Media Management at Dell. Calling herself Dell’s “first listener,” Susan also welcomes the opportunity to “learn from others and develop things; including new projects, especially those that improve the world and deliver on the promise of ‘social good.’”

Valerie BiancoValerie Bianco
@valeriemichelle

Now a Business Information Analyst at The Mint Partnership, Valerie has an extensive background in the architecture and engineering industry. She currently lives in Newport Beach (been there), once worked for a pizza company (done that) and is a graduate of San Diego State University (love that town).

Meghan BiroMeghan Biro
@MeghanMBiro

As the CEO and Founder at TalentCulture Consulting Group, Meghan connects talent with technology companies as well as being an accomplished speaker and author. She also hosts the talent chat (#TChat) on Twitter Wednesdays from 7-8pm eastern time.

Linda BoffLinda Boff
@lindaboff

New York-based Linda Boff, Executive Director Global Digital Marketing at GE, is “passionate about all things digital, specifically new digital media and concepts that fuse design and technology.” She was named B2B Magazine’s 2012 Digital Marketer of Year.

Liz BonillaLiz Bonilla
@LizatDell

Senior Manager Social Media and Community at Dell, Liz is a strategic marketing professional with over 10 years of proven success who lives in Austin, Texas. And congrats on being a new mom!

Liz BrennerLiz Brenner
@lizbrenner

Living, working and tweeting out of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Liz is Senior Director, Talent Marketing at SAP. Her background includes stints in management consulting and the energy industry. Liz also writes the Lead With Intuition blog.

Sandy CarterSandy Carter
@sandy_carter

As the Vice President of Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism at IBM, Sandy Carter plays an integral role in driving the company’s Social Business initiative. Sandy is an active thought leader in helping businesses transition into an era of social business, as well as the award-winning author of two best-selling books: The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0, and The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market. She also explores the many nuances of social marketing on her blog Social Media to Social Business. A self-described “social media evangelist,” Sandy’s work blogging and tweeting for IBM has led to 27 different awards, and is one of IBM’s top bloggers.

Blair ChristieBlair Christie
@BlairChristie

Blair is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Government Affairs at Cisco in Silicon Valley. Her integrated marketing and communications organization is responsible for positioning Cisco’s growth strategy and cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets through market and customer insight, corporate positioning, branding, and advertising.

Beth ComstockBeth Comstock
@bethcomstock

Another New Yorker, Beth leads GE’s growth efforts including sales, marketing and communications and innovation platforms. Prior to being named GE’s first Chief Marketing officer in more than 20 years, she held a succession of roles at GE, NBC (including President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal), CBS and Turner Broadcasting.

Carrie CorbinCarrie Corbin
@thealphafemme

Carrie Corbin leads the employment brand initiatives, recruitment marketing & media strategy as Associate Director – Strategic Staffing & Talent Attraction at AT&T. Carrie played a key role in launching the enterprise-wide integration of social & mobile recruiting, breaking some of the traditional boundaries of HR in the process. She has been named one of the top people to follow in Social Media Recruiting, and has been quoted in publications such as The New York Post & Workforce Today. Carrie is also active in community work, including work with tornado relief and local sports charities.

Colette CoteColette Cote
@ColetteCote

From Darien, Connecticut, Collete leads Corporate External Communications at Pitney Bowes Inc. as well as serving on the Board of Directors at Person-to-Person, Inc. Her varied background includes corporate roles (B2B and B2C), agencies, non-profits and startups. She’s a rock star on Twitter and also speaks French.

Lisa CramerLisa Cramer
@LisaJCramer

Lisa Cramer is President & Co-Founder of LeadLife Solutions in Atlanta, a provider of on-demand lead management software that generates, scores and nurtures leads for B2B marketers. LeadLife  is designed to increase qualified leads while shortening sales cycles and decreasing the cost of sales. Lisa also recently authored a guest post here on web analytics and lead scoring.

Elyse DeVriesElyse DeVries
@Elyse_D

Chicago-based technology marketer Elyse DeVries most recently worked as Marketing Manager, Demand Generation at The SAVO Group, and prior to that did stints as Marketing Manager, Social Media at Alterian (owner of the former Techrigy SM2 social media monitoring product) and Marketing Specialist, ERP USA at Comarch. And she’s amazing.

April DunfordApril Dunford
@aprildunford

Based in Toronto, April is currently Vice President Marketing, Enterprise Products at telecom services provider Huawei. She previously worked in marketing roles at Nortel, DataMirror Corporation and IBM. A marketer who’s an engineer by training (I can relate to that), April has a broad range of marketing experience that encompasses messaging, media relations, lead generation, email marketing, content marketing, social media, analyst relations and sales enablement.

Ale EspinosaAle Espinosa
@aespinosa

A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Ale now lives in Los Angeles and works as Senior. Director, Marketing, Communications & PR at EndPlay, Inc. EndPlay is a leading provider of SaaS content management, engagement and monetization solutions delivered in the cloud. Ale is, in her words, a wine & art enthusiast at night, beach girl over the weekends, and music-lover every single second.

Laura FittonLaura Fitton
@Pistachio

Boston’s amazing Laura Fitton is an inbound marketing evangelist for HubSpot, founder of @oneforty, and co-author of the best-selling Twitter For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)). Laura is credited with convincing Guy Kawasaki and thousands of tech execs that Twitter would have real business value, has lectured at HBS and MIT-Sloan, and has been quoted in dozens of national publications including BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal.

Deb FreyDeb Frey
@DaVinciDeb

Deb is Vice President of the DaVinci Institute, a non-profit organization near Denver, Colorado, responsible for Member Relations, event planning and marketing director for the DaVinci Institute. She teaches one-on-one classes to small businesses on Twitter, and when she has “a few extra moments,” serves as a contributing editor to the Impact Lab, a DaVinci Institute blog billed as “a laboratory of the future human experience.”

Jeanette GibsonJeanette Gibson
@JeanetteG

Jeanette leads the Social & Digital Marketing team at Cisco. Our group is responsible for setting the strategy for the company’s global digital brand presence on cisco.com, social web sites and mobile. Before joining Cisco in 1998, Jeanette helped launch push-technology pioneer PointCast, and worked at public relations agency Copithorne & Bellows.

Emily GonzalesEmily Gonzales
@EmilysHere

Emily is Chief Technology Officer at Bookigee, an early-stage startup that builds online analytics and marketing applications for the Book Publishing Industry, in Miami. Her Twitter profile notes that “women in tech are doing really cool things” (which is why Cheryl and I chose to honor 50 of the top women in technology on Twitter here).

Christine HerronChristine Herron
@christine

Christine Herron is a Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur. She is currently a Director with Intel Capital and a Venture Advisor at 500 Startups. Previously, Christine was a Principal with First Round Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, where she worked with companies such as BillFloat, Double Verify, Get Satisfaction, Mint, and Xobni.

Alex HisakaAlex Hisaka
@alexhisaka

San Francisco-based Alex Hisaka is Growth Builder at Desk.com, part of the Salesforce.com family. She gains valuable insight about your audience through Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and social media marketing. She also rocks on Twitter and shares her thoughts on The Fresh and Only.

Ilene KaminskyIlene Kaminsky
@ilenealizah

Ilene is a “content creationist” whose background includes stints as Director of Marketing and Director of Strategic Development at IBM, Alliance Director at eGain Communications, and Managing Director at Lumina Consulting. She also writes the Techronicity blog.

Katie KeatingKatie Keating
@ThingsSheSaid

Based in Los Angeles, Katie is the social business manager for IBM Cloud Computing, which involves running the @IBMCloud Twitter handle and other social media venues for IBM Cloud, as well as overseeing a global team of IBM cloud community managers. Before joining IBM she worked with Fleishman-Hillard and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Margaret Anderson KelliherMargaret A. Kelliher
@MAKMinnesota

Margaret serves as president and CEO of The Minnesota High Tech Foundation, which provides leadership on science, technology, engineering and match (STEM) education in Minnesota and works with high-tech businesses in the state on talent pipeline issues. She’s also a former speaker of Minnesota state house of representatives and a Harvard grad.

Katrina KlierKatrina Klier
@KatrinaKlier

New York-based Katrina is the Senior Director / VP Worldwide Digital Marketing for Microsoft. In her role as Chief Digital Officer for the OEM division, she leads the digital brand and marketing functions worldwide, and has delivered strategy, plans and results for partner, B2B and B2C marketing. She’s a self-described fashionista and blogger.

Lisa LarterLisa Larter
@LisaLarter

Splitting time between Ottawa, Canada and Naples, Florida, Lisa is owner of Parlez Wireless as well as a sought-after social media strategist and speaker. Lisa was raised by a single mom in the small town of Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. Though a high school dropout, she became a self-taught sales guru and worked her way up the corporate ladder in sales for a Fortune 500 company before starting her own company.

Ann LewnesAnn Lewnes
@alewnes

As senior vice president of global marketing at Adobe in the San Francsico Bay area, Ann Lewnes is responsible for the company’s brand and integrated marketing efforts worldwide. Before joining Adobe in 2006, Ann was vice president of sales and marketing at Intel Corporation. In 2010, she was honored with a “Changing The Game” Award by the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) and in 2011 Ann was named a “Woman of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Monica Liming-HuMonica Liming-Hu
@MonicaLimingHu

With her background in International Management and Marketing at AT&T, Monica Liming-Hu has been a stalwart of the marketing world for the better part of the past two decades. More recently, she has focused a great deal of her attention on sustainability, whether in business or the environment—or both. Monica gives the credit for this shift toward developing a strong corporate conscience to her two daughters and their encouragement to “go green.” Outside of the active realm of social marketing, Monica writes fiction under two separate pen names, and often frequents writer’s conferences and workshops. Her thoughts on writing and the creative process can be found on her blog Positive Reverie.

Marissa MayerMarissa Mayer
@marissamayer

Marissa Mayer has come a long way from her childhood home in Wausau, Wisconsin. A Stanford grad with two degrees in computer science, Marissa is known for long tenure at Google, where she was the company’s first female engineer and later served in different VP roles.  She was recently named CEO of Yahoo!, making her the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company and one of just 20 female CEOs in that group. She’s actually the second woman from Wisconsin to lead Yahoo! as Carol Bartz was also a cheesehead. And Marissa announced in July that she is going to be a mom—congrats!

Kelly MeadeKelly Meade
@KellyMMeade

Kelly is a Public Cloud Solutions Rep at IBM in Dallas, responsible for IBM Cloud Services and Offerings in the Eastern U.S. Originally from Iowa, Kelly’s loves include her family, traveling and reality TV. You can check out her video profile on the IBM site here.

Erin Mulligan NelsonErin Mulligan Nelson
@erinclaire

Erin is the Chief Marketing Officer for Bazaarvoice, a brand engagement and social data integration platform, in Austin, Texas. Before joining Bazaarvoice in November 2010, Erin served as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Dell Inc. Her background also includes positions with Procter & Gamble, A.T. Kearney and PepsiCo.

Ory OkollohOry Okolloh
@kenyanpundit

Ory is Policy Manager Africa for Google in Nairobi, and co-founder of Mzalendo/Ushahidi. Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is building a platform that crowdsources crisis information, allowing anyone to submit crisis information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email or web form. She’s former editor of Global Voices and a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Paige ONeillPaige ONeill
@paige_oneill

Based in the San Francisco area, Paige is Vice President of Marketing at Aprimo, a fast-growing Saas marketing automation software company acquired by Teradata in January of 2011. Her responsibilities include communications, demand generation, web/seo/ppc, events, customer marketing and social media. She also blogs at Social Media Paige.

Lee Anne OrangeLee Anne Orange
@LeeAnne_Orange

Lee Anne has served as Special Projects Manager at AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, in Washington DC, since 1999. For a year prior to that, in her own words, she “bounced around the association for a while. Started in Statistics Department and moved to Administration (HR) for 5 years. Then I was recruited to work in the Exhibitions Department. Been there ever since.”

Maria PergolinoMaria Pergolino
@InboundMarketer

Senior Director of Marketing at marketing automation software provider Marketo, Maria writes for several marketing blogs, and is a frequent contributor to Marketo’s award winning blog, Modern B2B Marketing. She’s a frequent presenter at industry conferences, author of guides to B2B social media and lead scoring, and a past judge of the Stevie, BMA B2 and B2BTOTY awards.

Janine PopickJanine Popick
@janinepopick

Janine is founder and CEO of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of email marketing, social media marketing & event marketing for small businesses based in the San Francisco area, and writes the popular email marketing blog. Before starting VerticalResponse in 2001, Janine worked with NBC Internet, XOOM.com and FileMaker.

Maria PoveromoMaria Poveromo
@mariapoveromo

Maria leads Adobe’s Global Marketing Social Media program and Center of Excellence. She established the organizational framework and strategic direction for social media activities across the company. With her team, Maria directs a cross-functional social media council to foster knowledge sharing across different groups. She’s passionate about her family, balancing work and home life and advancing the role of women the technology industry.

Kishau RogersKishau Rogers
@kishau

A technology innovator and engaging Twitterer based in Richmond, Virginia, Kishau Rogers the founder and President of Websmith Group, a company that provides web based software systems for healthcare and research organizations. She holds a Computer Science Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her expertise includes software and database development, data analysis and computer modeling/simulation technology.

Kathy SacksKathy Sacks
@kathysacks

As VP Communications at Infusionsoft in Phoenix, Kathy leads a team dedicated to spread awareness of the company’s next-generation email marketing software. She is is responsible for defining and managing Infusionsoft’s communications strategies, including planning and execution, public affairs and media relations. She’s also the founding editor of bizSanDiego Magazine and ran her own PR firm from 2005 to 2008.

Gina TrapaniGina Trapani
@ginatrapani

San Diego-based Gina is the creator of ThinkUp, a social media insights engine, and Todo.txt apps, a text-based task manager. She hosts In Beta, a podcast about open source, web-based, mobile and social apps, and This Week in Google, a web show which covers the latest news about the cloud and Google. She’s also the founder of Lifehacker and author of four tech books, and blogs at Smarterware.

Ellen ValentineEllen Valentine
@EllenValentine

Ellen is Evangelist at digital marketing software developer Silverpop in Atlanta, where she writes and speaks about marketing including marketing automation and email marketing. She holds a computer science degree from Penn State University and her background includes positions with Evergreen Direct Marketing, Applied Software and CIO Partners of Atlanta.

Czarina WalkerCzarina Walker
@CzarinaWalker

Czarina is Founder and CEO at InfiniEDGE Software in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a custom software developer of mobile apps and provider of UI design services and web development services for industry and government clients. Before founding InfiniEDGE, she served on the board of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce and worked with IBM and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Angelina WardAngelina Ward
@angelinaward

Angelina is Director of Social Media and Content for LexisNexis in Atlanta. Her duties include establishing a social media framework and standards for revising company guidelines and policy, creating and lead training workshops for internal employees on strategic social media communications, and overseeing day-to-day operations of social media communications including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.

Padmasree WarriorPadmasree Warrior
@Padmasree

As Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco, Padmasree helps define the company’s technology strategy and works closely with the senior executive team and Board of Directors to drive innovation across the company. She has more than a million followers on Twitter and as her bio notes, she is “passionate about helping women in tech.” Unquestionably nifty.

Courtney WileyCourtney Wiley
@wileyccoyote

Courtney is Director of Digital Marketing Strategy & Innovation at Oracle in Dallas. Her thought-leadership writing has been published in places like ChiefMarketer.com, MarketingProfs.com, IEEE.org, iMediaConnection.com, and eBizQ.com, and she speaks at national conferences. Courtney is also an SMU grad and mom of a Junior Olympian.

Bryony ZasmanBryony Zasman
@ZOOMcatalog_Bry

Bryony is co-founder and Vice President at ZOOMcatalog, a provider of B2B cloud catalog management and distribution for print catalog dependent industries, based in Denver. She holds a marketing degree from the University of Colorado.

Meryl ZdatnyMerryl Zdatny
@Zdatny

Merryl is the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Identity Solutions at Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group in New York. The objective of this group is to “give the right people access to the right information – where and when they need it.” Prior to Verizon, she worked in marketing roles at technology and art-related enterprises. She describes her educational background as “Marketing, Art History, Billiards at The University of Texas at Austin.” Interesting mix, but the degree in billiards is particularly impressive.

There you have it, the #Nifty50 Women of Twitter for 2012. As with last year, to keep it to 50, we had to leave off some deserving names and excellent nominations—it was a tough call. But next year will have a different focus and some of those names will no doubt resurface.

Watch next month for the top #Nifty50 Men in Technology on Twitter for 2012 on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog.

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Seven Common AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

As Google’s standard search results page has evolved from displaying ten organic links on the left and eight ads on the right to a more varied page (see example below), featuring more or fewer ads and different media types depending on the nature of the search, the old pattern of organic results receiving 70%-85% of all clicks has also gone by the wayside.

Paid versus Organic Search Results on Google

 

In fact, recent WordStream research highlighted on eStrategy Trends reveals that, for keyword phrases with “high commercial intent,” almost two-thirds of all clicks are now on paid ads. For these types of queries, on average, 41% of clicks go to the top three (ad) spots while just 9% are captured by the top organic search result.

65% of Clicks on Commercial Searches Go to Paid Search AdsClearly, Google has been successful at shifting more traffic to paid results (which is where Google earns 97% of its revenue). That makes AdWords a critical component for any company seeking to dominate the first page of search results. Yet I often hear from prospective or new clients that they have used Google AdWords in the past and stopped because it “didn’t work” for their business.

Digging a bit deeper, it usually turns out it wasn’t the tactic that was ineffective, but rather the execution of the AdWords or other search engine marketing (SEM) program. SEM can be a productive channel for selling virtually anything more expensive than a candy bar and less costly than a commercial jet. Here then are seven common mistakes to avoid when setting up and optimizing an AdWords campaign. Steering clear of these potholes and using SEM best practices greatly increases the odds of success with AdWords.

1. Using both search and Google’s content network right away. Content network ads perform very differently from search ads and need to be managed separately, with their own budget and unique ad copy. It’s best to use search on its own for a while to determine which keywords, calls to action (CTAs) and ad messages are most effective before expanding advertising to the content network.

2. Not testing. Too often, campaigns are set up with an initial list of keyword phrases, a single static bid for all keywords, a single ad, and a single landing page. Then, if that particular combination of elements doesn’t produce great results, AdWords is deemed a failure. But it’s extremely rare for a campaign to produce optimal results right out of the gate, and therefore critical to test every element of the campaign on an ongoing basis to continually improve results. Of course, sometimes advertisers do test and still fail to meet objectives because of the next mistake to avoid, which is…

3. Not understanding the analytics. Marketers too often get hung up on the wrong objectives, like maximizing click-through rate (CTR) or minimizing the average cost per click (CPC). True, all other things being equal, a higher CTR and lower CPC are good things, as they mean more clicks for fewer dollars, but they should not be the primary focus. The single most important metric in a paid search campaign is cost per lead (CPL) (sometimes alternatively referred to as cost per acquisition or CPA).

A keyword with a low CTR and a $10.00 CPC may be much more valuable than another with a high CTR and $1.00 CPC if the former converts at a significantly higher rate than the latter, thereby producing conversions (generally leads or sales) at a lower CPL.

4. Using the wrong keywords. No matter how extensive the upfront keyword research is, the initial list compiled for an AdWords campaign will very rarely be optimal. And even if the list turns out to be very solid, it is likely to change over time as market and search trends change, so ongoing monitoring and optimization remains imperative. Keywords with a high conversion rate should be bid up into one of the top ad spots. Keywords with a lower, but still respectable, CPA should be bid with a target of making a low ad spot on page one of search results. Keywords with a very low CTR or quality score should be re-examined. And “campaign killer” keywords—those that produce lots of clicks and therefore lots of cost, but few if any conversions—should be identified and deleted as quickly as possible.

5. Writing poor ad ad copy. Even when using best practices for writing search ad copy, it’s impossible to know exactly what combination of words within the scant 95-characters permitted by AdWords will resonate most effectively with your audience. That makes it essential to test multiple ads, and to continue replacing the poorest-performing ads with new variants in order to optimize results over time.

6. Not dayparting. Dayparting is simply the practice of scheduling ads to run during certain hours of the day and not during other hours. It’s surprising how often this is overlooked, and ads are simply set to run 24/7. Running ads at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday may make sense for open-all-night restaurant, but is highly unlikely to produce productive clicks for an enterprise software vendor.

7. Poor CTA or landing page design. If a landing page is attracting clicks from relevant keywords but few of those are converting into sales or leads, the problem could be that either the call to action itself isn’t appealing (for example, a white paper download may be more appealing to prospects than a free trial), or that the landing page design isn’t effective (e.g., too much or too little copy, too many form fields, or unnecessarily complex layout). There’s no way to know which is the culprit without testing multiple CTAs and tweaking landing page design to optimize conversions.

Google AdWords and other SEM programs may not be ideal for every company. But with search results page display changes being made by Google and other search engines to emphasize paid results over organic, at least for “commercial” searches, it’s important for any business that relies on online lead generation or sales to evaluate.

Only by avoiding common AdWords mistakes, following established best practices and testing, testing, testing can businesses be sure whether shortcomings in AdWords results are a problem with the medium itself—or with the execution of those programs.

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34 (of the) Best Google+ Tips, Tactics and Guides of 2011

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Google+ (or Google Plus) is many different things, depending on who you ask. It’s the fastest-growing social network ever. It’s the tool Google will use to beat Facebook. It will fundamentally change SEO. It’s a pain in the arse because it’s yet another social network to join. It’s Google’s latest attempt at social media, and they finally got it right. It’s mostly a playground for engineers and marketers. It’s appealing, but too late. It’s “the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet” (see below for the source of that quote).

Simon Cowell Approves of Google+

Image credit: SEOmoz

Most likely, it’s some combination of those things. What it’s clearly not, however, is a venue that businesses can afford to ignore.

So what do organizations need to know about Google’s latest foray into social media? How can they get the most out of it? What impact is it likely to have? What are Google’s future plans for the platform?

Learn all of that and more here in almost three dozen of the best Google+ reports, guides and insights of the past year.

Google Plus Tips, Tactics and How-To Guides

Getting Your Small Business Ready for Google+ by Blue Focus Marketing

Mark BurgessMark Burgess explains how small business can build trust and creatively use circles on Google+ (“This insight [that people prefer to share specific information with specific groups of friends or followers] led to the creation of Google+ circles, a major differentiator between Google+ and Facebook.  Circles enable you to ‘narrowcast’ messages…Suddenly, Google+ can enable micro-targeting via circles.”).

Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 1 by Business Insider

Simon LaustsenSimon Laustsen provides a Google+ “cheat sheet” for getting started with the network, covering account setup, tagging, commenting, managing your circles, finding hangouts, rejecting spammers, inviting people and more.

How to Migrate from Facebook to Google+ by How-To Geek

Justin Garrison details tools that can be used “to migrate pictures, videos, and friends” from Facebook to Google+ (assuming you want to connect with the same people on Google+). He walks through the migration process, including helpful screenshots to illustrate each step.

10 Simple Techniques for Google Profile Optimisation for Google+ and Beyond by SEOptimise

Tad ChefTad Chef details the most important considerations in optimizing your Google+ profile, from your profile image (“Make sure you use a bigger image than just the tiny thumb you’ll see elsewhere on Google+ (or) on your profile it will look awful. Google simply scales it up. It needs to be 200 x 200 pixels or bigger.”) to proper use of the “Other names” and “nicknames” fields.

HOW TO: Integrate Google+ Into Your WordPress Site by Mashable Tech

Kelli ShaverKelli Shaver shows how to display your Google+ profile information on a WordPress site/blog, add the +1 button, and even use a Google+-inspired WordPress theme, with details about and illustrations of three examples.

25 Google Plus Resources, Articles, and Reviews to Help You Get Started by Pamorama

Pam DyerFrequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer explores a bit of what’s behind the Google+ “project” then shares more than two dozen resources for getting started on and using the network, from using circles and hangouts to its impact on SEO, and from tips small businesses need to know to feature comparisons to Facebook.

There’s no need to wait for brand pages to do business communication on Google+ by Holtz Communication + Technology

Shel HoltzThe brilliant Shel Holtz explains how organizations can tap into the power of Google+ circles for content marketing, completely apart from brand pages, noting “I’m skeptical about brand pages, since research indicates most people connect with Facebook’s version only to learn about coupons, discounts and special offers.”

Google+ Tips, Tricks and Tidbits by The Search Agents

Erik FreemanErik Freeman compiles a list of posts featuring Google+ tips and tricks, guidance on inviting friends to circle you, an amazing use of video on Google+, the effort by Matthew Epstein to get hired using the social network, and notes about Google’s privacy policy (though of course this has changed, dramatically, recently).

The Ultimate Google+ Cheat Sheet by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 STARS

Kipp BodnarFrequent best-of honoree Kipp Bodnar shares all the basics you need to know about Google+, from the social network’s unique vocabulary (hangouts, circles, sparks) to shortcuts, user demographics, configuring privacy settings and more.

Who to follow on Google Plus? Google+ Suggested Users
***** 5 STARS

In one of the first, if not THE first, Google+ directories, you can find people to follow and add to your circles across a broad range of topic areas from bloggers, journalists and tech entrepreneurs to scientists, filmmakers and foodies.

Google Plus Tips & Best Practices by webbROI

Amit BanerjeeAmit Banerjee explains why you should sign up for yet another social network (“You use Gmail/Google Apps as your email provider, don’t you? You use Google as your search engine, Chrome as your browser, YouTube to watch videos, and Google Reader to read blogs. Plus, what about Google Maps, Google Translate and a plethora of other Google products?”), what’s behind circles and sharing attributes, how Google+ differs from Facebook (“No walls here!”) and more in this informative post.

12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner

Cindy KingCindy King shares tips for getting the most out of Google+ from 12 social media pros, including Mari Smith (“Craft an eye-catching mini-bio for your hovercard”), Kristi Hines (on optimizing your profile), Debbie Hemley (on promoting your Google+ page) and Jeff Korhan (on how to create a suggested circles list).

5 Top Google+ Plugins by Kim Garst

Kim GarstWriting that “Having fun with any new kind of social media like Google+ means you get to make it your own, and playing with the different plugins available can help you do just that,” Kim Garst reviews five of her favorite Google+ plugins for the Chrome browser, such as Helper for Google+, a multi-purpose plugin with functionality for notifications, translation and bookmarking.

SEO and the Google +1 Button

Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data by Wired Magazine

Ryan Singel takes a close look at how Google may use +1 data in search result rankings, and shares some interesting observations: “Google would love to get at its (Facebook’s) data — the way that Bing is already — but the two companies go together like toothpaste and orange juice. Facebook will likely never let Google anywhere near its data stream, which meant that Google had to build in its own social network. But therein lies the rub. If Google’s search results become heavily dependent on social signals from Google+, then there’s going to be heavy pressure on the net’s websites to embed the Google+ button. And depending on where you work — say, Facebook or the Justice Department — that could look like Google is unfairly using its search engine might to boost its Facebook alternative.”

How to Implement Google +1 Button for Social Sharing by Search Engine People

Joydeep DebJoydeep Deb explains how to add and customize a Google+1 sharing button on any website, as well as how to modify +Snippets “to customize the Title, Thumbnail Image and Description that appear when your content is shared.”

Google+ Brand Pages

Google+ Pages for Business: What You Need to Know by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll MillerJanet Driscoll Miller points out that the main reason for businesses to create yet another social profile page, this time on Google+, is that “Profiles help your brand SEO and help your online reputation management (ORM) efforts.” She then steps through the process of how to create one.

13 Cool Examples of Google+ Brand Pages by DreamGrow Social Media

Mart PröömMart Prööm presents more than a dozen examples of cool, and pioneering, Google+ brand pages from companies like Pepsi, Toyota, Fox News, Yahoo! and Angry Birds. And that’s possibly the first time those five brands have been mentioned together in a single sentence.

Google+ Pages: The power of search is the game-changer by ZDNet

Sam DiazThis may be what Google+ is all about. Sam Diaz notes of brand pages that “On the surface, the new feature feels like Google’s version of Facebook fan pages, a place where companies, celebrities and other ‘brands’ can interact with their customers and followers by sharing news or engaging in discussions. But Google brings something extra, something that Facebook and Twitter can’t offer – the power of open Web search.”

Test Driving Google+ Brand Pages by iMedia Connection

The always insightful but socially oblivious Daniel Flamberg writes about what the Google+ platform is, what it means to marketers, how consumers are reacting (e.g. “Google+ has attracted almost 50 million users since launch (as of mid-November); 68% of Google+ users are men; The single biggest occupation is software engineer; Biggest company affiliations are IBM and Google; It looks like a technology-focused, early adopter crowd”) and predicts how professional marketers will react to the platform in the near term.

How to set up your Google+ Brand Page right by Biznology

Chris AbrahamChris Abraham walks readers through the process of “setting up your brand page right away in the right way. If you follow these steps, you’ll be as well-placed as possible,” from selecting a category and uploading an image through adding friends and optimizing your profile.

10 Guaranteed Ways to Get More Google+ Page Followers by HubSpot Blog

Pamela VaughanContending that “without an ample following, all the time and effort you put into your presence is ultimately a waste,” Pamela Vaughan provides 10 tactics to grow your following, such as promoting your Google+ page in other social networks, writing a blog post about your new page, and making yourself eligible for Direct Connect.

10 strategic benefits of Google+ brand pages by iMedia Connection

Tom EdwardsTom Edwards examines the similarities and differences between Google+ and Facebook company pages, and the benefits of Google+ brand pages for businesses, including search integration (“Google currently owns 68 percent of search market share. The fact that the Google +1 icon is now a part of every Google search result shows a glimpse of the level of integration Google has in store for users and brands alike”), using circles for audience segmentation, hangouts, and social gaming among others.

How to Create a Google+ Business Page by Practical eCommerce

Paul ChaneyPaul Chaney outlines how to create, use, and build a following for your Google+ business page. He concludes that “The features for Google+ business pages fall short of those available on Facebook, not the least of which is the ability to add custom apps. Google likely will add more features in time. Until then, the social network may serve as a second-tier channel through which you can build some brand equity and…improve search returns.”

11 Best Practices for Your Google+ Brand Page by Sexy Social Media

An excellent post outlining “ten things you should keep in mind when putting up your Google+ Business Page” such as looking at what’s working (and what’s not) for major brands already there; crafting a creative (and keyword rich, for web presence optimization purposes) tagline; and being “chatty, but never spammy.”

Google’s Holiday Gift to You: Google+ Adds Multiple Page Administrators Capability by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll Miller (again) reports on Google’s decision to enable pages to have multiple administrators, why this functionality is important (e.g., “Allow multiple individuals to make updates…(and) Maintain personal account security”), and how to invite others to be administrators.

Google Plus Strategy, News and Commentary

What You Should Know About Google+ (Plus) by WP Blog Talk

Rob CubbonRob Cubbon reviews the basics of Google’s latest attempt at a social network, starting with Circles (a feature that sets Google+ apart from most other networks) and posting (along with helpful shortcuts) and moving through hangouts, the +1 button, privacy, Google’s philosophy behind Plus, and new features likely to be added in the not-too-distant future.

Google+ Creates Data Gold Mine For Advertisers by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan outlines the value of Google+ for advertisers (“‘”For advertisers, one of the biggest benefits from Google+ will become the user data they don’t have access to from Facebook,’” according to Debra Aho Williamson), the network’s rapid growth (“Google+ has become became the fastest-growing social site — hitting nearly 25 million visitors worldwide as of July 24, just four weeks after launch…It took MySpace 23 months, Twitter 33 months; and Facebook 37 months”) and its user demographics (“About 63% of Google+ users are male, compared with 37% female…the highest percentage of users falls between the ages of 25 and 34″).

Stop Calling Google+ a Facebook Killer by iMedia Connection

Jon ElvekrigJon Elvekrog expounds upon the unique strengths and drawbacks of Google+ as a social network, its benefits to brands and advertisers, and why he believes it is much more likely to coexist with Twitter and Facebook than to supplant either one.

Social Relevance: Google+’s Algorithmic Implications On Networks by MediaPost Search Insider

Rob GarnerRob Garner counters skeptics, demonstrating how Google+ may help the search giant not just catch up to but leapfrog Facebook and Twitter, who, Garner believes, are far behind “in terms of applying algorithmic relevancy to the social experience.” He recommends that organizations treat Google+ as a “primary top-tier social network” and notes the importance of creating content and sharing it through Google+ for search success.

Google+ – Too little, too late by Inside a Marketing Mind

Gareth CaseGareth Case likes Google+ and understands its appeal, he just thinks that Google may have “missed the boat… By about 5 years” in terms of building a viable social network. His post includes an excellent graphic illustrating the distribution of social media traffic across the major networks.

Can Google+ succeed among the common people? by iMedia Connection

Alejandro-Rivas-MicoudAlejandro Rivas-Micoud reports on results of a focus group test with Facebook users in various age groups test-driving Google Plus and providing feedback. These users liked the concept of circles, but found other aspects of Google’s social network confusing, and weren’t sure it offered any compelling differentiation or reason to switch from Facebook. The conclusion was that “simply improving upon the Facebook experience is probably not enough. Instead, to gain a meaningful market position…Google+ (needs) to either carve out a specific, complementary niche to Facebook” or just be flat-out better.

What Brands Need To Know About Google+ AdWords Social Extensions by Search Engine Land

Kelly GilleaseKelly Gillease explains what social extensions are, why they matter (“The main advantage for in-house marketers implementing the new Social Extension is to boost their +1 counts all around, AdWords ads and Google+ pages will receive boosts from each other’s increasing +1’s”), how they impact AdWords ads, and what companies need to do to complete the verification process with Google.

9 Facts About Google+ You Need To Know by Agile Marketing

Jim EwelJim Ewel presents “9 facts about Google+ that may help convince you that you need to add Google+ to your social media marketing in 2012,” among them that Google+ will affect search results, that it helps people to find your business, and that activities there are easy to track.

How Google+ Is Changing the Web, Even Though No One Wants It To by HubSpot Blog

Kipp Bodnar (again) contends that “Google+ isn’t about changing social networking. Google+ is the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet. The company with the platform that can give internet users EVERYTHING they want will win. This is why you’ve seen Facebook partnering with music providers, launching its own email service, and allowing users to make images and updates public to improve Facebook Search. These two internet giants are locked into the early stages of the business equivalent of a death match.” The logic is hard to argue with, but Google’s strength has always been that it’s not a walled garden (like Facebook now, or AOL before it). Going down that path would leave a clear opening for someone to become what Google was on its way to becoming before it decided it just wanted to be the next Facebook.

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39 More (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The notion of using social media for business has gone from cutting edge to commonplace in an amazingly short time. And for those laggard firms still resisting social media, recent changes by Google now make it all but imperative.

Of course, there’s no single cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing that works for every enterprise. And many companies that jumped in early experienced failures and disappointments, pulled back, and then re-approached social media from a more strategic angle.

Best Social Media Guides of 2011While certain aspects of social media have stabilized (e.g., Facebook is the largest social network and is unlikely to fall to any “Facebook killer” application anytime soon; Google is going to keep trying to build its own social network until it manages to create one that attracts more users than lawsuits), many practices are still evolving. What’s the most effective way to grow a company’s social influence? How widely within an organization should social media tasks be distributed? How can an brand establish trust online? What are the best practices for sharing content on each major social network? What common mistakes and pitfalls should be avoided? Is it really possible to measure social media ROI—and if so, how?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in more than three dozen of the best social media guides, insights, rants and reports of the past year.

Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics

Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers by iMedia Connection

Noting that the “trend in digital information sharing (on social networks) is still a huge challenge for many companies,” Rick van Boekel advises marketers to develop a strategy, stay involved (or stay away), and integrate efforts among other guidance for marketing success in social media.

Practical Reasons Why Businesses Need Social Media by Social Media Today

Austen Mayor articulates both qualitative and quantitative justifications for social media investments. Among the hard numbers he lists: according to a social media industry study, 72% of companies active in social media report higher website traffic, 62% say it has improved search engine rankings, and 48% say it has increased sales.

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen by The Social Media Chef

Chris TomkinsChris Tompkins supplies 10 methods to help “promote your social media profiles OUTSIDE of logging in to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” such as adding your social media profiles to company email signatures, business cards, advertising and all marketing collateral.

Stop shoving social media down my throat by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer explains why be believes it is NOT a good idea to force “social media down the throats of employees at every level of the company,” contrary to advice given elsewhere. People bring different skills to the job. As Mark concludes, “Being adept at social media is NOT EASY for everybody. And we should be able to live with that human diversity.”

50 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas lists “50 synergistic social media marketing tips and tactics to market your content and ideas and help them to spread to a global audience,” divided into six platform categories: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Slideshare.

Forrester: 5 Stages Of Social Media Growth by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reviews research from Forrester on the five stages of social media maturity that corporations typically pass through, starting with the dormant stage (“one in five companies still don’t use any social media. These companies tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested, according to Forrester”) then progressing through “distributed chaos” and additional steps before reaching the optimization stage.

A quick guide to 5 social media platforms by iMedia Connection

Linda IrelandLinda Ireland offers helpful tips to marketers on going beyond the basics to take advantage of the unique strengths of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and LinkedIn (e.g., “If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is a great way to identify, connect with, and build stronger relationships with potential customers by interacting with them through LinkedIn Groups and providing responses to the questions they post on LinkedIn Answers”).

Social Trust Factor: 10 Tips to Establish Credibility by The Marketing Nut

Pam MooreFrequent best-of honoree Pam Moore explains the importance of the trust factor in encouraging brand engagement and offers 10 tips for increasing your social trust factor, such as developing a consistent online brand persona, hanging out with the “right” people in your business social networks, and taking the time to cultivate relationships.

Social Media Marketing – 10 Inspiring Infographics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas shares some interesting social media statistics (e.g., Tumblr is now attracting over 90 million unique visitors every month; StumbleUpon drives over 50% of all social network traffic) as well as helpful how-to’s (e.g., How to Twitter and LinkedIn Boot Camp) in this intriguing collection of infographics.

How to be a rock star on 8 social media platforms by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisKent Lewis packs an incredible amount of useful information into this concise post, which outlines tactics for marketing success, illustrated with real-world examples, for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora and Foursquare.

Don’t Let Legal Keep You Out of Social by Social Media Marketing Magazine

Glen GilmoreGlen Gilmore reviews some high-profile examples of social media legal cases, which, he writes, “have largely been related to cases of egregious misconduct.” He then explains the basic legal and regulatory risks associated with social media, and presents a plan to minimize such risks in business social media use.

Busting Social Media Myths and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Five Social Media Myths You Need to Know by frogloop

Allyson KapinCommenting on Facebook’s dominance and huge market reach that, “while it maybe true that your organization needs a better Facebook strategy, it’s also important that you dig a little deeper into social media stats,” Allyson Kapin debunks five social media myths. Though her focus is on fundraising and social media use by non-profit organizations, much of the material here applies more broadly.

Beware Best Practices, They Can Kill Productivity, Innovation and Growth – Adopt Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter by Forbes

Adam HartungFor those executives who still block or limit access for their employees to social media sites and mobile devices, Adam Hartung reminds readers that personal computers were once looked at as productivity destroyers (PCs were viewed as toys that lacked the robustness of mainframe applications by some CIOs back in the 80s) and warns that “best practices” (e.g., “We need to control employee access to information” and “We need to keep employees focused on their job, without distractions”) are a dangerous myth.

Four Common Social Media Mishaps by iMedia Connection

Erik DeckersErik Deckers advises against, among other social media faux paus, socialcasting, relying on a single network, or, interestingly, “Putting a B2B company on Facebook or a B2C company on LinkedIn…People go to Facebook to chat with family and friends, not to buy industrial adhesives. People go to LinkedIn to connect with people who can help them do their jobs better, not share their love of your white chocolate macadamia nut brownies.”

Ten Myths About Social Networking For Business by Forbes

Neal RodriguezNeal Rodriguez provides “a comprehensive guide to social networking misconceptions—each accompanied by a tangible action plan that you can take right now,” such as “Myth 4: You have to spend hours a day on Twitter” (he recommends using Tweetchats—not a bad idea, but not right for everyone).

B2B Social Media Guides

Top social media platforms for businesses by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis outlines the benefits of social media for B2B businesses, the challenges such vendors face in social media, the essential elements of a B2B social media program, and the best platforms to utilize (blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter are obvious; Facebook and Quora somewhat more questionable).

Turn B2B Buying Into a Social Experience by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoTony Zambito outlines the changes social media has brought to the B2B buying process and identifies four areas where buyer expectations have changed that B2B marketers need to be aware of and address. Another outstanding post from Tony is The New Social Buyer Ecosystem, which delves into the concept of social Buyer Circles and their implications for marketers in engaging social buyers in the B2B realm.

YouTube Tips and Tactics

YouTube etiquette for 2011 by iMedia Connection

Daisy WhitneyDaisy Whitney provides excellent tips for making the most of YouTube, such as paying special attention to the crucial first 15 seconds of every video you produce; entering your keywords in rank order; and uploading a custom thumbnail image for each video rather than relying on the YouTube default selection.

6 Best Practices For Small Business YouTube Marketing by OPEN Forum

Todd WassermanTodd Wasserman shares advice from entrepreneurs who’ve been successful with YouTube marketing on best practices for the platform, including buying ads, finding your niche, using technology such as Hot Spots to test the effectiveness of your videos, and tracking ROI.

YouTube It; You Rank for It – Improve Your YouTube Rankings by iMedia Connection

Chris Adams of gShift LabsChris Adams of gShift Labs explains how to optimize video rankings in YouTube, the factors that affect ranking (beyond the obvious) and the importance of analyzing and acting upon YouTube metrics regularly.

Search and Social

When search meets social by Econsultancy

Nick JonesDue to the growing importance of social signals in search results, Nick Jones writes that “2011 marks the year when social media has shifted from being nice to essential…Social elements play a huge part in the traffic generated, but also…citations and “votes” in the form of Tweets and Likes go a long way to indicating to search engines that this content has value and deserves to rank for relevant keywords.”

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search by Mashable

Shane Snow explains why and how Google and Bing are incorporating social signals into the search algorithms, how these changes may help newer businesses, and which previously helpful SEO tactics are now much less important. The key to success in this new world is creating highly sharable content and building a network of influencers who will share it.

Social Media Monitoring and ROI Measurement

10 Measures of Social Media ROI for Your Brand by SocialTimes

Neil GlassmanNeil Glassman presents his “ten measures of social media marketing ROI,” though ROI purists may quibble with some of his entries, e.g., raising the quality and quantity of job applicants by creating a “social culture.” But it’s an intriguing list nonetheless.

Forget Social Media ROI by ClickZ

Heidi CohenThe brilliant Heidi Cohen contends that only a third of companies are attempting to track social media ROI; outlines three reasons why such calculations are difficult (e.g., “Social media interaction tends to happen outside of the purchase process, either before or after”); and presents as alternatives five social media metrics she believes really do matter.

Social Media ROI for Me-Too-ers versus Innovators by SocialSteve’s Blog
***** 5 STARS

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner uses a graphical social media activity scale to explain the differences in tactics and related ROI measurements between “Me-Too’ers” (focused on basic activities like setting up social profiles and adding sharing buttons to their websites) and “Innovators” (integrated social media efforts, formalized social media relationships).

Things We Should Ask The ROI Question About Before Social Media by UnMarketing

Scott StrattenScott Stratten makes a concise yet blistering argument against obsessing over social media ROI, noting that social media is held “to a higher level of judgment than most things in business,” then questioning the ROI of things like meetings, logo-emblazoned coffee mugs and employee commute time.

5 Ways to Measure Social Media by ClickZ

Ron JonesFrequent best-of contributor Ron Jones recommends measuring a number of different metrics within categories like Awareness/Exposure (the most basic level), Influence, and Engagement (e.g., number of shares, mentions, comments and retweets).

The ROI of Social Media ROI by iMedia Connection

Scot WheelerScot Wheeler presents a helpful diagram for evaluating social media while also noting that “ROI is not always the best way to evaluate the value of social media engagement to an organization…Often, when management asks for the ROI on social media, what they are really asking for is the value of social media engagement to the business.” He then describes the usefulness of awareness, buzz, reach and sentiment as measures of social media value. Also worth checking out is Scot’s follow-up to this post, The Four Principles of Social ROI Measurement, in which he contends that “the accumulation of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ and the generation of engagement are not ends in themselves.  These are tactics which are meant to prime a growing and engaged users for eventual transactions, but which are no more directly measurable in terms of revenues generated than is PR, print, TV or radio advertising.”

Explaining “social media ROI” AGAIN. And again. And… again. by The Brand Builder Blog

Olivier BlanchardOlivier Blanchard serves up an entertaining and informative rant about the continued inability or refusal of many social media professionals to explain the ROI of social media, writing “As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today.” He explains the basics of social media ROI measurement, though conceding in the end that “Not all social media activity needs to drive ROI.”

14 Top Tracking Tools For Your Social Media Stats by Abnormal Marketing

Fiona McEachranFiona McEachran takes a look at 14 social media monitoring tools, ranging in price from free to “don’t ask,” including Trackur, Webfluenz and BackType.

Social Media Facts, Stats and Research

INFOGRAPHIC: How Much Does Social Media Really Cost? by Scribbal
***** 5 STARS

Mariel Loveland presents an outstanding infographic detailing the internal and external costs of social media marketing along with the expected savings or return in various business areas, drawing on both statistical and anecdotal data.

The Business Impact of Social Media [Infographic] by ReadWriteWeb

Klint FinleyKlint Finley reports on research regarding social media use in Forture 500 companies covering priorities, success measures, rationale, and brief profiles of successful social media use in big companies (Coca Cola, jetBlue, Dell, Red Bull and others).

Facebook, Twitter Shares Outpace Other Social Buttons by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan highlights research from BrightEdge showing that “Web site pages displaying the Twitter share button get seven times the social media mentions compared with those that do not…(yet) nearly half of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web still don’t display any kind of social sharing links or buttons.”

10 Intriguing Insights on the State of Social Media and Blogging by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas (again) summarizes 10 key insights from Nielsen research on social media, among them: Facebook dominates the “time spent online” metric—Facebook users collectively spend three times as many minutes with Facebook as they do with Yahoo, and four times as many as with Google. Nearly a quarter of total online time is spent with social networks and blogs. And women outnumber men on eight of the top 10 social networks—but guys are in the majority on LinkedIn.

Social Media Bigger And More Influential Than Ever, Reveals Q3 Nielsen Report [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea BennettShea Bennett shares more takeaways from Neilsen research, such as that “40% of social media users access content from their mobile handsets,” with users over the age of 55 driving much of this growth. Social networks and blogs are visited by more than three-quarters of Internet users. And Tumblr is among the fastest-growing networks, tripling its user base in 2011.

Social Media Report: Q3 2011 by Nielsen Research

Want to draw your own conclusions from the research cited by Jeff and Shea above? Here’s the source.

9 Social Media Infographics You Must See by DreamGrow

Mart ProomMart Prööm presents a fascinating collection of infographics, with stats and findings ranging from the percentage of U.S. adults who use social media every day (65%) and the top buyers of social media monitoring tools (43% are social media managers, 19% are agency professionals) to the leading social networks for small business (78% are on Twitter, 75% on Facebook) and a simple process for creating a social media strategy.

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