Posts Tagged ‘iMedia Connection’

Five Marketing Metrics that are Definitely NOT “Worthless”

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Online marketing activities preovide marketers with a wealth of metrics; actually, too much information. The challenge in deciding which strategies to pursue, increase, modify, or drop, in most cases isn’t a lack of data but an over-abundance of it. Marketers just want the competitive and multichannel metrics they need to make informed decisions, nothing more.

But like any good thing, data simplification can be overdone. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

WPO Metrics DashboardOf course it’s true that, ultimately,  any marketing tactic has to show business results (higher sales,  lower costs, or some combination thereof). But to argue that marketing strategies and tactics can be properly evaluated solely on that basis is like saying pilots don’t need instruments; after all, at the end of the day,  a pilot isn’t judged by altitude or airspeed, but simply by the result of safely landing at the flight’s destination.

Just as a pilot needs instruments to fly accurately and safely, marketers need a broad set of interim metrics to measure their overall web presence and activities. Simply because a specific metric doesn’t appear on a P&L statement or in an ROI calculation doesn’t make it unimportant.

Yet that’s what was argued recently in The 5 most worthless metrics in marketing in iMedia Connection. Now iMedia Connection  is a widely respected marketing publication; its posts and stories are frequently spot-on and highly share-worthy, but this article misses the mark.

The post states that marketers shouldn’t “measure anything that you can’t find a direct line of sight back to your financial statements.” But that criteria would ignore many “interim” metrics that, while not directly bottom-line related in and of themselves, are important guideposts to designing and executing financially successful marketing plans—similar to the way a pilot may use GPS or visual landmarks.

Here are the five metrics and why each is indeed not “worthless.”

Twitter Followers

The post contends that counting Twitter followers is “a completely pointless exercise…Up to half of all Twitter accounts are inactive, while many are just spambots. It is estimated that two-thirds of the Twitter fans of many celebrities and politicians are fake. So we have to ask: Why would someone purchase fakes on a system whose sole function is to communicate with people?”

There are two problems with this argument. The first is that Twitter follower count is misleading because of inactive and bot accounts. But as Shelly Kramer recently wrote, this issue is easily overcome using a tool like Status People, which checks for fake followers and reports, for any Twitter account, the percentages of fake, inactive, and good Twitter followers (the tools reveals, for example, that for the @TomPick Twitter account, those figures are 1%, 6%, and 93% respectively—not bad).

The second is the notion of “purchasing” Twitter followers, which is a bad idea regardless. Just as a college student may be able to cheat in a class by buying a term paper, or even test answers, the result is that the student didn’t really get the benefit of learning in the class, which will have long-term (if not also short-term) repercussions. And it renders that student’s grade worthless.

But that doesn’t make the general notion of class grades or test scores worthless, only those that are achieved fraudulently. The same principle applies to Twitter followers; as long as they are obtained legitimately, the count does matter.

Facebook “Likes”

The article argues in his post that “the vast majority of people who click the ‘like’ button will never return to the site of their own accord. If you want to get value out of them, you need to actively do something.” True! But that doesn’t make “likes” worthless generically, it means, as with Twitter followers, that what matters is how the “like” are obtained and what type of ongoing engagement activities are implemented.

As with many web presence optimization and online marketing metrics,  what’s important about Facebook “likes” isn’t the number itself but rather 1) how that number changes over time, and 2) how that number compares to competitors’. If your “likes” aren’t growing over time, it calls for rethinking the type of updates you’re sharing and how you’re engaging on Facebook.

And if competitors have significant more “likes,” why? Is there something in their strategies you can learn from? Or are they merely inflating their follower counts through contests similar low-involvement tactics? If the latter, then the “likes” differential truly doesn’t matter much.

This isn’t to say that Facebook should be a central part of every company’s social strategy. It’s a better environment for promoting hospitality, entertainment, retail and fashion brands than for industrial goods. And if you sell an item like adult diapers or anti-fungal cream, you’re unlikely to get a lot of customers to publicly express affection for your products on Facebook no matter how much they may “like” them in real life.

Social Mentions

The point that sentiment tracking is important (thought challenging to do accurately) in providing context around social mentions is well taken, but still: if you’ve got an active social media marketing program going and aren’t getting social mentions, that’s a critical signal that something is wrong. And as with “likes,” if competitors are getting significantly more social mentions than your brand, you need to investigate why.

Link Counts

Actually,  the post is correct here that an unfiltered, raw count of backlinks is meaningless. In the post-Penguin world, a large number of link farm or similar low-quality links can be worse than useless—it can actually be harmful.

Still, with proper categorization and filtering, links counts can be quite enlightening. Discovering that a competitor has far more links from industry news sources or blogs, for example, tells you something important about their strategy, and how you may need to adjust yours.

Search Engine Visibility

Again, while it’s true as the article states that “Many performance indicators, including bounce rate, form abandonment, average order value, engagement, and conversion rate, vary from search phrase to search phrase,” telling a client or boss generically that search engine visibility doesn’t matter is certainly not advisable.

Ideally, a website should attract increasing numbers of visits over time for both branded and non-brand (generic) search phrases. Generic visits are driven by SEO activities (content, social, PR, industry, link-building, etc.). Branded search visits are driven by a host of activities that raise brand awareness; again including PR and social,  but also advertising, trade shows,  sponsorships, speaking engagements, awards, community involvement among others.

Yes, it’s true that in the final analysis, if a marketing activity isn’t positively contributing to the bottom line, a company shouldn’t be spending time, effort or money on it. But there are many interim measures that are vital in guiding marketers, just as instruments guide pilots, to adjust their speed or direction intelligently in order to reach their final destination.

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Anyone with a New Idea is a Crank Until the Idea Succeeds

Monday, November 12th, 2012

I was reminded of that famous quote from Mark Twain recently in a Twitter exchange about the web presence optimization framework. Although the framework has been for the most part enthusiastically embraced (and dozens of people have downloaded the framework white paper), a few people on Twitter questioned the need for a “new” marketing concept.

WPO Isn't Just Another TLA

Image credit: Ajax Union

While “search plus social plus content” is inarguably inelegant, it was suggested that other terms such as “online marketing” or “inbound marketing” already covered the concept of web presence optimization (WPO). Although those are clearly important concepts, they don’t cover the spectrum of an organization’s web presence and related activities, which is why the WPO model was introduced nearly three years ago.

Since its introduction, the concept has been embraced by tools vendors and covered in publications like iMedia Connection, Search Engine Watch, Business2Community and Social Media Today, and Website Magazine.

Nevertheless, the point raised on Twitter is valid: a number of overlapping terms in use address at least parts of the digital marketing and PR mix. Perhaps the definitions below will help to clarify the role of WPO as an overarching management framework.

Web Presence Optimization (WPO)

Web presence is essentially web visibility; it’s about being as ubiquitous and easy-to-find as possible when buyers are searching for information about what you and your competitors sell. Anything about your company or products that appears somewhere online—whether owned, earned or paid content—contributes to your web presence.

Tracking over time and against competitors as well as managing and continually improving this for relevant, maximum exposure is optimization. By using unified metrics, you can manage and coordinate the efforts of specialists in various disciplines, including content development, social media, SEO, PR, online advertising, and reputation management, resulting in efficient and effective optimization of an organization’s total web presence in order to drive business results.

Content Marketing

According to content management guru Joe Pulizzi, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.).”

Content marketing is arguably one component of WPO even though it includes offline venues such as print which don’t contribute to web presence. It’s also focused on owned (internally produced) media and does not include metrics or competitive benchmarking.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Per BusinessDictionary.com, SEO is “the process of improving traffic to a given website by increasing the site’s visibility in search engine results. Websites improve search engine optimization by improving content, making sure that the pages are able to be indexed correctly, and ensuring that the content is unique.”

SEO includes technical factors (making sure sites load quickly and are easy to crawl), content factors (keyword research, content optimization, meta tags) and linking factors (building internal and external links).

While SEO is affected by PR and social media activities, metrics, and competitive actions, it’s internally focused (owned media), cannot be used to manage PR or social media marketing activities (except as they relate specifically to website optimization) and is separate from paid search or other online advertising activities.

Inbound Marketing

In the words of HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, inbound marketing is “where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.  In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a ‘hub’ for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.”

Like WPO, inbound marketing incorporates metrics, content creation and optimization, social media, and (in some cases) search engine marketing. Valuable as it is, however, it doesn’t provide the overall online visibility management framework that WPO does because the latter also includes PR, online advertising, competitive benchmarking and earned content.

One element that none of the above concepts address, but is addressed in WPO, is that third-party content (from customers, journalists, bloggers or other influencers) has value in influencing the buyer’s decision-making process, even when it doesn’t lead directly to a lead or sale. Third-party content is often viewed as more objective and credible than company-produced content, making it critical to track, measure and share.

Online Marketing

According to About.com, “Online Marketing is the art and science of selling products and/or services over digital networks, such as the Internet and cellular phone networks. The art of online marketing involves finding the right online marketing mix of strategies that appeals to your target market and will actually translate into sales.”

Though it incorporates SEM, online advertising, search optimization, and content marketing, online marketing is transaction-oriented: it’s focused on activities that lead directly to sales for generally low-consideration items including frequently-purchased or impulse-buy consumer goods and low-value business supplies.

WPO, in contrast, has a broader focus on earned content (e.g. social and press) and overall online visibility, which is important for high-value, considered-purchase consumer goods and b2b sales where web research may lead to an online or offline sale.

Internet Marketing

While this was originally an umbrella term for various types of activities similar to online marketing, Marketing Land notes that the term has since become to large extent co-opted by get-rich quick hoaxes, pyramid schemes and other scams.

As WPO is all about building online credibility, it’s the farthest thing from Internet marketing.

All of which means…

In the end, the Twitterers’ concern about buzzword proliferation isn’t misplaced. Buzzwords are often used to obscure, confuse, or spin. But WPO genuinely illuminates the actionable key metrics of online visibility, enabling marketing executives to make smart decisions about coordinating PR, SEO, SEM, social, and content marketing efforts.

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Six Best Practices for Email Newsletter Design

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The downsized economy has made everyone who’s still working busier than ever. Everyone is asked to “do more with less,” and that includes time and attention. At the same time, email marketing volume continue to grow, with 68% of b2b marketers planning to increase spending on email marketing this year. Effective email newsletters, focused on the needs of readers, remain a powerful tool for communicating with your customers and nurturing sales leads.

This means your email newsletter has only a matter of seconds to either engage the reader or make them hit the “delete” button–or worse, mark it as spam. Here are six best practices for making your email newsletter engaging and reader-friendly, and optimize it for viewing under different recipient email settings. These are illustrated using the popular iMedia Connection newsletter, one of the leading sources of marketing news and guidance. That’s not to say you should copy their template necessarily, just the techniques they use for engagement and readability.

Best Practices Newsletter Template

  1. Keep your masthead or any graphics near the top of the newsletter shallow vertically, so that readers using the preview pane with images turned off don’t see just a blank box. Make sure at least part of your text content is visible without scrolling.
  2. Use white space on both sides, or at least on the right side of the template, to improve readability and make the newsletter seem less “heavy.” This enhances the appearance of the newsletter whether images are turned on or off, and gives it a blog-like look and feel.
  3. For each content item, combine a small graphic, compelling headline, and 1-2 sentence summary to entice the reader to click through to your site to read more. Keep the graphic small so that the link and summary are easily readable even with images turned off.
  4. Incorporate a “share by email” or “forward to a friend” button to encourage readers to pass along your content. Also include a “view this newsletter online” option, with social sharing buttons on the online version, to encourage social sharing of your content. Posting your newsletters online also provides SEO benefits and encourages readers to subscribe.
  5. Include buttons for your social network accounts in the newsletter to build your following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites.
  6. Make use of the footer to provide links to supplemental or less important content: upcoming events, popular past articles, additional newsletters you offer, etc.

Utilizing these best practices in your newsletter design helps increase reader engagement with your content and extends the reach of your content.

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78 (of the) Best Social Media Marketing Tips, Guides, Tools and Strategies of 2010 (So Far)

Monday, August 16th, 2010

With the amount of helpful content about social media marketing growing faster than Facebook’s user base or Lindsay Lohan’s court appearances, it’s tough to keep up. Here’s a modest contribution to help with that effort; more than six dozen of the best, most bookmark-able articles and blog posts about social media tactics, tools and strategies written so far this year, by leading writers like John Jantsch, Lori Dicker, Lee Odden, Lisa Barone, Jay Baer and many more.

Social Media Marketing Tips, Tactics and Guides

Best Social Media Tips and Tools of 2010 (So Far)Building Social Bookmarking Networks 101 by Search Engine Journal

Todd Heim supplies a helpful guide to best practices for building a following on and generating traffic from social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Mixx and Propeller. Todd’s guidance is straightforward and practical; finding the time to do this well is the hard part.

HOW TO: Create Custom Backgrounds for Twitter, YouTube, & MySpace by Mashable

Matt Silverman steps through the process of creating cool custom backgrounds for popular social media sites, with easy-to-follow instructions and rich example illustrations.

What is Social Media Optimization and Why Should I Care? by Kuno Creative

For those who know little if anything about social media (there are more such people than you may realize; some in rather lofty positions at that), John McTigue offers an excellent primer covering the most popular tools, sites and strategies.

30 Tips: The Productivity Guide of Social Media by WebStudio 13

Andrew Ran Wong provides a valuable list of productivity tips for Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Google and other social networks to help readers get more done in less time.

5 Ways That Sales People Can Benefit From Using Social Media by OPEN Forum

Despite the widespread use of the phrase “social media marketing,” marketing is not the only business use of social media, as John Jantsch reminds us. Here he outlines five ways that sales can use these tools as well, from social CRM to teaching prospects how to solve business issues.

6 tips for connecting with social media content by iMedia Connection

Noting that “Smart and savvy companies have positioned themselves as authoritative experts and trusted sources of information by creating their own content,” Gordon Plutsky outlines a six-step process for consistently connecting with prospects through relevant, compelling content.

10 Principles for B2B Sales by Better Closer

Social media has dramatically altered the buying process as well as marketing practices. In this post, Bill Rice provides sales people with 10 principles for using social media in sales, from setting objectives and listening to creativity and tools to improve social media efficiency. Given the importance of sales-marketing alignment, this is a worthwhile read for marketers as well.

Are you reaching your Best Customers through social media? by Cultivating Your Customers

Mark Price summarizes a Fast Company case study on how restaurant chain Houlihan’s engaged their best customers through some exclusive social media programs to increase sales and profits, and what other social media marketers can learn from the chain’s experience.

A Cheat Sheet to Help You Conquer Social Media by Fast Company

Not sure how to navigate through various social media sites? Addy Dugdale shares this handy CMO guide to the social landscape, which “takes all the major social media sites in the U.S. and analyzes their capabilities in four sectors: customer communication, brand exposure, driving traffic to your site, and SEOs.”

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Things You Are Already Doing by Social Media Today

Possibly inspired by Social Media is Simpler Than You Think, John Jantsch explores five ways to use social media for common business tasks such as prospect follow-up and market research.

10 Essential Social Media Tips for B2B Marketers by Mashable

Christina Warren tells b2b marketers how to use Twitter effectively, find their “social voice,” efficiently monitor industry developments through social media, expand their influence and more in this excellent post.

How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence in 10 Minutes a Day by HubSpot Blog

Rebecca Corliss reveals an easy five-step, 10-minute daily process for keeping on eye on what’s being said about your company across popular social media venues. Depending on how active your company is in social media, it may take a bit more than 10 minutes and may have to be done more than once per day, but at a minimum this is a great place to start.

10 Tips for Using Social Bookmarking Sites Effectively by Online Social Networking

Larry Brauner shows how to use a “very social and spam-free strategy” to dramatically increase website traffic from social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Amplify.

8 brand personalities Facebook and Twitter users hate by iMedia Connection

If you want to be a success in social media, then you definitely don’t want to be part of any of these groups. Kevin Barenblat presentes a taxonomy of social media failure types, including “canned responders,” spammers, lurkers and serial re-tweeters.

More than 50 bookmarks of Social Media Case Studies by Social Media Tactics You Can Trust

Michiel Gaasterland shares his collected list of 500+ case studies, from small businesses to global brands around the globe.

5 Workarounds In Avoiding Social Media Fluster by Social Media Philippines

The always fascinating Rob Angeles how to ramp up a social marketing quickly without simply “jumping in” with no plan.

6 Reasons You’re Not Rocking Social Media by Small Business Trends

For those whose social media marketing programs aren’t quite meeting expectations, Lisa Barone offers several possible reasons (and advice on how to fix things), such as having poor content, putting the wrong people in charge or simply not listening.

10 signs it’s time for a social media makeover by iMedia Connection

Following on the theme of Lisa’s post above, Lori Dicker offers a collection of indicators that your social media marketing has gone astray such as “An intern handles all your social media efforts” and “Your company does not have a (written) social media policy” and how to place efforts on the right track.

3 Simple Steps for Creating Social Media Visibility by Social Media Examiner

For those still struggling with where to start in social media, Denise Wakeman lays out “a three-step formula to get you started creating a visible presence on the web, resulting in more opportunities for your business: leads, prospects, sales, media queries, speaking gigs and joint ventures.”

Taking the First Steps in Social Marketing by iMedia Connection

Contending that “finding exactly which of your customers and prospects are on which social networks and who are the most socially connected, is the first step to figuring out if and how to integrate social media into your marketing mix,” Gary Halliwell illustrates how to tie your CRM data to social media marketing efforts, and why this is crucial to creating value for your company through social media.

Five Rules for Responsible Social Marketing by Fast Company

Just as etiquette is what separates us from the beasts (well, that plus some DNA), so social media etiquette often separates the successful from the spammy, the engaging from the enraging, the outgoing from the obnoxious. David Lavenda supplies five rules here (such as “Respect people’s privacy online, even if you don’t have to”) to help you stay on the positive side of those word pairs.

10 Ways to Cut Through the Social Media Noise and Be Heard by Social Media Examiner

Chris Garrett advises marketers to simplify their messages, use appropriate channels and appeal to ego among other recommendations to make their social media content more likely to get noticed.

The “No Duhs” of Social Media by Social Media Bits

Sharon Lane lays out the basic elements for social media success, such as knowing your audience, being authentic and being patient. Good post for newbies as well as those at the “a little knowledge is dangerous” phase.

90+ Essential Social Media Resources by Mashable

A collection of short summaries and links to a huge list of posts about Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, mobile marketing and business development. It’s sort of like this post, except that all of the links are to other Mashable articles. Hmm. Guess Webbiquity is a bit less about ego and more about sharing the love.

16 Lessons on Using Social Media for Business by Social Media Today

Adrian Swinscoe shares an excellent collection of social media do’s and don’ts such as defining your goals to keep yourself on track, great content is crucial, and perhaps most importantly, “It takes time, persistence, consistency and commitment to generate results.”

The 7 Secrets of Social Media Conversion [INFOGRAPHIC] by The Unbounce Blog

*****5 stars
Oli Gardner reveals key tactics for converting social media followers into buyers, from using a landing page with a clear call to action and offering “social proof” through badges and widgets to optimizing post-conversion opportunities.

4 Social Media Mining Metrics by iMedia Connection

Daniel Flamberg proposes four key metrics that can give marketers “actionable intelligence to identify competitive strengths or vulnerabilities, shape messages, identify informal opinion leaders and influencers or suggest the best choice of media channels” along with suggested tools to track those measures.

4 Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand by Social Media Examiner

On the same theme as Daniel’s post above, Nichole Kelly her shares her four key social media metrics and shows how these fit within the sales conversion funnel.

25 Characteristics of Highly Effective Social Media Campaigns by Social Media Today

What sets successful social media marketing programs apart from the failures? Lots of things, and Sosthenes Boame helpfully lists 25 factors such as providing value, being “not spammy,” building trust, consistency, and incorporating visual images.

12 Social Media Marketing Myths by Roxana Portalatin

Social media is cheap or free. It’s a fad. It’s for kids. This post demolishes these and other common social media myths.

Top 10 Social Media “Power Friending” Tips by OPEN Forum

Amber MacArthur condenses her book Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business into these 10 key tips to grow your social media presence and influence, such as acting authentically, telling stories and listening well.

Top 6 Social Media Mistakes And How to Fix Them by Social Media Examiner

Kristi Hines details half a dozen social media mistakes to avoid (or correct) including having the wrong connections, sending the wrong messages, and restricting your activities to “things that can be measured for return on investment.” She also lists “using social media profiles for link building” as a mistake, though there are situations in which this makes sense; you may want to grab a profile on a lesser-known social media site for purposes of reputation management or brand protection. Even if there isn’t enough relevant traffic on that site to make a large effort in network-building and interaction worthwhile, any links you include in your profile still have value.

50 Tips Granny Never Told You about Twitter & Social Media Etiquette by Social Media Today

Noting that “social media is no different than the social circles that existed in the 20?s, 50?s, 70?s and even 80 ‘s. Yes, the same rules apply. Just executed on a different platform and at a higher volume,” Pam Moore passes along 50 social media etiquette tips from Great Granny Walton. Among these nuggets of fold wisdom: “Be a friend to get a friend,” “Plan yer work and work yer plan” and “It is just darn right rude to auto DM when Tweeters follow ya’!”

Social Media Tools

Social media tools that marketers shouldn’t miss by iMedia Connection

Lori Dicker presents an outstanding list of free and fee-based tools for social media monitoring, measuring and messaging.

Managing Your Reputation Online: 5 Essential Tools by CIO Magazine

Kristin Burnham reviews five excellent tools for monitoring your online reputation, including Addict-o-matic, SocialMention, and the impressively comprehensive Yasni.

Where To Find Social Media Power Users by Search Engine Land

Want your story on the front page of a popular social media site? You need help from the power users in that community. Greg Finn introduces a dozen tools and pages to help identify the most influential users to connect with on various social sites including Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Twitter.

Top 10 Free Social Media Tracking Tools by ineedhits

Rene LeMerle provides mini-reviews of his favorite free monitoring tools, from the obvious (Google Alerts, Social Mention) to the less familiar (Boardreader, Samepoint).

Social Media Glossary by Social Media for the Socially Awkward

Social media jargon can be confusing for newbies, and even seasoned pros occasionally run across unfamiliar terms. To help out, Sean Horrigan has compiled this glossary of social media terms from aggregator, blogs and crowdsourcing to thumbstream, widget and wikis.

The Ultimate Glossary: 101 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained by HubSpot Blog

Speaking of social media glossaries, Kipp Bodnar provides a more extensive list of terms and definitions here.

11 Free Tools for Social Media Optimization by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

The ever-modest Lee Odden reviews tools to help spot trends, research keywords and analyze social media activity to help improve “visibility on standard, social and real-time search.”

8 Social Media Monitoring Tools by Onflow Interactive

A quick list of eight leading monitoring tools, from Alterian and Radian6 to UberVU and Sysomos.

Google: the killer social media monitoring platform by Social Media Today

Trevor Jonas explains how Google’s various tools — from Google News and blog search to Google Reader and Analytics — combined create a powerful and free social media monitoring platform, and how these would enable Google to “absolutely blow away any of the existing monitoring services tomorrow if it wanted to.”

10 Essential Social Media Tools for B2B Marketers by Mashable

Christina Warren reviews 10 tools on her list of social media favorites, including some surprises. Note: most are fee-based, but worth the cost for midsized to large enterprises active in social media marketing.

10 Free Social Media Tools Every PR Pro Should Master In 2010 by the COMMS corner

An alternative list from Adam Vincenzini of 10 key social media tools for those prefer free to fee.

7 Social Media Aggregation Tools To Simplify Your Streams by Social Media Today

Sarah Hartshorn details her favorite aggregation tools — like Hootsuite, Netvibes and Flock — for more efficiently monitoring and managing an organization’s social media presence and activities.

The 39 Social Media Tools I’ll Use Today by Convince & Convert

***** 5 stars
Jay Baer reviews his favorite tools, organized by category: Twitter-related, Facebook-related, Virality & Search, Photos, Tracking, Content Creation, Listening, Email and iPhone. This collection is comprehensive without (quite) being overwhelming.

Master List – A Wiki of Social Media Monitoring Solutions

***** 5 stars
Some day in the future, when social media is a mature marketing channel, there will likely be only a handful of high-quality, comprenhensive monitoring tools on the market for marketers to choose from. Today, however, social media monitoring tools are still in their wild west phase: there are a large number, of varying quality, each of which does something or a few things very well, but none of which are yet the “Holy Grail” of monitoring. Ken Burbary has done a masterful job of compiling this list, currently at 145 social media monitoring alternatives. The list is likely to grow before it consolidates.

195 Social Media Measurement Tools & Technologies by Sales Rescue Team

Yet another huge list of social media monitoring tools.

Social Media Employee Policy Examples from Over 100 Companies and Organizations by Social Media Today

In an organization of any size, you’ll have multiple people using social media sites. In large organizations, this can be hundreds or thousands of employees. While management can’t, and shouldn’t seek to, tightly control all such interactions, it is imperative to have basic guidelines in place. That’s where a social media policy comes in, and if you’re not sure how to write one or what to include, check out this extensive set of examples.

57 Social Media Policy Examples and Resources by Social Media Today

More corporate social media policy examples, this list from Dave Fleet.

11 Free Services for Scheduling Social Media Updates by Mashable

Social media monitoring and interaction activity can be tough to maintain. So Erica Swallow helpfully provides “a list of 11 free services for scheduling social media updates, either across multiple social platforms or just for Twitter. At the end of the list, you’ll also find a quick note on 11 paid services that you may be interested in investigating, as well.”

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social Marketing Strategies by Brand Nexus

A fact- and statistic-rich SlideShare presentation covering social media reach, growth, demographics, consumer and b2b buyer behavior on social networks, spending levels by industry and strategies for success.

4 ways social media can save you time and money by iMedia Connection

Noting that social media be used for various business purposes (marketing, PR, market research, customer service), Larry Weintraub cuts to the chase with practical guidance, writing “ultimately you want to do one thing: sell more products or services. Let’s take a look at how each of these  four components of your social media strategy can help you sell more.”

Razorfish: Social Influence Marketing Trends by Digital Buzz Blog

Another social media SlideShare presentation, this one focused around trends and rich with both useful guidance and examples from brands that have achieved social media success. It also includes a helpful section on metrics, introducing the SIM score.

Is Social Media Just Another Channel? The Potential of Social Media for B2B Markets by The Social CMO Blog

Alex Romanovich contends that social media is far more than just another marketing channel; it is phenomena that is “forcing corporations (brands) to look at how they engage with their clients, how they use information, and how they respond to events…the benefits and opportunities it presents are something we’ve never seen before. It is becoming the connecting thread that links all points of the Value Chain.”

10 Awesome Social Media Presentations by thought leaders of the Industry by Daily Bloggr

Got some time? Here’s a nice collection of 10 exceptional social media SlideShare and YouTube presentations, including “Web 3.0 – This time its personal,” “Content Strategy for Social Media” and “How to make the best use of SEO and Social Media.”

Social Media History Animation by Hai Le

Interesting video filled with trivia and statistics on the growth and current state of social media, such as that there were 90 trillion email messages sent last year (though roughly 80% were spam), Facebook serves six million pageviews per minute (is that possible?) and that YouTube serves one billion videos per day.

Social Media-Integration-Theory-Model by Israel Garcia’s No-Blog

Israel Garcia offers a compact model of how social media has changed the historical pattern of corporate and marketing communications, and how to capitalize on that trends. He also makes a compelling case for doing so, pointing out research showing that “consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook.”

Why we need to kill “social media” by iMedia Connection

Rob Key argues that the term “social media” needs to be killed because (almost) all media is becoming social, and it isn’t the tools or buzzwords that really matter in business so much as what social media can do in areas like risk management, media relations, product life cycle management, customer care, HR, market research, and innovation.

11 Killer Social Media Presentations Worth Watching by HubSpot Blog

Kipp Bodnar showcases 11 outstanding social media presentations from experts like Rohit Bhargava, Marta Kagan, Christina “CK” Kerley and Jay Baer.

9 Ways To Convince The CEO To Use Social Media and Enter The 21st Century by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas offers several suggestions for selling social media to executives. #1, “scare them” is tempting but perhaps not the ideal approach, while #5 (use website grading as a baseline measurement) has real potential. #4 (buy them a book) works well if [italics] you have the kind of boss who actually reads books.

What Can Social Media Do to Improve Your Business by My Venture Pad

Writing that “the intention for gathering (social media) data should NEVER be for spamming but to help integrate your value proposition into what people are truly interested in,” Eric Tsai lays out a framework for gathering data, analyzing it, and using it to make decisions and modify activities so that you can ultimately do “more of what works and less of what doesn’t.”

Social Media Strategy from A to Z by Techipedia

***** 5 stars
Tamar Weinberg has written one of the most thoughtful and creative blog posts of the year, explaing social media strategy through the alphabet from “always be listening” to “zealous” (and yes, she even includes entries for the letters q and x). Simply brilliant, a must read.

Social Media needs a (GASP!) budget by iMedia Connection

Uwe Hook helpfully makes the case that “Social Media is not free. Social Media is not cheap. Social Media requires a considerable of time and resources to make it work.” A toe-in-the-water approach doesn’t work with social media; it requires a commitment and a sustained investment, because while the payback can be considerable, it won’t happen overnight.

B2B Social Media Strategy: 5 Steps to Gaining Executive Buy-in by B2B Bloggers

Michael Brenner provides an outstanding guide to getting executive buy-in for social media marketing, beginning with showing them the numbers behind the new reality and progressing through resources to help you answer the (inevitable) hard questions and developing a social media roadmap.

We Can’t ‘King Canute’ the Social Media Tide by iMedia Connection

Gary Halliwell writes that “there are only three things standing in the way (of social media marketing success). The bad news is these are potentially tricky issues if not addressed correctly.”

12 Reasons to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business by My Venture Pad

***** 5 stars
“Why exactly should we do this social media stuff?” Rather than fumbling to articulate a brilliant answer when you get that question from an executive or client, refer to this outstanding post from Pam Dyer, packed with ammunition like increasing brand recognition, improving SEO, taking your message directly to buyers, and making it clear that you “get it” (at this stage, as Pam notes, “If you don’t have a presence, you appear as if you’re not very savvy.”).

Is a social media bubble ready to burst? by iMedia Connection

If the boss or client remains a skeptic even after following Pam’s guidance above, you may need to pull out this post. “Aha!” your skeptical counterpart will say, “I knew it! Social media is just a fad.” Actually, it’s not that simply, and you may be surprised by the conclusions Michael Estrin draws in this insightful post.

Is Social Media a Big Joke? by The Confident Copywriter

First a bubble, then a joke? Is this more fodder for social media skeptics? Not quite, but Victoria Ipri offers a helpful reminder here to avoid jargon — both when selling social media and when using it. In her words, “simple, to the point, interesting, thought-provoking, but not especially flowery or verbose” messages are key in both situations.

9 Things to do Before Entering Social Media by Small Business Trends

***** 5 stars
In another outstanding post from Lisa Barone, learn what it’s crucial to do before getting immersed in social media marketing. Just as a strong foundation is critical to the long-term stability of a home or building, so steps like crafting a social media policy or rulebook, assigning responsibilities, and making a commitment to responding are vital to social media success.

Three ways to act on your social media monitoring by Fresh Networks

Once you’ve decided on a set of metrics to monitor and tools to use (see the section above), now what? Matt Rhodes notes that “What you do with your social media monitoring is as important, if not more important, than getting the monitoring in place in the first place. Different brands will want to engage with the conversations they discover online in different ways,” and suggests three actionable areas based on monitoring results.

Defining your social media goals by iMedia Connection

Ben Cathers provides guidance on the different approach and metrics to use depending on whether the primary focus of your social media efforts is for customer service or customer acquisition.

5 reasons why brands fail with social media by Engage Sciences

Whether you’re already engaged in social media marketing and not seeing the results hoped for, or you’re just getting started and want to avoid common pitfalls, this post will help you avoid strategic mistakes (such as treaing social media as a silo) and steer your efforts in the right direction.

Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1 by iMedia Connection

Eric Anderson eloquently makes the case for b2b use of social media marketing. “B2B sales tend to be complex and consultative, after all, and where do B2B buyers go for consultation? A surprising number start with simple Google searches, and those Google searches increasingly lead to, yep, industry blogs and forums.”

Why Executives HATE Social Media by The Deming Hill Blog

***** 5 stars
A long but brilliant post on the executive view of social media, starting with, as the title indicates, some of the reasons C-level people hate social media including “don’t feed me another fad” and “eagles don’t flock.” Midway through, however, the tone changes as the author writes “Maybe I don’t HATE social media after all.  Maybe I just hate the Quixotic context in which most social media conversations exist, featuring a perpetually moving target, combined with an obsessive, cult-like worship of the default worldview,” then proceeds to detail five of the top benefits of social media from the executive perspective.

How To Create A Killer Social Media Strategy by The Business Insider War Room

Alyson Shontell quotes Nicole Melander, PhD, who teaches American University’s MBA course on social media for business, saying “At this point companies don’t have a choice (about participating in social media). They have to play in the arena somehow. The conversation is happening, it’s just a matter of how much a company chooses to participate.” Melander then presents a five-step guide to creating a business social media strategy.

25 “P”s of Social and New Media Marketing by Social Media Today

Expanding upon the traditional five “P’s” of marketing (product, price, place, promotion and people), Ky Ekinci proposes 25 P’s for social media marketing such as promote (carefully), play, protect, plan, and perhaps most importantly — persist.

Trends with Traction: Meaningful “social” measurement with Net Promoter Score by iMedia Connection

Adam Kleinberg extols the virtues of the Net Promoter score, introduced by Frederick Recihheld in his book The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. He makes the case that this metric is one of the most vital, meaningful and valuable ways to measure the impact of social media marketing activities.

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(Almost) 100 (of the) Best Social Media Marketing Blog Posts and Articles of 2009

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Social media marketing activity exploded in 2009, and so did coverage of these practices. Every social media consultant, corporate marketer and PR professional was challenged to keep up with the latest writing on the topic.

So in case you missed any of these, here are almost 100 of the best blog posts and articles covering social media strategy and tactics, measurement, monitoring, research, pitfalls to avoid, policies, tools and more from 2009. Whether you’re looking for guidance on measuring social media results, justifying investments, utilizing best practices, finding the best tools, or just want to broaden your social media knowledge, you’ll find it here.

Webbiquity Logo - Best of 2009Social Media Measurement
and ROI

ROI Is Dead by StraightUpSearch Blog

Social Media Ad Metrics Definitions (PDF) by The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
Ryan Walker

Understand the Impact of Social Media by ClickZ
Jason Burby

Study: Social Media Pays by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Mark Walsh

6 ways to dispel fear and loathing of social media by iMedia Connection
Kevin Nalty

A Case in Proof: Selling Innovative Marketing to the Top Brass by My Venture Pad
Margot Heiligman

Social Media Measurement: It’s Not Impossible by Journal of Interactive Advertising
Chris Murdough

Top Ten blogs: Social Media Measurement by Seldom Seen Kid
Matt Churchill

How To Measure The Value Of A Fan Or Follower In Social Media by Search Engine Land
Kelsey Childress

Social Media Has Direct Influence on Brand Search by Marketing Charts

Social Media: The Need For Measurement by SEO Book
Peter Da Vanzo

6 Must Read Posts about the ROI of Social Media by Social Media Today
Maddie Grant

This Guy Gets the Basics of Social Media ROI by My Venture Pad
Zane Safrit

Measuring Results in Social Media Marketing by Optimize This

17 areas to benchmark for social media optimization by John Haydon
John Haydon

Measuring Social Media ROI: Why it fails by Social Media Today
Urs E. Gattiker

Socialnomics – Social Media ROI or Social Media Measurement? by SocialSteve’s Blog
Steve Goldner

Social media measurement: a 10-step guide by Econsultancy
Chris Lake

Social Media’s Elusive ROI by CIOZone
Michael Neubarth

8 Steps To Demonstrate Positive Return On Investment For Social Media Marketing by Jeffbullas’s Blog
Jeff Bullas

Social Media ROI: Does It Matter? by CIOZone
Michael Neubarth

Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media by Search Engine Journal
Jennifer Horowitz

B2B’s biggest social media screw-ups by {grow}
Mark W. Schaefer

8 social media sins to avoid by iMedia Connection
Chris Aarons

We Have Sinned by MediaPost Social Media Insider
David Berkowitz

5 Reasons Why 90% Of Social Media Efforts Fail by Community Marketing Blog
Andrew Ballenthin

Five reasons corporations are failing at social media by Social Media Today
Amy Mengel

Hiring for Social Media: The Ugly Side by Altitude
Amber Naslund

7 steps to avoid social media pitfalls by iMedia Connection
Taddy Hall

Social Media Statistics and Research

Did You Know 4.0 by YouTube

What Neuromarketing Can Teach Social Media by Social Media Today

Why Many Businesses Still Fear Social Media by The Marketing Mélange
Mike Frichol

Wow! Top execs say they are influenced by social networks by ZDNet Blogs
Tom Foremski

Winning with Social Media at Your Company: A Letter to the CEO by SocialSteve’s Blog
Steve Goldner

Survey: Most CMOs To Boost Social Media Budgets In 2010 (And It Had Better Pay Off) by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Mark Walsh

New Harvard Study: 30 Key Findings on How The CEO Engages With Social Media by Jeffbullas’s Blog
Jeff Bullas

Experts Predict 2010 the Year for Social Media ROI by ReadWriteStart
Dana Oshiro

Data: What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing? by Mashable
Adam Ostrow

2009 in Review: The Rise of Social Media by The Milwaukee SEO
Tony Verre

Facebook Marketing

Facebook Lets Users Open Up Profiles by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Mark Walsh

Facebook is a Personal CRM for Baby Boomers by iMediaConnection
Daniel Flamberg

Facebook for Business SuperGuide by Interactive Insights Group
Robin Broitman

Facebook: Who you know; Twitter: What you know by Social Media Today
Thomas Crampton

SEO tips for Facebook and Twitter by iMedia Connection
Drew Hubbard

Social Media Monitoring

How to Build a Reputation Monitoring Dashboard by aimClear
Marty Weintraub

How to listen in a bad economy- 67 social media/web/reputation management tools and sites by Social Media Today
Marc Meyer

Online brand reputation or social media listening software – a review of 26 tools by SMART Insights Digital Marketing Blog
Dave Chaffey

Eight reasons to monitor social media and a list of tools for doing it by Chris Koch’s B2B Blog
Chris Koch

We Care: 5 Easy Steps to Make Listening a Form of Activity by SocialNetDaily
Anne Deeter Gallaher

Social Media Marketing Strategy, Tactics and Best Practices

5 Steps to build Social Media team by Social Media Today
Michael Brito

Are You Blogging or Doing Social Media for SERPs & Links? by SEM ClubHouse
Liana “Li” Evans

Social Media and SEO: 5 Essential Steps to Success by Mashable
Lee Odden

6 ways to simplify social media updates by iMedia Connection
Todd Tweedy

Managing Twitter Accounts for Companies by Ignite Social Media
Olivia Hayes

4 signs you’re a social media failure by iMedia Connection
Denise Zimmerman

100 Tips and Tools to Research the Social Web by Sociable Blog

10 Golden Rules of Social Media by WebWorkerDaily
Aliza Sherman

How to market your social media presence by iMedia Connection
Steve Glauberman

New e-Book: “GOING SOCIAL…” Developing a Social Media Program for Your Business, Your brand or Your Clients by CVMonologues
Gretel Going

When Social Media & PR Matters More Than SEO by Small Business Search Marketing
Matt McGee

Free Social Media Marketing Checklist by NikkiPilkington.com
Nikki Pilkington

16 Rules For Social Media Optimization Revisited by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer

Answers to Social Media Questions You Should Know by Xigaware

How to Extend Your Customer Experience Through Social Media by Harvard Business Review
Peter Merholz

10 social media strategies from top brands by iMedia Connection
Lois Kelly

10 Best Social Networking Tips for Business by Simple Thoughts

10 SEO tips for YouTube by iMedia Connection
Drew Hubbard

10 Ways a Start-Up Can Use Social Media to Market Itself by HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog
Edward Boches

6 socially savvy brands by iMedia Connection
Kent Lewis

How to maximize revenue through social media by Social Media Today
Jordan Julien

A scientific method to tame social media madness by iMedia Connection
Tamsen McMahon

The Social Media Marketing List: 45 things you should be doing but probably aren’t by Conversation Marketing
Ian Lurie

Report Reveals:15 Best Practices of Social Media Implemented by the Top 100 Brands by Jeffbullas’s Blog
Jeff Bullas

Social Media Policies

A Corporate Social Media Policy: Do You Really Need One? by Social2B
Kent Huffman

Online Database of Social Media Policies by Social Media Governance

How to create B2B social media policies by Chris Koch’s B2B Blog
Chris Koch

How a 40,000+ Employee Company Trains its Employees on Social Media by Mashable
Adam Ostrow

Social Networking

Why LinkedIn is essential for brand marketers by iMedia Connection
Lori Luechtefeld

Sphinn: SEO/Social Media Niche Site by Search Engine Marketing Group
Alysson Fergison

Social Media Tools

Google Wave: The Next Social Media King? by SEM Nook

6 social media platforms at a glance by iMedia Connection
Kent Lewis

20 Free Buzz Monitoring Tools by Econsultancy
Jake Hird

Social Media Marketing Guide by SEOmoz

Social Media Dashboard Aggregates Data by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Laurie Sullivan

The Big List of Social Aggregators by Search Engine People
Helen Overland

10 Social Media Tools – Best Kept Secrets by Junta42
Joe Pulizzi

Social Media for B2B Marketing

Why B2B companies need social media too by iMedia Connection
Reid Carr

How Social Media Monitoring Can Benefit B2B by Search Engine Land
Shellie Foriska

Seven Reasons B2Bers Ignore Social Media by Bianchi Biz Blog
Jim Bianchi

How To Sell Social Media to B2B Executives by Social Media B2B
Jeffrey L. Cohen

Crushing the Myth of B2B Social Media by Convince & Convert
Jay Baer

9 Ways to Find Your B2B Industry Influencers by Social Media B2B
Jeffrey L. Cohen

Online Reputation Management

SEO Tips For Building Your Personal Brand by Search Engine Land
Kevin Gibbons

Three steps for B2B marketers to build a personal social media presence by Chris Koch’s B2B Blog
Chris Koch

Social Media and Public Relations

The Convergence of Marketing and PR – What It Means for the Communications Professional by The Marketing & Communications Exchange
Stephen Debruyn

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