Posts Tagged ‘Kent Lewis’

37 Fantastic SEO Guides, Tips and Tactics

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Considering that the average b2b website gets about 40% of traffic from organic search, with some sites getting as much as two-thirds of all visits via search engines, effective search engine optimization (SEO) remains a vital strategy.

But precisely what constitutes “best practices” in SEO is a continually (and lately, rapidly) moving target. Yesterday’s on-page optimization and link building tactics—even those used with the best, non-manipulative intentions—may get a site penalized in search rankings today for being “over-optimized.” (You can’t be too rich or too thin, but apparently you can be too optimized.)

So what’s a marketing manager, PR professional or SEO specialist to do? Keep up with SEO trends and changes. Optimize off-site content (for example, on YouTube and other social platforms). Use effective SEO tools and marketing metrics. Create link-worthy content. Use social signals to boost rankings. Learn how to do all of that and then some here in more than three dozen of the best SEO guides and tips from the past year.

General SEO Tips and Guides

When Search Becomes Invisible by MediaPost Search Blog

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan explores how online advertisers and search engine optimizers will adjust to a not-too-distant future “when the act of typing keywords into a search box to create a query becomes invisible? The act of searching for information will blend into voice-assisted programs, with geolocation targeting supported by data.” She reports on how Google, Ask, online ad platform vendors and others are simultaneously creating and adjusting to these changes in technology.

4 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant by iMedia Connection

Louis RixLouis Rix recommends four questions that marketers ask before hiring an outside SEO consultant or firm, such as what kinds of reports they provide and how they build links (great question). His fourth suggested question is a bit tricky however, as even the author notes that “Nobody can promise you a No. 1 ranking.”

10 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Page by Search Engine Watch

Gareth OwenGareth Owen presents 10 important elements for on-page SEO, though he acknowledges that “perfect” may be stretching things a bit (“It’s worth noting that the ‘perfectly optimized page’ above won’t be perfect for all verticals, or for all brands – not everyone has the ability to add customer reviews to their product pages”).

4 Enterprise SEO Trends to Watch in 2012 by ClickZ

Adam AudetteAdam Audette outlines four trends he sees in SEO, among them “Further Corporatization of SEO in the Enterprise: The trend over the last several years has increasingly shown SEO teams ‘go within’ at large companies. This is a trend I’ve long supported and recommended, for example in my piece on in-house SEO teams. In fact, for enterprise companies to realize exceptional results in SEO, they almost always require a dedicated internal SEO team. That’s the case today primarily because incremental gains are harder to achieve.” True perhaps, but this is not necessarily a trend in small to midsized firms yet.

5 big SEO changes you might have missed by iMedia Connection

Lisa WehrGoing beyond the usual SEO guidance, Lisa Wehr explains how to capitalize on mobile and local search, Google encrypted search results, and even Google+ and Facebook: “Where on a social site can you insert keywords? From Google+ profiles to Facebook info sections, you can display keywords and all of your business web properties (website, Twitter, YouTube, corporate blog, etc).”

SEO Strategy for New Domains by Search Engine Journal

Sujan PatelWriting that “When you first launch a new website, it’s a blank slate in the eyes of Google and the other search engines,” Sujan Patel serves up a five-step plan for gaining search ranking, from “make sure that your site is set up as effectively as possible from an internal SEO standpoint” to planning for ongoing optimization.

5 Best Practices for Global SEO by ClickZ

Crispin SheridanFor websites that are truly global in terms of their market targeting, Crispin Sheridan offers a handful of helpful tips for optimization, among them engaging in local link building: “Link building, whether through traditional efforts such as outreach programs or guest blogging, social media, and leveraging partnerships, will always be one of the strongest ways to obtain more favorable rankings. In addition to helping with rankings, the search engines will look at the origin of the links to help determine local relevance. For example, a Chinese site that has a large number of links coming from other China-based sites will have a stronger authority within the local China search engines.”

7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinReporting that nearly a third of b2b marketers “consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search,” Daniel Burstein outlines warning signs that a company may be overvaluing SEO, to the detriment of considerations like providing valuable content and optimizing for conversions.

Create A YouTube Traffic Jam With These 4 Simple Optimization Tips by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS

Brian HonigmanWhile it’s not SEO strictly speaking, optimizing your YouTube videos for search is a great way to increase brand exposure, and to (indirectly) drive website traffic. Brian Honigman provides an outstanding, comprehensive guide to optimizing videos from tags and titles to playlists, annotations and channel branding.

Confirmed: Google+ Is Critical To Your Search Rankings by Sean Clark

Sean ClarkSean Clark contends that “Keywords (are) a thing of the past,” and that social media signals (particularly from Google+) are the future of search engine ranking signals. True? Perhaps. Carefully consider Sean’s arguments and those of his commenters.

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Crowdsources Plugins by Wired

Scott Gilbertson reports on DuckDuckHack, “a developer platform that allows anyone to add new features to the search engine.” The platform enables anyone to write plugins (to go along with current “goodies” like time-based queries and unit conversions) for the search engine and share them. Is this article really one of the best SEO guides of the past year? Maybe not, but it’s hard not to love DuckDuckGo.

9 Lessons from 1,000 SEO Questions by SEOmoz

Dr. Peter J. MeyersDr. Peter J. Meyers distills the answers to 1,000 private questions asked of SEOmoz into this compact summary of SEO  wisdom, such as “One-trick Ponies Make Good Glue…People naturally get comfortable with one aspect of search marketing (link-building, on-page, social, etc.) and then want to ‘perfect’ it, but at best they hit diminishing returns fast.”

Google Webmaster Tools: An Overview by Search Engine Watch

Simon HeseltineSimon Heseltine offers a helpful guide to the features in Google Webmaster Tools, from getting started through navigating the dashboard, messages, configuration, assessing a website’s health (e.g. through crawl errors), search queries,  internal links, sitemaps and more.

10 Myths That Scare SEOs But Shouldn’t – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin dispels myths that shouldn’t be keeping SEO practitioners awake at night, such as having a large number of backlinks from a single domain (unless the linking site is really spammy or the links were built manipulatively) or keyword density that’s “too high.”

10 SEO measurements every marketer should know by Biznology

Rob PetersenNoting that “80% of people who visit a website get there from typing a keyword in the query box of a search engine” (seems a bit high, your mileage will vary) and “90% click on websites on the first page” (of search results), Rob Petersen defines 10 imperative SEO metrics for marketers, from the number of keywords driving traffic to the number of pages indexed by search engines.

7 Small Business SEO Tips by Search Engine Watch

Adam StetzerAdam Stetzer suggests “seven small business SEO tips to help earn more business through traditional organic search rankings,” among them understanding that onsite SEO is necessary but not sufficient; that creating engaging content is critical; and that content marketing should be used to earn backlinks (“Quality content containing humor, information, controversy, politics or training usually brings backlinks – and is definitely considered acceptable SEO”).

SEO Tips for Panda and Penguin

Interview of Jonah Stein by SEO Book

Aaron WallAaron Wall has a long, detailed conversion with SEO expert Jonah Stein about the impact of Google’s series of Panda algorithm updates, and how to respond to penalties. One key line from Jonah: “It is short sighted to believe that any of the SEO niche strategies are going to survive if they are not supported with PR, social, PPC and display.” Which is pretty much what the web presence optimization (WPO) framework is designed to address.

What is your SEO Social Signals Strategy? by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere reveals, in her words, “how Google’s algorithm changes impact both backlinking and social signaling; how to build an SEO social signals strategy; how your SEO backlinking and social signals strategies come together in your content strategy; (and) how to measure it all.”

Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty by Practical eCommerce

Jill KocherJill Kocher provides some details about Google’s throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to penalizing “over-optimization.” For example, one sign of over-optimization to Google is reportedly “Linking repeatedly from body copy to a handful of key pages with optimized anchor text. If 33 of my 100 pages link to www.jillsfakesite.com from the body copy with the anchor text “Jills Fake Site,” that should count as over-optimization.” Never mind that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for doing this, and it may improve the user experience.

6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Speaking of over-optimization, Rand Fishkin (again) here reviews half a dozen ways to avoid Google’s “over-optimization” penalties, including this on in-content text links: “go with logical, useful, change it up when you’re linking to pages, maybe a couple of times, in some spaces. You have a blog post and it mentions a page on your site that you want people to actually go to and that you think is useful in context. Great, link over there. Fine, use the anchor text. Maybe use a modified version of the anchor text, a little longer, a little shorter, a little more natural sounding, and you’re going to get these same results, but you’re going to do it in a much more effective way. You’re not going to be at risk of whatever is happening with this over-optimization penalty.”

The Rise of Content Strategy–What to do about Google killing SEO by Biznology

James MathewsonJames Mathewson outlines four ways Google is killing SEO, including semantic search: “How do SEOs traditionally optimize pages? By advising their clients to put keywords in strategic places on a page. When Google goes to semantic search, it won’t be as much about keywords at all, but on the meaning of the words you use. This might be the biggest SEO killer of all. If tuning our content for keywords our users care about is no longer an effective strategy, what is left for SEOs?” He believes content strategy is the new SEO.

SEO & Content Marketing: Getting The Most Visibility For Your Valuable Content by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll MillerObserving that “with recent algorithm updates, Google has noticeably placed renewed emphasis on unique, relevant, and timely content. Clearly there’s a marriage between SEO and content marketing,” frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller explains how to capitalize in search on difficult-to-optimize content such as information that’s behind a registration wall, infographics and PDFs.

How to Identify Search Engine Penalties by Search Engine Journal

Reassuring that “Not all search engine penalties are permanent, and with a little detective work and remedial action, you should be able to restore your previous rankings and rebuild the flow of organic traffic to your site,” Sujan Patel (again) outlines a five-step process to determine if your site has been penalized, and it so, recover from it.

17 Ways SMBs Can Survive the Google Penguin Update Effect by ClickZ

Lisa BuyerFor those concerned about Google’s Panda update (which is to say, anyone involved in SEO), Lisa Buyer highlights a number of resources for help including guidance on optimizing beyond Google, including advertising, socializing, pinning, profiling, twittering, and more.

Backlinks Strongest Factor For Positive Search Rankings by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “Content shared from Facebook and the amount of backlinks appear to influence organic search engine results most, but Google +1s have the strongest impact on rankings,” and that recent analysis of Google ranking factors in the post-Panda-and-Penguin era suggests that social signals will play an increasing role in site ranking.

6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS

Glenn GabeIn this must-read case study for any site hit by Panda, Glenn Gabe explains how even a large, mature, well-respected website with a stellar link profile can get hit with Panda penalties, what caused this to happen, and the single most important thing that needed to be done to regain ranking and traffic.

7 Achievable Steps For Great SEO After The Penguin Update by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS

Chris WarrenThis post from Chris Warren would be a must-read for anyone struggling with search traffic issues in the post-Penguin era even if it only contained steps one (“Understand your link profile…The biggest risk factors are a combination of lots of low quality links with targeted anchor text”), two (“Learn what makes a good link…there is a lot of evidence that these high value links are really the main drivers of a domain’s link authority”) and five (“almost never change your URLs”).

Understanding Penguin 1.1: Be Safe from Updates in 3 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal

Muzzammil BambotMuzzammil Bambot steps through some of the biggest negative factors in post-Penguin search ranking and how to correct those, from getting rid of paid links and excessive links from a single domain to having too many exact-match text links (solved by increasing the diversity of text link variations).

3 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Your Search Rankings by Social Media Examiner

AJ KumarAJ Kumar suggests strategies for using social media to improve search rank, but just as importantly to “future-proof” your site from still more Google algorithm changes by using social media to reduce your reliance on organic search traffic, for example by including “prominent social sharing buttons at both the top and bottom of each blog post on your website (or use a scrolling option that moves down the page alongside your readers).”

10 Ways Coding Can Help Your SEO by Search Engine Journal

Sujan Patel (once again) provides an excellent collection of SEO tips, here focused on technical factors that can affect rankings. Among his recommendations: use a search engine spider simulator to validate your code for spider-friendliness; create search-optimized page URLs; and combine script files to speed up page load times.

How Google’s Panda and Penguin are affecting your site’s rankings by iMedia Connection

Kent LewisKent Lewis does a commendable job of explaining how Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affected search rankings, and practical steps for avoiding penalties and regaining rankings (e.g., “Cancel or remove unnecessary footer links. Take it easy on the internal ‘SEO’ linking”), though his contention that “A minority of those sites (negatively affected by these algorithm changes) may be legitimate, but a majority of those impacted were consciously in violation” is questionable, particularly given the experiences of other experts noted above.

10 Old SEO Methods You Need to Stop by Search Engine Watch

Greg HabermannGreg Habermann warns against 10 SEO “techniques” that no longer work (or never really did), including Ezine Articles submissions, “news” release without any real news (produced just for links), link exchanges, thin content, and spider-unfriendly web design.

Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013 by SEOmoz

Pete Myers (again) shares his single most valuable SEO tip for 2013, writing that: “While I can’t tell you Google’s next move, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty – there’s more to come. So, how can you protect what you’ve built in 2013? I was going to write a long list of suggestions, but I realized that they almost all boiled down to just one idea. I’m not going to toy with you – my top tip for 2013 SEO is…”

Best SEO Infographics

On page content SEO Puzzle #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO
***** 5 STARS

Berrie PelserWriting that “SEO is a large and dynamic puzzle…to have a successful SEO strategy, you will need to all of the pieces of the puzzle together,” Berrie Pelser presents an easy-to-grasp infographic covering the basics of on-page optimization, coding, site architecture, social factors, reputation, links and more.

The History of Search Engine Marketing by Erik Holladay

Erik HolladayErik Holladay shares an infographic from Markus Allen that details the major ranking factors used by the leading search engines and the significant changes and upgrades made to ranking algorithms from Lycos and WebCrawler in 1994 through Google’s Panda algorithm update.

A Simple SEO Audit For Your Website by Soulati Media
***** 5 STARS

Jayme SoulatiJayme Soulati share a helpful infographic outlining the process for a basic website SEO audit, from content (fresh? Keyword-stuffed? Easy to read?) through technical considerations (navigation, crawl issues, broken links) to backlinks (spammy or paid vs. relevant and high-quality).

Infographic: The New Face of Search Engine Optimization by Marketing Technology Blog

Douglas KarrDouglas Karr presents an excellent SEO infographic contrasting what used to work in terms of keyword targeting, user experience, on-site content (e.g., “stuff title tags with keywords”), anchor text, directory submissions, news releases, and more, to what works today (e.g., “social traction correlates with links…Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the most important SM platforms to SEO”).

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23 (More) of the Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

As noted in 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far, posted here a few months ago, social media marketing adoption is now so widespread there’s little further question of “if” or “when” in the minds of most marketers–but many “how” and “what” questions still remain.

How can marketers make more productive use of their time on social networking sites? What’s the best time of day to post updates on Twitter or Facebook? How can you make sure your company’s social media policy doesn’t run afoul of employment law? What under-utilized site has been called a “social media powerhouse,” and which highly popular social bookmarking site is frequently overlooked by marketers? How can you measure (or can you measure) social media ROI?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost two dozen of the best social media guides, tips, tools, insights and rants of 2012.

Social Media Marketing Guides and Tips

Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online by Spin Sucks

Gini DietrichThe brilliant Gini Dietrich reports on research showing that marketers commonly choose the wrong time of day to post and engage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as to send emails. While the study was fairly small, the findings are consistent with other sources indicating that they key to better social media results may lie in better timing of updates rather than just more of them.

12 Essential Social Media Cheat Sheets by Mashable

Ann SmartyTools guru-ess Ann Smarty shares a dozen helpful “cheat sheets,” which “are basically infographics that can give a user a simple rundown of various features and how to use them.” The collection here provides guidance on getting the most out of Google+, Facebook and Twitter, as well as network-specific spam definitions and keyboard shortcuts.

Fortune 500 CEOs Don’t Get Social Media! [Research] by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenQuoting research showing that “70% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on social media networks…Two thirds of CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends and over a quarter of CEOs on LinkedIn have 1 or 0 connections,” the always insightful Heidi Cohen suggests three reasons why CEOs fear social media (such as liability concerns) and three ways they could actually leverage it instead (such as setting an example for employees: “An active CEO encourages others to engage and shows public support for social media activity that helps build brand and customer relationships over time”).

How your brand is abusing social networks by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

In this must-read post for social media strategists, Rob Rose explains in his own often provocative and always entertaining manner how brands are commonly misusing social media by treating it as another marketing channel, the dangers of that approach, and why each social network should instead be utilized according to its own unique personality and etiquette. “Marketers are the nerdy freshman at the cool kids’ senior party. Say the wrong thing — or say it in the wrong way — and risk getting ridiculed and bounced out. Come with a case of beer and some great conversation, and you just might be a hit. But even then, you are only one mistake away from a viral case of #Fail…make no mistake, this is challenging — and it’s not an even playing field. It used to be that marketers could simply avoid being “salesy” on their social channels, and the world would be OK…But as social marketing becomes increasingly business driven — and content strategies converge in the paid, owned, and earned (POE) models — simply using social channels to engage and entertain is no longer quite as simple…it’s no longer good enough to want to show up to the party with a case of beer. Now, you’ve got to find a way to pay for it as well.”

Beyond the Basics: 30 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2012 by KISSmetrics

Kristi HinesFrequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines provides an outstanding list of general social media tips (e.g., “Cross promote your social profiles. Look for opportunities to add links from one social profile to others. Google+, for example, allows you to link to as many of your other social profiles as you choose”) as well as specific suggestions for getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Slideshare: The B2B Social Media Powerhouse by Heidi Cohen

Noting that “Slideshare receives 60 million visitors per month. More importantly, these visitors tend to be highly influential business people seeking to engage with relevant content,” Heidi Cohen (again) serves up 10 actionable Slideshare marketing tactics, from knowing your target audience on the site to using hashtags, optimizing your presentation’s title and tracking results.

Five Ways Social is Shaping your B2B Customers by LinkedIn Today

David EdelmanDavid Edelman shares a presentation from McKinsey’s Lareina Yee on the Social Enterprise, which includes five ways  social is shaping B2B customers, among them “DIY prospecting” (where customers conduct significant research before ever entering the sales cycle), peer influence, and “click to compare”–conditioned to price transparency in their consumer lives, B2B buyers are coming to expect it from business product and service vendors as well.

3 ways to stop wasting time on social media by iMedia Connection

Drew HubbardDrew Hubbard outlines three social media management practices that will “free you up to do more of what really matters in social media — respond and engage.” Even more helpfully, he lists tools that will assist with each practice. For example, useful tools for keeping a collaborative calendar include Google Calendar, Outlook, Basecamp and ZOHO.

The 5 Best Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website by WindMill Networking

Lilach BullockGuest blogger Lilach Bullock shares a handful of tips for increasing web traffic from social media, including being active and engaged (“The one thing that most business owners using social media don’t do is listen”) and making influential links (“identify a list of key influential people in your industry and engage with them. If you are genuine in your praise they will naturally want to find out about you too”).

7 Sources of Inspiration for Writing Sizzling Social Media Posts by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceWriting that “Unless you are a natural born writer with exceptional skills, running out of content ideas is inevitable,” Rebekah Radice offers tips for finding topic inspiration such as through social media (Facebook groups, LinkedIn questions, Twitter trending topics), books and other industry-related publications, and (when all else fails) re-purposing your own older content.

Social Media ROI Measurement Guides

Social Media: ROI Possible by SlideShare

Angie SchottmullerIn this presentation originally delivered at SES San Francisco, the delightful Angie Schottmuller explains why social media seems like it should be easy, but isn’t. She notes that “social media” is far more than Twitter, blogs and Facebook, now encompassing “social listening,” content curation, crowdfunding, social gaming, social CRM and more. She shares the three reasons that social media ROI measurement is rare, then presents a plan to address each obstacle.

If the presentation alone doesn’t supply quite enough detail for you, check out Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan, Angie’s guest post further exploring the same topic on Search Engine Watch.

6 Expert Tips for Measuring Social Media ROI by OMI Blog

Megan LeapMegan Leap share half a dozen tips on social media ROI measurement from Nichole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI. such as “Social media interactions take place on the web, which is inherently more measurable than offline channels like print, TV and Radio. Measuring social media is actually really easy and most marketers have the tools they need. They just need to start using them a different way.”

Social Media Tools

5 Tools to Simplify Social Media Monitoring Tasks by Link-Assistant.Com Blog

Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handlful of helpful social media monitoring tools, including a couple of familiar names (SproutSocial, HootSuite), a couple of less familiar options (such as Cyfe), and even shows how the free Google Reader tool can be used for basic brand- or keyword-monitoring.

The Top 5 Social Media Managing Tools by Social Media Today

Jen EisenbergJen Eisenberg present highlights of five social media management tools, including not just popular applications like HootSuite but also newer, lesser-known tools such as RebelMouse and Flavors.me, which she calls “a hidden treasure…You can pull your photos, updates, videos, music and more from 35 different web services, one of the most of any social media aggregators.”

Social media tools for the smart agency by iMedia Connection

Scott Fiaschetti reviews seven tools for social media monitoring and management, ranging from relatively simple and inexpensive (uberVu) to more sophisticated offerings like Adaptly, “a platform for execution and optimization of social campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.

Social Media Cheat Sheet for Image Dimensions by The Landlord Blog

How large should your cover photo be on Facebook? What about a story image or shared Facebook video? How many pixels of your Twitter background image are visible to most users? What are the correct dimensions for a cover photo on Google+? Find the ideal / required dimensions for all of these uses and many others in this highly bookmarkable infographic.

24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 STARS

Cindy KingCindy King compiles two dozen recommendations from social media pros on their favorite tools, from Commun.it (which Shelly Lucas says helps her to “build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter”) to AgoraPulse (which according to Aaron Kahlow “provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need”).

Writing Social Media Policies

Eight Ways Your Employee Social-Media Policy May Violate Federal Law by Ad Age Digital

Brian HeidelbergerEvery marketing manager knows that his/her company needs a social media policy for employees, right? Actually, no—as of mid-2012, only about 40% of companies had such policies in place. Even worse, according to Brian Heidelberger, is that it’s quite possible “most all of our current social media policies are illegal.” According to rules established by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a social media policy likely runs afoul of the law if it prohibits or restricts “friending” other employees, posting about the company, talking about coworkers, talking to the press, or using social media sites while at work.

Your Social Media Policies by iMedia Connection

Lee SchneiderLee Schneider outlines nine key points to keep in mind when creating a social media policy, among them “support individuality but stay on message…Many company accounts have multiple posters. Encourage them to let their voice come through, but also make it clear that they are posting for the brand and what the brand stands for,” encourage dialogue but never argue on the Internet, and don’t delete complaints (but do respond to them humbly, helpfully and publicly).

Reddit Marketing Tips

6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business by Social Media Examiner

Ben BeckI know—Reddit? A site whose home page is frequently dominated with stories that have headlines like “How I respond whenever a girl thinks I’m cool” and “Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil” hardly seems like a promising venue for professional marketers, but don’t write off the second-most popular bookmarking site on the web until you’ve read Ben Beck’s discussion of half a dozen popular business-oriented communities there.

Reddit Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] by e-Strategy Trends

David EricksonDavid Erickson shares the Reddit Marketing Field Guide infographic, which provides stats about Reddit use (2.5 billion monthly page views), the typical Redditor (18-34 years old, geeky, liberal and male), and tips on adding content that will get shared (spamming will get you nowhere). Despite its high traffic, Reddit isn’t appropriate for every marketer; but if this is your target market, then this is your helpful infographic.

YouTube Marketing Tactics

6 lessons in launching a branded YouTube channel by iMedia Connection

Michael Estrin shares tips from several agency professionals on how brands can get the most out of their YouTube channels, from starting with a strategy and plan through keeping your audience engaged. In the end, success comes down to “picking what is achievable for your brand and matching realistic key performance indicators to them.”

The ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisReporting that “global internet video traffic will make up 54 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 — up from 51 percent in 2011″ and “Video offers greater retention and recall — up to five times greater than the written word,” Kent Lewis provides an exhaustive guide to everything from video marketing best practices and optimization essentials to YouTube advertising and video sitemaps.

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33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Given the widespread adoption of social media marketing practices, the “if” and “when” questions seemed to have now been resolved by most midsized and larger companies (and a lot of small companies as well).

Many social media marketing questions remainHowever, as the posts and articles highlighted below show, plenty of questions remain, such as how much should we budget for social media? What’s the best process for developing a social media marketing plan? How should we staff for this and train current employees to contribute? How do we demonstrate the ROI of social efforts?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost three dozen of the best social media tips, how-to guides, lists and reports of 2012 so far.

Social Media Marketing Tips, Tactics & Techniques

Dr. Seuss’ 7 social media lessons by Ragan’s PR Daily

The delightful Heidi Cohen presents seven social media marketing tips in Dr. Seuss style, among them “‘Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.’ Be yourself on social media platforms and reveal your true essence…Show who you are with your avatar and profiles. Include information that proves you’re human.”

9 social media hacks you need to embrace now by iMedia Connection

Astutely noting that “Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s just different expensive. To do it well requires a tremendous time commitment, and regardless of what your life and lifestyle entails, the time you spend on social comes with an opportunity cost price tag,” Jay Baer offers six tips for getting more done in social media in less time, such as listening to podcasts while commuting or working out, and utilizing tools like Buffer and If This Then That.

Five Types of Social Media Influencers by Intelegia

Raymond Morin presents both Klout’s 12-type matrix of social influencer types as well as Lisa Barone’s simpler model of five types, including the networker (“one who has the biggest contact list and found on all platforms. He or she who knows everybody and everybody knows him or her”) and the sharer (“one who distributes information to the bloggers to journalists through the specialized webzines. He or she usually amplifies messages”).

Brands Face Stream Fatigue as Consumers Look Beyond Gimmicks in Social Networks by Brian Solis

“Businesses are interacting with consumers to socialize rather than learn about customer expectations to in turn, deliver tangible value, improve product experiences, and invest in long-term relationships,” writes Brian Solis, who then details an experiment by Andrew Blakeley in which he spent a week as a “social consumer.” Blakeley concluded that “the online experience for consumers was undefined or uncharted, leaving consumers to fend for themselves to find relevance within the engagement without any reinforcement to brand value or story.” Don’t be one of those brands.

What Marketing Questions Are Worth Asking in Social Media Listening? by MarketingProfs

David Rabjohns says that the top five questions Fortune 500 companies are asking about social media are:

  • • Where are people talking about my brand?
  • • How should I change my messaging?
  • • How much buzz do I have vs. competition/trend?
  • • How do they feel about us vs. the competition?
  • • Quantify the biggest brand topics.

Why Now Is The Time To Build Your Personal Brand by B2B Marketing Insider

You want loyalty? Get a dog. Michael Brenner notes how recession, downsizing, the end of pensions and other developments (the accelerating pace of technological change) have made the implicit employment “contract” that existed for much of the last century obsolete, and offers four tips for building a brand that will enhance your professional success and influence.

29 Social Media Leaps of Faith by Heidi Cohen

Heidi lists 29 helpful “leaps of faith to help you build your social media presence and activity,” such as building your social media tribe, introducing your connections to each other (where is may be mutually beneficial), and guest blogging.

3 Steps to an Effective Social Media Strategy by Social Media Examiner

Amy Porterfield outlines a “three-step plan designed to help you develop an effective, streamlined road map for social media success,” beginning with an assessment of where you are at today and working through ongoing monitoring, measurement and continual improvement.

How to create and edit articles for Wikipedia by Web Ink Now
***** 5 STARS

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the web, so getting exposure there is incredibly valuable. But the site is not of course, and shouldn’t be, a marketing tool. Content needs to be informational and neutral in tone. David Meerman Scott explains how to properly write for Wikipedia here.

How to Train Employees to Manage Social Media [infographic] by WordPress Hosting SEO

This infographic explains why existing employees may make the best social media managers, how to divide employees into different training groups most appropriate to their skills, and recommendations for handling personal social media use at work.

How To Write Your Social Media Plan in 8 Steps by Social Media Today

Mike Thimmesch lays out an eight-step process for drafting a social media plan, starting with painting “The Picture of The Big Opportunity of Social Media” and finishing with an urgent call to action (“While similar to how you started your plan, you want to finish with some more strident points that create a sense of urgency”).

7 tips to take social to the next level by iMedia Connection

Erick Mott walks through the definitions of and process of creating owned, paid and earned media followed by seven tips for developing and implementing a social plan, among them “Staff up your social media roles with a distributed workforce that can collaborate and perform in real time. Plot where your organization is, which will help inform strategy and budget and hopefully help you secure what you need for the next phase.”

21 Tips to Balance Social Media Addiction, Tweets, Life and Real Work! by The Marketing Nut

Pam Moore supplies 21 tips for keeping the “social” in social media marketing, developing “a plan that includes objectives, goals, and knowing your audience” without spending excessive time (though noting that sometimes such activity will necessarily take longer than you expect). Among her tips: “Use time blocks. If you struggle with controlling your time enjoyed (or wasted) on social media then set time blocks for engaging, writing blog posts and other tactics.”

14 Ways to Build Strategic Relationships With the Who’s Who of Social Media by Copyblogger

Tom Treanor shares 14 “secrets” to building relationships with industry influencers, though he acknowledges the simple truth that “Networking is 98% about being a nice person and having good manners.”

What exactly is a social graph? by Biznology

Writing that “one thing I don’t like (about social media) is that technical people like to make up new fancy words to describe what they make, even if no one knows what they mean,” Mike Moran explains in plain words what a social graph is and what its limitations are.

Social Media Metrics and ROI

101 Examples of Social Business ROI by Dachis Group

Despite the fact that “quantified results in social business and brands willing to stand behind them are difficult to find,” Peter Kim manages to compile a list of more than 100 real-life examples of social media ROI, such as Blendtec (“Viral videos increased company sales +700%”) and Epson (“Reviews drove 98% higher revenue per visitor for Epson”).

The Social Media Metrics That Truly Matter by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis proposes a matrix model for identifying and monitoring meaningful metrics for your company, based on which platforms are most relevant to your target audience, your objectives and goals for each, and important secondary KPIs to consider.

The Real Secret To The ROI Of Social Media by Social Media Today

Koka Sexton explains why “The real ROI of social media is the moment you realize that you can’t stop the spreading of your content even if you tried. It would be like trying to unpull a trigger…ROI is most importantly the cultivation of relationships and capturing the positive word of mouth recommendations from your community. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

CMOs Say Social Media Spending Will Surge 46% in the Next Year by Mack Collier

Mack reports that although spending on social media marketing is set for another year of strong growth, many companies still struggle to measure or prove the ROI, because, in Mack’s words, “shockingly, most customers don’t want to be marketing mouthpieces for brands.” Therefore, transferring traditional value measures from other media won’t work in social networks; that doesn’t mean ROI can’t be measured, it just can’t be measured using the same criteria.

Social Media Facts and Stats

Companies Struggle To Manage Social Media by MediaPost

Mark Walsh reports the findings of an Altimeter Groups study showing that “global corporations are now struggling to manage an average of 178 business-related social media accounts, spanning Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Foursquare, among others…Social media has often been harnessed haphazardly for marketing, sales, customer support and product development. While 70% of businesses said social media efforts met company objectives, only 43% had a formal strategy to address how social will meet specific business goals…(social media management is) exacerbated at a scale CMS didn’t have to deal with (as large) companies typically oversee 39 Twitter accounts, 32 blogs, 30 Facebook pages and 29 LinkedIn accounts.”

Social Media Jobs Salary Guide by Onward Search

Promising “a comprehensive look at the best US job markets, the most in-demand social media jobs, and the corresponding salary ranges for each profession,” this informative infographic reveals findings such as that Minneapolis ranks #13 in number of social media job postings (New York is #1), the highest salaries are generally paid in San Jose, and the most common position is content writer.

Digital Smackdown: “digital dinosaurs vs. digital natives” by Forbes

Reporting that “77% (of consumers) are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles (and) 94% say C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image,” according to a recent Brandfog survey, Rhonda Hurwitz advises senior C-level executives to learn social media tools instead of over-delegating.

Search and Social

Using Social Buttons to Enhance Search Engine Optimization by Practical eCommerce

It’s no secret that social signals are playing an increasing role in search engine rankings, but Jill Kocher provides additional detail behind the trend and recommendations for how to capitalize on it.

Social Media Tools

New technologies to manage social by iMedia Connection

Josh Dreller lists almost 200 tools for every aspect of social media marketing from managing multiple social networks, managing Twitter and searching social networks to apps for social analytics, media relations and video/photo sharing.

YouTube Tips & Tactics

Set Up Your YouTube Channel for SEO Success by The YouMoz Blog

Pointing out that “YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine,” Joel Chudleigh steps through the process of optimizing a YouTube channel for usability and findability, from properly setting up your profile and editing your channel to sharing videos through social networks and measuring results.

B2B And A Resistance To Video Marketing by B2Bbloggers

Observing that “B2B companies have long resisted video as a means of marketing, but that medium is gradually becoming more accepted,” Chris Peterson provides half a dozen valuable tips for technical optimization as well as four practical suggestions for producing effective, non-cheesy b2b videos.

Pinterest Tactics & Techniques

Why Pinterest Should Be of Interest to Brands by MarketingProfs

Amanda DiSilvestro explains how Pinerest works, how to get started with it, and four ways that brands can benefit from the visual social sharing site, including “Visibility and SEO: Every image that is pinned will include a link back to the website where it originated. This helps to spread the word about your company and what your company can offer” (in addition to building links, though these are now no-follow).

10 Tips for Pinterest Search Engine Optimization by ClickZ

Sage Lewis first explains why optimizing for Pinterest is important (e.g., to ” take up greater search engine results pages real estate) then provides 10 optimization tips such as posting original images, giving them search-friendly file names and using keywords in your description.

6 Compelling Reasons You Should Use Pinterest for Marketing by HubSpot

Claiming that Pinterest is “not ‘just another social media site.  This one is different. Pinterest is doing a great job of driving traffic, leads, and sales,” Jesica Meher outlines six benefits of Pinterest, from generating inbound links to integration with existing Twitter and Facebook accounts.

103 Resources For Becoming a Pinterest Expert by KISSmetrics

Zach Bulygo shares more than 100 tips for capitalizing on Pinterest, helpfully arranged in categories like Background and Basics, How-To Articles, Lessons to Learn, Marketing with Pinterest, and Similar Sites.

Why I’ve Resisted Pinterest by MediaPost

The brilliant Ryan DeShazer likely speaks for more marketers than he knows in this thoughtful essay outlining his personal and professional reasons for not yet jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon. Among his personal reasons: “#1 – My guy friends would make fun of me. I’m serious. You will never catch me at a dinner party commenting that, ‘I just pinned the most incredible thing today.’ #2 – This smells like social scrapbooking. I don’t scrapbook. My mother does.”

Tumblr and Google+ Tips & Tactics

How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand by Search Engine Journal

Writing that “According to comScore’s State of the U.S. Social Network Market, Tumblr is one of the most consistently growing social networks out there…But this is not just about sheer number of visitors. The amount of time that visitors spend on Tumblr averages around 2.4 hours a month, making it only second to Facebook in terms of user engagement,” Neil Patel explains what Tumblr is, who uses it, how to get brand exposure there and how to use Tumblr to drive traffic to your other social media platforms.

10 Brands Who Stand Out on Google+ and How They Do It by GigCoin

The prolific Debbie Hemley showcases 10 major brands (including ESPN, Wired magazine, Starbucks, Pepsi and Android) that stand out from the crowd on Google+ and what makes each brand page remarkable.

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Best LinkedIn Guides, Tips and Tactics of 2011

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

While B2C marketers focus on Facebook, LinkedIn is consistently cited as the top social network for B2B marketing. Part of the reasoning is that while Facebook is good for sharing coupons, promoting events, and showcasing corporate culture to potential employees, LinkedIn is powerful at generating web traffic and leads. LinkedIn now has more than 100 million 150 million members including executives from every one of the Fortune 500 companies; 80% of them influence their companies’ purchasing decisions, and those professionals have a significantly higher level of trust in the business-related information they see on LinkedIn than on other popular social networks.

And while LinkedIn’s features remain focused primarily on activity at the individual professional level, the network has added several features for enterprises over the past year, including most recently the Follow Company button for business websites.

So how can companies most successfully use LinkedIn to generate more leads and sales? What’s the best way to start and grow a LinkedIn group? How can you maximize the visibility and impact of your LinkedIn company page? How can you optimize results from LinkedIn advertising?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in 22 of the best LinkedIn guides of the past year.

LinkedIn Tips, Tactics and Best Practices

5 Tips to Get More Sales from Linkedin by Better Closer

Bill RiceIn this concise but useful post, Bill Rice presents five tips for sales (and marketing) pros to take advantage of the capabilities of LinkedIn, from creating a clear profile (“More than boasting about the benefits of any particular company, a LinkedIn profile should make it clear what service it provides to its clients or customers. It should go on to explain what results you can provide for your clients, and how things will improve for them if they work with you”) to asking, politely, for recommendations.

LinkedIn Adds Job Title, Company Names To Text Ad Targeting by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Mark Walsh reports on the expanded options for audience targeting introduced in LinkedIn ads early last year, how LinkedIn ads work, how the enhanced options help marketers, and how they are likely to be received by LinkedIn users.

How LinkedIn Apps Can Promote Your Business by Social Media Examiner

Lewis HowesLewis Howes reveals, in his words, “the top apps you can leverage to get more leads, traffic, product sales, brand awareness, ticket sales, investors, sponsors, consulting engagements and more” including the WordPress app (which enables you to add a blog to LinkedIn), video autoplay, syncing with Twitter, and featuring events on LinkedIn.

How To Maximize LinkedIn For Your Small Business by Sanera People Development Company

Jason SeidenJason Seiden, the guy who trained the LinkedIn sales team on how to use LinkedIn (how’s that for a nice line to have on your resume?) details the process of using LinkedIn for business development by small business owners/managers, from setting clear goals and developing a simple plan to reaching out and never spamming.

10 Tips for LinkedIn Social Networking by Online Social Networking

Larry BraunerLarry Brauner shares 10 tips for maximizing LinkedIn social networking success, among them: put significant time and thought into your profile, utilize keywords, “join every relevant LinkedIn group,” comment when you have something valuable to add, and most importantly (for any social network)–keep at it.

How to Grow Your LinkedIn Group Numbers by Flyte Blog

Rich BrooksRich Brooks supplies several tips for growing the membership in a LinkedIn group, from sending out invitations (even to contacts who aren’t yet on LinkedIn) to promoting the group through your newsletter or blog, along with ideas to increase group member engagement.

10 Things You Never Knew You Could Do On LinkedIn by Business Insider

Steve KovachWriting that “LinkedIn has been adding more and more social features that make sharing news and links with professionals in a specific industry easier than ever,” Steve Kovach walks through LinkedIn’s social sharing features, like the “LinkedIn Today” daily news digest, searching for updates on your favorite topics, and search-optimizing your company page and personal profile.

Advanced LinkedIn strategies for marketers by iMedia Connection

Kent LewisKent Lewis examines “advanced strategies for optimizing your personal and company profiles” such as optimizing all of the elements of your profile, incorporating the Recommend API on your company bio page, using LinkedIn’s resume builder, creating a personalized LinkedIn home page, and using LinkedIn Q&A to conduct polls.

How Are People Really Using LinkedIn? [INFOGRAPHIC] by Mashable

Charlie WhiteCharlie White shares an infographic loaded with facts and statistics about LinkedIn use, for example: 61% of survey respondents said that LinkedIn was their primary social networking site used for professional networking (versus 22% who said Facebook and 4% Twitter). 81% of LinkedIn members belong to at least one group. And 37% of users say they update their profile picture frequently—while 12% have had the same picture since they joined.

7 Quick Ways to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Social Media Marketing Workhorse by Copyblogger

Noting that LinkedIn users don’t use the site to browse through photos of friends, share 140-character status updates or watch videos of talking dogs, Lewis Howes (again) explains how to use LinkedIn for business: from optimizing your personal headline (it doesn’t have to be merely your current job title) to utilizing social proof to providing a compelling call to action (what do you want someone to do after viewing your profile?).

Will LinkedIn Replace Your Resume? by Market My Career

Interesting question, particularly considering that as this post reports, “LinkedIn (has) announced a product  called Talent Pipeline which will allow hiring managers and recruiters to track all passive and active candidates directly via LinkedIn. So whether a recruiter finds your profile on LinkedIn or someone passes along your resume, it will be stored, managed and share via LinkedIn.”

Tips for LinkedIn Company Pages

8 New LinkedIn Features Worth Exploration by Social Media Examiner

Linda ColesLinda Coles steps through some of the key changes made by LinkedIn early last year, such as support for company pages (and if you jumped on this right away, note that this area has been more recently enhanced, particularly in the product listing area), banner images, video support and blog post feeds.

How to Make the Most from LinkedIn Company Pages by Gloria Rand’s Blog

Gloria RandGloria Rand offers an overview of LinkedIn company pages and how they differ from Facebook pages, with banner images, integrated YouTube videos, and most importantly, customer recommendations: “the real power of Company Pages is the fact that LinkedIn members who recommend a product or service on a company profile, will have those recommendations surface on their own personal profiles as well.”

11 Sales Attributes of a Company LinkedIn Page by Find and Convert

Bernie BorgesContending that “If you are a B2B company, your LinkedIn company page could be as valuable (at least as requisite) as your website,” Bernie Borges serves up tips on optimizing each element of LinkedIn company pages, from the company overview and product/service descriptions through promotions, videos and your company blog RSS feed.

Recommendations: LinkedIn’s Customer Reference Program for B2B Brands by iMedia Connection

Ryan DerousseauRyan Derousseau believes that LinkedIn can function as a consumer/buyer recommendation platform for B2B enterprises much the way Facebook does for B2C brands, and provides several suggestions for capitalizing on this. One of the more interesting recommendations: “Add the recommendation button to your company’s product page on the company website. This allows people to click on the recommendation button, and share with their network that they suggest purchasing this good or service. This plugin will live on the site for other customers to see.”

How To Use LinkedIn To Improve Organic Visibility by Search Engine Land

George AsplandGeorge Aspland explains how to set up and search-optimize a company profile page. Great stuff, but be careful with recommendations that rely on employee involvement (e.g., asking employees to optimize their public profiles with your keywords and share company updates). This is an area where training and having a social media policy in place can be valuable.

Benefits of LinkedIn Company Pages by LeahBaade.com

Leah BaadeLeah Baade reviews what LinkedIn company pages are, how they work, why they are beneficial, how to set up a company page, how to interpret LinkedIn’s analytics, and most importantly, what to watch out for, such as “The Latest News works a lot like Google Alerts – in that it’s not always accurate. Unless your company has a very unique name, or it’s frequently making top headlines, this may not be the best feature to enable. Try monitoring the company name or keywords for a day or two and see what comes up.”

5 Tips for Using the New LinkedIn Company Pages by Social Media Examiner

Stephanie SammonsStephanie Sammons reviews updates that LinkedIn made to company pages late last year, then offers five tips for optimizing use of company pages, such as posting “a ‘call to action’ to follow your page within relevant LinkedIn groups” to build up followers for your LinkedIn page and providing “interesting and value-added company page updates”—not just company news and job openings.

LinkedIn “Company” Pages: An (Undervalued) Gem for Organizations of All Types by Social Media in Organizations
***** 5 STARS

Courtney Shelton HuntCourtney Shelton Hunt explains why “organizations of all types and sizes should establish and manage their Company Pages (organizational profiles) on LinkedIn,” outlines a three-phase approach to creating company pages, lists several examples of well-crafted company profiles, and presents survey results showing that LinkedIn is overwhelmingly the preferred social network people use when they want to engage with a company professionally.

Best Practices for LinkedIn Advertising

5 Steps to Successful LinkedIn Advertising by Social Media Examiner

Janet AronicaPointing out that “LinkedIn lets marketers target ads to users by important B2B demographics such as job title or industry or even focusing on members of particular LinkedIn groups. This is different—and arguably better-suited for B2B—than Facebook ads, which typically target users by lifestyle interests…(and) marketers can create an ad on LinkedIn in just minutes with a minimum spend of $10/day,” Janet Aronica covers the basics of LinkedIn advertising along with five steps to LinkedIn advertising success (such as split-testing different ad variations).

Relevancy Is Key to Reaching Professionals With LinkedIn PPC Ads by ClickZ
**** 5 STARS

Lisa RaehslerLisa Raehsler compiles a few LinkedIn advertising best practices and tips here, in terms of targeting (“Job function enables you to loosen the targeting criteria a bit and select users within a specific job function such as ‘accounting,’ ‘creative,’ or ‘marketing'”), ads (“It’s common for the CTR of your ad to decline if you continue to display the same ad week after week. A best practice is to refresh your ads at least once per month with new ad text or images”), bidding and budgeting.

A Starter Guide for Advertising on LinkedIn by PPC Hero

Jessica CatesJessica Cates outlines the process of setting up a business account (so you can keep LinkedIn advertising access separate from your personal account) and an advertising campaign on LinkedIn, from rotation and targeting through bidding and tracking conversion data.

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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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