Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’

The Six Most Irrational Social Media Concerns of Brands

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Note: the following is an excerpt from the book The Social Employee by Cheryl and Mark Burgess. Reprinted with permission.

The first step toward transitioning to a culture full of empowered social employees is to address some of the most common concerns brands face when considering going social. The following lists the most common concerns surrounding social media, as well as why these shouldn’t be concerns at all.

The Social Employee - book by Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess1: Fear

There’s nothing quite like good, old-fashioned fear. Everyone has heard Franklin Roosevelt’s famous Depression-era quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s remarkable how often these words go unheeded. In truth, fear often arises out of lack of knowledge, but brands can’t afford to be ignorant in any era. Fear of social media will likely result in paranoid, overprotective, and ultimately misguided business decisions. Even worse, it will make a band seem out of touch and unwilling to see the writing on the wall.

If brands have anything to fear, it’s not social media, but losing touch with customers. Marketers need to remember that just because something is new and different  doesn’t mean it’s bad, or even dangerous. And in all honesty, social media isn’t even that new anymore. It’s time to face the music. Brands should be aware that “I haven’t done this before” only works as an excuse the first time they use it. Afterwards, they’ll just start to look rigid and stubborn.

2: What If I Do It Wrong?

Many Brands express misgivings as to how they should enter the social media fray. What if the wrong platform is chosen or organizations are not properly structured to accommodate these new technologies? On the surface, this may seem like a legitimate concern. As we’ve already discussed, social media certainly isn’t a static entity. But no technology is. Using the same logic, brands shouldn’t use computers simply because they continue to change as well.

The point is this: just because something is constantly changing doesn’t mean a brand is unable to adapt right along with it. Whether it’s with social media or not, brands can’t avoid risk. All things considered, we believe in the old adage that there’s safety in numbers. Countless brands are struggling with transitions into social business models at this very moment, and they are all learning from each other. It’s better to jump in now and learn through trial and error with everyone else than try to wait it out. If the latter is chosen, the competition will have a clear advantage over the more reticent brands.

3: Social Media Policies Don’t Offer Concrete Metrics or Proven ROI

This May have been true at one point, but as you will see from our success stories in the following chapters, pioneering social businesses do indeed measure investments in social media against real returns. Even the value of contributions from individual social employees can be measured, and tremendous results are being seen. As Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim say in Social Business by Design, unlike the early days of social media, results are not the problem managing the richness and sheer scale of outcomes presents the greater business challenge.”

The social media versus ROI debate has actually become somewhat of a punch line in marketing circles. As much as business culture can have its own memes, the ROI conversation has certainly become one. For our favorite example, we suggest checking out “The Social Media ROI Conversation” on YouTube.

It’s important to note here, however, that even though brands are finding proven ways to measure the ROI of social endeavors, it is generally agreed that ROI, in some ways, is beside the point. When talking about social business, the discussion refers to building a culture of empowered, engaged social employees who are as confident working collaboratively as they are working independently. Social business then, is a long-term game plan for corporate sustainability, accountability, and transparency. The benefits of social business grow exponentially- and will continue to be felt for generations to come. Thinking simply in terms of ROI is, quite frankly, far too narrow a view when experiencing nothing short of a cultural revolution.

4: Inertia

When thinking of inertia in business terms, think of a brand’s forward movement, or in this case, the lack thereof. It’s far too easy for brands to dismiss global changes in the business world as fads, or as somehow inconsequential to their individual enterprises. Dismissive brands are content doing what they do, and have no desire to go beyond that, despite the many indicators suggesting that perhaps they should.

To a certain extent, there can be no talking sense into brands or executives who stubbornly cling to such a mindset. The truth is that the inertia mentality has been dangerous to businesses long before social media came along. Time and time again, brands have been dragged kicking and screaming into the future. Even though a fierce resistance was initially shown, most have been happy with the results. The most successful brands year in and year out are the ones ready to challenge the status quo. These are the brands that don’t accept the idea that business as usual is god enough. In order to foster a culture of engaged social employees, brands must disavow the dangers of inertia directly in their mission statement-and then make sure they put their money where their mouth is.

5: Lack of Internal Structure

To many of the unindoctrinated, the idea of social businesses sounds like pure anarchy. Without a clear organizational hierarchy, wouldn’t the whole enterprise simply descend into chaos? Let’s put it this way: If a brand lacks leadership, it doesn’t matter how elaborate-or sparse-its internal structure is. Without leadership, brands will lose the confidence of their employees, and if this happens there will be much larger problems to worry about. Social business is not an argument for abandoning a structured approach to organization and collaboration. Instead, its an argument for enriched interaction, stickier connections, and more organic collaboration. In other words, social business is about putting your employees first in order to expose and promote pockets of expertise and skill sets that tend to go unnoticed in traditional command-and-control models.

As the case studies in this book demonstrate, social businesses still maintain clearly defined roles for their employees. However, the difference is that these new social employees have much more freedom to maneuver within these roles, and they are better connected to the enterprise as a whole. To some brands, this approach might reflect the fear of losing control we addressed in Chapter 1. We think it’s more important to focus on the upside of this new approach. Social brands put more trust in their employees than previous business models have allowed the to. The wonderful thing businesses are finding is that employees are almost categorically rewarding them for this newfound trust.

6: Ambiguity

This issue may actually turn out to be the root of all other concerns we previously listed. Sure, everyone has heard the term “social media” as nauseum at this point, but its exact meaning and application remain elusive. Social media in business extends far beyond networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. As the brands in our case studies demonstrate, going social affects every aspect of business, including the way a company structures itself, communicates internally, and communicated externally. the sort of brand engagement the public sees-external social branding-is only the tip of the iceberg. If brands are afraid that the concept  of social business is too big of a pill to swallow, we encourage breaking social initiatives down into more digestible pieces and tackling them one step at a time. No one can go social overnight.

Mark BurgessCheryl BurgessCheryl and Mark Burgess are the principals of Blue Focus Marketing and co-authors of
the best-seller The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work.

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Book Review: Optimize

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The old days when SEO meant writing key-stuffed copy and then begging for or buying as many links as possible, from any willing website, are long gone. That’s clearly good for searchers, as search engine results have become more relevant and useful. But it’s also good for marketers, as it forces a focus on understanding buyers and providing them with value rather than manipulative gaming of search algorithms.

Optimize by Lee OddenIn Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing, Lee Odden provides the definitive guide to SEO and its extension into social and content marketing for the new, more sophisticated world of search and web presence optimization.

Divided into three sections—Planning (tactics, audience research,  content), Implementation (persona development, keyword research, content optimization, measurement) and Scale—the book provides a comprehensive roadmap for using integrated digital marketing tactics to drive business results.

Among the specific pieces of wisdom Lee shares in the book are:

  • • Search is a moving target. “Search results have evolved from 10 blue links to situationally dependent mixed-media results that vary according to your geographic location, web history, social influence and social ratings…at any given time, there are from 50 to 200 different versions of Google’s core algorithm in the wild,  so the notion of optimizing for a consistently predictable direct cause and effect is long gone.”
  • • You need to know where you are before you can know where you’re going. “Audits are a key part of search engine optimization, allowing marketers to access the current state of the website in ways that identify any conflicts or inefficiencies for search engines.” Audits also help establish baselines—the starting points from which progress can be measured.
  • • Five different types of SEO audits are vital for establishing baselines: keyword research, content audit (“a website must be the best resource for a topic, and content optimization takes inventory of all content and digital assets that could be a potential entry point vis search and recommends SEO copywriting tactics to showcase those pages as most relevant”), technical SEO audit (making sure the site is easy for search engines to crawl), link footprint and social SEO audit.
  • • PR is now a vital component of SEO. “The public relations function within a company often produces nearly as much content as marketing in the form of a corporate newsroom with media coverage, press releases, images, video, case studies, white papers, and other resources…Each of those assets is an opportunity for journalists to discover the brand story through search engines or social referrals…Companies that optimize and socialize their press releases give new life and extended reach to their news by making it easy for bloggers and end consumers to find and share press release content.”
  • • Content isn’t just the job of marketing and PR. It’s also crucial to optimize content produced by customer service (FAQ’s, common how-to guides), HR, and subject matter experts in field consulting, engineering and sales for search. Marketing may have to scrub and polish some of this content for public consumption, but it’s vital to tap expertise across the organization.
  • • Your online competitors aren’t always your real-life competitors. “In the search and social media marketing world, the competition isn’t always who you think. Companies need to understand that online competition isn’t just made up of companies competing for market share in the business world, but also information and content published from a variety of sources that compete for search engine and social media users’ attention.” It’s not unusual for university websites, government agency sites, and reference sites like Wikipedia to “compete” with a company in search.
  • • Monitor search results to spot new opportunities. “A trending story may cause news or blog results to appear high on the page, which might prompt you to comment on a high-ranking story or reach out to a journalist or blogger to offer your point of view…When you notice that the search engine tends to favor certain media, such as video, for one of your target keyword phrases, it may prompt you to focus on video content and optimization for a particular target keyword phrase.”
  • • It’s vital for a business to “be seen” in different places. “48% of consumers are led to make a purchase through a combination of search and social media influences.”
  • • Search visibility isn’t important only for prospective customers. “95% of journalists use search engines…89% of journalists use blogs and 65% use social networks for story research.”
  • • Develop content for your prospects, not for search engines. “Write down some of the high-level characteristics of your best customers. What motivates them? What do they care about?” I would add “what keeps them awake at night?” and “what will compel them to take action” to this list. The answers to those questions will be crucial in developing your content strategy.
  • • Make fact-based, data-driven decisions. “Keyword research tools are designed to override the false assumptions often provided by the two most flawed tools that you can access—your gut and your brain.” It isn’t that you aren’t smart, but rather the words used inside of your company and those that your prospective customers use to describe the same product or service are often very different.
  • • Think about blog post topics from a variety of angles to keep it interesting. “Typical categories for an editorial calendar can include breaking headlines, industry news, ongoing series, feature stories, in-depth product or service reports,  polls, special promotions, events, tips, lists…the important thing is to be relevant: to your customers, your brand, and to search engines and social communities.”
  • You don’t have to do it all yourself; content curation is as important as creation. “Pure creation is demanding. Pure automation doesn’t engage. Curating content can provide the best of both.”

And there’s much more, including several useful lists such as analytics tools, “20 different content types” and “sources of news to curate.”

Even in books I really find valuable, I usually find at least a few points of contention, or things the author just plain got wrong. But even though I wore out a red pen highlighting passages in this book, I didn’t find a single point where I think Lee missed the mark.

The only thing I would add is an over-arching framework to fit all of this into. “SEO, social media and content marketing” is descriptive, but a mouthful. Add PR and online advertising to the mix, and it gets really awkward without that model. Optimize fundamentally provides an excellent how-to primer for utilizing the web presence optimization framework. As Lee notes:

“If a company doesn’t see the bigger-picture synergy of how to break social media, content, and SEO efforts out of departmental silos and approach Internet marketing and public relations holistically, how can they grow and remain competitive?…Integrating social media marketing and engagement with search, content marketing, email, and other types of online marketing tactics can results in substantial benefits.” But “For many companies, it can be very difficult and complex to implement a holistic content marketing and search optimization program.”

Web presence optimization strategy provides the structure for implementing such a program, and Optimize is a great place to start in learning how to do it.

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Maximize Your Online Visibility: The Web Presence Optimization (WPO) Framework

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Recent research makes clear that, for high-value consumer purchases as well as b2b procurement, being as “findable” as possible online is critical to winning the business.

Of course that means it’s imperative to produce relevant, compelling, optimized content for your company’s website and blog, but online visibility goes beyond that. It also requires an active presence and network of relationships in social media, coverage in industry press, and carefully targeted online advertising to be where your prospective buyers are looking, when they are looking.

Optimizing online visibility then requires the coordination of public relations (PR), content development, social networking, SEO, digital advertising and marketing communications efforts. Without coordination, the efforts of these different individuals or groups are like the blind men and the elephant; none of the experts are wrong, but none get the big picture either.

We refer to this maximization of online visibility as web presence optimization (WPO): the combination of PR, content, SEO, SEM, marcom and social media efforts to make a company as ubiquitous as possible, with relevant content, everywhere online that prospective customers are looking when they are searching for what the company offers.

As a practical matter, the WPO process includes:

Research: a number of questions need to be answered before a tactical WPO plan can be roughed out, such as: where are your prospective customers congregating online? (e.g., are they more likely to use Facebook or a specialized discussion forum? What online publications do they read? What groups do they belong to?) What topics are they most interested in exploring or discussing? How are your competitors approaching the market?

Execution: this includes multiple avenues of content creation, distribution and follow-up. For example, a news release may be written, search-optimized and then distributed through wire service like Marketwire or PRWeb. But it may also be sent to specific journalists and bloggers, who need to be followed up with, shared socially, and have any questions or comments responded to.

Measurement: What was the result—how much online visibility was achieved with a particular piece of content? How much website traffic did it drive? How many conversions? How does this compare to other activities? Lessons learned and intelligence gleaned from these metrics feed back into the execution phase, driving and refining additional projects.

(This is the essence of the web presence optimization strategy and approach we’ve been using at KC Associates for the past year. We research a client’s current competitive and digital landscape, develop a WPO and content strategy, execute, measure and refine.)

The WPO framework has evolved over the past 34 months from the spaghetti-ish original WPO model to the refined definition of web presence optimization a year ago to today’s streamlined version focused on the five broad areas of presence:

The Web Presence Optimization Framework

Content strategy is developed based on market interests, competitor moves and company or product differentiation then shared through one (or more often a combination) of channels. Content creation, optimization, distribution and sharing results in five types of measurable online presence:

Press Presence (news release pickups, news articles, product reviews, publication-sponsored directories, etc.)

Social Presence (tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, social bookmarks, videos on YouTube, presentations on SlideShare, etc.)

Website Presence (content published on a company’s own website, blog or microsite which ranks highly and attracts organic search traffic)

Industry Presence (trade association articles, association membership lists or directories, trade show exhibitor lists, industry analyst coverage, etc.)

Paid Presence (search engine ads, banner ads on trade or publication sites, social network ads)

To learn more about the WPO framework, check out this free whitepaper.

The coordination of the various specialties—PR, social, SEO, SEM, content marketing—depends upon having a clear, unified view of actionable metrics. This single,  comprehensive (but not overwhelming) view of results keeps a team in alignment about next steps, what to do more of, what to drop, and what to do differently.

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How to Optimize for “Direct” Website Traffic

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

One of the most valuable features of Google Analytics is the ability to drill into detail on traffic sources; not just how much traffic came from search or social media, but how much came from each specific search engine or social networking site.

Direct Website Traffic ShareBut for most b2b websites, one of the top three sources of traffic—and often the largest single source—is “direct” visits. What’s behind this number and what factors affect it?

First off, by definition, direct traffic is all visitors who “arrived at your site directly (by typing the url) or via a bookmark.” Technically, there are other possible sources for direct traffic as well such as clicks on links within an Outlook email signature or Word document, but direct entry in a browser address bar or bookmark click account for the bulk of direct traffic.

Second, direct visitors fall broadly into one of two groups: let’s call them “old friends” and “new friends.” Old friends may include, among others:

  • • Current customers (for example, clicking on a bookmarked link to your support page or user community area)
  • • Partners (channel, technology, implementation services, etc.)
  • • Vendors
  • • Investors
  • • Employees (accessing the site from outside the corporate network, e.g., from home or on the road)
  • • Media and analysts already familiar with your company

“New friends” are (generally) predominantly sales prospects, but also include potential future employees, media who are new to your company, prospective investors and/or partners, vendors and other influencers. The “root” sources for this traffic may be online or offline.’

Online Direct Traffic Sources

PR / media relations: media exposure builds brand recognition. Visitors may type your URL into their browser address bars based on seeing a company profile, product review, news release pickup, subject matter expert quote or other mention in industry media.

Social media: social networking and content sharing also builds brand awareness and credibility. A click directly from Twitter, Facebook or another social media site will be recorded in Google Analytics as a social media visit of course, but there’s now question that some percentage of direct visits are inspired by exposure through social bookmarking and other social media activity.

Industry presence: listings in industry-specific directories, trade show sponsorships, industry association memberships and other similar industry presence links can lead directly to referral site traffic or build brand recognition that leads to direct visits.

Offline Drivers of Direct Visits

Face to face meetings and other “business card events”: the most prominent source of these direct visits is trade shows, but other venues may include Tweetups, conferences at which a company executive or subject matter expert speaks, social media breakfasts or happy hours, business networking events or anywhere a representative of your company is able to give out or exchange business cards with prospective buyers.

Printed media: yes, people do still use media like print advertising, direct mail and sales collateral. In fact, in a crowded online world, a well-crafted direct mail piece can make your company stand out–your prospects’ “real” mailboxes today are likely far less crowded than their email inboxes. An ad in an actual printed publication, a clever direct mail piece (more creative than a simple letter or postcard), or even a leave-behind or brochure handed out at a trade show can often lead to a “direct” website visit.

Old-fashioned word of mouth (WOM): while so much attention today is lavished on social media marketing (and not unrightly so necessarily), the fact is–people still talk.  Particularly at the executive level. Whether at a breakfast, mixer, phone call, golf outing, conference or other event, executives and subject matter experts talk. If you’ve captured their interest and are relevant to someone else’s needs, your name is likely to come up. There’s no way to measure the effect precisely, but equally no doubt it affects those direct visit figures.

The segment of direct traffic worth optimizing for is of course prospective buyers. While it’s impossible to separate out this group with precision, it is possible to quantify and analyze the behavior of this group roughly be creating a custom segment in Google Analytics that excludes certain pages more likely to be visited by non-prospects (e.g., the media page, careers pages, and support area of the site) and known customers based on their network name.

Optimizing for direct traffic then requires a mix of online and offline tactics. Utilize best practices in social media marketing and online PR. Be active in industry groups, trade shows, conferences and local events where you can meet people in real life. And considering that paper production is actually up 180% in the past five years, don’t completely over traditional marketing channels like trade media advertising and direct mail.

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50 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011 (So Far)

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Social media marketing has gone well beyond the hype stage and is now mainstream business practice. Still, questions remain: how do I use social media most effectively across the enterprise? Which social media monitoring tools should I use? What should I monitor for? How do I use my time and resources most effectively? What social media developments and trends should I be watching?

Best of 2011 - Social Media GuidesAnd of course, there’s the ongoing social media ROI debate: how do I measure this? Can social media ROI really be measured? Influential voices like Olivier Blanchard and Jacquie McCarnan present formulas and methods for ROI calculation, while Steve Goldman contends that social media ROI can’t be measured in isolation, and Jackie Cohen reports that more than a third of CMOs still have no idea whether or not social media marketing is producing any ROI.

What to do? Read on for answers to these questions and more from some of the best minds in social media in some of their best blog posts and articles of 2011 so far.

Social Media Strategy and Best Practices

9 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Location Based Services by Social Media B2B

Adam Holden-BacheThe always-insightful Adam Holden-Bache contends that location-based services like Foursquare aren’t just for consumer marketers, and supplies ideas on how B2B marketers can capitalize such as through partnerships with non-competitive local businesses, incentives and rewards, and in event marketing (“Are you seeing a lot of your contacts attending certain business events? Whether it’s a local tweet-up or a major conference, this knowledge could be useful to help you plan what events you should sponsor or where you should set up your next booth”).

Is Social Media Really Living Up to Expectations? by B2B Lead Roundtable Blog

Brian CarrollBrian Carroll talks with MECLABS Director of Research Sergio Balegno about the disconnect between social media activity and results in the B2B environment, and concludes that “marketers are expecting way too much too soon.” Social media adoption on both the buyer and vendor side is happening with incredible speed; the tools that we’ve developed to track other web marketing activities haven’t kept pace. As social media monitoring and integration with CRM systems improves, marketers will have the metrics and analytical tools to more accurately assess the value of various social media efforts and continually improve them.

The B2B Social Media Landscape: a portrait by Beyond
***** 5 STARS

John BottomJohn Bottom has crafted an amazing, creative, interactive B2B social media landscape image with links to a large group of key B2B bloggers like Mark Schaefer, Joe Pulizzi, Beth Harte and Tony Karrer.

The social media approach that nobody wants to hear by Hugo Guzman

Hugo GuzmanHugo Guzman explains the importance of listening and planning before jumping into social media (failures also noted previously here in the dirty dozen top 12 social media mistakes to avoid). He lists nine steps its imperative for companies to take in order to “build enough social karma (yes, I said karma) to facilitate things like guest posting opportunities, retweets, likes, etc.”

19 Social Media Best Practices [VIDEO] by Social Media Explorer

Mark SmiciklasMark Smiciklas presents his “infographic inspired list of 19 social media best practices” in this entertaining and creative four-minute video.

 

30 Ways to Use Social Media for Business People by SEOptimise

Tad ChefCiting a recent study showing that “94% of businesses actually do not use social media even for the most obvious task it’s good for: Getting feedback”–and another demonstrating that those businesses are less competitive–Tad Chef supplies a list of 30 ways businesses can use social media, among them to get feedback, get attention, debunk myths, forge relationships and build links.

5 ways to use social media to build a crowd for your event by Socialbrite

Tamara MendelsohnTamara Mendelsohn of Eventbrite details five guiding principles for promoting events, including choose the right platform, publish your event to Facebook, and “define success metrics and don’t underestimate the effort required.”

 

Organizing Your Social Media Strategy by CompuKol Connection

CompuKolMichael Cohn offers a helpful checklist for organizing social media efforts, from setting goals and listening to engaging your audience and selecting the right tools.

Influence in social media: how to find the top bloggers by blur Group

blur GroupThis post outlines three key measures of social media influence and three key tools to help identify the most influential bloggers in any specific topic niche.

 

The most underestimated social media asset by iMediaConnection

Lori LuechtefeldNoting that “the proper framework of enablement and empowerment can turn a company’s workforce into the most effective means of advancing the goals of the business through social media,” Lori Luechtefeld details IBM’s experience with transforming its business be empowering employees to actively engage as part of the company’s social media strategy.

It’s Not Your CEO’s Fault He’s a Social Media Moron by Social Media Today

Social Media CanadaGotta love this post for the title alone. Jacquie McCarnan contends that many CEOs struggle with social media because it doesn’t fit old models for clear departmentalization and measurement.

 

Expand Your Social Media Mix: Twitter Alone is Not Enough by Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang
***** 5 STARS

Jeremiah OwyangDeftly weaving in a dinner analogy to social media, Jeremiah Owyang compares Twitter to shish-kabob (bite-sized morsels of information) that are tasty but need to be supplemented by “steak”–infographics, Slideshare presentations, blog posts–and topped off with online video for dessert.

26 Ways to Use Social Media for Lead Generation by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 STARS

Debbie HemleyDebbie Hemley compiles another brilliant A to Z post, this one focused on using social media for lead generation. Her list of tactics begins with Assets, Branding and Compelling messages and continues all the way through Word of mouth, eXcellence, adopting a Yes attitude, and demonstrating Zeal in your social media activities and relationship building.

Social Media Tools

10 Steps to Finding the Influencers in Your Market by Junta42
***** 5 STARS

Joe PulizziThe brilliant Joe Pulizzi details 10 steps for finding and cultivating relationships with the key influencers in your market space. For each step, he identifies the overall strategy, useful tools, and helpful tips for execution.

9 Social Networks Your Business Should Be Using by Likeable Media

Cara FriedmanBeyond the obvious (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube), Cara Friedman makes the case for adding social networks like Flickr, Tumblr and Meetup to your social media marketing mix.

 

The Social Media Strategists Power Tools [Consumption] by NewCommBiz

Tac AndersonTac Anderson reviews seven of his favorite tools for saving time in social media consumption and management, among them TweetDeck, Twendz and Quora.

Social Media and Online Video

9 new rules for YouTube marketing by iMedia Connection

Greg JarboeGreg Jarboe lists nine helpful rules for video marketing, such as “Rule 1: YouTube marketing is the new video marketing…YouTube gets more than 86 percent of visits to 77 video sites in this country.” (Hulu, at #2, gets less than 4% of visits.) And “Rule 2: You can’t make it on YouTube alone…even with close to 2.0 billion out of the nearly 5.2 billion viewing sessions in the U.S., only 38 percent of all viewing sessions occurred at YouTube.com…45.13 percent of viewers discovered videos by going to a video site (i.e., going to YouTube and running a search or clicking around the featured or related videos). But 44.24 percent of viewers discovered videos embedded on blogs or other websites.”

Social media: Adding video to your digital marketing plan by SignOn San Diego

Erik BrattErik Bratt expounds on the popularity of video marketing (“video capability was the fastest-growing website feature for small-business advertisers in 2009, with one in five hosting website video by the end of the year”) and the different types of videos businesses can consider using, including screencasts, customer testimonials and video email.

7 Little Known Tricks That Will Get You More YouTube Views by SocialTimes

Megan O'NeillMegan O’Neill offers helpful tips for increasing exposure of your online videos, including using annotations across videos, creating playlists, and actively participating in the YouTube community.

Social Media Case Studies

The Fantabulous Lists of Social Media Case Studies by Social Media Today

Giedrius IvanauskasLooking for examples of social media success to emulate? Giedrius Ivanauskas supplies 17 lists of social media case studies such as WOMMA’s Case Study Library and 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action from Mashable.

 

B2B Social Media Example: GE MarkNet by Social Media B2B

Jeffrey L. CohenJeffrey L. Cohen describes how GE found success with a private social media community. In just one example of collaboration across divisions and geographic boundaries, the company saved $250,000.

Social Media Trends and Predictions

2011 Trends: Make Your Corporate Site A Social Media Hub by Business 2 Community

Sally FalkowSally Falkow predicts that social media integration with corporate websites will be a major trend in 2011 and shares Jeremiah Owyang’s model for achieving that integration.

 

2011 Predictions: Top 12 Reasons Businesses Will Fail at Social Media by FruitZoom

Pam MoorePam Moore outlines a dozen ways companies can fail at social media marketing, from not understanding the social media “ecosystem” for their industry or hiring the wrong consultant/agency for help to assuming social media will fix a broken business (it’s won’t–it will expose it) and having unrealistic expectations in general.

Social media: What lies ahead? by iMedia Connection

Shelley PalmerShelly Palmer predicts that Facebook will face increased competition from better tools, that smart phones will continue to advance and account for a higher share of online traffic, and more in this 11-minute video.

Are These Social Media Trends of 2011 Part of Your Strategy? by Social Media Today

Marina ArnoutMarina Arnaout outlines five key trends for social media marketers to watch and utilize, including online video, mobile and location-based services.

 

It is the structure of social networks that shapes influence… and the structure is changing by Trends in the Living Networks

Ross Dawson (logo)Ross Dawson delves into the concept of influence networks to explain why some tweets go viral and others don’t, noting that this is a rapidly evolving area and that research shows “professional blogs are the most influential news media in sports and the second most influential media in politics and national news, while personal blogs are the most influential in entertainment and the second most influential in technology. In general the influence of blogs tends to decay more slowly than other media.”

Social Media Policies and Regulation

10 Steps to Managing Employees on Social Media by Write Speak Sell
**** 5 STARS

Kyle-Beth HilferNoting that “Well-written (social media) policies prevent public relations disasters and potential legal liability. In addition, when done properly, they also create environments that foster productivity and loyalty among employees,” Kyle-Beth Hilfer provides an outstanding 10-step list to use as a guide in writing a social media policy.

Social Media Policy Unites Social Media Initiatives by Social Media Today

Going down the same path as Who Should Write Your Social Media Policy?, Tim McCord emphasizes the need to create a team when crafting a social media policy and selecting monitoring tools.

NLRB Says Companies Can Not Discipline Workers For Posts in Social Media by iMedia Connection

Chris BoudreauxIn news that every company needs to hear thought most likely don’t want to, Chris Boudreaux reports on a recent case wherein the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that “companies can not discipline workers who post criticisms on social-networking sites.” Chris concludes with: “This clarification by the NLRB is a big deal for a lot of companies in the United States.” Indeed it is.

Social Media and SEO

Why social media optimization is the new SEO by iMedia Connection

Noting that many people now “receive the majority of their news on Twitter or via posts on Facebook and LinkedIn before resorting to a Google search on any given topic…How many times have you seen an article posted on Facebook or Twitter that has either made you click on it, or urged you to suddenly search about the topic? It’s a fascinating process,” Dennis Franczak explains why social media optimization (SMO) is now taking center stage in online marketing and how to go about it successfully.

The Social Media Marketer’s SEO Checklist by SEOmoz

Jennifer Sable LopezJennifer Sable Lopez offers a nine-step checklist to making social media activities SEO-friendly, such as incorporating keyword research and making sure your content is easily sharable across the most popular social networks. She uses the word campaign unfortunately, but otherwise it’s a helpful post.

Why Not Be The CMO Of Everyone? by MediaPost Search Insider
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Derek GordonWriting that “every person in an enterprise is potentially an authentic, invested content producer, networker or influencer. Very often, employees in large enterprises are actively evangelizing their brands or products and no one in the home office even realizes it,” Derek Gordon advises CMOs to solicit content from the broadest possible array of contributors within an organization in order to develop more valuable, search-optimized copy.

Social Media Monitoring

20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools by Socialbrite

J.D. LasicaJ.D. Lasica reviews 20 free social media tools, categorized by function, including Wildfire, HootSuite, Plancast and Addict-o-matic.

Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business by Socialmedia.biz

J.D. Lasica and Kim Bale review 20 powerful fee-based tools for professional social media monitoring, among them Radian6, Lithium, Alterian SM2 and Attentio. For guidance on how to evaluate these tools, check out 9 Criteria for Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Tool.

Top 10 analytics tools for social media by iMedia Connection

Adam BoydenAdam Boyden details key features and capabilities of several fee-based and free (or low cost) social media monitoring tools including Sysomos, Beevolve and ReSearch.ly.

 

20 Free Social Media and Brand Monitoring Tools Worth Exploring by oneforty

Pam SahotaPam Sahota provides helpful mini-reviews of 20 free social media monitoring tools worth checking out, from Twilerts and Backtype through Proxlet (which, among other features, helpfully filters out those annoying Foursquare checkin tweets) and Trendrr.

Social Media Dashboards by CompuKol Connection

Marco GiuntaRather than writing just another post about monitoring tools, Marco Giunta delves into which social media metrics are the most critical to track, and how to act on the results of this measurement.

 

Why You Aren’t Getting What You Need Out Of Social Media Monitoring… Yet by SocialTimes

Neil GlassmanNeil Glassman raises a number of questions to help focus social media monitoring activities (e.g.,”Does your query language mesh with your consumers’ language? Or is it industry language?”) then makes three key recommendations to help organizations really get value out of social media monitoring.

Social Media Metrics and ROI

6 Critically Undervalued Social Media Success Metrics by Convince & Convert

Jay BaerJay Baer details the half-dozen social media metrics and tools he views as the most meaningful yet undervalued, from the Klout scores of your Twitter followers (rather than just number of followers) to share of voice and inbound links.

Social media metrics: 5 things to learn in 2011 by Ragan.com

Don BartholomewWondering if “perhaps 2011 will be the year that social media measurement matures and comes of age,” Don Bartholomew details five objectives including measurement, ROI and attribution.

Social Media Strategists Look Hard at ROI this Year by eMarketer

According to research from The Altimeter Group, “when it came to social media programs, 82% of respondents reported they would be investing in brand monitoring in 2011, while 77% cited staff budgets and 78% training budgets…Creating ROI measurements tops the list of internal social strategy objectives for 2011, with 48.3% of respondents highlighting that goal.”

3 Ways social media market research can impact your business by ListenLogic

Chris KarnesNoting that “Market research is now beginning to leverage social media in a revolutionary way that provides insights and impact across the organization,” Chris Karnes explains how social media listening can be used to measure marketing campaign effectiveness, drive purchasing decisions and inspire product innovation.

6 Buckets of Social Media Measurement by Take a Peck

Jason PeckJason Peck details six “buckets” of metrics companies should use to evaluate the success of various social media initiatives, including business metrics, awareness (e.g. website traffic, searches for brand terms) and engagement (Facebook likes, blog comments, retweets, etc.).

Social Media ROI for Idiots by Social Media Today

Hmm, not to sure about the title of this post, as idiots are unlikely to get social media ROI. Or even to get social media for that matter. But regardless, Jacquie McCarnan helpfully provides several different formulas for calculating social media ROI, based on different factors such as qualified leads, employee retention, and customer engagement.

Measuring the Stages of the Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel by SocialSteve’s Blog
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Steve GoldnerContending that social media ROI can’t be measured in isolation, Steve Goldner recommends instead measuring its contribution to the business through key performance indicators (KPIs) including awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy. His brilliant “Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel” graphic makes the post worth a look in itself.

Social Media ROI business measurement by Slideshare
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Olivier BlanchardOlivier Blanchard, a.k.a. the BrandBuilder, delivers a comprehensive process for measuring social media ROI in this cleverly illustrated but very long (133 slides) online presentation.

Social Media Research, Facts and Statistics

Companies using social media are making more money, says McKinsey by The Wall

Gordon MacmillanGordon MacMillan reports on research from McKinsey showing that “companies that are starting to do it (social media marketing) well are being rewarded for their efforts (e.g., with higher operating margins and market share). More than that, it says those that fail to implement social media could be making a ‘critical mistake.’” He also shares four key steps McKinsey suggests executives should take to move their organizations forward.

85% of Inc 500 Say Social Media Will be “Very” or “Somewhat” Important to Their Marketing or Business Strategy by iMedia Connection

Chris Boudreaux cites a study concluding that nearly 9 in 10 large-company CEOs believe social media is important to their business strategies, and that “43% of CEOs say they will ‘significantly change’ their strategies in the next three years to respond to customers’ increased use of social media and mobile devices.”

STUDY: Return On Investment In Facebook Eludes CMOs by All Facebook

Jackie Cohen summarizes and comments on a recent Bazaarvoice / CMO Club showing that “Nine out of every ten Chief Marketing Officers participate in at least three forms of social media promotions, yet many don’t know whether these efforts yield a return on investment…(while) 15.4 percent have a significant return on investment and 20.6 percent have an average return…34.9 percent said they don’t know whether they have an ROI, and 8.6 percent have none.”

How much does Social Media cost companies in 2011? by MackCollier.com
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Mack CollierMack Collier very helpfully provides social media consultants, and companies looking to hire them, with pricing benchmarks for common types of projects. For example, ghostwritten blog posts cost anywhere from $50 to $500 per post, with most providers charging $100-$250.

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