Posts Tagged ‘social media ROI’

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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Five Marketing Metrics that are Definitely NOT “Worthless”

Monday, September 16th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter Followers

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

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

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

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

Facebook “Likes”

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

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

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

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

Social Mentions

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

Link Counts

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

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

Search Engine Visibility

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

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

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

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How to Get the “Best of” Social Media Posts All Year Long

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

TradePub has just launched its first report in a series for 2012, the Social Media Wrap Up report. Each report will highlight a selection of the best social media posts from leading authors published the preceding month.

Best Social Media Posts of January 2012The inaugural report includes posts from authors such as marketing agency veteran Drew McLellan; Marc Meyer, digital and social media strategist at DRMG; and author, speaker and SVP of Social Strategies at Social 5150 Neal Schaffer.

The topics covered range from social media strategies and hiring a social media agency to guidance on Tweetchats, blogging and measuring social media ROI.

Again, a new summary of some of the best social media blog posts will be published each month in 2012. You can grab the first free report here.

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48 Ways to Measure Social Media Success

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Ultimately, as Olivier Blanchard has pointed out repeatedly, social media marketing has to demonstrate an ROI (though he acknowledges the questions have to be made more specific). In the b2b world, the “R” is generally leads (website call-to-action conversions) with some monetary value applied to them.

Measuring Social Media SuccessBut it’s crucial to the social media ROI debate to recognize that “R” is an end-of-the-process measure. There are numerous in-process measures that may be impossible to tie directly to ROI, but are nonetheless critical in producing that final “R” value.

Consider automobile manufacturing as an analogy. There are an abundance of measures, from machining tolerances on shafts to the temperature in the paint room, which are vital to track during the manufacturing process. The C-level folks may not know or particularly care what these numbers are, but if those values are off, they will affect quality, which impacts rework and warranty claims, which impact manufacturing and repair costs, which impact the ROI of each vehicle.

Similarly, in social media marketing, there are numerous intermediate “process” measures that don’t fit into an ROI equation, but which are vital in optimizing social media efforts in order to minimize “I” and maximize “R.” These metrics don’t represent the goals of social media marketing in and of themselves, but are critical measures to help optimize processes to achieve the ultimate objectives.

Here are 46 intermediate metrics (and two final measures) to help marketers evaluate the success of their social media programs and optimize their associated processes. Most of these are easy and free to track.

Nine Blog Metrics

  • • Overall traffic
  • • Traffic quality (e.g. bounce rate, average time spent per visit)
  • • Most popular posts (indicates topics with highest interest)
  • • Search traffic
  • • Social media/network-referred traffic
  • • Other key sources of traffic (e.g., company website, newsletters, syndication sites)
  • • Number of RSS subscribers (regular readers)
  • • Number of email subscribers
  • • Top visiting organizations (measure of targeting effectiveness)

Six Twitter Metrics

  • • Total number of relevant followers (exclude the inevitable spammers and oddballs who seem to be attracted to any active Twitter account)
  • • Interaction (@ mentions)
  • • Retweets (reflects both level of engagement and quality of shared content)
  • • Most tweeted links (i.e., which content is most popular with followers)
  • • Influence (e.g., Klout and Kred scores)
  • • Brand and mention tracking (e.g., from HootSuite or other social media monitoring tool)

Six LinkedIn Metrics

  • • Number of company followers
  • • Recommendations on products or services
  • • Page views (of LinkedIn company overview)
  • • Unique visitors
  • • Click-throughs (on product links)
  • • Followers by industry, function and company

Five Facebook Metrics

  • • Number of Facebook page “Likes”
  • • Friends of fans (indicates an organization’s total potential reach on Facebook)
  • • Number of people talking about you (the number of unique people who have created content about the company page on Facebook in the past week)
  • • Weekly total reach (the number of people who have seen one of the firm’s messages on Facebook in past week)
  • • Most popular posts

Ten YouTube Metrics

  • • Number of subscribers to the company channel
  • • Total number of video views
  • • Change in views and subscribers over last 30 days
  • • Engagement measures:
    •      » Likes / dislikes
    •      » Comments
    •      » Shares
    •      » Favorites added or removed
  • • Top videos, last 30 days
  • • Playback locations (e.g., regular YouTube page, company channel, mobile device, etc.)
  • • Top traffic sources

Two Google+ Metrics

  • • Number of people / organizations in company circles
  • • Number of people / organizations that have company in their circles
  • • Note: Google has indicated that it plans to introduce more advanced analytics for Google+ soon

Ten Company Website and Cross-Social-Network Metrics

  • • Total social media-generated visits to the company website
  • • Lift in direct visits (an imprecise but correlated measure)
  • • Lift in branded search visits (another imprecise but correlated measure)
  • • Major social network visits by source
  • • Traffic quality by source
  • • Most-viewed pages by social media visitors
  • • Top visiting organizations (all social media sources)
  • • Top visiting organizations (by major social network)
  • • Lead conversions (all social media sources)
  • • Lead conversions (by major social network)

If you’ve utilized the first 46 metrics to continually monitor and adjust your social media activities, the final two—the real return on investment for b2b marketers—should validate and quantify the value of all your hard work.

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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
***** 5 STARS

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
***** 5 STARS

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
***** 5 STARS

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
***** 5 STARS

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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