Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Search and Social Lessons from the Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Last month’s Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference opened with a blast of presentational energy from Neal Rodriguez. While there’s no video of his keynote available, his YouTube channel will give you some sense of how Neal can wake up an early-morning crowd in a packed ballroom.

The conference, hosted by Marty Weintraub‘s agency, aimClear, was an impressive affair. Though Duluth is smallish metro area of roughly 100,000 population, the event attracted twice as many attendees as some similar events in larger cities, with speakers from around the country.

Among the first group of morning breakout sessions was “Using Social Media Analytics To Define ROI KPIs.” Grant Tilus and Katy Katz of Collegis discussed the virtual demise of organic reach on Facebook, and what to do about it.

Rethink Your Social Promotion Strategy

They also advised that marketers set SMART goals, and presented a selection of best practices for advertising on popular social networks:

Set SMART marketing goals

Facebook analytics best practices

Twitter Analytics best practices

Choosing which social networks to focus on

 

Among other key takeaways from Grant and Katy:

  • • Use the scientific method. Start with research: is your goal achievable? What’s the best way to accomplish it? Then form the hypothesis – the idea you can test, the goal, the KPI, what you are trying to achieve. For example, “This Facebook contest will drive 100 new leads in 90 days.”
  • • To crack the organic code, tap into human psychology; people like content tnat: makes us feel good, gives us answers, tells a story, or surprises us. Pick the right time of the day and week to post (e.g. Facebook work best over lunch).
  • • Track your campaign like a case study. Report positive and negative outcomes of the campaign. Learn what works and document it so it can be replicated. Separate the results from different platforms, but use consistent lamguage.
  • • Only 22% of businesses track their social results well.

Next up, Regis Hadiaris of Quicken Loans, Will Scott of Search Influence, and Joe Warner of aimClear presented “SEO, Social Media & What Every Marketer (SRSLY) Must Do.” The three played off each other adeptly, alternately focusing on the social, technical, and content-driven aspects of search.

How to really think about SEO in 2014

Key lessons about SEO in 2014:

  • • The days of tips & tricks in SEO are over. Google tests and updates daily. Follow Google Webmaster guidelines well – this is now the only option.
  • • Make a list of the questions that your customers and prospects ask most frequently (talk to sales and customer service reps if necessary to generate this), then provide content in various formats (blog posts, white papers, video, presentations, infographics) that answers those questions.
  • • Reputation management (the knowledge graph) is vital for SEO – Google wants to know who you are and how legitimate you are. This means making the effort to get dodgy links taken down or disavowed. Essentially, Google will judge your website by the company it keeps, so try to attach your content to high-authority sites like Forbes and industry-specific trade journals (a key channel in the web presence optimization (WPO) model).
  • • The “coolest newest thing” you can do is to implement schema tags, e.g. tagging your contact page for local SEO. Use a WordPress plugin to simplify the process of highlighting news, product, and other specific types of content.
  • • Three key technical elements in using Google+ for seo: 1) Link your website to your business G+ profile (and back); 2) Use Google authorship (link your blog to the author’s G+ page; and 3) add a G+ sharing button to all pages on your site.
  • • Implementing Google authorship can increase click-through rates (CTRs) dramatically, even without any ranking change, by adding photo to a business result. G+ interaction gets more rich data into search results, which increases clicks. 20% of searchers, on average, looked at the second page of results on searches back in 2006. Now it’s 2% (because search engines have gotten better).
  • • “If you don’t have open graph tags on your site, need to do that now.” For WordPress blogs or sites, use a plugin like WP Open Graph or Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags for WordPress to simplify the process.
  • • Google’s objectives is to classify EVERYTHING. Sponsorships create brand mentions that make you a real brand. Industry/community activities (associations, analysts, events, community involvement), which are good things to do anyway, also build your brand in search (and are another key channel in the WPO framework).
  • • To boost the value of your Google authorship, publish more in more places, and tag it back to your Google+ profile.

Finally, the brilliant Lisa Buyer and Lisa Grimm concisely and helpfully summarized everything new with Twitter in the past year or so, combined with timeless best practices, in “Breaking Bad with Twitter! Game Changing Tactics & Prodigal ROI.”

Zenith 2014 breaking bad with twitter session by lisa grimm and lisa buyer from Lisa Buyer

It would be impossible to top the summary of this presentation that Lisa Buyer published on her Social PR Chat blog, so check that out. A few quick takeaways:

  • • “Pin” a high-value tweet to the top or your profile, by going to your profile and click “pin to your profile page” from the bottom of your selected tweet. Best practice: use an image with this.
  • • The ideal tweet structure: headline, link, no more than three hashtags. End with a hashtag, but don’t start with one. Put the link near the middle of the tweet. Keep the total length under 120 characters.
  • • Perform random acts of kindness for followers.

The post-conference free martinis were a nice touch too.

 

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The Social Media PR Battle

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Guest post by Megan Totka.

Has social media ruined public relations? Can the images of business and public figures still be saved by a crisis management team? In a crisis situation, how long until people expect an answer? Can PR keep up in this online social world? These are all questions I’ll try to tackle here. The notion that social media can have a larger impact than public relations is fairly new. Many business executives see social media as an easy outlet for a business to spread positive information, but what about the flip side? Is your business prepared to avoid a PR nightmare if a customer utilizes social media? When you open your business up to millions of people, safely hidden behind their computer screens, anything and everything can be said. Is your business ready for this new PR battle?

Is Social Media More Impactful than PR?

Image source: Elevate PR

In late January, a Midwestern mom had the horrifying task of trying to locate a source of lead in her home after her infant son was diagnosed with lead poisoning. During the examination, she used a home kit and found lead present on a bolt on a baby food blender made by Baby Bullet. After three attempts to get answers from the company via phone and email, the mom turned to social media. Baby Bullet’s Facebook page lit up. Comments were being posted every few minutes. Parents were outraged. One mom even took it a step further, using parenting blog to chronicle the full story.

It took Baby Bullet several hours to release a statement regarding the matter. They followed up with a detailed letter several days later and asked the outraged blogger mom to post their side of the story too. The entire situation was a PR mess. Something that could have easily been handled internally is now public knowledge to thousands of online users. The brand is tarnished in their minds.

Twenty years ago, this type of situation would have never happened. There wouldn’t have been a Facebook page for the mom to post on out of frustration by the lack of response. There wouldn’t have been a public forum for supporters and haters of the product to go back and forth on the significance and truth of the accusation.

Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites available today and they are leading the game of social PR trouble. Businesses have to be quick on their feet. They have to beat detractors to the punch. Someone from the business needs to respond to these big deal posts within minutes. There is no time to waste. PR teams cannot just issue a blanket statement. They have to empathize with the naysayers. They have to relate to and create solutions for the issue. Stick with basic guidelines for Facebook and Twitter. Now is not the time to go informal or rogue with your posts.

The public still wants to hear the business tell the truth, but it’s no longer just the complainer who is watching for a statement. It’s his or her hundred followers and maybe their hundreds of followers too. One tweet or one Facebook post or one trending topic is not just one complaint to your company, it’s one complaint that hundreds, or perhaps thousands of readers will see.

Social media has absolutely changed the face of public relations as we know it. This does not, however, have to be a bad thing. Stay on top of your pages. Preemptively strike with great news every once in a while to build up your name. Though a PR crisis is not quite inevitable, it’s still essential to know how to handle one if if comes your way; social media does not have to become your next nightmare.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. 

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Looking Back at 300: Top 10 Posts on the Webbiquity Blog So Far

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After 32 months (time flies when you’re having fun!) and 300 posts, here is a quick look back at the 10 most-read posts on the Webbiquity blog to date. This is an update of the looking back at 100 post in July 2010.

Again, thank you for reading the MarketingSherpa Readers Choice top b2b marketing blog for 2012. Without further ado, below are the 10 most-viewed posts on this blog to date. Some of the entries are surprising, but life and the web can be unpredictable. These are the posts that Webbiquity readers have “voted” as the best by their traffic so far.

Top 10 Posts So Far on the Webbiquity B2B Marketng Blog10. PR Monitoring and Management Tools: Which is Best? Vocus vs. Cision (November 8, 2011)

Vocus and Cision are both powerful and popular PR monitoring and management systems. Both provide PR and social media professionals with extensive capabilities for tracking and growing media coverage of their organizations or clients. So which is best?

9. How to Write an Effective Business Blog (January 8, 2010)

Helpful advice on choosing a blogging platform, authors, topics and frequency for an effective business blog. This post is starting to show its age, but the guidance is still useful to beginning bloggers.

8. 33 (of the) Best Marketing Strategy Guides and Insights of 2010 (February 14, 2011)

Sometimes it’s essential to step back from everyday marketing tactics to ask the bigger questions, like: What conceptual models are we basing our marketing assumptions and practices on, and what new models should we be thinking about? Which emerging trends do we need to keep an eye on? While you won’t find much in the way of “tips and tricks” in this post, you will find guidance on answers to these big-picture marketing questions and more here in some the best marketing strategy guides and insights of 2010. For a more up-to-date look at marketing strategy, check out the Best B2B Marketing and Sales Strategy Guides and Insights of 2011.

7. The One Effective Use of Facebook for B2B Marketing (March 9, 2010)

The intimate, informal nature of Facebook makes it the ideal venue to showcase the human side of your company, with content that may not be appropriate elsewhere. While I’d write this differently today, the post holds up pretty well considering there were “only” 350 million users on Facebook when this was published.

6. 78 (of the) Best Social Media Marketing Tips, Guides, Tools and Strategies of 2010 So Far (August 16, 2010)

More than six dozen of the best, most bookmark-able articles and blog posts about social media tactics, tools and strategies written in 2010, by leading writers like John Jantsch, Lori Dicker, Lee Odden, Lisa Barone, Jay Baer and many more. You can find a much fresher version of this type of content in the recently posted 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far.

5. 50 (of the) Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 So Far (October 5, 2010)

What are the best ways to use Twitter for business? How you can use it most effectively? Which tools are most helpful? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more here—or check out more recent thought on the topic in Best Twitter Tips, Tools and Tactics of 2011.

4. The Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter for 2011 (May 3, 2011)
50 of the most remarkable women on Twitter, from B2B marketers to social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities. Though this list is almost timeless, The Top #Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012, published just last month, honors 50 remarkable women on Twitter who work for or with technology companies.

3. What’s the Best Social Media Monitoring Tool? It Depends (October 13, 2010)

The explosion of social media has led to a corresponding need for more sophisticated monitoring tools that can crawl the hundreds of social networking and bookmarking sites and millions of blogs across the globe. A rapidly proliferating collection of tools are being developed to meet the need. This post highlights nine tools at various price levels that may or may not be the best but are certainly among the most popular and capable social media monitoring tools currently available.

2. Best Email Marketing Tips, Tactics and Metrics of 2010 (February 21, 2011)

How can you use email marketing most effectively and avoid overloading your recipients with information? How can you grow the size of your email marketing list? Avoid mistakes that will cost you readers? Integrate your email and social media marketing efforts to improve results through both channels? Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than two dozen of the best email marketing guides of 2010. Or get more current email wisdom in 17 (of the) Best Email Marketing Guides of 2011.

And the number one, most viewed post of all time so far on the Webbiquity blog (imagine mental drum-roll sound here) is…

1. Best Social Media Stats, Facts and Marketing Research of 2010 (January 17, 2011)

Learn how buyers use social media, which platforms are most effective, and more here in the best social media marketing stats, facts and research of 2010. If you crave social media stats and data (clearly a popular topic), check out the much newer collection of such in 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012.

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How to Get More Blog Traffic – Real World Data

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Every blogger wants more traffic. How to get it? The key is a balanced strategy of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, syndication and guest posting.

So where does blog traffic come from, and how does this change over time? Looking at data from the Webbiquity blog, several trends are apparent. This B2B blog isn’t necessarily representative of all blogs of course, but the trends likely aren’t much different for many business blogs. What’s important here isn’t the specific results from this blog, but what those results say about how to get more traffic to your blog.

 

Six conclusions that can be drawn from this graph:

It takes time to build a blog audience. Don’t expect miracles right out of the gate, or get discouraged by low blog traffic at first. Patience is a virtue, and persistence is rewarded. Even those early posts may draw significant traffic over time as your blog gains traction.

Direct and referral traffic are highly correlated. It’s striking in the graph above how the lines for direct and referral traffic remain nearly parallel over time. But it makes sense: the more often your blog is “seen” on other sites, the more people will bookmark it, subscribe to your RSS feed, and type in the URL directly.

SEO doesn’t produce immediate results, but is crucial over the long term. Just as it takes time to build a following, it also takes a while to build credibility and authority with the search engines. Note from the graph that search was the lowest source of traffic to this blog for its first three months, and for six of the first nine months. But it’s been the top source of visits for nine of the past 10 months (the only exception resulting from the spike in direct and referral traffic to the Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter post). And even with the falloff in direct and referral traffic over the last two months (more about that in a moment), search traffic has held up fairly well.

A closer look at Google stats (see below) reveals an even more remarkable point about search: while direct and referral traffic tend to be “spiky” based on the popularity of individual posts, search traffic is more consistent over time.

B2B Blog Traffic Sources

 

Social media is important. Of the top dozen sources of traffic, four were social networking or related sites: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and HootSuite. Twitter is the most productive, driving more than half of all non-blog social media visits. Including blogs, more than one of every seven visits came through social media (blogs, social networking, social bookmarking, or tools like HootSuite and bit.ly) sites.

Syndication is also helpful. Three of the top 12 traffic sources for this blog were syndication or content aggregation sites: B2B Marketing Zone, Social Media Informer and Social Media Today. The best syndication sites will vary by industry, so choose sites appropriate for your blog subject manner. Don’t overlook smaller blog directories and RSS syndication sites that can collectively drive notable traffic (as well as providing valuable links for SEO purposes).

B2B Blog Traffic Source DetailDigging deeper into the Google Analytics results and correcting errors (such as GA sometimes mislabeling search visits as referral traffic) yields a more detailed picture. Search is the top source of traffic for most blogs over time. But search is affected by every link, so a multi-faceted approach is critical. For example, links from other blogs may provide only modest direct traffic, but they influence search engines and other social media sources, as well as increasing direct traffic.

Post frequency matters. Back to that dropoff over the past two months—in a way, this blog is a victim of its own success. Because I’ve obtained several wonderful and active clients through my blogging, I’ve had less time to write posts over the past 60-90 days, and the resulting dip in direct and referral traffic is readily apparent in the first graph above. But for corporate blogs, the lesson is clear: maintaining consistent post frequency is crucial to maintaining high blog traffic and continuous growth.

A substantial share of “Other Referring Sites” traffic to this blog comes from WebMarketCentral, the website marketing resources portal. The lesson for companies is to feature your blog prominently on your corporate website, as that can be a rich source of visits.

All in all, your specific results will vary, but again the key to getting more traffic to your blog is a balanced approach of activities including search engine optimization (SEO), social networking, social bookmarking, syndication, blog commenting and guest posting. And of course writing compelling content for your audience.

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What Does B2B Social Media Success Look Like?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Until recently, most social media case studies have focused on consumer brands. It’s not that B2B companies aren’t finding success in social media marketing, but more (in my experience at least) that they are less willing to publicly reveal their strategies for competitive reasons. Recently, that’s begun to change a bit as blogs like TopRank and Marketo have highlighted b2b social media success stories.

B2B Social Media SuccessDigging into the results publicized in these case studies, what does B2B success look like? How are B2B companies evaluating the results of social media marketing efforts? Based on analysis of a number of published B2B social media case studies (in addition to my own client experience), here are some of the criteria used to judge success.

Objectives

Common objectives for B2B social media marketing efforts include:

  • • Increased brand awareness (e.g., measured by increases in direct web traffic and branded search visits)
  • • Increased overall website traffic (particularly from branded search or visits referred directly from social media and social networking sites)
  • • Enhanced brand image and credibility as an industry thought leader or category expert
  • • Expanded social media following (e.g., number of blog subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans)
  • • Increased engagement (number, depth and quality of interactions with customers and prospects)
  • • Leads and new business

Those last two are of the course the ultimate purpose of any marketing activity, though they can be challenging to measure in social media for a couple of reasons. First, social media activities more often influence a sale (by helping with awareness and branding objectives, for example) than lead directly to one in the B2B world. Second, it’s crucial to consider that a B2B firm’s social network isn’t made up only of customers and prospects, but includes industry journalists, partners and often analysts as well. While these other connections will never buy from you directly, they can certainly influence the marketing and direct business your way.

Tactics (Primary)

  • • Blogging (a corporate blog is the center of most successful B2B social media programs)
  • • LinkedIn (much more important in the B2B world than in B2C, particularly in light of recent marketing enhancements to the platform)
  • • Twitter (used by more than 40% of B2B marketers, and that figure continues to grow)

Tactics (Secondary)

  • • Video / YouTube
  • • Facebook (more popular among B2C marketers than in B2B firms, although a few success stories have popped up)
  • • CRM integration (this will a key to success for B2B social media efforts, though few firms have reached this level of sophistication to date)

Results

Common success metrics reported from B2B social media efforts include increases in:

  • • Website traffic
  • • Blog visits and subscribers
  • • Twitter followers
  • • Organic search traffic
  • • Views of company videos
  • • White paper downloads
  • • Landing page conversion rates
  • • External blog posts written about the company
  • • Leads
  • • New customers

Again, the last two items are the most important but often the most elusive. While social media typically doesn’t produce a high volume of leads, website visitors referred from social networks frequently convert at a higher rate than those from other traffic sources, and the leads are frequently highly qualified. As understanding of what to realistically expect from B2B social media marketing programs—and how to measure those results—increases, B2B social media use will continue to expand. Published success stories may well remain rare, at least for now, however, as companies remain reluctant to tip off competitors about what’s working.

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