Archive for the ‘Analytics’ Category

8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success—#7: Ensure Value

July 31st, 2013

By Kent Huffman, Author of 8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success

“What’s the ROI from all that social media stuff you’ve been doing?” your boss asks. One of his favorite questions, right? Or if you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard that same question from your partner or CPA.

Generating reliable performance metrics for your social media activities—gathered and reported in an efficient, easily interpreted manner—has become a major priority for practitioners of social media marketing to help them demonstrate the value from participating in social media and validate their investments in it.

Your boss, partner, or CPA wants to compare the investment of personnel, time, money, and other resources to the return. But without supplying verifiable ROI data and analysis, any long-term relationships that marketers hope to develop and maintain with their social media communities are most likely in jeopardy.

So how do you go about ensuring that you’re deriving value from your social media marketing efforts—and that you can accurately measure that value? Obviously, tracking online “chatter” can help expose the bad as well as the good. For example, your fans and followers may publicly laud your products or suggest improvements to them, giving you the opportunity to respond quickly and address their comments or concerns. Also, there are now a myriad of technology tools available that can help measure the financial impact of social media on your organization, including lead generation, e-commerce revenue, etc.

The social media monitoring and measuring process is still in its infancy. However, in today’s hyper-competitive environment and relatively weak economy, generating measurable, repeatable value from social media is no longer an option for most marketers.

(This is an excerpt from Kent’s new book, 8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success.)

Next: 8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success—#8: Continue Listening

Going Gaga!

August 29th, 2012

By Nina Buik, Chief Marketing Officer at HP Connect

I admit that I’m a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, but even more a fan of her marketing strategy:

  • Creates a globally recognizable brand image
  • Creates edgy, compelling headlines
  • Is “virtually” ubiquitous
  • Fearless of putting herself “out there”
  • Has built an incredibly loyal following

You don’t have to be “born this way” to be successful at social media, but you do have to have a successful strategy, or you may simply end up in a “bad romance.”

The social media explosion has proven that like-minded consumers/people like belonging to a group (e.g., ski club, track club, Lady Gaga fan club, etc.). They want to know more about the “thing” that makes them like-minded, and they want to communicate with one another. Thus the advent of social CRM.

So what is your strategy? Is it measurable? Is your entire organization part of and supportive of your strategy? What is your organization’s “love game” with your customers? Here are a few tips:

  • Other than your product or service, identify what your customers have in common.
  • Identify where your customers hang out—online and offline.
  • Take a good look at your brand image/messaging. Make sure it is current/relevant and “fits in” these virtual groups and/or physical locations.
  • Define measurable outcomes.
  • Assign passionate “owners.”
  • Provide tools to your foot soldiers (tweetsheets, blog templates, etc.).
  • Encourage your team to find the “edge” of their message (staying just within the guidelines).
  • Use a hub/spoke model (your website is the hub, and all external spoke messages refer the reader back to your site).

Lady Gaga has it right. Whether you enjoy her music or not, stop “dancing in the dark” and take note of her successful marketing strategy.

Four SEO/SMM Strategies to Get Your Blog Listed on the First Page of Google

August 15th, 2012

By Marci Reynolds, Director of Operations for Global Help24 at ACI Worldwide

Business blogs have become critical tools in any social media marketing tool box, and they are an excellent medium to share expertise and build your business brand. But just creating a blog is not enough. You must also focus on blog SEO (search engine optimization) to ensure that it receives top placement in Google, Bing, and the other search engines.

I began blogging in 2009, when I launched The Sales Operations Blog, and in 2011, I launched a second blog called Rat Terrier Mom. What do the two blogs have in common? They both appear on the first page of Google for multiple search terms and get the majority of their traffic from organic search engine links. Social media marketing nirvana!

Here are four strategies that I recommend and have leveraged to get my blogs listed on the first page of Google:

  • Focus and differentiate the content on your blog. There are thousands of blogs on the Internet, so if you want yours to stand out and appear on the first page of Google, it must offer something unique. Before I started The Sales Operations Blog, I did some research on blog competition and the popularity of search terms related to my content. I found that there were thousands of blogs on “how to sell” but very few on sales support. I also discovered that the phrase “sales operations” was one of the more frequently used search terms related to my topic. So before launching your blog, check out the competition, do some research on how potential readers search for your content, and attempt to focus and differentiate your blog.
  • Include a power search term in your domain name. Google does not like cute, it likes relevant. For this reason, I chose the domains SalesOperationsBlog.com and RatTerrierMom.com. (Okay, Rat Terrier Mom is a little cute.) When choosing your domain and blog name, select a frequently used search term that aligns with your content. In my domain research, I have found that many of the most popular words or phrases alone are already taken, but if you add the word “blog” at the end, most of them are available. For example, B2Bemail.com is taken, but B2BemailBlog.com is still available. Check out GoDaddy.com to research domain options.
  • Identify and leverage the top 20 search terms in your blog content. Use Google Adwords or a similar tool to identify the top 20-ish search terms that readers use to find content like yours, and then use this intelligence throughout your blog. This includes your post titles, post content, categories, HTML image labels, and in-post HTML tags. Note that the search terms should enhance your high-quality, interesting blog content, not actually make up your blog content. In addition to using the Google Adwords tool, monitor the “real time” search engine terms driving traffic, as reported in your WordPress dashboard. Copyblogger is an excellent resource for tips on keyword research and blogging SEO.
  • Keep the content fresh. As part of your social media marketing plan, publish high-quality, relevant blog content, ideally once per week. There is a direct correlation to the frequency in which you publish content, your ranking on search engines, and your website traffic. Add your Twitter stream or another user’s topic-relevant Twitter stream to the home page of your blog. Every time a tweet is posted, your blog home page will get fresh content. Add a specific page to your blog that includes links to other similar, recent online content. Refer to the Other Sales Ops Articles page on The Sales Operations Blog for an example.

If you focus and differentiate, choose a powerful domain name, include popular keywords in your content, and keep your content fresh (and high quality), there is no doubt that your blog popularity and traffic will climb.

I wish you good luck in your adventures in blogging and social media marketing!

Influence Measurers: Will Klout Kill Community?

February 29th, 2012

By Gary Schirr, Professor at Radford University

Like many of you, I sign up for the free influence-measuring sites. I am skeptical of all of them but check out my scores and those of online friends. I am well aware that I am no Justin Bieber (Klout score 100) or Barack Obama (Klout score 87) in online influence. But I take comfort if I am near the scores of tweeters I admire, such as @CKBurgess, @KentHuffman, @ChuckMartin1, @DavidAaker, and @WareMalcombCMO.

I find early efforts to measure influence interesting, but I am concerned that parties are taking these fledging measures seriously and making decisions based on them. Some tweeters choose who to follow by their influence score. A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the importance that businesses are assigning to Klout scores: marketing freebies and even job offers may be tied to Klout scores.

Although I am not concerned that my tenure committee will pass me over for Justin Bieber or Britney Spears, I worry whether the influence of the influence measurers may impact SM communities. If tweeters believe that their online status, likelihood of being followed, and even employability may be affected by these measures, they will adjust how they act. A well-known management dictum notes that nothing can be managed until it is measured. The relevant corollary is that what is measured will affect behavior: bad metrics can lead to bad behavior!

Will the clout of Klout cause loutish behavior in social media? @Econsultancy summarized the flaws of Klout’s measures in a recent blog post. And in one study by @Adriaan_Pelzer, a bot achieved a 51 Klout score in 80 days simply by 1) tweeting gibberish once a minute and 2) not following back new followers. Senior officers at Klout responded to that study (and similar ones) by noting that they were working on algorithms to spot bots. Klout proposes to attack the symptom head on (who wants to be fooled by a bot?) but downplay issues of the metrics themselves.

What kind of “community” will Twitter be if everyone follows these “winning” behaviors? Do you judge tweeters by quantity of tweets? Is it optimal to have 10 times as many followers as people followed? Phillip Hotchkiss, Chief Product Officer at Klout and a serial start-up entrepreneur, commented on an earlier post I wrote on this issue. His most interesting observations are that Klout’s metrics are always being modified to measure influence, and that Klout is trying to differentiate between “bad bots” and “good bots.” It is good to know that Klout is constantly evolving in pursuit of good influence measurement. Phillip’s “good bots” are a little scary. Maybe there is a good science fiction story there!

Be wary of even well-intentioned measurers. For example, many researchers believe that U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings hinder educational innovation by focusing on reputation and resources that please faculty, rather than cost/benefit measures that apply to most services. Similarly, focusing on factors such as tweets that generate action (regardless of content) and on follower/followed ratios could impair Twitter’s evolution.

Be wary of these developing measures. Do not let the measures affect your behaviors or enjoyment of social media. Do not make hiring decisions based on Klout, unless you honestly believe that Justin Bieber is the perfect 100 and the most influential person online! And please, please don’t start tweeting every three minutes!

Three Questions the Savvy Executive Asks about Online Marketing Strategy

January 12th, 2011

By Stephanie Diamond, Author of Web Marketing for Small Businesses: Seven Steps to Explosive Business Growth

If you’re a leader whose business has an online component, you’d probably like to find some guidelines that make it easier to develop and sustain an online marketing strategy. There are lots of conflicting ideas swirling out there about what to do online. If you followed many of them, you’d be spinning your wheels with no revenue in sight.

As someone whose has worked online since 1994, I’ve watched the marketing “shiny object” change from Web site to newsletter to blog to social media network. And on it goes. I know that getting locked into a tactic with no clear strategy in sight is a common mistake.

If you’re uneasy around the topic of social media strategies, you’re not alone. Because you’re not down in the trenches tweeting and posting, you probably don’t have the “hands-on” feel you have for other areas of marketing.

If you attempt to delegate, employees suggest all manner of tactics to engage customers. You’ve heard that you need to engage with Twitter and Facebook, study ongoing analytics, present sparkling content, and co-develop with customers. Great advice. But without the strategy behind it, your campaigns are destined to fail. Like every other area of business, you need to create the strategy first and make sure it flows down to everyone in your organization.

In formulating an online strategy, here are three questions to consider:

  1. Value. Do your employees know the real value consumers place on your products and services? If you don’t develop and constantly hone that message, your employees can’t communicate it in their social media efforts. In turn, all the ratings and comments that show up about your company will not engender the “word of mouth” referral power they could. If your customers aren’t selling for you, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful weapons you have today.
  2. Intellectual property (IP). Are you encouraging your employees to mine the intellectual property hidden inside your business to create information products and services? I’m not referring to the patents or formulas your company owns. The IP in companies today can be found in their vast stores of information. The key is to evaluate that information based on enhancement of the customer’s life. Think broadly. Consumers today are hungry for quality information that solves problems. Can your staff take that information and create videos, e-books, and other downloadable properties with that in mind?
  3. Competitive advantage. Do your employees understand who your real competitors are? I’m often surprised when I work on competitive strategies with my clients that they overlook several real online competitors. It’s a mistake to focus on only those who sell your exact product/service in exactly the way you do. The Web provides the opportunity for your customers to pick and choose from a variety of options. For example, if you sell sales training courses, your competitors are online video portals, coaches (both in-person and online), downloadable audio courses, etc. Make sure your staff has looked at all the possibilities.

One more note—there are many visual thinking tools (like mind mapping) that your team can use right now to gather ideas from all internal disciplines. Consider using these techniques to get ideas from programmers and marketers alike. In today’s marketplace, you can’t afford to overlook a great idea.