Okay everybody. This is going to be a long post. Get a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine (for you night readers) and imagine you’re there with me enjoying the PubCon South 2010 conference. It’s a bit chilly inside the Civic Center. I’m sitting at the back of the room hogging the electrical outlet to support my blogging habit.
Let me know what you think of this type of near-live-blogging and what else you’d like to hear about.
Highlights of keynote speaker Scott Stratten, president of Un-Marketing
He’s giving us examples of social media mistakes that brands and small businesses are making on social networking. So many missed opportunities to respond to customer feedback positively, like the coffee shop whose customer Tweeted about the lack of outlets for laptop users. Instead of offering to correct the situation, they Tweeted back a nasty response about “you should enjoy the space you’re in” and not be working. Really?
Or the social media expert who Tweeted about how “I’d die if I had to live here” upon arriving in Nashville to speak on social media at FedEx, founded and headquartered there. The VP called him out on it before his talk and it certainly didn’t help his chances at the account! Way to go!
Social media gives you the opportunity to bridge the experience gap between the great experience and bad experience for your customers. It’s too late to find out when they are leaving. Find out while they’re still customers. Listen. Respond.
Ask: Stop? Start? Continue? Send a survey to your customers and find out what do you think we should stop, start and continue doing? Offer a $50 gift card.
Create great content and great relationships. That’s the best SEO I know of!
Check out Scott’s blog at Un-Marketing.com and Twitter @UnMarketing. Great stuff!
Social Media Metrics Panel
Joe Teixeira, Manager, Web Intellignec, MoreVisibility
Dean Donaldson, Director, Digital Experience Strategist, Eyeblaster
Ben Fisher, President, TechPad Agency
The panelists got together to do a presentation on a case study to demonstrate ROI and metrics for a brand. Small brand that came out of nowhere: BlendTec. And also how Pepsi Refresh used social media to brand with millenials in conjunction with the presidential campaign and inauguration.
Pepsi Refresh results: 6 million visits on Facebook page; +600,000 fans on Pepsi Refresh; 700 video submissions of messages to the new president; #1 page on YouTube during the campaign. “Refresh everything.”
Keeping the campaign and creative current: Pepsi continues to engage with the fans with grants and other activities on Facebook.
BlendTec “Will it Blend?” campaign: Behind the scenes from BlendTec’s “destruction room” where the technicians would throw stuff in the blenders to see if it would blend. One of the employees passed by this room and thought it was awesome. Asked his boss if he could buy a $50 video camera and started filming marbles and other strange things blending (like an iPhone and iPad) and throwing the videos up on YouTube. They got 100 million views in 30 days! Estimate $1 million in revenue from this campaign. Pretty decent ROI on a $50 investment. They also started sponsorships from brands to place products from Nike, Ford and others to blend their products in the videos. It also made their salespersons’ jobs so much easier to sell the $800 blenders.
Learn about the science of ReTweets from Dan Zarella at HubSpot. If your Tweet gets ReTweeted frequently and it points to your blog, put up some related content there. Use Klout to find out the influence level of Twitter users in your industry or your competition– the “K” score.
Capitalizing on the Twitter Revolution
Dan Zarrella, Viral MarketingScientist, HubSpot.com
Michal Gray, President, Atlas Web Service
Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing, SEO and Social Media, Fuel Interactive
Dan starts us off running. The scientist is spewing out facts and stats and awesome graphs. Dell attributes $3+ million to Twitter account. Mostly “unicorns and rainbows” types of advise at social media conferences. He calls himself a social media scientist to avoid being associated with the touchy-feely trend. Avoid using “guru” in your profile. Pictures in profiles get a lot more followers. Take the time to fully set up your profile. Don’t follow more people than are following you. You can take anybody else’s bit.ly link and put a + after it and look at how many clicks they got on it.You can Tweet 22 times a day without fearing you’ll lose followers. Stop talking about yourself. Nobody cares. (thanks to Chris Brogan). Twitter defaults to bit.ly URL shortener and it tends to be most retweeted. Say please for more RTs. Avoid semicolons in Tweets; people don’t seem to understand how to use them and they don’t get RT as often. News is the most common RT thing. Break some news and get RTs. Men will RT opinion more often than women. Best time of day is around 2 PM for RT.
Michael Gray coaches us on using Twitter to make money. Look for ways to add value for the person on the other end receiving your tweets. Give sales, tips, discounts. Coupon Tweet example. They re-wrap links in their own affiliate codes. DailyCheckout another example. CheapTweet is a third party app. Moved off Twitter. Another is CouponTweet featuring stores with coupon codes and affiliate links. Affiliate Tweets to add value–Oyster Hotels example. They Tweet pics to add value by scanning everyday for reviews of hotels and send them links to reviews with affiliate links there, too. Solving the problems the consumer is having finding reviews. UpTake Tweets for example, how not to get screwed on Priceline for travel pricing. Hugely RT.
Use Twitter for traffic and exposure. Use tracking services to find out what popular tweets are in your niche. Look at # tags. Think of twtter as another viral channel to help get your stuff exposed. Tweetmeme is one of the biggest tracking RTs. See what you could do that is similar to popular RTs. Topsy is another service to check. Hashtags –use #TravelTuesday for travel related tweets.
- Add value for your subscribers
- Pass information along to help them solve their problems
- Follow the trends, #tags
Brian Carter’s presentation: Twitter Revolution: Bang or Whimper? Twitter vs. Facebook. He noticed there is no Facebook session here at PubCon South. Why he thinks Facebook is better than Twitter. Really? Isn’t he the Twitter guy?
1. Example: Sony’s Facebook fan page vs. Twitter feed. Unless you’re a geek and love @ signs, Facebook is better. Visual. Branding.
2. Business is going to Facebook. 3 – 4 times more popular for business than Twitter. Engagement stats are built in and improving on fan pages. You can use the stats to get clues about what’s important to Facebook as well as your fans. Facebook ads can be places demographically and targeted for more control and exposure. You can target people who aren’t fans but are friends of people who are fans of your page. More mainstream than Twitter for most business audiences.
Tips for increasing fans
1. People > Page
Define your demographic (use Quantcast.com or similar service). Find the closest person to your target demo in your friends. Request friendship wtih their friends. Suggest FP page to new friends. Repeat #1, selecting new friends of friends.
3. Engagement > Suggested Page
FB algorithm changes; now gives you a post quality score. This gives you a clue that engagement is important to your FB success.
Science of Social Media Marketing by Dan Zarrella, Viral Marketing Scientist, HubSpot
Dan shared more of his cool data and hard facts about how and why content goes viral. Key takeaways: Find and target your influencers on social media. Humans have selective attention–example: you can hear someone say your name even in a loud, crowded bar. Use that fact to get attention on Twitter and Facebook. There tends to be lower activity at the end of the week and higher click through rates. Facebook sharing is much higher over the weekend. Avoid the crowd and post on slower times.
What motivates people to share? Social exchange–based on social behavior theory. When you give someone something of value they are more likely to share. Also, information voids tend to foster rumors to spring up. Don’t let an information void happen about your company. Participate in the conversations. Warnings go viral because we have an evolutionary imperative for self-preservation. Imitation is a primitive biological function. Humans follow others around to see what they eat and if it doesn’t kill them, they know what to eat safely. Today, people watch what the cool people or the crowd is doing for guidance on fashions, restaurants, email information, Tweets with RTs. The goliath effect. Format for creating viral sentences: The villain is wronging the victim. “Twitter plans to mangle RTs” was one of Dan’s most popular blog posts. Communal recreation–like telephone game where each person passes along a message and it changes a little with each iteration. #1 reason people shared content is personal relevance, “It sounded like something Joe would like.” Tip: Use combined relevance factors. For example, Dan created an idea for fun of an absynthe spoon with a USB connector on the end of it and found 500 people commented on it.
#1 thing shared is News. Humor is very difficult to do well. Novelty and uniqueness is important. Familiarity with uniqueness is even better. So, the newer Romeo and Juliet movie uses same script adapted with guns instead of swords. Personal references are not good. Stop talking about yourself in your Tweets.
Google Reputation Management by Andy Beale
Now Andy is going to tell us why we should talk about ourselves.
Make use of your domain with .net or .org and subdomains, jobs.yourdomain.com to proactively get more content in the top 10 results. Add legitimate content that is useful and helpful, e.g. hiring info or investor info.
Use blogs in blogger.com or wordpress.com to create a “throw away” blog for an event with press release and link to it. Noone will expect you to maintain it because it was for an event. Or use a subdomain.
Facebook page with custom URL rank very well. With at least 25 fans you can get your vanity URL with company brand.
LinkedIn for personal reputation management, get a profile and fill it out completely. Get your employees on LinkedIn and then have them link to the company profile. Talk about the company in the third person so it will have brand keywords in it.
Twitter profile works well, and RTs also help ranking because they show up in your profile too.
Flickr profiles set up with brand information and uploading company photos and then you can use the images in your blog and link or embed them. Flickr profiles ranks well.
Ning.com is optimized for SEO very well (Andy did the work) so content there ranks well.
AssociatedContent.com is good for editorial content that’s not too promotional. Create an author profile there and it will generally rank well.
Business partners–ask if you can have a profile on their site and exchange pages on your site. Provide optimized anchor text, page name, and content.
Sponsorships–profiles on conference speaking engagements, other sponsorships on websites of sponsors.
Speaker profiles–ask the host to put up a page with your speaker profile on the website in exchange for a free talk at a university or conference; or a professional paid engagement if you have them.
Some “gray hat” areas you might consider–
Create an affiliate program about your brand–even if all you get is more people talking about your brand.
Create a Wikipedia profile (but not during a crisis!) about your company. Use caution because there are many rules in this community. Because public can edit the profiles they are risky. If a critic starts a page about a negative attribute, you can consider entering comments–if it’s in the top 10 rankings. Don’t do much that would cause the negative to rise in the rankings.
Paid blog posts–with full disclosure. Use before any crisis is on the horizon.
PPC–can use a “juicy” headline like “Get the scoop on XYZ company scandal.”
What about ripoffreport.com site? Can you get their results pushed down? They are protected somewhat because it is third party comments. However, if you can get a legal judgment that comments should be removed and send it to Google, chances are it will be removed. Talk with your attorney.
Search your brand with “problems” or “reviews” or “sucks” or “scandals” to see what is showing up for negative reviews. You may find some “centers of influence” that you want to direct positive reviewers to post comments. If you find many negative comments you can create pages of content to address the specifics, e.g., “truth.yourbrand.com” with headline: Is it true that “your brand” does XYZ? And then answer with positive information.
Local Search: Still the Untapped Opportunity
Michael Dorausch, President & Founder, Planet Chiropractic
Eric Bramlett, Owner, One Source Realty
Maria Harrison, Owner, iClarity, LLC
Brian MacDonald, Director of Search Marketing, Barefoot Proximity
Michael starts off talking about his experience with local search, and getting content ranking in local search for his chiropractic clients. Do your homework. Go out in the real world and write blog posts related to local search items. Take the mass transit to your office and blog about it. Get photos of yourself and your clients near local landmarks. Blog about items of local interest, and geotag and give detailed directions on how to get to your office from these locations.
Eric talked about the transparency of the new social search environment with reviews on Yelp and how to leverage online persona into the offline world. For example, you can attend Meetups and Tweetups to meet perople in person. Ask clients to go to Yelp! or Google maps to leave positive reviews.
Maria talked about locals by locals. How local searches happen: Search within “local section”. Search with a geo-modifier in it. How to get great local search content? You can catch satisfied customers at the moment they’re most happy with your service rather than asking them to write a review later. For example, a massage therapist has a Flip video camera handy at the end of a massage so she can ask for a video review on the spot. Restaurant owners could do the same thing. Write weekly blog post about local event in conjunction with your business, using correct tags and keywords (geo-relevant). Open up a place on your site for reviews. Give an incentive and offer wi-fi immediate access to do so. Host a local event at your place of business once a month to expose your business to other related businesses who might talk about you in their blogs. Example, a B&B could host a wine tasting for travel-related business owners in the area. Develop a page on your website for each location your have in your national company. Example, yourbusiness.com/dallas. Takeaways: Identify the local keywords and modifiers. Develop a local/geocentric content strategy. Stay committed to adding new content. Archive your email newsletter on your website. Convert brochures to PDF or HTML versions for your site. Monitor SEO growth: # of keywords driving traffic. Submit a complete (and slightlydifferent) description to Google Local Business center, Yahoo Local Business, Live Local (MSN).
Brian talked about how mobile and local go hand-in-hand for optimization. Local searchers often use their mobile devices to search for coffee shop, restaurants, movies, flower shop. Use the IP address to identify where the searcher is from desktop can give different results on desktop vs. mobile device. Change your location source from current to default to phone number to see how results change. Optimize accordingly. Add content at the bottom of the local landing page, for example, a list of landmarks, event, and resources by geographic location. For example, boat clubs with locations in many cities include relevant content about local bodies of water, events, restaurants on the water and other local attractions that are of interest to boaters. Claim your local listings!
Mark Barrera, SEO Lead, Vizion Interactive
Taylor Pratt, Product Marketing Manager, Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Alan K’necth, Founder & President, K’nectology Inc.
Janet Driscoll Miller, President & CEO, Search Mojo
Mark did a nice job summarizing some strategical and tactical information about becoming a power user of Google Analytics. My brain hurts. It’s somewhat over my head. I like his closing: “It Ain’t Sexy Y’All”. Find an expert and don’t settle for the default settings to get the most out of your analytics.
Taylor talked about social media KPIs (key performance indicators). You should have quantitative and qualitative KPIs. It’s okay to be unique and track what’s relevant for your business. Interesting new insights on how to add Google analytics for Facebook pages. . His presentation is available at kl.am/clint. (He wears a black cowboy hat and quotes Clint Eastwood a lot!)
Alan talked about ways to integrate data about conversions (sales for example) that can be attributed to website visits or PPC campaigns. In the past, we would lose tracking and credit for sales that were influence online for offline purchases. For example, printable or mobile coupons using bar codes with incentives for customers to use them.
Janet talked about using analytics to improve conversions and sales. She likes to make money. Do you like to make money? Me too! Set up the right tools. Some free, some paid. Perform tests regularly to improve them. Measure, measure, measure. She brought in the concept of A/B testing. You can use Google Website Optimizer, for a nice free tool. B2B companies should also have marketing automation tools that give you additional information interfacing between your CRM (customer relationship management) system and other web analytics for your salesforce. Examples are Eloqua, Marketo, or Silverpop B2B Engage. You can then score leads on your website. Salesforce.com is one example of a popular CRM. (Don’t use an Excel spreadsheet. So last year!) Need to answer: “Do they buy?” CRO (conversion rate optimization)–get the best conversion rate that you can. Test and optimize your landing pages in real time. Test elements like button text, button color, trust logos. Or test entire page vs. another page. Test video download vs. white paper download and you may be surprised. Video outperformed the white paper in her test by 400%. Remember to look at lifetime customer value in addition to initial purchases. Again, your assumptions may be wrong. MSN customers (not Google) had the highest loyalty in her test. Other people you might like to follow: Avinash’s blog on Occam’s Razor and Tim Ash, to name two.
Analytics may not be sexy, but you should do it every day. Like shampooing…rinse and repeat.
Whew! It’s almost time for the cocktail hour. This is a fun group! Signing off for today.
-by Sally Anne Dishong, SEO + Social Media Content Editor