If there’s any way that white papers can be interesting, Mike Stelzner found a way to do so. His webinar with Marketing Profs this morning was about “Maximum Search Results with Rich Content and Social Media”. In the hour, Mike explained how he successfully conducted the survey and shared the finished product.
Focusing on the Industry Report
If you haven’t heard of it already, this is the social media marketing industry report that we’re talking about. Nearly 900 social media users participated in this survey and here are the results – five stats from the report that caught my eye:
61.83% people who invested a few months in their social media marketing report new partnerships were gained
72% of marketers are newbies (have only just started using social media)
64% devote roughly 5 hours a week on social media
81% of participants agree that social marketing has generated exposure for their business
94% of marketers use Twitter
Spreading the News with Fire Starters
Getting people to participate in a survey is one thing, but how do you engage them in finding interest in your results? Mike passed the word along to a few key friends who have a lot of influence in the social media world aka fire starters. In Mike’s case, it was friends who had many friends or followers. Kinda like a ripple effect and things took off from there through word of mouth. Mike also took advantage of scheduling Tweets during relevant times of the day to catch the eye of his many followers. Well, it really worked as over 40,000 people read this report over the span of 1 month. Hundreds of blog comments and other mentions throughout the online community helped put Mike’s report on Google’s coveted first result for ‘social media marketing’.
Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.
A Better Way to Circulate
Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.
Find Relevant Followers
If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.
Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.
It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.
I recently read a magazine article describing the profession of copywriting as “sexy.” After giggling for half a second, it dawned on me that “sexy” was just the right word to use. Copywriters, through the power of the written word, are responsible for “seducing” their audience. They have the fun, yet daunting, task of generating interest and then developing that interest to lead to some sort of fruitful relationship, not unlike the dating world. And, just like the dating game, the rules have changed.
The more information that technology makes readily available to consumers, the less time these consumers have to spend on any one particular product, service or idea. The attention span of the average web user has steadily decreased as the barrage of online information continues to overwhelm human senses. With this in mind, the web copywriter must truly embrace the concept of “less is more.” Relevance and credibility are still important principles to keep in mind when writing content, but Web 2.0 consumers now want relevance and credibility…in cliff notes format. A great example of this trend is the micro-blogging phenom, Twitter. Twitter’s popularity and success is a smack-in-the-face realization that web users’ tolerance for information has been Mini-Me-ed down to 140 characters!
With that said, here are some key guidelines for downsizing a seven-course meal of content into a snack-size bar without losing the essentials:
1. Listen to data: Conduct A/B testing on different versions of headlines to determine which works best.
2. Waste not, fluff not: Don’t make claims you can’t support. Consumers can smell a phony sales pitch a mile away!
3. Forget “short and sweet”: Just keep it short. Jargon, hype, gimmicks are all unnecessary sugar-coating. Give them what they want to know.
4. Know your audience: This one seems obvious, but is worth repeating. Write copy that speaks in a voice that your target market, not only understands, but listens to.
5. Format for easy reading: Use headlines, sub headlines, short paragraphs, lists, and an eighth-grade reading level. Have your 13-year-old read the copy. If he/she doesn’t “get it” by the time their attention is lost to a new YouTube video, it’s time to rewrite!
From shameless self-promotion to broadcasting tweets about everyday things, there is no doubt Twitter is a place to be social. But, what about turning to Twitter as a way to promote good customer service? This is exactly what some companies, like Best Buy, are doing as a way to extend their customer service efforts. It may sound silly or confusing but in the end, it makes sense. Twitter and other social media platforms are attracting your customers, so why would you ignore this segment? With a team of technology pros, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is readily available to assist consumers with any questions and give advice that can help them with pending decisions. Best Buy has even invested in numerous TV spots to help spread the word of their Twelpforce.
Strengthening Your Weak Areas
Some commend Best Buy for their breakthrough marketing and customer service efforts, as they will surely set an example for others to follow. But this idea did not arise from nowhere, as Best Buy has been lacking in the customer service department in the past. Just Google “Best Buy customer service” and you won’t be surprised to find these gems: “Best Buy, worst customer service”, “Best Buy Customer Service is a Joke!”, “Best Buy Embraces the Suck” and more. This is not what any company or individual wants to hear. By utilizing new social media potential to create powerful tactics, Best Buy has found an effective way to strengthen their weaknesses.
A New Trend for 2010
According to the Harvard Business blog, customer service via Twitter is a trend to look out for in 2010. It’s a mutually beneficial plan as businesses will benefit from a cost effective measure that will leave their customers happy when they get the help that they need. Additionally, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is a unique way to build their brand. Their Twitter account is decked out in the signature blue and yellow with a sea of smiling employees. If that isn’t an image that a successful corporation wants to convey, I don’t know what is! Although the Twelpforce is not yet a year old, I think that Best Buy is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to nurturing passionate employees and gaining loyal customers.
“Social Media” are the buzz words of 2009. What used to be the online playground of undergrads pulling all-nighters in their college dorms, has now turned into a marketing phenomenon for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike.
However, what a lot of professionals with decades of marketing experience tend to forget when dealing with social media platforms is that they are “SOCIAL” media platforms – arenas to engage other users and build relationships. Meaning, you can’t create an account on Twitter, sign in once a month, and expect to see results. Remember, it takes two to tango, and posting tweets for your business without bothering to read, follow and interact with other users is tantamount to lecturing your teenagers while they’re playing Guitar Hero World Tour on Wii. Futile.
According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa research, nearly two-thirds of marketers do not monitor their social media accounts. Think of all the missed opportunities to join conversations, learn what potential clients (or competitors) are saying, and to just get the word out there that your company exists! Behave in social media communities the way you would normally behave in live, face-to-face interactions: be interesting, don’t talk only about yourself, ask questions, be a source of useful information, have a genuine interest.
Not only will your fellow Twitterers appreciate the valuable content you contribute and feedback you provide, but you’ll soon find that your company is well on its way to achieving its social media marketing goals.
Some marketers may not realize the capability of Twitter as an effective tool. Founded in 2006, the site is a social networking tool that also utilizes micro-blogging. Users are able to send messages, known as tweets, in real time. Twitter is noted for its ability to bring normal people and celebrities together in a virtual forum. On Twitter, everyone is able to enjoy the casual environment of sharing whatever comes to mind. Although this is a trend that is a celebrity PR person’s worst nightmare, there is no doubt that it is quickly becoming an influence on popular culture.
On September 9th, 2009, Lance Armstrong sent out a tweet inviting Los Angeles cyclists to join him on a ride at Griffith Park the next morning. With close to two million Twitter followers, Armstrong’s message was able to reach fans and cycling enthusiasts alike. Overnight, word caught on of this bike ride and over one thousand people showed up in the zoo parking lot. Perhaps, Lance could not have even imagined this huge outcome in response to his message! Unlike television, radio, or a more traditional medium, some may doubt Twitter’s ability to reach a wide audience. With a character limit of 140 words, this is just one of many examples that show just how powerful one tweet can be.
Nowadays, the use of Twitter is really catching on. It’s not unusual to see CNN show casting Twitter feeds in response to recent events. Whether it is reaction to Joe Wilson’s outburst or Michael Duvall’s infidelities, CNN is always quick to turn to viewers for their opinions. Twitter is successful in its use to quickly spread word of interesting news. As convenient as Twitter is, it does not mean that it can be used without forethought. Twitter and the Internet can be especially unforgiving to mistakes. Even if you delete a tweet, there are functions that allow users to see what messages have been removed. As the saying goes, it is essential to look before you leap.
With new tools such as Twitter, it is important to not get too excited about their casual nature. Would you spam your customers with emails or run an ad with an offensive message? Keep in mind that the same marketing rules apply. Twitter is an influential tool and harnessing it for the right potential you will get positive feedback for its use in social media marketing. The site requires a short attention span and using it in the wrong fashion will not only tarnish your reputation but guarantees that the public will lose interest.
It can be difficult to fully recognize the potential of Twitter as a useful advertising tool. So, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Take e-commerce company Zappos, as a good example. Zappos effectively utilizes Twitter by establishing a microsite, twitter.Zappos.com. The site obviously also links to Zappos’ site, but more interestingly links to the CEO’s Twitter account and even features employee tweets.
Many companies use Twitter, but what makes Zappos different? Their CEO, Tony Hsieh, tweets on a whole variety of topics. Ranging from business advice, occasionally promoting his business, and even humorous updates, such as “Calling a children’s word game “hangman” just seems plain wrong”. They should invent a more humane game, like “lethal injection””. Sometimes, it is really refreshing to see a corporate Twitter account actually be social! Users are drawn to this because it shows that a CEO understands the use of Twitter as a social media utility and is not only using the account for the sole purpose of gaining sales. Zappos has gained followers, received positive publicity, and gained exposure by being featured on sites such as Twitter of the Day.
The success of Zappos’ Twitter site has resulted in their achievement of a higher search ranking. However, there is still argument on how you can really tell if the traffic driven is accurately measured as a direct result of the Twitter account. Nevertheless, studies have shown that you get the best results when both your paid and organic search works in unison. A recent study found that you can get up to a 20% increase in clicks on your natural listing if you have a paid ad near it. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that if you show up on paid and organic search, your number one ranking gets 20% more clicks. In the end, it is important to learn from Zappo’s social approach to gaining more clicks and to think about synergizing your paid and organic search efforts to get the best results.
I attended a webinar today on advanced business blogging by Hubspot. Don’t let the advanced part in the title scare you away. Hubspot, an online marketing company similar to emarketed, does a great job on providing webinars. Today’s webinar focused on blogging and can be viewed here. A few notes about the actual webinar that really made this interesting. First they had a powerpoint of the webinar that can be accessed here through SlideShare and a live video feed of the presenter that was being pulled from Mogulus. You can view Hubspot’s channel here. Mogulus provides a free service and a paid version which removes the advertisements. There were no advertisements on the webinar but when I viewed the video on Mogulus there were advertisements. So I’m assuming that Hubspot is using the free version. They have over 800 viewers on the webinar today! You can view all of their shows on their Mogulus channel or here on their site. Hubspot also integrated their Twitter account into the presentation so you could ask questions through Twitter during the webinar. There were also links to Facebook and LinkedIn as well from the webinar page. These are all free tools that any one can use. The use of these social media tools was very impressive and is definately something that we’re looking to integrate into our next version of our emarketed site. They were able to utlize these free services which can be used by anyone: Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, & Mogulus
Ok, lets get into some of the key points from the webinar. A lot of the content which I’m proud to say has been discussed by emarketed in past blogs. Hubspot goes into why you should blog with 5 keys to a successful blogging:
1. Pick your target personas
2. Create a mix of posts
3. Write great posts
4. Sustain it
5. Spread it
One of the great take aways from this webinar is that your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts can start from your blog. You should write content that relates to your products and/or services. One thing to remember though is that SEO takes time and this is the same for writing blog posts. You will not see the direct results of your blog writing for several months. You also have to promote your blog once it’s up. It’s the same for your website which our clients are starting to understand. People will not just magically stumble across your blog when you write content. It must be promoted. Some of the methods Hubspot discussed were the following: post to twitter, comment on other blogs, post to facebook, start building a list of subscribers to your blog. They also had a great tip about using images through Flickr so I took their advice for this blog post. We do not always uses images in blog posts but I can see how it makes the blog easier to read with an image.
For more information regarding the webinar you’ll have to watch it at the following link.
Well Twitter must be growing considerably in the last few weeks. I’ve gotten the below screen a few times in the last few days. It’s only up for a few seconds at this point and when I refresh my browser its working properly. I recently saw Twitter being used on CNN for a news program the other day where Tweets were being streamed in real time below the news anchor. I believe they must be screening what’s showing up on national TV though. The Twitter stream was actually for the CNN reporter. And of course McCain and Obama used Twitter in their campaigns. I believe Obama is still the number one user in Twitter with over 100k in followers. I actually just tried to pull the Twitter page for Barack Obama up and received another error which is also pasted below. Twitter must be experiencing some serious growth pains. I actually just found out that some hackers were able to hack into Barack Obama, Britney Spears, and Fox News personal Twitter accounts along with 33 other high profile people. Twitter has also had problems unrelated to this latest attack a few days ago with hackers sending out phishing tweets to get users to click links to enter in personal information to win free prizes. Click here to read the full article. I’m sure Twitter will continue to be tested as it grows in 2009. Stay tuned for more Twitter news!
I just stumbled across this ebook on Facebook advertising by Matt Dickman. I’d suggest checking it out to get a better idea of how Facebook advertising works and to learn more about social media marketing. As Facebook and social networking sites continue to grow this will become more important. It’s literally changing the search marketing industry! The days of running search engine optimization and paid search campaigns alone to drive traffic to your site is becoming outdated. Reaching a broader audience through Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites is imperative to your search marketing campaign.
emarketed now offers this as a stand alone service or as an addon to current search engine optimization and paid search customers. Stay tuned for more social media updates as this emerging method of advertising expands. You can also follow us on twitter for short updates.