Social Speak

25
May

Social ABC

A few weeks ago we were contacted by my friend Sergio Clerici from Creatormail Italia who were putting together a series of webinars aimed at covering all the bases of online marketing.

The webinars (in Italian) cover, Il telemarketing è una parolaccia? Non quando si tratta di strategie di lead generation business to business., Siti Web, CMS, SEO e SEM, E-learning, Mobile computing, Email Marketing, Privacy e Sicurezza dei dati and of course, Social Media.

We were invited to participate with two webinars, Social ABC and Social Media.

It still amazes me that so many companies are still short of strategic ideas when it comes to social media and I was surprised that so many decided to participate in this first round of what is, ostensibly, a “How to do Social Media” presentation.

The one thing that struck me was the kind of questions we received at the end of the webinar. We had an audience that spread from non-profit organizations (ONLUS) to fashion houses and each of them wanted to know how efficient “X” strategy or “Y” social network was to their own personal goals.

The techniques change and have, if you are following Richard Binhammer’s latest round of posts con Content Marketing, become far more sophisticated yet the principles at the lower end of the corporate scale (SME’s) remains the same:

1. Set your objectives (branding, lead generation, engagement, sales)
2. Find out where your target audience is
3. Set up camp, one social network at a time
4. Listen to them
5. Participate with relevant content (meaning change tact if you’re not getting through)
6. Keep at it
7. Measure everything
8. Program everything on a monthly/weekly scale and modify daily

Anyway, below is a copy of the presentation we used in our webinar. It’s in italian but it’s relevant in any language.

Our next appointment is on 27/06/2013. At this event we’ll be exploring how E-Commerce fits in with Social Media strategies.

04
Mar

What Women Want

We have a fascinating client in the cosmetics business.

They are seriously oriented towards e-commerce but have teamed up with us to create a more “immersive” digital experience for their customers.

This particular project is a product launch and rather than just firing a banner, product family page and single item purchase page at it, they wanted us to come up with something a little more interactive that also included their social media presence. They also sent us a bunch of links of stuff they wanted us to use as benchmarks.

All pretty straightforward right?

Erm as it turns out, no.

Just like any agency worth its salt, we take our projects seriously and started off by mapping the current customer path from digital media to product page and studying the competition links they sent us to see how they tackled the same problem (FWIW, most simply hurl large sums of money at 3D videos and graphics while spending vastly inferior sums on navigation and experience).

We investigated how to use our client’s proprietary assets (social and website) and created a multi-channel presence that focused primarily on owned and earned media, delivered a “sensory” experience to enhance the brand reputation while streamlining the sales funnel.

We fine-tuned the interface design to make sure the navigation experience was both intuitive and informative, and blueprinted a multi-layer embedded page to fit into their current e-commerce platform with a 3D navigational experience able to deliver any number of pages (content) over a fixed space (to avoid unnecessary scrolling). We also created a similar version to place onto a FB tab and proposed several intelligent rich media AD support in social and “regular” digital media.

In short, we created a product launch “system” that could also be re-used over the coming months for other projects.

We were very proud of ourselves… 😉

Until the client asked us why we hadn’t mentioned the product.

The moral of this story is that even if you have access to the most powerful strategic minds able to transform your brief into something much more, don’t get too high on your own supply because more likely than not, the client isn’t listening at this point.

So before you present what is without question your digital masterpiece, go back and look at the brief. Unless you’re 200% sure you got the request spot on, go and ask a dozen colleagues if you’ve answered all the questions.

Our mistake?

The client sent us the competitor links to look at the content, not at the navigational models…

02
Mar

Social Broadcasting

The most persuasive medium on earth

One of the great things about social media is that there are so many ways to use it.

You can use it to engage your customers and build your brand’s reputation for new visitors, or you can use it to create customer loyalty and as a result, increase your chances of getting repeat business from them.

These are just some of the more obvious reasons but there are also several interesting side effects of a well-organized social media campaign that can be just as strategic to your brand if you know how to use them correctly.

If you’ve read the post called The Secret of Google, you’ll have seen how social media can help you to rank high on the search engines.

No surprises so far. But what if you could rank well on all search engines, including YouTube…?

Answer these quick questions:

  • Is Google the #1 search engine in the world?
  • Is YouTube the #2 search engine in the world?
  • Do you see YouTube results on Google?
  • Do you see Google results on YouTube?

Now will the real #1 search engine please stand up.

According to some estimates, there are 100 times more pages indexed in Google than there are videos on YouTube, which means that it’s 100 times easier to rank highly with videos.

Here are some facts about video:

  • Video is the most persuasive medium on earth.
  • It gets more web traffic than anything else.
  • And the more Video Marketing you do, the more opportunities you create to satisfy your customers online.

So why not set out a strategy to rank videos of your products or services higher than your competitors’ web page for the same keyword?

01
Mar

Outreach

When you open the gate, they will come. That’s good.

It’s not all roses in the world of Social Media. Just because contacts in some of the most important social media sites are called “friends” doesn’t mean building an effective social media presence is easy.

The first thing to expect when you open a social media site is customers with issues.

The fact that you want customers to participate means it’s easy for them to make comments, both good and bad.

Good comments prove a point you’ve already made and help other visitors “believe”. Bad comments on the other hand increase the website’s credibility. How?

Because bad comments make your company more “human” and give you an opportunity to show your customers count.

The trick to transforming a negative comment into a positive dialogue is to acknowledge and address the real problems and disprove the false ones immediately and publicly.

This is where “outreach” happens.

Outreach is where you monitor the web and major social networks (Twitter and blogs primarily) for conversations about your brand that aren’t under your control and then activate measures to resolve the issues back at your home site.

By participating in external dialogues you show you’re listening, then by bringing the issue “home”, you address it publicly for a wider audience, gaining more authority and even greater trust.

Outreach then, by its very nature, is the fastest way to get your customer service division involved in your social media activities.

28
Feb

The Secret of Google

“If you are going to have a public conversation about your brand, you might as well do it on the first page of Google…”

Paid Vs. Organic Search

To many, Google – and search engines in general – is a mystery. “Ranking high” or appearing on the first page is often considered as something you have to pay Google for.

Anyone who works in social media will tell you the same thing: you will never build a brand by paying for an advertisement on Google – that serves another purpose entirely. Brands are built on the actions they take and values they embrace, and in the case of social media, that takes a lot of commitment.

Search engines in brief

Google and all the other search engines aim to deliver results that are as close as possible to what the person doing the searching actually wants and “ranks” the pages they display in the search results based on their “relevance” to that particular search query.

Therefore, the more “relevant” the page is, the closer it “matches” the search request and the higher it ranks for that particular search query.

How it does this is obviously quite complex but there is one thing that your base site should be generating as often as possible in order to show up in the search engines, and the only thing you need to concentrate on at the beginning: Content.

If your site provides regular, relevant, informative and above all authoritative content, then customers will find you, follow you and link to you and when that happens, Google and the other search engines will start to “rank” your site higher for particular keywords, and that sends you more visitors over time.

Put simply: The more articles you produce worth following, the more “power” you have in the search engines.

Once you have regular content, you can then start to fine-tune your articles so that they rank better for specific search results and that’s when you start to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques like, keyword research, link building and article seeding.

Most companies know this already and that’s OK. But there’s so much more you can do with search engines, and great articles, engaging content and busy communities are just the beginning.

27
Feb

Measuring your Success

Despite being around for quite a few years, the widespread adoption of social media by companies and brands into their communications mix is still in its infancy, and while the results of a successful social media campaign might appear to be relatively intangible, they nevertheless exist and can be measured.

Visitor numbers, percentage of comments per article, number of referrals are just some of the metrics to prove a campaign has substance.
Essentially, a social media campaign, by which we mean actual conversations and relationship building exercises, and not widgets or non-strategic Facebook pages, is more aligned with the goals of a PR program than it is with marketing.

With that in mind, here are a few ways to consider measuring social media ROI for your business:

Qualitative

First, determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships.

For example, if the objective is to measure ROI for conversations, you can start creating benchmarks by asking yourselves questions like:

  • Are we currently part of the conversations about our product/industry?
  • Are we mentioned?
  • How are we currently talked about versus our competitors?

Then to measure success, set yourself deadlines and ask whether you were able to:

  • Build better relationships with your key audiences?
  • Participate in conversations where you hadn’t previously had a voice?
  • Move from a running monologue to a meaningful dialogue with customers?

Quantitative
If the objective is just to measure traffic or Search Engine ranking, you can take a more quantitative approach using Google Analytics and other analysis tools to provide visitor numbers, geographical origins and referral sites, in order to understand which are the most popular posts, keyword optimization and additional trends.

Regardless of how your company chooses to measure engagement, it is essential to have a success metric in mind before you begin because without defining some sort of benchmark, it’s impossible to determine your ROI.

Thoughts? How do you set KPI’s and measure results?

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