Written by jeffbullas on September 21, 2009
A conversation I constantly have with my clients is how important unique great content is to helping them ”Getting Found Online” so when the study by “Online Publishers Association” came across my screen recently, it was good to find more hard numbers to back up the evangelism.
The study on online activity titled the “Internet Activity Index” released by the Online Publishers Association shows the trends of the types of activity that have ocurred on the Internet over the past 6 years. The study’s findings has important implications for online marketers and how they should be focusing their time, resources and strategies in 2009 and beyond.
The 5 Categories and the the types of sites that were measured were:
- Content (Sites like NYTimes.com, ESPN.com and Edmunds.com (Content sites)
- Communications (websites offering email, and Instant messaging)
- Community (Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn)
- Commerce (such as Ebay, Amazon)
- Search (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc)
For those of you that haven’t heard, there is a new SEO, social media voting site called SERPd. In this new community, you can submit your quality content related to SEO, social media, and blogging, as well as discuss and vote on other quality content. SERPd was founded by no other than me and Chris Burns from BURN SEO.
Although the site hasn’t officially launched yet, I’m giving you a chance for an exclusive sneak preview.
Here are 5 reasons you should join the SERPd community today.
1. It’s currently the only “social voting” site on the web that caters to the SEO, social media, and blogging industry.
It’s no secret that sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon have always had an inherent hostility towards the search marketing industry. So this is a place where you can kick back without anyone calling you an SEO evil doer. A place you can call home. A place you can find content that you’re really interested in.
ROI in social media is a luxury. And the only brands that can accept that are likely to be big ones with multi-platform marketing budgets. The larger the brand, the more likely they are to use social media without concerning themselves with its dollar ROI, when goodwill for them, is priceless. With mid-level brands the debate becomes more acute because the marketing budget is more thinly spread. And as for small brands, there’s no debate at all. For the most part, all they have is social media – so ROI is a matter of hope rather than measurable statistics.
Part of the conundrum is rooted in the inherent contradictions of the Internet and its technology. On the one hand, Web technology has provided us with an almost obsessive level of measurability – metrics of just about every variable one can imagine are instantly available. On the other, the Internet is a vast, free flowing fish-pond where hundreds of millions of people swim and bob around from place to place, connecting, communicating, and moving on. Measuring that part of the process isn’t just dicey, it’s a recipe for insanity.
Bridging Both Sides of the Internet Experience
The answer is simpler than most people think. Find a way to measure and assess marketing responses that’s right for the channel you’re using – and stick with it.
If you’re using banner advertising (how wonderfully old-fashioned of you!) CPC, eCPM, and CPS are your bread and butter. The ROI – while still imprecise – is at its core at least – numerical. And if it’s numerical, the ebbs and flows of sales can be measured with some degree of accuracy against your spend. How much of advertising ROI is art rather than science is a matter for debate, but there’s enough vaguely convincing science in play to reassure executives.
Partially because “social media” means a great many things, it’s far more difficult to create a reliable attribution model.
Social media – at least today – is often more art than science. At best the science is the pseudo-science of persuasion and engagement – concepts that don’t sit well with the empiricists who want proof of everything, all the time.
Let’s look at how companies of various sizes and budgetary realities look at this quandary.
I realize it’s in the best interests of Facebook, the media, application developers, and sometimes even brands themselves to concoct pseudo-science that “proves” that people that “like” your company are instantly turned into a zombie army of influential advocates. But it’s simply not true.
The most recent among these breathless accounts was an item in Adweek recently with the headline “Facebook Fan Pages Pay Off.” The article reported on a new study from global ad agency DDB that found that 92% of Facebook fans would likely recommend the liked product to a friend.
That statistic seems to make the case that Facebook fan pages are a fantastically effective marketing channel. And I won’t debate that point. But what I can’t abide, and what I want to put a stop to right now, is the notion that Facebook fan pages are a cause of advocacy. Instead, Facebook fan page “likes” are primarily the manifestation of advocacy that already exists.
In almost all cases, people “like” companies with which they’ve transacted. Why would you become a fan of something you’ve never experienced? Think about your own use of Facebook. How often have you “liked” brands that you don’t already like in the real world? Rarely, if ever.
In fact, the most interesting statistic in the survey isn’t that 92% of Facebook fans would recommend the brand, it’s that 8% wouldn’t. Who are the 8% that are “liked” the brand but don’t actually like it enough to recommend?
Preaching to the Converted
Predominately, the people that “like” your company on Facebook already like you in the real world. Consequently, your Facebook fan page is just another way to identify, corral, and (hopefully) activate them.
Psychologically then, your Facebook “likers” are eerily similar to your email list, except the Facebook crowd is less valuable on a per-person basis. This is because even though several studies (including DDB’s) show that the number one reason consumers like pages is to access to special offers, the non-deal seekers see their relationship with your Facebook page very differently.
ExactTarget’s research on “Facebook X-Factors” shows that only 30% of Facebook “likers” believe clicking “like” equates to “giving the company permission to market to me”. (disclosure: ExactTarget is a Convince & Convert client)
It makes sense though, doesn’t it? There was much gnashing of teeth when Facebook moved from “fan” to the more grammatically awkward “like”, but in retrospect, they were 100% correct to do so. “Like” much more aptly describes the relationship between brands and people on Facebook.
“So, you like, Tweet for a living?” The thinly veiled mocker quietly asks.
“No, I mean, like, seriously? That stuff is kind of a waste of time, isn’t it? Well, at least you get to be on Facebook all day.”
The veil is dropped and the disdain shows its face. You’ve just met the social media stigma – the reason nearly half of all brands are not sure of social marketing’s value.
“This social media stuff sounds fun, but is there really a point?”
You’ve heard this before. You tell them about the sea change. You give them an analogy about a flood coming. You tell them they can either build a levee or grab a surfboard. The analogy worked better in your head.
“I want real ROI. I want proof that Facebook will help me sell more widgets.”
You think of case studies. You scramble to think of statistics. You marvel at the demand there must be for widgets. Your mind spins in the million different ways you can answer this question.
For the last three years, I’ve hosted a Tweet-up at Blog World & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. No, it has never been an “official” Blog World party, but Rick Calvert and the BWE organizers have always come and since it didn’t typically interfere with the official goings on, have appreciated my efforts in getting folks together for a little fun.
Last night, we had our third version of the tweet-up and this year we blew it out a bit. Whrrl and Murphy USA sponsored it, Planet Hollywood and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood officially got involved as hosts (since we were probably going to cause a fire hazard otherwise) and 250 or so folks migrated in and out of the open area in front of Fat Tuesdays Daiquiri Bar for a couple of hours. Eric Berto has a nice photo set of the event on Flickr.
The story behind the somewhat famous “Mall Bar Tweet-Up” has been documented before. My college buddy Kevin manages Fat Tuesdays, I took Chris Brogan and some friends there three years ago thinking it was a sit-down, dinner and ball game, kinda bar only to find it was a TCBY with liquor. We made the most of it and had two of the most fun hours you could have. The evening became a tradition and evolved into a fun event last night.
Those who have come to the Mall Bar Tweet-up rave about it. But it’s very different from other parties at conferences. It’s these subtle differences that make it the talk of the town for a couple days and bring people back every year. I was thinking about those differences this morning and realized I had some tips to share on throwing a killer event. Here’s why the Mall Bar Tweet-up works:
I asked a question on LinkedIn: “What have you used LinkedIn for today?”
Here’s a quick screen swipe of what people said:
I asked the question for two reasons: 1.) to know the answer, and 2.) because it was a way to feed my network. In this case, it was a way to feed it by letting people reflect. There’s an interesting experience that comes with reflection. You and I do it here a lot, don’t we? If I ask you something and you reflect on the answer, you feel a bit more positively about the experience by default (unless you vehemently disagree with whatever I do to color that reflection).
Whether it’s the annual global grassroots fundraiser Twestival or Pepsi’s online fund for positive ideas, the Internet is no stranger to social media causes. For years businesses have been taking advantage of popular web tools to promote important issues, while building brand awareness at the same time. However, there is one company that is taking a brave new approach for a good cause, featuring a guy at home in his underwear.
Now don’t get too excited, this new social media star is no Old Spice Guy. This near-naked Guy at Home is not promising viewers a dream makeover or tickets to that thing you love. What he is doing is sacrificing his privacy to educate people about testicular cancer.
For 25 days, Mark McIntyre is hanging out on Guyathome.com, all day every day in his underpants (in a rented Toronto loft). The goal is to reach 50,000 fans on Facebook. In turn, boxer and briefs maker Stanfield’s will donate $50,000 ($1 per fan) to the Canadian Cancer Society. So far, there are more 40,000 likes, just 16 days into the project.
Why is it still not uncommon to attend a social media or digital marketing conference and overhear stories about people with little to no significant experience who recently filled new mid-management social media marketing positions? We laugh at the absurdity, but if firms can’t differentiate between experts and newbies, how will they differentiate between the value of social media marketing and a hiring mistake when it all goes awry?
Really people, get it together. These types of hiring mistakes were perhaps understandable a year or two ago, but given the daily diet of social media news and articles available on every front, I can’t believe it’s still happening. How can it be that employers who have Google and social media platforms at their fingertips are still getting snowed?
Clearly, some basic hiring tips are in order. You may think I’ve set the bar too low, but I kid you not, people who are not on Facebook or LinkedIn, or with profiles so new they’re not dry yet, are getting hired for these positions. So yes, there are recent hires who don’t meet these criteria who may be earning twice your salary (at least for now).
You don’t want to hire that social media candidate if:
- They’re not on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s pretty much a given the employer in such cases knows absolutely nothing about social media. (Really? No teens at home, no former college roommates looking to get in touch, nothing?). If they were on these platforms, they’d know that at a minimum someone who says they’re a social anything should be at least on, never mind active, on several of these platforms. What’s active? Wild guess, but somewhere on the order of say 300 – 500 or more connections, friends, or followers is probably a good indication they’re actively using social media. If they say they have experience, say on Twitter, check if they have an active account.
here is little doubt that brands today have realized the critical value of social media in developing powerful brand awareness. So now the burning question is how do we effectively engage the people we wish to connect with in a way that creates real, tangible and effective results for the brand.
uTest specializes in software testing services through its community of 30,000+ professional testers from 165 countries around the globe. Companies — from garage startups to Fortune 500 software giants — have used uTest’s services to test their web, mobile and desktop applications.
In the last few months, Blonde 2.0 (part of the Socialmedia.biz network) has worked with uTest to create a social presence for the company, nurturing current clients as well as reaching out to potential new clients,while developing a central hub for their community of testers.
We began by working on bringing testers closer together through social media channels. By doing this, testers could connect with one another from around the globe; chat; share notes and join in the uTest community experience. In addition, it created the perfect opportunity for uTest to recruit new and raw talent, enhance brand awareness and create a virtual meeting point for other companies to learn about uTest’s services.
uTest had already developed a solid online presence with a powerful website; a nice Twitter profile; blogs with pertinent posts relating to software testing and mobile app testing as well as forums to which community members could subscribe. uTest had already built the foundation for a Facebook page and called on the Blonde 2.0 team to find creative ways to increase its brand awareness while encouraging interactivity with the audience.
Everyone went in with expectations of gradual growth as is common with most brands that initially hit the Facebook sphere. Growth on a Facebook page is usually gradual and requires patience to achieve significant results. The build-up of fans can be a challenge. The fruits of our creative brainstorming and collaboration brought to life our “Bug of the Month” competition idea.