Sometimes it’s hard to make the case for a big investment in social media marketing. It can be difficult to scale, time-consuming, and there’s always the risk of—gasp!—negative feedback.Socialnomics makes an excellent argument for making social media marketing not just important, but central to the mission and products your company creates. Erik Qualman’s second edition of this book came out a couple weeks ago. Rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of implementation, it's a wonderful conceptual framework for the importance of social media. It also takes a stab at what's just around the corner, which is very exciting. My favorite quote so far: "Fail fast, fail forward, fail better." Quick iterative innovation is the watchword, and an engaged conversation with customers is necessary to make that happen. The new climate for product development involves intense competition, margins squeezed by the wide availability of similar products, and a need for speed. He argues that it’s better to move quickly than study something to death and have others beat you to market. But once you move quickly out the door, and some parts of your product fail, you need to respond just as fast.This requires an ongoing, engaged conversation with your customers. You only fail forward, you only fail better, when you listen to your customers. Qualman argues that social media is the best way, perhaps the only way, to listen to your customers quickly and deeply enough to drive rapid development cycles. It’s not about releasing a half-baked product. It’s about speeding up the product’s improvement cycle, which is something we can all benefit from.Release, listen, improve, release. Rinse and repeat. At Exsilio, our Social Media Marketing team focuses on embedding inside your organization’s message, and can help you sort through the noise to listen better.It’s hard for many organizations to be so nimble in their product/service development, though. What challenges are you experiencing?
Tags: Social Media Marketing, social media, software design, agile, applications
A colleague and I were recently tasked with reviving a client's stale Twitter account. The account had several hundred followers, but had not been active in months. We wanted to find out what levels of engagement we'd see if we actively managed the account for a few months. So, since our project was not particularly scoped for active Twitter management, we needed to track engagement without 1) paying for expensive tools, and 2) unnecessarily spending hours manually tracking our engagement metrics.Here are a few of the tools I've used to effectively track basic Twitter metrics. The idea here is to utilize free tools and remain efficient in regards to time spent on data gathering.
Twittercounter.comMetrics: Follower CountFirst, you'll need a way to track follower count. Twittercounter provides a nice view into your account's follower trend-line, sorted out by each day. You can go as far back as three months. You can also add one or two other accounts, if you’d like to compare your trendline to someone else’s.
Tweetreach.comMetrics: Exposure, ImpressionsNext, you'll want insight into the overall reach of your tweets. Enter your account's handle into Tweetreach, and it'll give you an exportable snapshot of how far your tweets are travelling. Using metrics such as "reach", "exposure", and "contributors", Tweetreach will show you which accounts have mentioned you (sorted by follower count) and how many times your account's handle has appeared in others' feeds. The only caveat in this free report is that the data does not reach back very far. You'll have to check in every few weeks if you want to capture this data over a long period of time.
Analytics.topsy.comMetrics: MentionsTopsy.com will show you a trend-line of how many times your account has been mentioned over a selected time period. Retweets are included. You’ll want to remember that Topsy’s free service only allows you to look back as far as one month.
Bit.lyMetrics: ClicksPossibly the most popular URL shortener, signing up for a free bit.ly account will give you access to a view of all of your created URLs. You'll be able to see how many clicks you're getting on each URL.
Individually, these tools are not capable of giving you very much data, but by using multiple tools, you should be able to pull a meaningful story together. Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any other recommendations or thoughts on free Twitter trackers.
Tags: Twitter Tracking, Social Media Marketing, Analytics, Follower Count, Social Media Tools
Tags: media buy, second screen, social media
Marketing | Social Media
Conversions are the most sought after end-goal for most online advertisers; it declares that their efforts have worked. These often come at a cost, and require hours of effort and optimization to ensure maximum efficiency. But there is one conversion that is so simple and so efficient, that it doesn’t even catch our eye.
The Facebook comment. Go ahead, login to your Facebook, look at your newsfeed, and see what appears under a status update. It is your profile picture and a box for you to offer your wisdom to your friends in the form of a comment. This is the most efficient conversion online.
Why? Because Facebook needs and wants you to engage with your friends, that is why you’re there, right? You see your image, you see yourself already there. Facebook allows provides you everything you need to make that final conversion, you just have to come up with a clever comment. Every time you click a like, or comment on a picture or update, you are fueling Facebook. You are converting and adding value to their Friend Graph.
The takeaway from this example is that is that the use can “see themselves there,” they know what to expect, and they know what they’ll get.
General | Marketing | Social Media
Tags: social media, marketing, content, Pinterest
Utilizing social media at events such as fundraisers or expos is a no-brainer. Its versatility and potential to have significant impacts on impressions make it a great medium for an event of any size. After all, one of the core functions of a social network is the ability to share one's experience regarding an event. Also, social media allows campaign managers a high level view of the event’s overall reception, almost instantly.This weekend, we’ll be able to witness just how large scale a company’s social media campaign can run, at one of America’s largest events.Over a hundred million people are expected to tune into this year's Super Bowl [between the New England Patriots and New York Giants]. Of these 100+ million folks, 60% will be online. This, coupled with the fact that NBC is providing live, online streaming of the game, leads me to believe that this 60% will be watching their social streams and feeds along with the game.Dubbed the “Second Screen Phenomenon,” advertisers and marketers are recognizing that there is an increasing amount of online usage at events. We humans obviously like to share our experiences, which explains why your social media feed might include many one-line, exclamatory reactions to a game on Sundays. I’m sure I’m not the first Twitter user to have trouble finding noteworthy content on Sunday nights due to the multiple, frequent, “Falcons! NOOO!” or, “Really? Fumble?” tweets.Coca-Cola plans on tapping into this potential with their new campaign on CokePolarBowl.com. Here’s a quick summary of what will be going on:• The website, hosted on Facebook, will feature two polar bears, watching and reacting to the game live.• Commercials spots throughout the game will direct the audience to the campaign site.• The stream will also be available on Twitter, ESPN.com, and other ad placements throughout the web.• The bears’ reactions, which will be shareable via Twitter and Facebook (i.e., retweeting a happy response from the bear that’s a Giants fan), will even be made for the commercials.With this campaign, Coke will be cashing in on the potential for over 60 million unique impressions in one day. And that, my friend, is how you run a social media campaign.For a complete rundown of the campaign, read Karlene Lukovitz’ report on Media Post here.
Tags: customers, social media, smartphones, mobile marketing, marketing, marketing strategy, Twitter, Facebook, events, impressions, audience engagement
Client Relationship Management | Marketing | Social Media
I come to you today to admit that I was wrong. If you’ll remember, loyal Exsilio blog reader, I first posted about Facebook Deals back in April. Facebook Deals was a pilot program where users could opt in to receive geographically targeted emails right in their Facebook news feed. This is in direct opposition to sites like Groupon and Living Social that regularly email their users to announce new sales events. I have always seen the volume of email as a barrier to the daily deal model, so I really felt that this lowered the inconvenience of entry and presented a unique opportunity for sales events to take on a social life of their own.
Apparently, Facebook didn’t see it that way, and they are quietly killing the program altogether. It’s clear that Facebook didn’t see the results that they had hoped for in their pilot cities and that they are electing to pursue other ways to support/sell to small businesses. Check-in based deals remain unchanged, and location based services have evolved away from the Facebook Places model to allow for past, present, and future location-based tagging that is not tied to a mobile device or geographic location.
Without specific reasoning or numbers, we don’t know exactly why Facebook has elected to scrap the Deals model. Perhaps users saw ads in their newsfeed as too intrusive, much like there was some initial backlash when sponsored tweets were first introduced. We may also be seeing a plateauing of the daily deal model as local businesses realize that they might not be able to handle the volume and attention that these high-profile offers garner.
Were you in a pilot city for Facebook Deals? Were you disappointed that Facebook Deals didn’t make it to your city? Please share your experience in the comments section and I’ll be sure to respond.
Search has dominated content discovery and research for the last 10 years. However, the advertising and traffic dominance leveraged by Google’s search algorithm excellence has slowly been subsumed in the last 5 years by Facebook and a rise in social signals to drive traffic around the web. In 2009, Google reacted to this trend with a “personalization campaign,” a shotgun approach to algorithmically providing Search Engine Results Page (SERP) relevance by 57 signals around the user’s identity, rather than simply semantic language queries. There is no “standard Google” any more. Eli Pariser’s recent work indicts this trend, and suggests problems with information retrieval in an algorithmically-personalized filter bubble. There are implications for search engines, for users, and for brands; but I want to focus on the implications for anyone who creates and curates content for online distribution. Journalists, editors, and content strategists.
For those of us that create and curate content, search is something we recognize as a foundational commodity. Our job is generally cultivating a long-term relationship with the customers/audiences, punctuated by elements of transactional marketing. The process as I’ve generally participated in it involves SEO as an integral part of the planning process, but deprioritized in favor of clickstream and referral data as the pages mature. This is an “exploratory search” perspective, so it’s helpful to provide some historical context before talking about the impact of some of the recent social shifts in search results.
There are a couple of different ways to talk about search as it’s evolved over the years. These are really organized by task and query depth. The task is really “what do you want to know?” In the early days of the web, the type of answer you wanted determined not just the type of query but also the engine. “Exploratory search” really answers the “what do you want to know” question with “I don’t know – just give me everything on this topic.” This is generally unstructured data (lists of results organized only by relevance) in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Faceted search, is a more recent entry into the online search space. Rather than offering the black box experience of a Google or Bing front page, users can filter and pivot the query, personalizing the relevance. A good example is Yelp, which focuses its search results around user-queried local business. There are filters for business types, rating, neighborhood-specific proximity. Parallel to this rise is the growth of folksonomies, do-it-yourself classification strategies that are multi-topical and not necessarily hierarchical. Witness the power of Delicious – a social bookmarking site – that allows you to discover other user’s relevant bookmarks through culturally common “tags.” Click on one of those tags in my tag cloud, and then look at the tags in the right nav that are related to that tag. This can be a method for both filtering and discovery of new topics around a given concept.
In the examples of faceted search above there’s a heavy leveraging of social media, which is mostly unstructured data. But faceted search can also be a wizard-oriented approach to structured data. The rise of mobile and its virtualized search box without regard for the computer desk has resulted in narrowly focused task- and location-based faceted querying. Queries are action-oriented and one answer in scope. An example is “Seattle Weather.” You don’t need 15 pages of results, simply 1 page of authoritative sites with accurate forecasts. Bing’s marketing campaign for the last year or so has attempted to differentiate its results offering as a “Decision Engine.” Another example is CNet’s Cell Phone Finder.
What’s the important editorial takeaway for this differentiation? Search intention is different than it was 5 years ago, and information architects need to bear in mind the importance and implications of search as a foundational commodity. We once only wanted to discover. Now we also want to accomplish. What intention does your content surface? Is your content transactional and static? If so, traffic will be from well-defined sources (company home page, exploratory search, etc.), and keyword strategy becomes key. For content that’s technically deep, relying on multiple pivots to slice and dice particular topics, faceted searches become a lot more important to discovery, and social media along with strategic linking strategies will prove more impactful to customers. In the next part of this series, I’ll focus a little more on influentials and curation as a new signal for search engines (and enterprise search) to incorporate.
Business Consulting | Exsilio Homepage | Marketing | Project Management | Search | Social Media
I'm a little late to this post - we're halfway through May, and it's National Bike-to-Work month. With the seasons (finally!) shifting toward warmer temperatures for the next few months, there’s plenty of opportunity left to take another look at your commute.
How long do you spend in your car looking at bumpers? Like many in the Pacific Northwest, I live about 20 miles from our Redmond office, as the crow flies. Sprawl is made more complex here in Seattle by lots of “water features,” and while a 5am commute takes about 25 minutes, a commute anywhere between 7am and 10am (or between 5pm and 7pm) is going to take from 45 minutes to more than an hour. For me - someone who hates sitting in the I-5 parking lot - this was a no brainer. For work-life balance, anything was better than driving. I bus a lot, but also bike once or more a week all year round.
Sounds hardcore, but I’m no spandexer. I have an entry level mountain bike, and wear street clothes. Until the last couple of months, I was even biking on flat pedals (prior to the fancy clipless ones I inherited from a friend). Very little gear is required, and I highly recommend those that have less than 10 miles commute trying this once or twice this summer. Here’s what you need:
You can get fancier than that, but the complexity of “stuff” can outweigh the enjoyment of just getting on the bike and pedaling. Add equipment like pedals, slick tires (if you’re riding a mountain bike), fenders (for rainy riding) when you decide you’re ready for it. If you don’t want to sweat, I’d suggest planning on keeping about an 8-10mph pace (a quick division calculation using the miles to your office as the numerator can tell you how much time to budget). Depending on your local humidity, your sweat threshold may vary.
My own history: I started bringing my bike to work in 2007, when I worked in downtown Seattle. I would take the bike on the bus, and then ride home at night. Took about an hour and twenty minutes, but two or three times a week meant I exercised a minimum amount during the week, and the green trails took me almost door to door with no traffic stress.
I upgraded my commute options when changed jobs and started commuting to Redmond. The Sammamish River Trail took me straight from Shoreline to Redmond with zero traffic. In my second life as a contingent staffer at Microsoft, I also have access to showers and lockers on the Microsoft campus, a block from our Redmond office. This means I can log almost a couple of hours of exercise a day without taking significantly longer than hopping in my car. Bike down, shower, work all day, bike home. And the views!
Hope to see you out on the trail, and if you’re in Seattle, sign up for the Group Health May commute challenge – you can follow my progress here.
Tags: work life balance, commute, national bike-to-work month, cycling
General | Randomness | Social Media
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