Archives for March 2010

5 Ways to Electrify Your Social Network

social networking

A typical situation for many marketers when it comes to social networks is this: Setup LinkedIn profile, check. Corporate LinkedIn page, check.  Facebook profile, check. Facebook Fan Page, check. Twitter account, check. Corporate blog, check. Check check check!

But where’s the buzz? Where are the fans, friends, followers, comments, links, traffic, search engine rankings? Where’s the customer engagement? And the most pressing question of all: What is all this social web participation doing for our company and our customers?

Showing up to the game doesn’t mean there will be an audience. This is as true with the social web as it is offline.  The problem that marketers have with attracting interested customers and growing their social networks often stems from approaching social participation tactically and without a plan.  Testing and experimentation is great, but if what you’re doing is something that has a cost and is to be accounted for, then you’d better have a plan and objectives.  How can you score without a goal?

Shutterstock Voted Best Royalty Free Stock Photos Site for Bloggers

Winner - TopRank Reader Poll A great photo can really add a lot of flavor to a blog post and in our own analysis at Online Marketing Blog as well as with clients, including quality images with a blog post can boost traffic and referrals 30-50%. To make posts more personal, I try to use my own photos as much as possible and do use imags from Flickr under Creative Commons from time to time. This is an area of significant impact for blogs as effective communication and marketing tools, so last week we ran a Reader Poll on the best site for royalty free, stock photos for bloggers.

We had the most comments from iStockphoto users and interestingly enough, the “Other” category came in second place with suggestions including: screenshots, stock.xchng, PhotoXpress.com and Creative Commons imagies from Flickr.

12 Tips on Live Blogging & Content Marketing at SXSWi

So here I sit in the DFW airport hanging out with David Berkowitz and Joe Morin waiting for my connection to Austin. What better way to spend that 45 min than to write a helpful blog post? A big part of my “mission” for SXSXi is to create content after all.

I have several other goals like networking (reconnecting and especially new contacts), competitive research, recruiting and potential client prospecting. But content marketing is our bread and butter. It can be an effective tactic for you too, especially if you can learn to be highly efficient at liveblogging conferences.

Here are a few tips that will not only give you a tested and proven guideline but should improve your efficiency and quality of output.

5 Social Media Tips for Ecommerce Marketing

If you run an ecommerce business, chances are your customers – regardless of their age, gender or economic status – are active on social networks and social media sharing sites.

Just consider the statistics from social media monitoring site Pingdom:

  • Males and females almost equally use social sites (47% vs. 53%)
  • 61% of Facebook users are middle aged or older, with the average age being 37
  • 18- to 24-year-olds don’t dominate any particular social networking site; they’re spread out all over

The bottom line: If you aren’t discovering which in social networking channels your customers spend time and include them in your ecommerce marketing mix, you’re probably  missing out on building relationships, community and increasing new customer acquisition through online word of mouth.

BIGLIST Social SEO Blogs Update 031110

BIGLIST SEO Blogs

Welcome to the post-Winter/pre-Spring version of the BIGLIST review of SEO blogs.  Snow is starting to melt and you can actually walk around outside (in Minnesota) without your eyelashes freezing together. We have a nice group for you to review so fire up your RSS reader and subscribe.

LyndiT blog gets our attention for great design and user experience in this BIGLIST update. Lyndi Thompson is a Social Media and Online Marketing Specialist and like me, is addicted to peanut M&Ms.  Besides writing about a mix of social media, SEO, web design and online marketing topics, you might be interested to know Lyndi lives on a mini farm, owns several animals including a donkey and supports some great causes in the Northwest.

Free Tools for Social Media Optimization

Plenty of bloggers are talking about the inevitable intersection of social media marketing and search engine optimization. Heck, we’ve been blogging about SMO since 2006! Keyword optimized social content and channels of promotion provide abundant signals to search engines for improved visibility on standard, social and real-time search.

The changing nature of social media marketing and optimization create the need for tools whether for research, marketing and promotion or analytics. Here are  social media and SEO tools you might find useful:

Ford’s Focus on Social Media: Scott Monty Interview

Scott Monty When you think of successful consumer brands in the social media space, names like Dell, Zappos and Pepsi come to mind. Another is Ford. Last year the Ford Fiesta movement generated a tremendous amount of awareness (and pre-orders) for a vehicle that wasn’t available to the public yet. (Great summary on Jeff Bullas’s blog) At the same time, it inspired a community to engage, create content and continue discussions about the Fiesta with over 7 million video views.

While in Dearborn, I visited The Henry Ford Museum, The Rouge Truck Factory and had an invitation to visit Ford’s Head of Social Media, Scott Monty at Ford’s World Headquarters where we did a short interview. We’ve talked to Scott and live blogged about Ford social media efforts in the past, but in this interview he talked about the place for social media with Ford’s new product lines, local social media work with Chapter 2 of the Fiesta movement and advice for companies on empowering communities.

Poll: Best Royalty Free Stock Photo Sites for Bloggers

As with many bloggers, we’ve been using royalty free images for many years.  Many bloggers make use of images from Flickr and we have too but you can’t always find the right image there. I’ve even made a point to take more photos of people, places and things while traveling for later use in blog posts like the one to the right.

The stock photo site we’ve been using for several years recently decided to essentially double their prices (no matter how they spin it, that’s what they did) and it prompted me to ask the excellent people I’m connected with on Twitter for their suggestions on royalty free photography and image web sites. Here is a collection of 9 such sites that were suggested via Twitter or researched by TopRank.  Which leads us to our poll for the most “blogger friendly” royalty free stock photo site:

5 Ways to Weave LinkedIn Into Your Marketing Mix

From Facebook to Twitter to You Tube, there’s no limit to the number of social networking sites that can be leveraged to interact with customers and prospects, and build positive brand awareness.

LinkedIn, however, stands apart from the crowd. The roots of popular sites like YouTube and Facebook are founded on the entertainment side of things. But since its creation, LinkedIn has been geared toward the professional business crowd.

If you haven’t already incorporated LinkedIn into your online marketing mix, consider the latest statistics:

  • LinkedIn has more than 60 million members
  • A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members

Get started with a LinkedIn marketing strategy today with these five tips:

My Top iPhone Apps for Social Media Marketing

iPhone Apps Social Media Marketing It’s a little ironic that I’m writing this post about iPhone apps using WordPress on a Motorola Droid (Devour actually), but it allows me a chance to experience how hard it is to blog, using a tiny tiny tactile keyboard and also finally get this post started.

Ah, back to a full sized Logitech keyboard and mouse. Much better.

Popularized by iPhones, there are apps for just about everything, including tools to help social media marketers on the go. In fact, there are over 100,000 iPhone applications to choose from. Many of those apps are extensions of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Others serve as productivity tools for more efficient social web participation or for content creation.

Customer & Influencer Research in Social Media

“If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!” Pink Floyd, The Wall.

That quote from Another Brick in the Wall reminds me of the cart horse situation with social media marketing:  If you don’t know your customers you can’t engage them. How can you ever hope to engage your customers if you don’t understand who they are?

There are so many questions from marketers and agencies alike about how best to grow businesses through online channels.  Questions are particularly popular when it comes to best practices for social tools. “Always do this” and “always do that” is what most marketers have been bombarded with for as long as there have been conferences to attend and email newsletters to subscribe to.