Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the art of attracting, engaging and inspiring communities on social networks to discover, consume, share and act on brand social content.

 

92% of companies today consider social media important for their business but keeping up with the latest best practices, social media platforms and changes in the industry can be a challenge for brand marketers. Recognized as a top social media blog by Social Media Examiner and many others, TopRank solves that challenge by sharing social media marketing best practices, industry news, interviews, book reviews and liveblogging of presentations at industry conferences.

 

Browse our social media marketing articles to find the answers to your most pressing social media questions.

 

Lee Odden

Organic Versus Paid Search Results

image courtesy of robot-frog.com
A new WebSideStory study announced today shows that paid search has only a slight advantage over organic search results for conversions.

The study looked at more than 57 million search engine visits on Google, Yahoo and MSN and showed a median order conversion rate of 3.40 percent at business-to-consumer e-commerce sites for pay per click compared to a conversion rate of 3.13 percent for organic search results during the same timeframe.

This announcement is timely, because recently, someone on our MIMA-SM discussion list asked about clickthrough rates on organic versus pay per click ads in search results. It’s pretty common knowledge that most people click on the organic results, but this person was looking for a credible resource citing specific numbers.

So here’s what I found:

Lee Odden

Social Bookmark Services Feature Review

Read/WriteWeb has posted an excellent review and comparison of the major social bookmarking services. Digg was not included as they are considered a social news service. The bookmark services reviewed include: BlinkList, Blogmarks, del.icio.us, diigo, Furl, Ma.gnolia, MyWeb, Shadows, Simpy and StumbleUpon.

The result? Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon were the clear winners. I seem to remember something a while back about how StumbleUpon Rocks. 🙂

Personally, I like tend to use del.cio.us the most for work and StumbleUpon for more recreational surfing. But I have found some excellent resources for work that way.

This information is pretty handy for when you creating your social bookmark links.

Lee Odden

Wize.com Brings Collective Wisdom to Product Research

One of the most frustrating things people encounter with search engines is doing product research. Hard as they try, the affiliate links, spam and irrelevant content plague search results. There are a number of recommendation shopping sites and recently popular social shopping sites available to perform product research, but the information is often narrow or biased.

There’s a new kid on the block called Wize that we’ve been working with and I have to say, it’s a pretty impressive research tool for consumer products. The site launced today and it’s worth checking out.

Wize.com

Doug Baker, the internet entreprenuer who created Wize.com has taken the notion of collective wisdom, made popular by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki’s 2004 book ���The Wisdom of Crowds��� and combined it with the technology behind the jux2.com search engine he purchased earlier this year to create an easy to use comparison shopping and product research web site.

Lee Odden

Search Engine and Social Media Blogs

In the course of perusing the internet I come across some excellent resources. Here are some great search engine and social media blogs I’ve recently added to my RSS aggregator:

SEO Blogs:

HitTail Blog – Mike Levin

SEO Egghead – Jaimie Sirovich

Reality SEO – Mike Valentine

Search Engine Optimization for Site Owners – Michael Duz

Capture the Conversation – James Clark and Jason Cormier

Johnon Competitive Webmastering and SEO – John Andrews

inter:digital strategies – Joseph Dolson

Marketing with Social Media Blogs:

Experience Curve – Karl Long

Hacking New Media – T.L. Pierce

Social Media Optimization – David Wilson

Emergence Media – Daniel Riveong

Web Strategy by Jeremiah – Jeremia Owyang

Lee Odden

UnGoogle Your Marketing with Social Media

I think one of the ways you can sum up the idea of social media optimization and marketing is: “traffic alternatives to Google”. As great as Google is, marketers are increasingly looking for alternative and/or additional channels for content distribution and marketing and consumers for sources of information and interaction.

Some have suggested social search as an alternative. I don’t think social search will ever replace search engines as we know them today, but I do think the rate of growth for major search engines will certainly be affected by the growing number of niche tools and media specific channels such as social networks, social bookmarking sites, personalized search, tagging, podcasts, video blogs, regular blogs and other “social media”.

Lee Odden

Battelle’s SearchMob

John Battelle has launched a new Digg style service on his Search Blog called SearchMob. It allows registered users to submit articles and vote on them based on the Pligg content management system. via Google Blogscoped.

Similar services that I’ve found very useful include Piers Fawkes’ Marktd for marketing related stories upon which SearchMob was inspired and Constantine Basturea’s New PR for new media public relations articles.

It seems there may be opportunity to for many of these types of sites to emerge in niche topics. My question is, will they augment or compete with search engines?

Update:  I am a bit red in the face for not mentioning Search N Sniff, a similar service launched by Jonathan Nelson a week ago.

Lee Odden

Fortune Covers MySpace and YouTube

On my flight from Minneapolis to Vegas today I picked up a copy of Fortune Magazine, which had and the founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe of MySpace on the cover. The article, “MySpace Cowboys” was pretty good describing the founding of the company as well as the acquisition by News Corp.

With an acquisition price of $580 million, Tom and Chris are still singing the “we’ll keep working as long as we can keep building the vision” song. Well, not exactly, but pretty close. They do seem pretty committed to continuing the journey of making MySpace all about the users and the community.

Lee Odden

StumbleUpon Rocks

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Social Search

My current, favorite way of finding new web sites and blogs is hands down, StumbleUpon. I had started using their service over a year ago, but after a few months it just didn’t resonate with me. In the past two weeks I noticed in our main company web site server logs that we were getting a LOT of referring traffic from stumbleupon.com so I decided to check it out again.

I downloaded the toolbar, set preferences and have not been disappointed since. Not only am I a happy user, but StumbleUpon is also a great way to get great web sites or blogs noticed.

It appears Rand has similar thoughts.

Lee Odden

Blogs, PPC and MySpace for Online Marketing

Kauffman eVenturing is featuring several new articles focused on helping entrepreneurs evaluate different aspects of online marketing, from search engine optimization and key word advertising to blogging, online publishing and using eBay as a distribution channel. A few of the articles:

Giving Online Marketing a Greater Share – Chris Topping (Brick and Mortar/Online Retailer)
Honing Pay Per Click for Targeted Results – Jerry Kenefake (Online Retailer)
What MySpace Means for Marketers – Zachary Rodgers (ClickZ)
The Rise of the Participant Economy – David Sifry (Technorati)

Articles from retailers can be pretty insightful but many don’t want to share what they’ve learned in the same way many marketing consultants don’t give away the best info at conferences. However you can often find nuggest of great information in articles like these.

Lee Odden

Is SMO SPAM?

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Social Media

I was recently reading a post on Marc Pentermann’s blog that suggests social media optimization is pretty much SPAM for social media. My comments about that are as follows:

I think the issue of SPAM and any kind of marketing will always exist regardless of the medium. Email, web pages, blogs and social media are all susceptible.

Just because it is possible to SPAM a medium does not invalidate that medium. Should we not send email because others use it for SPAM? That would not make sense.

It is also important to note that SPAM-focused efforts are not long term marketing solutions. Leveraging the opportunities with social media makes it easier for marketers to reach their intended audience and for users to find and share the content they’re interested in.

Lee Odden

New Tools for Social Media Optimization

With all the buzz about social media optimization the past week, I thought it would be timely for us to present two updated tools for encouraging the sharing of and linking to content as well as distribution. These are concepts that are fundamental to the notion of social media optimization or SMO.

Screen Shot of 2 New Social Media Optimization Tools

The first tool is one we’ve received excellent comments on and it’s called the Social Bookmark Creator. In order to make it easy for readers to save a blog post or a web page for reading later or to aggregate resources using a social bookmark service, we’ve created a tool that allows you to add a social bookmark menu after each post or on a static web page.

Social Bookmarks

Lee Odden

Resources for New Media and Social Media PR

There’s a growing amount of buzz about social media lately, but specifically of interest is social media press releases. As we fold the new media press release, press room and media relations tactics into our PR strategy, I’ve been monitoring a number of resources on the topic of new media PR and the hRelease or social media news release and offer some of those links here.

New Media Release Group – A Google group started to discuss the new media release format with participants ranging from independent PR consultants to PR Newswire and Market Wire.

New PR – Constantin Basturea’s “Digg style” site for new media public relations news.

Workspace for Social Media Press Release (hRelease) – hRelease is a community effort to define a new format for press releases via a community standard microformat