July 06, 2015 by
- 54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
- 33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
- 32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)
The numbers says high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.
But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.
Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search engine ranking.
- KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
- SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
- SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
- AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
- GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
- SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
- GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
- CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
- IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.
SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.
Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?
June 28, 2015 by
- 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
- 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are fans.
- Facebook users who ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page are 33% more likely to buy a product, and 92% more likely to recommend a product to others. (source: Chadwick Martin Bailey)
These facts suggest social media builds brand loyalty. But does it and how?
See for yourself. Here are 11 compelling case studies that prove social media builds brand loyalty.
- CARS.COM. Encouraged rating, reviews and sharing (versus no ratings, reviews and sharing) and it showed that pages that had ratings and reviews had a 16% higher rate of conversion and a 100% higher rate of traffic through to dealer’s sites.
- DOVE: As women love to sing in shower, Dove launched a campaign titled “Showeroke”. The campaign “Showeroke”was designed to see the influence of music in the lives of younger women. And the brand preference for Dove because they connected with this value. Videos were posted on YouTube. Dove created a microsite called the “Shower Remixer” where users customized their shower experience selecting different fixtures, floor designs, shelves and window scenes and as they remixed the shower experience. The music changed along with it. Dove Bar annual penetration went up from 13.7% to 18.4%. Dove Body wash loyalty went up from 24% to 27.6%.
- FOLICA: A well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed they had many referrals to their website, but no way of tracking and identifying these referrals. By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair by Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized URL’s. There was a reward for both the referrer and the referee. Each party would receive $10. After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program 6,000 brand advocates were identified. The average number of shares per advocate was four. 21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.
- GENERAL MILLS: on French Toast Crunch, wanted to get the brand into the hands of the company’s best and most socially connected consumers. A tweet was sent from the French Toast Crunch brand, basically saying, “Hey, who wants this?” The brand’s Twitter followers were urged to retweet to their followers and use the hashtags #sample or #MoreFTC to receive a free sample of French Toast Crunch in the mail. The popup window collected an email address and a physical address for delivery of the cereal. Once that social media attention died down, a follow-up email was also sent to the freebie recipients, giving them a coupon for 50 cents off a box of French Toast Crunch in-store as a reward for their social media engagement. Nearly 40% of those who received the 50-cent-off coupon opened the email. About 20% of those who received the email redeemed the coupon, 4X higher than the industry norm.
- J. HILBURN: A retail, apparel brand for men was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers. J. Hilburn wanted to identify their most valuable customers and reward them for their ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, they identified and rewarded brand advocates. Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase. Once again, a two sided offer for the referrer and the referee. After 45 days, 1,000 customers had made referrals. Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email. The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.
- SENDGRID: An email delivery and transactional service company, created an offer for existing customers which could be shared socially. Customers received $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months of service. By giving the existing customer a gift and the new customer a discount, a “Captive Offer” had been created. The share could be made using email, Facebook or Twitter. SendGrid achieved a 111% return on investment after the first six months of running the newly implemented referral program.
- SEPHORA: Tiers are one of the most effective ways a loyalty program can motivate a desired behavior. The tiers that Sephora has set ($350 for VIB and $1,000 for Rouge) have effectively segmented shoppers. The Rouge status is tough to reach, but obtainable, which leads to the most effective form of motivation. The tier rewards like exclusive events, access to the beauty studio, and early access to products and sales align perfectly with what Sephora stands for. These rewards create a sense of luxury and assign an exclusive status to members in the upper tiers. The rewards are announced on Sephora’s social media sites to build greater brand loyalty and let their already loyal customer know of special events and offers.
- STARBUCKS: Since 2008, MyStarbuckIdea.com has been advocate-driven idea tank where Starbucks drinkers submit ideas for new products and coffee concoctions. It has worked as a hub for all Starbucks customers to share all their ideas, suggestion and even their frustration. “We used to launch a new product and it cost millions of dollars. Now, when we launch a new product, we already have millions of fans,” say Chris Bruzzo, Vice President Brand, Content and Online at Starbucks.
- SUBWAY: Sponsored the “Slim Down Challenge,” a live speaking event consisting of some of America’s hottest speakers and celebrities. Its mission was to travel from city to city across America delivering powerhouse information that challenged your mind, heart, and waistline. They used social technologies and promotion apps to raise awareness of the Slim Down Challenge and recruit speakers. The strategy included a social competition. This was part of a full marketing strategy for the campaign. They found that 71% of site traffic that went to the registration page, came directly from Facebook.
- TREK: Offered customers a Trek Care loyalty and warranty package when they buy a new Trek bike, but cyclists can take coverage to the next level by purchasing the Trek Care Plus package. Trek used social media giving away free repairs for a widely read post to make customers aware of the Trek Care Plus Package. By tying in benefits with social media usage, Trek was at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
- US AUTO PARTS: Decided to shift marketing investment from customer acquisition to customer retention for its loyalty program, APW Rewards. Working with 500friends’ customer success team, U.S. Auto Parts began to leverage capabilities such as increased rewards for high-margin products, personalized post-purchase enrollment offers, a status tier, and triggered email campaigns based off of a person’s repurchase history to maximize customer lifetime value. U.S. Auto parts increased its spend per member by 20%, its repurchase rate by 14%, and its enrollment rate by 45% after updating the loyalty program of its flagship brand,
Do these case studies convince use social media builds brand loyalty? Is one your favorite? Are you using social media to build brand loyalty for your business?
June 21, 2015 by
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
To create a brand, a business usually follows the steps of creating a mission statement, core values, competitive differentiation, brand benefits, product messaging, logo, product and/or design, identifying mark, selling idea and the business strategy and measurement plan to achieve the desired results.
How many brands take these tangible and intangible benefits to their social media sites?
Here are 10 inspiring brands with a strategy for social media.
- CITROEN: Uses trust as a strategy for sales by letting its Facebook fans design its forthcoming C1 Connexion. It’s the world’s first crowd-sourced car. Over 24,000 different versions of the final car are submitted. 15,000 extra fans join up. The strategy leads to the sales of 500 cars.
- CLEVELAND CLINIC: In a regulated industry generally far behind the content marketing curve, the hospital delivers posts that help people deal with chronic diseases, overcome depression, and the battle to live a healthier life. And all of the content is written by physicians who practice there. No wonder a regional hospital has more than 1.2 million Facebook Likes.
- COCA-COLA: Has a mission statement, on their website: 1) To refresh the world – in mind, body and spirit, 2) To inspire moments of optimism – through our brands and actions and 3) To create value and make a difference everywhere we engage. Coca-Cola shares around the globe stories in social media that naturally highlight and unify its mission and values. Its YouTube channel isn’t divided up into smaller sub-channels by country, region or product line, for example. Instead, it features video stories from all over the world in one place.
- GENERAL ELECTRIC: Lives up to its “Imagination at Work” slogan. GE’s social media content is dedicated to scientific and technological innovation. They encourage engagement attracting their target with a mission statement that states: “We love science, technology, innovation, and hearing from you! So, say hello.” GE’s Facebook Page has 1,300,000+ Likes. GE utilizes multiple social networks for each of its business categories, such as GE Capital, Aviation, Healthcare, Industrial Solutions, Transportation, and Mining. Aviation is the most popular division, with over 86K followers on Twitter alone. It gathers its community with the hashtag #avgeek.
- HUBSPOT: Practices what they preach about the value of content marketing by giving it away. But contest takes many form and Hubspot gets that visual content get 94% more total views and is now 40% more likely to be shared on social networks. They frequently give away packs of stock photos and have even created 60 customizable templates to help folks with no design expertise create dynamic social imagery.
- INTUIT: Has been voted as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Intuit uses social media to showcase the people that make up the company while offering lifestyle tips and advice for potential job seekers. Intuit is one of the rare B2B brands using Pinterest with great success.
- MAERSK: a leading shipping company with a fleet of 580 container vessels, explains its social media evolution on its website. Maersk states there that it finally got going with social media in 2011. Up until that point, it had been in “a listening phase,” trying to digest what social media is about and decide whether or not it makes sense for a B2B company. Maersk states that is main goal with social media is to “get closer to our customers.” Its Facebook page has over 1,100,000 million Likes.
- RED BULL: Gets huge per-post engagement from Instagram. Yet according to an analysis by SimplyMeasured, the company made fewer posts to Instagram than any of its other social networks, averaging just 0.6 posts per day. Red Bull’s Instagram story is proof that it doesn’t matter how much content you publish. It matters what that content is. Red Bull highlights people doing extraordinary things in extraordinary places. This content appeals to risk takers, recreational athletes, and all viewers who are stirred by the Red Bull vision of life.
- T-MOBILE: In an attempt to steal away customers from it’s competitors, T-Mobile offers to pay the contract cancellation fees of any person who “broke up” with their existing cell phone service and switched to T-Mobile. They launched an ‘Un-Valentines Day’ with a Facebook App that let people create a custom break up letter to their carrier and print it out or share it on their social networks.
- TURBO TAX: offers users a variety of ways to engage, including through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. As you might imagine, because the company deals with the most dreaded of things (taxes), a handful of disgruntled customers use the company’s social media to vent their dissatisfaction. nstead of ignoring the negative vibes, TurboTax addresses every concern. In doing so, its credibility skyrockets, because the fact is, we’re all going to be disappointed now and then. When we are, we want to know someone cares.
Do these stories inspire your brand with a strategy for social media?
June 14, 2015 by
Avinash Khausik’s Glorious Executive Dashboard
Data and algorithms have a tendency to outperform human intuition. As a result, companies are vacuuming up data to make better decisions about everything from product development, marketing, advertising to hiring.
But it’s not the data, it’s what you do with it. Because data doesn’t make decisions, people do. Insights and actions are as important as statistical analysis.
Here are 9 non-technical steps to better data-driven decision making.
- UNDERSTAND THE REAL BUSINESS QUESTIONS: Ask key stakeholders who will be making decision from the data: “What are the question you want the data to answer? What’s the context and who are the impacted segments?”
- PICK THE RIGHT METRICS: There is a difference between numbers and numbers that matter. Good metrics are consistent, cheap, and quick to collect. They have to capture capture what your business cares most about.
- ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS OF THE DATA: Managers have a critical role to play framing questions before the analysis before the analysis begins. What is the source of the data? How well does the data represent the population or the audience that is most important for the analysis?
- CENTRALIZE WHERE DATA RESIDES: A firm needs to take inventory of its key data properties, as well as identify the specific business needs and functions. A critical success factor is a proper data architecture and pairing of data within a business function for impacts and inter-dependencies.
- PROCESS TRUMPS TECHNOLOGY: Data-driving decision making involves gathering, analyzing, reporting and taking action. It’s a that happens to happen regularly and involve a team of people who have specific functions to be effective.
- IT’S GOING TO COST MORE MONEY AND TIME: The process itself demands a serious commitment to training, data cleanup, and maintenance. End users have to trained on tools, how to use data for analysis, how the data is structured and what is data-warehouse security.
- KNOW THE BASICS OF DATA VISUALIZATION: For data to tell a story, it has to be visualized effectively. Before considering the technique or software for data visualization, look at who is the audience for the analysis; how much do you want to show them to convince them of the insights, actions and financial implications to be taking from the data
- CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSE AND EFFECT: Just because a correlation exists doesn’t mean there is a cause and effect. The frequency and length of time for the correlation plays a big role. This minimizes the risk of taking or not taking action, but never ensures cause and effect and the benefits of being right or wrong.
- DISCOVER INSIGHTS, MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS AND TAKE ACTIONS: Reporting is not analysis and analysis is not results. To get to productivity and profitability rates cited above, data-driven decision can’t happen without insights, recommendation and actions taking all along the way.
Do these steps help you understand how to achieve data-driven results? Does your company operate this way? Are you ready to begin?
June 08, 2015 by
- 90% of the world’s total data has been created just within the past two years (source: IBM)
- 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (Columbia Business School/IAB)
- 34% of organizations say they have no formal strategy to deal with Big Data (source: Information Week)
Although business leaders trust data to lead to insights on the effective management of their companies, many have no strategy on how to use data.
Big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information.
To inspire you, since more and more data is available, here are 25 examples of companies doing something with Big Data.
- ATLANTA FALCONS: Use GPS technology to assess player movements during practices, which helps the coaches create more efficient plays.
- BANK OF AMERICA: “BankAmeriDeals” provides cash-back offers to credit and debit-card customers based upon analyses of their prior purchases.
- BASIS: Is a wrist-based health tracker and online personal dashboard that helps users incorporate small, progressive health changes over time—that ultimately add up to major results.
- BRITISH AIRWAYS: “Know Me” program combines already existing loyalty information with the data collected from customers based on their online behavior. With the blending of these two sources of information, British Airways is able to make more targeted offers while responding to service lapses in ways to create a more positive experience for the flyer.
- CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT: Combines patrons’ gambling outcomes with their rewards program information to offer enticing perks to those who are losing at the tables.
- CATAPULT: uncover vitally important information like whether an athlete is developing an injury, or whether certain workouts are overly stressful. That helps teams keep their players safe and game-ready. Sales grew 64% last year and Catapult now works with nearly half of NFL teams, a third of NBA teams, and 30 major college programs.
- COMMONBOND: Is a student lending platform that connects students and graduates to alumni investors and accomplished professionals. As a result, students are able to access lower, fixed-rate financing—and save thousands of dollars on their repayments.
- DUETTO: makes it easier for companies to personalize data to individuals searching online for hotels. Prices by hotels can be personalized by taking data such as how much you typically spend at the bar or casino to incentivize you with a lower price for your room. The hotel can give you a better price, knowing you’ll spend money on other services.
- EBAY: “the Feed” is a new homepage that allows customers to follow entire categories of items no matter how obscure. This makes it easier for customers to stay on top of the latest items they have a particular interest, especially if they are collectors.
- GE: monitors the performance of its jet engines to flag maintenance needs (such as blade wear), thus reducing flight cancellations for customers.
- GOOGLE: Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, tracks when users are inputting search terms related to flu topics, to help predict which regions may experience outbreaks.
- HOMER: Handcrafted by top literacy experts, helps children learn to read. It has a complete phonics program, a library of beautifully illustrated stories, hundreds of science field trips, and exciting art and recording tools—combining the best early learning techniques into an engaging app that connects learning to read with learning to understand the world.
- LENDUP: a banking startup, evaluates whether to approve loan applicants according to how a user interacts with its site.
- NETFLIX: having drawn in millions of users with its high-quality original programming, is now using its trove of data and analytics about international viewing habits to create and buy programming that it knows will be embraced by large, ready-made audiences.
- NEXT BIG SOUND: Explains through analytics of online activity Wikipedia page views, Facebook Likes, You Tube Views and Twittter Mentions which bands are about to break, which late night shows really impact an artist’s trajectory, and many, many other quandaries that for decades had been the exclusive domain of mercurial executives
- NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Deploys customized software to monitor rail traffic and reduce congestion, enabling trains to operate at higher speeds. The company forecasts $200 million in savings by making trains run just 1 mph faster.
- PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES: Uses big data to solve security problems ranging from fraud to terrorism. Their systems were developed with funding from the CIA and are widely used by the US Government and their security agencies.
- QSTREAM: allows sales reps to engage in fun, scenario-based challenges—complete with leaderboards and scoring—and produces sophisticated, real-time analytics. With this information, companies gain important insights into their existing knowledge gaps and are given the tools to create dynamic sales forces.
- RENTHOP: Is an apartment search platform simplifies real estate decisions, allowing users to look at curated apartment listings from trustworthy sources and determine which apartments are worth investigating—then schedule appointments with reputable brokers and property managers.
- SEARS: has consolidated data relating to customers, products, sales and campaigns to reduce the time needed to launch major marketing campaigns from eight weeks to one.
- SUMALL: Is a tool that draws in more than 60 different streams of data, including Google Ads, Fitbit, and Zendesk. And the company keeps adding more.
- UNITED HEALTHCARE: analyzes text converted from call center conversations to determine customer satisfaction levels via language-processing software.
- UBER: Is cutting the number of cars on the roads of London by a third through UberPool that cater to users who are interested in lowering their carbon footprint and fuel costs. Uber’s business is built on big data, with user data on both drivers and passengers fed into algorithms to find suitable and cost-effective matches, and set fare rates.
- UPS: monitors speed, direction and other drive performance metrics to design better routes through telematics sensors in more than 46,000 vehicles.
- VIROOL: is a powerful video service, allowing clients to target desired audiences on its global network of more than 100 million viewers. With affordable campaigns starting as low as $10 per day, Virool gives anyone the ability to distribute YouTube video content through a series of online publishers and offers clients full transparency with accurate and detailed analytics.
These are businesses and brands that are both data-driven or dedicated to data. Are they good example of companies doing something with Big Data to you? Does your organization need help learning to work with data?