June 09, 2013 by
90% of the data in the history of the world has been created in the last 2 years (source: IBM).
It’s given rise to an industry, Big Data, and a significant portion of it comes from social media chatter.
Does it make sense for brands to listen to social media data? What kind of insights are revealed? Does it result in better decision making?
Here are 8 case studies that show the predictive power of social media listening.
- CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS: In the 2010 California governor’s race between candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, a study from Activate Direct social listening proved the ratio of positive to negative social sentiment to be very much in line with the ratio of favorable to unfavorable ratings shown by traditional polling and on-going focus group. But social media listening identified potential crises earlier, faster and for less research money.
- DELL: Uses social media chatter for cross-departmental team collaboration. Over 90,000 employee quickly and easily collaborate and listen in 11 languages in places like the company’s Listening Command Center. What has they found> In the US, Twitter chatter has a positive impact on their reputation and gained positive coverage in Mashable and Fast Company; in Germany, social media chatter among employees helps monitor the success of internal conferences; in China, blogposts have a direct effect on coverage with Sina, RenRen, microblogs and forums.
- HEDGE FUND MANAGERS: “Analyzing social media conversations can provide insights, ‘like X-Ray vision’, about a company’s performance in between their quarterly financial reports.” That’s the point of view of the McAlister Study and how hedge fund managers now listen to social media chatter when their research showed a direct positive correlation between sales and chatter; a 5% rise of positive chatter led to a 5% rise in sales.
- MORTON’S: You may have heard about social media consultant, Peter Shankman, who had the good luck when tweeting a shout out about how a Morton’s steak would be just the right ending to his flight arriving in Newark. The consultant with 150,000+ Twitter followers was greeted at the airport by a man in a tuxedo sent by Morton’s to deliver a complete steak dinner. Social media listening enabled Morton’s to pick out advocate from the crowd and create influence at a low cost. It probably didn’t hurt Shankman’s influencer rating and visibility either.
- NIELSEN: The gold standard for assessing the performance of TV programming, has started collecting social media chatter for TV rating. The Nielsen company said that one in three people using Twitter in June of 2012 sent messages at some point about the content of television shows, an increase of 27% from only five months earlier. Nielsen also estimated that 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners used their devices while watching television.
- QUENTIN TARANTINO: His violent Nazi revenge fantasy Inglorious Basterds pulled in more than $37 million domestically in its opening weekend. A good portion is thanks in part to Twitter. After a $14 million opening on Friday, the film picked up steam over the weekend as the positive tweets kept rolling in. Research service, Trendrr, showed the number of tweets about the movie climbed steady through most of Saturday before tapering off early Sunday correlating directly with movie receipts.
- TOYOTA: At the beginning of 2012, the company faced very negative press due to revelation of recalls and announcing them late to the public. Toyota launched a large “transparency” and “apology” campaign using social media outreach. The company had four official Facebook pages, which saw a 10% fan base growth between late January and early March. USA president and chief operating officer, Jim Lentz, also participated in regular Twitter Chats. Toyota experienced a 41% increase in March 2010 sales, compared to March of last year. The company can’t prove a link between social media outreach and the sales boost, especially considering the unprecedented sales incentives and discounted leasing deals and mainstream media appearances by executives on such outlets as NBC, ABC, and NPR. But it certainly didn’t hurt Toyota to be transparent through social media and was a very smart part of a successful integrated campaign.
- UNISYS: A 100+ year old company, Unisys understandably has had some obstacles to overcome when adapting social media to their corporate culture. With several top executives leading by example, departments began to openly share communication using internal social media applications. But success stories within the company show huge innovative payoffs aided tremendously by the open sharing of information available through well-constructed social media platforms and corporate adaptations.
To be transparent, not all brands are benefiting from social media listening. Coca-Cola reports it has yet to see any sales lift from social media buzz, even though the brand has 61,000,000+ fans on Facebook but the company continues to listen.
In the music industry, Tom Silverman reports: “My new take is online media is the propagation channel through which attention waves travel. Bieber and Kutcher have huge attention waves so they travel far and fast. Speed of propagation is greater on YouTube than any other social platform due to the sticky video content. Media is not necessarily neutral. Great images and videos drive engagement faster than words for example. But we keep learning from real life stories. His New Music Seminar is this week in NYC.
Do his case studies prove the predictive power of social media listening? Do you need help finding insights in the chatter for your brand?
June 02, 2013 by
80% of visitors find a website through a query to a search engine. 80% of those clicks are on natural or organic listings.
If you want your website to be found on the internet, an effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) program is a requirement. SEO is a precise marketing science; one that takes a strategy, diligent effort and generally 2 to 6 months to get to a top rank.
The results are substantial and lasting. Good SEO professionals, for online businesses, are one of their most valuable assets.
But we all should be able to learn. Here are the best 12 Free SEO tools everyone should know and the ways in which they help your business:
- ROI: Even if you get to a top rank, it doesn’t do much good if you don’t establish the action you want people to take once they get there. Google Analytics is an essential guide. It’s the GPS system for a website. Before you begin your SEO program, you should benchmark key measures like Unique Visitors, Bounce Rate, Keywords, Content, Traffic Sources and, if you sell online, Sales, Conversion, and Average Order Value.
- KEYWORDS: The currency of an SEO program is keywords. Everyone should allocate time for research and discovery. The best tool to spot opportunities is Google Trends. It’s the Library of Congress for keywords because it’s Google entire catalogue. Once you identified keywords, the best tools for substantiating them is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Look at monthly searches, competitiveness and CPC (Cost Per Click). It’s good to know what others pay for a word that you achieve a natural listing. The Trellian Keyword Discovery Tool is also excellent.
- LINKS: The two factors that drive search rank are relevance and authority. Keywords establish relevance but links establish authority. Because spammers took advantage of this area through inauthentic backlinks, the search engines, particularly Google, are cracking down on links that aren’t trusted. Google has updated their algorithm through updates called Panda and Penguin to reward authentic content and links and penalize Black Hat tactics. The best tools for identifying links and identifying trusted links are Majestic SEO, and Alexa.
- INDEXED: With the right keywords and links, your business starts to appear or is “indexed” on more search engine pages. You’ll want to report and track progress with a tool like Marketing Grader from HubSpot.
- TECHNICAL ISSUES: When links lead to pages that don’t exist or a website url doesn’t redirect properly, it can create a major setback in SEO progress. That’s why there is Google Webmaster Tools. They bring these issues to your attention immediately and should be installed on every website.
- SERP (SEARCH ENGINE RANK PAGES): To report and track progress as search rank improves, you’ll need a good tool to check your search rank. SEO Book is a great SEO resource and their SEO Rank Checker, with the Firefox Extension, is the tool to install.
- SITE SPEED: The speed in which your site loads influences SEO rank. Most people are not willing to wait long for what they are searching for. Pingdom and YSlow are two tools that tell you how long it takes for your site to load; how that compares to other sites and what is influencing site speed or slowness.
- GENERAL SITE AUDIT: If you want a good diagnosis of see progress in the steps you are taking above as well as steps you could be taking in the areas of blogging, social media outreach, tagging images and mobile search optimization, Marketing Grader is a helpful guide for evaluation and setting up a course of action.
SEO can get technical but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Everyone can learn because great tools are very accessible.
There are very possibly others that should be include so please let us know. If you would like to learn more about SEO, let us know too. You may also find it helpful to know about key SEO measurements.
Do you think these are tools for SEO everyone should know?
May 27, 2013 by
Nowhere do the words, Fan Engagement, have greater relevance than in the music business and social media.
The music industry, the first media business to be consumed by the digital revolution, has experienced profound change. But in 2012, for the first time since 1999, sales increased. They went up 0.3%, to $16.5 billion, a far cry from its $38 billion peak in 1999 (source: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).
Although it may not be time to party like it’s 1999, the music business is growing again. Social media is helping the transformation. That’s why from June 9th through 11th, you’ll find me at the NMS New York New Music Festival. It’s dedicated to help artists and players break through in this difficult market by providing the knowledge and connections they need to succeed.
The New Music Seminar (NMS) began in 1980 and ran through 1994. In its 16-year run, the first series of seminars annually attracted more than 8,000 participants from 35 countries. In 2009 NMS was revived because the music business was in crisis after a decade of dropping album sales. Label executives, agents, promoters and artists needed find ways to break away from the traditional album-based business model.
The #1 goal in the music business today is monetization. That’s why social media plays a prominent role. Here are 10 case studies that prove Social Media ROI in the music business.
- JUSTIN BIEBER: Owes much of his fame to social media. One example is when he created a huge PR buzz in a seemingly innocent way from a rumor he spread that the music video, ‘Baby,’ was to be deleted from YouTube because it had 1.5 million dislikes, and millions of Follower tweets poured in to protest. Today, “Baby” on YouTube has 836,039,006 views.
- BONNAROO AND CMA FESTIVAL: Are two big festivals that occurs every year in Tennessee. A local SEO, SEM and Social Media Monitoring software company, Raven, captured the social attention the festivals were getting with Infographics (one is shown at the bottom of this post). The Infographics were featured in the Tennessean’s Business Section and USA Today. From the publicity, the agency secured new business from a regional tourism entity, an international record label and and an international entertainment television network.
- MATTHEW EBEL: A Boston-based singer generated 26.3% of his income from 40 hard core fans. Matthew used social media to drive his super fans to a susbscription based website. He sold packages ranging from $5/month to $15/month, as well as annual options. He offered a wide range of perks are including members-only parties, VIP seating at shows, access to new music as soon as he creates it, new live concert recordings every month, broken apart tracks ready for remixing, behind-the-scene sketches and drafts.
- KING ISSA: A rising hip-hop turned to a unique, first-of-its-kind mobile app: an iPhone application that delivered a musician’s mixtape with exclusive in-app content. In one week, the app received 50,000 download and live tracking and analytics data from over 35 countries that were used to secure iTune sales and depth of Fan Engagement for repeat purchase.
- LADY ANTEBELLUM: Integrated exclusive social sales offers, such as their “Own The Night” flash sale, where the band offered fans an exclusive bundle offer for a zip-up hoodie and an autographed photo. By combining the exclusive offer with social commerce apps that enabled fans to click through and complete their purchases within the Facebook Newsfeed, the deal sold out in an hour, with 85% of sales going to new customers. Another flash sale in Facebook Newsfeed that same night sold out in just 10 minutes, proving the value of social media as an effective sales tool when used intelligently.
- LIVE NATION AND SMASHING PUMPKINS: The Smashing Pumpkins took over Live Nation’s Twitter Feed for 7 hours. In that time, they answered 200 questions and had 570 engagements with Fans and Followers. The real time engagement generated 12,280,000 impression generated in that time.
- NEXT BIG SOUND: An analytics and insight company that tracks billion of social signals to help record labels, artists and brand managers make better decisions did an analysis on the key factors impacting digital sales of iTunes. In order, they were: 1) Radio Spins, 2) YouTube Views, 3) Facebook Fans and 4) Twitter Followers.
- AMANDA PALMER: On a boring Friday night, Amanda managed to make in $11,000 in just two hours. It all started with her tweeting about how she was alone, again, on a Friday night sitting in front of her computer. Others started chiming in and began claiming how “we are all losers.” Dialog continued and grew at a rapid pace. A faux organization was started called, “The Losers of Friday Night on their Computers.” Amanda created the hashtag #LOFNOTC and thousands joined the conversation. A follower suggested the group create a t-shirt. Amanda quickly decided to run with it. She took a sharpie and made a t-shirt design. A website was thrown up that night with the t-shirts available for $25 a piece. 2 hours later… $11,000.
- ROXY: The legendary Sunset Strip music venue uses social media to measure Fan Engagement. They use TweetReach to measure the number of people their tweets reach, as well as the number and quality of retweets. They also like Klout, which helps them compare their efforts to similar businesses. TweetReach demonstrates to a talent agent that they could reach a larger potential audience through Twitter so they should stop advertising in certain local publications. Print advertising is expensive, but Twitter promotion is a free.
- “SOCIAL STRIP”: is the name and social umbrella that lives over the Sunset Strip for all the entertainment venue (e.g. Comedy Store, Roxy, Viper Room. It’s part marketing, part information and part online community. One of their events is the the Sunset Strip TweetCrawl. The TweetCrawl is a bar and restaurant crawl using Twitter to promote specials and other prizes and encourage participants to patronize multiple business on the Strip. The first TweetCrawl was in July 2009. It has been an annual event ever since.
These case studies show how important listening, analytics, monitoring and partnerships are in the music business. They also show how many different types of music or music-related businesses can benefit.
Do these case studies prove Social Media ROI in the music business for you? Will you be going the the New Music Festival in NYC this June? Will you give me a shout if you’re there? Here is the Bonnaroo Infographic.
May 19, 2013 by
With colleges out and students looking to make their mark or start a career this summer, here comes a rite of passage: Putting interns to work doing social media marketing for your business.
After all, who knows more about social media and spends more time on social networks? What business doesn’t want people to “Like” them on Facebook? Why wouldn’t it be a great idea?
It rarely is. As both an owner of a digital marketing agency and MBA faculty at Rutgers CMD who teaches digital and social media marketing, I hear it from both sides. Interns, who generously give of their skills and time, don’t get much from the experience. People who hire them then say they tried social media for their brand but not much happened.
Do businesses get what they pay (or don’t pay for)? Here are 12 lessons learned when interns do your social media marketing.
- HAVE WITH A BUSINESS STRATEGY: Having interns do your social media is not a business strategy. Giving them a focus on the desired business results is a much better place to start.
- TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE ON THE INTERNET TAKES TIME: The internet is one of the most effective and profitable places to build an audience but it doesn’t happen overnight. Thinking the work of interns in a few months can change the course of your business is probably not going to happen.
- KNOW WHO TO ATTRACT: Social networks are great for building relationships that couldn’t have happened through normal channels like email and the phone. Having followers on Twitter or a robust Pinboard on Pinterest doesn’t matter if your audience is on LinkedIn. Relationships that lead to sales can’t be created until your customer is clearly defined.
- IDENTIFY ADVOCATES: There are many case studies of businesses where social media played a pivotal role due to advocates who made strong, authentic recommendations. Louis Pasteur said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” The odds of advocates influencing your business are much greater if you spend time looking for who they are.
- CREATE A “VOICE” FOR YOUR BRAND: Social media marketing is different from traditional marketing. It’s a conversation, not a monologue. Intern shouldn’t be expected to know the dialogue you want to make happen. You need to tell them.
- HAVE PLENTY OF RELEVANT CONTENT: After your product or service, relevant content is your most valuable asset. Interns can’t make this up, you have to provide it at the outset with the establishment of key topics. Then, they can help you develop a content calendar.
- MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS A DESIRABLE PLACE TO VISIT: People like to business with people they know. If your social media efforts starts to show progress, your audience will want to get to know your better. Don’t disappoint them with a website that doesn’t live up to the quality of your social media content and conversations.
- INTEGRATE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH OTHER MARKETING INITIATIVES: Social media works, but it works much better when it’s integrated with all the other marketing efforts and each are supporting one another.
- HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY: Every business should be guided by standards and values. If a real social media example helps, GM has a blog called Fast Lane. It’s written by their senior executives. Their social media policy is one companies big and small can learn from and we can all learn from GM.
- CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: It’s more important to learn than to be right. If you’re wondering what a “Like” has to do with sales create an actionable scorecard of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that you can look at regularly, provides insights and helps you take action.
- EMPHASIZE WHAT’S WORKING AND PULL BACK ON WHAT”S NOT: Some initiatives will work better than others so spend time interns have generously given you pursuing what’s producing results and de-emphasize what’s not.
- VIEW TIME AS YOUR MOST VALUABLE, NOT YOUR MOST EXPENDABLE, COMMODITY: Many businesses start their journey with interns viewing their time as something that, for a limited duration, is expendable. There is a different way to think about it. That is, given what interns can do with the right direction, the time they’ve given you is invaluable because it’s capable of producing extraordinary results.
Are you having interns do your social media marketing this summer? Do these lessons help teach you how you should be putting them to work?
May 12, 2013 by
- 80% of people find a website by typing keywords into the query box of a search engine
- 42% click on the website in the #1 organic search position
- 90% click on a website on the 1st page (Source: SEO Book)
These facts show, for any company doing business on the internet, search engine optimization (SEO) is a requirement.
But search engines don’t buy, don’t download and don’t fill out requests for more information. People do. That’s why, although search rank is important, a top rank is only as good as the content on the website at getting visitors to take the action you want.
How do you accomplish both? Here are 12 tips on how to write for your audience and search engines.
- DO KEYWORD RESEARCH: Keywords are the currency of the internet. They establish relevance to both your audience and the search engines. So look for the words consumers use to express their unmet need; how many express it and how often. Two tools that are a valuable guide in this discovery are Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
- CREATE SITE ARCHITECTURE: When search engines crawl your site, they are trying to give your audience the best match for the words that express their unmet need. So give both your audience and the search engines something to work with and make it easy on them. Organize your keywords and content to create a more complete picture.
- DIFFERENTIATE BY BEING SPECIFIC: The people who are most ready to take action are most likely going to be more specifics about what they need and less willing to wade through a lot of information. So help them on their journey with content that includes “long-tail” phrases, not just “short tail” keywords. If you were in the market for a digital camera and ready to buy, wouldn’t you be looking for the brand and model, not just the category?
- IDENTIFY AUTHORITIES: “It”s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This truth applies to life and doing business on the internet. That’s why hyperlinks (the blue text that goes to other websites) play a pivotal role. They connect you with authorities on your topic. If the search engines determine, through links, you are connected to authorities, they raise your rank. There are many link tracking services. Options range from free to subscription services. A few to consider are: Alexa, ClixTrack and Linktrack and Linktrackr and options from free to subscription.
- WRITE HYPERLINKS INTO SITE CONTENT: The search engine are cracking down on websites that load backlinks into the back end of their websites but they are rewarding websites that do it, authentically, by featuring relevant links in content like suggested above. Also, consider social network pages as links and build your “social authority.” This is increasing greatly in importance.
- USE INTERNAL LINKS THROUGHOUT YOUR SITE: Hyperlinks are also good for connecting pages within your site. This give both your audience and the search engine the opportunity to spend more time with your business and get to know you better. And that’s always a good thing.
- CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS: Make sure everything is working as it should. A website analytics tool, like Google Analytics is your GPS system. Google offers Google Webmaster Tools for spotting any critical issues.
- TITLE YOUR KEYWORDS IN THE URL, TITLES AND HEADERS: The reason for being for each page is a key consideration for you, for your audience and the search engines. Put your keywords in url’s, and titles. Here is where you need to include them.
- WRITE MORE THAN 200 WORDS ON EVERY PAGE: Your audience and the search engines want to get to know you. Although there are a number of opinions, at least 200 words per page is a good rule of thumb.
- WRITE FOR 3 TYPES OF VISITORS: Regardless of the website, there will always be 3 types of visitors. “Researchers,” who expect to be educated and want lots of information. Reviews and testimonials are important. “Shoppers” look for comparisons. They want to know the facts, but they want the Cliff Notes version. “Buyers” are ready to take action but they want the specifics, as clearly called out as possible. All are important. They also are not mutually exclusive either. One can move from one stage to another.
- KEYWORDS: Now that you have your plan in place, track your progress is raising your rank every month. A good tool to track your progress is SEO Book Rank Checker (Firefox Extension).
- INDEXING: The more search pages your are on, the better so know how many search pages you are “indexed” and work to increase the number. Marketing Grader from HubSpot lets you see how your doing.
To write for your audience is as important, if not more, as writing for the search engines. Do these 12 tips help teach you how to do it?