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May 9, 2013 in event, social media | Tags: alex fernandez, marketing, measurement, pushing the envelope, Social Fresh, social fresh east, social media, social media marketing, Southwest Florida, swfl, tiffany whitaker, tips, twitter, youtube | Leave a comment
By: Tiffany Whitaker
In April our Grand Poobah, Samantha Scott, APR, gave us (me and Alex Fernandez, our Internet Marketing Strategist) the incredible opportunity to attend the 2013 Social Fresh East conference in Tampa, Florida. The event included numerous guest speakers presenting a wide range companies. From JetBlue to ESPN to author and marketer, Chris Brogan, we were inundated with insights, thought provoking concepts and marketing advice from top strategists in the industry. Here of a few highlights from segments and that inspired me:
Don’t worry about content, worry about “Youtility”
In Jay Baer’s segment, Youtility: Why Smart Companies are Helping, not Selling, he talked about a kind of marketing that was so useful, people would pay for it. In a world where everyone is on social (your Mom, your sister, your grandparents, your best friend… and your favorite hang-out), companies are competing for attention. Mr. Baer, a best-selling author, asked, “Are you more interesting than my wife?” That’s the level your content needs to be at!
So, what is “Youtility”? In summary, it’s content that educates, informs, helps the customer… it answers the consumer’s questions. Did you know B2B customers contact a sales representative after more than 70% of the purchase decision is already made? He offered up a great example executed by Hilton Hotels and their activity on Twitter. A customer of Magnolia Hotel, a competitor, on Twitter asked where there were some good local restaurants in the area. Hilton Hotels responded with helpful suggestions. Do you think the chance of that customer checking for a room a Hilton Hotel will increase on their next visit? Most likely.
Remember, Youtility is not a project; it is a process that never ends.
If Content is King, Connection is Queen
Ted Rubin, a leading social media strategist, provided insight into content creation, building relationships, and connecting. In his segment, Content Creation is the Ultimate Fan Advocacy, Mr. Rubin pointed out a common question we (social media advocates) hear from potential clients all the time, “What is the ROI of social? He went on to explain that the answer is… actually another question.
What is the ROI of Trust? Loyalty? Social media is a means of building relationships with your customers and to do that we must provide emotionally connected content! So, how do you connect with people in a way that builds a relationship? Build trust. With interaction as a foundation, a company must be true to their word, authentic, genuine and consistent. He referenced Saks and how they hug their customers instead of just handing them a bag after a purchase. On social media, look to embrace your customers, hear them, and aim for ongoing engagement. “Relationships are the new currency… honor them, invest in them, start measuring your ROR.”
Remember, social is not the relationship itself and just “being on social” is not enough to build relationships.
Don’t be Data Rich and Insight Poor
The Campbell Company’s leader of social media and digital marketing, Adam Kmiec stresses, “Don’t measure data if you’re not going to do something with it!” And you should be doing something with it. Mr. Kmiec’s segment, Building an Insights Driven Social Organization, focused on insights, not data. We must turn data into insights and insights into action or it’s useless.
So, how do you accomplish this? He advises finding the right platform to measure (and we know there are so many that is a feat in itself) is the first step. Decide what you want from the model/platform (part of the planning process we’ve stressed so many times before). Then, choose the one that will get you the right data so that you are capable of gathering the insights you need. Leverage those insights by turning them into action. Simply, capitalize on strengths and improve where weak. Identify missed opportunities and take advantage of them moving forward.
Remember, having the numbers isn’t enough. That’s just the start. Use them to determine what’s working (and what isn’t) and then implement plans to enhance your efforts moving forward.
Hungry for more?
By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
The world turns to a combination of search and social media for information. Boom. Blog complete.
Okay, I’m not getting off the hook that easy! It’s actually a little more intricate than that. Generally speaking – what I said is 100% true, according to studies by GroupM and comScore in 2011. Online users use both search AND social to find information about businesses and make buying decisions. As such, we advocate a combination of SEO (search engine optimization) and social media strategies to reach targeted audiences online. It doesn’t stop here though.
There are a couple ways you can look at it:
(1) From a Social Media Marketer’s point of view
(2) From a Search Engine Marketer’s point of view
The Social Media Marketer:
“My awesome social media is SEO!”
Social media has always helped SEO, even if unintentionally. Social media is online content that is easily sharable, generating website traffic. Since Google and other major search engines place so much emphasis on relevant inbound links social media is a no-brainer. The concept in social media is to create lots of valuable content for your audience, and be rewarded through user engagement and loyalty long-term.
Let’s say you’re a health care organization, and you want to provide information on preventative health.
- You have your marketing communications firm work up some value-added information on preventative health care, in the form of a blog series, eBook, and YouTube video series.
- Each of those items will attract links from other online users posting about the topic of preventative health.
- Each of those items links to your company website.
- Then, you share all of these items on your social networking websites and online forums.
The result is an influx of links, all revolving around your brand name, and all in the context of “preventative health.” The happy accident is that you’re just a social media guy – and somehow you just SEO’d the company website for a targeted keyword. In this example, the social media content (developed merely as added-value for the social audience) became an SEO effort.
~ Now, from the other point of view ~
The Search Engine Marketer:
“I’m going to use Social Media to enhance my already- awesome SEO strategy!”
Search engines have recently been placing much more emphasis on social media. There have been many studies about the correlation between brand mentions on social media and search traffic driven to the company website. Google and Bing are even paying special attention to social engagement metrics in determining search engine ranking for social content. The more “+1’s,” “retweets,” and “likes” your content gets – the more likely it will rank in search.
Let’s illustrate with another scenario. You’re an SEO marketer for a local attraction company, and you discover in your analytics that a significant number of users found your website with the keyword phrase, “things to do in naples.”
- You decide to build out a new section on the website dedicated to the topic, which includes several suggested activities, linking out to cooperating businesses (that will hopefully link back in appreciation).
- To get the word out, you connect the company with all the cooperating businesses on social media.
- You consistently mention the other brands and use strategic hashtags on Twitter, gaining retweets and followers.
- You commit to a reputation management effort to engage with your past customers on user review websites.
- You mention the new page on travel forums and blogs.
The result is a rising search engine ranking of the page for the desired keyword phrase, as well as increased over all search engine visibility. This is because the target audience won’t just see the landing page you created in the search results page – they’ll also likely see your Twitter mentions, your user reviews on the reputation management sites, comments in the blogosphere with +1’s, etc. In this example, the SEO strategy was accented by social media, rather than being social-centric.
No matter which way you look at it – social media and SEO are so complimentary they should be a part of every healthy online presence. Your customers will certainly look to both before making a decision on whether or not to buy from you. These efforts might be handled by different people, departments, even different companies at times – however they work hand-in-hand – and all businesses need them.
If you’re interested in the best of both worlds (Social AND Search), then give us a call at (239) 221-2858 or email us at info (at) getpushing.com.
Until next time!
By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
Over the past few weeks, many of us have seen business timelines posting something to the effect of “adjust your interest lists because Facebook is pushing people to paying to promote posts.”
First, this is a completely false rumor, and we’ll explain why – but more importantly:
The visibility of your brand’s social media posts is up to you!
So, about these silly posts (that will make your brand look silly if you share):
“Add to Interest Lists” is not a ploy that Facebook has developed to gain more advertising dollars. It’s a feature that allows users to conveniently organize their connections into different interests. This was necessary in order to remain competitive to popular features of Twitter and Google+. This is a convenient feature for users, and it’s completely optional.
You can also check out Facebook’s official explanation of Interest Lists, here.
One thing that Facebook openly admits is that the news feed is discriminating. A minority of posts actually find their way into a users news feed, because every past user action is taken into consideration when news feed content is generated: Who the user “likes,” what posts they “like” or comment on, or anything they click on in general. Another thing worth mentioning is yes, you can advertise to increase visibility via promoted posts, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that approach.
SO! How can you appear in your audience’s news feed more often, without paying for ads? Many companies are beginning to offer a service called “News Feed Optimization.” What this boils down to is posting engaging content that encourages user action – something we’ve always promoted and adhered to. Here are few tips, without “giving away the farm” as they say .
- Engage your audience with your posts, by ASKING them for a reply or action.
- Like or Share
- Enter a caption for an image
- Social media is becoming more and more visual!
- Photos and videos get more engagement than text
- Consider incorporating Instagram and/or Pinterest in your social effort
- Time your posts to when your audience is online.
- “Dead times” or “slow times” for B2B audiences
- Nights and weekends for certain consumer audiences
- Publish simple posts that can easily be shared.
- Images, memes, and other visual content with mass appeal
- Use questions and surveys
- Leverage contests or sweepstakes that encourage viral sharing.
- Voting contests
- Contests offering additional incentive to share
At PTE – we do not offer a service called “News Feed Optimization”. That would be a disservice to you. We do everything we can to improve news feed visibility for all of our social media clients, all the time. That’s the way it should be.
I’ll end with a question: Are you doing all you can to get noticed in your audience’s news feed? Contact us if you have any questions about social media marketing at 239.221.2858 or Info(at)getpushing.com.
By: Susan Frantz
Online Communication Assistant
One of the hottest topics is today’s marketing world is how to effectively measure a business’ return on investment (ROI) with regard to social media. Most business owners/leadership want to be able to quantify the time and money being spent on activities like Facebook page posts, LinkedIn Group discussions and tweets. Or, also common, they question if there is any ROI to be had at all.
We’re here to tell you THERE IS! Here are 5 tips to help you start measuring ROI for social media.
Most marketers are at the very least familiar with this level of measurement. Audience can be measured through “likes”, mentions, retweets and shares. However there are ways to take this even further. Naturally, through an increase in audience size, you are gaining the ability to connect with and learn about your customers/clients. Once you know what they like and don’t like you can gear your posting towards this. The relationship you are establishing creates the ability for you to influence your audience to do something, whether that may be going to your event or visiting your website. Those actions are then measurable as well.
2. Lead Generation
This is the end goal; The real measurement that translates effectively to the bosses. It’s what you are convincing your users to do. A “lead” could be defined as anyone who visits your website or social media channel with interest in (buying or using) your products or services. They are by nature, prospective customers and most of them do their research online and use social media. If your company has a business Facebook page, they could be engaging with you already. You didn’t know? Be ahead of your competition and even your colleagues. It’s time to start measuring social media conversions just like we measure website conversions!
According to the MarketingSherpa “2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report,” only 54% of marketers monitor and measure the number of leads generated by social media, while 70% monitor website traffic from social media.
3. Increased Web Traffic and Conversions
With an increase in your audience and lead generation there should be an organic increase in your web traffic, which let’s be honest, is what everyone wants (in addition to sales). The more views, and clicks on your website the more awareness about your product, business, or event. And hopefully, the more sales or “contact us” form completions.
4. Increased Awareness and Increased Likelihood to Buy
Awareness, it’s a magic word for business, and we’ve already mentioned it a few times so I’m sure that you can tell it is one of our favorites. As you connect and create great content to be shared, you are creating an avenue to interact with your users. This does not mean that you have to be posting about things directly related to your product. It could be industry or geography based. Simply, there are three types of social media posts/engagement which can generate leads: entertaining, informative, or newsworthy.
“Social media plays an important role in raising peoples’ awareness of alternate options, with 28% [of shoppers] saying sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter help them learn about new brands and products” (Diana, A., Info Week).
As you continue to cultivate these relationships, your users will begin to think of your interactions and relate them to your business. Which leads us to our 5th tip.
5. Word of Mouth
Social media and the interactions you conduct on the various channels create a buzz. People will begin talking about your product, online and in person, the more they interact with your page. Happy users tend to become advocates for you/your company, bringing more users, followers, fans and eventually customers to your “web door.”
We hope these tips are helpful as you look to understand social media, how it be measured and why it’s an important part of the marketing mix. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at Pushing the Envelope at, 239.221.2858 or info(at)getpushing.com.
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner
I had the opportunity to attend the 74th Annual Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Conference this week – what an exciting time! Thanks to my local chapter, Southwest Florida, who provided a scholarship, I traveled to St. Augustine and found some real gems of information on public relations best practices. Below are just a few takeaways that I hope will you too!
It’s all About the Story
A repeating theme at conference this year was that PR is all about the story and storytelling. In the words of Mickey Nall, APR and PRSA fellow, Managing Director for Ogilvy PR, “we’re not talking about making up stories, it’s truth-telling.” Every company or brand has a story – where they came from, why they were created, how they’ve evolved and where they are going. It goes back to something we often remind clients – people connect with people, not brands. If you can share the story of your company and put it people terms, give your audience something to connect to, then they are more likely to engage and remain connected.
Measurement is Key!
This was music to my ears! We are all about measurement – in terms of our social media efforts, SEO work, and public relations. While most PR practitioners measure their efforts in some way, the discussion at conference was how to do it better and that there ARE ways to measure activities formerly thought of as unmeasurable – like social media.
One speaker, Patrick O’Donnell, Senior Project Manager at Ketchum Global Research & Analytics presented an info-packed talk on the basics of research and how that initial step plays a big role in the evaluation and measurement. I was surprised how few people in the room are using social media, but aren’t measuring it. Nonetheless, it was made clear that all things PR can be measured and there are better ways than the old-school AVE process.
I hope these gems of wisdom help you and look forward to seeing you at conference next year – in St. Petersburg, FL!
You can also read my guest FPRA blog post on Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA from Ogilvy + Mather on storytelling and Lou Heckler’s presentation on achieving peak performance. Want more? You can read a blog post on EVERY presentation via the main blog page. Plus, for a collection of images from the event, check out the FPRA Flickr account!
June 14, 2012 in Internet Marketing, marketing in the recommendation age, pushing the envelope, SEO | Tags: Internet Marketing, measurement, pushing the envelope, SEO, Southwest Florida, strategy, web development | 1 comment
With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I wanted to give my father a gift, in the form this blog entry. I’ve always wondered if he understands exactly what I do here at PTE, as an Internet Marketing Strategist.
While I’m sure he knows it has something to do with the Internet, websites, search engines and social media, I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to properly explain how all those things come together. This is ALSO a great opportunity for anyone else to learn about the fundamentals of internet marketing – as it has proven to be one of the fastest growing industries in recent years!
So, what IS Internet marketing?
Internet marketing, also referred to as web marketing, online marketing, E-marketing, the list goes on, is the practice of marketing products via the Internet. Typically, it also implies the use any email, mobile and/or wireless mediums. While my specialties are mainly search marketing and social media, the rapidly-evolving plethora of disciplines that fall under the umbrella of Internet marketing makes keeping up quite fun!
What it really comes down to is marketing strategy. I’m a strategist, Dad! I help companies find a target market that is in need of their product, and then develop a strategy for reaching that market and communicating with them effectively. The many disciplines of Internet marketing all come into play at different points in the AIDAS Buying Model. AIDAS stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction. These are the stages that the typical person goes through before they become a satisfied customer. In the graphic below, the orange triangle represents the decreasing number of potential customers that make it through each step. My job is to minimize those decreases, thus maximizing the effectiveness of an online business.
Here’s where it get’s fun – EACH step in the graphic below plays a special role in the AIDAS buying model – and EACH step requires its own special set of disciplines. For example, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and advertising are vital to the Traffic Generation step. Website usability and testing methods, as well as analytics and evaluation methods are vital to setting Conversion Goals. Every step requires a different set of skills. That’s why I work with an awesome team. Everyone at PTE helps with specific areas of the buying model.
So there you have it. I’m not a web designer; I’m not a programmer; I’m not a social media manager (although I used to be); nor am I a sailboat captain.
Those are all very specialized positions. I’m a strategist that helps businesses compete online. I help businesses get found, attract visitors to their websites, and maximize the performance of those websites, creating emphatic customers. I hope that best explains it, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!
By: Alex Fernandez, Social Media Strategist
Metrics are a huge component of website analytics. Choosing the right metrics to measure can mean all the difference between gaining insight and “analysis paralysis”. For example, you’re driving in your car, and your battery light comes on. You drive to the nearest service center to have it looked at. Your mechanic isn’t going to check every component of the car – They’re going to test your battery first, right? Web metrics are similar, in this sense: Your website is a vehicle – a communications vehicle. Your web analytics help you determine how to improve and optimize your website for your users.
Web analytics is defined by the Web Analytics Association (WAA) as, “the study of online experience, in order to improve it.” And the part of that definition that should be stressed is, “In order to improve it!”
Metrics are driven by goals, and goals are driven by the type of website you have. Here are a couple of simple examples that demonstrate how different metrics would be used depending on the goals of the website:
- You have an E-Commerce website.
- Your goal is to increase online sales revenue via your website.
- A appropriate metric would be the average transaction value, or average order size.
- You have a Lead Generation website.
- Your goal is to increase the number of new-business leads via your website.
- An appropriate metric would be the number of opt-ins or number of content downloads.
Now, the metrics in the above examples are actually more than JUST metrics. They are helping us to determine if we are accomplishing our goals – making them Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google and author of the book, Web Analytics 2.0, describes KPIs as “The best kind of metrics.” In his blog, Occam’s Razor, he proclaims enthusiastically, “They are our BFFs!”
Key Performance Indicators are great, because they make metrics meaningful, by assigning those metrics to real goals! Let’s look at a more specific example. Let’s say that you have a basic WordPress blog set up with Google Analytics, and the purpose of your blog is to provide information on the coffee from around the world.
- Your website is an Informational website.
- Your goal is to become an authoritative source about all-things-coffee. You want to publish interesting content that people find useful.
- A few Key Performance Indicators that would measure how much your users are “soaking up” your content would be:
- Number of user comments
- Number of shared posts
- Number of page views per visit.
- After one month you measure your Key Performance Indicators:
- You determine that your posts about coffee from exotic locations around the world receive the most comments and shares.
- Your users are typically viewing only one page per visit.
Now, the “In order to improve it!” part:
- You develop an action plan, based on your findings, to improve next months results:
- You will publish more about the content your users value.
- You will link more to related entries within your content, and add a “Related Posts” section that appears at the end of each entry.
- Re-evaluate your goals and Re-measure.
This is obviously a very simplified example, but hopefully it helps demonstrate that web metrics aren’t about statistics, pie charts, percentages – metrics are supposed to be meaningful. They are tools to help you determine if you are realizing your goals, so make sure you’re looking at the right ones!
If you have any questions or comments, please drop us a line below. If you think this post was cool, please Tweet this. If you want to take your website analytics to the next level, with Pushing the Envelope, email me Alex(at)getpushing.com.
Surprisingly to some, you don’t need some fancy system or to spend a lot of money to track your efforts online. You can do it on your own by carefully tracking what you’re doing and where and what the results or responses were/are.
We recently published a guest article on Twitip on the topic – “Measuring Social Media Effectiveness & Engagement – On Your Own!”. It gives you some tips for the DIY version. Enjoy.
TIP: If you’re trying to convince your boss or management of social media’s value, this could help you state your case!