Archive for the 'internet marketing' Category

Sensitive marketing. 11 simple questions for marketers

pain

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, but…

  1. Do marketers have any idea of of the level of pain and frustration and fear that envelopes the people that they are currently marketing to?
  2. How are they or you addressing it?
  3. What are they or you doing to change yours or their tactics? You cannot market the same way you did in the good times.
  4. Are you even asking the hard questions?
  5. Are you meeting your clients and prospects halfway?
  6. Is what you are marketing and selling, solving problems in any economy?
  7. Are they problems that are different now because of the current state of the economy? YES.
  8. So how are you adapting?
  9. Are you changing the way you market to them?
  10. Are you touting social media and social media marketing? You have a case. But
  11. How well are you wrapping that case and your argument around today’s problems?

Marketing in a poor economy is no doubt what we are faced with right now which means that you have to be sensitive not only to the challenges that you are going to face, but also of the people that you are talking to on a daily basis. Some might say that the timing is right for social media marketing to be the panacea for what is ailing a lot of companies right now, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime what might be needed is a brand of sensitive marketing.

You Think About It.

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The art of search reputation management

I was asked recently by a company interested in my skill sets about search reputation management and I essentially said it is all about listening. Knowing how to listen and knowing where to listen and knowing what tools to use to listen are all critical. The reason is, there are so many places where your company, brand, or name can be discussed, but trying to be everywhere at once is a challenge, so it’s important that you use as many monitoring sources as possible to keep as on top of it as is humanly possible.

 

But more importantly, it’s also imperative to consolidate or use as many aggregators as possible. Here are some of the ones I use to listen and why I think they are important in just the listening aspect. Once I get past the listening, then I will show you the tools I use to specifically manage and drive down a negative online reputation. Your methods might be different and I understand that, but these are just mine.

 

Google Alerts and Google News and Google BlogSearch- I absolutely love these because of the simplistic nature and the ability to tie it into igoogle/reader/email alerts.

 

Another monitoring tool I have been using a lot of lately has been Filtrbox.  The results are not where I would like them to be on a consistent basis, but that might just mean I need to tweak and adjust them some.

 

I’ve also used Trackur, it’s a pretty robust tool that can track any news mention of a particular term but… it also searches over everything from images, blogs, news sites, and videos. Great filters.

 

Some others I’ve used are Blogpulse to track conversations but not as extensively, as well, I’ve obviously used Delicious to see who’s book marking our sites and Keotag for a down and dirty quick look to see who is tagging certain key words.

 

Don’t discount the usage of tracking your reputation on forums and BBS sites. I met these guys Twing, at the Web 2.0 expo up in New York and they have a sweet product. Prior to meeting them, I had been using Boardtracker, which I still use from time to time.

 

With the 10 tools/Sites I have mentioned you can have a pretty good handle on monitoring the online reputation of your company or business. If you desire more, then you can set up RSS feeds from other sources to pipe in the information that you desire. Speaking of Pipes, I’ve been playing around with Yahoo Pipes as of late but haven’t really formulated an opinion on it yet. Finally I’d be remiss if I did not mention Radian6, another monitoring type of company, but more on a social media level. I have done a few twebinars with them in which they hosted the event.

 

 My thoughts on this are simple: Identify the point or source of pain and then you can begin to treat it.

 

By Listening, we can now determine the amount of management that will be needed to drive down the noise. In some cases the noise may be contained quickly and effectively with a few choice blog posts or articles or comments. But in some cases, it requires a larger and more concerted effort.

 

Now To manage and drive down a bad reputation, there are certain things that are a must and if you have not done these things yet, then you are way behind the eight-ball so to speak. First and Foremost, I would like to see/audit your current website. Is the message working? Is the content serving the right purpose? Is there any content that’s worth it’s weight? Sure most will admit that having a website is sufficient, but a website that doesn’t work for you, for SEO, or for your customers is useless. Even more-so, if it’s with reputation management in mind. So lets see what we can do right off the bat that may improve your company’s web presence just by improving a website that might be hurting. In some instances, just optimizing a few more pages either better, or for the first time may be enough to at least drive negative press off the first page of the SERP’s.

 

However, another way to continue to push down a negative reputation is to create a blog-site. A free one, no less. It doesn’t have to be a robust, busy, “chock-full of stuff” type of site. Just a site that has the right key-words, tags and page elements will do. And who knows, if you allow it, maybe it will become another viable channel of doing business for you? This effort is completely measurable as well because of the analytics associated with some of the Free services like Typepad and WordPress. Again blog sites are very search engine friendly. Speaking of analytics, you better have something in place, I’ll assume you do.

 

Once the blog-site is done you have a couple more website options. You can create some micro sites devoted to your company, product, or keywords and or you can create sub domains. Either way, the more pages you can get out there that have more to do about what is right with your company than what is wrong, the better off you will be.

 

The great thing about all of these suggestions is that they are completely measurable, can happen very quickly, and you can adapt or change your tactics on the fly. The proof is there for the client to see.

 

Taking a cue from what social media has to offer, I would highly recommend creating a social media presence via LinkedIn, Ning and Facebook, Flickr or YouTube or a Podcast. Doing none of them is not a good thing. Of the group, obviously if we’re talking corporate presence I would go with Facebook first followed by Ning and Linkedin. Since LinkedIn is more of a personal networking, branding type of social site, I would rank it a tad bit lower.  With Facebook, you can create a group devoted to your company. With YouTube, Flickr, or a Podcast, you can create audio visual elements of photos, videos or audio, tagged with key words and company references which will all be search engine friendly and also increasing the company reputation.

 

I’d also suggest creating a wiki devoted to your company as well. You could even created a wiki-how on something that your company might do. Search engines love wiki results.

 

One thing that seems to work rather well, actually 2, are creating or writing articles that you can submit about a topic that can be linked backed to you and your company. This is huge in pushing down negative elements. The other is PR Press releases. There are at least 20 Free PR sites out there in which you can create a PR release that can become SE friendly quicker than you can say Widget.

 

Speaking of widgets. If I wanted a viral reaction to my company, my product or my service, I would look into the creation of a widget that can be shared and virally spread to users. SpringWidgets allows you to create a Free widget which you could then drop on all of your social networking sites in which you have a presence. I know it might not be relevant to everyone, but when it comes to managing a bad reputation, I have to look at this challenge almost from a Guerilla marketing standpoint. Everything is fair game, in other words.

 

One last option would be to create a Google page devoted to your company through Google sites. Google sites is a way to create CMS type of web pages that the public can actually see and that are searched on. Anything that originates through, Google, has to be Google friendly, right?

 

In conclusion, managing and monitoring your reputation online are 2 very separate but equal acts that are uniquely joined at the hip. To ignore one for the other or vice versa is not highly recommended.

10 social media ideas you can blog about

In my efforts to provide readers and writers with the tools they need to write better content, here is a topical list of subjects that you could probably write a pretty decent blog post on. If you do, give me some props and some link love. Or better yet, we could discuss them as we go, we can just start with #1 and we can collaborate and work our way down the list together. Your choice.

  1. What is Your Personal Social Media Strategy? Whether you are an agency, corporation, or an individual you need to have a plan.
  2. SEO depends on social media. As much as some purists might not want to admit it, seo and social media are joined at the hip.
  3. Should bloggers be held to journalistic standards? Bloggers can say and write some pretty outlandish things and get away with it, should they? Should they be held to the same standards as traditional journalists?
  4. Communications Decency Act and Social Networks-Are we doing enough to police what is written and produced and generated on social networks?
  5. Transactional conversations-is there now a value that can be placed on every conversation that takes place via social media?
  6. Social Media is a time suck-how much time do you devote to social media per day and per week?
  7. Whats more important? User experience or Technology? What drives the user? Is it the platform or the the experience?
  8. The criteria for judging social media platforms? What is yours? what do you base your usage on? What should they all be judged on?
  9. Social networking failures, you can’t force the action.-Not all social media/social networks succeed.
  10. How to choose the right social network? Should they be more vertical, will they eventually be?

OK, so there’s your topics, pick one, any one and go to it! Soothe your inner writers block demons and be sure you let us all read it too!

What can social media do for reputation management?

 

Alot has been written about online reputation management of late, and recently I was asked by a company to explain to them what I had done in regards to reputation management. So I’ve decided to recount what I did and what were the results.

 

About 18 months ago Emerson Directs’ web presence was no more than a brochure-ware site with no more than 3 pages of cursory content with zero traffic and zero web presence. all of its business was by word of mouth and referral. The only web presence was of SERP’s of information on an FTC settlement and consumer affairs reports on some bad customer service that occurred over 6 years ago.

 

Realizing that this had to have and was having a negative impact on the company and its ability to go out and get new business, I decided to do a few things. In short order, 1) I decided to create a new website, 2) a Social Media Optimization strategy wrapped around creating a number of social media pages devoted to the company-specifically the company name, 3) a blog site devoted to pushing out a more positive and leader like image for the company, 4) a robust social networking campaign 5) a Twitter persona in which I knew and hoped that people would go from the tweet to the blog site or to the website based on the quality of the tweet and lastly 6) be more visible and authentic with current and potential clients.

 

By creating the blog, it was another way of creating more content as well as another web site devoted to the Emerson Direct brand. As of today, The blog averages more than 10,000 visits per month, connects with clients, potential clients, and the casual reader, and has received numerous accolades. All of which were not my goal going on. They include ranking in the Adage power 150 The Power 150 is a ranking of the top 900 English-language media and marketing blogs in the world. The site is also ranked #23 of the Junta 42 which ranks the top 42 content marketing blogs. It’s also ranked oddly enough in the UK for top marketing blogs. It’s also part of the Big List of SEO blogs compiled by Lee Odden of Top Rank Blog. The indirect result of all of this, is people go from the blog to the website. The indirect direct result has been the creation of my personal brand as well, which has been cool and also very humbling since that was never my goal.

 

The residual effect of this effort has been tremendous in 1) driving traffic to a new site we built as well as 2) creating more opportunity for the company as well as 3) driving down the negative websites and 4) managing our website and companies’ online reputation in a more positive and proactive fashion and 5) I’ve become the de facto spokesperson for the reputation management campaign that Emerson Direct  undertook, as well as a champion for all things social media related and 6) Their phone has been ringing and 7) I’ve made some great new friends and contacts and 8. I’ve learned a ton and  9) respect so many others in the space now.

 

In regards to other forms of social media, I’d also created company related personas at nearly all of the top social networking sites, and even some of the lesser ones. I would venture that the total number was close to or had been 50. Some of those sites included YouTube, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Disqus, Propeller, Friendfeed and Twitter. All good viable ways of sharing content and changing a bruised reputation. Delicious is a prime example of my social media book marking efforts, in which I have over 600 bookmarks. That might not seem like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things it is.

 

I’ve toned all of this down now, as I’ve been able to dial it back, tweak it, and develop a happy medium with a consistent social media presence in the places where it’s most effective. Plus the time suck was killing me.

One note:  I also created a number of filters in Google Alerts, Summize  and Backtype that keep and kept me abreast of anything that was said or written about me, the brand, the company, or any of the products that they were marketing, which I highly recommend.

 

 

 

 

The culmination of these social media and reputation management efforts has been, to put it mildly, extraordinary. Not a day goes by where they do not see some type of positive ripple effect both professionally and or for me personally from these efforts. 

The interesting thing about this whole exercise has been, and some people might not realize this, the tremendous amount of effort and work required to maintain and do all of this. The payoff though has been well worth it. I also think it’s important to note, that you cannot afford not to be doing some variation of the above. What do you think? What more could I have done? Did I miss anything?

 

 

My Twinfluence

Came across this post about Twinfluence from Beth Kanter via Social Media Today. What is your Twinfluence? Mine make sense to a certain degree, but check it out.

 

Quit talking about Social Media and Go Make Some Money!

Ok so by now we all know the hows and whats of social media and social media marketing. At least, we better.  Hell, I’ve written a books worth of articles myself on the subject. And lately we’re all writing about how to use social media in a down economy. Or whether social media can survive the meltdown. Or how to use social media to deal with the crappy economy. It seems everyone has their take on what to do. Scoble says we should listen

 The Buzz Bin says keep a cool head and keep morale up. We can even go to extremes and ask Will the Recession Spell the End of Web 2.0? or we can go to the opposite end of the spectrum and be forthright and ask whether you would tell your employees and customers how bad it is?  Don’t get me wrong, those all are great and relevant posts, but we gotta move on.  So let’s take this to the next level.

Seriously, you do not have to look far to read another article about how one can use social media to improve their marketing, or how bad it is out there. Between the two, We get it. It’s in our face all day every day. But now, it’s time to get serious.

Scenario one:  I’m a big company and I don’t have time to be pitched and I don’t have time for social media marketing initiatives to ramp up, but I’m willing to try them. What can your social media marketing campaign, Mr. Agency/Marketer/In house CMO do for me right now? What can we roll out that will show immediate results?

Scenario two: I’m a marketer/agency. I now do not have the luxury of educating you Mr. Big Company on what social media is and how it can benefit your company- I now have to show you direct ROI with a timeline that is reasonable and cost effective. What’s your plan? And do you trust me? Because my ass is now on the line.

So wutcha gonna do? Do you have a plan? Playtime is over.

Even our “friends” over at Forrester have said, “quit dippin the toes and invest only in programs that can deliver on measurable metrics.”

So what are the programs? Do you even know? You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Page views and traffic aint gonna pay the bills. Talk to me. Do you have a plan? Which of these below can make you or your client money?

5 huge tech trends that you can’t ignore.

That’s it. Just 5. But why just 5? Because these 5 are rockin’ our world now and will continue to do so for the next 10 years. Do you remember the Gartner Hype Cycle? I blogged about it awhile back in regards to certain things we can be excited about over the next 5 years. Take a look at it real quick.

Ok Now look at this next slide real quick:

 

Ok, one more and I will let you off the hook.

 

 

So the hype cycle pretty much lets you know where certain “things” are in their growth development. It’s a great point of reference and doesn’t take a long time to figure out. Samw with the next slide, what does it tell you? It tells you that music is important to us. Always has, always will be. Here’s a quick 1 question quiz: What does the MySpace business model revolve around? Music and social networking. Ok So there’s 2 trends that will not be dipping anytime soon. Awhile back I wrote a blog post about the top 44 music related social networks and to this day it still pulls traffic. I recently tweeted a question as to what brick and mortar industry has completely dried up but thrived online-answer: music

Trend #1 Music will continue to thrive online and you cannot ignore it.

According to Comscore  In August 2008, Americans conducted 11.7 billion core searches, virtually unchanged from July, as Google Sites extended its lead in core search market share by 1.1 percentage points.

Search is, the gateway to everything that we do online. You may see some play in regards to trying to refine search into more of a niche based environment, but the bottom line is search will alway be the mainstay of any internet based activity.

Google Sites led the U.S. core search market in July with 63 percent of the searches conducted, up from 61.9 percent in July, followed by Yahoo! Sites (19.6 percent), Microsoft Sites (8.3 percent), Ask Network (4.8 percent), and AOL LLC (4.3 percent).

Americans conducted 11.7 billion searches at the core search engines, nearly identical to the number of core searches conducted in July. Google Sites handled 7.4 billion core searches (up 2 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 2.3 billion and Microsoft Sites with 977 million.

In the comScore August 2008 analysis of the top properties where search activity is observed, Google Sites led with 10.2 billion searches, a 2-percent increase versus July.  That’s billion! Yahoo! Sites ranked second with 2.4 billion searches, followed by Microsoft Sites with 1 billion and AOL LLC with 839 million.

Trend #2 Search ain’t going nowhere.

According to Hitwise, MySpace.com received 67.54 percent of the market share of U.S. visits in August 2008 among a custom category of 56 of the leading social networking websites.  The market share of U.S. visits to the social networking site decreased 2 percent in August 2008 to 6.40 percent of all U.S. visits compared to July 2008. Visits to the category decreased 17 percent year-over-year. But check out the chart below:

What do those numbers mean to you? It means that MySpace had 66 million visits in one month and Facebook had 28 million. The fact of the matter is that social media and social networks are interwoven into the daily fabric of our lives. I know, it’s not like it’s earth shattering, it’s just not a fad anymore. It’s legit. It will continue to evolve and the potential will always be there for someone to do something different and exciting and unique with the social media application. Could that be you? I hope so.

Trend #3 Social networks will continue to evolve and grow larger and gain in importance.

A recently released UN study indicates that by the end of 2008 mobile phone use worldwide will reach 50% of the earth’s population for the first time in history. Although the percentage of mobile phones in North America, Western Europe and most of Asia is much higher than 50%, in developing countries, a mobile phone is still considered a luxury.

Mobile phone ownership rates have been rising significantly, almost at an exponential rate. Countries like  India, Brazil, and China are seeing crazy growth in the number of people owning a cell phone. In fact, China had an estimated one billion cell phone subscribers in 2007. At the current rate of growth, there will be over 3.3 billion cell phone subscribers worldwide by the end of 2008.

So there’s no escaping the fact that cell phones are now-another essential part of our daily lives. Grab the keys, grab the wallet, the purse, the backpack and the cell phone. Ok so we get that. But now, pay attention.

According to a recent online survey conducted by ABI Research, nearly half (46%) of those who use social networks have also visited a social network through a mobile phone. Of these, nearly 70% have visited MySpace and another 67% had visited Facebook. No other social networking site reached 15% adoption mobile adoption.

So what are these consumers doing when they access their mobile social network? They’re checking for comments and messages from their friends, with both of these features registering above 50% for mobile social network users. Posting status updates also has proven popular, with over 45% of mobile social users letting others what they are up to via their phone.
What we are seeing is a melding of 2 functions into one via the hub of the cell phone. Or is it the hub of the social network?  There’s no doubt that a social network is increasingly becoming a central hub for communication across online and mobile domains for a lot of people. Because it’s  allowing them to consolidate activities or processes. From text, to email, to chat, to phone calls, to exchanging of data, uploading images and downloading songs. The phone and the social net. allow thesee things to occur almost seamlessly. As a trend, the centralization of a consumer’s cell phone activities combined with their increased social network usage is only going to make adoption of mobile social networking more inevitable as we move forward.
Trend #4 The growth of the mobile social network will be steady and exponential.

Here is trend 4a for you as well:   comScore M:Metrics reports that in June 2008, 20.8  million U.S. mobile subscribers and 4.5 million European mobile phone subscribers  accessed search during the month, an increase of 68 and 38 percent from June 2007, respectively.  The U.K. had the highest penetration of mobile subscribers using search at 9.5 percent, followed closely by the U.S. at 9.2 percent.  That’s right, Mobile Search.

Ok last one-And it’s a no-brainer. Check out the slide below. It’s from December 2007, but the message is loud and clear.

Google Sites  ranked as the top U.S. video property in December with 3.3 billion videos viewed (32.6  percent share of videos), gaining 1.3 share points versus the previous month. YouTube.com accounted for more than 97 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 358 million (3.5 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 340 million (3.4 percent) and Viacom Digital with 238 million (2.3 percent).

In total, nearly 141 million Americans viewed online video in December. Google Sites also captured the largest online video audience with 79 million unique viewers, followed by Fox Interactive Media with 43.9 million and Yahoo! Sites with 38.2 million. So if you don’t already know it online video consumption is growing at a sick-ass rate.

Trend #5 Online video consumption will evolve into an acceptable replacement for a TV.

In conclusion, here’s the most interesting aspect of them all. The hub for all of the above trends can and will be centered on one thing, Your cell phone.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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