Building Social Communities: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Cirrus ABS on December 8th 2010 for the Apartment Association of Fort Wayne – NE Indiana (AAFW-NEI).
Building Social Communities: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Director of Product Development for Cirrus ABS. You can find Kevin: http://www.kevinmullett.com (blog), http://twitter.com/kmullett (twitter), http://www.facebook.com/kevinmullett (facebook), and on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmullett
// what kind of community?:
You are here to find out about building a social community, but let’s start by actually talking about what I call the “social three”. Why? Because people use these terms interchangeably, when they are not in fact interchangeable. If you think about it we could just remove the “social” moniker off all of these and we would have good old fashion traditional media, networking, and marketing methods. Today we will discuss various aspects of the social sphere and social media optimization. Now the information I present today, much like search engine optimization information, will have a limited shelf life. A scant 6 years ago Facebook was created in a dorm room and now has more users than the population of the United States. On Sunday Dec 5th, they changed profile pages, again. A year ago many of you had no idea what Twitter was, now it has gone mainstream and is in countless TV commercials. I could waste the entirety of this seminar just talking about the rise and fall of various social services, percentage of market share, types of people who use each, etc. Instead I am going to breeze by some of those items at a high level, so I can spend more time giving you social marketing tips that will help your business.
First up we have social media which represents the tools we use for building followers, friendships, & contacts. Tools like twitter, facebook, linkedin, youtube, friendfeed, Buzz, foursquare, ning, to name only a fraction of the available services. Each have strengths and weaknesses and each need to be evaluated so we can put our time into the ones that will reap the largest ROI. I have both online and offline media tools represented because they are all just visibility tools.
Social networking is the day to day interaction we have with contacts built using the various social media tools/services, in other words the “social” part. It is no different then when you attend a party, that you might otherwise pass on, in order to touch base with clients or potential clients. Now some might also toss in social networks, but let’s not make things confusing. Each tool has the potential to reach a percentage of your ideal market segment, group, individuals, or demographic.
Social marketing is the subtle, or not so subtle, use of one or more online tool to promote your business to the network you have established. Again no different than reminding those people you meet at parties, “hey I build killer websites, you should have me do one for you”. Over simplified? Maybe, but the real reason we’re here is to learn how to put this all into motion. What we really want to do is use social media as a means of; winning new business, enhancing customer service, providing offers and notifications, press releases and general promotion, manage our brand and reputation, awareness of our industry, and keeping tabs on the competition.
Ok now that you know what the Social Three are, how do we apply it? Which social services should we use. Do we really have to participate in social media at all? If you have not been already, this will be the year you are inundated with people telling you to get into social media, and I will be among those asking you to take a look at it, but I want to explain some factors to consider before deciding where to put your money and efforts in 2011. I also want to show you a bit about how social media is affecting SEO and as importantly how it is not. We are also going to discuss social media optimization (SMO). As we have heard from many clients, the chief concern is how do you get a return for the time invested.As I have been prone to repeat , this has been the year of talking to your audience in their preferred medium, that is to say those they pay attention to, not the ones you wish to participate in. In a down economy we are not afforded the opportunity to be steadfast in our ideals.
What we really want to know is how to use social media as a means of; winning new business, enhancing customer service, providing offers and notifications, press releases and general promotion, manage our brand and reputation, awareness of our industry, promoting our offerings, and keeping tabs on the competition.
One of the common objections to participating in social networks for business use is privacy and mixing business with pleasure. In reality our information has been publically available for decades, albeit in a different format. It used to be on almost every street corner dangling at the ready for any stranger who took the time to peruse it.We used to do business with people we knew. They knew our kids, what we drove, our views, and sometimes when we where on vacation. A percentage of the market desires a move back to relationships with who we do business with.
Often businesses fall into the trap of believing that larger numbers are always better. We want to have more friends, more followers, and more traffic to our website. In reality we want to focus the majority of our efforts on those we are in cycle, actively looking, and most importantly listening.Image public-photo.net
If the goal is to maximize occupancy, then right now, you need to be going where the traffic is or more pointently, where you can be visible. And while being visible is great, if efforts are put into areas where there is no intent for action, ROI will be low. Just who or what do we want to be visible too? The obvious answer is people who would like to use our product or service. The not so obvious answer is where search bots frequent.
Optimization, Management, and Efficiencies // action 1: It is time to take some action. As I promised you are going to leave with things you can directly do. This presentation is filled with items you can go do, today, that can have a positive impact on your business. Let’s develop a unified elevator pitch for social profiles. Be specific about what you really do, who you really are as an organization. Each of the various social services will have a different length for the bio or information area. This means you need to first come up with a long and short version and tweak it for each individual service. Try to be consistent however as it should be the right message every time. It is also good to have a unified logo or picture you use across the various social services so friends from other services will know it is you. Now that of course is a very general statement and will not fit in all situations. Generally speaking you want to use photos for personal profiles and logos for businesses.
Optimization, Management, and Efficiencies // action 2: Use a service like namechk.com to go grab your brands social id’s. I think it is wise for both branding reasons, and for online marketing presence to grab them. If you have an intern, this would be a great task to set them out on. Which ones are important? Which ones don’t you want a competitor or squatter to have? While the backlink value for many is not high, the fact that search engines are constantly crawling these networks is worth noting. This is especially important while the crawl rate on your website is low. Posting links to some of these networks, like ning.com or mybloglog.com where the search engines already spend a significant amount of time, can lead to pages being indexed in under an hour and subsequently lead to radical improvement in new pages being indexed on your site.
Optimization, Management, and Efficiencies // action 3: Let’s take a look at our social community readiness. Are we making it easy for people to participate and find how they can be part of the community?
Facebook has a dizzying amount of different ways your community can be shown. We need to make sure we have control over these different versions and are utilizing them.
Optimization, Management, and Efficiencies // action 4: Claim what is yours. Make sure you monitor your brand on Facebook and claim those pages that are yours.
This is where people normally suffer paralysis by analysis. I can hear the questions forming in your heads right now. How can we make this work for our organization? Won’t this take a huge chunk out of our day? The answer is not unlike any large project. We need to make plans, prioritize our goals, delegate responsibility to those who can do the job, optimize our efforts by using the right tools, and get organized. Although it can be very different for specific markets, by and large, we see internet activity run a normal cycle. People slowly ramp up in the morning, are very active during the lunch hour, then wind down till after supper. We can minimize our time commitment by first prioritizing when we post and interact. We can further maximize our time by using tools like tweetdeck or post once services to spread the news one time and have it appear on many services. Thought should be given to the message going out and the target service. This is at the root of social media activity and participation optimization.
One of the most common things I hear from companies for both their websites and their social efforts is that they have nothing to say, and no one would care anyway. We can get past that by remembering some simple suggestions. Be friendly and upbeat. Avoid issues that are hot buttons. Be helpful and listen first. Don’t be a comedian but be light hearted and engaging. We also encourage you to use RSS feeds and Google Alerts as additional ways to find good material you can comment on. It should go without saying, don’t copy other peoples articles. Instead, pull a snippet and summarize what that article means to your clients or business and include a link to the original article.
Optimization, Management, and Efficiencies // action 5: A sure fire way to lose followers or Facebook friends is to stuff your timeline with keywords or spammy words. Go ahead and include keywords, but do not treat them as a focus. First and foremost you want to sound like you are presenting information or participating in a conversation. Do use keywords and industry terms though so followers looking for information on the subject can find you, and so the search engines can include your posts in the real time search results.Are you a source of information they desire, need, can’t get elsewhere or a bullhorn in their ear? post what everyone else does or original material?events, emergencies, time sensitive, courtesy (repaving, updating, painting, closures, needs), mostly about them not you!
The Difficult Truth, it's not about money it is about time, unless you don't have time, then you need to spend money. If you don't have the time, or someone on staff who does, you will need someone you can call to explain it. Someone who will weed out fad from fact. Even if you engage us to help, we need you to show interest and participate in your marketing success. Let’s look at this like a good, better, and best scenario. This seminar was constructed so you would leave today with actionable items. Many of the day to day actions are best handled internally and can be done cost effectively. The tips I mention today can provide measurable impact on your marketing efforts. Knowing what your competition is doing allows you to extend efforts to the areas of highest return. And if all this seems too daunting, then it is time to call in reinforcements. 1.877.817.4442 // email@example.com // http://www.cirrusabs.com
Success can mean different things to different types of businesses and communities. We want to monitor where leads are coming from. Do they result from a happier community? We also want to monitor if there is a higher satisfaction for issue resolution. What is the current customer satisfaction ranking.We can also look to see if social participation is increasing traffic to our website and landing page effectiveness, conversion funnels, bounce rates, time on site, and many other types of clues in order to fine tune ROI. We can also use the new Google Analytics annotation feature so you can look back and recall what caused traffic spikes.
Now lets have a discussion and spend some time on practical application, efficiencies, and measurement.
We at Cirrus ABS appreciate you taking the time to learn how to improve your internet marketing efforts. Please let us know how we can help you and if you liked this seminar please remember to sign up for our next event which will be on march 30th on NetCentered Marketing.
Building Social Communities: Presented by Kevin Mullett for Cirrus ABS on December 8th 2010 for the Apartment Association of Fort Wayne – NE Indiana (AAFW-NEI). http://www.cirrusabs.com, http://www.twitter.com/cirrusabs, http://www.facebook.com/cirrusabs, http://www.youtube.com/user/cirrusabs, http://www.linkedin.com/compaines/cirrus-abs, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 1.877.817.4442.
It would seem obvious, but many businesses simply don’t take advantage of the exposure they could have. We get busy just like you, and occasionally miss some opportunities. The key is to develop a structure that supports getting the word out to minimize those lost opportunities. Here we see two pictures added to my personal flickr photo sharing account. The first was uploaded on Feb 28th 2010, while second one has been there since May 6th 2009. How did the first one, which is arguably no more intriguing, earn so much traffic in one day? Because I told someone. Adding that picture to one social site, Stumbleupon, made people aware. It created a backlink to my picture and people followed that link.
// bonas actions: Since we have mentioned it several times so far, and since most of the social services or social clients have a bit.ly tie in, I would suggest signing up for an account. This way you will have another way of checking traffic sources and volume. I know of well over 30 other url shortening service that are available to be used, and in fact a growing trend is for companies to create their own urlshorteners, but for our purposes bit.ly should do the trick.
// bonus actions: Set up your Google Profile, tie in your various websites, social services, and create anchor text links in the about me section. You will also want to go through the process of verifying your name, which needs to be done through Google Knol. After you have your profile filled out and your name verified we optionally want to associate your Google profile with Google Buzz. Be aware though that as of right now, if you choose to cancel buzz it will close your Google Profile. Directly tying Twitter to Buzz is frowned upon because of the way Google pulls in tweets.While Google Buzz is still extremely new, it started life with a huge boost since it tied directly into to Gmail. Something that not everyone was crazy about. Either way it is already approaching the size of twitter in far less time. As with all the social services it really boils down to where you ideal client is spending time and what other perks come along for the ride.
// bonus actions: Now lets shoot for some social visibility. This concepts takes content you post via your website, twitter, facebook, linkedin, delicious and posts it on other services where others are spending time and where the search engines are crawling. Each unique URL on each service is a page that Google could choose to serve up in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
// bonus actions: Last but certainly not least lets go sign up for groups on the ning network and through our personal linkedin accounts. As you can see in this example we were able to promote our Fort Wayne Social Media Seminar on one of the groups we belong to on ning. This page was crawled within hours by google and ranked on page one for many terms within one day.
There are many tools we can use to automatically post for us on a schedule like hootsuite, or based on individual blog postings via twitterfeed and RSS feeds. These types of services must be weighed against potentially coming across as unauthentic. We can also use tools like selective tweets to post to both twitter and facebook while on the go or going the other way, facebook to twitter with “facebook to twitter” app.
// bonus actions: Now use dandyid.org to store your social id’s in one spot. Not only does it have the most popular social media services but it also has a facebook application so you can display your social accounts on your facebook profile. You can even use the provided code to embed it on a website.
Building Social Communities from Physical Ones
Building Social Communities Around Physical Ones // Kevin Mullett cirrusabs.com twitter.com/cirrusabs facebook.com/cirrusabs youtube.com/user/cirrusabs linkedin.com/companies/cirrus-abs
Building Social Communities Around Physical Ones // Kevin Mullett kevinmullett.com twitter.com/kmullett facebook.com/kevinmullett linkedin.com/in/kevinmullett just google “kevin mullett” director of product development
// what kind of community? com·mu·ni·ty -noun, plural – ties. 1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. 2. a locality inhabited by such a group. 3. ecology . an assemblage of interacting populations occupying given area. dictionary.com
// the “social three” • social media take the social out of it and it is good old fashion media • social networking business and personal networking, just online • social marketing marketing by any other name would spend as sweet
// visibility via preferred media • preferred media not singular media • specialty and niche social services • the year of talking to your audience where they are
// how does it help? how can social media impact your business? • visibility / brand awareness / top of mind • customer feedback (in real-time) • traffic/backlinks (to pages or our site) • to encourage page or site indexing • likability factor (or not) – “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends” – Jeffrey Gitomer • promoting offerings
// but…my privacy! • formerly found on street corners • were you unlisted? • who did we do business with 30 years ago?
// who’s listening? no media channel has 100% attention some won’t be listening, that’s ok. you don’t need 100% participation!
// where’s the intent? • tv • dm (direct mail) • radio • newspaper • print (brochures/ads) • email marketing • social • SEO • search marketing • tradeshows • sponsorships (nascar etc.) • yellow pages (not shown)
// action 1 • develop your elevator pitch • optimize your “what we do” paragraph then adapt it to fit in various profile areas. (160 characters in twitter for example) • photos for personal accounts, logos for businesses (generally speaking. in some instances you want to use photos)
// action 2 grab your brand • mass id check with namechk.com
// action 3 social readiness make it easy to participate
// what’s yours? many different types of pages within facebook. some can be merged, but should you?
// action 4 Claim What’s Yours • authorized agent of your business • not a quick process
// social activity optimization optimize your efforts • schedule activity during peak times • use tools to consolidate accounts
// i’ve nothing to say & no one cares we hear it all the time. i don’t have anything to say & no one would care anyway. how do i attract followers / fans. • friendly & upbeat • avoid sensitive issues • be helpful • listen first • engaging & funny
// action 5 posting tips • use keywords & keyword phrases sparingly • keywords should be relevant to subject • use an editorial calendar • avoid spammy words • appear conversational • avoid hyperbole • look informative • ask questions
// good, better, best approach • good = know where your competition is, start there, start small, but start • better = watch alerts & filters, hashtags jump in when you can offer help • best = be an active & responsive participant with custom posts be willing to pay professionals for assistance & advice.
// did it work? do it again • monitor contacts, calls, lead sources (referrals) • monitor issue rate, customer satisfaction • check google analytics or server logs for: bounce rates, time on site, pages visited, conversion pages, confirmation pages
// now what? now lets have a discussion and spend some time on practical application, efficiencies, and measurement.
Well Help You Master Internet Marketing These days it’s more important than ever for you to reach new prospects, satisfy customers, find new efficiencies, and grow your business. The Webs the way to do it. We can help. Call 1.877.817.4442
Building Social Communities Around Physical Ones // Kevin Mullett cirrusabs.com twitter.com/cirrusabs facebook.com/cirrusabs youtube.com/user/cirrusabs linkedin.com/companies/cirrus-abs