Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future

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Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future. Presented at Trine University for the Ketner School of Business by Kevin Mullett.

A look at how college business students can use social media and online reputation management to differentiate themselves and their businesses from others.

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  • Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future. // Presented by Kevin Mullett on February 23rd 2011 for the Ketner School of Business at Trine University.
  • Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future. // Presented by Kevin Mullett, 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
  • Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future. // Presented by Kevin Mullett, 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
  • I’ve been asked to come talk to you about social media, 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. 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, promoting knowledge experts, and keeping tabs on the competition.
  • It’s visibility and all about the benjamins: as with most forms of advertising you have to be where your ideal demographic can see you, which sometimes means you must be in front of competitors if necessary, but you must obey the rules or have your sign removed. If they see both signs, you need to tell a better story.photo by David Evers: http://flic.kr/p/5XwMZC
  • Winning requires knowledge: To win against your competitors in the search optimization game requires some knowledge, unless your competition isn’t trying. It’s easy to win if there is no competition. To win requires an understanding of the rules so you don’t get disqualified. You can be the best driver, but if you are stuck in the back of the pack you will not have a chance to show it. Optimization is part of the race regardless if you have the knowledge or not. Of course you need to decide early on how much winning is worth and what your budget is to go after it. And like most things if you don’t have a strategy, well, we all know how that goes.At this very race a competitor was disqualified for getting a bit too creative with the rules. This is analogous to black hat search optimization techniques.
  • Where will you spend your marketing resources in 2011. One of the questions those board members and business owners ask is where they should put their marketing budget! How do we spend it wisely?traditional advertising (off-line; radio, tv, print)social media (organic)social media (advertising, facebook, sponsored tweets, etc)paid searchall of the above
  • Who wins the intent to action war?: 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.
  • Does social media work? That depends on what our strategy has identified as a win.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 knowledge experts, and keeping tabs on the competition. opportunityvisibilitycontacttop of mindexpertise
  • Social media works best when…: Social media generally works best when you are a willing participant and treat it more like a lifestyle, instead of a task.are you willing?do you see value?add to your lifestyle
  • bing + facebook = social SERPs: Did you know that search engine Bing and social media powerhouse Facebook partnered together to integrate social “likes” into your Bing SERPs? Does your site have a Facebook Like button on articles? Do you have a Facebook page? All else being equal, who do you think people will click on if they see a friends “recommendation”?How might this change who we select on a SERP page?
  • So how will google stay relevant as social grows? How will this impact what you click on? You mean you wouldn’t be more likely to take the suggestion of a friend?
  • What sets you apart from other people in this room? From others who will vie for the same job? From your competitors who offer a similar product?
  • What sets you apart from others looking for the ideal job you want?Will you be another Alec Brownstien? In the summer of 2009 he paid, a whopping 15 cents per click, for the top spot for creative directors names. Mashable reported he receieved calls from all but one of the targets and the whole thing cost him $6!http://mashable.com/2010/05/13/job-google-ad-words/
  • Who’s in control of your online reputation and visibility? What will potential employers find?What do you think I could find right now? Stopping use isn’t the same as removing nor isdisabling an account.
  • Separating you & your business: 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.Simply “liking” a Google Buzz post can show your name or company name in the SERPs.
  • 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.
  • What about online reputation management? Caught being reactive instead of proactive! Not a good position to be in because it can take time to correct depending on when you catch it. Own your brand spots and push competitors off or down. setting up alerts is crucial to being aware of what is happening with your brand even if that brand is you.When they plagiarize your content will it take over your spot?
  • Jobs will change, your name won’t: you are likely to changejobs many times in your lifetime, however save for a few reasons, your name will not. Free services come and go so own a domain! $10/ year (do it)
  • Easy social media brand check: 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.
  • Here is an idea. Go where the bots are. 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. 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.Each unique URL on each service is a page that Google could choose to serve up in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
  • Measuring the right things matters. The trap many fall into is trying to hard for friends, fans, and followers due to pride or greed. They have mistaken followers as accurate measures of value. Since followers can easily be bought or faked, they cannot be accurately used for valuation. Instead we must build organic followers with intent to interact with us.
  • Looking at bogus social media analytics and measurement. We also must consider carefully how much weight we put on the types of people we engage with. These are great people to engage with, but they are likely to fill our pride tank before filling the coffers of our companies.
  • We need to look to other criteria to judge the success or failure of our efforts. Things like reach, engagement, attention capture, connectivity, interactions and more. We can use tools like Klout, TweetStats, Twitter Analyzer, Facebook Insights, TweetReach, and there are now ways to hook up Google Analytics to your Facebook fan page now as well. I could go on for a solid half hour or more on the various tools and methods for measurement. The point I want to drive home is to make sure we are measuring the right things.What are good metrics for social media success? To name just a few: influence, traffic, reputation and brand management, visibility, engagement, competitive intelligence garnered, and of course revenue. Let’s not forget revenue!
  • We need to know what winning looks like. This would be a great time to input keywords you have selected based on validation efforts earlier into a tool like Rank Checker, a Firefox add-on, to establish a baseline for both your site, and that of your competitors. It is FAR from perfect but you can watch trends!When checking rankings use: IE = “InPrivate Browsing”, Firefox =“start private browsing “ , Chrome =“incognito”, Opera = “new private tab”, to avoid personalized results.You will also want to express the need for everyone in the company to be committed to monitoring contacts, calls, and lead sources for clues on what is working so you can do it again.http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker
  • Don’t forget to keep it fun!
  • 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 1st on social media, social networking, and social marketing concepts.
  • Social Media and Your Circle of Influence, Past, Present, and Future. // Presented by Kevin Mullett, 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/kevinmulletthttp://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: info@cirrusabs.com or by phone: 1.877.817.4442.
  • http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/01/facebook-averaged-almost-8-new-registrations-per-second-in-2010/
  • http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/01/facebook-averaged-almost-8-new-registrations-per-second-in-2010/
  • Extra credit actions: http://usernamez.com/ free (?),http://claimid.com/free (?), http://knowem.com/ $$ (400), http://claim.io/welcome $ (300)
  • 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.
  • Is this working? do it again. A long time ago a client mentioned that they seen an abnormal spike in traffic in their analytics client. When asked what happen on that day, the client mentioned they had a story about them in the newspaper. Clearly the abnormal traffic was due to abnormal promotion. We want to look for successes so we can repeat them and failures so we can correct or avoid them. While it sounds geeky to discuss Google A/B or multivariate testing, this will not lead to conclusive results for clients with low traffic volume. It certainly may not provide enough measurable change to warrant the cost of creating those changes. This in no way means we should not constantly be testing for improvement. We can as an alternative look to 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 a spike in traffic.
  • Selecting the right keywords: We've taken clients to number one on Google based on kw they insisted had to be there, only to find out that a slight derivation would have yielded exponential traffic. It can be the difference between the terms you use in the industry and what clients actually ask for, or much worse developing an entire website for the wrong profit center or term. What we need is the right keywords, for the right demographics, that fit the budget and effort that will be used.It isn’t just about traffic though. We must be able to get high click through rates as well as conversions once they land on the page as well.adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  • I’ve nothing to write: If I have heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times; I’ve nothing to write about. We are back to the truism, if you don’t have the time or the expertise you will need to engage someone who does. This simply is too important to your online marketing efforts to avoid. There is no magic pill to make it all better. You need to have fresh content, significant site depth, and individual pages with keywords and keyword phrases, to draw both human and search engine bot traffic. There are many tools available to us to find good content. Start by familiarizing yourself with Google suggestions that drop down related words as you type into the search box (although if you have Google Instant turned on use that instead), and the Wonder wheel which is under the “show options” link at the top left of a Google SERP. We also encourage you to use RSS feeds and Google Alerts as additional ways to find good similar material you can write about. 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. Frequency of updates directly affects crawl rate and freshness of content is one factor for determining your rank on a SERP. Look, you and those in your employ are subject matter experts, it’s time to tell the world about it.
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