Uncovering Social Media & SEO Opportunities to Maximize Your Firm's Digital Reach


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Presented in conjunction with Brian Swanson, Becky and Brian share tips on how firm's can leverage social media and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies in its marketing strategy. Are you sure you’re getting the most from your analytics, new social platforms, and SEO to help increase lead generation, the firm’s bottom line, and branding potential? This slide deck was developed to help you:
• Discover additional inbound marketing opportunities for your firm using Google+;
• Take a deeper dive into social analytics, e.g., dark social, to help determine how clients share content; and
• Understand how Author Rank influences search engine rankings and inbound marketing.

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  • Becky Livingston is the President of Penheel Marketing, a marketing firm specializing in social and digital marketing for small businesses and CPA Firms. She is also a member of the AAM Growth Strategies editorial team, and was a contributing author and the co-editor of the spring 2013 edition. Speaker, author, and trainer, Becky has more than 20 years of marketing and communication experience in the engineering, technology, and financial services industries. She can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, or Pinterest or at Becky@Penheel.com. Brian Swanson is the partner of search engine optimization at Flashpoint Marketing, a consulting firm for CPAs and accountants seeking accounting lead generation solutions. He is also a member of the Digital Media Marketing Committee for AAM. Brian has also been instrumental in developing several successful mobile marketing programs for top 100 CPA firms across the United States. He can be reached at bswanson@flashpointmarketing.biz.
  • Social media and search engine optimization (SEO) should be a part of every firm’s marketing strategy today. But, are you sure you’re getting the most from your analytics, new social platforms, and SEO to help increase lead generation, the firm’s bottom line, and branding potential? We will present this session in three parts: Discovering additional inbound marketing opportunities for your firm using Google+; Taking a deeper dive into social analytics, e.g., dark social, to help determine how clients share content; and Understanding how Author Rank influences search engine rankings and inbound marketing.
  • Google Plus being a ghost town is just plain wrong. As you can see from these stats, it’s quickly picking up steam and adds new users every day. If your firm relies on Google as a major source of online traffic, it should have a Google Plus business page. In addition to being a connection to the largest search engine in the world, having a page also tells Google that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. Once you hit a “meaningful” number of followers – usually 100 for some conditions and 1,000 for others – the page will be “verified” by Google, which means your page will receive a tick mark of approval from Google as being a legitimate company/brand/identity. As of May 2013 from Expanded Ramblings, the following Google + stats were shared.
  • Sharing content on this platform may seem like a no-brainer at this point. So, why not make it easier for your contributors, authors, and development team? If your firm’s website is built on WordPress, consider the Google+Blog WordPress plugin. There is a free and a paid version. Give the free one a try first. Google+Blog for WordPress is a plugin that allows you to import your Google+ Public posts (and their comments) as blog posts into your WordPress setup. HootSuite allows for Google+ to be one of the social platforms you can monitor using is SMM platform. Include the Google +1 button in your social share, making it a prominent button for people to easily post content there so they don’t have to search for it. Call to Action (CTA) buttons allow for you to post content with a call to action button assigned to it. Just think, if your firm offers webinars, conferences, whitepaper downloads, etc. you can use a G+ “interactive” CTA button to help drive engagement. For example, you can share a blog post about an event announcement and link off-site to eventbrite.com so people can sign up! You can even deep link to a specific location within a mobile app. Examples of calls-to-action: ADD_TO_CART ADD_TO_CALENDAR BOOKMARK COMPARE DOWNLOAD PIN_IT COMMENT or DISCUSS REGISTER or RSVP or SIGN_UP Just think how your firm can use this: Events/Webinars Scholarship announcements Interviews with thought-leaders in an industry or profession (with a buy or download call to action) Get a Quote (with an ASK call-to-action) Donate for a cause Circle-centric marketing is like target marketing or segment marketing that allows you to send messages/posts/photos, etc. to certain circles or people.
  • Once you have a Google Plus profile created, consider these powerful posting tips to keep content current, and to continue growing your network and presence on Google. Ritualistic posts allow you to work a content calendar into your G+ strategy. For example, maybe you have “Tax Tip Tuesdays” for “Viral Video Fridays” to share content. Consider “Did you know” tips about financial planning, etc. Exclusive content is content that is shared only via the G+ platform. In many cases, people use G+ as another mouthpiece to their social strategy without putting too much effort into what actually goes on there. For example, my firm has standard messaging that is posted everyday, but we also toss in a couple items just for G+ during a week or month. We also post on “off” days, such as a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday just to keep things fresh. You just came out with some awesome content, and want to share it with the world right. Well, share it first with your circles then with the “public” the next day to help make them feel special. This works great with limited-seating events and ensures you get the people you want first. Circle Count is a free tool that gives you information on your page, as well as competitors pages, such as postings, day of the week, hour of the day that posts get the most traction.
  • There are a lot of ways to use Google+ for pushing and pulling content with others. Of course, there are Google+ Pages, which helps with sharing content and commenting on others’ content. However, there are so many uses within this platform to help extend your reach. Think for example that one of your largest clients is in the automotive industry. Join communities related to the automotive industry to follow what people are talking about. Take that information and create content that applies to that niche, such as whitepapers, blog postings, email tips, information about how accounting helps to support that industry, conferences, webinars, events, etc. that you may be involved in.
  • Here are some examples of firms using Google+ to their advantage. Notice the firm in the Ukraine is kicking butt with their followers with over 2,000. Each firm shares postings, but you can see how the engagement of Units is much higher, and they use video shares on their page. Note on the ABA page, they have tagged the “services” they perform, which helps in Google search results.
  • Not many people have heard of the “dark side” of social media analytics; however, I can assure you it’s real and that’s why many people don’t know about it. The phase was coined in 2011, by Alexis Madrigal who noticed that half of the traffic coming to his company’s articles was a direct link to the URL. Considering people would not type a more than 50-character URL, this was unlikely. People we coming in from somewhere, but just where was the was question. So, he decided to dig a little deeper. He surmised that the traffic was coming from IM (Facebook, Google, IM, or others) or email and felt the analytics tools he was using was not getting to the heart of where the traffic was coming from. He then grouped all that into an category of “dark social”. Let’s take a look at some of the analytics and how you can tag content for better analytics tracking. But there's an important distinction: All " dark social" traffic is direct traffic , but not all direct traffic is dark social. In fact the question here is how much of direct traffic really is dark social. Direct traffic, it turns out, is a slippery category: while you might think it's simply traffic from bookmarks and people punching out URLs manually, it's actually any traffic to a page that doesn't tell you where it comes from.
  • These lead and sales-oriented metrics help you calculate the ROI of your social media strategy which is always an important part of any marketing plan.
  • In 2011, a PEW Research Study shared these stats about how content was being shared among a variety of age groups within the U.S. As you can see, the three major generational ages represented were sharing content quite heavily, up to 74% of the time. However, how they shared it was very interesting. What I take away from this slide is the “how,” which impacts the marketing strategy to consider when looking at your firm’s target markets and demographics. Now according to dark social methodology, the posted links and emails with direct links will be the hardest to track, unless something like a UTM codes is leverage for each type of post. More on that later.
  • When I speak with marketers about the metrics they are tracking, many of them are tracking so many things it makes my head spin. Here are some metrics that the top inbound marketing firms in the country offered: Referral Traffic: according to HubSpot, most marketers are spending more than 6 hours a week on social media marketing, trying to grow their audience and attract visitors. As a result, one of the key metrics is how many visits, leads, and customers each individual social channel is generating.  This may be tracked using a third-party tool or something like Google Analytics. ROI Data: Is social media generating leads and customers for us? To achieve it, you have to be able to plug your marketing analytics into a contact database or CRM. Doing so allows you to connect marketing activity directly to sales activity and achieve a full-funnel view of your efforts. It also helps you keep the right ratio of inbound and outbound methods. Opportunity Response Rates: Is our sales team finding and responding to opportunities in social media? In a recent survey of 511 predominantly B2B sales reps and executives, A Sales Guy Consulting found that  72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their colleagues who were not using social media . As you're getting started, run an experiment. Set up social searches on keywords and, if possible, create targeted streams of your current leads. Then start tracking: How many interactions are you having with prospects and leads in social media? How many mentions of your company are you responding to? How many closed deals have involved social media interactions? Reach and Virality: Has social media helped us grow our reach?
  • Should you be worried about the impact of dark or direct social on your digital marketing strategy? That depends. If you use “direct traffic” as a measurement; you’ll need to rethink your assumptions. Many marketers think that when direct traffic goes up, people are actually typing in the URL; maybe the saw it on a tv commercial, billboard, print ad, or radio. How do you remedy this? With custom filters in Google Analytics to separate true direct traffic from dark/direct social traffic. Short, memorable URLs are probably true direct social, whereas longer URLs are not. There are ways to create URLs that can be tracked through analytics so you can see first-touch points from social media. This metrics helps you to identify what social platforms are working best for your firm when it comes to content sharing.
  • Another way to track content for a specific social media platform or sharing mechanism is with UTM links. Using UTM tags on specific social media efforts that you’re tracking is important when it comes to reviewing analytics. Not only will it help you to identify the “first-touch” point via social, you can also track how many leads came from each source.   Here is an example for a conference promoted on Twitter: http://www.MyDomainName.com/?umt_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=NameOfConference   In this example, the social media source is Twitter. The medium is social media. The campaign is the conference name. When someone clicks on that link, and you’re using analytics tools, like Google Analytics®, you will be able to track the number of clicks on that exact link.   There are a number of free UTM generators to help you create effective UTM links, including Google’s URL Builder . There are many of them out there, this one happens to have a great deal of options to complete for each URL.  
  • Uncovering Social Media & SEO Opportunities to Maximize Your Firm's Digital Reach

    1. 1. Uncovering Social Media & SEO Opportunities to Maximize Your Firm’s Digital Reach June 25, 2013 • AAM High Webinar Speakers: Becky Livingston & Brian Swanson
    2. 2. Today’s SpeakersToday’s Speakers Becky Livingston, President & CEO Becky@Penheel.com @Penheel or @BM_Livingston Brian Swanson, Partner Bswanson@FlashpointMarketing.biz @BSwan775
    3. 3. AgendaAgenda • Discovering additional inbound marketing opportunities for your firm using Google+™; • Taking a deeper dive into social analytics to help determine how clients’ share content; and • Understanding how Author Rank influences search engine rankings and inbound marketing.
    4. 4. Google plus – the why
    5. 5. Google+ Is A Ghost Town…NotGoogle+ Is A Ghost Town…Not • Number of Google+ users: 359 million active • Google+ is outpacing Twitter • Google’s +1 button is used 5 million times/day • 40% of marketers use Google+ • January 2013, used by 25% of the global Internet Sources: Google + users / Outpacing Twitter by Business Insider (May 2013). Google + button usage & marketer usage by Digital Buzz (Jan 2013). Usage by Attwood Digital.
    6. 6. Google+ Crossover StrategyGoogle+ Crossover Strategy • Google+Blog WordPress Plugin • HootSuite • Google+ +1 Buttons • Interactive, CTA buttons • Circle-centric marketing Photo courtesy of Mike Arnesen
    7. 7. Google+ Posting TipsGoogle+ Posting Tips • “Public” will let the search engines index content • +Tags = use them for names and pages • Ritualistic Posts & Exclusive Content • Hashtags & Mentions • Email your Circles • Use Circle Count Photo courtesy Reload Media Circle Count
    8. 8. Google+ Creative UsesGoogle+ Creative Uses • Google+ Local: merging and replacing Google Places • Google+ Communities: forum-style groups • Google+ Hangouts: integrate directly with YouTube & other video platforms • Google+ Events: may be “in-person” or “virtual” • Google+ Pages: can create hangouts, events, communities, but cannot have authorship
    9. 9. Social media analytics
    10. 10. Social Media AnalyticsSocial Media Analytics • Metrics to watch for revenue goals – Social media visitors to leads – Social media leads to customers – Average order size – Word-of-mouth referrals • Metrics for community building, brand reputation, or customer experience – Engagement duration – Loyalty – Activity ratio – Sentiment of brand mentions
    11. 11. How are people sharing?How are people sharing? Image courtesy of BuzzFeed
    12. 12. What are you tracking?What are you tracking? • Referral traffic • ROI • Opportunities / Response Rate • Reach and Virality • Share of Voice / Engagement According to Adobe, 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing.
    13. 13. Should I worry?Should I worry? • Do you use “direct traffic” as a measurement? • Do you use Google custom filters for analytics? • Are short, memorable URLs used in social sharing?
    14. 14. UTM Link Builders for TrackingUTM Link Builders for Tracking • Helps to identify “first- touch” point via social • Easily noted in analytics • Easy to create and track Here is an example for a conference promoted on Twitter using a UTM code: http://www.MyDomainName.com/? utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_ campaign=NameOfConference
    15. 15. Author rank’s influence on SEO
    16. 16. Google AuthorlinkGoogle Authorlink A New Social Media Enhancement Tool Brought to You By Google!
    17. 17. What is Google Authorlink?What is Google Authorlink? Google’s Method For Gives Credit For Your Content
    18. 18. Benefits to Website MarketingBenefits to Website Marketing Several Benefits to this Strategy: •Stand Apart on Search Engine Results Page (SERP) •More “Pop” on SERP •Higher Click Through Rates – 150% to Blogs •Establish Topical Authority •Faster Indexing •Diminishes Plagiarism
    19. 19. Benefits to Website MarketingBenefits to Website Marketing
    20. 20. Getting ConnectedGetting Connected Open A Google Plus Account Add A Professional Photo Google Plus Changes Update Your Contributor Links Add Proper Tags to Your Author Bio Blog Change
    21. 21. ExamplesExamples Author Highlights Author Popularity Freshness Stamp
    22. 22. ExamplesExamples Where is Your Eye Immediately Drawn To? Having the Author Image Gives A Competitive Advantage Over Text Links
    23. 23. Key TakeawaysKey Takeaways Google Plus •Get your brand on Google+ •Link the Google+ page to your website •Develop goals & a strategy •Use calls to action on all Google+ interaction Social Analytics •Define goals; determine social platforms •Leverage UTM codes for tracking •Learn the power of customer filters
    24. 24. Key TakeawaysKey Takeaways Author Rank & SEO •Employ Author Rank to: – Stand Apart on Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – Higher Click Through Rates – 150% to Blogs – Establish Topical Authority for bloggers – Positively influence SEO
    25. 25. Thank you! The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) is the only trade association of its kind that provides resources and support to more than 800 CPA and consulting firm marketing and sales professionals, partners, firm administrators, and representatives of businesses who offer products and services to the accounting industry. http://www.accountingmarketing.org/