Are You “Eating Your Own Dog Food”? The biggest key to succesfully leverage social media

So often we see companies that want to “leverage social media” but aren’t actively engaged in digital communities. It’s an easy mistake. you get busy. Digital relationships become less important to manage than the ones with customers who call or walk into your business.

But this transactional view of digital media is the marketing equivalent of a startup that doesn’t eat it’s own dogfood. Credibility suffers when visibility declines.

Activity in the Right Communities Produces Measureable Value

Key is understanding which communities are valuable and tracking a way to connect from digital community to realized revenue. It’s the stuff that most agencies don’t want to dig into because it requires *gasp* accountability to the metrics.

we see this as the biggest change in the digital marketing realm. we know if it’s really working. more visits are real. increased inbound calls are real, foot traffic is real, ticket sales are real, product sales are real.

If you aren’t getting these from the digital environment maybe its time to rethink your dogfood.

How to Use the New Facebook Timeline for Pages

Facebook has just thrown a shot across the bow of marketers who are more interested in list-building than community-building and it’s about time.

The idea behind Facebook Timeline is to create valuable content by sharing a story and connecting to fans not forcing a “like” through a tab or a banner.
Controlling blatant advertisers and keeping the platform social first with its super narrow policies that demand NO CALLS to action and NO references to “liking” or “sharing” in cover photos is such a powerful way to force brands to be social not ‘salesy’.

The Key Changes

More Carrot less stick….
Forcing a “like” in order to gain access to “premium content” was a tactic used by many Facebook pages and it is officially dead. With Facebook’s shift to a cover photo and timeline, brands must think about developing an engaging social experience with their fans more so than bribing them or using Facebook to drive action on other web properties. It gives the “social” back to social network: keep up relationships by sharing and listening.

Your new cover-photo is 810px wide instead of the old 520px wide banner. That’s your chance to win a ‘like’. No more “premium content for fans only” or contests for fans only, so get creative!

Put Social Engagement First ….
If you’re still protesting the change, then there is something you need to know: Timeline isn’t bad. In essence, it’s a way to document life and highlight important events for your brand. People like seeing how brands have grown and changed. They want to be a part of your brand story because your brand is a part of their story. If you give them interesting content they’ll engage and share.

Think of your Facebook fan page as your digital social life. Timeline makes it easier to give your fans the ability to involve you in their hangout space. because the reality is Facebook is their space to control not yours.

Engage the Open Graph
The Facebook guys started this process by integrating apps that took a “traditional web experience” and wrapped it inside the four walls of Facebook. Now, with Timeline, they are going a step further and telling you that if your brand wants to interact with Facebook-users, you will have to actually use the functions of Facebook that users are there for. This is probably the best move by Facebook to avoid the ghettoization that has plagued its competitors.

The New Strategies

Showcase Your Brand Personality:

Your cover photo matters the most. Think of it as the cool-whip on your apple pie: yes, you can live without it but if you want to spark a reaction to a fan then you must have it. There’s an “about me” section right under your cover-photo: make it memorable with one or two impactful sentences.

Ford uses the space beautifully in their new Ford Mustang page, using the iconic pony as the thumbnail and then building the full view of the mustang grill in the cover photo really hits home with mustang fans. The About continues the legendary mustang story reminding fans exactly why they like mustangs.

How Fors uses Facebook timeline to promote the Mustang

Use Milestones:

The day you opened is a gimme but real players in social space are figuring out how to use milestones to support their brand strategy and build customer loyalty by educating. What ways can you turn special days in your brands history, (and upcoming days in your brands future) into milestone event son timeline that make a big impact?

Lexus did a great job with this by creating “Lexus firsts” to support their brand position as an innovator they have launched a series of Facebook milestones showing every time they’ve done something first in a Lexus. this helps customers resonate with the status effect of having the car with the first “insert cool feature here”.

How Lexus uses facebook milestones to support brand strategy on facebook timeline

 

Build Engaging Facebook Apps that Focus on Earned Exposure:

There are four visible tabs under your cover-photo. The first one is “photos” and that’s constant, but you can change the other three, and then there’s where your “call-to-actions” come into play. Get creative drive users to your custom pages where they can engage with apps that will share their interaction with your brand with their timeline and their followers.

Coca Cola built a home and your stories tab that drives to their custom pages and that’s where the deeper engagement begins, asking customers to upload their own photos that can become Coke’s new cover image.

How Coca Cola Uses Facebook Timeline

 

People are on Facebook to be social, to be entertained, and to interact with brands they actually Like. be likable. Be thankful that fans interact with you and remember that they could be doing a million other things, put their needs first on your new Facebook timeline for brands page.

What ideas are you trying on your Facebook pages? What great tools have you seen? We would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

Top 25 Internet Roundup: The Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook Advertising, Promoted Tweets to App Timeline, The 8 Principles of Product Naming, The Anatomy of an Effective Web Design, and Writing Great Subject Lines

Facebook Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Advertising on Facebook
Yes, you should consider advertising. Yes, you can start with Facebook ads. Yes, you can learn how to Continue reading Top 25 Internet Roundup: The Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook Advertising, Promoted Tweets to App Timeline, The 8 Principles of Product Naming, The Anatomy of an Effective Web Design, and Writing Great Subject Lines

Top 25 Internet Roundup: Tips to Increase Facebook Fans, Avoid Hashtag Disasters, Moving 3px to the Left, Blogs for Entrepreneurs, and Turning Browsers Into Active Shoppers.

Facebook Marketing

Top 5 Tips to increase fans on Facebook Fan Page
Basics for dummies! Continue reading Top 25 Internet Roundup: Tips to Increase Facebook Fans, Avoid Hashtag Disasters, Moving 3px to the Left, Blogs for Entrepreneurs, and Turning Browsers Into Active Shoppers.

Lessons from a 5 Year Old Drummer Who Owns Youtube Marketing

5 year old Drummer Jonah Rocks has used social media to build a huge fan base, sell T-shirts, gain sponsors and share stage space with some of the biggest names in rock and roll including KISS, Bryan Adams, and more.

Check out this video to see this kids amazing talent and read below to see the key takeaways you should gain from his success.

Leverage Related Content Filters

Key to Jonah’s success was taking some of the hardest drum songs in rock and roll and playing them on camera and posting on youtube where peopel would find them by mistake. By positioning his content in a stream people were already browsing for he gets thousands of views just form youtube’s related content filter. Notice his cover of Chop Suey by System of a Down with over 600,000 youtube views!

Be Sensational With Content Titles

Every Jonah Rocks video has a title like “Rush – Tom Sawyer, 5 Year Old Drummer, Jonah Rocks” it’s super clear aout the content it says exactly why it’s out of the ordinary and any Drum aficionado knows that anything by Rush is super challenging and would love to see a 5 year old tackle a song that gives most long time pro drummers nightmares of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Build a massive Volume of Content

There are videos posted month after month of this kid for a span of two plus years and it wasn’t until he had over a years worth of content that he got an invite to a KISS concert and got to play on stage during sound check. His consistent posting built a repository of content that proves his viability to the industry and has leveraged him into opportunities that otherwise would take over a dozen years in the traditional channels.

Lead with Personality and FUN

Part of the allure is watching a 5 year old with a mo-hawk showboat playing one handed while he rocks out and headbangs away just like the big guys do. his stage presence on video is part of what makes his videos worth watching end to end. The levelof fun he is having is infectious and that is why video is so awesome of a medium for him. you need to find how to make your personality and your passion for your content infectious because that is the real secret sauce that separates one great piece of online content from the rest of the schlock out there that no one reads or comments on or share.

Good luck and don’t forget if you’re going to go at this online marketing thing GO BIG!

Top 10 Most Viewed Internet Marketing Blog Posts of 2010

I’ve scoured over the site stats to let you all know what you thought was the most important content I’ve provided this year. Here are the results. in 2010 the 10 most viewed articles I’ve written are listed below.

The content ranges from Facebook, to Foursquare, to wordpress plugins but the big buzz in 2010 you can probably guess TWITTER. If you missed some of these articles please give ’em a read your peers liked them so you might to.

Please comment and let me know if you would like to see any followups to these in 2011 or add any updated insights since some of these were published quite some time ago in internet years.

Number 10: Social Media Offers Intimacy of Classic Mom and Pop Local Businesses

Number 9: Marketers Say Email is Delivering Better than Social Networking

Number 8: How Discoverable are You on Social Media?

Number 7: Philanthopy + Social Media + Leverage = Awesome!!!

Number 6: How 1 Tweet Generated National News Coverage for a Small Company in Less Than 24 Hours

Number 5: List of Active FourSquare Badges

Number 4: Shrek Gets Social!! Shrek’s 5 Rules for Winning Big with Social Media

Number 3: 100 Facebook Marketing Techniques You Can Use Right Now

Number 2: Top 10 WordPress Plugins to Turbo Charge Your Internet Marketing Efforts

Number 1: 20 Twitter Bios that demand Attention

Shrek Gets Social!! Shrek’s 5 Rules for Winning Big with Social Media

Shrek was the most searched term on google today, Shrek has over 1500 tweets in the last 24 hours and Shrek has grossed $21.6 Million in just 3 days

So how has the big scary ogre managed to rally so many fans and drive them to be a word of mouth phenomenon? Read the words of the big green guy himself and see how he manages his social status. (he is probably the most loved ogre ever)

5 Simple Ogre approved Rules for winning big with social media!

1.” Hey, I’m nobody’s messenger boy, all right? I’m a delivery boy. “

In each of the Shrek movies Shrek owns his identity and when challenged is very quick to re-educate people on exactly who he is.  Clear understanding and articulation of who you are and what you are about is what builds an intense brand whether that’s your personal brand or the brand of the company you represent. Make who you are and who you are not super clear in your interactions in social media and fans will respond.

2. Gingy, do you still know the muffin man?

Leverage your network ask the people you are connected to for input, get strategic help solving problems from the people you interact with on social media and your social network will respond by asking you for help when it’s appropriate also.

3.That’ll do, Donkey. That’ll do.

Thank your Supporters…regularly. in the social media sphere a thank you is one of the quickest ways to deepen the relationship you have between you and your followers. so do it often. make a point to a little time each week and thank someone for a retweet, send a shout out about something you worked on together anything you can to show some digital gratitude.

4. Somebody help! I’ve been kidnapped by a monster who’s trying to relate to me!

Ok so it’s not Shrek talking but the point is clear.keep one voice. don’t try to change the way you talk from one contact to another on social media it will make all of your communication sound manipulative instead of Genuine. the last thing you need is your fans recognizing that you ar trying to sound like them instead of sounding like you.

5. Well, the stars don’t tell the future, donkey, they tell stories. Look, there’s Blood-Nut, the Flatulent. You can guess what he’s famous for.

Always have interesting content. when people never know what you are going to say next they tend to listen more closely to what you say so keep it interesting. mix it up.

Look back at your historical use of Social media. and see what have people re-tweeted/ what got the most comments? what keywords appear most often in your social content? Then look for the consistency in messaging style and content get the mix right any you can be more like Shrek driving fans to tweet, search, and purchase from your brand.

Resources for this article include:

Number of tweets on Shrek: http://www.twitterstats.net/trend.php?keyword=shrek
Google Search Activity about Shrek http://www.google.com/trends?q=shrek&ctab=0&geo=us&geor=all&date=mtd&sort=0
Box office Performance: http://www.the-numbers.com/charts/daily/2010/20100523.php

Top 10 WordPress Plugins to Turbocharge Your Internet Marketing Efforts

This is a list of 10 most important WordPress plugins that you should install in order to get a blog that has excellent functionality and high traffic. The plugins are in order of importance. If you feel that you don’t want to install all of them in one day be sure to start with the more important ones!

  1. HeadSpace 2: WordPress SEO Made Simple

    All in one SEO you have been deposed. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.

  2. WPtouch iPhone Theme –

    The Mobile web is a big reality u need to be compatible. This plugin allows you to instantly and effortlessly transform your website into a mobile paradise. Whenever a mobile user accesses your blog a pleasant looking lighter version designed specially for mobile devices is presented. This is a must have for 2010.

  3. SEO Smart Links –

    Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.

  4. SEO Slugs –

    Using your entire post title as the slug for the article can make web addresses long and it can waste the opportunity to focus on using your keywords. This plugin strips out all the unnecessary words from the permalink for you so that you don’t have to.

  5. Google Analyticator –

    Google Analyticator allows you to use Google Analytics to track visitors to your blog without having to add the tracking code manually to your WordPress blog. If you aren’t using google analytics already u are seriously missing the boat and if you aren’t combining analyticator with wordpress you are wasting lots of time clicking between windows.

  6. Akismet –

    This plugin automatically checks all the comments and trackbacks people leave to your blog to see if any of them is spam. This is a super basic one but if you aren’t using it you hate your email. Get this installed, It is totally automatic, so you don’t have to do anything (if you don’t want to). Akismet comes together with WordPress, but in order to activate it, you need a API key. You can get one by signing up at wordpress.com

  7. Google XML Sitemaps –

    This plugin generates a XML sitemap of your blog each time you write a new post and lets Google and other search engine know of new content. Without Google XML Sitemaps it could take Google weeks to make your new article findable from their search engine, but with XML Sitemaps they will always know if you have new content.

  8. WordPress Related Posts –

    If a reader enjoys one of your articles then one of the best things that you can do is to put some more articles in front of them to keep them digging through your site.

  9. Subscribe to Comments –

    This plugin gives your readers an opportunity to subscribe to comments left to a particular post. New comments are automatically emailed to the user.

  10. Show Top Commentators Widget –

    This plugin automatically counts who are your blogs top commentators and shows them with a link to their website on a sidebar. This is a great way to increase the comments left to your blog because it gives your readers the chance to benefit from your blogs traffic.

Bonus Plug in

  1. Backtype Tweetcount

    If you’re using the TweetMeMe tweet counter badge on your blog then kill it right now. Don’t require your users to authorize another program to access their Twitter account just to share a link to your site. If you aren’t already using tweetmeme then you need to know this plugin will automatically allow users to re-tweet your twitter account with a link to the content in your blog post. (one of the best traffic generation tools currently active on the internet)

Cure Social Media Email Overload – Introducing Alerts Grader from Hubspot

If You are anything like me you have an email address (or three) that route to your mobile phone , you have at least one twitter account, linkedin, facebook, multiple sets of google alerts, etc….and the bottom line is all of the emails about new friends, followers, direct messages and more can be downright irritating or distracting. Worry no longer. A new free tool form the great folks at hubspot will filter all of that inbound info for you and corral it into daily digest format unless it hits a defined level of importance as defined by you and the ranking of the source of the alert 9as filtered by hubspot’s awesome grader system)

Alerts Grader is different from all of HubSpot’s other free tools because it isn’t a one-time analysis that runs metrics on your various web outposts and properties. Those are valuable too, but this unique tool is something you register for. It requires a bit more setup than the others, but if you’re into the realtime web — things like Google Alerts, Twitter, and LinkedIn — it could provide you with a valuable metrics-based service.

Alerts Grader can compress the most persistent Email alert messages into simple daily digests sorted by their HubSpot-prescribed grades.

“You’re letting HubSpot be the middleman in your alerts,” explained Chris Keller(— the RazrDude himself). “But in doing so, you can decide whether you want to receive them based on a threshold you set up.”

The tool also provides valuable LinkedIn account data and can grade the relevance and reliability of the sources behind your Google Alerts — BINGO!

The value is in combining all of these services.

Whether you’re an alerts fanatic or not, Alerts Grader is worth hearing about because it’s taking HubSpot’s technology for something like grading Twitter accounts and letting you filter it by way of HubSpot’s proven grading system.

( excerpt above from http://bostinnovation.com/2010/04/27/inundated-with-emails-try-hubspots-alert-grader/ )

below is a Quick Tour of AlertsGrader by hubspot.

Restaurant Owner Increases Sales by 110% with Foursquare Swarm Badge Party

Originally from Hubspot (those guys rock)

How do you attract a flash mob of 150+ people to your restaurant? Offer the possibility of a Foursquare Swarm Badge, of course!

Last week, restaurant owner Joe Sorge attracted 161 Foursquare users at the same time to his burger joint in Milwaukee, AJ Bombers (pretty impressive considering there are approximately only 300-400 total Foursquare users in the area). Even more impressive is the fact that the restaurant more than doubled its typical Sunday sales, with an increase of 110% that day.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5697/Restaurant-Owner-Increases-Sales-by-110-with-Foursquare-Swarm-Badge-Party.aspx#ixzz0lCh3kLjL

Four Square Day Tomorrow!! 4 -16-2010 (the first ever social media holiday)

Foursquare day the first social media holidayIf you haven’t heard about Foursquare yet you need to it it the rapidly growing social media app that really makes local marketing important.

The concept is simple. use your mobile phone and “check-in” a different locations this check-in is visible to your friends and lets you earn special badges for being a regular or even become “the mayor” of a particular location.

For the first timme businesses can really turn customer loyaty into a viral experience because all of a users checkins are publised to twitter and or facebook with a link to venue details. potentially driving huge foot traffic.

Tomorrow 4/16/2010 is officially foursquare day (the first social media holiday) see how it all happened here: http://blog.4sqday.com/about/

or keep up on the latest foursquare day news here: http://blog.4sqday.com/

SEO as you know it is Dead! NEW SEO in the Social Media Age

“if we don’t fix Web pages for google, what are we going to do?”

And that is the very crux of textbook SEO’s diminishing value.

I’ve gone on record as saying, “The Web is no longer just a collection of HTML pages linked together. It is a network of networks of people who are totally connected to each other. I believe it’s the understanding of these connections that will shape not just search, but all of marketing.”

the above text is an excerpt from web 2.0 is just so 2008 by Mike Grehan for ClickZ.com

and Mike is right

SEO as a “lets engae google because that is where peopel start their web experience” concept is rapidly diminishing.

The Web has become a component of our social culture. In our society before the web (remember pre 1995) people used to get reffferals to businesses to find the solutions they needed. and now websites like stunmbleupon, twitter, digg, buzz up, alltop etc all do the same thing.

As humans we still rpefer to do business wiht someone that somneone we know or trust already knows or trusts.

I’ve been in web marketing for 10 years and have found one truth across all sectors. Search generated traffic almost exclusively produces customers who value low prices over quality of service or quality of customer experience. And that’s becasue broad search customers are the least educated consumer in the marketplace. that’s not to say they arent valueable they are. 

A better educated consumer is more valueable, more loyal, and ultimately easier to persuade into buying.

As a business person I try to align myself with brands that are not purely price driven competitors. Becasue no one searches for exotic luxury car and prepares to buy a Bentley ‘cuz they saw one on Google.

It’s about building a real brand presence on the internet. engaging people on twitter, and facebook, and even on forums that relate to your product or service. Leverage these relationships to building a strong brand story online through multiple interconnected touch points. This is where savvy marketers are going for 2010 and beyond hurry up and get cracking.

The is the dawn of online positioning.

The next decade will bring about a time where we use multiple online media channels to build a brand position and we will see searches become much narrower. People will search more for specific products and brands rather then for broad generalizations for types of products and services.

Use the online socialmedia spehere to build a top of mind awareness with your customer so they think I need starbucks instead of I need coffee. then all of your traditiona SEO aware competitors will compete for the lowest common denominator of customer still searching for coffee, while you rake in the cash selling overpriced steamed foamy milk!

Now go do something I’m going to drink my Doppio Espresso Macchiato with Carmel!