SocialMediaExaminer’s Success Summit webinar series wrapped up last month and there was a ton of great information delivered by social media sages Mari Smith, Michael Stelzner, Jay Baer, Mario Zundar, Dan Zarrella and others. Here are ten key takeaways from the series (in no particular order):
- LinkedIn is probably the best social site for B2B marketing.
Many businesses are ignoring LinkedIn as a marketing channel. LinkedIn is important because its members are the world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals. Over 100 million professionals are currently on LinkedIn – 44 million in the US, 56 million internationally – and over 1 million professionals sign up every week (1 per second). If your target customers are businesses or business professionals, you should have a LinkedIn Company Page, because it can help you reach your three key audiences: customers, prospects and potential employees. In fact, the three tabs on the Company Page are targeted to these three audiences.
- Real time is a “mindset.”
Marketers need to seize opportunities in real time. Companies should be implementing real-time social media monitoring systems (SMM) to continuously scan the horizon for opportunities. Beyond more basic tools such as Google Alerts, TweetDeck or Hootsuite, companies should have a more formalized approach with more robust tools like Radian6 to measure sentiment, engagement, influencers, etc.
- Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth.
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner and author of Launch, kicked off Day 3 of the summit with this “elevation formula” for marketing success. Focus on content such as blogs, expert interviews, how to articles and case studies. Other people are outside experts, successful peers and authors/speakers. Build a gathering place with great content and the support of outside experts. If it’s a place without marketing messages, you’ll quickly attract a big following, increase partnership opportunities and grow sales. See www.Hubspot.com.
- Twitter is under utilized by companies.
Twitter at first glance is one of the easiest social media tools to use – just type in 140 characters. But to get the most out of Twitter, you need to decide what your objective is, see how others are using it well, start by listening, and take advantage of the free Twitter tools that out there – SocialMention (www.socialmention.com/), TweetBeep (www.tweetbeep.com/), Twilert (www.twilert.com/). Don’t automatically push tweets to other social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Rather, engage uniquely and authentically in each of your social media channels. Your Twitter channel is a key company asset, treat it as such.
- Customer feedback is only going to get louder in the near future.
People use social media first and foremost to connect with friends and family, not to engage with your brand. People don’t want you to interrupt them, but they do want discounts and special offers, resolutions of any issues they have, and the convenience of buying within the network (such as facebook e-commerce). To deliver value, start by listening and doing research. Gather intelligence – the who, what, why, when, where, how and extent. Then take these insights and think like a customer.
- Beware the coming “unfollow” movement.
To minimize this, don’t post too often, for starters. In fact, posting too often is the #1 reason people unlike your brand on Facebook, according to an ExactTarget and CoTweet study. Instead, consistently deliver tangible value.
- Determine your key influencers.
Use tools such as Klout (http://beta.klout.com), PeerIndex (www.peerindex.com/), Technorati (www.technorati.com/), Google blog search, InfluencerTracker, and mBLAST (http://www2.mblast.com/). Note that there’s a difference between influencers and advocates.
- Avoid linking away from your website to social websites.
“Don’t throw your website to Mark Zuckerburg”, was what Brian Solis said in his session. Rather use tools to bring the social conversation back to your website, such as Disqus and Tweetmeme for small companies, and Echo for larger companies.
- News Feed Optimization (NFO) is the new SEO.
NFO is crucial because 88% of your fans never return to your fan page once they’ve clicked “Like” – instead, they see and interact with you in their own news feed. Getting people to Like your brand is only the first step. Next the brand must leverage that relationship, typically via the news feed. But without some work, those fans will never see what’s posted in their news feed. That’s where news feed optimization comes in. NFO is to Facebook as SEO is to Google. Facebook uses a proprietary algorithm to determine which posts show up as “Top News” in each person’s news feed. The EdgeRank of a post is different for each user and is based on Affinity, Weight and Timeliness.
- Create a measurement strategy.
Many companies are stumbling blindly into social media marketing largely without measurement in place. Measuring engagement data (number of fans, followers, clicks and RTs) is fine for community managers, but high-level execs want measures of revenue, reputation and customer satisfaction. Most data is just digital trivia for a company and not integrated with overall business objectives. Standardize and aggregate data to fix this.