Top 8 reasons why your business will need Social Media Optimization

A major shift has been taking place for a few years on the web with the rise of user generated content, and businesses now have hard evidence that the “social web” has become undeniably what constitutes their quintessential source of traffic, leads and sales, alongside with traffic referred through SEO and SEM. See how the main sources of traffic for some of these major sites have turned to become social-web driven:

Forward-thinking marketers have started to engage in social media and this has become part of their overall marketing strategy. New approaches to online marketing are emerging constantly and require a quick adaptation to concepts such as “earned media” (the additional unpaid exposure a brand gets when consumers engage in conversations around brands online), local social advertising, social search or social ad networks.

If you’re in charge of marketing your business, there is no doubt that you have already heard about the new marketing gold rush that is taking place in social media.  The low cost to entry of generating marketing content through the social media scene has created an opportunity for marketers to expand their brand reach by encouraging and monitoring engagement in social communities.  Although the marketing means in social media are more subtle and require more context understanding than in online advertising, the prospects are great for marketers to increase brand exposure and generate leads and sales. For those still in doubt that social media and real time marketing are worth the time spent, here are 8 good reasons why you should start to take it seriously.

1 – Reaches a better targeted audience

Social media networks require user authentication and as such, provide ways (called APIs) for marketers tapping in those social ecosystems to better target their audience. By leveraging behavioral targeting, marketers can pinpoint their targeted audiences and engage in conversations or advertise on pages that are more likely to be contextually relevant to the nature of the product being advertised. This has obvious repercussions on the resulting engagement and consequently on the likelihood that users will have a positive interaction with the product or brand being marketed.

2 – Reaches a connected audience in real time

The Web 2.0 revolution has mainly been the revolution of user generated content. The consequence of this for marketers is that content is created non-stop, and so are opportunities for brand exposure and user engagement.  This requires marketers to get the proper tools for

  • Monitoring and assessing online conversations and plugging into each opportunity to leverage the ongoing stream
  • Defining a business workflow allowing them to manage the process of handling those branding and conversion opportunities (and automating what can be)
  • Measuring the success of those actions, allowing for repeatable cycles of successful marketing opportunities
  • Amplifying the positive brand exposure by spreading it across all possible channels

3 – Generates exposure for you business

Marketers have a great opportunity to generate exposure by providing information about their company and product updates. This can start as simply as creating a Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page, and linking those pages from their web site. Most marketers report a positive outcome from marketing their business on social media.

4 – Generates qualified leads

Although requiring a high level of engagement, social media can help generating qualified leads given the highly targeted nature of the possible interactions with prospective clients. That is becoming a major potential source of savings for businesses, as it drastically reduces customer acquisition costs.

5 – Creates new opportunities for business partnerships

By engaging with people similar industries and having complementary business goals, social media can help businesses get new partnership opportunities and grow their business reach as a result. This particularly applies to sole proprietors tending to engage in social media under their own name (realtors, lawyers etc)

6 – Increases site traffic and subscribers

Well conducted social media campaign will leverage link building strategies in order to drive traffic to their site and increase conversion if coupled with targeted and optimized landing pages. This part should be coupled with A-B testing and can be easily automated and measured for optimization.

7- Helps your Search Engine Optimization

Since content of many of the social networks, social discovery and social bookmarking sites are indexed by search engines, having a presence on those networks will positively help with your SEO efforts. Automation is again is key, as spreading every piece of positive content can help amplify the effects of re-posting/re-blogging and provide opportunities for viral content distribution.

8 – Reduces overall expenses in web marketing and advertising

Social Media Marketing is projected to grow to a $3.1 billion market by 2014 (Forrester),
the highest area of growth in all marketing areas, ahead of mobile (+27%):

 

 

As stated by Sequoia partner Mark Kvamme (GigaOM, 03/17/10), “if you can harness social media marketing, you don’t have to pay for advertising any more”. The Social Web still is in its early phases but has the enabling characteristics of a transforming phenomenon for the
marketing industry, and Infinigraph is ideally positioned to become a leader and innovator in that disrupting phase of evolution, the era of Social Media Optimization.

Pursuing the Content Sharers

My first ADOTAS – Every day consumers are interacting with content — from location-based services to content creators to digital content sharing. Currently there are millions of highly motivated consumers sharing content daily.

The Content Consumption Graph (CCG) forms a social currency ecosystem based on how often and who shares content. This drive and desire to obtain a nugget of information and be the first to seed such an information discovery among ones followers/friends (give them something to talk about) is a major opportunity for brands to intelligently source and feed their feeds.

Content worthy of being shared is passed, retweeted (RT) or pushed in a Facebook stream as status updates or posts starting the conversation tsunami; however, brands are not taking advantage of this viral conversation. This highly desired sharing behavior is prompted by consumers using shared information to drive discovery within specific networks which is an amazing conduit for
brands.

Every brand has a set of prolific content sharers who are directly connected to the brand on many levels. These hyper-sharers may never mention or post directly on your brand, exposing a major flaw in keyword-based social monitoring platforms.

Mashups and infographs such as recently launched Facebook Stories are hot because they drive more sharing and conversation around the same set of topics. A great example of this CCG interaction was spawned from the Fast Company Influencer Project.

Here we show the interaction breakdown putting Amber Naslund at the very top of the CCG and other sites gaining less share reach.

Today’s brand managers face the challenge of what they should post to their audience versus just product update or special discount offers over and over. Social is not about force-feeding a one-way message, rather more about leading in information discovery.

A/B Testing for Social Media July 8th

Exciting next week as Chase McMichael will be speaking at #SSMSF A/B Testing for Social Media July 8th. Will be talking directly about how to drive and measure target traffice to your site while optimizing the content for increased relevance. Using Social Intelligence in this context is a big deal and will be our first showing of what we have been doing recently. Get over to Hotel Nikko starts at 9am.

 

Smm-san-francesico1

Social Media Marketing 2010 – San Francisco – July 8th, 2010

A/B Testing for Social Media

Panelist: Hiten Shah ( @hnshah) – KISSmetrics, Dan Martell – FlowTown and Chase McMichael (@chasemcmichel) – @InfiniGraph

Overview: Over the past decade or more, A/B testing has proven an invaluable method of marketing testing to optimize landing pages, emails, ads, and text. Learn how to apply the A/B testing methodology to your marketing campaigns for increased social media engagement. Find out what the experts are currently using as engagement metrics, learn major pitfalls to avoid, and hear their take on everything from optimizing blog post lengths to optimizing websites for most searched keywords

Register with this link and use discount code: 10smmsf1 to save 10%

Come and join us in the conversation! 

@chasemcmichael

@InfiniGraph

 

Social Intelligence and Social CRM – a powerful combination

In my last blog we talked about Social Relevancy and the fact that your customer are connected and interacting with many brands and content types that all have to be considered when developing a strategy to engage and ignite your audience.

Social CRM (SCRM) is the new big buzz word for now, however, there is a great deal of definitions and interpretation to what SCRM really is (see Social CRM Pioneers). Several recent studies (link) on what a Facebook Fans “LIKER” is worth brings light to Social Media is serious business when it comes to the companies CRM strategy.

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A fraction of your online customer base moves your brand or insight community interaction around your brand enabling social crowd sourcing. If the brand engages with right set of people the crowd wins. Social Intelligence is a key to understanding your audience and the best engagement points. The flaw in social listening or monitoring platforms is not all customers are talking about you. Being keyword base also poses another challenge in that what keywords your customer are using are not the obvious ones such as your brand name.

Customer interaction in the social web is one key mechanism to dive the crowd to participate. This quote from Seth Godin “you don’t manage your customers, your customers manage you” really sums up the truth about what the dynamics are between consumer to brand relationship in the social web.

Beyond understand your customers’ interaction with your brand and connecting the dots of your customers numerous social personas, accessing the Content Consumption Graph (CCG) becomes another critical step to harnessing intelligent crowd sourcing.

Enhance your knowledge of your customer by developing strong SocialCRM foundations;

  • customer-controlled
  • integrated
  • interactive
  • connected
  • lifecycle-based
  • value-focused
  • community-driven
  • cross-divisional
  • marketing-driven


What does all this have to do with Social CRM and the relevant impact? The entire organization needs to socialize and optimize in order to affect decisions and earn relevance.

Social CRM takes a different view on your customer base to enable empowerment and crowd sourcing beyond traditional customer support and put it on its head.

1. Employees and Customers contribute to this echo system

2. Customers have reach and meaning in their own micro communities

3. User generated content like videos, blogs, reviews, forums etc all become the source of consumer ownership.

4. Customer Service becomes a central theme because customers have an amazing broadcast capability and the ones super connect can start a grown swell

5. Marketing is a function of service and who is being engaged is extremely important

Brands now have new opportunities for building customer relationships like never before and are 1 degree separated for a massive collective that operate in real-time. Understanding your customer and what motivates them is a key attribute to finding those who are moving your brand.

According to Solis, ‘the ability to identify active communities of relevance, tracing influential people and channels, and the dissection of all phases of the process of decision making, all in real-time, are crucial aspects of social media marketing.”

Using Social Intelligence enables this Identification and involving these ‘influencers’ and communities. Linking a company CRM to interactive marketing actions are some of the core elements of an integrated, Social CRM solution. Interactive marketing, customer interactions based on real-time data, and customer actions should be linked with one and another. That’s the technical and tactical aspect: you communicate with the customer in a way that he wants to, based on the digital signals and ‘triggers’ they give you.

If we define influence as the ability to inspire action and measure the corresponding activity, the socialization of influence now expands beyond the strategies and software that organize and optimize customer relations and the management processes that govern it.

@infinigraph
@chasemcmichael
@stephaneosmont