March 19, 2012

4 simple steps to measuring social media success


Image on BigStockPhoto by suravid

Deltina HayMost social media strategists agree that there is no one, established framework to measure social media success. However, there are tactics you can adjust and apply to any social media strategy to help create a framework that works for you.

This article can help you develop an individualized, social media measuring framework. Follow these four steps:

Know your goals

1Any good marketing plan starts with established goals. You need to know what your goals are before you can measure how successful your efforts have been to achieve them.

What do you want to accomplish through your social media efforts? Some possibilities include:

  • Sell more products
  • Get more reviews
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Increase your fan base
  • Reach a specific demographic

Outline very specific goals so you can measure the results of your efforts.

Establish your baselines

2Based on your goals from step one, establish measurable baselines you can use for comparison later.

Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Current sales numbers
  • Review counts
  • Number of hits in Google
  • Website stats
  • Other baselines specific to your goals

Clearly, some things are easier to measure than others. Quantitative elements like sales, website stats, and Google hits can be tracked easily. However, more qualitative elements such as thought leadership, influence, or customer satisfaction can be trickier to measure.

You may be surprised at just how many things are measurable in social media. Check out this post entitled “100 Ways to Measure Social Media” posted by Marketers Studio in 2009. This lists demonstrates that there are many things that can be measured. Your job is to establish which items are true indicators of your efforts based on your established goals.

Track your efforts

3There are plenty of tools you can use to help measure your social media efforts. Internal features of social media tools like Facebook and WordPress, free external tools, and paid services can all give you insight into how well certain strategies are paying off.

It is important during this step to use more than one tool to track your efforts. Each individual tool can give you specific insight into one or more aspects of your social media presence. Together, a carefully selected host of tools can give you a complete picture of how your efforts are paying off. Continue reading

June 30, 2011

How to become a super-node in the attention era

To turn up in organic search, you need to play three-dimensional chess

Chris AbrahamI try to read through my RSS feeds every day. Today I stumbled upon an article by my friend Christopher S Penn, entitled Social media now directly influences search rankings.

It shows that Google is playing Tri-D chess in a world where most companies are mastering checkers:

If you’re marketing something, there’s now a direct incentive to build your network as large as possible among your prospective customers. Size matters.

Long story short: every search you make on Google returns results that are weighted heavily to favor people in your social network, especially those people and brands to have a lot of friends, likes, and followers.

In other words, you can access top organic search engine results for your company, brand, products and services by really diving into social media marketing and eveloping connections, followers, likes, and lists–getting people to like your brand on Facebook or follow your brand on Twitter hasn’t ever just been about brand awareness, it has also become an essential secret weapon for search engine ranking.

You should read Chris’ article for sure, but I have my own example to show how personally-tailored Google search has become

A few days ago a journalist friend of mine popped me a note to ask me if I knew the Rosetta Stone CEO.  I didn’t, however, he thought I must because my name came up twice when he searched for ‘Rosetta Stone” on Google.

See, I blogged for Rosetta Stone for a while and have used their products for years. When I did the same search, I didn’t show on the first page at all. Online, my friend’s world is heavily colored by me.

I showed up because he and I are connected via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Talk, Gmail, Twitter, and who knows where else.

His search reality isn’t objective at all.  It is being heavily adjusted by the connections he has and will make to other people and brands online. In real time, immediately, to order, based on dozens of tacit connections.

Google isn’t stupid. I won’t show up in all of his web searches–only those that are relevant to what he wants. However, if I have ever written and published anything online that is, in fact, relevant, there’s an excellent chance I will turn up on page one, possibly even if he’s logged out of Gmail.

With the multitude of social network profiles that I possess and maintain, the nearly five-thousand friends I have on Facebook (including the high-caste of many of my friends), the 38,000 followers I have on Twitter, and my 12-year-old blog, my 2,200 contacts on LinkedIn, 3,400 folks on FourSquare, subscribers on FeedBurner, all my content on YouTube, and others, means that Google generally tries to include me in other people’s searches of the Internet, gaming serendipity to the point that I come up as a few of the search results on such a competed-for search term like Rosetta Stone in the Manhattan offices of one of the top global newspapers.

I chose to use this example because I have invested myself so heavily towards building these connections shamelessly. People wonder why I would engage in promiscuous “follow back” on Twitter and maintain the maximum friends on Facebook? Surely I am not special. I, like anyone else, cannot maintain close friendships in excess of Dunbar’s Number of 150 friends.

I have been doing this for myself, for my company, and for my clients, using myself as the most shameless example to prove the concept that having the “right” friends online, following the few “right” people and brands is not only wrong but dangerous.

Shoot for quantity plus quality followers

The more people you touch via social media and social network connections, the greater the chance that you will turn up as a top result in search results.

Yes, get the right followers, but also get as many followers as possible. In a world where people get their search results based on who their friends are and what they’re looking at or doing, you’re going to want to become connected to as many as humanly possible, possibly indiscriminately but certainly promiscuously. The more people you touch via social media and social network connections, the greater the chance that you will always be a top result whenever they do a search in your general direction.

Sure, my level of social media populism is not for everyone because it does take a lot of work, and pursuing the Cluetrain long tail of everyone can surely scare away some of your elite contacts and friends, which it has done, personally, because I do create a lot of content and “noise” to someone who only has 150 friends on LinkedIn, on MySpace, Friendster, and Twitter. I have surely driven them away and hear, “I had to unfollow you because you were the only person I ever saw on my
Facebook wall.” Fair enough. No worries.

While this example is personal, all of these map across to brand beautifully. I am co-founder and president of Abraham Harrison and Google knows that. It is on my Google Profile (you really need to look at this and set this up and try to get all your employees to set their profiles up as well). Google met me halfway when it came to the profile, too, as it was mostly already sorted out for me when I arrived. I just made sure they didn’t miss anything.

This might all seem like Mickey Mouse child’s play but the net effect is that the experience of daily search for tens of thousands of people online tends towards returning content that I have liked, dugg, retweeted, blogged, stumbled upon, thumbed up, shared, starred, emailed, and recommended, including a mainstream media highest-caste global newspaper journalist, and others. Their search reality is strangely influenced by my Internet behavior. That’s powerful. In the attention data game, I am considered a super-node.

In terms of an SEO strategy, this means–and has meant for a while–that simply nailing your site’s information architecture, naming convention, keyword-rich URLs and titles, content, keywords, ALT tags, and link strategy is not nearly enough.

The new secret weapon for Search Engine Optimization is digital Public Relations and Social Media Marketing.

Even more info on this strategy over on Steve Rubel and SEOmoz. Via Mike Moran’s Biznology blog.

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March 8, 2011

Customize the subject line of your Feedburner emails

Feedburner email subject lines

JD LasicaSince I began blogging back in May 2001, I’ve let readers access content on my sites in any manner they chose, including full-length posts in RSS feeds and automated email updates. I was an early user of Feedburner, now owned by Google, and while there are other services out there that probably do a better job of delivering updates to subscribers, I have stuck with the tried and true.

Today 7,115 people subscribe to updates on Socialmedia.biz through the free Feedburner email service, which goes out late at night whenever we have a new blog post. Another 4,433 people get email updates for new posts on Socialbrite, and 2,629 for new posts on Time for Nurses, a site we launched for a client in the fall.

What I didn’t know, until subscriber Sandra Sims alerted me to the fact, was that Feedburner allows you to tailor the subject line of your outbound emails. For years, recipients saw emails with the subject line that simply said “Social Media” or “Socialbrite.” But Sandra pointed me to the impossible-to-find, needle-in-a-haystack link where you can customize the subject line to use the headline of your most recent post. This will be old news to some, but it was news to me, so I thought I’d share it here.

If you’d like to customize the subject line of your Feedburner emails, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Feedburner account
  2. Select the feed you want to customize
  3. Click on the “Publicize” tab”
  4. Click on “Email Subscriptions” in the left sidebar (you’ll need to click the “Activate” button if you’re just launching your email service)
  5. Now you’ll see an “Email Branding” submenu in the left sidebar. Click it.
  6. Change the “Email Subject/Title” to this, believe it or not: ${latestItemTitle}
  7. Click “Save”

There you go! Let me know if that works for you, and please share any other Feedburner, RSS or automated email delivery tricks you’d like to pass along in the comments below.

December 18, 2009

5 ways to increase the reach of your blog or RSS feed

survival-guide-toDeltina HayYou may be losing out on opportunities to improve the reach of your RSS feed or blog.

These optimization tips can help:

• Burn your feed to Feedburner.com. Take advantage of the optimization and analytics features they offer.

• Offer alternate ways for readers to subscribe to your feed. Use FeedBurner tools like email subscriptions and subscription buttons like the ones on AddtoAny.com to offer more choices for your readers.

• Add your feed to as many feed directories as you can. Don’t assume that just because a service is being pinged (notified) about your posts, that your feed is listed in their directory. Start by claiming your blog at Technorati.com. Then use the toprankblog blog directory list to find more.

rss_logo• Import your feed into your social networking sites. Facebook allows you to import RSS feeds into your profile and offers applications for you to import feeds into Facebook pages. LinkedIn offers an application to include your feed in your profile. And you can use a tool like HootSuite.com to import your feed into your Twitter account.

• Create a lifestream or social page. Start an account with a lifestreaming service like FriendFeed or create a page on a social site like Squidoo. Import your feed into your new accounts along with relevant information from your other social Web accounts.

Though these tips will help improve the reach of your RSS feed or blog, the best way to get more subscribers is to regularly generate as much quality and on-topic content as you can.

Previously in this series

March 3, 2009

Practically painless FeedBurner Google transition

feedburnerDeltina HaySeveral of my clients have expressed concern over having to transfer their RSS feeds from the traditional FeedBurner platform to the new Google Feedburner platform. Google is now requiring that Feedburner users make this transition, so I do recommend doing this right away.

I made the transition myself to make sure there were no surprises along the way before I told others to take the plunge, and I am happy to report that the transition was practically painless. I transferred all of my feeds in one fell swoop and tested both the remote subscriptions and the email subscriptions. I also ran Feed Validator on each feed.

Google has done a fine job of making the process as painless as possible.

Here is all you should need to do as long as you don’t use the MyBrands feature:

Continue reading

January 28, 2009

Streamlining your social Web presence in 6 steps

Deltina HayFollowing the advice of social media and Web 2.0 experts, you have established your own blog and joined a number of social sites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LibraryThing, and Upcoming.org, among others. Now, the experts say you must add content to each of these accounts regularly to keep them dynamic. So, how’s this supposed to make your life easier?

Relax. With some careful planning, you can streamline the process of keeping all of your Social Web accounts fresh and engaging without breaking your back or the bank. The trick is to make your social accounts work together. Most social sites use the concept of open source to make it easy for developers to write applications that enhance the features of the site. For our purposes, we will look at applications that can help us streamline our existing presence in the Social Web.

To demonstrate what I mean about streamlining the process, I’ll start with an example. Imagine that you have the following social media tools and accounts already in place on the Social Web:

  • A WordPress Blog
  • A Facebook Profile
  • A Facebook Page
  • A MySpace Page
  • A YouTube Account
  • A Flickr Account
  • A Twitter Account
  • An Upcoming.org Account
  • A GoodReads Account

Continue reading