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Copyright 2012 by Jordan Kasteler

All rights reserved.

No part of this book shall be produced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the author. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts of preparing this book, they make no representations of warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate neither the publisher nor authors shall be liable for any loss or profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Author: Jordan Kasteler


Jordan Kasteler is an Online Marketing Strategist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization. He has a history of entrepreneurship co-founding and serving positions in such companies as BlueGlass Interactive, an Internet marketing agency and SteelCast, a tech incubator housing several other self-started companies. His work experience ranges from in-house SEO at Overstock.com to agency-level SEO. In addition to consulting, hes experienced hosting BlueGlass Internet marketing events and co-owning one of the search engine industrys leading publishing sites, Search Engine Journal. His education includes a Bachelors in Multimedia Communication Technology (graduating Magna Cum Laude) and a Masters in Professional Communications (graduating Cum Laude).

Other Accolades include:


Frequent speaker at: Search Marketing Expo Frequent speaker at: Pubcon Frequent speaker at: Search Engine Strategies Spoken at: IMC, BlueGlass Conferences, Scary SEO, Affiliate Convention, Searchfest, Podcamp, Social Commerce Exchange, Infopress, and various others. Frequent Columnist for: Search Engine Land Written for various other publications like: Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, Website Magazine, JordanKasteler.com, etc Board member for Social Commerce Exchange SEMMY board member and nominee Mentioned in various books such as: o Accelerate! by Arnie Kuenn o Mobile Marketing by Cindy Krumm o Killer Facebook Ads by Marty Weintraub o Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day by David Szetela Contributor to Local Search Ranking Factors Contributed to Mobile Presence on WebmasterRadio.FM Social Media Club: Utah Social Media Awards Best Social Content Guru Interviewed by: Jounce, AimClear, WebmasterRadio, SEO.com, WebProNews, and various others.

Chapter One: Introduction: Facets of Social Media........


Social Networking Social Bookmarking Geo-Location Apps Media Sharing Social Question and Answers

Chapter Two: Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations ....


Marketing From a Social Connection Perspective Setting up Policies

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Chapter Three: Setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)..........


ROI: Return on Investment Traffic and Detailed Analytics Metrics

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Chapter Four: Content Types & Development ....


Content Development Scheduling

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Chapter Five: Getting the Team Involved ...


Delegation & Team Structuring Assigning Responsibilities Publishing Calendars

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Chapter Six: Account Management ....


Account Organization Syncing Across Platforms Posting and Scheduling Tools

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Chapter Seven: Community Engagement .....


Engagement Tactics Posting Strategy Drive Community Engagement with Linkbait

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Chapter Eight: Getting Started With Analytics & SEO ..


SEO for Social Media Social Media Analytics

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Chapter Nine: Content Review ..


Content Approval: What to Post, What to Avoid Deadlines and Check Off Lists Editing Before Posting Link Validity

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Chapter Ten: Submission Execution .


Website Structure Blog Guest Posting Social Media Submission Social Media Publishing

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Chapter Eleven: Social Voting & Crowd-Sourcing ...


Voting on New Products and Content Freelancers and Bloggers

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Chapter Twelve: Social Tools ...


Auto-Publishing & Scheduling Auto-Reply & Auto-Follow Reputation Monitoring

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Chapter Thirteen: Measuring Your Success ....


Google Analytics Reporting Link Shortener Analytics

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79 Bibliography ..... 80 Resource List ....... 86


Conclusion ....

Five years ago, social media was a new and emerging technology, one of which few people had extensive knowledge. Now there are over 500 million active Facebook accounts1 and over 110 million tweets are sent every day2. Social media has become a part of life for the majority of the United States and other countries around the world. It is not just a passing fad, but a vital communication medium that is updated instantly with news, opinions, photos, videos, and other content. It makes almost any information available at any moment. How did social media rise so fast and how can businesses rise to use it as a communication and marketing medium? To answer this question, one must first understand what each type of social media is and how their respective features can be utilized effectively. While a wealth of blog posts, e-books, and websites have devoted time and attention to showing both small and big businesses how to use social media, the following pages strive to provide a comprehensive guide that social media beginners and experts can both use to make sure their social media strategy is on target and able to achieve the results and goals for which it was intended.

Social Networking
Mashable3 and Freebase have defined Social Networking as the following: A social network service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Although online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service. In a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are groupcentered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks.4 Facebook and Twitter are considered the bigwigs in social networking, but the two networks are used in vastly different ways. Facebook allows users to have a profile where they can add applications, connect with friends, and create status updates.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows users to post messages, called Tweets, to their profile in 140 characters or less. Here are the main differences and features of the two sites: Feature Different Presence for Individuals and Businesses Facebook Yes. Individuals have profiles; businesses, celebrities and organizations have pages. Can also create groups and events that profiles can join or RSVP to, respectively. Businesses who have a profile violate Facebooks TOS. Pay-per-click campaigns that appear according to target demographics, including age, education, location, and interests. Twitter No; but some business and celebrity accounts can be verified by Twitter so users know they are genuine.

Types of Advertising Available

Ways to Communicate with Users

Promoting and Categorizing Other Users

Recommended Update

Trending topics can be sponsored and therefore promoted to the top of the Trending list; companies can pay some celebrity or popular Tweeters to tweet about their products. Users who have liked a Users can @ mention Page can see Page another user in a tweet, updates on their which hyperlinks that newsfeed (on the users name and lists the Facebook.com tweet in their Mentions homepage), Pages can view. Tweeters also also send likers event frequently RT or Reinvitations and updates. Tweet another persons tweet. If a person follows you, you can also send them a Direct (Private) Message. Pages can showcase their Tweeters can create lists Favorite Pages in the of Twitter profiles and left-hand side of the page. name them. The list view will show recent tweets from added users. Every other day for Several times a day,

Rate Management Availability

Pages.5 One Facebook profile can manage multiple pages; pages can have multiple administrators. All administrators have the same access. Pages have insights, which measures daily traffic, likes, impressions of updates on newsfeeds, and feedback percentage (how many users comment or like a status update). Insights can be exported to Excel.

average is 3-4 for most accounts.6 Must log in to each individual Twitter account using the username or email address and password. No public analytics from Twitter yet; announced that it will be coming in 20107, but was not fully released as of March 2011. Will measure replies, re-tweets and faves (which saves a tweet for a users personal reference later on).

Analytics

Even though Twitter and Facebook have distinctly different attributes, they are both lumped under social networking because the information, profiles, and user behavior are all dictated by users interests and opinions. The main difference is how they share these interests and opinions Twitter users can only share in 140-character increments and Facebook users have more options, including status updates, notes, events, pages, and a variety of applications built and provided by third party developers. While the majority of social media strategy surrounds these two platforms, social bookmarking and geo-location applications are also worth including into a corporate strategy.

Social Bookmarking
EDUCAUSE, a non-profit website that educates the public about technology, states that social bookmarking is "the practice of saving bookmarks to a public Web site and 'tagging' them with keywords." EDUCAUSE goes on to say that: Social bookmarking opens the door to new ways of organizing information and categorizing resources. The creator of a bookmark assigns tags to each resource, resulting in a user-directed, amateur method of classifying information. Because social bookmarking services indicate who created each bookmark and provide access to that persons other bookmarked resources,

users can easily make social connections with other individuals interested in just about any topic.8 This is a good summary of social bookmarking as it was originally created. The same premise still holds true today, except bookmarks now come with descriptions and reviews of the content being shared; additionally, more popular and active users normally have submitted URLs that are shared more often. This is because a users followers or friends on a social bookmarking site will see their submitted content and then share it on their own profile or vote for it. Digg and StumbleUpon are currently the most popular social bookmarking sites, with Reddit and Delicious trailing behind. Each of these marketing sites has a different navigation and sharing platform. For instance, users submit a URL to Digg and then are asked to choose a category and description of the link (if the description that Digg automatically pulls from the page itself isn't a sufficient or accurate summary). Once the URL is submitted, other Digg users can "digg" a link and comment on it. If a user tries to submit a URL that has already been submitted by somebody else, they are directed to a page that asks if this is a duplicate; if so, they are encouraged to "digg" it. This buffer of duplicate URLs ensures that all dates for a certain link are recorded on one submission and that all Digg content is unique. In the screenshot of the Digg homepage below, URLs with the most diggs or URLs being dugg the fastest are near the top of the page. Shared URLs can be viewed by topic as well (technology, sports, lifestyle, etc.).

The most dugg and fastest-dugg URLs are normally near the top of the homepage. In 2009, Digg made it possible to sponsor a Digg URL, allowing the sponsored URL to appear on the first page of Digg.9 One such sponsored result is illustrated in the middle of the screenshot, with the shared URL titled "The Cruise Industry's Deep Secret." Under the description, it says "Sponsored by HowLifeWorks. This is the website that paid to have their link in the top results, which in turn gave them more diggs. Besides a sponsored dig, advertisers can also place square and banner image ads, one of which is also illustrated in the screenshot. These advertising options may be a good option for some businesses, especially if the content they want to promote is a linkbait (which will be covered later) or unique content that will be of interest to many users. The sponsored result in the screenshot is a good example of content that does well as a sponsored Digg since many Internet users are interested in saving money and the promise of learning a "secret" about the cruise industry will drive a lot of traffic. Companies should use social bookmarking sites to share their blog content, tools and resources (e.g. widgets, calculators, quizzes, etc.), and news stories. Submitting a general website (e.g. "www.yoursite.com") will normally not do well on Digg unless it covers one specific topic or provides information about current events. One example of a website that would do well on a social bookmarking site is ElfYourself.com, a free interactive website by OfficeMax that allowed users to upload
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photos of themselves, friends, and family and place the photos on digital elf bodies that danced to holiday music. The elves could be shared via e-mail or social networking sites and resulted in a 190% increase in traffic for OfficeMax10 the first year ElfYourself was launched. StumbleUpon also allows sponsored listings, which was made available in 2006.11 Unlike Digg, StumbleUpon takes users to the actual website while the StumbleUpon toolbar anchors to the top of the page. Users type in a keyword or topic of interest and are taken to submitted sites that match. They can choose to vote for a site with StumbleUpons thumbs-up or thumbs down buttons. Users can also save the site on their own profile for future reference. While StumbleUpon takes the user on a journey through websites that may interest them, geo-location mobile applications allow users to mark their physical journey around their neighborhood and beyond.

Geo-Location Apps
Geo-Location Applications like FourSquare, Facebook Places, and Gowalla allow users to "check in" to a business or point of interest using their phone's GPS. FourSquare and Gowalla offer points and badges for certain check-ins (e.g. FourSquare's "Swarm Badge" is given to users who check into a venue with more than 50 people checked in at once). A further explanation about how GPS works is provided by Daniel Ionescu, PC World: Typically, geo-location apps do two things: They report your location to other users, and they associate real-world locations (such as restaurants and events) to your location. Geo-location apps that run on mobile devices provide a richer experience than those that run on desktop PCs because the relevant data you send and receive changes as your location changes. Smartphones today have a GPS chip inside, and the chip uses satellite data to calculate your exact position (usually when you're outside and the sky is clear), which services such as Google Maps can then map. When a GPS signal is unavailable, geo-location apps can use information from cell towers to triangulate your approximate position; a method that isn't as accurate as GPS but is has greatly improved in recent years.12

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Businesses can offer incentives for checking in.13 This may include a free appetizer, a percentage off a service, or special discounts. Businesses can also offer additional incentives to the Foursquare "mayor" of their business, who is the person that has the most check-ins in the shortest period of time. Geo-Location Apps are useful for companies mainly using a "business to customers" (B2C) model because of the available incentive options and free advertising that comes with a user sharing their check-in on other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, the business to business (B2B) model can also use the incentives to reward employees for consistent check-ins or mayorships.

Media Sharing
Sites that share images and video have loyal communities and are great for connecting with customers who are media-driven. Top media sharing sites are YouTube (the second largest search engine14), and Flickr. Photos and videos can be used in almost any industry for example, a restaurant could use Flickr to post photos of their popular dishes, restaurant events, or patrons celebrating a birthday, engagement, or other important event at their establishment. A consulting firm could use YouTube to post case studies on clients, client testimonials, and recordings of presentations at conferences or chamber of commerce meetings; additionally, they could post videos of employee events. Besides using media sharing websites to showcase videos and photos, many users are now utilizing them as cloud serversplaces to store files online so they can access them online from any computer. Financial Times predicts that cloud computing will become more of a regularity, especially for small businesses who dont have the adequate server space. E-mail providers such as Google, social networking sites including Facebook, and Flickr, an online photo and videosharing service, are all run from global data centers, many of which are owned by companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. The e-mails or photographs that appear to be stored on your desk-

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or laptop are actually held remotely. The term cloud comes from the technical diagrams used to represent telecommunications and computer systems, which traditionally enclosed networks within cloud shapesIt was the idea of putting all that unused capacity to work and the growth of the internet that led to the birth of cloud computing.15 So along with utilizing media sharing websites to showcase events, employees, and the business as a whole, corporations can also use them to store files that cant be stored on a server or as a back-up.

Social Question and Answers


Another way to get exposure while also providing credibility is by maintaining a regular presence on social question and answer sites like Aardvark, Answers.com, Quora, LinkedIn Answers, and Yahoo Answers. Facebook is also beta testing a social Q&A platform called Facebook Questions,16 which Facebook began to roll out in 2011. Facebook isnt the only social networking superpower to dip their toes into social Q&A: Twitter bought Fluther.com in December 2010. While they claim Fluther will continue to operate independently and was purchased for its engineers, their official responses have been a bit vague. Austin Carr at Fast Company states that Twitters 140-character limit would be a good fit for Fluther's social, crowdsourced Q&A platform, and Twitter would be wise to jump in on the buzz that similar products such as Quora and Yahoo Answers have seen.17 Companies can utilize social Q&A sites by regularly answering questions relevant to their industry and expertise. This helps to increase exposure while simultaneously providing credibility. Additionally, business leads can also flourish out of great answers to other users questionsbe sure to completely fill out all social Q&A profiles with contact information, portfolio, services offered, etc. Employees should plan on monitoring the most popular Q&A sites daily and answering questions or passing them along to co-workers that specialize in a certain area. Monitoring these types of opportunities does take a significant amount of time, but the potential exposure and lead opportunities make it worth it. The key to an effective social media campaign is to utilize social networking tools like social bookmarking, media sharing, social Q & A sites, and geo-location application advertising and incentives.

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Implementing all these user-based services will create a full and engaging social media presence for your business.

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One of the biggest difficulties when it comes to creating a social media marketing plan is the fact that many people dont know the best goals and ways to measure ROI. Because social media is about connecting with both the current customer base and potential customers who havent yet made their first purchase, figuring out how to prove that social media is a worthwhile investment can be a frustrating endeavor. Before hitting the ground running, take the time to craft and implement an official social media plan and company policy.

Marketing From a Social Connection Perspective


Jumping straight to the big What is our expected ROI? question isnt the best way to fully understand why social media is important for businesses. Try not to think of social media as another marketing outlet, but rather as a platform to make products and services better. Social media can essentially be a free focus groupwhere else can companies receive feedback on their new and current products from customers all over the world? While some companies may initially be afraid to put themselves out there, the fact of the matter is that people are already talking about brands and products (as they have via phone calls, letters, or conversations long before the internet). Creating an official presence where customers are talking is the best way to correct complaints or incorrect perceptions while also learning what target audiences want out of a product or service. For some great examples of nationwide brands that handle social media the right way, consider the following: Dell: Currently has over 26 internal social media employees and has had a presence in social media since 2006.18 Their customer support twitter account, @DellCares, constantly searches for tweets about their products and helps customers who feel that they arent getting answers from other contact outlets. Mountain Dew: Allowed Facebook fans to pick a new special edition of Mountain Dew in 2010.19 The flavor was announced on Labor Day and was available in stores through June 14.

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Wal-Mart: Lets customers determine their CrowdSaver product special, which is promoted exclusively on their Facebook page. Past specials have included TVs and netbooks. They are currently revamping it for 2011, but some products received over 10,000 votes before being chosen as the product offered.20 These brands are used as examples in a lot of social media articles because of one reasonthey are rocking at social media. Even though the majority of companies across the United States arent as big as Dell, Mountain Dew, and Wal-Mart, they can still take the innovative tactics they employ and use them for their own business as a great way to market themselves while also connecting to their client base.

Setting up Goals
Setting up goals is as easy as sitting down with those involved in marketing and company directives and deciding where the company wants to utilize social media. Set up goals that are specific and unmistakable to know when they are met. Set at least 5 goals and make sure they have set deadlines. Make sure all employees associated with the implementation process are aware of these goals and are committed to working towards them (goals are discussed in more detail in the next chapter.) Part of social media goal-setting is deciding how to communicate online as a whole. The basic communication strategies for a social media marketing plan will be discussed in more detail in later chapters, but should entail: 1. How to confront negative feedbackthe most social media savvy companies are respectful and dont delete comments. They handle issues quickly and publish the results in the same public forum they were raised in. 2. General posting strategywhat to post and when. 3. Campaign frequencywhen to run promotional campaigns and how they will coincide with overall marketing campaigns for the company.

Setting up Policies
Besides setting up general strategy directives, companies must also create a policy of not only the companys position on social media but also how employees can use social

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media in the office and in their personal time. Some of the top questions that must be answered are: Can employees use social media for the personal use at the office? Can employees talk about the workplace and the company on their personal accounts? What is the standard disclosure policy for profiles and posts on message boards and other online mediums? Can employees mention competitors in any social media medium? If so, in what way? Do social media implementation employees have the authority to open support tickets or handle customer issues themselves?

These are just some of the common questions that arise when welcoming social media into a companys marketing and communication plan. Drafting up a social media policy that answers these questions (and others applicable to the unique industry) and having each employee sign it will make social media snafus (such as having employees sending out tweets on the company account with expletives).21 Be sure to include consequences for policy violations within the actual policy itself.

Being proactive about setting up goals, strategy guidelines, and company policies will ensure employees are more cognizant of what they say on company and personal social media accounts. If an employee does violate the policy, the outlined consequences must be taken. Even though a tweet or a Facebook post isnt as official in the traditional sense as a press release or television commercial, the fact remains

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that social media users see any messages sent from official accounts as the companys official position on the topic. A racist tweet on a corporate account is now taken just as seriously as an employee at a press conference conveying the same sentiment. Think of company social media accounts as a digitized version of a 24/7 press conference.

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According to Bruce Clay and Webopedia, Key Performance Indicators are defined as help[ing] organizations achieve organizational goals through the definition and measurement of progress. The key indicators are agreed upon by an organization and are indicators that can be measured that will reflect success factors. The KPIs selected must reflect the organization's goals, they must be key to its success, and they must be measurable. Key performance indicators usually are long-term considerations for an organization.22 KPIs were created to keep employees and companies on track towards accomplishing goals and milestones. In his article What are Key Performance Indicators?,23 Bruce Clay summarizes the above definition by saying that KPIs are best for organization, measuring purpose, making goals last, and making sure all staff (especially managers) are on the same page. Making sure to base goals on the business personal mission statement and target demographics (instead of the industry as a whole) can help make milestones and accomplishments more specific and easier to accomplish. All goals must be measured through analyzing and measuring traffic, analytics metrics, and ROI. Once measurement and business-specific goals are set up, making sure management is on the same page will ensure there isnt any confusion or hesitancy when it comes to working on significant goal tasks. KPIs can also help translate the measurement data into viewable growth and influence. This bridges the gap24 between raw data and the determination of whether goals were met. Ways that data can be translated into results include: Graphs A/B Testing Percentages o Growth compared to the previous month o Conversion rate o Users that went to website from Facebook or Twitter Raw data when it comes to number of customers, comments, etc.

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The benefit of KPIs in social media over other traditional marketing/customer service verticals is the fact that data cant usually be faked by employees or customers. For example, a KPI created by management of 20 cold calls a day for telemarketers could easily be evaded. Employees could claim that they dialed 20 numbers (which would show on the records), but it is difficult to review every phone call duration and conversation for every telemarketing employee in a single company. This means there is a higher margin of error when it comes to meeting or exceeding KPIs. Additionally, high-producing employees skew the overall KPI metrics for the entire department. As Mike from The Daily Anchor notes in his article Key Performance Indicators: Paralysis by Analysis, There are many pitfalls to avoid when leading a metrics-driven management strategy. With visibility comes the need for consistency. Below are some of the following common KPIs for social media that were reported in a survey by In The Know.25 While the sample size is a bit small (only 369 people), the responses provide valuable insight into what current social media specialists are measuring for their businesses:

Response Time, Active Subscribers, Community Involvement, and Impression/View Rate (which is reported by Facebook) are first metrics companies should start recording because they are easy to measure. These stats can then be translated into bottom line percentages like ROI or increases when compared to a previous week, month, or year.

ROI: Return on Investment


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ROI is probably the most discussed metric when it comes to social media. Because other marketing campaigns commonly use ROI to defend their budgets, business executives commonly ask for expected ROI when an employee pushes for approval on implementing a social media presence. While this request makes sense (after all, successful social media takes a large amount of time and dedication), it simply cant be given before social media has even begun to be integrated into a companys marketing and customer service strategy. As Brian Solis duly notes in The Maturation of Social Media ROI26 on Mashable.com: The debate over measuring social media investment inspired many brands to cannonball into popular social networks and join the proverbial conversation without a plan or strategic objectives defined. At the same time, the lack of ROI standards unnerved many executives, preventing any form of experimentation until their questions and concerns were addressed. In 2010, were entering a new era of social media marketing one based on information, rationalization, and resolve. Business leaders simply need clarity in a time of abundant options and scarcity of experience. As many of us can attest, we report to executives who have no desire to measure intangible credos rooted in transparency and authenticity. In the end, they simply want to calculate the return on investment and associate social media programs with real-world business performance metrics. As most social media experts know, social media metrics sometimes do not translate well when compared to real-world business performance metrics. A company cant quantify how many customers think well of them because they answered their question on Twitter or which customers in particular told their friends and family about the companys Facebook page. Social Media is basically an electronic word of moutha time-tested way for customers share their experiences, potentially increase revenue for a business by referring them to others, and keep a business on top of mind when considering a future purchase. Solis goes on to suggest replacements of the word Investment in ROI, which include Return on Engagement and Return on Trust. While transferring those metrics into hardcoded business numbers dont always work, there are ways to track whether or not

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marketing initiatives and customer service performed on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere are effective. These include: Unique Social Media URLs to information pages Unique Social Media Coupon Codes Tracking customer issues by support case IDs to see if open percentages decrease or cases are solved faster.

These types of initiatives can produce ROI metrics that may help satisfy executives who want to prove that the manpower it takes to power a social media presence (which can translate into multiple employees, depending on the size of the company) is costeffective. Additionally, its crucial to stress the importance of growing a targeted community (quality over quantity) and the ratio of engagement over the traditional measurement of ROI as business executives know it. As Ben Parr notes in his article, How to Manage Social Media Goals and Expectations:27 The desire for social media popularity has been a growing phenomenon in recent years. There is an (unfair) perception that more followers or more readers = more value, and thus people have done some crazy things to grab attentionYet while its true that more attention can mean more shareability in general, you arent going to gain anything from people that dont truly care about what you have to say. Relevancy is key to social media success. Engagement (e.g. maintaining the community and preventing drop-off) is a big part of the EdgeRank algorithm for Facebook. If a page isnt keeping Fans engaged (meaning they dont like posts or comment on them regularly), they could stop seeing the majority of your feed.28. Engagement is proof that visibility is high and content is relevant to the companys target demographic. Not only do users comment on posts and tweets they are interested in, but they may also go to a companys website for more information or to make a purchase.

Traffic and Detailed Analytics Metrics


Deciphering the traffic that comes from social media sites, especially when taking users bounce rate and pages viewed into consideration, can also tie into ROI and prove that social media drives traffic to the company website and/or e-commerce shopping site, if applicable. Google Analytics is a great free traffic analytics interface. Once installed, log into google.com/analytics and view the Traffic Sources report. Look for social media
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websites and translate these numbers in the overall percentage of traffic. Consider the following example:

StumbleUpon, Facebook, and Twitter were the top social media sites that referred traffic to this blog in the last 30 days. Surprisingly, StumbleUpon referred over 4x the amount of traffic that Twitter and Facebook did (this goes to show how social bookmarking sites can increase traffic, as mentioned in chapter one).

StumbleUpon Twi0er Facebook

Figure 1: Traffic Referred By Social Media

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In terms of comparing social media sites to overall traffic, StumbleUpon brought in 11% of all site traffic, Twitter 1.86%, and Facebook 1.3%. In the Referring Sites view under Traffic Sources in Google Analytics (not pictured), it is reported that StumbleUpon was the #1 referring site. Other metrics available on Google Analytics include the percentage of new traffic from a referring site, average time spent on the site, and how many average pages were explored per user visit. Google Analytics reports can be sent automatically via email in PDF form; furthermore, they can be filtered to only display pertinent information (e.g. only social media sites). Actual traffic reports, coupon code redemption results, and participation on social media will help companies stay on the right track when it comes to properly reporting on KPI progress while also guaranteeing that social media is an integral part to most companies marketing and customer service strategy.

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A big part of any online strategy is content, which in turn has its own strategy specifically when it comes to topics, format, posting schedule, and publication outlet. Though the term online content can define several things, it commonly refers to articles, blog posts, and the actual content of Facebook posts and tweets. However, the posts and tweets that share the content on a companys website, blog, or content database are just as important as the blog posts and articles themselves. Online content publication (e.g. blogs) and social media have one major thing in common that makes them work well togetherthey both must have consistency. Kevin Palmer on Social Media Answers emphasizes: When you produce any type of content that is offered multiple times a week or on a daily basis, people begin to expect it.29 A blog that hasnt been updated for a year looks just as bad as a Twitter profile of a user who tweets once every four months. Because both of these marketing and information strategies must have a continuous presence, its easy to create a combined posting schedule that combines both promotion and traffic driving opportunities.

Content Development
Coming up with informative links, topic ideas, and tidbits can seem overwhelming, especially for a company just beginning to grow their online presence. However, finding ideas for tweets, Facebook posts, or blog entries can be as easy as focusing back on the company and what it is they do best. Look to day-to-day operations of a company, including common customer support questions, major milestones, or daily activities, for inspiration. As Andrew Hanelly of Social Media Explorer states, Youll never run out of blog post ideas if you just get to work.30 In addition to focusing on what the target demographic is interested in, focus on the types of content that online users like to read and absorb. Such types include infographics,31 photos illustrating/complimenting content, video blogs, graphics, lists, and more. Content must be easy to absorb and engaging to read/participate in.

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Ideas for blog posts and other types of online content can be kept in a running Google Document or Spreadsheet and referred to when needed. Also, using current events relevant to the industry can make a companys blog both timely and engaging, increasing the likelihood it will be shared and commented on.

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Organizing and implementing social media content ideas should be done as far in advance as possible for static information and events (such as one-day community blood drives or weekend sales). Put as much detail as possible on the company website and Facebook event pages. Use images when possiblethis breaks up the monotony of text-only content. On the other hand, social media updates need to be done closer to the actual publication deadline since social media (Twitter especially) focuses on real-time information. Finding links, resources, and blog posts from external blogs to share can be done the morning of publication and scheduled for later postings throughout the day.

Scheduling
It is crucial to tie in content scheduling with social media posting. Kevin Palmer stated earlier, if a blog initially has new posts 5 times a week, it should always have 5 posts a week. Same with social media posting a flood of tweets in one hour is more inconsistent than one or two tweets every hour for the entire workday. Luckily, content promotion and publication can be auto-posted or scheduled via free services like TwitterFeed, SocialOomph, or TweetDeck. Set up the blog RSS feed to post any new posts automatically on Twitter and Facebook and then spend a few minutes each morning to schedule social media posts for the day (especially tweets, since they are more frequent than Facebook updates). A shared calendar via Google Calendar or another service (like Microsoft Outlook) will ensure that all employees involved with social media content publication are posting updates on the correct days. This is especially important for events, sales, or time-specific information. Furthermore, assigning posts and content to specific employees will create cohesiveness and eliminate confusion of responsibilities.

Scheduling and implementing various content development are all key to creating a successful social media strategy. These pre-emptive steps allow the company and its employees to map out action steps instead of blindly entering the social media space.
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Now that social media policies are set, its time to assemble a team to carry out social media marketing, strategy and reputation monitoring. Part of assembling a team is delegating responsibility, assigning projects and duties, and creating an organized system of events and publication. Because social media takes place in real time, those immersed in it must be proactive and organized. Setting up a routine (as well as a backup plan in case of a public relations crisis) is crucial to an effective online image. Active social media users expect the brands they follow and trust to be consistent. Therefore, delegating responsibilities and scheduling tasks is one of the easiest ways to ensure the company's online presence never falls by the wayside.

Delegation & Team Structuring


There are several possible ways that a social media team can be structured. Larger teams may prefer to assign each task to certain employees (one employee handles cutomer comments, another develops marketing strategies, etc.). For smaller teams, instead of breaking up responsibilities by area (reputation monitoring versus marketing), employees may find themselves simply breaking up hours of their day or week. Whether a social media department has one employee or twenty, each part of the puzzle must be delegated accordingly. To achieve a comprehensive social media strategy plan, the following areas of responsibility must be assigned to different people or blocks of time: Reputation Management - finding out what customers and potential customers are saying about the company and products online. Marketing - creating engaging campaigns and advertising strategies that tie in the social media space with traditional marketing efforts. A good example of this is the new Ford Explorer campaign, where Ford published answers to questions the company received from online users in their company magazine.32 The company also announced the launch of the redesigned Explorer exclusively on their Facebook page.

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Community Management Engaging and answering questions from the online community, which may include Twitter users, Facebook fans, and YouTube users. This is different from reputation management because it focuses on engagement and not cleaning up negative feedback. A great example of this is the Twitter account @ComcastCares. Says Todd Defren in his e-book Brink: A Social Media Guide From The Edge, When Frank Eliason (also known as @ComcastCares on Twitter) helps out a customer, he does so in a very public forum: his patience and sticktoitiveness has engendered influential fans worldwide.33 Even though Frank Eliason has left Comcast since Defrens e-book was published,34 the companys social media response strategy of sticking with the customer and their issue until it's resolved has made Comcast a true example of proper community management.35 Content Posting - creating a schedule of regular promotional and informative messages to be published across the companys social networking profiles. This may include publicizing press releases, mentioning a new section of the company website, or re-tweeting informative news articles related to the industry.

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While several of these responsibility sectors can be combined or enveloped into one employee, they are separate areas with their own struggles and goals and it's sometimes best that they are separated. Search Engine People states: Organizations can typically find that assigning social media management to a taskforce helps achieve their goals faster than when weighing down a sole employee with multiple channels. The taskforce's various perspectives help with outside-the-box thinking, brainstorming, and developing a consistent dissemination plan across channels. A taskforce also allows you to hit a greater number of channels while maintaining the enthusiasm and energy required to keep the messages fresh in each.36 Delegating and dividing responsibilities also allows more employees of the company to get involved while also ensuring that the company's entire social media strategy and presence isn't dependent on one person, who may get sick or take vacation time. It will also ensure that the company as a whole is comfortable with social media (and sees it as a shared responsibility).

Assigning Responsibilities
Create a list based on the areas mentioned above and outline the tasks that need to be completed in each area on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Outline the list of people and departments involved in addition to an estimate of time commitment and cost. This is best done as a group so everyone can understand how their responsibilities will fit in with everyone else's. For larger companies, it may be beneficial to also give an estimate of future staff that may be needed. For basic assignments, interns and entry-level employees may be best suited to carry out everyday scheduled postings and reputation monitoring. Combined traditional and online marketing campaigns, along with strategy, customer service, and crisis management, is best left to the managers and others with several years of experience. Be sure to emphasize that everybody's job is important. Social media is one of the only marketing strategies where 140 characters, published and accessible to thousands of people in seconds, can represent a multimillion-dollar company. This is why it's crucial for interns and entry-level employees
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(and even those with years of experience) are properly trained on how to respond to customer comments and reactions. Try to create a schedule of responsibilities at least a month in advance. Holding a monthly meeting at either the last week of the month for the next month or the first week of the month to plan out strategy, published messages about announcements and events, and upcoming specials will help social media be carried out smoothly, leaving time for crisis management, should an issue arise.

Publishing Calendars
As mentioned in the previous chapter, using a shared online calendar (such as Google Calendar) is an invaluable resource for scheduling tweets or Facebook posts. A shared online calendar (viewable to all employees involved in social media) will help everyone see not only their own responsibilities, but their coworkers tasks as well. This helps in case an employee is out sick or there is internal confusion about who is handling a certain task. Employees can also see what is being published that day on social networking profiles, which may help them answer questions or respond to messages about a sale or promotion that has been announced for certain time period. Having a calendar that is accessible 24/7 is crucial in social media, as messages may need to be updated in real time to accommodate certain promotions or events that may take place out of working hours. An example of this is Zazzles Four Hour Sales or their Black Friday and Christmas (called Blitzen Deals37) promotions, which required employee to e-mail and share exclusive codes, valid for two hours only. This example shows why Google Calendar is more beneficial than, say, Microsoft Outlook, since employees can access it from their smartphones or home computers. For many large companies, reputation management is an around-the-clock process and having all scheduling completely mobile and online will ensure that everyone has access to the information, even if the person in charge of scheduling it is not in the office.

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Once the delegation of responsibilities has been settled, account management is the next step. For some companies, its necessary to have several Twitter accounts or Facebook pages. Examples include Ford and the companys managed pages for each make they offer, including the Ford Fiesta.38 Another example is Dell, where certain products and sectors of the company have their own Twitter account and share the responsibility of tweeting on the official @Dell account (other Dell Twitter accounts include @DellEnterprise and @Direct2Dell). Some companies also encourage their social media employees to have their own individual official account as well, to allow customers to get to know them on a more personal level.

Account Organization
If the company's social media structure is broken up by product or department, then there may need to be a different person doing each sector of every segmented social media presence. For example, if McDonald's had an official Twitter account for McDonald's in Europe and McDonalds in America, then each of these accounts would have their own reputation monitoring employee as well as a community management employee. For large brands with thousands of followers, this is a necessity just to keep up with the sheer volume of messages. If the company has several products that are more well known than the company itself, having a separate social media identity for that product may be a good idea. Having one person or a team solely focused on a products social media identity will lead to more accurate responses and allow for better monitoring of mentions online. Besides delegating accounts and profiles to certain people or teams, part of account organization is also making sure that the message across all profiles is consistent. There are several tools that allow for automatic posting from platform to platform, which may include Facebook to Twitter, Twitter to Facebook, and RSS feed to Facebook.

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Syncing Across Platforms


Facebook to Twitter is a popular method for many social media strategists since posting on Facebook doesn't occur as often as it does on Twitter and they are more dynamic ways to post content, such as photo albums, events, and notes. To sync Facebook to automatically post on Twitter, go to http://www.facebook.com/Twitter after you've logged in to a Facebook account that has administrative rights to the page you want to link. Facebook allows you to choose what type of content will be automatically posted. These include: Status updates Photos Video Links Notes Events

Some companies also like posting their tweets to Facebook. In order to do this, log into the Facebook profile that has administrative rights to the page where tweets should be posted on and search for the application called Smart Tweets For Pages:

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Once installed, this application will automatically post tweets onto a Facebook page. The app will also take out any Twitter language, such as #hashtags, @replies, or RT (Re-tweet). To uninstall or monitor the application, click on edit page, then Apps on the left-hand side, and then edit application under the application name. Another major social media networking service that can be linked to Twitter and Facebook (along with Orkut, MySpace, Google Buzz, and RSS Reader) is YouTube. To link your YouTube account to these social networks, login to YouTube and go to Account Settings, then Activity Sharing. These actions on YouTube can be shared with other networks: Likes a video Comments on a video Subscribes to a channel (i.e. another YouTube profile) Favorites a video Uploads a video

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Finally, to link a blogs RSS feed to Twitter and Facebook, use an RSS service such as www.TwitterFeed.com and/or Facebook Notes. Using TwitterFeed is pretty selfexplanatory and allows for posting on several social networks. To feed RSS to Facebook Notes39, do the following: 1. Login to the account that has administrative rights to the page the notes will be posted on 2. Go to the page in question 3. Click on Edit Page 4. Click on Apps 5. Click on Go to App 6. Click on Edit Import Settings on the left hand side 7. Enter in the RSS feed URL. A page administrator can stop importing blog posts from the RSS feed at any time, but only one RSS feed is allowed at a time.

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Posting and Scheduling Tools


Though some popular posting and scheduling tools have already been mentioned, TweetDeck and HootSuite are worth an overview because they're both free and offer versatility when it comes to managing multiple social media accounts and keywords at once in addition to scheduling posts and updates. Eric Stoller, a social media consultant, sums up tweets act quite well in one of his blog posts:40 The latest version of the TweetDeck desktop client incorporates real-time streaming. The nifty thing about TweetDeck is that it is available as a desktop client and as an app for iPhone, Androidbased phones, and the iPad. If you want to leverage the power of Twitter as a communications and marketing platform, TweetDeck is by far the best free app for staying connected. The main difference between TweetDeck and HootSuite is that TweetDeck is a free downloadable desktop program and HootSuite is online with free and enterprise versions. The newest version of TweetDeck allows for not only real-time streaming of Twitter as Eric mentioned, but also of Facebook (even though this is the newsfeed of an individual's profile, not page updates and comments). TweetDeck works by setting up columns that show tweets that include certain keywords or @ mentions. For example, a company may not only want to bring a mention of their company name and products, but also of major keywords in their industry. From each column, a user can do several actions, such as favorite the tweet, re-tweet it, @ mention or direct message (DM) the person who wrote the tweet, or even mark it as spam. Users can also look up a person's Twitter profile and choose to follow or un-follow them. Status updates can be sent from TweetDeck to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare and can be published across multiple accounts at the same time. These updates can also be scheduled a few hours or days in advance and at a certain time:12:30 PM today, for example, or 4:13 AM two weeks from now. The newest version of TweetDeck also allows users to post longer updates than 140 characters using Deck.ly, which generates a Read More link at the end of the tweet that will take another user to the complete message on another webpage hosted by Deck.ly. Additionally, users can also choose which link shortener to use. Twitters official link shortener is t.co, but bit.ly and cli.gs are also popular. Link shorteners not only reduce characters space but many offer free analyticsincluding real time click stats, according to Bit.Ly.41 HootSuite offers many of the same amenities as TweetDeck-- scheduled posting and automatic link shortening, for example-- but is online only (though it does have applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry) and offers its own analytics platform via its unique link shortener, owl.ly. Users who click on an owl.ly shortened link
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also have the ability to give it a +1 or -1 via an in-screen tool bar, similar to StumbleUpon. It also offers group collaboration that allows members to share data without sharing passwords.

HootSuite Enterprise is $1499/month (as of April 9, 2011) and offers some of the following advanced features:42 30 team members Unlimited RSS feeds Enhanced analytics Custom link shortener Advertisement free

There are several other online posting and scheduling tools, such as laterbro.com, but TweetDeck and HootSuite has regularly been named the best social networking applications many years in a row online in several places, including the Shorty Awards,43 ReadWriteWeb,44 and Mashable.45 All available services aside, the most important thing to remember is to update your accounts regularly and manage them accordingly. Setting up syncing and utilizing scheduling programs is just as crucial as creating companies social media statement and marketing plans.

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The main goal for creating social media profiles for any business is to create extensive community engagement with potential and current customers. What works best for most businesses is to foster a relationship of openness by addressing negative issues upfront while also branding themselves as a source of relevant and useful information that relates to a specific demographic. Community engagement will not occur unless businesses learn to be more relatable-this happens by not acting as a megaphone and promoting ones own products and services, but rather by interacting and providing customers with a microphone so that they too can share ideas about the brand and its products or services.

Engagement Tactics
There are several ways to produce content online besides simply tweeting a few sentences or sharing a link on Facebook. Infographics, blog posts, articles, newsletters, sharing services (social bookmarking sites like Digg), and even the SEOd content on web pages are all further examples of online content.

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Not only does content published by businesses and websites increase users interaction, it is also reciprocal, as illustrated by the graphic above. For example, once a user reads a website article or blog post, they may comment or share it via email or social media via an online network of personal friends and colleagues. Because this reciprocation exists, the term social media is not necessarily true. Perhaps for businesses wishing to engage their customers, the term social networking might be a more accurate description. This give-and-take relationship is what drives community engagement.

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Utilizing all methods of online publication and syndication is the most effective way to guarantee that content receives the widest exposure and therefore the greatest chance at enabling interaction with customers to increase community engagement. Besides jumping at the chance to respond to customers negative and positive comments about their brand online, companies should also be attempting to engage in dialogue about the industry in general as well as competitor brands and products. Sean Nicholson from InTouch Solutions, a pharmaceutical marketing agency, describes why: As you start the listening process, keep in mind that your community is not just made up of your customers. Its your customers, the people they influence (aka your potential customers), and your competitors customers. As you start your listening activities, dont create search filters that are so narrow youre only hearing what people are saying about your product or company. You need to be sure you clearly understand how the community feels about your competitors so you understand how the perception of your brand compares to others in the space. But listening isnt just about brand sentiment. Its also about understanding the members of your community. Online dialogues rarely consist solely of consumers sharing positive or negative feelings about the products and services they use. Instead, the product mentions often come as part of a bigger dialogue about life in general.46 Having a narrow view solely focused on marketing a brands message clearly isnt going to be effective when it comes to online social communities. In order to be as effective and engaging as possible, companies need to be strategic about why they post, as well as what they post.

Posting Strategy
On her blog, Christine Gallagher explains the POST method47 in order to properly execute social media strategy for any content that is created online. It involves considering the People, Objectives, Strategies, and Technologies of a content strategy. P: Who are the PEOPLE you would most like to attract via your social media presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter? For examplementors, raving fans, potential clients, colleagues, strategic alliance partners, local connections? Or a combination of these?

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O: What are your primary OBJECTIVES for your Social Media presence? For example, is it to get found by those who are looking for your products or services, finding and interacting with current and potential clients and customers, building relationships with potential strategic alliance and referral partners, building a community around your business, creating awareness of your content and offerings, learning from mentors? S: What Social Media STRATEGIES do you plan to implement? Will you have a Twitter profile, a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook Fan Page, start a blog, join a Facebook Group? Which ones have priority over others? T: What TECHNOLOGIES will you use? For exampleHootsuite, YouTube, Ping.fm, Twitpic, Twellow, Bit.ly for link shortening? (The ones you determine to be of highest priority to you will influence the kinds of actions you take on the social media sites you have a presence on.) For most people, the People portion of POST is the target demographic audience or target customer base, while the objective is what needs to be accomplished (which Christine explains in great detail above). However, community engagement goes beyond finding and interacting. It also is measured by the volume of interactionsjust like the feedback percentage that Facebook offers to Page Admins.

Caitlin Melvin from Search Engine People explains how Facebook gets the Feedback percentage: Page admins can use Facebook impressions as a way to tailor their posts so they get more interaction among their fans. By looking at the Feedback percentage, admins can see which posts get the most interactions. Facebook takes the number of impressions (how many times the posts has showed up on a Facebook users' feeds, and on the page itself), and puts whatever feedback (comments and likes) there were from that post into a percentage.

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Along with following the POST strategy, a company can only know the value of their community engagement efforts if they have a way to measure it (this is where the Facebook Feedback Percentage comes in handy). One of the cornerstones of community engagement is driving conversation, and certain types of content can help accomplish that. For instance, a post that says Follow us on Twitter! will have decidedly less engagement than a fun photo with a call for captions or an infographic about the industry.

Drive Community Engagement with Linkbait


Unique photos and infographics are the types of content that make great linkbait content that is designed to be shared and can help grow website traffic. 3 out of 4 posts on all social media profiles should be linkbait-type items. Other examples include quizzes, reward badges, contests, and trivia questions.

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As the graphic shows, great linkbait is shared often and builds new and reoccurring traffic. One of the greatest masters of linkbait-driven content is Matthew Inman, also known as The Oatmeal. His original comics, with titles such as Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell to Make Us Miserable49 or How to Fix Any Computer,50 incur thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, and social bookmarking links. Matthew began creating linkbait to drive traffic to his online dating site, Mingle251 (which was eventually purchased by another company). One of his linkbait pieces for Mingle2 was The 8 Phases of Dating.52 He now does web and graphic design but only takes projects when he has the time. His story is a fantastic example of how linkbait can help grow a business organically.
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Linkbait doesnt have to be a graphic; it can be a great news story, statistics about a new study that was just released, or something interactive, like a mortgage or budget calculator, a contest, or a quiz about a popular TV show like Seinfeld.

The above graphic describes the types of linkbait that are used online: Attack Hook: Strong headline that grabs attention, e.g. How Your Social Media Strategy is Failing Miserably Humor Hook: Using humor to get the point across, e.g. How Monkeys are Better at Social Media Than Your Company Contrary Hook: Something that seems to be a juxtaposition or ironic, e.g. Why Your Company May Not Need Facebook Incentive Hook: Providing a monetary or product, e.g. Receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card for Filling Out This 30 Second Survey News Hook: Breaking news applicable to the industry, e.g. Facebook Announces the Like Button Ego Hook: Something that appeals to the users ego or personality, e.g. Which Baywatch Babe are You? Resource Hook: Tutorials or How-tos, e.g. How to Install a Like Box on Your Website

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Engaging content, listening to industry and competitor chatter, and responding to all user questions are all ways to drive community engagement. A social networking initiative can only be deemed successful if the results can be proven with numbers and data. This is where analytics and SEO maintenance can come into play.

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Analytics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seems to be a default practice now for websites, but many marketers arent using these tools to help their social media profiles get indexed and tracked more efficiently. Analytic tools (Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytic tools and, unless otherwise mentioned, will be the default analytic tool mentioned here) can help marketers and business owners see where their traffic is coming from, how long it has been there, and in some cases (e.g. Facebook Insights, mentioned in Chapter 3), the demographics. From unique URLs to enhanced profile content, analytics and SEO have a variety of uses in social media and shouldnt be relegated as for websites only. Getting started with implementing SEO and analytics into a social media strategy plan sounds daunting, but when using the right tools, it can be easy to schedule and maintain.

SEO for Social Media


There are many opportunities to use the basic tactics of SEO in social media profiles and activity. The main way SEO can help search engines effectively index social media profiles and updates (e.g. tweets on Twitter) is by making sure they utilize important keywords relevant to the topic. For a specific topic, the keywords can also be longtail phrases, which according to Greg Bay on SEO.com, are defined as: A string of three or more words that make up a phrase. The concept of long tail is pretty simple: Tap into the large amounts of search traffic using longer keyword phrases. Like traditional (one or two word) short tail keywords, long tail keywords define what is on the web page and what the website wants to be located under in search engines and on SERPs.53 Long tail phrases can be used to explain more about what a shared link is about, and may also be useful in profile areas, like Expertise and Education (for LinkedIn profiles) and the bio section on Twitter. Besides long tail phrases in titles and link descriptions, using link shorteners can help make URLs easier to remember and may have some SEO benefit (though it hasnt

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been officially proven). These URLs can again help to incorporate crucial keywords into social media updates. Furthermore, Bit.Ly Pro offers custom short links so companies can incorporate their brand name into their URLs. Finally, as mentioned above, making sure that profile information is optimized can help drive search engine results, as Bing54 and Google55 have stated that their search engines do index social media profiles and posts (mostly for Twitter, not Facebook because of privacy settings) both for general search results and as part of Social Search, which Google is using. Social Search56 pulls links and content from a users contacts via Facebook, Twitter, and Google Talk (if a user is logged into these sites in the same browser session or have connected their accounts in their Google Account) and may display search results that have been shared or viewed by someone the user knows personally.

Because search engines like Bing and Google are utilizing social media in their search results for users, having search engine optimized content is more important than ever when it comes to social media.

Social Media Analytics


Social media analytics were highlighted in chapter three, but there are several tools that can help decipher and collect traffic and other analytical information. For instance, the Facebook Insights platform allows Page Administrators to view unique page views, number of likes, and demographics, such as location and gender.

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Facebook sends Page Administrators an insights report for the previous week every Monday by email; however as noted by the screenshot above, administrators can log in, select a time frame to view, and export the results as a report in spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel). Twitter announced that they would be releasing analytics57 for their platform as well; however, as of January 2012 it has not yet been released and is still in use by a few beta members, including advertisers who can see Sponsored Tweet activity.

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Once all users have access to this Twitter data, they will be able to get more advanced data on their Twitter usage and how other users are sharing their content. Viewing analytics lets developers and marketers see what types of content are doing well. Continuing to create the type of content that does well via social media can increase overall website traffic.

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Another major social media website that provides analytics data to users is YouTube, and can give users reports on view time, demographics of viewers (age, location, etc.), and more.

As Greg Habermann from Search Engine Watch states,58 YouTube Insight's Views page offers similar information as that found on the Summary page. The Views page shows you the total number of views of all your videos, over time, and in particular regions (who would've thought I'd be big in Australia with Japan being so close?). You can also see what percentage of which of your videos made up the majority of your views. Furthermore, the Discovery tab shows where and how users got to the uploaded video, along with a percentage of the total views:

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Making sure that analytics are set up and running on all available platforms will give companies more details about how content is being seen and consumed online. In other words, the more analytics reports, the better. Deciphering analytics reports and utilizing the data to craft future content and marketing methods will be mentioned in further detail in chapter 13. Along with analytics reports analyzing the types of popular traffic, looking at search phrases that lead users to a website is also crucialif a search phrase happens often, incorporating that phrase into a website may help the SEO of a website. Likewise, if users are continually being led to a website via keywords that arent relevant to your site, removing or reworking such keywords can help make search results more accurate. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (a link is in the Resources section at the end of this e-book) to find new and relevant search phrases to include in content.

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Once a business has its social media profiles up and running, its vitally important to ensure all social media content contains only accurate, high-quality information. Keep in mind that social media may be the first (or only) contact a customer has with a company, so the interaction should be a positive one. Treat social media accounts in the same way one would treat a PR professional: they are a representative of the company and while it is their job to keep people interested, the information they give out should be 100 percent correct. In March 2011, Facebook had close to 700 billion users, a large portion of which are located in the United States.60 With such a large user base, it's hard to argue that social media doesn't play a huge role in a businesss marketing strategies.

Content Approval: What to Post, What to Avoid


The first thing to keep in mind when posting content to a social media account is what type of information a business wants to share. Whether the focus is marketing, historical events, or how-to guides, any posted content should reflect the specified theme. Tom Pisello, of the Content Marketing Institute, wrote, "One of the best ways to generate social media popularity is to have a great content marketing strategy tied to your social media efforts.61 Pisello goes on to explain that by mixing entertainment and thoughtprovoking content, a business can get the most out of their social media accounts. By giving readers something to look forward to, while simultaneously not boring them, a company ensures the best recipe for repeat visitors. Start by reviewing existing content: what posts are the most popular and which receive the least amount of hits? What types of content bring in the most hits or generate the most feedback? Recreating these posts allow for the most amount of success from a social media account. A company should also have a check and balances system in place that provides for at least two sets of eyes to approve info before it goes live. While an intern might find an article funny and informative, a more seasoned worker might find the same article offensive or inappropriate. It is important to keep a company's audience in mind when making a set of guidelines for acceptable posts. However, it is not only content that has to be approved through the ranks. With the ever-growing popularity of mixing punctuation and acronyms into everyday language, the actual words used in social media content must be considered as well. Slang and abbreviations have become more

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and more predominant, especially with the use of texting and Twitter, where every character counts. However, it is important for readers to understand what the text is saying so they are not left staring at something that resembles a bowl of alphabet soup. Slang should be avoided in formal text, as it will decrease the credibility of its source, and may alienate its audience.62

Remarkable Communication, in its list of 10 Commandments of New Social Media, rates "Thou shalt talk like a human being" as commandment number four.64 Text that has been shortened to tweet-size should flow and be easy-to-read. Many people will lose patience if they have to fill in the gaps in order to understand a statement. If a tweet can't be shortened to 140 characters, free services like TwitterContd and ShortText.com let a user write lengthier tweets by linking them to their website, where they are displayed in full.

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Deadlines and Check Off Lists


With technology almost always at a persons fingertips, deadlines have an entirely new meaning. A tweet doesnt have to wait until office hours to be shared, and breaking headlines can be shared as soon as a source is verified. Content can literally be posted at any hour of the day, regardless of a persons location. Of course, there will always be unexpected distractions and as advanced as technology has become, crashes do still occur every now and then. A company should first set up a tentative plan of action (and realize that it is tentative). While it is not likely for schedules to be postponed on a regular basis, having a backup plan for delays will help speed up the process. Next, as Stephanie Migot explains in her Inari Media blog, decide whats important.64 It is more realistic to meet a partial deadline when a problem arises; having a list of priorities will cut down on decision time (Reminder: no matter how tight the deadline, always have content double-checked). Deadlines are much easier to manage when there is a checklist involved. Writing out each step required to complete a project will give a product manager a clear way of checking that a task is completed. Breaking tasks down into smaller jobs will also permit several people to work on a single project. Checking off each job as it is finished will help keep each person accountable for the section they were assigned while also ensuring the project is kept to its deadline.

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Editing Before Posting


Proofreading copy is an important element in establishing the credibility of a company's social media site. If spelling or grammatical errors are present, a reader will have a difficult time accepting the error-ridden information (or any other information on the site) to be factual or trustworthy. According to Grape Juice Media, failing to have content copyedited (or at the very least proofread) is the worst thing a company can do for its website.65 As mentioned previously, content should be read by at least two individuals before it is posted. The more pairs of eyes review the material, the less chance any typos or mistakes will fall through the cracks. Just because tweets or social media posts are less lengthy doesnt mean they shouldnt get the editing they deserve. The shorter a piece of text is, the more likely it is to be read in its entirety. Failing to edit this content could mean reaching a large audience via flawed content, hurting a businesss reputation.

Given technologys fast rate of advancement, double-checking information is becoming more and more important. Anyone can post a "fact" on the Internet, and without editors, readers are mislead. Information is now tweeted before it can be printed or broadcasted,66 and when information sites like Wikipedia can be edited by virtually anyone with a computer, it's hard for the public to differentiate fact from invention. In order to remedy this, a business should strive to make its site to look as professional as
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possible. It is much easier to spot a fictional post when it is full of spelling errors and run-on sentences. Information should also be cited (when necessary) to gain the trust of a reader. Not everyone will check the source, but many will feel more comfortable knowing they have the option.

Link Validity
Posting broken links or misspelled words can drive away followers, no matter how successful a business may be. Keep in mind that (especially while on the internet, where there are infinite amounts of information) it will be hard to regain peoples trust after one of these errors. Additionally, broken links have the ability to negatively affect search engine rankings. Back in 2005, Danny Sullivan reported that over 10 percent of links on the web are broken.67 Now, more than six years later, the statistics for broken links aren't looking much better. Fortunately for those who may have broken links but are clueless about what to do about it, there are several products available that both check and fix broken links. Sites like W3C and Website Goodies, allow for a user to paste a URL and check the sites links for free. These sites can give a complete list of working and broken links and list any errors in about 30 seconds. Other companies, such as Link Tiger and Link Alarm, offer the same link-validating services, but will also check a website's links continually for a fee. Another thing to keep in mind is double-checking links others have posted. Retweeting without checking a URL (known as blind retweeting) may lead to posting a broken (or worse, an inappropriate) link. Always click on each link before sharing it, even if it was posting by a trusted source. Also double check when using a URL shortener, such as TinyURL, notlong.com, or Bit.ly. Links can be copied incorrectly or cut off and errors can easily occur. Checking links is a quick way to give a business peace of mind and ensure that followers are able to view any posted information as it was intended to be viewed. While there is some leniency when it comes to grammar and spelling on the web, the fact remains that proper grammar and spelling should always be used when possible. Just as business communication experts advocate the same

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professionalism in emails as in a printed letter, tweets, Facebook posts, and other online content needs to be written properly, especially when it is published on the official profiles of a company or public employee.

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Having successful social content is about more than just creating and publishing great tweets and content on a company blog. A successful company online presence also has great navigation on their website, reciprocal guest blog posts, and strives to share their content and links as much as possible. There are several ways this can be accomplished, but at the bottom line, it means that quality content must be present at all times.

Website Structure
How does website structure relate to submission execution? Simplean easy-tonavigate menu allows users to find the information they were looking for. These users may have been sent from a guest post or mention on another blog; in order to keep their interest, the website menu needs to be easy to navigate.

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The graphic above does a great job of breaking down how content should be structured in a menu. A link back to the home page should always be present (usually in the top left corner). Additionally, top-level content has entry pages with sub-section content linked on the entry pages or part of the sub-menu (e.g. a drop-down when a user hovers on top-level content menu link). In order to see if a menu is efficient and can be used effectively, have newer employees or industry colleagues QA (quality assurance68) the website. Send them the website URL and ask them to find certain pages. Have them report back with how long it took and whether the website was easy to navigate from a personal standpoint. Paying users in a companys target market may also be worthwhile if the website has had issues in the past and/or there is room in the marketing budget.

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Along with an easy-to-understand menu structure, every website should also have a recommendations page with a list of other articles, websites, and services that their ideal customer may enjoy. A website designer shouldnt be afraid to link to other websites on his recommendations page, especially if that website is also linking to them (also known as Reciprocal Linking69- search engines condone this only if links arent bought and can honestly help the user). Working with other websites to promote a website and its content can usually help both websites in the long runboth in traffic and in SEO.

Blog Guest Posting


Having employees submit guest posts to other blogs and allowing outside writers to do the same on the companys blog can have great benefit for all parties involved. Posting content on another persons blog not only gives them more content for their blog, but also allows a writer to promote their companys website, services, and blog. Most blogs allow guest writers to include a short bio (2-3 sentences) about themselves at the beginning or end of their post. This is where a writer can include a link to their website and blog (most bios only contain about 2-3 links at the most; each blog has their own rules).

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Almost every industry has hundreds of blogs about current events, opinions, tutorials, and other information covering pertinent topicsall it takes is spending the time to find them and find out if they accept guest posts. Additionally, websites like MyBlogGuest.com allow users to connect with one another and submit guest blog posts to each other. Websites can request guest bloggers and guest bloggers can offer their content. Twitter is also another great resource when it comes to finding opportunities

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just use search.twitter.com and search for guest posts needed or send out a tweet saying that the companys blog needs guest bloggers or is looking for blogs to host a guest post. Industry message boards and forums are also a great resource.

Social Media Submission


Submissions to social media sites are a definite science. Success relies upon a catchy title, timing of the submission, the story competition that day on the site, the category of the submission, the user who actually submitted it (and that user's rapport with the community), the amount of engagement on the submission (e.g. Votes, comments, clicks, shares), and natural occurrence of that engagement. All of these influences must be taken into consideration when it comes to crafting and putting the finishing touches on any content that is going to be promoted and shared via social media. According to Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net, catchy blog posts should do one or more of the following:70 Communicate a Benefit Create Controversy or Debate Ask a Question Personalize Titlesmake them directly relatable to the user by using You Use Keywords that relate to the blog topic or content Use Power Wordslike Free, Secrets, Stunning Big Claims and PromisesMust follow through on guarantees made in a blog post title 8. Humor TitlesUse humor to attract readers
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Blog post titles should be short (no more than 7 words) and use action words whenever possible. This goes back to the use of Power Words, as mentioned above. Using How or Find in a blog post is giving the reader a call to action that they can learn how to complete after reading the post. After coming up with a title and the posts content, its time to figure out the best day for it to be published and shared via social media. Multiple studies have been done on the busiest times for social media sites, with the inference being that these times are the best to post content. Generally speaking, the best days to publish and promote content are on weekdays, specifically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.71 Morning (9:0011:00am), lunchtime (12:00-1:00pm), and early afternoon (1:00-2:00pm) are the time periods that experience the most traffic. Be sure to pay attention to time zones and

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holidays, as days like Memorial Day and Presidents Day may not receive the same levels of traffic as normal weekdays would. Social influence is also a major component when it comes to the success of social media submission. Social sharing should always be done by the employees who are the most active on social media. A Twitter user who has 10,000 followers has a wider audience than someone who only has 600. Additionally, on social bookmarking sites like Digg, users who have a bigger network have more influence and their submissions are more likely to be voted up by other users. For any type of content that is shared via social media, more isnt always better. Be sure that all shared content is a natural occurrence; for example, a blog post on dog parks makes sense being shared on a Facebook page for a dog food. Even if a company made dog food and cat treats, the two dont naturally go together and content relating to each topic should be kept separated.

Social Media Publishing


While sharing and submitting the companys own content is important, sharing others may be just as important. Even though this was somewhat addressed in earlier chapters, sharing content that is relevant to the industry via social media can help portray the company as a resource, not just a mouthpiece for their own content and agenda. Have the companys Twitter feed welcome a new blog or Twitter user; promote guest bloggers websites and Twitter handles; suggest coupons or deals that followers or customers may like. These types of messages are not only relevant, but show a level of professionalism and a genuine interest in wanting to share the best information possible online. Submission Execution deserves its own plan within a companys online marketing strategy. A publishing calendar needs to be created to schedule guest posts, regular blog posts, and social media submission. All of these should be routine- ideally a company should work on having at least 4 guest posts per month. Directory and error checks should happen at least once per month. Along with this, employees should look for new guest posting opportunities at least 1-2 times per month. This should only take

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30-60 minutes out of an employees workday; while it isnt too time-consuming, the efforts can really pay off. When looking for guest posting opportunities, be sure to ask about guidelines for promotional links/content and what type of bio can be listed at the bottom (be sure to keep it generic but informative and to also link to the companys own content on their blog). Expanding the horizons beyond a companys own website can bring a lot of new and, eventually, reoccurring traffic, which may also mean new newsletter/email signups and requests for more information on services and products.

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One of the best benefits of getting involved in social media is the fact that it possesses a built-in powerhouse of millions of users who are purchasing the majority of products in the United States- both as employees for businesses and in their homes for personal use. Social media has the ability to find potential customers based on their interests and profile activity, making it easy for companies to connect and offer their products up for discussion. Besides a potential customer pool, it is also a pool of potential employees and independent consultants that can help a company with tasks and responsibilities on a freelance basis. Social networking sites like LinkedIn display a users education, job history, and skills while offering groups to help users connect. This makes hunting for new full-time, part-time, and independent contractors easier than ever. Connecting with a large customer base, finding qualified job candidates, and using community to vote on ideas and new products and services are all ways that social media can help a company use the idea of crowdsourcing to get things accomplished. Crowdsourcing is a term originally coined by authors like Jeff Howe,72 and it is defined as, the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.72 The idea is that the group think is more accurate and telling than the ideas of a single person. In theory, this makes senseseveral people will most likely have several good ideas, whereas a single person may not have as many different ideas and their personal bias and experience will influence each one. Crowdsourcing has seen a boom lately because of group buying websites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which give users up to 90% off on restaurants, events, and products at businesses in their area. On Groupon, for example, a deal becomes active only after a minimum number of users have purchased the deal. A users credit card isnt processed until the minimum number of sales has been reached. Groupon and LivingSocial (and countless other group buying sites) have millions of subscribers and are now in almost every major city. These sites are good examples of how crowdsourcing has been used to both give customers a great deal on food, activities, and services while also giving local and online businesses additional foot traffic. Businesses hope that these customers will return again after theyve cashed on a deal.

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Many sites offer additional incentives for customers who share a deal with their social network contacts. Once a contact has used their unique referral link to also purchase the deal, users can get up to $10 in credit for the next deal they purchase on the site. Discounted certificates and social media work well together in driving customers to not only purchase something up front, but to also share the deal with their friends and family. Users are much more likely to share content and links with friends since it benefits both the user and their contacts. Crowdsourcing is a tactic that has many benefits, including increased revenue, repeat traffic, instant feedback, and online marketing exposure. As companies grow their online community, they must make sure they are utilized to their full potential.

Voting on New Products and Content


Using a brands social community as a test group to decide on products has been mentioned in Chapter 7, but the true benefits of utilizing a built-in community as a test focus group deserves to be discussed in more detail. Social question and answer sites are a great place to utilize this, but so are Twitter and Facebook, especially since Facebook rolled out Facebook Answers in 2011. Facebook Answers allows users with profiles and companies/brands with pages to ask questions on their Wall. The questions can be open-ended or can have multiple-choice answers, with the option for users to add another answer if they wish (this setting can also be disabled).

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Any user can answer a question if a Facebook friend asks them. They can also choose to Follow the question, which sends them a notification when someone else answers it. Facebook Questions is the ideal asking platform for businesses, as it gives instant feedback for product development, philanthropy and event or service ideas a company may be curious about. Its also a great way to further develop community engagement, especially when asking questions directly relating to current events or the companys industry. Other ways to get the communitys opinion include using custom voting tools on custom FBML tabs or utilizing photo albums and status updates to get comments and feedback. Squishable.com, a company that makes stuffed animals that are all round, does a great
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job of thisthey often post new animals or ask for feedback on prototypes. Their active like community of over 134,000 Facebook users (as of May 2011) often provides hundreds of comments:

Instant feedback from actual and potential customers certainly makes Facebook one of the best ways to make product development decisions. Asking for questions that customers have always wanted answers to or seeing what topics customers would like covered in a companys blog is also a good way to get content ideas and cure writers block.
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Freelancers and Bloggers


If writers block is a regular occurrence or writing regular content seems overwhelming, hiring freelancers to take on some of the work might be a good idea. Because freelancers havent worked at the company in question before, they have a different perspective and bring new ideas outside of company employee brainstorming sessions. Freelancers can be hired to write blog posts, tweet and post on the companys social media accounts, do reputation monitoring, or even consult on social media marketing efforts. Bloggers are also a great resource to consider; in fact, some bloggers have become so popular they are able to blog full-time. These bloggers have a dedicated following of readers who pay attention to products featured on blogs. For this reason, companies often contact bloggers to do product reviews or sponsor bloggers to go to conferences or events on behalf of the company so they can blog about their experience. Because of the new FTC regulations in 2009, bloggers must disclose when they receive compensation of any kind (monetary, products, travel, etc) from a company. Regulation states: Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as results not typical the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor. The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that material connections (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers connections that consumers would not expect must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other word-ofmouth marketers.73 Even though bloggers are required to state when they receive a product for free, many give their honest review. If their review is positive, it presents the company and its products in a very positive light. Along with the review, many companies also offer additional products for blog giveaways and a coupon code for any interested readers who dont win the giveaway. A giveaway can also incorporate social media by offering tweets as additional contest entries.

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Because popular bloggers have an established loyal community, they are a great resource for businesses because they can expose a companys products or services to an entirely new audience. Besides sponsoring giveaways on blogs, hosting giveaways via Twitter and Facebook can also help grow a companys online community while creating buzz for the product or services at the same time. Again, a coupon or discount for those who didnt win is a simple way to thank users for interacting via social media. Crowdsourcing through social media feedback, blog readerships, and freelancers can help a company increase the popularity of content and new products by exposing it to as many online communities as possible.

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Whether a company is using freelancers or a full-time team to implement their online marketing strategy, there are several different free and paid tools that can be utilized to schedule messages. This chapter is a guide to the top recommended social media tools available today for businesses and individuals. All website URLs can be found in the Resources Section at the end of this e-book.

Auto-Publishing & Scheduling


Sometimes scheduling tweets and Facebook posts are a necessity, whether its due to employee vacations, office closings, holidays, or employees just trying to make their own lives easier through automation. Besides scheduling prewritten messages, these websites can also set new blog posts to be shared via RSS feeds. The following websites offer free auto-publishing and/or scheduling for social media accounts,74 some of which were mentioned in Chapter 4: LaterBro TweetDeck (downloadable program) SocialOomph (Formally TweetLater, also has paid version) TwitterFeed CoTweet HootSuite (also has paid version) Tweet-U-Later FutureTweets Tweetsqueue Dynamic Tweets TweetSched Twuffer

Auto-Reply & Auto-Follow


Many Twitter users enjoy automating a direct message to be sent to their new followers on Twitter, as well as automatically following them back. While auto-follow may not be the best idea due to the amount of spam accounts on , its always good to know all the options available. The following are tools for auto-reply and auto-follow on Twitter75:

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SocialToo TwitterDMer Tweeting Machine Vacatweet (marketed as an auto-responder service when someone is unable to access their Twitter account for a period of time) Tweet Manager

Reputation Monitoring
Reputation monitoring tools have been touched on in previous chaptersthey allow a company or individual to understand the conversation about their brand, name, products, or events. While simply doing a search engine search can yield several results, the following resources can give more thorough understaind of a companys online reputation. Free76 BoardTracker Google Alerts SocialMention Technorati Backtype coComment Yacktrack Big Boards Boardreader Search.Twitter.com Alert Thingy (receive alerts to desktop)

Paid77 BuzzLogic Radian6 Trackur BrandsEye Sentiment Metrics

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These are just some of the tools available to help properly manage a companys online presence and to help them take part in the current conversation surrounding their brand, products, or services. With the right tools, social media doesnt have to be overwhelming.

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Using analytics to decipher social and website traffic can help companies foresee upcoming trends and produce content and linkbait accordingly. For instance, if a linkbait quiz titled, Are You Ready to Own a Home? does well, other quizzes about purchasing a home or mortgages will most likely do just as well. Breaking down analytics reports make it easy to spot trends and to capitalize on them.

Google Analytics Reporting


After logging into Google Analytics and choosing a website profile, the Dashboard appears. This dashboard shows an overview of traffic for the last 30 days (the range can be changed or compared to another time span; for example, comparing May 2011 to April 2011). The overviews included are: site usage, visitors overview, map overlay, traffic sources, content overview, and goals overview (users must be using the funnel to access this overview). The main sections to pay attention to are traffic sources and content overview.

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Any of these overviews can be broken down into more detail using the sections on the left-hand side of the page. Under Traffic Sources, Google breaks sources down as: Direct Traffic: Users who went directly to the website Search Engines: e.g. Google, Bing, Ask, etc. Referring Sites: Other sites that have linked to a page on the website. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are included here.

Use these metrics to see if traffic campaigns (such as SEO or social media marketing) are successful. For example, to analyze the conversion rate of social media profiles that have lead to a visitor actually going to a website, go to referring sites and search for Facebook at Filter Source at the bottom of the page.

For a custom report view such as the search above, Google Analytics can schedule a report to be emailed to one or several people at a regularly scheduled time period(weekly, monthly, etc.). To do this, click on the Email button of the report that needs to be scheduled, then click on Schedule. Fill out the information accordingly.

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Reports can also be downloaded immediately via the Export button (next to the Email button) in the report window. The PDF version displays much like the actual Google Analytics report on the screen, whereas the .csv file looks more like raw data. Besides analyzing websites that have driven traffic to the website, Google Analytics also allows users to see the keywords users typed into search engines as part of their search query. These keywords only appear when a user clicked on the website from a Search Engine Result Page (SERP). To get to this report, click on Traffic Sources on the left-hand side, then Search Engines, and then click on the search engine to analyze in the middle column. This will bring up the keyword report. This report can also be downloaded or scheduled by email.

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If a keyword has several hits, incorporate that keyword into the website content, blog posts, and social media updates as much as possible. Try to focus on the top 10 keywords, but its also important to look at the following pages in order to get more customized search phrases that are longer (most of the keywords in the top 10 results are only 1-2 words). Besides using Google Analytics to analyze website traffic, there are also analytics provided for many link shorteners, which were mentioned in chapter eight.

Link Shortener Analytics


Because Twitter doesnt offer their own analytics platform to the public as of June 2011 (currently it is just offered to sponsored search customers), link shortener analytics can show how many times a link was clicked on. Shortened links can be customized for each social network (e.g. a different shortened link is shared on Facebook than on Twitter) for even more in-depth traffic information. The following link shorteners offer analytics: Cli.gs
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Bit.ly (has a paid version with custom shortened URLs) TwitPwr Clicky.me Goo.gl (note: all click analytics are public here) Clop.in (uses Google Analytics)

The metrics that should be analyzed on link shortener analytics dashboards varies depending on whether or not a paid platform is used. For instance, bit.lys paid platform has more analytics than its free version. Cli.gs allows users to see referrers (where the links were used).

Most free link shortener analytics are rudimentary at best; for major companies, using a paid service (such as Bit.ly Enterprise) may be worthwhile. Bit.ly Enterprise offers a real-time analytics data feed and multiple tracking domains.78 From shortened links to Google Analytics, there is a lot of data to view and analyze. Here are some additional tools that can be used for social media analytics and sentiment analysis: Twittratr.com: measures sentiment on Twitter Analytics.Postrank.com: helps discover influencers and measures performance of social media presence (paid service) Retweetrank.com: Gives the number of times a user has been retweeted by other users (can also view competitors statistics)

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Twitalyzer.com: Displays impact score and influencer type of any user on Twitter, as well as recent topics and most commonly used hashtags. May also be beneficial for competitors and popular users of a companys products.

Until all social media sites offer their own social media analytics, using tools such as SocialMention.com, Custom TweetDeck columns for brand and company names, and custom URL analytics can help provide a view into social media influence and overall sentiment analysis, which is a view of how customers perceive a company and its products online. When it comes to considering certain KPIs (from chapter 3) or benchmarks to utilize analytics data and leads, econsultancy.com does a great job of naming 10 ways to measure social media success:59
1. Traffic: increased in website traffic

2. Interaction 3. Sales: leads directly from social media (Can track via custom URLs or a designated coupon or contact page) 4. Leads 5. Search marketing: SEO, SERP results, and driving traffic to website) 6. Brand metrics: have online conversation about product increased and/or improved? 7. Public Relations: what press has the company or brand received as a result of social media presence? 8. Customer engagement: have customers purchased more products? 9. Retention 10. Profits While some of these categories certain run together, each one has its own attributes that can be directly related and attributed to social media. Measuring analytics and paying attention to trends in the last weeks, months, and years can help marketers and companies decide what types of marketing or tactics are attracting the most visitors. Capitalizing on high-traffic content can hopefully help grow new website traffic while also driving return traffic back to the site on a regular basis.

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In Conclusion
Overall, social media can be a valuable resource, both as a compliment to online marketing (such as blogging and SEO efforts) as well as offline marketing (such as guerilla marketing campaigns). Using analytics tools, sentiment analytics, and milestones on are all ways to measure the success (and failure) of social media attempts. Before deciding to begin (or end) a social media marketing strategy, its important to note that social media continues to be an ever-developing marketing and communication channel and as such, no tried and true Internet marketing methods will be the correct position to take. Staying up-to-date with social media technology is the best way to decide what approach is best for a company and its employees.

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Resources List 1. Social Networking in Plain English. Common Craft. 27 June 2007. <http://www.commoncraft.com/video-social-networking> 2. Sponsored Tweets <http://www.sponsoredtweets.com> 3. Quora <http://www.quora.com> 4. LinkedIn Answers <http://www.linkedin.com/answers> 5. Yahoo Answers <http://answers.yahoo.com> 6. Fluther <http://www.fluther.com> 7. Answers.com <http://www.answers.com> 8. TwitterFeed <http://www.twitterfeed.com> 9. SocialOomph <http://www.socialoomph.com> 10. TweetDeck <http://www.tweetdeck.com> 11. Google Calendar <http://www.google.com/calendar> 12. Social Mention <http://www.socialmention.com> 13. BoardTracker <http://www.boardtracker.com> 14. Google Alerts <http://www.google.com/alerts> 15. Smart Tweets for Pages <http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=290374557459&sk=info> 16. Bit.ly <http://bit.ly> 17. Cli.gs <http://cli.gs> 18. LaterBro <http://www.laterbro.com> 19. Search Engine People <http://www.searchenginepeople.com> 20. Google Analytics <http://www.google.com/analytics> 21. Google Adwords Keyword Tool: <https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal> 22. Twittratr: <http://www.twittratr.com> 23. Postrank Analytics: <http://Analytics.Postrank.com> 24. Retweetrank: <http://www.retweetrank.com> 25. Twitalyzer: <http://twitalyzer.com> 26. WeFollow: <http://wefollow.com> 27. Twellow: <http://www.twellow.com> 28. Just Tweet It: <http://www.justtweetit.com> 29. My Twitter Directory: <http://www.mytwitterdirectory.com> 30. Technorati: <http://www.technorati.com> 31. Sphinn: <http://www.sphinn.com> 32. Facebook Questions: <http://www.facebook.com/questions> 33. CoTweet:< http://www.cotweet.com> 34. HootSuite: <http://www.hootsuite.com> 35. Tweet-U-Later: <http://www.tweet-u-later.com>

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36. FutureTweets: <http://www.futuretweets.com> 37. Tweetsqueue: <http://www.tweetsqueue.com> 38. Dynamic Tweets: <http://www.dynamictweets.com> 39. TweetSched: <http://www.tweetsched.com> 40. Twuffer: <http://www.twuffer.com> 41. SocialToo: <http://www.socialtoo.com> 42. TwitterDMer: <http://www.twitterdmer.com> 43. Tweeting Machine: <http://tweetingmachine.com> 44. Vacatweet: <http://www.vacatweet.com> 45. Tweet Manager: <http://www.tweetmanager.com> 46. TwitPwr: <http://twitpwr.com> 47. Clicky.me: <http://clicky.me> 48. Goo.gl: <http://goog.gl> 49. Clop.in: <http://clop.in> 50. Technorati: <http://www.technorati.com> 51. BackType: <http://www.backtype.com> 52. coComment: <http://www.cocomment.com> 53. YackTrack: <http://www.yacktrack.com> 54. Big Boards: <http://www.bigboards.com> 55. Boardreader: <http://www.boardreader.com> 56. Twitter Search: <http://search.twitter.com> 57. Alert Thingy: < http://alertthingy.en.softonic.com> 58. BuzzLogic: <http://buzzlogic.com> 59. Radian6: <http://www.radian6.com> 60. Trackur: <http://www.trackur.com> 61. BrandsEye: <http://www.brandseye.com> 62. Sentiment Metrics: <http://www.sentimentmetrics.com>

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