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April 23, 2008

Effectively Leveraging Social Networking

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Hello, hello. It’s day 2. I have orange juice instead of coffee this morning. Lisa’s still sick from yesterday. As usual, I blame Susan. I’m going to do my best to make it through today’s batch of sessions.

Kicking things off this morning we have Barbara Boser (3 Dog Media), Cindy Krum (Blue Moon Works), Randy Woods (non-linear creations), and Michael Gray (Atlas Web Service). Danny Sullivan is once again moderating. This man is earning his paycheck this week.

Up first is Barbara Boser. Just as a fun fact, if you’ve never met Barbara, she’s probably the nicest woman in the whole world. I’m just saying.

Marketing your Business with Facebook

Pages: You can build a page in Facebook for your business. She looks at DunkinDonuts page because its Greg’s favorite. Aw. You can add events and people will get notifications. You can upload photos, start a discussion board, create a poll, etc. Polls are a good way to get answers about products your customers like. You’re also able to let people write on your wall and upload their own media. When someone becomes a fan of your company, all of their friends will see that and can join too.

Facebook Social Ads: It’s not yet that advanced. You can filter through by age, keywords, place, etc, and narrow down your audience. Good way to target. The ads show up in the users’ news feed or on the left sidebar.

Groups: You can search for groups related to your business and then participate in the conversations going on about your company.

Events: Create event pages. People can RSVP and write on the wall.

Sharing: You can share blog posts. Every time you update, all of your Facebook Fans will be informed of that.

Beacon: A little controversial last year because of privacy issues. You put some code on your site and when a FB user completes an action on your site, it gets listed in their news feed.

Lexicon: You can put in a keyword and it tracks how many times Starbucks is mentioned on the Facebook wall across all profiles. Pretty cool.

Apps: If you’re on Facebook you probably have a whole list of people wanting you to download an application. Once you join, people will see a link to your company. You want to create something that’s viral and that people will want to share with their friends.

How Much Traffic Can I Get?

She talks about Neil Patel’s Flixster Facebook application where it compares what movies you like to what movies your friends like. He got 16+ million visits from Facebook. Barbara says that number has already doubled. Wow.

Next up is Cindy Krum to talk about MySpace. Ew, MySpace.

She still believes MySpace has a lot of value if you’re trying to reach certain demographics. It still has 80 million users worldwide.

MySpace Whoas (aka the good things):

Flying Dog Brewery: Local Denver brewery with a MySpace page. The have used their page to establish a company voice and personality. They’re reaching out to a specific demographic. They’re talking to people and creating a community around the brand. They also use it to notify users about events and products.

They’re taking paper flyers and putting them on their MySpace page so all of their friends can see they’re having a zombie dance party. Wow. A zombie dance party, eh? Snazzy. That flyer is also their new profile picture, which helps to draw attention to their profile.

They also use MySpace Events to promote all of their events. People can type in their zip codes to look for events and the cool things happening in their city.

They use MySpace bulletins. It’s similar to the wall in Facebook. You can announce contests, release newsletters, offer discounts to MySpace users etc.

Companies can also put YouTube videos on their page or post the videos on their friends’ pages as comments. Because that’s not annoying. They’ve also used their photos as a catalog for their merchandise. They can’t buy from the MySpace page, but they can direct them to their real site.

This has search engine optimization value. These pages rank well in the engines.

True: Web-based dating community. Creating brand awareness.

Link to quizzes, badges and fun games from their MySpace profile to engage visitors.

They have a Create a Date game where you can skew pictures of people and then send it to a friend. It’s viral. They have a Date-O-Rama game to help you find and plan a date. They’ve also put an entry way to their site in the corner of MySpace. It gets people where they need to go.

MySpace Woes (the bad things)

Westwood College: There were a lot of people who had self-identified as Westwood Students. They wanted to create a community online. The profile would encourage communication between students and disperse information about classes, events, holidays, news, school closures, etc.

Your MySpace profile has to be a good representation of your brand. You can’t just slap something up there. A cool branded profile takes a lot of time and skill – use CSS or MySpace’s profile layout tool. Cool profiles have to be updated frequently.

You can’t accept everyone who wants to be your friend. You have to manage them and make sure they’re appropriate. Get rid of those with questionable photos. Make sure they represent your brand well. She talks about how sometimes friends’ profiles change. They had a nice guy in a polo T-shirt join. He was really active and participatory. And then he changed his profile pic of a photo of him in S&M gear. They had to remove all his comments because he suddenly didn’t represent them well. (Hmm, not sure how I feel about that, but okay.)

Communication needs to be managed. Will you respond to emails? Will all comments be approved? Will you participate in groups? What kind of blog communication is appropriate for your brand?

Travel Site: They wanted to create a travel widget that would be useful for travelers and travel bloggers. They needed something cool that hadn’t been done before. They wanted a widget that would work in all social networks.

Not all Developers are widget developers. MySpace messes with your code. Widgets that work on other social networks may not work in MySpace. And Widgets that work in MySpace/IE7 may not work in Firefox.

Tips for Developing Widgets:

  • MySpace converts HTML into its preferred object format before saving
  • Links: All links are encoded. Links in Flash won’t work at all.
  • MySpace bans some widget companies
  • Use Flash Version 9 & Action Script 3.0

You can also use Open Social.

Randy Woods is up to talk about LinkedIn.

He starts off with some disclaimers. He’s Canadian. Everyone laughs. Most of his clients are in the US. He’s also old. His company started in 1995. He’s also a generalist. He talks about conference brain. Conference brain means you’re hung over. Wow.

He says marketing is being defined in its narrowest sense – promotion. Social media is also important for the other elements of marketing – product and positioning.

LinkedIn – Why Bother

  • About 20 million professionals
  • Average income: 140,000
  • Vampire free
  • About 2 million of these at executive level
  • 500 of Fortune 500 represented at executive level

Harvard Business School did a study on LinkedIn and found out that 90 percent of people on LinkedIn are relationship managers. Five percent are networks and five percent are contractors. All of the Fortune 500 people you’re interested in are in the relationship manager piece. They’re only talking to people they know already. They don’t want to meet strangers.

But they do want their problems solved. They want to know before they engage with you that you can solve their problems. That’s where the Question & Answer service fits in.

You can use LinkedIn Answers to reach influencers. The challenge is that the people you want responding to these questions are your most valuable employees. They’re the people who don’t have time to be cruising social networks. But if you use Yahoo Pipes, you can combine everything and put it into one dashboard. Or something. Yahoo Pipes is about 10 leagues over my head.

LinkedIn Answers means dollars in your pocket.

Case Study: 11 percent conversion rate for free traffic.

Four Things I Don’t Believe:

  1. Conversions Don’t Matter
  2. All Visitors Are Created Equal: I don’t care about 20 million people at Digg. I care about the people who are targeted to our business.
  3. Don’t Write A Thesis: If what you’re selling is expertise, you better make sure what you write can sell that.
  4. Never Force Registration

Recap: Marketing is more than promotion. No one important wants to hear from you. You have to get their attention. LinkedIn Answers equals dollars. LinkedIn Converts.

Michael Gray will finish things off by discussing Twitter.

Twitter is a microblogging platform. You write short messages and share them with the world. Twitter is what happens between blog posts. Or conference sessions.

Why Marketers Should Care About Twitter

Using twitters as a permission marketing tool to reach bleeding edge customers. It works like RSS. It’s pull technology. It allows you to protect/block your updates from people.

Twitter = Traffic

  • Use Twitter to drive traffic to your Web site or blog when you post a new update.
  • Use Twitter to share news, information, and links with your followers
  • Use Twitter to help with your other social media efforts
  • Use Twitter to drive conversions and sales
  • Depending on your sector and quality of followers, Twitter can have really high CTR.

Understanding How Twitter Works:

Next to everyone’s name is a star so that you can save it if you want. There’s also an arrow to make it easy to reply to someone. If people reach out to you, make sure to respond back to them. The Archive section allows you to see everything you’ve ever Twittered.

Tools To Get More Out Of Twitter:

  • Web Browser Based – Twitter, twitbin, twitterfox
  • Desktop Clients – Twhirl, alert thingy
  • Blog Tools – Twitter tools, Loud Twitter, Twit This
  • Email – Twittermail
  • Smartphone – twitterberry, itweet
  • API – Roll it into your own application

Who’s Using Twitter?

CarnivalCruise – Sends you to different articles
JetBlue – They’re really interacting with people and their community. They’re a great example.
AmazonDeals
Woot
TechMeme
Sphinn
Zappos
HillaryMomJeans
Maratriangle

More Tips for Getting More Out of Twitter

  • Set up a profile with an avatar
  • Have updates
  • Don’t follow people with a blank profile
  • Always reply to your @ messages
  • Twitterbots will follow everyone who follows them
  • People will follow and unfollow depending on if you match their expectations.

Twitter Tracking and Twitter Search Tools

You can type a word into Twitter and it will tell you everyone who has mentioned those words. If you’re a company dealing with the public you should be tracking your company name.

TweetScan

Quotably: Makes @ messages into a threaded conversation. Helps give you context to a conversation

He also points out the Twitter leaderboard.

Twitter Ranks

Jason Calacanis’ Twitter feed ranks 4th for his name.
Barack Obama’s Twitter profile has a top ten ranking for his name.

Question and Answer

Are there any legal issues to create a Facebook brand profile?

Cindy: You have to be careful of what you say, especially if you’re not the brand spokesperson. As far as legal stuff, she’s not sure. Treat it like you would treat any other marketing venue.

Age demographics of Twitter?

Michael’s not sure.

Seems heavy handed to only let certain people by your MySpace friend. Do you think you’re alienating people?

For her example, they were trying to create a community for a private college. They wanted to create a perception of what the brand was. They wanted to control the image. They didn’t want people to think that people who went to this school were heavy drinkers or pot smokers. I have so many problems with that answer.

Barbara: On Facebook you can just be a fan and not necessarily have a friend relationship, so it’s a bit different. Even if you’re not going to use the social profile, you should claim the one for your company before someone else does.

Randy: In a broader sense, there just may be some brands for whom the social networking sites aren’t appropriate. I’m not sure if that’s a long term strategy.

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