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April 22, 2008

Social Media Marketing Essentials

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Hey, hey, kids I’m in Long Beach for SMX Social Media Marketing. Our first session today is titled Social Media Marketing Essentials with moderator Danny Sullivan and speaker Rand Fishkin.

[I'm here a good 90 minutes early due to my overachiever status. I'll keep you updated on the rocking music. Up first, Tears for Fears/ Everybody Wants to Rule The World. Now they're playing Cruel to be Kind. Okay, there were more songs but I didn't know them because I'm young. And that concludes the music portion of our program. Next up, search!]

I’m a little nervous that the Internet is going to crash in here. It’s wicked slow and the room is only about half filled at the moment. Let’s hope it makes it through the day. Otherwise I’m just talking to myself.

Danny’s kicking us off. He says he’s the main ringleader. He’s doing the housekeeping. He asks everyone not to use the wireless so it doesn’t crash. Um, except me, right? Danny explains the question process and what paper is. He says it’s thin (the paper) and that you can put it in an envelope. Kind of like a Macbook Air. Hee!

Okay, up now is Rand. He’s very smiley and jittery. He says his presentation is 120 slides. Oh dear.

The goal of his presentation is to wrap your mind around all the things that social media can do for you as a marketer, your clients and your Web site.

What is Social Media Marketing?

What are the goals of online marketing as a whole? Web site traffic, conversions and sales, page views and ad exposure, brand awareness, positive brand association, and business development and networking. Social media can help with all those things by interacting with participatory communities on the Web. It can help you create and promote viral content. You can leverage these sites for technical goals. It allows you to reach key influencers using blogs and social news portals.

Rand is getting rambly. He seems way excited to be here. And maybe over-caffeinated.

Why is engagement with social media valuable? SMM supports branding and mindshare goals. It bolsters search engine marketing goals. It even helps with traffic and conversion goals. It brings lots of people to your site and if you target the right people, it will bring people that convert.

How has social media become so important? He shows a study from UMass Dartmouth that shows how social media participation has jumped 668 percent over the past year. Yowsa.

Brand advocates have emerged online as primary influencers, with at least a two to one rate of converting actual friends or family member to buy the same product or brand.
Brand advocates are incredibly valuable to marketers because they are better connected consumers with a larger sphere of influence. Social media is key – Study findings showed that Brand Advocates are taking full advantage of social media tools and actively leveraging them for product purchases.

34 percent of key influencers in the US read blogs. In Japan, it’s 91 percent.

How do people find the blogs that they read? Links on others blogs (67.3 percent), search engines (19.6 percent).

How do you choose the blogs that you read? Quality of the writing. Huzzah!

How does SMM help with SEM?

Rand talks about Adult Swim and the bomb scare they created when they put posters all over the city of Boston. Rand says it got them a lot of national press…not that he’s recommending using terrorist threats to link bait. Right, Rand. Sure, you’re not. We know how SEOmoz works. :)

Rand is now doing his Cartman impersonation. What is wrong with him today? For serious.

Rand attempts to define TrustRank. You have a bunch of trusted seed sets and you take a look at who they link to. There’s no spam in the trusted seed sets themselves. However, there’s a little spam where they link off to and it grows exponentially as you get further away from the original trusted seed site. That makes sense.

Rand is the king of tangents today.

The search engines look at historical and personal data. They have data to track search engine manipulation. They can look at search history, toolbar data, IP host addresses, etc. They use things like Vision Based Page Segmentation.

The Results? Spam detection gets more powerful. The searchers are happy. Google gets more market share because they have less spam.

The engines are also about predicting what searchers want. They know if you’re looking for Python, the program, or python, the snake. They’re ranking fresh content very quickly. Search engines like to measure a site’s worth through links. You can analyze content and user behavior, but for the vast majority of searches the engines want to show sites that have the highest number and most editorially given links.

Businesses need things. But those are able to give them want a reason and not everyone on the Web is linking. The linkerati is a really tiny subset of the whole. But that’s who you have to reach. Essentially, they’re the site owners with the proclivity for sharing content. They have preferences for what they’re going to link to. It has to be cool, humorous, useful, breaking news, interesting, and ego boosting.

Supply = Linkerati
Demand = Site owners

The linkerati hold the goods but no one is allowed to pay them…directly. This forces us to an inevitable conclusion. It creates a disconnect between sites likely to produce editorial links and those who can supply them. You have to ask who these people are, what do they want and how they spread content.

Where can we conduct SMM?

  • Social News Aggregation portals: Digg, Reddit, Propeller, Sphinn, Meneame (Spanish portal), TechMeme, Newsvine.
  • Social Networking Communities: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc
  • User Generated Content Web sites: YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, Yahoo Answers, Yelp, etc.
  • Popular Blogs: TechCrunch, BoingBoing, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, LifeHacker, Gawker, Mighty Goods, etc
  • Social Bookmarking Sites: StumbleUpon, Delicious, Ma.gnolia, Yahoo MyWeb
  • Niche and Topical Participatory Sites: Slashdot, Fark, Truemors, NowPublic, Upcoming.org
  • Long Tail of Blogs, Forums and Group sites
  • Mainstream Media Portals: NY Times. Google News, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Wired, MSNBC

What Should I Take Away From SMX Social Media? [Ooh, does that mean we can all just leave now if Rand is already giving us the takeaways?]

Techniques to succeed in SMM to communities and influencers:

  • You should have good ideas for viral content.
  • Know Social Communities that may be relevant to your business.
  • Get a massive competitive advantage over your anti-social peers.

Question and Answer

Will Google ever have a problem with linkbait?

Let’s say you are a dirty, dirty spammer and you get content on the top of Digg using completely black hat tactics. If you were to do that and get to the top of Digg, Google would be really upset. Not really. He doesn’t think Google will care if you spam to get to the top of Digg because it doesn’t help you get to the top of Google. It only becomes valuable to Google if people link to your content at Digg. If you spam your content to the top of Digg doesn’t mean you’re going to get a lot of links. His feeling is that social media marketing is one of the most natural ways to build natural, authoritative links in the world (eh, really?). Because even if you spam, you still have to get the votes from “real” people in order to get value from it.

Danny: When people started talking about link baiting, Matt Cutts has repeatedly said that link bait is a great way to get links.

Are there some social sites that are better at getting the news media to pick up your article?

Rand says Digg is a very good place to get the mainstream media to pay attention. He says that stories that go popular on Reddit will hit mainstream media three days later. Blogs are also really good. Journalists are reading tons of blogs and subscribing to them.

Smaller social sites: How much emphasis is put on the submitter account?

Rand says there are very, very few sites where anyone can do as well as the top submitters. If you are well known to the rest of the community, you have a distinct advantage over everyone else. Rand talks about Sphinn and how the more well-known people get their stuff promoted more often.

How much weight do the search engines give links from social media sites? Do some sites have more weight?

Flickr used to be a great place to get link juice but now there are nofollows. You can put a link on your SEOmoz profile and get juice, but only if you have 100 comments. Way to pimp, Rand.

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2 responses to “Social Media Marketing Essentials”

  1. Kate writes:

    “Way to pimp, Rand.” Giggle. Giggle.

    Thanks for the recap Lisa. I’ll be staring at my screen intently for the next few days apparently. I need more money or someone to pay me to go to these shows.

  2. Ricky writes:

    Great post! If a business wants to grow, they have to start looking about how to use social media to enhance their customer experience. Not all avenues are best for all businesses, but if you don’t take charge of the conversation about your brand, someone else will.



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