Sunday, July 31, 2011

I finally found it: Social Synergy

So I have been trying to come up with a term to define what we are trying to achieve within our overall strategy towards the web and Social Media.  I think the term Synergy truly defines the overall theme we are always working to achieve.  Synergy can be defined as combined cooperative action or functioning.  This synergy can provide a "multiplier" effect on your web-based efforts, driving traffic and really improving your overall standing within search engines and just in general.

 I believe this concept is one that is typically missing in most Social Media and Web Strategies, so below I have outlined critical strategic steps towards reaching this state:

  1. How do you want to be seen and found?  An absolutely required step is to outline your overall strategy.  At its simplest, just answer the question.  Obviously you want to be found based on your company name, but to truly build synergy, you need to define a cross-platform strategy.  What are your key words and phrases?  Does everyone working within your social media accounts know them?  Are they published?  When this was established within our organization, we had remarkable lead numbers and overall quality of traffic to our site.
  2. How are you linked?  SEO basics demand using proper keywords/phrases within links back to home base.  Are proper linking techniques being used across all social media platforms?  Are all marketing folks on board?  This is simple to verify, just do a broad based search across twitter, Facebook or any other platform and see how you are linked.  Note:  With true synergy, users will use links to traverse your web presence and gain information about you.
  3. Can users leap frog to other Social Media platforms from any established web presence? Creating a synergistic presence on the web requires cross linking from all Social Media platforms.  Ensure that your BLOG, website, twitter landing page, Facebook page, etc. all link to each other.  This creates an "engagement ring" that interlocks all your web-based platforms, with a mesh of paths anyone can take.
  4. Time, patience and content.  The path to true synergy requires time and patience, but most importantly content.  If you truly build a Synergy Strategy, you will engage users, and provide them paths through the web to find more and more information about you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Twitter Egg and the Twittfully Challenged: A letter

How Not to Use Twitter

With so much information on how to use Twitter on the Internet, I still scratch my head every day and say “Really?”.  I wish TweetDeck had an “Ignore the Twittfully Challenged”, or just block the damn eggheads.  Look at this one…what is the goal here?

So, I decided to compose a letter:

Dear Egg Head,

I have noticed that you have decided to use Twitter, and I applaud your decision to get involved and utilize Social Media to attempt to expand your business and drive market awareness.  I am by no means a Twitter Expert, Twexpert as I call it, but I have done some research, and actually used several of the 1.83 million Google results on “How to use twitter” to form my tweets, and it has actually led to increased web traffic, improved market awareness and a new found interest from our current customer base.  If I may, can I make some suggestions:

1.       Lose the Egg.  I am not sure if you are aware that you have not added any profile information, or if you even look at your Tweets and how they are viewed, but I wanted to let you know that right now you are being represented by an intermediate result of the chicken reproductive process.  A faceless, deformed orb with a random colored background.  I do find the baby blue Egg Head the most calming and assuring, much better than the aggressive purple or distracting yellowish orange, but I am sure this is not how you would like to be represented.  So log into your Twitter account and edit your profile.  Maybe add a logo, or perhaps the picture of a scanner to let us know who you are.

2.       Thank you.  After looking at your Tweet, I clicked on your link and went to your landing page which was totally unimpressive and confusing.  I did need a scanner though, so I went to your competition’s site, which was engaging and informative, and purchased a scanner.  Note: Tweeting links to totally boring and useless content will not give you the results you want.

3.       Maybe use Hashtags? Obviously, you do not know what a hashtag is, or how it can help you.  According to the Twitter Wiki, "Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets.  So in a nutshell, you can get more exposure through their use, and they help to categorize your Tweets for ease of search. Seeing that your marketing method borders on the “canned block of meat” method, be sure never to use more than 3 hashtags.  Some great info from twitter’s help here: What are Hashtags?

4.       Rethink Your Message.  Maybe try and peak my interest.  Being that my desk is an absolute paper nightmare, how about “You can get rid of the paper on your desk”, or perhaps some catchy saying or statistic about the #paperlessoffice.  I am glad that I now know the product ID number of the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1300, did you really waste your twit characters on that?

Hopefully this letter will catch your attention, and you will no longer be a faceless twitter entity.  More information below to help:

A Concerned Twitizen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is SEO Really Necessary?

I just read a popular discussion within an executive group on LinkedIn focused on Sales and Marketing.  The entire discussion was about SEO, initiatives and strategy.  Some of the comments were quite interesting:

“I don’t believe SEO will drive 'leads and profits' for any and every industry.” 

“SEO is not for all industries

There was entire section of the discussion where folks went back and forth on the pertinence of SEO, and how certain industries just do not benefit.  The primary example was Berkshire Hathaway, who was used as an example over and over. 

My initial argument and post was below:

Obviously as sales people, we want our SEO efforts to drive leads, and ultimately revenue. But so many SEO initiatives run right out of the gate with that as the immediate goal, day one (damn sales people are impatient ;) ). I see so many companies hire “I can get you to the top in 5 days” guys we are so familiar with. SEO should be a broad reaching program based on content, that if done correctly, can help you:

1. Shape your market and industry attitudes
2. Establish your organization as a thought leader
3. Ultimately drive people to your site and produce high quality leads

It took our company quite a while to get to the top 10, but we took a slow and calculated approach designed to shape certain niches of our industry with defined and specific content for our target markets, and the results have been fantastic.

I disagree that it is not pertinent in all industries. All organizations can benefit from the above, regardless of industry.

I woke up this morning, and began to think about my post topic, and decided to rethink my post.  I started with a look at the Berkshire Hathaway site:

I started laughing…it looks like my first site I built back in the Day.  But it got me thinking.  Does a company that is a massive owner of all different types of businesses really need an SEO optimized site, or content for that matter.

So, being the informed investor I am, I logged into my ETrade account and did some research.  I found that the analyst community is just hammering the company. The company is rated at Hold, Poor, Neutral,   Negative, etc.  Could Berkshire Hathaway benefit from a massive PR overhaul, starting with their site? What would be the direction and strategy?