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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Top 10 Predictions on What’s Coming Up Next in Social Media


Top 10 Predictions on What’s Coming Up Next in Social Media



future-web
ayeletnoffAt the beginning of the month I was asked to speak on a panel that discussed social media, social networks and “what’s coming up next.” In research for this discussion, I came up with a few insights on what I foresee coming up next in the world of social media.
Here are my top 10 prognostications:
1The physical and digital worlds will be more highly connected than ever before — already today we are able to run in the park and track our progress online while sharing it with our friends or track our weight loss, or even our ovulation (well, some of us, that is) with iPhone apps that connect to our Facebook and Twitter profiles and enable us to keep track of our progress as well as share the data with our friends. Robert Scoble had a brilliant presentation on this topic at the last TNW Conference in Amsterdam. You can see it here.
2Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks will become increasingly what Fred Wilson termed “social dashboards.”.In essence, Facebook and Twitter are social channels on which other companies can grow and develop their own technologies and businesses. Both Facebook and Twitter have created economies far larger than many nations. Take, for example, companies like Stocktwits, Tweetdeck and Zynga (among others) that have made huge profits piggybacking on these two platforms.
3Until now, brands have been very concerned with bringing as many people as possible to their pages. Consumer brands can now finally reap the fruits and build social commerce stores where Facebook users (all 600 million of them) can purchase products on their favorite social network without needing to go to any destination site. Facebook will become one of the major channels of future online shopping.
4Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are currently collecting information about each and every one of us: our likes and dislikes, our interests and activities. Soon in an age of Web 3.0, an age of Semantic Web, we will no longer need to search for information on the Web as information will find us based on all this data that companies are collecting. The right information will be served to the right people at the right time, saving us all a lot of time, effort and energy.
5Mobile technology will become more dominant and near field communication (NFC technology) will be developed further enabling it to offer us special promotions, coupons and tips based on our geographical location and the interest graph we discussed in insight #3.
6Human relationships will no longer be as physically dependent and we will befriend and hang out with people from all over the world and all walks of life, all ethnicities and all beliefs, creating a worldwide melting pot.
7We will no longer be passive media consumers. Media will interact with us in dynamic ways on all platforms. Just like gamers playing World of Warcraft today, we will all become a part of a virtual world unknown to us yet where we will all be avatars in the game of life.
8As the Web is overloaded with more information, the content that we are exposed to will become more and more customized to our needs as companies will give large sums of money to companies like Facebook and Google, making sure that the information we are exposed to is highly targeted to our interests. Rather than experiencing information overload, we will actually experience the opposite effect.
9Companies will understand better how to measure the ROI of social media and realize that social media is not about the number of people brands have in their communities but rather the amount of engagement that they see on their page and the overall online sentiment they faced this month as opposed to the last. See Gary Vaynerchuk’s response to how companies should measure the ROI of social media in the video link above.
10Services will become increasingly crowdsourced. Whether it be the way that we get from point A to point B (Waze), the way that we find answers to our questions (Quora), the manner in which we test our Websites (uTest), the way that we get things done (Fiverr) or the way that we share information (Wikipedia).
All of these insights are of course complete speculations based on my years in the world of social media and after following trends occurring all over the digital space.

This post was originally posted on The Next Web on June 14.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's the Next Big Trend in Social Media Marketing?


What's the Next Big Trend in Social Media Marketing?


New Social Media Big TrendIf there is anything that can be observed about human behavior by examining social media, it’s that people are basically restless. They’re always looking for something new to read, watch, see and interact with. The seemingly impenetrable social media experiences of a few years ago; MySpace for example, is a prime example of how fickle our love affairs can diminish with all things social.
So it’s only natural to wonder: When do we begin to tire of our current online social sites, where will we turn next?
Obviously, the big kid on the social media block these days is Facebook. Its 600 million users collectively spent more than 49 billion minutes on the social networking site in 2010. Those numbers are up nearly 80 percent from the previous year, according to comScore’s “The 2010 Digital Year in Review” report.   Social media mavens expect a similar spike this year. 
What’s interesting is that although Facebook is currently the most popular social media site, it only captures about 12.5 percent of the total social network page views. That means thousands of other sites are also competing to grab your attention.  Twitter alone claims to have 200-million account holders who generate 65-million tweets a day.
So what’s the next big trend in social media marketing?  Will another giant emerge to challenge Facebook?  In the short-term, Facebook seems to have the resources to keep the wolves at bay, but well-financed competing platforms are making waves in the marketplace.   
Just a few months ago, a business that had a growing number of Twitter followers, a snazzy Facebook page and an engaging blog might be ahead of the curve in brand building and revenue generation.  Not anymore. Among the potential candidates for next big thing are:
  • Bebo; described by some as “Facebook marries Twitter.”
  • Delicious; if you’re all about what’s new to see on the web, this is the site for you.
  • Eons.com; Where baby boomers come to connect, share information and more.
  • Foursquare; Real “next big thing” potential here, as people move away from their computers and onto their cell phones.  
  • Focus.com; Think “Twitter for Business.” That pretty much sums it up.
  • Friendster: Where gamers go to geek out.
From there, the list grows exponentially, including many industry or hobby-specific sites. For example, there’s Epernicus (for research scientists), Raptr (for video gamers) and LibraryThing (for book lovers). 
The next big thing may actually start with a “Q”
Of all the potential “new big kids” in the running, Quora.com has the greatest potential.  It’s an online community where anyone can post an open question or contribute an answer about anything.  Created in 2010 by two former Facebook execs, Quora has some serious brainpower and dollars behind it. In fact, Business Insider reports that rumors are flying around Silicon Valley that Quora has already thumbed its nose at a $1-billion acquisition offer.  How a business can use Quora to its advantage remains to be seen. Some industry insiders believe that only techies love the new site, but Quora gets the thumbs up from Google’s head of design, Irene Au, who praises its visual interface and content:
“There’s a lot of really rich high quality content there. It’s one of my favorite sites to visit on a daily basis now,” Au says.
As an entrepreneur, where do you find yourself visiting every day? What social media sites are proving to be the best fit for your business? Do you have the insight to predict what the next social media heavyweights will be?   No one knows for sure; but that doesn’t mean you can let social media trends take care of themselves. If you think you can slap together a web site, add a couple of icons from Facebook and Twitter and expect a flood of new business to follow – you have another think coming.  
Bottom line: No business can afford to operate without a strategic social marketing plan. That plan needs to be durable enough to adapt to the ever-changing preferences of your audience. If you don’t have the time or know-how to create that plan and implement it yourself, hire someone to help you.


About Tony BTony B. is a Business Development Specialist for TheSEOAgency.com. If you need full service search marketing services please do not hesitate to contact the SEO Agency. You can also follow us on Twitter @theseoagencycom.
Source :[ http://socialmediatoday.com]

5 Social Media Monitoring Tools You Want to Check Out


Social media marketing is getting more popular – and more important -- by the day. And while many companies know that they should have social media assets, many CEOs and small business owners alike still don’t understand exactly what that online presence is doing for their company.
Ask someone outside of your company’s IT department why you need to have a social media presence and chances are the answer you get will be something like “Social media sites raise rankings.” The fact is that most social media profiles don’t help increase website rankings. However, they can help increase brand awareness which in turn can lead curious consumers to your website. That, in turn can lead to more clicks, which can mean more sales.
Social media is designed for user interaction. Your business should not just occupy a listing; it should be communicating with consumers on a daily basis. By monitoring your brand/product mentions, keywords and competitors, your company has the opportunity to be both aware and alert to social media mentions that can create lead opportunities. Brand monitoring is something every company should be doing if they are actively trying to make a social media impression.
True social media power can be felt by actually providing something of value to targeted users on your social media sites, not by just pushing out corporate updates to anyone who will listen.
Here are 5 great free tools to assist in monitoring your social alertness:
  1. Bit.ly – This site allows profile holders to track how many clicks an individual link receives by converting the long URL into a 21 character URL that easily fits into tweets, blogs or anywhere content space is at a premium.
  2. SocialMention – This website tool scans and returns real time stats by keyword, brand or product mention. Shows reach, strength, sentiment, top keywords and users.
  3. Addict-o-matic – This site allows users to search by keyword, brand or product. Includes results for  Bing news, Google blog, YouTube, flickr, twitter, many others.
  4. TweetReach – This website tool shows tweet types, tweet reach, retweets, replies in pie graphs and total tweet impressions.
  5. TweetStats - Shows tweet timeline, tweets per month/day, 5+ graph analysis, tweet cloud, follower stats, trending topics and most popular tweets and influencers. During busy parts of the day, this site can take a few minutes to load. But it’s worth it.
There are many more free tools available out there for brand monitoring however, many online businesses just do not have the time to monitor and respond to lead opportunities. If this is the case, it may be may be very wise to outsource your social media and monitoring efforts to industry professionals.
TheSEOAgency.com is a full service search marketing company that services local, nationwide and global markets. Please do not hesitate to contact the SEO Agency. You can also follow us on Twitter andFacebook.


About Tony BTony B. is a Business Development Specialist for TheSEOAgency.com. If you need full service search marketing services please do not hesitate to contact the SEO Agency. You can also follow us on Twitter @theseoagencycom
Source : [http://socialmediatoday.com]

5 Step Model for a Killer B2B Content Marketing Strategy


5 Step Model for a Killer B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Lee Odden  |  June 14, 2011   |  3 comments
Click here to find out more!
Content marketing has become a hot topic among search and social media marketers over the past year. According to the Junta42 2010 Content Marketing Spending Survey, content marketing now represents 33 percent of total marketing budgets with social media, e-newsletters, and blogs topping the list of tactics. In fact, Forrester Research reports that spending on B2B social media alone will approach $54 million by 2014.
The problem is, many of those marketers are not incorporating SEO, social media, and content marketing channels. While content is the common denominator with effective SEO and social media marketing, many online marketers don't have support or the resources for integration.
Persuading the right people in your organization to make marketing changes requires education. To that end, here is a five step model for a killer B2B content marketing strategy that effectively incorporates SEO and social media best practices.
Step 1: Buyer Personas
Content marketing is essentially connecting customers with relevant information in a way that provides mutual value for both customers and brands. While content informs, it also influences readers to the logical conclusion to buy – directly or indirectly.
The most effective content marketing efforts are thoughtful about understanding the people the brand is trying to engage. To do that, there are a few key questions that should be answered:
  • What are your customers' content preferences?
  • How do they discover, consume, and share content?
  • What types of information do they need during the buying cycle?
  • What are they looking for on search engines and discussing on the social web?
The answers to questions like these can help B2B marketers make important decisions about their content marketing strategy, social media channels of focus, and measurement via social monitoring and web analytics.
Creating personas or profiles of the brand's target customer groups helps guide editorial decisions, keyword research, promotion, social engagement, and, of course, goals and measurement.
Many companies segment their email or direct marketing lists according to key characteristics. Developing a search and social persona is not that different. Documenting ideal customer archetypes involves collecting data, aggregating, and analyzing it into profiles.
The first step is to collect data you already have on existing customers that exemplify ideal characteristics such as profitability, low support costs, referrals, and retention. Additional internal sources include web analytics data from brand websites to identify KPIs that lead to ideal customer acquisition. Social media monitoring and analytics data can also provide insight into ideal customer behaviors.
Additional tools include competitive search and social media research services, social media monitoring tools, and keyword research tools. You can also survey your customers to identify what social media and content sites they prefer.
Step 2: Search and Social Keywords
Driven by a desire to connect customers with the information they need to make B2B buying decisions, content marketers dedicate substantial resources to creating information and media that engage. Understanding target customer interests and the language they use to think about the problem/solution involved with your offering is the first step in content optimization.
Like consumers, B2B buyers discover new services through search engines. They also look for recommendations and discuss what they find via search on social networks, forums, and blogs. Search engine optimization best practices call for keyword research so that content can be optimized for what's relevant to customers and the language they actually use when searching for solutions.
Because B2B buyers are active and influenced by social content, it's important for B2B marketers to understand social keywords or topics as well as search keywords. What buyers search on Google and what they discuss on social networking or Q/A sites like Quora are not always the same.
SEO-focused keywords help inspire creation and optimization of content for discovery via search engines. Social media-focused keywords help guide the content and messaging approach on relevant social channels. This way, when B2B buyers search a category for solutions, they see "Brand 123" in a prominent position. When that buyer looks at social content like blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, or video for the topic, Brand 123 appears there as well. This approach also intersects well with online PR efforts to gain editorial coverage according to keywords or topics of focus.
Step 3: Editorial Plan and Content Mapping
The implementation of a content strategy, personas, and search/social keywords is through the editorial plan. Brands are increasingly adopting best practices used by publishers to create engaging information and media for a specific type of audience.
The editorial plan covers any kind of content that tells the brand story to the customer segments being targeted. Such content plans factor in original website and blog content, curated content from other sources, repurposed content from inside the organization, and content published on other websites or other brand web properties.
The editorial plan also influences the content created for social media-specific purposes such as blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, LinkedIn forum posts, YouTube videos, etc.
In order to coordinate the connection between the buyer persona-guided editorial plan and the actual content, it should be mapped. SEO practitioners already do this with keywords and associate target keyword phrases with specific web pages or categories of pages. This is useful for making sure all target concepts are accounted for with on-page optimization and can be modified as content or target keywords change. If there is no content for a target keyword to be mapped to, then it's added to the content creation plan.
Mapping content according to buyer personas is very similar. Existing content is audited for ability to address the information needs of target customers across the buying cycle. If there are gaps, then new content is created to address those needs. In a coordinated social SEO effort, the editorial plan and content mapping process occurs first, then the SEO audit.
Step 4: Content Promotion
"Build it and they will come." It's a well-known and often overused quote. There's a reason for that: it's true!
With content marketing, great content is the beginning not the end objective. An effective content marketing strategy includes information about target buyer personas, search keywords and social topics, an editorial plan, and a plan for promoting all the high-quality content being created. Today's Internet and social web are full of information overload. Buyers can easily be distracted and so it's important to stand out and stay connected.
There are three basic reasons for promoting great content:
  1. Many B2B buyers rely on information to be pushed to them because finding and trusting new sources on an ongoing basis isn't practical.
  2. Promoting content through channels where a social network has been developed can lead to exposure, traffic, and links.
  3. Content promotion can inspire syndication and citations from other blogs and online media.
A particularly effective model for coordinated social SEO and content promotion is a hub and spoke. Depending on your content strategy and target audience, the hub might be a resource center, a blog, Facebook fan page, YouTube channel, or a website. The spokes are distribution and promotion channels leading to offsite networks or communities.
Understanding the communities and involving them in both content development and promotion keeps topics fresh and relevant as well as interesting for the community to promote to others.
Step 5: Mining Web and Social Analytics
As B2B marketers implement a coordinated social SEO and content marketing program, there's a cyclical publishing, promotion, analysis, and improvement process that can boost effectiveness.
It starts by creating keyword-optimized content and promoting it to relevant channels. As the brand's content gets noticed, it is shared and voted on and awareness of the brand as a source of useful information on the desired topics grows. At the same time, a persistent effort is made to grow social network connections. Increased exposure of brand-authored content will attract more subscribers, fans, friends, followers, and links. Increased links and social exposure will attract even more search, link, and social traffic. Increased web traffic and community engagement actions will help the brand research, develop, and further grow social networks for content and SEO. With the information gained from community data, editorial optimization plans can be refined for more effective content creation, optimization, and promotion.
Hopefully, this five-step model will provide you inspiration or fuel to start incorporating social media and SEO in your B2B content marketing. You'll reach more customers where they're looking across the customer lifecycle and inspire more effective engagement, revenue, and retention outcomes.
This column was originally published in SES Magazine, May 2011.
Reference Post : [ http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2078260/step-model-killer-b2b-content-marketing-strategy]

Monday, June 13, 2011

6 Key Tips to Optimize Your Social Media Marketing


6 Key Tips to Optimize Your Social Media Marketing


Social media has become an essential asset for marketing. So how can you utilize this resource? Read on f6 Tips to Optimize Your Social Media Marketingor tips on how to use social media to your advantage and how to access business services on the web.

Tip 1: Build an Identity

Social media is a great way to brand oneself. Is your company less serious and more fun-loving? This could come across in colloquial speech and joke-y tweets. Your personality on the web is a reflection of your business’ personality. Let it shine through!

Tip 2: Don’t Just Talk, Listen

Resources like Google alerts allow you to listen to what people are saying about you in cyberspace and communicate back to those people. Take their feedback and implement it into your marketing strategy. Also, make sure to respond to people who post on your social media sites. Make them feel like an integral part of your business community (because they are)!

Tip 3: Keep the Conversation Going

Never abandon your social media sites. You should always keep them up, monitor them, and give your customers more material to interact with, read, and respond to.

Tip 4: Identify your Target

Identifying your target audience allows you to better understand how to go about reeling them in. Is more of your target audience on Facebook or LinkedIn? What sort of things are they interested in? Answering these questions could help you to pinpoint an efficient, social media marketing strategy.

Tip 5: Go Big or Go Home

You can’t just assume that creating a Facebook fan page will bring the customers flowing in. Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups, retweet, get involved with the social media community!

Tip 6: Write Good Stuff: Content Matters

Publish things on the web that will attract your target audience — give them information that they can use and ponder. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare but try and share fun and read-worthy content.
Social media is a cost efficient and easy way to communicate with your customers. If you follow these tips, you will surely have a large fan following and get the most for your social advertising buck.
Author: James Kim is a writer for Choosewhat.com. ChooseWhat is a company that provides product reviews and test data for business services and products.  Their goal is to help small companies make informed buying decisions on business solutions that help their business.
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