Posts Tagged ‘seattle search engine optimization’

7 Solid Tips to Boost Your SEO from RoryMartin.com

1. Know your starting statistics

When implementing any strategy, it pays to know where you’re starting from, so that you can easily see if rankings and conversions have improved at any point in your SEO journey. This document can be as simple as you like; even a handwritten notebook will let you immediately spot increases (and decreases) in statistics such as conversions and inbound links.

2. Create solid, good quality content

The perceived Holy Grail of content is to create something which goes viral, but as a long-term strategy it’s better to create solid, good quality content on a regular basis, than occasionally put something extraordinary out there, and bulk up your website with mediocre content in between. Like EdgeRank with Facebook, if you put out something less than great, people aren’t going to be that keen to share and promote it, so in between viral episodes, you’re more likely to lose followers and alienate your audience.

3. Keep an eye on what’s topical

What’s trending on Twitter? What are other people in your field talking about? That viral video, does it have any themes which you could work from? While we don’t suggest you hurry something just to piggyback on the current top trending topic, it’s a good idea to see what’s creating a buzz during the week, and see if anything which you do can relate to that. Stay mindful of your long-term plans and company branding though!

4. Cultivate relationships with other sites

This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. If your link-builder is out there every day, sourcing websites for links, these bloggers and journalists and website owners are going to prefer to link to a site which is consistently putting out good content. Here is a fantastic piece on why many link-building strategies fail: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/why-link-building-strategies-fail

5. Check your road map

Once you implement a new idea, or build that relationship link with a site or person, check your statistics to see what the relationship does for you. Are you finding that your traffic is slowly but surely increasing, but you’re not ranking any higher? Find out what’s causing that, and fix it. Remember that the point of SEO isn’t only to boost your rankings, but also to increase conversions. How are these statistics looking?

6. Don’t hang out in bad neighborhoods

Search engines can easily pick up on linkfarms, and other such sites, and blacklist them. There is almost no security or surety in purchasing links from sites like these, as they could be disregarded by search engines, or even cast a negative light on the sites which they are linking too, as well. Stick to building connections and writing good quality content for yourself.

7. Make your actions clear

Once all of this traffic has arrived at your site, you want to convert visits into customers. Make sure that your site is easily navigable so that your newly interested audience can immediately do what you want them to do on the site. Your social media profiles need to be obvious too, so that these visitors can quickly connect with you, and share what a great job you’re doing of being you!

We at RoryMartin.com hope that these seven tips improve your SEO and rankings. If you’d like more advice contact our experts today for a free estimate.

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Make the Most of Linkedin for Your Business

As a web design and web developmentsearch engine optimizationsearch engine marketing and social media marketing firm, we like to keep on top of the trends – and exploring trends on LinkedIn is no exception.  We stumbled across this article that boasts 10 LinkedIn Tips for Professionals, that says:

Despite the hype over Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin offers the greatest opportunity for professionals to make connections that lead to business.

We agreed with Ian Brody’s article, especially the following tips

1. Don’t make your profile look like your resumé.  Brody says that the number one temptation when setting up a LinkedIn profile is to fill in all those prior job slots, but that’s ineffective where LinkedIn is concerned.   The business connections that you’re looking for are going to want to see solution-oriented details.  Add the business name and title, leave out things like,  “managed four people who perform business-related tasks.”   Explain where you went above and beyond the basic job task, improved something, saved money, or where you were excelled and were just plain awesome.

2.  Find Connections – Know your Strategy.  LinkedIn is social, and there are a lot of professional networks on LinkedIn, where you can flex your knowledge and show off your skills – for example, you might find us in the LikeSocialMedia.com group.  Of course, like any social network, it’s best to get a feel for the pulse of the community.  Listen, watch and learn; find out what other pros in your industry are doing and saying and be cautious at first about sharing dissent.  Like anywhere (or any social network) first impressions are lasting impressions.   And Ian Brody notes, “Create a connection strategy to build valuable discussion.”

3. Ian Brody suggests updating your status to remind people what you do, and what you’re currently working on.  If you connect with a lot of people, staying current with status messages can do anything from help you connect with someone who’s looking for YOUR expertise to keeping you up to date on news in your field, to helping you and your brand grow in ways that your clientele are looking for.

What do you think readers?  Have anything to add to Brody’s tips for LinkedIn?


If you’re curious about how to use LinkedIn for your business, contact RoryMartin.com to find a strategy that fits your social networking needs, as well as the social tools that simplify your social media integration.  We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

The State of LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered how LinkedIn actually affects your business?  Ever asked yourself why LinkedIn is important to your company’s potential?  At RoryMartin.com, we’ve been researching ways for businesses to use LinkedIn to build a better social media strategy.

The State of LinkedIn 2011

Having your business profile out there on the web WILL help increase your organic search results, so if you’re not optimizing sites like LinkedIn, you’re not fully optimizing your search engine potential.   LinkedIn also helps your business look more complete, and is an established tool for reputation management – especially through customer testimonials.

LinkedIn is also a powerful tool to analyze your company and its connections through your employee network. An article on Mashable notes that, “…it will automatically calculate your company’s median age, top schools, and other companies that they are well-connected to.”  This can be effective for recruiting job candidates, and networking in your industry.  Through LinkedIn you have the ability to post polls, and receive answers, letting your business know what your clients are interested in, and keeping you up to date on industry standards.

If you’re curious about how to use LinkedIn for your business, contact RoryMartin.com to find a strategy that fits your social networking needs, as well as the social tools that simplify your social media integration.  We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

 

Tips to a Stellar Social Media Strategy

As social media becomes a key component in online marketing, businesses who aren’t creating and implementing stellar strategy may be left in the dark. Social media creates buzz around your business; and as your company becomes more visible, social media drives traffic to your business or website. With a solid strategy, you’ll have a chance to talk to new and interested audiences, while ultimately becoming more user-friendly. We’ve curated a few key tips to make your social media plan succeed:

Listen: Social media is a communicative tool. As with any form of communication the best thing you can do is listen. Listen to your audience, your competitors, and people you want to work with. Listen, or look for conversations that you want to be a part of. Listen to, and watch social media influencers and keep track of ways that you can contribute to become an authority. There are tools that you can use to monitor these conversations, and track keywords, once you determine which users and conversations are relevant to your business. But above all things it’s best to determine who your target audience is, and why they want to be a part of your sphere.

Once you have a clear line of sight it’s time to…

Plan: Social media influence *can* happen organically, but for a business it’s best to take the bull by the horns. Listening to the buzz happening in the social media world will help your business determine your social media goals and objectives (these should tie in to your businesses goals and objectives). Plot out which social media sites you’d like to use and the contacts you’d like to gain. Define your strategy, the people who will implement that strategy, and how they/you will engage with your audience. Plan out the time it will take to implement this strategy, so you don’t waste time splashing around in the metaphorical social media pool. Create a social media calendar that coincides with that strategy, so you’ll know what kind of content to create and when. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.

And while you’re doing all this planning, remember that the best connections are personal, human connections so you’ll need to…

Engage: Be a part of the conversation – the HUMAN conversation. Creating relationships in the social media world is important to creating trust between your brand and the world. Develop a deeply human relationship with your audience, and your audience will reward that relationship. Show them that your business is a team of actual, relatable people, not just a big logo run by a bunch of robots. For example, a set of auto-tweets won’t be nearly as effective as coming up with relevant content that varies from day to day. That’s not to say your auto tweets aren’t important, but that you should also respond to the influencers, audience and industry relevant to your business. If it’s relevant to both your contacts and to your businesses goals, it’s a conversation your business needs to be a part of.

And if all else fails, you can check back to RoryMartin.com where we’ll continue to write about tips, tricks and tools of the trade when it comes to SEO, online marketing and social media management. As a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing, RoryMartin.com can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals

Social Media Marketing – The Value of Business Blogging

There is a common misconception among business owners as to the value of business blogging. Many believe that they do not have time to effectively implement a Social Media Marketing campaign or that there is little return on investment. RoryMartin.com a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing can help you build a marketing strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals.

A corporate blog is a marketing asset and therefore, an asset to your business. Properly executed, a blog will continue to drive traffic and leads to your business over time and should be viewed just like Search Engine Optimization, a due diligence process that is not a short term experiment, but a long term investment.

There are many reasons to consider a business blog.  By delivering fresh, compelling, keyword-rich, original content you will bring users back to your site on a regular basis, helping increase awareness for your brand and driving your site up in ranking. In addition to gaining search engine ranking and generating leads, blogs engage your current customers and place you in a position to provide thought leadership to your industry, strengthening your brand.

Optimizing a blog that engages customers and prospects while furthering your company’s mission and business objectives, is much like optimizing a website. By implementing search engine optimization, your blog can rank much higher than static website pages in the search engine results. Over time, this drives up the ranking of your company website.

In order to measure Social Media ROI you must define clear measurable goals. RoryMartin.com’s online marketing campaigns deliver both measurable revenue as well as ancillary brand building benefits for your company.   It is important to understand the value of a visitor. Each visitor becomes one of three things; a browser, an influencer or a transacting customer.  A transacting customer delivers immediate financial impact which can be measured as ROI. Browsers and influencers are measured as ancillary even though they directly affect your financial bottom line, just not in the immediate sense. Their value falls into the category of non-actualized potential.

Some of the most substantial benefits of a social media campaign will be difficult to measure directly. There is no concrete financial value that can be assigned to reputation management, branding and customer service. However, every business owners knows those values are indispensable.

Social Media Monitoring : Radian6 vs. ScoutLabs

Ever since I reported on the launch of Scout Labs, I have had people ask, fairly or not, how it compares with Radian6. It’s no secret that I use Radian6 at Doe-Anderson, am good friends with many of their employees and have recommended them to people left and right for a long time. Scout Labs appeared on the scene in February after two years of testing and development and they have a very nice social media monitoring tool.

To be completely fair, it should be noted that the two companies have slightly different target audiences, strengths, technologies and approaches. Scout Labs is a self-serve, web-based tool priced for small to mid-sized business and brands. Radian6 was originally positioned as an agency model where a single ad agency that worked with many brands could economically offer social media monitoring to its clients. It quickly moved on the market thirst for social media monitoring and expanded their approach beyond ad agencies and PR firms, but they are probably best suited for medium to large sized brands and businesses.

Still, if there is something to be had with Scout Labs for a better price, we ought to know what it is.

So, while setting up and monitoring mentions of a Louisville-area heath care system recently, I composed this comparison on setup, features and price. I chose the health care system because they have several different locations, thus potential keywords to search for, but weren’t a typical “national” brand so the volume would be manageable. Here’s what I found:

Radian6 offers a very simple setup. You start a “Topic” and add keywords. For billing purposes, you’re billed for each “Topic” so all of your searches need to come under that topic set up or you’ll pay more. I added several different keywords based on the name of the health care system and one of their locations. After testing the results returned, I quickly had to add some omission filters for a popular actor who has apparently appeared in several movies about hospitals and shares a name with the brand in question.

Still, the whole set up took 10 minutes. I’ve used Radian6 for a while, so it was familiar territory, but it is fairly easy to understand and navigate once you’ve had the tour from a Radian6 rep. (I wouldn’t say it’s particularly intuitive if you’ve never been in it, but it’s not hard to grasp.)

Just minutes later, I had a “River of News” that revealed 54 posts from the world wide web related to the health care system. You can sort that river in a number of ways to prioritize how you respond or weight the posts. A few clicks later, I had a topic cloud of popular words from those posts. With a few minutes of set up, I had some charts and graphs of some keywords I compared to see the volume of posts related to thinks like, “long wait time,” “terrible service” and “great service.” In Radian6, you can essentially compare any number of topics or keywords against one another, pulling frequency data from your river of news. You can also pull topic clouds or segment that division of data … they really allow you to slice the data any number of ways. Again, you need a little training to know how — even though all you do is click on the word or the bar graph to dive into it, you don’t get that from just looking at it — but once you do, you can slice more than a Benihana’s chef on speed.

Radian6 also produces an influencer report which gives you the most influential authors or sources from your river of news. This is good information to have, though the data is skewed a bit by the limits of your time frame (mine was set for the last 30 days). Still, I love the way Radian6 has added individual Twitter users as “influencers” on the chart. That is much more relevant to the live conversation of the day than which blog mentions the brand more.

Something new Radian6 has added to their River of News view that turns their tool into a much more actionable platform for brands and marketers is the Workflow view. You organize your River of News into a work space that allows you to mark posts for follow up, assign that follow up to team members and make the results actually work for you. Yes, this is a manual function, but one your company will want to use and participate in because it allows you to use your monitoring to realize results and proactively engage those voices talking about your brand.

Radian6 Workflow view with actionable step links to the left.

Radian6 Workflow view with actionable step links to the left.

This particular interface and function of Radian6′s tool would take me a complete second post to tell you about all the features and strengths. There’s tie-in with Google’s social graph API, automated alerts for subjects (giving you Google Alerts on steroids), tagging and activity logging of contact with specific bloggers, a completely mind-boggling integration with Twitter to manage communications with an influencer on that particular network. Oh, and you can have all your “River” results pumped to you via instant messenger so you are never out of touch with what’s being said about your brand.

Frankly, this dashboard functionality blows all other competitors in the social media monitoring space out of the water. If you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the big boys, you’ve lost your mind. This alone beats them, hands down. (Unless, of course, you just have to have the 56 page PowerPoint with mindless pie charts no one reads.) For medium to small brands, however, it’s overwhelming and impossible to manage or use all the functionality without spending hours a day using Radian6 (which is, I’m sure, what they’re hoping for). The reason I say that, however, is that there’s normally just one or two people managing all this for smaller brands and that isn’t their only role. This is a tool best used by teams of communications staffers.

Oh, and the ability to slice and dice the data in Radian6 is just sick. Once you know how to do it, you’ll swear by this tool.

The only bad thing about my Radian6 experience is that it crashes my browser in Firefox. Maybe it’s too powerful. It works fine in Safari, so I just use it there.

That said, the Radian6 scorecard of results showed 54 total items found, including 17 posts from Twitter, two videos and four images.

In Scout Labs, I set up a “Search” much like the “Topic” in Radian6. The keyword or exact phrase setup was a little disappointing until I got them on the phone and asked about it. They were nice to (politely) point out there’s a big “Click here for help” button that I missed. What can I say? I don’t read instructions.

In order to play out the clumsy usage like the average person would, I used the brand name, then the word “Healthcare” and the name of one of the brand’s locations as qualifiers. (“Relevant” in Scout Labs terms.) Unfortunately, that set up yielded over 10,000 posts. Even adding all sorts of qualifiers (the actor’s name as an omission, etc.), I could only get it down to 8,500 posts. So, I set up one search for, “Brand Healthcare” and “Brand Location” where the brand and location are obviously specific to this particular organization. There was no real way to mash those results up (keeping in mind I didn’t read the instructions on how to do so), so I did that manually for comparison sake.

Once that was done, the information produced included 72 total items found, including 23 posts from Twitter, 22 videos and 18 pictures. For the record, I ran it the way I should have (having read the instructions) and the numbers and content were all but identical.

A sentiment trend view from Scout Labs.

A sentiment trend view from Scout Labs.

Once you’ve set up your search in Scout Labs, within seconds and a couple of clicks you have charts and graphs for volume of articles, share of voice compared to competitors you may set up to track as well and the kicker – automated sentiment so you know if the talk about you is good, bad or neutral. Since this is manually scored in Radian6, you just saved yourself a fair bit of time to produce a sentiment report, though it requires that you trust the automation. (I highly recommend manually checking any sentiment score from any service until you’re confident they’re accurate or you can at least live with the ratio of right to not-so.)

Scout Labs also separates results out by medium, giving you a tab to see posts or conversations and separate tabs for photos, videos and Twitter. With Radian6, they’re all together in your stream, though easy to delineate. You can delete or remove posts you don’t want considered very easily using both tools. Instead of a topic cloud, Scout Labs lists popular words discovered in your stream and goes the added step of indicating which words are new in the last 30 days. This gives you a quick and automated glance at what topic might be trending or a sore spot that consumers are complaining about.

Comparing the results, it’s clear that Radian6 has a much more thorough scan of the web. News items posted on WFPL.org, the website for the local NPR affiliate, were not picked up by Scout Labs, showing some apparent holes in their scans. They also don’t do a good job of catching message boards and forums, though I’m sure that will improve over time. Radian6 didn’t do that well with forums a year or so ago when I first saw their platform. They’re better now.

Of the nine posts returned by Scout Labs, Radian6 only had three of them, and while the tool should have found them, I would only consider one of the six relevant to the search as three were job postings and the other two appeared to be spam sites. While I’m not sure why there was an inconsistency in the number of Twitter messages returned, it may have something to do with spam/duplication filters. The entries Radian6 failed to return appeared to be re-tweets or exact duplications of bot-controlled feeds.

Scout Labs did out-perform Radian6 by returning lots more videos and images. There was a Flickr set of 17 images I found through Scout Labs of a newborn baby that wasn’t in the Radian6 filter, all tagged with the hospital’s name. However, none of the four images Radian6 returned, all of which were relevant, were to be found in the Scout Labs data.

Tit-for-tat comparison’s are relevant but not altogether conclusive, however. The thing that often sets the tools apart is the ease of use and quality/quantity of data returned. Scout Labs offers a more seamless experience in a web-based environment while Radian6 is a Flash interface. It can be clunky and slow, though it is noticeably faster now than in months past. Radian6 allows you to produce topic-related comparisons easier than Scout Labs, in my experience. And, as I’ve indicated, the Workflow tool in Radian6 is simply unmatched in anything out there. It alone is worth the cost of the service.

And while Radian6 has the powerful play of the Influencer Report, which now includes Twitter users in its consideration set (a far better insight than just blogs that mention the brand most often), Scout Labs counters with the trump card of automated sentiment scoring. It is currently time consuming to manually grade sentiment in Radian6. Even though the brand in question only returned 54 posts, it would have taken about an hour to go through each one, read, score sentiment and so-on. In Scout Labs, if I trust their tool, it’s done.

For the record, according to my friends at Radian6, automatic sentiment scoring is coming and soon. Until it does though, Scout Labs has that as a selling point.

While I’m not well-schooled in the back-end technology lingo, Scout Labs uses indexing which, as I understand it, is more nimble and flexible than database-driven information. Radian6 uses a combination of indexing and database technology. Is that a sticking point for them in the long, run? I don’t know and would love some technologists and engineers to chime in. Seems like both companies have good engines and continually improve what they have, so both can give each other good runs for the money for a while. I promise to do more research here to edu-ma-kate us on the differences.

So from a power perspective, I give the edge to Radian6. Both the Workflow panel and their breadth of data collection sets them apart. Scout Labs can probably catch them on the data collection pretty quickly but duplicating their Workflow panel will be tough to do knowing Radian6 is always improving their own tool as well.

From a data perspective, Radian6 also stands out because of their breadth of data, the Influencer report and the data slicing and dicing ease of their tool. (Did I tell you it’s just sick? Sick!) Still, it’s a close call because of Scout Lab’s automated sentiment scoring, which is a big time-saver and important when you consider the good vs. bad is sometimes all a brand manager or CEO wants to hear.

But when you look at price, Scout Labs wins. They don’t limit the number of users \and offer monthly plans starting at $99 (enough to handle a single brand or small business with monitoring of 3-4 competitors). For $249 monthly, you get more searches for competitors or divisions of your business. This would be the price point for the health care system I used. The most you’ll pay for Scout Labs, unless you have a large, customized solution, is $749.00 monthly. That’s almost the entry point for Radian6, which is a volume-based plan with 10,000 “posts” as the lowest price point at around $600.00 per month. And you’ll need to be very meticulous about defining your keyword. If I hadn’t eliminated the actor’s name from Radian6′s scan, I would have been automatically bounced up to the more expensive plans at the end of the month. (Though I can attest, Radian6′s folks will notice inconsistencies and call you to make sure you’re aware you have exceeded your post limit.)

So you get a better price with Scout Labs, but not as thorough a search. Radian6 has what is essentially internal project management software for response management, but Scout Labs offers automated sentiment.

And both firms have a strong footing in customer service and innovating based on their technologies. So both will evolve and get even better at what they’re doing. Radian6 today is far better and vastly different than they were a year ago. Scout Labs is going to trump even themselves in a month or so with new features and broader reach with their searches.

In the end, the decision is going to be unique to each organization or business, so it’s up to you to decide.

If you’re a small business or on a tight budget, Scout Labs is well worth the investment. If you have a little bit more money to spend and want to see a more powerful tool put to use for your brand, Radian6 might be a better fit. But both are infinitely useful and worth the time and money. And both will get better.

As a matter of point and disclosure, allow me to say that I have the utmost confidence in both of these services. I’ve paid a personal visit to Radian6 and am good friends with many of their employees, including CEO Marcel Lebrun. In my brief time getting to know Scout Labs CEO Jenny Zeszut and product VP Margaret Francis, it’s clear they know what they’re doing and are offering a valuable service at a very competitive price point.

Now it’s your turn. If you use one, the other or both, please fill us in on your experience. What do you like? Dislike? What could either do better? They’re monitoring firms, so you can bet they’ll be anxiously awaiting your feedback. Scout Labs is new, but they have a 30 day free trial. Go sign up and let us know what you think. The comments, as always, are yours.

The Maturation of Social Media ROI – by Brian Solis

chart imageBrian Solis is a principal at new media agency FutureWorks, and author of the upcoming book, Engage. You can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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, we’re 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.

Over the years, our exploration and experience has redefined the traditional metrics and created hybrid models that will prove critical to modern business practices and help companies effectively compete for the future.


Early ROI Adaptations


Where the “I” in ROI represents investment, marketers have also explored ancillary elements to address the socialization of media, marketing, and the resulting dynamics of engagement.

Adaptations included:

Return on Engagement: The duration of time spent either in conversation or interacting with social objects, and in turn, what transpired that’s worthy of measurement.

Return on Participation: The metric tied to measuring and valuing the time spent participating in social media through conversations or the creation of social objects.

Return on Involvement: Similar to participation, marketers explored touchpoints for documenting states of interaction and tied metrics and potential return of each.

Return on Attention: In the attention economy, we assess the means to seize attention, hold it, and measure the response.

Return on Trust: A variant on measuring customer loyalty and the likelihood for referrals, a trust barometer establishes the state of trust earned in social media engagement and the prospect of generating advocacy and how it impacts future business.

But as we progress through the ten stages of social media integration, our views and techniques mature into more sophisticated strategies.

For many businesses, the case for new metrics can’t be made until we have an intrinsic understanding of how social media engagement affects us at every level. It’s not as simple as counting subscribers, followers, fans, conversation volume, reach, or traffic. While the size of the corporate social graph is a reflection of our participation behavior, it is not symbolic of brand stature, resonance, loyalty, advocacy, nor is it an indicator of business performance.


The Need for New Scrutiny


scrutiny imageIn 2010, social media endeavors are often still thought of as “pilot programs,” launched to steer a brand toward perceived relevance. Budgets, for the most part, are borrowed from other divisions to fund the largely experimental programs. Where that money goes and comes from depends largely on the social media champions who push for this experimentation from the inside.

In many cases however, new programs are introduced without an integrated strategy. Money is allocated from existing programs. If we’re going to take away from something, we should determine whether or not we’re justified to do so.

According to a 2009 study performed by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, 84% of professionals in a variety of industries reported that they do not measure ROI.

In 2010, executives are demanding scrutiny, evaluation, and interpretation. Even though new media is transforming organizations from the inside out, what is constant is the need to apply performance indicators to our work.


The Business of Social Media


The CFO, CEO, and CMO of any organization would be remiss if they did not account for spending and resource allocation for social media.

MarketingProfs recently published a study by Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club that revealed the true expectation of chief marketing officers. The bottom line: They want measurable results from social media.

However, the study found that the exact implications of social media still evade CMOs.

– 53% are unsure about their return on Twitter ()

– 50% are unable to assess the value of LinkedIn () or industry blogs

Most importantly, about 15% believe there is no ROI associated with Twitter, and just over 10% cannot glean ROI from LinkedIn or Facebook ().

I believe this is the direct result of a disconnect between social media activity and a clearly defined end game. We must establish what we want to measure before we engage. By doing so, we can answer the questions, “what is it that we want to change, improve, accomplish, incite, etc?”

Defining a clear strategy can help us reach our social media goals, including:

– Sales
– Registrations
– Referrals
– Links (the currency of the social web)
– Votes
– Reduction in costs and processes
– Decrease in customer issues
– Lead generation
– Conversion
– Reduced sale cycles
– Inbound activity


Customer Insight


insight imageCustomer ratings and reviews rose to the top of useful marketing feedback, as they delivered tangible ROI insight. In 2009, 80% of respondents reported that customer stories and suggestions shape products and services. As a result, brands earn the trust and loyalty of their customers by listening and responding.

According to the MarketingProfs study, CMOs will have more opportunities to engage with user-generated content in 2010, with many reporting:

– A 400% increase in use of Twitter comments to inform decisions about products and services

– A 59% increase in the use of customer ratings and reviews

– A 24% increase in use of social media for pre-sales Q&A


Monetizing Social Media


Social media metrics will be increasingly tied to revenue in 2010. To what extent seems to vary according to CMOs. The study indicates:

– 80% predict upwards of 5%

– 15% optimistically hope for 5-10%

In 2009, those companies that aligned social media investments with revenue estimates:

– 5% or less revenue tied to social in 2009 foresee an increase of an additional 5% in 2010

– 6-10% of revenue stemming from social media is expected to increase more than 10%

– Those with greater revenues resulting from social engagement expect an escalation of revenue derived from social at 20%

Companies like Dell are not only tracking the impact of social media on revenue, but expanding lessons learned across the entire organization. According to Dell’s Lionel Menchaca:

“Our @DellOutlet is now close to 1.5 million followers on Twitter, and back in June we indicated that @DellOutlet earned $3 million in revenue from Twitter. Today it’s not just Dell Outlet having success connecting with customers on Twitter. In total, Dell’s global reach on Twitter has resulted in more than $6.5 million in revenue. In fact our Brazilian and Canadian accounts are growing rapidly too –- and it was Canadian tweeters who asked to make sure Dell Canada came online to Twitter. Dell Canada responded because the team heard our customers. In less than a year, @DellnoBrasil has already generated nearly $800,000 in product revenues. Similarly, @DellHomeSalesCA has surpassed $150,000 and is increasing at notable pace.”


The Forecast for Metrics in 2010


Earlier we mentioned generic forms of social media metrics. The survey revealed that indeed, 89% of CMOs tracked the impact of social media by traffic, page views, and the size of their social graph or communities. However, 2010 is the year that social media graduates from experimentation to strategic implementation, with direct ties to specific measurable performance indicators.

In 2010, CMOs will seek to establish a connection between social media and business goals. The study documents the adoption of three metrics:

– 333% surge in tracking revenue

– 174% escalation in monitoring conversion

– 150% increase in measuring average order value


A Call To Action


Defining the “R” in ROI is where we need to focus, as it relates to our business goals and performance indicators specifically. Even though much of social media is free, we do know the cost of engagement as it relates to employees, time, equipment, and opportunity cost (what they’re not focusing on or accomplishing while engaging in social media). Tying those costs to the results will reveal a formula for assessing the “I” as investment.

When we truly grasp the ability to define action and measure it, we can expand the impact of new media beyond the profit and loss. We can adapt business processes, inspire ingenuity, and more effectively compete for the future.


More business resources from Mashable:


The 10 Stages of Social Media Business Integration
HOW TO: Use Social Media to Connect with Other Entrepreneurs
HOW TO: Implement a Social Media Business Strategy
9 Great Document Collaboration Tools for Teams
5 New Year’s Resolutions for SMBs
HOW TO: Choose a News Reader for Keeping Tabs on Your Industry
5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Seattle Web Marketing Relevance meets the real-time web from Google and RoryMartin.com

12/07/2009 11:31:00 AM

As a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing, I think Google real time search is great and believe it is a true answer to Twitter’s claim that Google is lacking. Here is the original link from Google. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/relevance-meets-real-time-web.html

Search is a natural starting point for discovering the world’s information, and we strive to bring you the freshest, most comprehensive and relevant search results over an ever expanding universe of content on the multitude of devices you use to access it.

That’s why today, at the Computer History Museum, we’re excited to share a few new innovations in the areas of real-time, mobile and social search that we feel are important steps in the evolution of information access.

First, we’re introducing new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.

Try searching for your favorite TV show, sporting event or the latest development on a recent government bill. Whether it’s an eyewitness tweet, a breaking news story or a fresh blog post, you can find it on Google right after it’s published on the web.

Here’s how it looks:


Our real-time search enables you to discover breaking news the moment it’s happening, even if it’s not the popular news of the day, and even if you didn’t know about it beforehand. For example, in the screen shot, the big story was about GM’s stabilizing car sales, which shows under “News results.” Nonetheless, thanks to our powerful real-time algorithms, the “Latest results” feature surfaces another important story breaking just seconds before: GM’s CEO stepped down.

Click on “Latest results” or select “Latest” from the search options menu to view a full page of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google. You can also filter your results to see only “Updates” from micro-blogs like Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and others. Latest results and the new search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening night chatter about a new movie — right when you’re in line to buy tickets.

And, as part of our launch of real-time on Google search, we’ve added “hot topics” to Google Trends to show the most common topics people are publishing to the web in real-time. With this improvement and a series of other interface enhancements, Google Trends is graduating from Labs.

Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our new partners that we’re announcing today: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Identi.ca — along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.

The new features will be rolling out in the next few days and will be available globally in English. You can try them out today by visiting Google Trends and clicking on a “hot topic,” which in most cases will bring you to a search results page with the new real-time feature.

Here’s a first look at our real-time search:

We have also made some new strides with mobile search. Today’s sensor-rich smartphones are redefining what “query” means. Beyond text, you can now search by a number of new modes including voice, location and sight — all from a mobile device. So we’ve been working to improve technology that takes advantage of these capabilities.

Starting today, we’re extending our voice search capabilities on Android devices to recognize Japanese. In addition, we’re using the location of your mobile phone to launch some helpful features, like showing you “what’s nearby.” Finally, at our event this morning, we demonstrated Google Goggles, a visual search application that lets you search for objects using images rather than words, using your camera phone. For more information on these mobile innovations, check out the Google Mobile Blog.

As we’ve written before, search is still an unsolved problem and we’re committed to making it faster and easier for people to access a greater diversity of information, delivered in real-time, from across the web. I’m tremendously excited about these significant new real-time search features.

As a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing, I really like this article…for more information please visit our site at RoryMartin.com

HOW TO: Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube

  • Dan Schawbel is the bestselling author of Me 2.0 and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog. His latest blog, the Student Branding Blog, provides branding and career advice for high school, college and graduate students.

    There are thousands of different websites that you can leverage to build your own personal brand, but only a few that will give you both the reach and credibility to make a major impact. Here at Mashable (Mashable), we’ve provided you with a detailed look at how you can build your personal brand on Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), and LinkedIn (LinkedIn).  Today, we’ll focus in on the largest video sharing site on the planet, more commonly referred to as YouTube (YouTube).

    With over 120 million U.S. viewers, YouTube is used by President Obama for his weekly State of the Union Address, by universitcies who share lectures from star academics, and by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus who use it as a lifestream. Aside from the popularity of YouTube, the site exploits the most powerful branding medium of them all, video.

    The reason why video is so effective in communicating your personal brand is because your audience will already feel like they’ve met you by the time the video is over.  With video, you get a sense of who someone really is based on their voice, their face and their body motions.  Video (video) can support your branding efforts like no other medium on the web.


    1. Brand your profile


    In order to build your personal brand on YouTube, you have to decide how you want to position yourself.  If you already have a brand (such as “financial expert for baby boomers”), then carry it over onto your YouTube channel to make it consistent with your other web properties.  Channels that have multiple faces should be branded under a topic or a company.  Channels that only have one face and voice should be branded under a full name.  This is extremely important to understand because you can’t change your channel name at a later date. 

    keithferrazzi youtube image

    Choose a channel name: Depending on your branding strategy, you could choose your full name, your company’s name or a unique “show” name for your YouTube channel.  For instance, if you want to brand yourself as an expert in your field, you might want to do it under your own name.  The URL you will receive in return for a successful registration on YouTube is youtube.com/user/yourfullname.

    Profile setup: Just like with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, filling out your profile is important because it will allow people to locate you on a platform where millions of people are competing for attention.  You are able to upload an avatar or use a screenshot that they give you from your latest video.  Use the avatar/professional picture that you have everywhere else.  You also get to add a single URL, which should be the website that best represents you as a brand, such as your blog or LinkedIn profile.

    Channel information: Most people don’t know that there are different types of accounts you can choose on YouTube.  If you’re an expert in your field, then I recommend selecting the “Guru” account type because you can use a custom logo and add links.  To access this page go here.

    Customize your channel: Log into your account and view your channel as it currently stands.  On the top right of your screen, select “Switch to Player Mode.”  This will change your current display to the newer layout, where people can view your latest video and select any other ones that they want to watch from the sidebar.

    Channel title and tags: Where it says “Edit Channel,” you should click on “settings” and then give your channel a title, such as “Mike Smith’s Internet Marketing Show.”  On the right, you’ll want to type in tags that reflect your video content, such as “marketing” and “mike smith” because that’s how people will find your material while searching.

    Themes and Colors: Under “Themes and Colors,” find the colors and overall look that align with your website, blog, business card, PowerPoints, etc.  You can also upload your own background image and change fonts and colors.  There are websites that have free YouTube designs that you can use too.

    Modules: Now you want to go to “Modules” and check all options because comments, recent activity, and friends are all important if you want to build a community around your YouTube brand.

    Latest video: The last thing you want to do is to click on “Edit” on the top right of the screen and where it says “Featured Video,” select “Use the Most Recent.”  This way people will be viewing your latest video automatically.

    Now that have presented your audience or future audience with a legitimate profile and design on YouTube, you’re ready to start developing videos that will put your brand in the spotlight, while helping you build your business.


    2. Create remarkable videos


    Content is king and on YouTube, the only true way to be successful is to have content that is worth spreading.  Typically, this means it has to be either really funny or extremely interesting.  Here are a few examples of remarkable content. Video isn’t for everyone and you shouldn’t fool yourself if you know you’re introverted and shy. 

    Video equipment: I recommend either using a web camera from Logitech (Logitech Z523) ($99) or a Flip Ultra HD ($200).  The flip is higher quality, but the webcam allows you to do video chat or live video in addition to regular videos for YouTube.

    Advanced video equipment: If you’re really serious about creating a video show on YouTube, then you may want to invest in a sounds system, amplifier, lighting, and other professional tools that will make it look professional.

    Produce content: The best part about taking videos of yourself is that if you don’t like the end product, you can delete it very easily.  I recommend that you shoot multiple videos at once and then cut the ones that don’t work well.  Make sure all of your videos fall under the theme of your YouTube channel and that you fill out the title, description and tags for each.  In the description of each of your videos, there should be a link back to your blog or website because the people that watch your video might have never heard of your brand before.

    Once you have about five or six videos, you will want to start promoting both your channel and each video to your audience.


    3. Promote your videos


    When promoting your channel and your videos, you’ll want to use the network that you already have before you start to get creative.  In the past year, YouTube has streamlined the sharing process through various social networks. 

    obama youtube image

    Facebook Application: Using the YouTube Video Box Application on Facebook, you can add your videos automatically on your profile page or your Facebook Fan Page.  This is a great way to give each of your videos additional visibility without additional labor.

    Autoshare on Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader (Google Reader): Go to your YouTube account settings and click on “Sharing.”  In this menu, you can automatically syndicate your YouTube updates (such as when you upload a new video) through Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.  Before you check all three off, please understand who your audience is on each social network.  For example, if you share your professional videos on Facebook, where only your college friends are, then it might be awkward.

    Add your blog: Go back under YouTube account setting and click on “Blog Setup.”  This will allow you to link your blog (WordPress (WordPress).com/org, TypePad (TypePad), Blogger (blogger), etc) with your account.  This feature will enable you to post your videos on your blog directly in just a few simple clicks.

    Embed your videos: If you have a blog or traditional website (corporate or personal), you can embed one or more videos from YouTube on it.  YouTube embedded videos give you options, such as a border, different size arrangements and a variety of colors.

    Link to your channel or videos everywhere you can: The more links you have to a video, the higher it will rank when keywords are searching in YouTube or in Google (Google).  Also, more links typically means more traffic to your videos, which helps build your brand.  Link to your channel and videos from your resume, from your social networking profiles (possibly as a graphic icon), from your email signature, from your presentations and everywhere else.

    YouTube isn’t going anywhere.  It’s one of the most trafficked websites in the world and it’s a great place to get started with online video.  Even though many of your videos might not get 100,000 views, the important thing is that you can leverage that video content and share it on all of your branded properties.  Your YouTube channel can become a very important asset to your brand, one that provides your authentic voice and appearance like nothing else can.

Making Social Media a Tool, Not a Distraction

Making Social Media a Tool, Not a Distraction

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that social media can be an incredible tool for everything from enterprise research to customer service. And as many companies are finding out, social media can help improve your bottom line too.

However, there is a flip side, especially for employees sitting in front of computers at their desks or cubicles: it can also become a distraction. For some entrepreneurs, it’s tough to see how interrupting coding sessions with tweets or browsing the Facebook News Feed can be productive to business.

The reality of the situation though is that social media is just like any other tool: it can make a major impact in the right situations, and it can do harm as a time sink. Therefore, your goal should not be to discard social media, but to figure out how to make it a powerful tool, rather than a useless distraction.

Making a Plan, Setting Goals, and Executing

The key to making social media a useful tool is to have a specific plan and a goal for how you want to use it. Many small companies don’t enter the social media realm with a plan, but instead expect tweets and YouTube videos to equate to more traffic and more sales. That just isn’t how social media works.

Instead, understand your needs. Do you need more traffic to your website, or are you looking for more brand awareness? Do you want to prevent bad press before it happens, or are you more interested in creating a community that will generate good press? Always pick your goal first.

Once you have a goal, set a plan, just like you would for any other business objective. Make sure you set up metrics to measure success and implement tools that will help you measure ROI. That means tracking clicks with a tool like bit.ly or checking your Facebook Page’s analytics every week.

Finally, just execute. Don’t be afraid to reach out, make mistakes, and be vulnerable. Even if you make a mistake, customers will forgive you if you’re transparent. Just ask Facebook, which has made many blunders, but has overcome them and continues to grow.

Tips for Avoiding Social Media as a Distraction

Social media doesn’t have to be a distraction, but you should adhere to some rules to avoid it becoming a time sink:

-When you need to concentrate on an intensive task like coding or writing, close up the social media tabs and apps (and email if you can).

-Many times employees turn to social media when they’re bored, so constantly give them work that challenges and inspires them.

-Have a clearly defined social media policy so employees aren’t left wondering what’s acceptable and what is not. Here are some tips on building a social media policy.

-Prioritize. Sometimes social media outreach has to take a backseat to more pressing needs. know when that occurs.


Original Article
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Madmaxer

© Copyright © 2012 Rory Martin Inc.