David Kline

PROGRAM MANAGER, Bing - US
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Your SMX Report on Social Media ROI – A Chicken and Egg Success Circle

What’s the ROI of your company’s social media marketing efforts? How can you measure your success? And which came first – the chicken or the egg?

SMX_The Aria Las Vegas These questions were covered during SMX Social Media Marketing’s, “Measuring Success: From Reach to ROI.” We heard from Nan Dawkins with Social Snap, Ethan Dobson with Offerpop, and Jon Morris with Rise Interactive.

Measuring social media  is difficult in part due to complex user journeys. Before making a purchase a customer might read a blog post, sign up for email updates, click on a link in an email update, arrive at a landing page, and visit the main site.  A variety of activities contribute – and can culminate in – the actual purchase.

Data can end up in each touch point’s silo – and that data is difficult to connect. One suggestion is to use tracking codes in your URLs and then use your analytics system to connect the dots.

Another option is to match your social followers to your company’s customer database. Dawkins sites some success with this method. In one case study, such exercise revealed that social followers purchased 27% more from a company.

However, this leads us to the proverbial chicken and egg quandary; specifically, were they better customers because they were social followers? Or were they social followers because they were good customers? And does it matter?

Well, social media ROI slidebeyond hard measurements that show direct ROI from social media activity are also other returns from social media marketing to be considered.

For example, you know so much more about your customers than you did before. So use social media data to inform your company’s overall marketing strategy.  What seems to be working?  What doesn’t?  Are successes directly related to your KPIs?

Morris focused on another ROI aspect of social media marketing: competitor insight.  Examining your competitor’s public social media activities can be used to gain insight in to their goals, content strategy, and customers. Use this information to help differentiate yourself and develop your own, unique identity.

Finally, there is clear value in social media’s application as a retention method for existing customers. Marketers know it is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.

Interestingly, the session’s audience discussion served to reinforce two themes worth reiterating. First, accurately quantifying social media marketing is still difficult, and an area ripe for improvement. Second, don’t be dissuaded from measuring; there are still many ways to gauge the success of your social media campaign beyond the hard data.

We would love to hear more from you on this topic, and thanks for reading – hope you found this useful for your business. Stay tuned for more search advice on the Bing Business blog! 

David

P.S. For more insight around Social Media ROI and tactics that help, see

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Search and Social Media are Bros – SMX Conference Consensus

How does social media marketing affect your search engine optimization efforts? We gained some insight this morning from an expert panel at the 2012 SMX Social Media Marketing in Las Vegas. Our experts included Covario’s Dave Rohrer, Symantec’s Travis Wright, Search Mojo’s Sarah Lokitis, and RelayRide’s Mathew Guiver.  What’s the consensus?

First, the obvious: social media and SEO are closely related. As Travis Wright put it – they are “bros!”  Why?

SMX_social search

Social Signals

Search engines use social signals to rank your site. While the secret algorithms are… well, secret, there are still many social signals known to affect your rankings that you can strategically apply.  For example, likes, shares, pins, and the number of followers you have are taken into account. Blog comments and tweets that include your site’s URL are also incorporated. And the authority and influence of those sharing your content is a definitely factor.  Do you know the average Klout score of those RT’ing your content?  As these social signals are important to your search rankings, the wise SEO strategy takes social into account. On how Bing Ads can help, check out Arnie Kuenn's The New Future of Social Search with Bing.  

Keywords

Part of your existing SEO strategy is probably a set of keywords you are trying to target. You should incorporate these keywords into your social profiles and into your status updates. These keywords should be used as tags for blog posts – and in any content you are trying to get people to share.  For more information on keyword optimization and strategy, check out the following posts, or visit our page: About The Keyword Research Tool.

Sharing

Speaking of sharing, use open-graph tags to optimize how your content is shared on social networks. For example – when someone shares a link Facebook will automatically pull the meta-tag title and description along with an image from the page. But if use open-graph tags you can be in control of the exact content and image that gets shared.

SMX_FB post

The more of your content that gets shared, the higher you’ll rank on search engines – so you should consider creating content that is more likely to be shared.  But instead of another social media give-away, consider an original shareable marketing campaign that is unique to your brand. Write blogs posts about subjects that people want to tell their friends about. And remember, people love to share visual media such as pictures, videos, and info-graphics.

Shares matter, and so does the influence of the people who are sharing. Again, identify influencers and work with them to cross-share. Think about having guest authors on your blog, and connect with journalists.

Of course, SEO is not a one-and-done type of project – it’s on ongoing process that requires constant monitoring. Changes you make are not immediate – they take time. Stick to it and keep optimizing!  (For optimization information and resources with Bing Ads, see Search Advertising Ad Optimization).

Thanks for reading, and we hope you found this useful for your business. Stay tuned for more search advice on the Bing Business blog!

David

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Using Social Media for Customer Acquisition and Service - Insight from SMX

Customers are the focus of business – and this afternoon at SMX Social Marketing in Las Vegas. The emphasis was on social media and its role in customer acquisition and customer service.

SMX_Mark Twain_Edit

Acquisition

We received some good advice from Mark Marin with Plink, Drew Conrad from Zagg, and Mariana Rodriguez from Beeby Clark+Meyler.

First, if you require your customers to sign up to use your service, consider allowing them to sign up without within a Facebook application. Every time a potential customer moves from one site to another you’ll lose sign-ups. And for most people Facebook is a trusted brand… while yours may be new to them.

A second suggestion is for companies who count on email to drive sales. If customer email addresses lead to revenue then you can use social media campaigns to grow your subscription list. For example you might launch a give-away on Facebook where users signup for email subscriptions to enter to win.

Finally, social media can be used to raise the quality of the customers you acquire. In a case study presented byRodriguez, an entertainment company found that online orders coming from Facebook referrals were 21% larger than normal orders.

(Speaking of numbers, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s session about measuring social media’s success and ROI. If it’s as interesting as I hope it will be then expect another post on that topic!)

Service

A subsequent session discussed the role of social media in customer service, featuring moderator Danny Sullivan, and panelists Daniel Lemin of Social Studio, Greg Kihlstrom of Carousel30, and Lisa Grimm of space150.  As one presenter stated, "it’s simple - to provide service you have to be where your customers are. If your customers are on social media then you should be, too."

Lemin outlined the following customer service strategy via social media:

  1. Listen. Use the social media tools that are available to find where people are having conversations about you.

  2. Engage and respond. Even if you don’t know how to answer their question, let them know you are working on it (hence the Mark Twain quote above). Politeness and promptness goes a long way to satiate a dissatisfied customer. And there are a number of social media tools available to help you manage your responses.

  3. Find insights. Look at the features or products that are having issues. Look at the time of day or geographic location of the issues. Use the data from your customer service to provide actionable insights for your business.

What strategy should you use if your company uses social media not just for customer service, but also for marketing and public relations?

Kihlstrom suggests this potential problem can be turned into an advantage. For example, responding quickly to customer service requests can impress potential new customers. And those marketing campaigns that are targeting new customers will reach those existing customers that are receiving service.

Conclusion

While the topics of customer acquisition and service through social media are enormous (we could talk and write about them for days), the sessions at SMX helped to highlight some important concepts – some old and some new. What’s undeniable though is that if your business wants to stay relevant and be where existing customers are, you need to be on social media.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this useful for your business. Stay tuned for more coverage from SMX Social Media Marketing!

David

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How To Increase Facebook Reach & Engagement – Tips from SMX Day 1

We hit the ground running today, our first day at the SMX Social Media Marketing conference, with an information-packed session on Facebook marketing. Speakers Tami Dalley and Annalise Kaylor shared some valuable tips and statistics to improve Facebook marketing campaigns, and we’re happy to pass them along to you! In essence, effective Facebook marketing requires close attention to data and analytics, but also a diligent focus on reaching fans through authentic, relevant content of value. 

SMX Facebook Marketing Tami Dalley 1. Statistical takeaways from Tami Dalley, Sr. Director of Analytics and Insight for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  • Be active on the weekend. Interaction rates peak on Saturday and Sunday – the same time when posts from brands are less frequent. If you don’t want to work on the weekend, use one of the available tools to preschedule posts.
  • Time content for when fans are more likely to see it. Higher interaction rates occur from 8pm to 7am, not during the work day.  Note: Be aware, however, that the best day and time interaction rates can differ by industry.

  • Posting 1-2 times a day (not more) creates a 19% higher interaction rate. But posting more than 7 times a week creates a 25% decrease in interaction rate. So what should you do? Identify the days of the week where you get the highest interaction and focus on those days.

  • Be concise! Posts with 80 characters or less have a 23% higher interaction rate. 

  • Use clear calls to action. For example: “share this” or “like this”. Posts with clear calls to action have a 48% higher interaction rate.

  • Visual content increases interaction rates. Surprisingly photos receive higher interaction rates than videos.

  • Tweak the words on your post according to your goals.

  • Inquire! Questions can drive a 92% higher comment rate. Also use “caption this” and “fill in the blank” posts do drive commenting.

  • Use short - but real - URLs (like bingads.com/advertise) to ensure greater click-though. They drive higher interaction than shortened bit.ly URLs that don’t reveal context.

  • Emoticons attract.  Research shows emoticons drive a 52% higher interaction rate- as long as you don’t over do it. There’s even data about which emoticon is most effective (see photo below).

SMX Facebook Marketing Annalise Kaylor 2. Content promotion and management tips from Annalise Kaylor, Director of Social Media at Intrapromote

    • Don’t compare yourself to others (too much). The activities of your competitors isn’t always relevant to you in the social media universe.  For example, most of us aren’t directly competing with other companies on Facebook as much as with the varied content in your fans’ friend feed. Comparing your engagement to that of other brands is overrated.

    • Provide value!  Ask yourself how your customer wants to interact with you and what they are interested in knowing now. Tell a relevant story and don’t try to game the Facebook algorithm. If you provide value to your fans, the algorithm will “like” you.

    • Twitter is public, Facebook is personal.  Aggressively selling will turn views away, who don’t hesitate to “unlike” you or (at best), hide your updates. Facebook is a personal space you don’t want to intrude upon. Remember, “if you want to sit between my grandma and my best friend then provide value to me.”

      Facebook marketing is both an art and a science, depending on data and tactics, as well as content and strategy.  Would you expect any different?  Let us know!  And stay tuned for more insight from the 2012 SMX Social Media Marketing Conference in Las Vegas by following @BingAds and @SMX on Twitter, and join us on Facebook!

      Happy social media marketing,

      David

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