September 22, 2012

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3 Ways to Generate Better Leads on Facebook

August 30, 2012

3 Ways to Generate Better Leads on Facebook

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Define and Align: A Manageable Content and Social Media Marketing Process | SEOmoz

July 11, 2012

In our experience, we’ve discovered that we usually have to ease our clients into the realities of organic web marketing. They can get behind the groundwork of SEO easily enough; user experience and integrating the right keywords: these are not totally alien concepts to anyone who’s been around the marketing scene for more than three seconds.

But when we get into the truth of how much time and effort goes into the actual work of raising their web visibility–that it’s an ongoing process that will require them to generate content and build relationships–we often see some reluctance.

To combat that reluctance, we’ve put a lot of thought into how we conduct and explain our particular version of content marketing.

Defining our Terms

Before we get into that, a quick note about said version of content marketing. In general, we understand that content marketing is usually considered different from social media marketing. Content marketing is about drawing attention to the content on your website; social media marketing is about encouraging engagement on the various social media forums out there in cyberspace.

When we work with clients on their web marketing, we tend to blur that line between content and social media marketing. Every strategy we develop includes both. Valuable content–blog posts, infographics, videos, whatever content type aligns with the client’s goals–forms the foundation of any web marketing effort. Once we’ve got the value, we utilize social media to get the word out, engage, build relationships, and ultimately brand awareness. See the blurring?

To us, the label matters less than having a deliberate and intentional strategy to provide something of value on an ongoing basis, because content and social media marketing ultimately work together to build:

  • Value in your company or organization (or on behalf of your client)
  • A personality and brand that people know and trust
  • Sustainable relationships
  • A supportive online community
  • Domain authority and desired rankings

The Solution

So, when our clients consistently had a tough time grasping what it takes to raise their visibility on the web, we decided that something had to be done.

To that end we’ve developed an approach that clearly explains and delineates the process, step-by-step. It spells out who does what and when and how and just, in general, makes the whole thing both more manageable and more palatable to our hesitant clients.

We always start out by explaining that our organic web marketing process includes three stages:

  • Stage One
    SEO & Local Search (research & implementation)
  • Stage Two
    Link Building & Social Media Strategies (research & development)
  • Stage Three
    Ongoing Implementation & Measurement (which never, ever ends)

This graphic depicts Stages Two and Three. It is the process that we use to develop and implement content and social media marketing strategies for our clients:

Content Marketing & the Social Process

By the time we get to this part of our (almost painfully) well-defined process, two things have come to pass:

[1] Stage One Has Been Completed

Way back at the beginning of Stage One, the clients completed a data collection questionnaire that provides us with a general understanding of the following:

  • design preferences & assets
  • logins (website, analytics, social)
  • competition (top 3)
  • target audience (and level of expertise)
  • website (most important pages, most significant tasks)
  • calendar (highs and lows, significant events, holidays, roadblocks)
  • team (point of contact)
  • marketing efforts (print, social, SEO, email marketing)
  • goals & expectations (SEO, social media)

We have reviewed these findings and worked through all of the necessary website and SEO efforts that are part of Stage One of the project (site audit, navigation development, user experience, keyword research, on-page optimization, local search integration, etc.). 

Stage One lays the groundwork so that the website is optimized and ready for all the targeted traffic we’re going to generate. We’ve also discovered the keywords that we will be integrating into both their link building and content/social media marketing strategy so that we are building links to the right pages on the website once we get to Stage Three.

[2] We Have Defined & Aligned Everyone’s Expectations & Responsibilities

Every client has different budgets and expectations of participation. Some clients have a large internal team that can dedicate the time to ongoing content generation and strategy implementation. Other clients really need to lean on our knowledge, expertise, and resources, so at that level we act as their third party web marketing team and carry most of the load for them.

No matter what level we are working with a client, we always make it very clear what it takes to achieve desired results and who will be held accountable for achieving these results. If a client asks us to assist them with research, analysis, and strategy development, but they want their internal team to do the ongoing implementation, we cannot be held accountable if our recommendations are not carried through. It’s really important to establish these guidelines with a client even before you go under contract. It will certainly make for a more successful and long lasting consulting partnership.

All that being said, here’s how content marketing and the social process breaks down:

Step One: Analyze & ObserveStep One: Analyze & Observe

In this first step of the process, you’ve got to get a really strong understanding of the the social climate. Analyze what the client is currently doing (or not doing) with their social on their website, blog, and print marketing efforts. Do the same for their competitors. Get a solid understanding of what is going on in their industry, focusing on the social space.

Your goal with this analysis is to put together a list of general observations: what are the common threads between the client and their competitors? What could be done better? Note the gaps in content and where gains can be made. We record these observations on a chart so that we can integrate them into the analysis and recommendations that we provide the client. These observations will also be very helpful when you begin developing the strategy and calendar in Step Three below.

Build Your Online CommunityStep Two: Build Your Online Community

In Step Two, you will be establishing the foundation for the online community. At this point, the goal is simply to get acclimated to the social spaces where the client will be following, reading, engaging, and at some point, providing valuable content. 

So, based on what you discovered from the data collection findings about the target audience(s), current efforts, and goals, which social media outlets seem like a match?

Let’s say you’re going to recommend Twitter and Google+ as targets in their content marketing and social strategy. Find the thought leaders in their industry on Twitter and Google+ and follow/circle them. Read the content they’re passing around, engage with them where appropriate, add the people that they are following to your list. Start to get a feel for how the online community operates (posting frequency, content type, tone, etc.) and get acclimated. Take it slow.

Reminding clients that social media is a tool and not a strategy helps them to understand that it’s important to have a plan in place. It’s not about being on every social media outlet. It’s about being on the right social media outlets and customizing the content to the target audience. This will ultimately build the best online community and bring your client desired results. 

Developing an online community is an important and ongoing process that is worth a great deal of dedicated time and effort. This community is going to help you carry the load. If the community trusts and values you, they will help to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting the word out (marketing your content). More on this in Step Five.

Develop You Strategy & CalendarStep Three: Develop Your Strategy & Calendar

As mentioned, at the beginning of a project, we ask our clients to define their goals and expectations. This allows them to communicate their desires, and it gives us an understanding of whether their expectations are realistic.

If there are any red flags (i.e. wants a too-quick turn-around: 15,000 followers in six months with no budget to fund large campaigns), then certainly we address any concerns at the beginning of the project. 

Before we begin developing the strategy and calendar, we outline a list of realistic goals and how we are going to work toward them. Again, we integrate this chart into the analysis and recommendations that we provide the client so that they have an understanding of what we are going to be accountable for.

Goal Setting Chart

These goals and action items are just the precursor to their strategy. The analysis and recommendations that we provide the client includes a very detailed, step-by-step breakdown of their strategy (all the stuff we’re going to help them do or do for them). 

As you’ve probably guessed, every strategy we develop includes content generation on an on-going basis. But we also include targeted strategies and ideas for whatever is necessary to meet their unique goals, things like apps, contests, events.

Our strategies are detailed and very specific. We provide step-by-step instructions for every campaign (i.e. what to do prior to the contest to ramp up, what to do during the contest, what to do after the contest), so that the strategy can be easily followed by the client’s internal team (in case we’re not handling the implementation). And, hey, if their budget allows us to do the work, then these details make it easy for our team to execute.

The narrative of the social strategy is also accompanied by a digital calendar that includes all actions to be taken and who is responsible for completing them. We make sure the calendar allows plenty of time for first-draft content reviews and revisions prior to launch/implementation.

Google Social Media Calendar

Our clients prefer that we provide some guidance, so each of these calendar items includes a brief description of the task. If you click on one of the calendar items, there is some detail so that whoever the task is assigned to, they know exactly what is expected of them. Because the calendar is digital and everyone on the team has access, when we make changes to their schedule or strategy, everyone is alerted.

Google Social Media Calendar Details

When you’re developing the content and social media marketing strategy, make sure that you are aligning all efforts (SEO, link building, social media, email marketing, etc.). Everything, from print to web, should be integrated and leveraged. You can then determine which tools and methods you will use for measurement (we love Raven, SEOmoz, Google Analytics, and Sprout Social) so that you can show the client the progress that is being made.

Create the ValueStep Four: Create the Value

Once the strategy is ready, it’s time to create the content. Clearly this is an ongoing effort, but having a strategy to follow will ensure that content is being generated on a regular basis and that it is working towards meeting the goals that have been outlined. It will also keep everyone involved organized and focused so that you’re not heading towards burn out.

On a side note: we like to encourage clients to integrate links to other valuable content (articles, video, infographics, etc) in their posts. This helps to provide a more engaging user experience and it also gives the opportunity for link and egobait. You can always publish a post and alert the author that you liked one of their articles and mentioned it in your post.

Get the Word OutStep Five: Get the Word Out

The content has been created, so now comes the fun part. When getting the word out, you have two main goals:

First, provide something of value.

Second, be authentic (and make sure that you’re consistent with voice).
Every social media outlet is different and your approach should reflect that. Don’t use the same teaser for Facebook as you use on Twitter. Not only are the formats of these outlets different, but so are the audiences, their behaviors, and their expectations. Take the time to customize your messages and you’ll get better results. You can then measure and analyze these efforts in Step Seven and determine if you need to try a different day of the week, time of day, reduce/increase frequency, or a whole different approach altogether.

Monitor & EngageStep Six: Monitor & Engage

Once the content is out, you will want to be hands on, so get ready to monitor and engage. If you’re not getting bites on your content (re-tweets, mentions, etc.) try some direct engagement. Tweet, use other social outlets, or even email people directly to encourage some action. 

As we’ve said, depending on budget, we may do some or all of this work for the client. We always define specific tasks that the client is responsible for and specific tasks that we are responsible for (and they are always noted on the calendar). Joint tasks usually include things like daily review of the online community and social media outlets, as well as responding and engaging. 

Even if we are not engaging on behalf of the client, we are always monitoring the client’s efforts. This provides the client with useful feedback that will help them to learn, improve, and ultimately be successful. Certainly we are always monitoring data, and we provide a series of reports analyzing and explaining their metrics in the next step, Measure & Analyze, below.

Measure & AnalyzeStep Seven: Measure & Analyze

Accountability is really important, especially because clients will always be concerned with ROI which can be difficult to quantify with content and social media marketing.

We continually communicate with the client and provide bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports that all serve specific purposes.

The bi-weekly report is meant for a quick look. It’s a short, 1-2 page report that we email to the client that includes a ‘Way to Go’ section (things they’re doing well), a ‘Some Reminders’ section (things they need to remember to do to keep them aligned with the strategy), a ‘Benchmark’ (current state of social efforts), and a ‘Looking Forward’ section (actions required). It’s a quick accountability report that provides the client with an understanding of what we’ve been working on (and perhaps what they need to be working on). 

The monthly report is the month at a glance, including significant social media activity (increase in following, furthering reach, etc.), trends we’re seeing, and other things to look out for (there may be some link building or SEO items to point out here). We include screen shots from both Sprout Social and Raven, as well as any screenshots of analytics specific to the social media outlet (i.e. Facebook).

The quarterly report is the most in-depth as it includes a look at the global picture. This report illustrates the progress of everything we are working on for the client: SEO, link building, content marketing, and social media. Clearly we are monitoring, analyzing, and taking action on these pieces throughout the quarter, but this reporting session is meant to really dig in, analyze the data over a longer period of time, and make the necessary improvements in all areas (SEO, link building, and social media). This meeting is always a sit down, face-to-face (if possible) with the client. We may make changes to the strategy in this meeting or address new work that the client would like us to take care of.

Rinse & RepeatStep Eight: Rinse & Repeat

Once you’ve completed this process, you can start over with a new idea, a new goal, and a new strategy. Follow the same steps and customize the process for the work you do with your clients. 

Along the way, don’t forget to celebrate the little victories. We get really excited about getting re-tweets, targeted links, and engaging with thought leaders. We teach our clients to bask in the excitement of even the smallest accomplishment. It helps them to understand how hard we work for them (with them) every day.


So, that’s how we do it. For now, anyway. We are continually working on shaping our systems and processes so that we can provide our clients with the most value (and get them desired results). You can certainly use this process as a guideline, but keep in mind that every client and project is going to be unique and will require customization at some level. And, of course, as content and social media marketing evolves, this process will require adjustment.

We’ve discovered that spelling things out, dissecting and cataloguing the entire process, severely reduces the terror that our clients experience in the face of the alien world of content marketing (just like Area 51 does it). And it makes sure everything runs smoothly for us as we implement as well.

So, how about you? How do you convince your more timid clients to commit to the real deal? And, since we are always striving for improvement, we’d welcome your thoughts on how we do it, too.

The Furby Is Back

July 8, 2012


Furby is back! The must-have toy of 1998 will return this holiday season, but this isn’t your father’s Furby. Hasbro is re-launching the furry character for the digital age, with apps, new sensors and more.

You may remember Furby from his first incarnation, the chatty five-inch-tall robot that found its way under countless Christmas trees in the late ’90s. Furby was equipped with robotic eyes and ears, simple sensors and the ability to speak. A lot.

The new Furby takes the idea of a talking electronic sidekick to a new level: Covered in blue-green fur, its body is more active, with the ability to wiggle its ears and dance. In an interesting design choice, Hasbro opted to replace Furby’s classic white eyes with LCDs.

How to Support Video in Email | Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog

June 26, 2012

Video in email subject lines can improve click through up to 200%. The improvement in CTR%, email creative unseen, suggests a strong general interest in multimedia in email messages.

But after the open, subscribers expect to actually find the promised video. Embedded email is a problem – large attachments like video can hurt deliverability (though proper coding can go a long way to reduce this risk). More importantly, video embeds are not supported by email clients (with the exception of Youtube in Gmail).

So how can you present video in email?

Animated GIFs

Not the animated GIFs of the 90′s *ahem*

Some incredibly sophisticated animated GIFs have been used in retail email very successfully. A simple animation, for example:

To a feature film clip:

Style Campaign offers a detailed tutorial on how to convert a video clip to GIF.

Use animated GIFs to surprise and delight subscribers and illustrate the value proposition or cool-factor of your featured products.

Don’t advertise simple animated GIFs as video in subject lines. Short video clips transformed into animated GIFs with the tutorial above can be described as video.


Another option is HTML5, supported by Hotmail and Apple Mail, but not by major email clients like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo Mail. If you use HTML5 video, you need to have a back up plan for these clients.

Image credit: Email Design Review

Hyperlinked still images

Video doesn’t have to be played inside the email message to satisfy the promise in the subject line. Simply linking to a landing page with the video (preferably your own site rather than Youtube if your goal is selling product) can suffice.

Just ensure your “play button” is clear. You may also want to include a click to play call-out, and even combine it with an animated GIF.

Images credit: Retail Email Blog

There are vendors that provide client detection that can help you use a combination of methods. HTML5 when supported, and hyperlinked image as a failover.

Will more email types support HTML5 in the future? Definitely, but we’re not there yet…

The big guy here is always looking over my shoulder.

June 15, 2012

Seth’s Blog: Seven marketing sins

June 13, 2012

Impatient… great marketing takes time. Doing it wrong (and rushed) ten times costs much more and takes longer than doing it slowly, but right, over the same period of time.

Selfish… we have a choice, and if we sense that this is all about you, not us, our choice will be to go somewhere else.

Self-absorbed… you don’t buy from you, others buy from you. They don’t care about your business and your troubles nearly as much as you do.

Deceitful… see selfish, above. If you don’t tell us the truth, it’s probably because you’re selfish. How urgent can your needs be that you would sacrifice your future to get something now?

Inconsistent… we’re not paying that much attention, but when we do, it helps if you are similar to the voice we heard from last time.

Angry… at us? Why are you angry at us? It’s not something we want to be part of, thanks.

Jealous… is someone doing better than you? Of course they are. There’s always someone doing better than you. But if you let your jealousy change your products or your attitude or your story, we’re going to leave.

Of course, they’re not marketing sins, they’re human failings.

Humility, empathy, generosity, patience and kindness, combined with the arrogance of the brilliant inventor, are a potent alternative.

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New Dolores Chiller

June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

June 10, 2012

The Quintessential San Francisco Sunrise

046813 34

Golden Gate Bridge from Lookout

Golden Gate Bridge at 50

Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco at night

The Golden Gate Bridge has been a landmark of San Francisco since its completion in 1937. The love affair with the bridge started prior to it even being built. It was desperately needed to alleviate the traffic from the ferries. Despite the Great Depression, the areas surrounding San Francisco voted and passed the bond measure to pay for the bridge by using their homes and businesses as collateral.

Today, May 27th, 2012, marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are in the San Francisco area celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s anniversary in person and watch it glow.

If you would like to find other Golden Gate Bridge photos take a look at our beautiful Golden Gate Bridge groups.

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities | Social Media Examiner

June 10, 2012

26 Tips for Integrating Social Media Activities

Published June 7, 2012 Printer-Friendly

social media how to

Are you seeking ideas to integrate your social activities?

To be successful, no social media effort can truly exist as an island.

Today, more and more businesses are seeking ways to integrate components of social media to achieve optimal benefits.

In this post, I’ll cover 26 tips, an A-Z guide, on ways to blend, mix it up, get the most bang—and create an integrated social media campaign.

#1: Apps Increase Brand Awareness and Customer Loyalty

“Anyone can start a page on a social networking site, but it can be incredibly difficult to gather support on that page,” writes Alight Design Agency.

They suggest that businesses devise a strategy that is effective and flexible so it can be altered to meet the demands of a market that can change significantly in less than 24 hours. “The right smartphone application or app can help businesses increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.”

Would a smartphone app be a viable option for your business?

best buy

Best Buy’s mobile app makes it possible to browse the product catalogue, compare product specs and check in-store availability.

#2: Build Customer Loyalty with Social Media

Online tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others can help provide businesses with opportunities to enhance customer relationships in real time.

Netedge Marketing offers ways to put social media to work to improve brand loyalty so customers will want to promote your company in a positive way:

  • Monitor customer comments
  • Identify customer needs through a survey that you promote via social media
  • Address customer complaints, resolve the problem and blog about how you took care of it
  • Engage customers by encouraging them to share feedback directly via comments on blogs or on Facebook and Twitter
  • Encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media sites

#3: Complement Social Media by Thinking Locally

Large national brands with local presences need to consider adjusting their thinking and content strategy at times by taking a local approach. Matt Long suggests that the local Facebook strategy should complement the national strategy, not mimic it.

He writes, “Corporate content certainly should be included (think new product information or national contests), but it should represent no more than 40% of the total contents. The 60% bulk of content responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the local affiliate.”

#4: Direct Campaigns Can Be Bulwarked by Social Media

Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich write, “The corporate-marketing world still operates in silos of public relations, advertising, and interactive and direct marketing. As the newest discipline in the fold, social media accentuate this continuing situation.”

They suggest that social should be integrated into the larger mix and offer three types of campaigns that social media can help—direct, flanking techniques and top-down. (See #6: Flanking and #20: Top-Down for continued discussion of these points.)

Geoff and Gini tell us that direct is the marketing channel that produces the most return on investment and that it still can be “bulwarked by social media.”

Direct can be enhanced by using a one-on-one conversation with stakeholders online. They offer the following examples:

  • Create a channel for customer-service response on a large social network such as Twitter (e.g., @ComcastCares, @NetSolCares)
  • Recruit employees directly through social media (e.g., Sodexo and KPMG UK)
  • Interact and incentivize the most loyal customers in online communities (e.g., Starbucks and LEGO)

#5: Email Marketing and Social Media Work Well Together

DJ Waldow writes that email and social media go together like Batman and Robin. They both can be effective on their own; however, when combined, their (super) powers can save the city and exceed your marketing goals.

DJ offers 9 ways to integrate email marketing and social media:

  • Include social icons in emails
  • Ask email subscribers to share and connect
  • Send a dedicated email campaign
  • Provide incentives
  • Promote email sign-up via social networks
  • Include “Retweet this!” snippet in email
  • Build an email opt-in form on Facebook
  • Don’t forget SMS (text)
  • Promote email marketing on your blog

 #6: Flanking Technique Campaigns Helps Social Media

Geoff Livingston’s and Gini Dietrich’s second type of campaign that social media can bolster is what they refer to as a flanking technique, where companies and organizations can utilize creative ways to interact with and influence customers.

Examples include:

  • Create or participate in private communities on LinkedIn and other networks (e.g., BIO and GovLoop)
  • Release relevant and tangential data through blogging, infographics, social networks and other methods (e.g., Booz Allen Hamilton and American Red Cross)
  • Release relevant and entertaining content to garner attention from an unengaged audience (e.g., Chrysler and Old Spice)

#7: Goal-Integrated Platforms Can Be Time-Savers

Pam Moore writes that integration may seem like a lot of work up front. But as she says, “the more you integrate, the less work you will have to do on the back end once you get the sites launched.”

For more detail, see Pam’s post about how you can integrate multiple social media platforms.

#8: How To Think about Integrating Social Media with Traditional Media

Tom Martin suggests using a framework for integrating social media and traditional media. He says it’s probably best if marketers move away from replacement thinking and focus instead on complementary thinking.

“Under the complementary model, we look for ways that social media can leverage advertising and vice versa in order to create a more impactful and effective integrated campaign… drive consumers (via advertising or public relations) to online destinations where conversations are built to deliver long-term brand results.”

#9: Integrate Social Activities with Other Inbound Efforts

Sam Zastrow offers a number of tips to help integrate your social activities with other inbound efforts:

  • Convert social followers to email contacts—direct followers to content that will encourage them to join email lists
  • Fish for referrals—social media followers can be very valuable if they refer your business to others
  • Build your customer profile—connections you make via social media can tell you a lot about what kind of people make use of your business
  • Strengthen your content’s SEO—by coupling good content with smart social media practices you can vastly improve your content’s SEO
  • Get press—boost your public relations strategy by targeting journalists with social media

#10: “Just in Time” Can Also Be a Downside

Paul Chaney suggests ways to integrate email and social media and points out that social media as “just in time” marketing works well because information can be shared quickly.

However, the downside is that it’s also transient. “A tweet sent now is forgotten in an hour. Email, on the other hand, has greater stability. Email messages can be archived for a more lasting effect.”

One way that marketers avoid having their social media updates forgotten is to include references to them in email newsletters and/or blog posts where they gather a sampling of their social media updates from the week. “Interesting too, Twitter has just announced a new weekly email that  ’delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people you’re connected to.’”

How do you integrate your social media updates so they have a little more permanence?

#11: Killer Comments Cultivate Relationships

Marcus Sheridan writes that blog comments are often a poorly understood and underutilized tactic by individuals and businesses. Marcus offers a number of excellent tips for how to cultivate relationships with blog comments.

Comments, as we can see on a blog such as Social Media Examiner, offer ways for the reader to expand upon points in the article, make a recommendation to the author, provide an opportunity for people to meet and make connections outside of the comment and post (e.g., connect via Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

Comments can be highly integrative experiences. How do you cultivate relationships with comments on your blog?

blog comment

An example of a blog comment from Marcus’ post.

#12: Live Events Can Be Integrated into Social Media

How can a live event create a unique social media experience? Pepsi recently announced plans to stream live music concerts this summer to followers of its @pepsi Twitter feed.

Catherine Robinson reports, “Pepsi has asked fans to share their experiences on the social networking platform with the call to action: ‘Everyone’s got a #LiveForNow moment. Tweet yours.’”

You might not have the kind of scale as Pepsi, but how can you use Twitter to integrate users’ experiences from your webinar, sales conference or other events?

live for now

Tweets with the hashtag #LiveForNow.

#13: Measurement Strategies Should Be Integrated into Initial Campaign Planning

Altimeter Group suggests that social media can help marketers learn how their programs perform in the real world, as well as drive decision-making for new content and campaigns.

They point out that one emerging best practice is to “integrate measurement into the initial planning of a campaign to facilitate learning, accountability, and continuous improvement.”

#14: “Not Campaigns” Provide Opportunities, Too

Sometimes when all the noise quiets down, we may find that we can hear more clearly. Craig Rodney describes the quieter times, or “not campaigns,” as a time when brands have more opportunity “to listen, converse, share, help and become more engaged.”

What “not campaign” messages have you received?

#15: Original Song Can Go A Long Way

Question: how can you speak to multiple countries with many cultures and languages? If you’re like Brand USA, you too might find the answer in music.

Dave Anderson writes about the ways in which Brand USA is utilizing an original song, “Land of Dreams,” composed by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, the daughter of music legend Johnny Cash.

“Brand USA is employing a completely integrated marketing strategy that uses a mix of 15-, 20- and 60-second television spots, a strong online presence and media strategy to reach possible visitors, and print, digital and billboard ads.

Pages on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been developed to showcase specific promotions and engagements around the US, and holidaymakers will be able to use the Discover America website as an information portal to plan their trip.”

While we’ve come to associate words, videos and pictures with social media, an original song may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we’re exploring an integrated approach to social media marketing. But as we can learn from Brand USA, the sky is really the limit when it comes to integrating social media.

What can you do to stand out and get noticed?

Brand USA’s commercial as seen on YouTube:

#16: Perpetual Beta Helps Brands To Keep Evolving

Greg Satell offers an interesting perspective. He writes, “Past mindsets and tactics seem clumsy and contrived, remnants of a lost era.” Where marketers used to put up a series of ads until the effectiveness decayed, they now need to build platforms that develop and mature.

Greg says that what’s needed is “a new way of working. Brands need to become authors whose stories unfold over time. The old campaign mentality needs to be replaced by the principle of perpetual beta, where the brand is always becoming, never being.”

Can your social media communication stay in a state of perpetual beta? How will that differ from what you’ve been doing until now?

#17: QR Codes Are A Lot More Than Little Black Dots

A quick glance at a QR code (Quick Response Code) may make you wonder what all the fuss is about—black dots on a white square background. But in recent years, “these two-dimensional barcodes have become common in consumer advertising and packaging, because the dissemination of smartphones has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket for the first time. As a result, the QR code has become a focus of advertising, since it provides quick and effortless access to the brand’s website.” (Wikipedia)

Jeff Korhan suggests that QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

He offers 5 ways that QR codes can grow your business:

  • Plan your QR code campaign strategy
  • Create quality codes and test them
  • Link codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites
  • Track scans with code management systems
  • Deliver value and a favorable user experience

    qr code

    Example of a QR code from Best Buy.

#18: Re-issued Products Can Help Breathe New Life

Ryan Buddenhagen says the latest innovation for social media is to use it not only to track what customers are saying about beloved discontinued products but also to ask what it is they want back—and then deliver on what you find out.

Can you bring back a product or service that your customers have missed and/or asked for?

#19: Serve Your Clients though Social Business Integration

Pam Moore writes about social media lies, myths and fairy tales and on her list is how some people think that social business integration can come later. Instead she suggests that “the better you can integrate social media into your business sales, customer service, and marketing processes, the better you will be able to connect with and serve your clients.”

How can you integrate social media more into business processes?

#20: Top Down Campaign Plays a Significant Role

Top-down is the third campaign type laid out by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich and here they say that social media can support and play an increasingly larger role in significant campaign launches. Examples of common support tactics include:

#21: Uber Social Media Tools Help Businesses Manage Their Social Media Efforts

When Sarah Miller asked the question some time back about what tools help people manage their daily social media activities, she received a whole host of responses including TweetDeck, HootSuite, tweepi, Sprinklr, Pluggio and Sprout Social. As you can well imagine, the selection of social media tools can be a very personal choice.

Regardless of what tool you select to manage and integrate your daily activities, some keys for success are to find the tool that works best for your team and company, use it regularly and train and divide the tasks among a number of people. There’s nothing worse than everything coming to a standstill when a member of your team is out sick or on vacation.


Dashboard view of Tweetdeck.

#22: Viral Videos Plus Promotion Can Be Key

Depending on a video’s theme and content, it can go viral in no time at all. Video producers may take the extra steps to help promote their video campaigns.

Brand-m shared the experiences of JVC Mobile Entertainment which recently launched “Turn Me On: The Road,” a documentary-style viral video featuring the band Halestorm. The US campaign includes online banner ads, video content placement, social media integration, extensive PR buzz, plus a concert tour promotion.

Videos will benefit by being integrated into a business’s social media efforts.

How have you integrated video into your marketing plan?

#23: Words Into Actions Can Be Your New Social Media Mantra

Brian Solis once wrote that full social media integration often happens in stages and is an evolutionary process for companies and consumers alike.

One stage he identified was “turning words into actions.” As Brian suggests, “Actions speak louder than words. Businesses must act. Once the social consciousness is opened, bring the spirit of your company throughout it to affect change.”

Brian says that listening and observing is not enough. Instead, we must make the shift from a simple response to purposeful, strategic communication. “It is in this stage that we can truly produce captivating content and messages. In order to hold it, we have to give the audience something to believe in—something that moves them.”

Is your social media action-driven?

#24: E(x)cellent Customer Service Can Be Provided Through Social Media

Social media extends beyond what we may have traditionally thought of as B2B or B2C marketing. Social media affords us a way to integrate customer service with our other marketing messages.

And as businesses have been discovering, if they’re not set up to field customer questions and complaints via social networking platforms, customers are using it as a back-door approach to access a representative of the company.

Savvy businesses are anticipating the inevitable. In an earlier post here on Social Media Examiner, we discussed 26 tips for adding customer service to your social media strategy. You’ll find an A-Z guide, everything from allocating your resources to being zealous about maintaining good customer relationships.

#25: Your Integration Plan Is Moment’s Away

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is social media integration. As we near the end of the 26 tips, this may be the time to pick a few things from the list that you hope to integrate immediately and identify other areas that you will plan to do by the end of 2012.

What will you plan to do differently over the next few months?

#26: Zoom Agents Can Help Lead the Way

Pam Moore defines a social zoom agent as someone who takes on the responsibility for the success of becoming a social business. They will own the success of the engagement, content, approach, strategy and integration. “This person must eat, sleep and breathe a goal of becoming a social business.”

Do you have a social zoom agent who can help your company further integrate social media efforts?

What tips can you add for integrating social media campaigns? Leave your comments in the box below.

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