WHITE PAPER Online Marketing Fail #32. Failing to Properly Optimize Social Media. Social Media: A Tangled Web

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1 Failing to Properly Optimize Social Media With over $2 billion per year being spent on social media marketing, it s obvious that social has become a material (and growing) component of the overall budget. While there is no denying that having a social media presence is important for most companies, it s even more important that marketers properly optimize social media so as to get the best ROI. Otherwise, what was once a great social media marketing campaign in theory can quickly turn into a huge social media fail in reality. The Players First, some basics: the players. Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Pinterest Blogs Tumblr Wordpress/Blogger Google+ Yelp Trip Advisor Foursquare Social Media: A Tangled Web Simply keeping all of the various social media networks straight can be hard enough. When you add in the tangled web of who owns what, though, it gets even more complicated. For example: Facebook owns Instagram, which is a standalone social media network in and of itself. Google owns YouTube, Google+ and Zagat, and Hangouts, Events and Places all fall under the Google+ umbrella. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but these are the major characters in the Russian novel of today s social media landscape. Some of these players are bigger than others, and some, though less big on usage & membership metrics, are still critically important. Google is the elephant in the room, with ownership of Google+, YouTube and their continual purchases of other trusted social sources likezagat. Facebook comes in a close second, especially after their purchase of Instagram and their recent milestone: 1 billion users. Within some players, like blogging, you also have written vs visual content-- or, stated more simply, Wordpress vs Tumblr. So what s a marketer to do? Answer: Make sure you re utilizing the proper social media networks for your audience.

2 Social Mobile Be sure your social media campaigns are also optimized/available for mobile. More Facebook users access Facebook via mobile devices than the web, and Foursquare and Instagram are highly mobile social networks. Yelp pages and reviews need to be properly optimized for search and mobile, and more and more people are turning to sites like Yelp to find businesses while out and about rather than at home in front of a computer. Marketers are faced with many options regarding social media too many, given time and budget constraints. Determining which options work best for your industry, your audience and your campaign objectives is critical. For example, Pinterest is not a good choice for most B2B companies, but there are a few exceptions to that rule, mainly within service industries (such as marketing agencies). Optimize Once you have a clear picture of where you need to focus your social media efforts, optimizing those efforts is the next step. Often in the Search Engine Marketing space, optimization is referring to search engine results. While search engine optimization is an extremely important part of your social media optimization efforts, optimizing social media does go beyond keywords. Cross linking (while using your keywords), tagging and being on the correct network are also important parts of optimizing your social media campaigns. Keywords remain a critically important part of every online marketing

3 campaign. Just as you should always use your keywords in your blogs and website ontent, you also should always use your keywords in your social media interactions and social media advertisements. For example, if one of your keywords is gifts for men, be sure to use that in your social exchanges- -e.g. if you pin a Jack Daniels flask to a pinterest board, try using the hashtag #gifts #men, or pinning it to a board called Gifts for Men. Better Homes and Gardens, and Hobby Lobby both do first-rate jobs with their Pinterest descriptions, managing to combine strong keywords with writing an excellent description. Notice, too, how Better Homes and Gardens links back to their website in the pin s description? Not only are they letting users know that it s an active, trustworthy link, but they re also cross-linking, which helps their SEO. Timing Timing can be incredibly crucial to the success of social media campaigns. Being on the right network at the right time can make a campaign, while being on the right network at the wrong time can create a social media fail. A recent report from our good friends at MarketingProfs studied the best times for sharing social data. They looked at B2B and B2C campaigns across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and found that for B2B marketers, Sundays are the best times to share information via LinkedIn, whereas Monday is more effective for B2C marketers. Other useful (and sometimes unexpected) findings: a) B2B content is more successful on Twitter when shared on Wednesdays, whereas Mondays and Wednesdays are most effective for B2C marketers Time of day matters, and varies depending on the network and whether or not you re B2B or B2C b) LinkedIn posts with questions marks receive fewer clicks for both B2B and B2C, but using an exclamation point helps to increase click throughs c) Twitter users don t like exclamation points or question marks for either B2B or B2C messages

4 d) B2B messages on LinkedIn and Twitter have higher click through rates when hashtags are used, whereas B2C messages have lower click through rates Clearly, marketers need to know their audience, and they need to know WHEN their audience is most likely to participate and receive marketing messages. Being aware of appropriate timing for messaging can help marketers avoid an online marketing fail. Interact In our personal lives, social media is about interaction. We interact with friends, coworkers, people within our network, family, politicians, athletes, musicians and brands on a daily basis. Often, if the level of interaction is low, or if we don t feel as if we re receiving anything for our interactions, we ll unfriend or unfollow that person/brand. Regarding brands, if we feel as though the brand is doing nothing but self-promoting (company / products/ services) and not sharing useful information or engaging us, we will often become disenchanted and stop following that brand, which means we re less likely to purchase that brand s products or services. Watch What You Say Kitchen Aid made waves right after the first 2012 Presidential Debate as a result of a distasteful tweet sent out by a member of Kitchen Aid s staff. When using social media, be sure to keep your private and business accounts separate--what s approrpiate to share with your college buddies isn t always appropriate to share with your customers. Generally, marketers should strive to follow some variant of the rule of 15 (a ratio promoted and popularlized by Hubspot). As a general approach, for every 15 messages you share on social media networks, 10 should be other people s content, 4 should be your blogs of other content and 1 should be to a promotional landing page. While it may be difficult to strictly adhere to this, if marketers make an effort to share more content from others and engage with their listeners, they re more likely to be successful at social media. Conclusion Social media can be a powerful tool when used properly. When used improperly, however, social media can lead to epic online marketing fails. While social media is an important part of a business overall marketing plan, it is also important for marketers to keep in mind that search and still drive far more traffic, sales and conversions than social media, and the ultimate value of social lies in its proper integration with other forms of online marketing.

5 ABOUT APOGEE RESULTS Apogee Results is your complete online marketing company providing professional services across multiple online marketing disciplines. As a large independent marketing services agency we recruit top talent in the areas of search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, social media, website effectiveness, quantitative research and web analytics. Through client collaboration, intense focus on bottom-of-the-funnel metrics, and in-depth industry expertise, we help our customers take their marketing programs to higher levels of performance and effectiveness to generate significant returns on investment. If you need help maximizing your online marketing effectiveness, please contact us.

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