Corporate Social Media Marketing Strategy Checklist


As we enter a hopeful new year and a new year of Google changes to the ever-important search algorithm, here is a review of SEO from a social standpoint.

1. Get Internal Team on Board

Before you enter the brave new world of mobile and tablets leading the way of content consumption, quality checks all over Google, and global adoption of lightning-fast broadband with any social media strategy, you will want to make sure all key stakeholders are on board with your goals. As a key performance engine for client/customer engagement, social media activity takes into account all organizational activities that affect those relationships.

Your sales teams, marketing teams, social teams, creative teams, brand ambassadors and C-suite all need to be on board with the direction of your social strategy. The smartest way to move on this is to appoint one ringmaster within your organization to lead the way and be accountable to both your social media marketing goals and communicating any movements to the internal teams. If you represent an enterprise-level organization, having directors of important teams connect and agree on the direction and goals is a must.

2. Collect All Internal Assets

A good social strategy will require an analysis of all internal marketing and sales assets. In this way, you want to gather up all customer/client-facing online content, including: white papers, published reports, presentations, messaging, online videos, mobile apps and one-sheets. From here, you will be able to understand what you have been promoting about your brand and if you want that to change or stay the same.

3. Review Your 2012 Social Activity

The only way to assess and ignite a movement in social for your organization is to see what your current activity (2012) has done to drive customer engagement (and conversion if applicable). You will want to list all relevant pages, including: your blog(s) and any on-site communities, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any other social networks or forums in which you are active as a company.

From here, you should assess how you have been communicating, what you have communicated (content types, length, and messaging per target), how often you have communicated, a level of engagement and a sentiment of interest (positive/negative/neutral). If you have been using a social management and monitoring system such as HootSuite, you should run analytics to assess how your social program delivered in 2012.

4. Review Your SEO Program

What business-driving keywords have delivered qualified leads for your organization? How have you taken a lead in online visibility through social with your knowledge of your SEO program results? Are you tracking social mentions and follows at the same time as SEO effectiveness in Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics?

As social sites like Twitter, YouTube and Google+ directly impact search results, you need to be aware of your SEO programs and their effectiveness as they relate to social marketing activity and vice-versa.

5. Define Your Social Goals for 2013

Are you selling a service to executives? Publishing curated content for ad revenue dollars? An e-commerce site with multiple categories of branded products? Whatever the case, your social media marketing goals need to resonate with authentic customer/client engagement.

To define your social media goals is to start with your business goals and a true understanding of your target market. Social media marketing is the ultimate communications tool for reaching and engaging a target audience in the following ways:

  • Excellent customer/client service
  • Updates on brand, products, and services
  • Product/service promotions
  • Education of the customer around your value
  • Making your brand go viral on the web
  • Informing your target of changes in your industry, products, and services
  • Acting as a thought-leader by taking the lead in online education

If you are selling a service or solution, your goal may be customer engagement and qualified lead generation. To that end, you need to educate, inform and solve a problem. If you are selling a product online, your goal may be to use social to acquire first-time customers via giveaways.

Too often we hear corporate marketers talk in terms of increase of followers and fans and not what they should be discussing — engagement, conversion, viral factoring and so on. Once real goals are determined, only then can you make your social plan that benefits your end client.

With the holiday season fast-approaching, taking stock of what you have done in social media marketing in 2012 and what business results those activities have driven will fast-track you on your way to launch a successful social media marketing strategy for 2013.

Remember to gather your marketing communications assets, align your key team members to your 2013 goals, and review your SEO effectiveness and social play therein, and you will be well on your way to a social strategy that will work for you in the new year.

Image courtesy of Flickr, JefferyTurner

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Creating Viral Content

It’s the dream of many a marketer to create a piece of content that will be seen by the world. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that something you create will ever go viral and, for the most part, most content that has gone viral has been online for a while. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With a lot of work and preparation, you can improve the chances.

So while there isn’t a magic formula for success, there are measures one can take to increase the chances of going viral. The first is the content itself. It must be engaging and resonate with your viewing public. A simplified version of how content goes viral, Kevin Alloca gives three reasons: Tastemakers, participation and unexpectedness. Check out his talk on TED.

So how do you separate your content from others? Be more funny, insightful, provocative or surprising?  How do you connect to what you provide? Most of us love to view some of the fun content that is shared via Facebook and Twitter, but does this fit with your brand? Maybe more emotional and insightful content could work better?

The second is finding the right platform. Who are your target audience? Some people will have considerably more influence than others, so knowing where to share your content is really important. The more people you make aware of it, the greater your chances are that it will be picked up by others. To make something popular, you need to dedicate the time to it. Expect to promote it over the course of days or weeks before you start seeing results. If you see instant results, keep your foot on the pedal, keep promoting and creating that snowball effect.

The biggest part of the equation is actually getting your content out there and making sure people see it. Here are some of the ways you can help kick the content off.

Video Distribution
YouTube is the biggest player when it comes to video content, but there are many other video sharing sites out there where your content might appear. Thanks to software like HeySpread you can upload your content to multiple sites at the same time.

You might want to consider giving your content an advertising push when you first launch. The thinking here is that you need to get enough people to see it before they share it. Check out this SimplyZesty post on how a single piece of viral content made €10,000 in 20 days. The key fact being here that it had advertising budget behind it initially.

Create Content With An Audience In Mind
When you create content, do so with a very specific audience in mind. Before you shoot a video, ask yourself “Who is most likely to cover this and how big is their audience?” The evolution of music video below has received over 125,000 views, but not because people discovered it by accident on YouTube, but because it was seeded to twenty of the world’s biggest blogs that cover music and social media. The content fitted well with their audience so it was easy for them to cover.

Use Photos On Facebook
The quickest way for content to spread is arguably through Facebook. All sorts of content spreads here, but images work better than anything else. Post photos that are relevant to your audience or create images that people want to share. Photos and images appear within the stream and are easy to share, thus making them massively appealing.

Spend Ages On The Title
Most people click on links, articles or other content because of the title. People will retweet even without opening a link based purely on the title. Think as hard on this as you do the content. Play around with different titles and find out what works best for you.

If you’re one of the lucky few that has created content that has gone viral, then the next thing you may want to know is how to monetise your success. The problem here is that while you can generate revenue from content, it may only be for the short-term. Unless your content is immensely popular, this figure will be rather small. The most popular location for viral content, YouTube, allows users to monetise their videos through advertising so to generate profit for Google and give a small commission to those who created the video.

You only need to look at Charlie bit my finger to realise that even immensely popular videos can take a while to generate profits. The family monetised the video after it reached 40 million. Some 430 million views later, the video has earned $500,000 (; so it’s best not to rely on a video going viral to guarantee your future well-being. The video Keyboard Cat is another example, to date it has received 26 million views since it was posted. It’s creator, Charlie Schmidt, made roughly $20,000 in 2009, but a portion of this came from merchandising like t-shirts, phone apps, licensing agreements and toys. Both videos have generated numerous parodies, which only helped enhance the reputation of the original videos.

In effect, seeing your content go viral can be worth the equivalent of a sizable advertising budget and can earn you a similar amount, but unless you’re able to create similar content on a regular basis, then you probably shouldn’t rely on it too much.

Roller Babies
Company: Evian
Views: 58,479,480

Evian made a video with some babies doing amazing things on roller skates. There are a few subtle details that give away the CGI and digital manipulation on this ad, but this is a fun ad with cute kids doing funny things. No idea what this really has to do with mineral water, but the “live young” message is clear.

The Force
Company: Volkswagen
Views: 54,184,541

Follow the world’s most adorable Darth as he goes about his house trying to master The Force. It’s a fun ad, with a clear narrative and a good dramatic build that relies on a very basic knowledge of Star Wars, that clearly made an impact on YouTube users.

The T-Mobile Dance
Company: T-Mobile
Views: 35,442,780

This is probably the most popular flash mob of all-time, and it clearly has legs, having inspired a number of follow-up ads and copy cats. Not only is it an impressive feat of choreography, but what really puts the message of this ad on-brand are the shots of unaware commuters using their phones. Clever stuff, made to be shared and seen.

Team Hot Wheels – The Yellow Driver’s World Record Jump

Company: Hot Wheels
Views: 12,428,998

Hot Wheels blended nostalgia with spectacle in this ad in which a stunt driver breaks the world record for distance jump in a four-wheeled vehicle on a Hot Wheels-style track. The Hot Wheels logo adorns the ad, but it mostly relies on the death-defying jump being made and the iconography of that bright orange track to get is message across.


Articles & Guides

– Time Magazine asks whether making money from viral videos is possible.
– Digital Buzz Blog detailing how and why content goes viral.
– KissMetrics discusses how you can make content go viral and why emotion plays a huge part.
– The best way to go viral is to engage millions who share in small networks.
– How does Gawker create viral content? Nieman Journalism Lab takes a look at what articles it produces.
– Forbes takes look at how YouTube videos go viral and find that strategy is important.

The Top 9 Social Networks Cheat Sheet

With the success of Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to understand the social networks and their audience.  This infographic created by sdlsm2 takes a look at the various networks, highlighting the advantages and pitfalls for each network, as well as statistics on user count, time investment and terminology.

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A World of Flavour Combinations

What is Foodpairing?

Foodpairing is a source of inspiration for chefs, bartenders and industry professionals who need to create combinations of ingredients for dishes or drinks. Foodpairing is not based on intuition or existing recipes, but on science, providing an objective overview of possible pairings.

Foodpairing is based on scientific flavor analysis and the principle that foods can be combined when they share major flavor components. These components are displayed in easily understandable, structured visualizations called Foodpairing trees.

What is a Foodpairing tree?

A Foodpairing tree gives you in one overview all the possible flavour combinations you can make. Ingredients are clustered in categories. Each branch is a category like dairy, meat, herbs and spices. Click on a category and it unfolds to reveal different subcategories.

In a Foodpairing tree, your selected food is positioned in the centre and around it are those with which it can be combined. The closer an item is to the centre, the better the pairing.

Why use the Foodpairing app?

If you’re passionate about food and want to make new combinations, this website will fire up your creativity. Foodpairing is simply a great way to explore new flavour and food combinations.


Experience Marketing

Red Bull Air show in Maldives!

(Photo credit: amdcreation)

Experience marketing is taking hold around the world. What started with girls and boys handing out sample shampoos and snacks, today includes carefully orchestrated extravaganzas. Experiential marketing has gone from the edge of the marketing media plate, to the nexus. One reason for the surge, is the overwhelming proliferation of media. Awareness is no longer enough – it’s about brand experiences and creating brand relationships.

Consumers have found more and more ways to sidestep marketer media bushwacking, compelling them to take to the streets. Today the growth of live event and experiential marketing is growing faster than the economy – from 3.6% in 2011 to an industry forecast of 7.8% growth in 2012, as communications technology and the social media sync with brands concentrating on events that drive sales. The objective is to create an experience that is so engaging and relevant that brand loyalists talk about it on social media, post photos, and assume some of the work of creating a consistent presence.

The mother of all events marketers is Red Bull – a global pioneer in holding off-the-grid experiences for its community of enthusiasts. The brand is featuring everything from Cliff Diving Series to a man and his motorbike cutting through traffic across the tops of cars.

And it’s not just about events; it’s about creating tactile engagements where people can feel, touch, taste, smell the product face to face rather than simply reading about or watching it. It’s about deepening and enhancing relationships. True, valuable, authentic relationships are multi-sensory. Unlike channel stores where thousands of products compete for attention, Apple Stores offer an immersive environment where people are plunged into the value proposition. There are live demonstrations and customer support for every SKU available.

Trying to build relationships that are multi-sensory is not easy. The science of events is in knowing how to deliver something that’s flawless. Planning, organizing and executing one of these events requires a great many man (and woman) hours. Working on the project from the beginning to end, working with the creative, dealing with real-world boxes. Production, planning and content teams, vendors, budgets, timing schedules, worst-case scenarios and work that happens on-site. Make sure everything’s cleaned up and ship shape. When everyone’s left the after-party, we’re cleaning up.

What’s great is that the impact is immediate. People are engaging with my work and enjoying it. The best events look easy, but only the people who plan them know the hurdles and bumps.

There’s opportunity for marketers to create surprise and delight and connect something that’s happening online with something that’s happening physically. Someone has their nose in their phone doing something and looks up and sees something that connects to something they saw earlier that day. We need to thread the needle. Fan behaviour relates to the brand, whether its BMW or Smirnoff. Marketers have peeled back the layers of how fans think and how fans surround their brand, opening up new possibilities. Instead of blindly creating, look at how people are behaving and dig into that. Moments of truth and experience drive passion and imprint the soul of the brand more deeply.

Turbo Charge Your Paid Search Campaign

In an era of marketing transformation marketers want more from their marketing dollar. If you are a strong believer of search and intent marketing, read on. You might find some interesting answers to your marketing challenges.

The Internet is one entity with many channels that can help you reach your audience.  Most search campaigns focus on optimization of keywords, ad copy, and landing page improvements.

The approach works best in linear marketing decisions, but to take it to the next level you can tap into ‘audience’ data, which originates from paid search traffic.

If you have used a demand-side platform (DSP) before then you will be familiar with this model; however, if you are a B2B company, a niche organization or a large e-commerce player, you have an option of starting your marketing plan from the moment people start searching for what you have to offer.

Audience information from search provides valuable consumer insight that you won’t have had before. The search keyword can help you identify the stage of the buy cycle; which once aggregated allows you to reach out to that audience again with customized messaging relevant to that stage of their buy cycle.

Look at the matrix below:

Here is what the stages look like in a logical order:

  1. The user reached the landing page, product page and the shopping cart page, but did not make a purchase.
  2. You can trace this user across the Internet and and deliver the relevant ad to bring them back to your site to complete the transaction.
  3. Ignore this user after a point you know they have not shown any interest in buying your product (negative optimization).
  4. In the second case where the user has successfully bought your product, you can then reach out to her within the network with upgrade services and / or accessories.

While search advertising does not work in isolation of display advertising, the approach of using search to build your display plan will help you maximize return, give you higher control over the audience or users you want to reach, and show you what stage your online audience is at with your product.

Experian 2012 Digital Marketer Benchmark and Trend Report

Experian Marketing Services’ annual report provides a rounded perspective of the digital landscape and how brands can influence meaningful connections with customers. The report contains trend information, predictive benchmark data and insight necessary for business leaders to maximize digital marketing opportunities and ROI. Download the 2012 Benchmark and Trend Report here and find valuable insight such as:

  • 91% of today’s online adults use social media regularly.
  • Revenue per email averages 2x higher for ‘Friends and Family’ campaigns.
  • 28% of smartphone owners watch video on their phone in a typical month.
  • Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter.

While new technologies come and go, the one thing that doesn’t change in the world of marketing is that the customer should always be central to your mission. Building a successful marketing framework, revolves around four key steps:

  1. Listen – By utilizing both internal data as well as third party data sources, there is a plethora of information available to help understand specific, evolving customer preferences.
  2. Analyze – With the customer-centric vision in mind, segment your base to understand how channel preferences differ by individual.
  3. Plan – Use this understanding along with marketing best practices to build coordinated campaigns and strategy.
  4. Speak – Interact with your customer by customizing your strategy specifically to channel preferences, leveraging state-of-the-art tools to provide a seamless cross-channel experience.

It’s easy to obsess over the latest social media craze or technology, but in doing so it also becomes easy to lose site of the end-goal: making a lasting, meaningful connection with customers.

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