October 08, 2010

Facebook Ad Tactics for Search Marketers

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East

DSC_8727 The "Facebook At Tactics for Search Marketers" panel at SMX East was a pretty insightful panel, from looking at how to manage your advertising in Facebook more easily to how to use it as a research tool, this panel was also full of great tips fromt he presenters.

First up was Matt Lawson from Marin Software who pointed out that Facebook just has a sheer amount of traffic, it's now crested and eclipsed google in page views.  They pages visisted are also more per session, 12+ in Facebook is an oustanding number to figure into your strategies.

Understanding that people are visiting more pages during their sessions in Facebook, you will naturally get more impressions than you can in paid search in the search engines (Google, Bing).  That only makes sense.  More impressions however, does mean lower click through rates, but this is o.k. when you also factor in you will have lower CPC rates that range anywhere from 12 to 15%.

Conversion rates are really all over the map for Facebook ads.  It really depends on how you are targeting your ads and your creatives.  Images are much more important with Facebook Ads.  Marketers need to be careful of having their ads "blending in" so choose colors that draw out.  If you also tailor your images to your audience it will increase their relevance as well.  You also need to keep the ads fresh because users on Facebook become ad blind

Matt also pointed out that maintaining the Facebook experience is important, especially for conversions.  Most succeful campaigns tend to be those who built their ads and campaigns into the Facebook tabs.

Matt rounded out his presentation by pointing out for marketers to remember that (according to: "The Influecened:  Social media, search and the interplay of consideration and consumption"  by Group M) social influences search.  Consumers who are exposed to a brand's social meda ads are:

  • 2.8 times as likely to search on brand terms
  • 50% more likely to click on paid search ads
  • 1.7 times morelikely to purchase from search


DSC_8723 Kevin Ryan from Motivity Marketing was up next at the podium and started off with pointing out how Facebook ads are really easy to set up, in just 5 minutes you can set them up.  He also pointed out that Facebook can become bigger in 5 yrs than Google is today (he pointed out a good piece on TechCrunch that speaks to this).

When marketers are working with Facebook ads, they need to look beyond just the keywords to things like tidal changes, early stage - creative shelf life, transitions, and just because you can doesn't mean you should (especially when it comes to bidding against your competition).  Marketers need to be more geographically relevant with Facebook and understand the collective interest.

Merry Morud from AimClear was up after Kevin Ryan and focused on how she runs campaigns in Facebook.  When you start a new account either start it from an admin account or create a new destination account on Facebook.  If you start a new account Facebook will at first limit you to $50, put in a request to buy more and they will work to get that removed.

When it comes to Facebook ads they are still a lot like PPC ads in the search engines in that you still need to create Landing Pages, whether they are landing pages that are on your site or a Facebook tab, you should still perform small audits on there.  Marketers should also be testing the verbiage in their copy, but an easy way to start is to grab your Search PPC copy that is working.  Also understanding how much freedom you have is important because in Facebook langauge that appeals to a certain segment (slang) can make your ads more successful.

Merry also pointed out how important images are to Facebook ads.  You need to get pictures - you need them, lots of them -  and you also need to make the images pop.  Merry uses IrfranView and cranks up both the contrast & saturation to make normal images stand out more.

Some best practices to keep in mind for creating your Facebook ads are: no symbols, full healdine, full sentice in body, no excessive punctuation, no eccesive capitlaize, real urls, bid daily budget must start at least $1.  She also suggested using some alternative tools:  Word's Thesaurus, Wikipedia, VisuWords, WordStream, OneLook Reverse Dictionary and your own noggin'.

Merry really had a ton more of great stuff in her presentation so if you were at SMX and didn't get to see this panel, download her presentation when they put them up and you can get the full information.  She really did have a lot of awesome tips and insights.

Finally Tyler Calder from Search Engine People rounded out this panel.  Tyler focuse on how marketers can use Facebook ads for market research.  Facebook is a researchers dream, so much data to get into about your customers can be found on Facebook.  If you want to  know how a certain groups people respond to a message an image or a question - Facebook can help with that.

Marketers can take these findings and apply to other offline and online intiatives such as TV, Radio and Print. If you start to use Facebook Advertising as a starting point for your marketing research, follow the Scientific Method.  Tyler outlined what marketers can test with Facebook ads:

  • Blog Titles
  • Email Subject Lines
  • Existing Message in New Market
  • Value Propositions
  • Proof Points

Benefits of using Facebook as a marketing research tool are huge: cost effective, fast, targeting, data collection, and flexibitilty.

Tyler presented two case studies in how they effectively used Facebook ads to research and test for their clients.  The first involved TV ads for a medical client that specialized in lap band procedures.  The client had a clearly defined geographic area and demographic but has a very high cost per conversion and they needed insights into how to produce a commercial that would be relevant.  They question they needed to answer for the client was what type of TV does their audience watch.  By using Facebook ads they were able to effectively answer that question and help the client with the campaign and making it much more affective and the results were 6% increase in calls, 11% increase in online consultation bookings.

The second case study Tyler highlighted was for a company who had a mobile application.  The app itself had strong reviews and a high retention rate however it could not break into the top 25.  The problem was that their app icon was seriously ugly and sucked.  Tylers team used Facebook ads to test the new icon images, the one that performed the best in the ads was what was chosen for the new application icon. The results - app downloads steady rate/sustained of downloads, with first ugly app icon, it was 69% drop off after the initial release.

Just like the Facebook (SEO) Optimization panel before this one, this session was really full of a lot of great tips, insights and information.  If you attended SMX East and missed this panel make sure to download the presentations.  If you didn't attend SMX East, make sure you put SMX West on your agenda!

 

October 07, 2010

Facebook (SEO) Optimization: Free Ways to Be Found on Facebook

By Li Evans

Reporting from Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Marty-weintraub Lately Facebook marketing has become all the rage, especially for online marketers.  With that in mind I sat down in the Facebook SEO:  Free Ways to be Found on Facebook panel at SMX East 2010.  The panel was moderated by Elizabeth Osmesloski the editor for Search Engine Land and presenters were Marty Weintraub, Gregg Finn and Chris Silversmith

First to the stage was Marty, who had a deck that was just packed with data, so much so that I'll have to go back and digest that presentation to fully comprehend everything Marty was trying to relate in such a small amount of time.  Some key facts, tips and information I gleened from Marty's presentation were truly insightful.

When it comes to the "SERPs" of Facebook (if we want to call them that as search engine marketers) and mature Facebook accounts different factors like personalization and likes matter in what's brought back when a user searches in the Facebook environment.  There's a few things that affect personalization: you "like it", your friends "like it", you've got 2nd degree friends (not quite as relevant), you've been invited to things, you've visited the page before, and you've listed it as an interest on your profile.

Marty outlined 9 important ranking factors to consider when you are setting up your profile or pages/groups on Facebook, if you want them to rank in Facebook's search results.
  1. Your Name
  2. Events You Are Invited To
  3. Friend with Keyword in Name
  4. 2nd Degree Friend with Keyword in Name
  5. Questions w/ keyword in it & # of Answers
  6. App you have used
  7. Page Friend Likes
  8. Groups you have joined
  9. Internal external page & Interest You Have on a Profile
The one place that seems to be the most "spammy" on Facebook that programmers are hacking and exploiting is Events.  Events are not geographically based, nor based on if your friends are attend, nor the invites and not really keyword based.  Spammers are using events to send emails to everyone on the attendee lists whether they've RSVP'd or not.  This is why people are ignoring events anymore.

The key to successfully marketing with the events is to get people to RSVP as ATTENDING and get people to the page at least once.  Don't forget to make your primary keyword the first word of the event and don't make that name too long.

Marty had so much more great information, if you are interested in it, follow him on twitter he's @aimclear.

Greg Finn was up next with another treasure trove of great tips for marketing in Facebook.  The key to making your pages rank is relevancy of the page name, the fans you have and also the conversations that are going on within those pages, according to Greg.  Greg also highlighted Facebook's Page Browser feature and how those factors affect what appears in the page browser.

When you are trying to boost your fans he pointed out some rather simple things marketers can do like making sure you have a "Become a Fan" button on your main website.  He also suggested running promotions, however you do need to consult Facebook's guidelines on promotions before you launch to avoid having Facebook shut down your promotion.

The best promotions that work are charitable donations.  This is where companies say "for every fan we acquire" within a certain time frame, they will donate a certain amount of money to a charity.  Greg suggested that companies can alter this and encourage more conversation because in order to comment on a fan page wall, you have to like it first.  So by running the promotion focusing on "for every comment on this post, we'll donate", you are getting both fans and conversation.

Open-graph Chris Silversmith rounded out this panel with some other great insights, primarily utilizing your status updates in more effective ways.  If you utilize tagging, you can really improve your chances of increasing the number of people who see it.  For example utilizing people's names, groups, businesses, and locations can actually place your status updates on their walls, exposing that information to their fans/friends. 

You do want to be careful with this though because it can appear spammy and get ignored and also be ineffective if a group, fan page or community page only shows "their" updates and doesn't allow fans updates to be seen.  Remember as well, you can only use 6 tags in a status update.

Chris also gave some great tips about optimizing fan page code for facebook by using the Open Graph.  Open Graph code is based on RDFa and Chris pointed out that marketers should make sure to use the meta tags outlined in the Open Graph outline by creating special html pages on their own sites and synching them with the Facebook Fanpage.  You really only get one shot at this as once 10 or more people like it, Facebook won't change the information on the page you've synched.  To get Facebook to recognize your Open Graph coded page put the like button on the page and click it as the administrator of the fan page from that page.

This panel was so packed with great information, there's a lot more that I didn't cover here, as actually sitting in the panel is where you get the true benefit!  If you are interested in learning more, tweet to the presenters, they might help you out, or better yet attend SMX West in February 2011.

September 30, 2010

Moving on From Serengeti Communications & The Social Media Marketing Book

By Li Evans

Life in the online marketing world can get quite busy, pretty fast.  Before you know it, they hobbies that you love fall to the wayside, or take different forms into full time positions or work themselves into a book.  For the past year or so that is what happened to me and to a lot of the Search Marketing Gurus group of writers.  Many of the writers here have moved on to new positions from when they started with SMG or have even started their own businesses which take up a major amount of their time.

Smm-book-cover-300h For me it was writing the social media marketing book, Social Media Marketing:  Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & other Social Media.  It was a true labor of love - sharing my knowledge of this industry and how companies can effectively utilize social media as a true online marketing tool.  

I also threw my heart and soul into my client work at Serengeti Communications.  Nan Dawkins is one of the best bosses anyone could wish to have.  She kind, caring and so willing to share.  Her generous nature and willingness to be a great mentor is something I not only greatly respect, but am honored to have been able to have in my life.  It's also what made my decision to move on from Serengeti Communications so difficult. 

Friday, will be my last day with my awesome co-workers John Lynch, Kevin Olson, Nate Linnell and Stacy Moren who I was with from the start.  They are really great people and another reason why its tough to leave.

So, where am I going?  What am I about to venture out on?  Well stay tuned, there's a lot to come, a lot of exciting stuff - especially with SMG.  We've got a bunch of writers coming back to help kick up some great ideas, tips and insights and Julie will be keeping up with the Women of Internet Marketing Interviews.  We'll also have conference coverage and photos again starting with Search Marketing Expo (SMX) and eConsultancy next week and Search Engine Strategies in Chicago in mid-October and AffCon in December.  SMG will also be going through both a platform and design change as we'll be moving from Typepad to Wordpress over the month of October.

We're back folks, so stay tuned - more to come! :)

September 08, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting

By Li Evans

This week for our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video, I'm discussing some Twitter Tool that you can integrate into your strategy to get a better handle on what's happening with all those URL's you are tweeting out.

Full Twitter Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting" »

August 16, 2009

The Power of a Twitter Suggestion, Product Reviews & Video Sharing

By Li Evans

Earlier this afternoon I was getting a little disheartened by some .... pardon the expression,.... lame ass marketers touting that everyone needs a Blog .. type promoting social media marketing.  You know the type, they think they know social media because they have a blog and a twitter account.  A friend of mine asked me to check out some links from some webinars that .. well frankly, some schmuck put together who thinks social media is about links from a blog directory.  Pardon my candidness - but schmuck is about the best way to describe who presented the information.

For the record, like my respected pal Mike Grehan, I hate the term Social Media ... there's got to be a better term to explain this form of conversation/promotion/marketing.

With that all said, I set off then this evening to find a shredder.  Yes, something as plain Jane and utilitarian as a shredder.  See I got new checks, but the bank made an error and put the wrong number in the account area - so they sent me the correct ones.  I also have a bunch of CDs I need to shred.  Thus started my quest.

I went to Twitter and asked:
Li-asks-for-shredder-recommendations

Low and behold a local pal Shawn Collins of Afflilate Summit tweeted me back:
Shawn-responds

Of course I thanked him!
Li-thanks

But .... me being me not only did I watch his review:
We-views-review  

I did a search.Google-Ativa-DQ120-Diamond-Cut-Shredder  

Look closely at what I have highlighted in red boxes (click image for larger view), it's all Shawn.  Shawn's review ranks highly from the website I visited, not only that his YouTube VIDEO ranks highly.  Followed by the OfficeDepot.com listing (highlighted by blue box).  Funny thing - Shawn's link links right to the Office Depot product.

Now, If I wasn't such an in-depth internet user that I am, and as loyal to Staple as I am, I wouldn't have done a search on the Ativa™ DQ120D Diamond-Cut Shredder in Google to find alternate sources for this product.  However neither Staples nor Amazon carry this product.

Point is, I trust Shawn - he's one of my followers on Twitter who actually holds conversations, I've met him in person, and he even runs a respected conference called Affiliate Summit.  He's got authority in my book, a trusted authority.  Add to the fact that he's ranking in Google for all this, I'm buying the Ativa™ DQ120D Diamond-Cut Shredder from Office Depot.

That's not just the power of Twitter, it's the power of a blog post review and video sharing - Social Media Marketing (by an Affiliate Marketer) in action.

August 04, 2009

Want to Meet Charlene Li & Have Dinner?

By Li Evans

Charlene-Li-headshot-dinner-promo As Director of Social Media for Serengeti Communications, I'm really excited about announcing this contest that we're holding through our Take it InHouse brand.  The contest is really simple and you have the opportunity to join us for a private dinner with Charlene Li in San Jose during Search Engine Strategies this year.  Charlene Li is Thursday's keynote speaker and she's also co-author of the awesome book Groundswell.

We're giving away 2 seats to the dinner and here's how you can win.

Take it InHouse is looking for two companies who manage the most vendors to help them get their online marketing strategies accomplished. 


What does that mean? 

So say you have one company to do your PPC, another for SEO, someone else to handle your online PR and yet another company to do Social Media or Analytics, we want to hear from you! 

The form is really simple to fill out, we just want to know how many vendors you work with and for what (not who they are).  We’re curious as to the average number of vendors that one company has to deal with to handle their online marketing initiatives.

The two companies with the most vendors will be our winners.  If there are several companies who have the same number, we’ll put them into a fishbowl and have a drawing.  We’ll be announcing the winners on Friday August 7th, so spread the word!  If you are coming to San Jose for Search Engine Strategies or even live in the area and run your business from around San Jose, let us know about how you manage your online marketing strategies!

Win A Seat at a Private Dinner Featuring Charlene Li

July 30, 2009

Dear Zappos - Please Put Up Info on the Amazon Merger

By Li Evans

Complete Disclosure* - I'm an AVID Zapos fan.

I love Zappos.

But I'm afraid!

Zappos has such an open embrace of social media, I point to them time and time again to clients as to how they should model their interaction in social media with their customer after.  If you are looking for someone to model how you deal with a community with - its' Zappos.

I've read their culture book which i got at Pubcon 2008.  I have read article after article after Tony Hsieh, one of the most recent coming this past May there was this article about him, it really made me think!  It made me love Zappos even more.  I changed my shopping habits for shoes to go there first, that's how much I have come to respect Zappos.

Last week, Amazon bought Zappos.  I found myself a little saddened.  Much like this whole Yahoo / Microsoft deal.  I feel like this little... awesome ... company who truly understands the use of social media is being swallowed up into a larger entity who has no clue about social media.  These huge companies see social media not as a way to engage customer like Zapos does, but more as another place to drive traffic from.

Amazon's team is really noted for watching that "buy" button.  They have an entire team dedicated to watching how you, me and anyone else interacts with the "buy now" button.  What's sad is that they dont' really see what happens several times before someone hits that buy button.... or what happens AFTER!

Zappos worked hard on their "unboxing" promotion.. pushing it hard at this past year's SxsW conference in Austin, TX.  Add that into their contest for winning a trip to Las Vegas and their headquarters which was won by a Philly local - Gloria Bell of Red Stapler Consulting - they were doing some pretty awesome social media initiatives.

Unfortunately I've become a bit concerned, mostly because already there's a small sign of the corporation taking over.  Just like any other startup that's been bought buy a huge company, I'm afraid Zappos is going to loose their customer centric focus and loose what makes them fun because now they have to deal with the big corporation "machine". 

No where do I see on their site's main page, any information about their merger with Amazon.  Zappos has always been very open and upfront about this kind of stuff in the past.  However now, I'm relegated to blog post and news pieces about the acquisition via a search on Google.  No Where .... nada... is there information on Zappos.com information about this merger.  For a company dedicated to customer service.. this is just really surprising. 

For a company that's so upfront about what's going on, Zappos.com not having a big link graphic about the acquisition on their main page leading to the blog post about and how it will affect customers (it likely won't, but still reassure the folks not on twitter or gettin emails from Zappos employees!) is a big worry for me.  There's nothing... not a small blurb, not a big graphic... nothing on the main page.  Take a look at the screen shot below.

Zappos-home-page-07292009

Dear Zappos ... I love your company, I love your philosophy for customer service.... please for the love of social media, search, and all of your current customers online - please post something easily accessible about this Amazon acquisition prominently on your website not just on your blog!   Perhaps post something on your front page linking to that blog post?   At least give us some hope you won't loose what makes you some fun to deal with!

*More Disclosure - I'm on a social media panel with Brian Kalma of Zappos at SES San Jose in August.

June 03, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Online Reputation Management

By Li Evans

This week's online marketing tips video is all about online reputation management in social media and search marketing.  It's a little different look beyond just monitoring with Google alerts and buzz monitoring tools (the first tip).  Buy building relationships and loosing your grip, these tips can also help you with your reputation online.





Reputation Management Online Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Online Reputation Management" »

May 26, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Being Social in Social Media

By Li Evans

This week's Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing video is all about how to be social in social media, especially if you are a company. These days it takes a lot more than just having a Twitter account or a Facebook page to be successful in social media! In this short educational video, there's 3 quick tips that companies can use to integrate into their social media strategies and be more social with a lot more success.

Full Being Social in Social Media Video Transcript after the jump ...

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Being Social in Social Media" »

May 12, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Community Building

By Li Evans

Finally I'm back with our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing!

Today I decided to focus on Community Building in Social Media.  It's under 3 minutes, quick and to the point about 3 tips for helping to build the community around your blog, forum, or even networking group like those on Facebook or LinkedIn.  Enjoy!



Full Community Building Tips Video transcript after the jump ....


Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Community Building" »

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