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:

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

Of course I thanked him!

But .... me being me not only did I watch his 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 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.

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" »

April 22, 2009

A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?

By Li Evans

Yummy-pizza To kick off the work week Twitter was all abuzz with news that Pizza Hut wanted to hire a summer intern to man their Twitter account. The story even made the New York Times. I really don't know what made me roll my eyes more, that the NY Times gave this obvious PR Stunt credibility or that the Vice President for marketing communications at Pizza Hut (Bob Kraut), actually stated "The successful applicant will speak fluent OMG and LOL and correctly use the terms DM (direct message), RT (retweet) and # (hashtag)." to make himself sound cool and hip.

For the record, if you tweeted DM it wouldn't work on Twitter, it's "D" for direct message, let alone they left out knowing how to reply to twitterers with the "@" symbol.

Tom Martin, who writes at Positive Disruption asked if this "Twiternship" was Ethical, its a very interesting look at the situation and a very thought provoking piece if you into marketing, PR and social media.  It kept me coming back to even more questions, beyond asking if this was just a PR Stunt to draw people away from the Domino's video fiasco.

You Seriously Want an Intern Handling Your International Brand on an International Stage?

Pizza Hut is not just a national brand, but an international one.  Twitter isn't just a U.S. based tool, its a world wide tool.  Now, stop and think.  Would any company be crazy enough to let an intern who doesn't know the inner workings of their global brand (carefully crafted messaging they've spent millions on) plan, prepare, run and speak at an international press event that launches your brand on an international stage?

Continue reading "A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?" »

March 20, 2009

When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation

By Li Evans

Hollywood-stars-and-wannabes I'm going to indulge in a little guilty pleasure this Friday. I decided to start poking around a few Celebrity Twitter Accounts to see how some of these "stars" are using Twitter.  There's a wide variety of ways it's being used, but for the most part when it comes to Celebrity Twitter accounts, its definitely not about conversations with their communities or fan bases.

Perhaps its just the way celebrities are, that whole "look at me" factor that 95% of them are in the entertainment industry for.  It goes with the territory I suppose, we the adoring fan base waiting on bended ear to hear something great fall from their lips, or in this case, tweet from their fingertips.  Its all apart of the voyeurism of celebrities, if we didn't like to watch these celebrity train wrecks there wouldn't be a TMZ, Perez Hilton of US Magazine.

For the most part a lot of the Celebrity Twitter Accounts I'm going to list are basically just Public Relations or "Handler" controlled accounts (especially in the Music Industry) that are used a just another vehicle to get the word out about new albums, tour dates, ringtones, guest star appearances or pushes to vote for songs.  For other celebrities its about pushing their shows, videos, and guest appearances.  There's a definite difference in how engage some of these celebrities are.

There's also a difference when it comes to how "popular" the celebrity is, and their use of Twitter.  But in rare cases, like that of Jane Fonda, they understand Twitter and actually use some of the technology that's sprung up around it.  Jane uses hash tags to relate her tweets to things going on in the twitterverse, and although she really doesn't hold conversations, you don't get that "fake" PR Handler feel from her account like you would from say country music star's Faith Hill's twitter account.

Continue reading "When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation" »

March 11, 2009

President Barack Obama & His Social Media Agenda in the First 50 Days

By Li Evans

President-barack-obama Quietly, without trumpets, fan fare, ticker tape parades or walks outside of the limo that give the secret service heart attacks, President Barack Obama has been changing the way the executive branch of the government does business online.  Not only that he's influencing the other branches, in particularly the legislator, both Congress & Senate.

In the first 50 days of his presidency President Obama's team has pushed forward a number of new sites to help citizens of the United States understand better what the President and his staff are doing. This was something we have never seen before, all we ever got before was a static site that people continually tried to Google Bomb for "miserable failure".

I stated back in November that President Barack Obama was going to be "Our First Social Media President", within the first 50 days of this presidency he's sure living up to that moniker I tacked on him (sure hope he doesn't mind).  We also know that Blackberry is sure thankful for the free press, since he wouldn't give up his and got that super dooper James Bond one.  Besides the Blackberry, in the first 50 days of his presidency, President Obama and his team have launched a number of new sites above and beyond just and that's what I'd like to focus on today, along with some other things.

Continue reading "President Barack Obama & His Social Media Agenda in the First 50 Days" »

March 02, 2009

Skittles & Social Media - Obviously a Company that Doesn't Get It

By Li Evans

Via Mashable this morning, I found out that Skittles changed its homepage.  Now, normally this wouldn't be news, no more than launching a new site.  But here's the kicker, they changed their homepage to a Twitter stream about Skittles.

Now, at first glance this may seem really neat, but let's dig underneath the surface here a bit.

  • Does Skittles control the @Skittles account?  Nope!

  • Does Skittles actively participate in discussions on Twitter?  Nope!

  • Does Mars, Inc., its parent company participate on Twitter?  Nope!

Now on the surface, this may seem really cool and hip, using this new trendy service Twitter, in an unusual way.  Heck it's having word of mouth effects - people are talking about this.  Unfortunately in due time this could turn around and create a big PR problem for Skittles & Mars, Inc..


They are just pulling up a stream on Twitter that references people using the word "Skittles" in their tweets.  This leaves the company's home page ripe for Twitter spamming, and worse, for people to make a mockery of the Skittles brand.  In due time this could create a nightmare for Mars, Inc, if people continue to take advantage that their tweets are now on display for a national audience.

For example, take a look at what I caught on this screen capture below (my apologies if this offends anyone, please be forewarned there are offensive words in this screen capture, that is not my intent and that tweet does not reflect my own feelings), or this tweet that appeared as well (again, can be offensive to some).


Skittles doesn't even offer anything into the conversation.  Twitter users know that twitter is about discussions.  They don't even have a Twitter account to hold a conversation - at this juncture in time.  If they did, I'm hard press to find it - and they aren't advertising it.

I'm sure usability folks could have a field day with this latest revamp of the Skittles site too, to replace it with a twitter stream and have a javascript piece follow you down the page for navigation, just begs for a usability expert to rip it to shreds.  Add in the box that demands you agree to their terms, and another annoying box about typing in some URL before you can even navigate off the twitter stream into Skittles other pages, wow, just a nightmare.

This isn't social media folks, seriously, for it to be social media, Skittles has to be engaging in the conversation, and they aren't. If they were truly into social media, they'd have a Twitter account, engage in the conversation, much like @Maggiano's is or @WholeFoods or @Zappos.    What skittles has done has gotten other people to talk about Skittles, at this point in time early in the convo they haven't spoken, so it's all one sided.  Social Media requires a conversation (them talking with people), this, is just basically an electronic billboard on the web that says "look who using the word Skittles!" 

Its a unique billboard I give them that, but that's about it.

One last point, Mars, Inc. should think about, too. Twitter, on a good day, can't handle the traffic it has reliably (it's getting better), so Skittles will be at the mercy of Twitter for its exposure.  I don't know if I'd want to bank my brand's exposure on it like this.

February 17, 2009

SES London - Measuring Success in a 2.0 world

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Mike Grehan

  • Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO, Enquisite
  • Miles Bennett, Director, Targetstone Limited
  • John Marshall, CTO, Market Motive
  • Neil Mason, Director of Analytical Consulting, Foviance


What do we need to track? 
Many years ago clients merely asked that we needed to simply track hits

Richard Zwicky - 2.0 is how user want to interact with the web.  Measure the value delivered rather than simple numbers

Miles Bennett - Usability towards growing registrations rather than simple traffic metrics.

John Marshall - Becoming tougher to measure the success of the business rather than simply the website. So much of the interaction with business now happens off the website (think RSS feeds etc)

Neil Mason - Define what you mean by success - time needs to be taken to make the client understand what success means. Analytics simply show behaviour rather than determine success in the visitor achieving what they came to achieve.

How does the client determine what the KPI's are ?

Richard Zwicky - Clients do need to be lead through the process

John Marshall - Its getting harder for the client to grasp the fact that a lot of the value happens away from the website. Email marketing for example can be difficult as so many of the savvy younger web users use mediums like social networking

Mike Grehan - In 2.0 there are so many additional factors (think user generated content video etc)

Miles Bennett - Trends, peaks and troughs as a method to show where the risks and value are. It doesn't matter what the historic numbers are if they get problems off site on things like Youtube it can still affect the brand.

Mike Grehan - How important is it to measure things like tagging - twitter hashtags etc

Neil Mason - The toolkits are sparse in that area so its difficult. researching using the newer tools helps large customers to start to understand the value from multi channel behaviour.

John Marshall - The analytics traditional tend to now give a more 2 dimensional view but don't tell us much about the intention and experience of the user. Surveys are an important tool as is competitive information. KPI referrals from search is better with a view of share of search as it gives a far more meaningful metric.

Richard Zwicky - Professional analytics give so much more than the basic tools like google analytics etc - we fall into that as its easier when some of the professional tools give so much more. Its like a professional photographer using a high end SLR verses the ease of use of something like a camera phone.


Mike Grehan - So how do we add value to our clients?
People give value too often to the last click rather than the whole picture

Neil Mason - To do a job you need a variety of tools. Google Analytics - good strong basic analytics tool but as you ask more questions you start to need more tools. Got to get the data in one place as you need to be able to see all the data across the different technologies and therefore be unable to understand the total picture which then in turn informs what decisions you make.

John Marshall - Admission of complexity is a first step in understanding that we need to change. Tools like Hitwise and other competitive data isn't a replacement for analytics but provides an additional layer.

Mike Grehan - tools that are out there ?

Neil Mason - Hitwise as competitive analysis
John Marshall - Compete

Many of the newer tools are expensive as we have been lulled into a sense that analytics data is free whereas many of the new services rely on work that costs a great deal to assemble.

Mike Grehan - what are the important KPI's?

Miles Bennett - its hard to give a one size fits all as they need to align with the customers objectives

Neil Mason - You have to first define what the goals of the business are and these have to be clear and confident. what does good look like (what would the indicators be of success). Then looking at how you can measure that, perhaps for an investment company good may be determined by phone call enquiries. Many of these metrics point to outcomes that manifest themselves in actions offline.

Richard Zwicky - The site isn't an island in the business and so you need to understand how to listen to those customers

Q & A

Measuring success
If the client doesn't have a clear idea of the 'value' of each lead what can you do to counter that?

John Marshall - There are tools that can help attach the real search query into the lead generation tool. this then gives the sales people the opportunity to see the types of leads and it gives them a way to value those leads. Think - if the referral from search was 'cheap widgets' that gives the client a better idea of the value of that lead versus other terms.

How much time do you suggest businesses devote to measuring success?

Miles Bennett - Web analytics and data analysis is a full time role and people need to give it the resource to get the value

Richard Zwicky - If you define the goals then you can define the amount of time that you need to spend with the data to achieve those goals

Neil Mason - The more the pressure of the current climate bites the amount of time between adjustment cycles will mirror the faster pace of changes within the client.

December 16, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans

By Li Evans

Due to SES Chicago and traveling last week, there wasn't a Tuesday's Tips video last week.  This week though we've got a new Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video and it's all about turning those friends you've accumulated into Fans or evangelists.  From giving up some control to asking your friends to help, there's three tips in this video that can help you reach out, interact and turn those acquaintances into your biggest customer advocates.

Full Turning Your Friends Into Fans Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Turning Your Friends Into Fans" »

Twitter, May I Suggest...

By Y.M. Ousley

So apparently, Twitter is hiring a product manager, to focus on revenue generation. Hopefully an all star development team to stabilize the platform and kill any remaining bugs is on the list of to hires, but I digress.

For Twitter, or anyone applying for the position, may I suggest... suggestion?

Twitter, you already ask people what their interests are, and even on non-technical interests, have sizable audiences. The tweets don't always follow one niche or topic, but you know what topics are trending and where interests lie.

To blatantly steal a page from e-commerce merchants, why not offer suggestions? 85% of the sites I visit (and this is a completely unscientific figure) take a look at the products I view and offer suggestions based on browsing, and in certain cases my purchase history.

If you can segment tweets and followers by niche, surely there are commercial sites who would pay to have their conversations suggested. For users, it's less intrusive than a keyword ad, less out of place. For advertisers, it offers a chance at an audience that lasts longer than a click or view. For you, Twitter, it encourages higher quality tweets. Advertisers not posting anything of interest will have to make their tweets more interesting or relevant, or no one will follow.

Just a suggestion

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