I’m getting more and more client calls asking about Twitter, although I tend to think most of my readers are the super social elite folks you’d find in Friendfeed. Yet, in reality, many agencies, brands, and executives are just hearing about this microblogging services from the recent media buzz.
If you’re new to Twitter, first read my Twitter FAQ. Then if you want to connect with other folks that are readers of the Web Strategy blog, leave a comment below, then others will follow you in my community, and we can all connect. I’ve noticed that new users have no idea what to do (empty bar syndrome) when they’re not connected with others, I hope this spurs things along for new members.
Well, A lot of things. I was invited to join a panel designed by Peter Kim (he used his blog to gather feedback) at the Web 2.0 expo to explore just those topics. We managed to get Charlene Li, and it was like a mini-reunion. Over dinner the preceding night, we decided to focus on four key challenges that we see across the social media marketing industry.
The Four Major Challenges of Social Media Today
1. How to get culture to adopt & get executives to buy in?
2. How to make social media “campaigns” work?
3. How do you measure social media?
4. Does social media even matter?
Folks who blogged the session:
There were a handful of folks who live blogged or reported the sessions (a rarity these days, thank you) and rather than I rehash what we said, I’d rather let you go see what they wrote:
For additional information, we made the session interactive and encouraged everyone to write back their thoughts and solutions using the #smfail tag. I’ve looked through the hundreds of tweets, and there weren’t a lot of solutions but mainly retweets and folks tweeting what was said on the panel. It was great to be with my former colleagues, if you get the opportunity to work with them now, I consider you very fortunate.
I’m sitting here at the Thin Air Summit in Denver, anyone who is here on a Saturday is very serious about social media –I guess I fit the bill. I don’t know that much about SEO when it comes to social media, so I’m going to blog some of the key findings.
Moderator: Micah Baldwin
Panelists: Brett Borders, Elizabeth Yarnell, John Fischer
Elizabeth a book author had a desire to promote her book Glorious One-Pot Meals –without using a traditional publisher. Her advice? The goal is to be found, rather than focus on traditional marketing which is ‘target markets’.
Think beyond keywords and be actionable
Bad: “Elizabeth Yarnell, Author” instead use the title bar to put in keywords about your product, you’ll have better search results.
Better: “Learn to cook fast meals with Elizabeth Yarnell”, notice the call to action.
Existing social media sites score high
She suggests that social media sites (like flickr, myspace, blogger) already get lots of traffic, and page rank, and will increase your SEO ranking.
Social Media is about the abundance theory
It’s about giving away what you know and to share with others, in return they will come back to you.
Learn the keyword search tools on the internet, such as keyword tracker, google tracker, word tracker. Many are free, some are expensive.
Brett Borders provide some highlights of what SEOs are doing within social media, he doesn’t advocate these tactics.
Create video to dominate universal search results
Since Google launched ‘universal search’ (showing images, video, beyond just text) these are opportunities to score well on your search results. Create content in multiple mediums that all support your marketing effort. A snapshot of the video will show up on the universal search results.
Free Google Adwords
How to do free google adwords? Have you blog post create similar content pointing to the video, then submit to digg. It can ‘sometimes’ provide Google ads. (I really don’t get this)
Ego Searches influence your SERP –but not everyone else’s
If you do lots of ego searches for your own domains, Brett suggests that personalized search will actually cause your results to show higher –but that’s just what you see, not everyone else. You can go to your web history tools and have your history cleared which will prevent this from happening.
Persona Blogging (flogging)
Create a branded human character, as a facade, and ‘uplift’ the community, then link to your site every 25 times. There are agencies that are doing this. The risks? like the Edelman fiasco can get the ill will of your community and can result in brand backlash. These tactics will be found out in a few years.
Make Friends –make links
Create profiles in social networks such as tribe, then make a lot of friends which will send traffic back to your profile –which links to your website.
Follow folks on Twitter
A discussion talking about an automated way to gain followers on twitter, despite the limit of 2000, you can remove them then add more. These get more followers then you can spam them with tweets.
Link Tuning –and tone down adsl
Suggests that webmasters tune their page so not important pages have a ‘no-follow’ so Google doesn’t index it. Also he suggests that new blogs not be adsense heavy so it doesn’t look so commercial.
John Fischer runs a sticker company called Sticker Giants
Suggests that search engines don’t want marketers to focus on SEO, they just want you to do naturally link building.
Focus on business goals –not your personal name
After reviewing one of the attendee’s website suggested that her website content/titles focus on her business goals, not her given name. People will search on her business, not her name
Show off your media
On your blog, make it obvious and promote your social media content: youtube, flickr, ustream, seesmic, perhaps use a friendfeed widget, so readers know who you are.
Understand the difference between long and short term SEO strategies
There’s a long term and short term strategy. While there’s a lot of things you can do in the short term to generate traffic, it can result in you getting banned in the long term. The short term low value may build up long term value.
Be pervasive with a sticky post
Suggests creating a ‘sticky post’ that stays at the top of a blog and lists all the important information regardless of what you’ve posted recently. I think a header or footer could also help accomplish this
From the crowd, isn’t it better to be passionate about a topic and work on long term relevance? This way Google won’t discount your efforts in the long term.
The end suggestions were to be passionate about whatever you’re doing, it will help you to be relevant in the long term.
Me? I don’t do any specific SEO tactics in order to get search relevance, I just focus on writing content that people will link to, tweet it, and the rest happens by itself. I encourage you to avoid the short term tactics and focus on building the long term relationships –go for the long haul.
For the first time in a while yesterday, I felt back at home.
Although I’ve been traveling all about speaking to different companies and business conferences, it’s been some time since I’ve gone to conferences in my core passion area of social media and web 2.0. Although I was only able to attend the third of three days, Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Summit really gave a good show in the most literal meaning. The 3k ticket price brought forth amazing speakers from Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, Jerry Yang, Lance Armstrong, Issac Mao, Marc Benioff, Kevin Rose, and an inspirational keynote by Al Gore.
Unlike previous Web 2.0 events the theme was very clear to me, these social tools are now impacting so much more than the tech blogger circle jerk that we all tire of. With our future President launching a blog on Wednesday, Lance Armstrong discussing politics, ego and the web, and Al Gore on stage discussing how energy and global crises can help be solved from collaborative means.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a tech conference where we didn’t fondle the hammer and actually focused on building the house. Actually choosing an objective to apply these tools to much bigger problems: cancer, health, politics, global warming, energy crises, and connecting the world.
In an earlier panel we saw the bumping of elbows between Google, Microsoft, MySpace and Facebook each pitting themselves against each other in this cage match panel, yet it was more inspiring to hear in Al Gore’s closing keynote, he talked about having a purpose to using these tools to impact something far bigger than ever before.
I’m rewarding two readers with a complimentary VIP pass to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit conference on July 17th at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.
If you’re passionate about making your corporate website the best it can be, and want to connect with others who are leading the charge at their companies, then you’ve already marked a place on your Calendar for the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in July 17th in Portland.
• Geoffrey Ramsey, Co-founder & CEO, eMarketer
• Charlene Li, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research (I can’t wait to meet her someday!)
• Chris Shimojima, VP, Global Digital Commerce, Nike
• David Placier, VP, Consumer Insights, Disney Online
• Nancy Bhagat, VP of Sales and Marketing Group, Intel
• Daniel Stickel, new CEO, WebTrends (formerly with Google)
• Shane O’Neill, Chief Technology Officer, Fandango
• Mike Moran, Distinguished Engineer, IBM, author (highest-rated speaker at 2007 Summit)
I attended last year, and was impressed to see all the corporate web leaders (web strategists) attending. Steve Gehlen for the Internet Strategy Forum, who founded ISF, has done a great service to our industry, in fact, he and I worked together to form the Silicon Valley chapter a few years ago.
We both realize that many of the readers of this Web Strategy Blog would love to attend the ISF conference, so we’re giving away two free tickets.
I will be selected two winners who answer the following question:
1) Question: What is the future of Corporate Websites in 5 years?
I’ll be looking for out-of-the-box thinking, plausibility, and ability to logically connect the dots why and how your 5 year prediction will happen.
2) Write it clearly and succinctly, points assigned for brevity.
Effective strategists are excellent communicators.
3) What percentage will you attend the conference?
I want to give these tickets to someone who’ll really use it, I encourage you to answer this even if you don’t plan to attend, have fun with it!
Thanks for reading, I’m grateful to get enough traction now to reward readers with conference tickets, books, and the ability to network. Have fun with this, and strut your stuff strategists!
Update June 28: I’d like to thank Christopher Smith and Kristie Conner for their excellent responses (scroll down) to their vision of the future of the corporate website. While everyone provided excellent answers, I enjoyed hearing the focus on people from Chris (sites become social) and Kristie’s notion on ‘fluity’ of the future of the corporate website –it’ll spread both off domain and aggregate social content. Thanks all for playing.
In my previous post, I asked a question for the chance to win one of two tickets to the Graphing Social Conference in Virginia. I was getting so many responses (over 20 in 12 hours) that I had to put a cap on the contest. I carefully read each of the comments, and have found three comments that I find insightful, back up their assertion with reasoning, or are just plain interesting. Please congratulate these winners!
Also, for reasons out of my control, I won’t be attending GSP this time, hope you live blog it.
Question: Where you think the future of White Label Social networks is headed over the next 5 years, and why you back up that prediction?
Two top answers (Winners)
Carmen Delessio writes:
The value of a white label social network is tied to the intended audience. A network for a closed affinity group will have more value than social networking features on a generic local business web site or large corporate site.
A closed affinity can be the alumni of a college, fraternity, or corporation. It can be based on a shared experience or common interest. Managing the verification of the group info is a component of closed social networks. I really am an alumnus of Manhattanville College. Verifying that is a component of participating in their alumni network.
White Label social networks can stand alone for these affinity groups *and* coexist and thrive within larger social sites like Facebook. People can belong to more than one club.
In 5 years, there will be consolidation in this area. The remaining players will provide deep services to closed affinity groups and simple services to very small groups. Large corporations will be more interactive and engaged with customers through these tools, but it will be seen as a normal extension of their web sites and not a standalone community. Facebook and future large social sites will provide ties to these networks – small and large.
Corporations that blur the line between products and affinity will be succcessful with social networks.
Jeremiah: Carmen gets it, it’s not about “or” it’s about “and”. There’s plenty of room for white label vendors in the world of Facebook and MySpace. I enjoy her future perspective in making corporate websites relevant again. Good stuff, enjoy the conference!
John Bell writes:
For public social networks, the “white-label” space is due for shakeout and consolidation. All you had to do was browse the “vendor” floor at Community 2.0 a few weeks back and see the clustering of 5-6 different platforms with overlapping feature sets and minor tweaks on un-tried busiess models (charge by the user, charge by implementation, charge by time).
They cannot all succeed. Hopefully the market will favor those with real distinctions and with the best technology. I am pretty technologically savvy but still don’t feel prepared to judge Mzinga next to Jive next to…..
The most immediate an tangible use of white labels is in a space where the label doesn’t really matter: employee intra/extranets. The social network-based model where the staff member is the dominant knowledge “unit” is the natural course of all extranets. Many companies have been spending quite a bit to create their internal social net for knwoledge management, access and communication. The wide range of choices from teh current slew of socnets will drive down the costs of implementation dramatically.
The interesting innovation to come is when employee social networks bridge the divide between walled-garden access and content to the public face of employees. I want to share one thing internally – client materials and insight – and something else externally – though leadership and co-creation. Will there come a time when my staff “profile” at Ogilvy becomes portable to me next job?
Anyhow, I’m just sayin’…..
Jeremiah: John often leaves broad thinking comments on my blog, as he should as he’s one of the senior leaders at Ogivy interactive, so I’d expect no less. I agree with John, we’ll see a shake out in this space in the next few years, especially after traditional IT companies, ERP, CMS companies realize it may be better to buy than build their own. Thanks John, hope you live blog the show.
Honorable Mention Ajay Mungara writes:
I think the whole concept of social networking is getting morphed into all websites. I see an explosion of corporate and consumer websites touting the social networking bandwagon. Just because a website has the so called social networking capabilities (blogs, wiki, podcast, twitter streams, facebook apps, etc.) does not make it a social networking site. Tools & services are only the means, but not the end. Today most of the tools / services are centered around providing social networking capabilities to your websites, but five years from now the best services will be the ones that can actually harness the power of “social intelligence” for practical business/consumer uses.
Jeremiah: Thanks Ajay, who’s busy over at Intel in the trenches dealing with these very issues. We agree, the tools aren’t as important as the actual relationship changes companies will have with their customers.
Thanks to everyone who participated it was hard to narrow down to these choices. Speaking of games, I was part of Jive’s Jeapardy game, where I scored last place, a mere $200 Jive bucks and Bill Johnston won the game! Jive is a client of Forrester btw.
My main focus as an analyst is on online communities and social networks, if you’ve the same focus, I highly recommend you attend the Graphing Social Patterns conference, started by Dave McClure. The conferences runs deep into the developer discussions, as well as is blossoming with more and more business and marketing discussions. View my blog posts from previous events, including an interview with Dave.
This upcoming east coast version will have at least a few discussions focused on white label social networks, in fact, I’ve been asked to moderate the panel. I’m really looking forward to this focus on these important vendors, as there hasn’t been any conferences that have done a sole focus on the discussion of corporate communities in the context of these tools.
The upcoming GSP East (The West Coast conference was in San Diego a few weeks back) will be held in June 9-11, 2008 in the Washington, DC area, readers of this blog can register with a discount (Save 15% Use Code: gspe08fo). As a partner, attendees will receive a copy of one of my latest reports on “Online Community Best Practices” so please watch for that
I’m giving away 2 free tickets (valued at $1195, each)
Update: 12 hours later While I encourage additional comments, I”ll be selecting the winners from the first 24 comments. I simply don’t have enough bandwidth to compare and contrast all the great answers. The winners will be contacted and announced on this post.
O’Reilly has offered readers of this blog two tickets, during this week, going to select from the comments, simply answer the following question:
Where you think the future of White Label Social networks is headed over the next 5 years, and why you back up that prediction?
If you’re planning to leave a comment, but know you can’t attend the conference, please indicate so, so someone else who is interested in attending will benefit, thanks.
There are two conferences that I recommend you attend if you read my blog, the topics and presentations are closely aligned to what I’m interested in, and I know both of the organizers –they give good conferences with high value.
The first one is the Internet Strategy Forum Summit, July 17-18 in Portland, managed by my friend Steve Gehlen. He’s even offered a discount for readers of my blog (many web decision makers). Enter in WEBSTRAT as the discount code to get 10% off. I won’t be able to attend this year (I did last year) but Charlene Li will be one of the presenters. enjoy!
Graphing Social Patterns by Dave McClure, is a successful conference on the topic of Social Networks. I was a moderator at the last one in San Diego, and the upcoming one in Washington DC on June 9-11th will be a hit. I’m still trying to work out my schedule so I can attend.
But those are just two of my recommended conferences to attend (Web 2.0 expo, any Forrester Conferences, and SXSW are compulsory, of course) and if you’re in the bay area, there’s plenty of reocurring meetups (see large list).
Update: I attended last year’s community unconference (you control the agenda), and will do so again this year, It’s run by Bill Johnston, who I’ve interviewed for my research report on Online Communities, this is a great event I forgot to mention.
A “Boring” panel that shifted to audience questions
Now the first panel had very enterprise technology companies present: Jive Software (Dawn Foster), Intel (Bob Duffy), PC/Mac World (Kellie Parker) and Forrester. We were very pragmatic, informational, and provide best practices information. While the majority of people enjoyed the discussion, I noticed an increase of Fortune 5000 attendees who are craving ‘how to’ information, some found the panel “dry” or “boring”. I tend to agree, the content we provided had lots of nuggets if insight, practical examples.
I was watching twitter in real-time to gauge the audience reaction (a best practice I prescribe in how to moderate a panel) and saw two tweets, in particular this one:
Like any speaker, when you start to see audience feedback like this your heart flutters and your mind jumps forward to images of SXSW. Quick! what do you do?
I think of the audience members as customers (they’ve paid with time and money) so I acknowledged them in twitter, and let everyone know we would quickly shift to questions, so the audience could drive the agenda. We received over a dozen questions, and I hope the audience was satisfied, lots of good hard questions from many folks on the ground that are trying to solve these problems: getting management to agree, measuring roi, dealing with detractors, etc.
Crowd Sourcing the Agenda to the Audience –Using Twitter
Now, the next panel (Greg Narain, Brian Solis, Stowe Boyd) wasn’t traditional by any sense, it was an experiment, where we crowd-sourced the agenda to the audience –they used Twitter. Greg Narain setup an application where members from the audience could message (@micromedia2) and their tweets (comments, questions, requests, answers, and sometimes jokes made at Scoble’s expense) were seen live on the screen. The focus was less on the panelists and the things we were to say, and more on the discussion between hundreds of people in the room –all from computers and mobile devices.
While certainly very, very entertaining, and very very interesting, the panel offered little insight or value. My colleague Josh Bernoff even tweeted that while it was entertaining, he was waiting for that breakthrough insight. Josh is a uber-analyst, and probably would have benefited from my first panel more than the second, although he enjoyed himself.
I asked for raise of hands at the end of the session, two thought it was ‘ok’, two thought it was a ‘bad’ session, and the majority, over 90% thought it was a good session. The people rule. Later, I talked to the gentleman who thought the session was negative, and his reason was because he was left out, and didn’t know how to get twitter started. I spent a few minutes with him, giving him the basic, and told him how to start an account at twitter, how to tweet, and how to add followers.
So what does this all mean?
I need to improve my panel skills, make sure we’re entertain while providing value, and also know when letting the crowd control too much results in little value. While agenda setters and panelists certainly lead the presentation, for this audience of tech-minded folks, learning how to listen in real-time, make course corrections, and listen to the audience is key for today’s modern conference.
The audience is now more of participants, literally up on stage –well at least at my panels.
Update: I had my third and final panel (moderator) at Web 2.0 Expo today on Facebook Best Practices (plus I was an advisor to the event), and received the following tweet that made my day:
Live Streaming the Morning Keynotes: Harley Manning (Setting the Stage) and Kerry Bodine (Engagement), 52 Minutes
MicroBlogging: Twitter Members are using their laptops and mobile devices to interact with each other using Twitter, a form of Microblogging. Some of them are tagging their posts (called "tweets") with the event tag, you can view them all here.
Select Tweets include:
MichelleBB : Working to get all FedEx Kinkos up to standards of brand. They welcome that feedback. Only way they’ll get better.
MichelleBB : Ouch! Kerry just called out Harley’s fanny pack
: Kerry Bodine’s talk about emotional connection is
amazing. I want to blog it once the vid is available as an embed
Rumford : @worleygirl you give away the appetizers and sometimes the dinner. people love the knowledge sharing and become loyal
nickhuhn : forrester CEO George Colony re: his blogging: i can’t believe MSFT isn’t behind typepad or wordpress as bad as they are