Archive for January, 2011

Top 5 Things Not to Do on Facebook

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Report CardAgain and again, I see businesses and professionals making these mistakes on Facebook. As someone new to Facebook, these may seem like reasonable things to do, so I’m here to explain why you absolutely should NOT be making these mistakes.

1. Having 2 Profiles: Personal and Professional

Not only do you not want to have two profiles (I’ll explain why), but also if Facebook catches you, they will shut your account down. Now, you really don’t want to have two profiles because, honestly, do you want to have two accounts to update all the time? On top of that, how are you going to determine the line between the two accounts – which account will you show to your friends from work or your college roommate who now works in your industry? The lines between personal and professional worlds are blurring and you should be transparent and confident enough to let them blur. Sure, you may not want your boss seeing photos of you drinking in college. But Facebook has amazing privacy settings that you can customize so your professional connections are limited to what they can see on your account. There is no reason you need to have two separate accounts.

2. Creating a Profile for Your Business Instead of a Page

Profiles are meant for people, pages are meant for business. Because pages were meant for businesses, they have different features to them that make them incredibly more valuable for a business. For example, business pages don’t need to “accept” friend requests, they can get “liked” by anyone. Also, business pages come with analytics on engagement so you can understand your reach and marketing effectiveness on Facebook. If you think that a profile has something you want for your business that a page doesn’t have, you’re wrong.

3. Turning Off Wall Posts for Your Business Page

The point of Facebook is to interact with your community that’s already hanging out there. Turning off wall posts or comments on your page is like saying to your customers, I don’t want to hear what you have to say. Maybe you are scared of what they’ll say – what if it’s negative? – but keep in mind, you can’t stop people from saying things about your brand. What you can do is let it happen on your turf where you can respond. Plus, every time a user interacts with your page, that interaction gets in front of that user’s network, spreading your reach far beyond your existing customer base.

4. Not Updating Your Business Page

As with wall posts or comments from your users, you want to be interacting on your own page as well. Your Facebook page should be a living, breathing thing where you can share content and engage with your customers. If you update your business page with interesting content, your users are more likely to engage with your page, and their interactions get shown to their networks, expanding your reach exponentially. This virality is what makes Facebook such an incredibly powerful tool for businesses. Don’t miss out on Facebook’s key benefit.

5. Not Being on Facebook

Finally, if you’re not on Facebook, what are you waiting for? Facebook has over 500 million active users, many of whom log in every day. Unless your target market is 70 year old grandfathers, your audience is on Facebook. Some of the fastest growing demographics are users over 55 and the majority of Facebook users are older than college age. Whether you think your audience is not on Facebook (you’re likely wrong) or you think Facebook is a fad and will be gone in a few years (it doesn’t matter, it’s big now), you’re missing a huge opportunity by not being on Facebook.

Any other major mistakes businesses or professionals are making on Facebook? Please share them in the comments below!

Flickr photo by amboo213

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Essential Mobile Marketing Resources

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Mobile Marketing TipsRead predictions about the future of Online Marketing over the past 3-4 years and you’ll undoubtedly find mobile mentioned in each one. With smart phones sales to pass personal computers and the smart phone race between AT&T and Verizon iPhones, Droid powered phones and everyone else has elevated the impact of mobile devices to unprecedented levels.  2011 may finally prove to be a breakout year for mobile marketing and mobile commerce.

With so many consumers spending time time on mobile phones, social networking, sending email and using social or geo apps, it’s a compelling task to stay on top of the marketing and advertising opportunities. In fact, mobile ecommerce is predicted to increase 65% annually through 2015.  Here are 5 mobile marketing resources that will help keep you up to speed:

Mobile Marketer

Mobile Marketer – Let by Editor in Chief Mickey Alam Khan and a great team including Giselle Tsirulnik and Dan Butcher, this publication covers 360 degrees of mobile marketing and commerce.

Another useful mobile marketing news site is Mobile Marketing Watch, which offers a variety of news on the mobile space and is a great example of content marketing from it’s owner, mobileStorm.

MMA Global

Mobile Marketing Association – The MMA is a global organization headquartered in New York with over 700 members and a charter to promote, educate, measure, guide and protect the mobile marketing industry worldwide.

The MMA also hosts 5 global forum events each year called the MMAF (Mobile Marketing Association Forum) in Singapore, New York, Sao Paulo, London and Los Angeles.

Mobile Advertising Blog

Google Mobile Ads Blog –  With the acquisition of AdMob, Google’s mobile advertising resources have expanded significantly and this blog provides great insights into the world of mobile advertising.  Also check out the companion Google Mobile Blog.

Another hand mobile advertising blog worth checking out comes from the folks at Mobivity.

The Marqui blog recently curated a nice collection of PowerPoint decks on Mobile Marketing like the one above covering future trends and innovation in mobile marketing and advertising.

Also check out DMA Retail Roadmap to Mobile Marketing – a presentation by Joel Morrow of Mobile Fusion giving numerous case studies and best practices for retail mobile marketing.

There are many other resources including research reports, but few of value are available without requiring registration, so we can’t link to them directly.  What are your favorite newsletters, blogs, events/conferences and resources for mobile marketing and advertising? Would you like Online Marketing Blog to cover more mobile marketing topics, tips, interviews and best practices?


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How Do You Make the Most of Web Ads? [Marketing Cast]

Monday, January 31st, 2011

In an effort to capitalize on cross-channel marketing, many businesses experiment with online ads. Web ads can be used to promote new content offers or product discounts. But how do you ensure your online ads generate maximum conversions?

In today’s episode of the Weekly Marketing Cast, David Meerman Scott shares some thoughts about making the most of Web ads. Check out the video below to hear his advice:

Ad Copy & Graphic Lead to High Clickthroughs

As you already know, advertisng on the Web can range from banner ads and pop-ups to PPC campaigns and Facebook ads. Surprisingly, the biggest challenge for marketers is not designing the creative for these ads. Companies already spend a great deal of time writing the ad copy and picking the right image. All this effort is made in order to draw lots of clickthroughs.

Landing Pages Lead to High Conversions

But often times, after companies spend effort on designing ads, they neglect the importance of the second step–conversions. Many ads direct people to ineffective places like a company’s home page. If you click on an ad for an umbrella, for instance, you don’t want to arrive at a generic page that makes you do more work to find the umbrella you want. Instead, you would like the landing page to introduce what the ad promised. As a marketer, you should make it simple for people to take action.

Increased conversions is the ultimately metric you care about. So if you are going to spend the time to create great Web ads, make sure your landing pages are as powerful.

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The Science of Social Media [Video]

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

HubSpot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella visited Harvard this week and shared some of his research about the science of social media as it applies to marketing.  Dan attends many events where  people share social media advice and most of it is what he calls ‘unicorns and rainbows.’

Stuff like ‘engage in the conversation’ or ‘hug your followers.’ It’s good sounding advice, and hard to disagree with. He says, “I am not going to tell you to punch your customers in the face. The problem is that it’s not based on anything more substantial than what ‘feels right’ typically”. Dan likes to get beyond the unicorns and rainbows, into the real data, the real science about why people behave the way they do online and how marketers can leverage that behavior.

Check out the video below for Dan’s full presentation at Harvard. What do you think about the data he presents?

The Science of Social Media from HubSpot on Vimeo.

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Prepare for the Year of Mobile, This Time for Real

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

year of mobileTwo years ago, 2009 was announced as the year of mobile marketing. When we entered 2010, the marketing community again held our breath for that moment of utter mobile innovation. Now that 2011 is here, everyone is sure this will be the year of mobile. Or is it?

These hopes and hesitations were thoroughly discussed during the mobile marketing session at MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Email Summit. Neal Narayani, Director of Marketing at Caesars Entertainment, shared how his company’s adoption of mobile marketing resulted in higher revenue. Here are some of the takeaways from his presentation:

Don’t Annoy People

The first piece of advice Neal offered to marketers was to not annoy people. Ask yourself whether mobile communication will irritate your target audience or solve real challenges? Use mobile to assist people, not creep them out. As Neal said, you need to be creating “mobile services that delight customers.”

Start The Journey From The Site

In most cases, the journey of a mobile customer will start from your company site. At Caesars, for instance, people first fill out their reservation forms on a computer. It is towards the end of this transactional process that the hotel introduces the mobile element. Texpress Check-in is a mobile feature that lets you skip the check-in line and pick up your keys in a more expedite way. Neal shared that more than 15,000 people have signed up for Texpress Check-ins.

Use Customer Data You Have Access To

“We know your check-in day and check-out date,” said Neal, explaining why Caesars offers relevant offers to its guests. Knowing that the average stay of a hotel guest in Vegas is two days and a half, Texpress will send three offers (one a day) in an effort to engage the visitor during her stay. For instance, the mobile service will send information about featured shows and dining options. “We continue to engage you with mobile throughout your stay here,” said Neal.

Mix Up Customer Service & Marketing

Texpress switches from a marketing role to a customer service function. On the day of departure, guests can check-out using their mobile devices. In this way the feature continues to solve the problem of long lines and rushed travel.

Know What You Want To Measure

Before starting to experiment with mobile marketing, know what it is that you want to measure. Is it application downloads or visits? Is it email sign-ups? Neal advised to have these metrics in mind since methodical testing is critical.

Tie Your Business to Geo Fits

Focus on ways in which you can tie location to your business. Tie content to geographic information and further segment mobile offers based on that. That will connect you with customers when they are most engaged with your brand. For hotels, this optimal moment is when you make reservations. For airlines, it is when travelers are at the airport, totally immersed in their journey. When is that moment for you?

Maybe whether 2011 is the year of mobile depends on you. Are you prepared for it?

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Announcing the winners of the Kinect contest

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

When the Kinect launched, Adafruit Industries ran a contest for the first person who released open-source code to extract video and depth from the Kinect. Adafruit also ended up donating to the EFF after the contest was over.

When I was in grad school, I would have loved to have a device like the Kinect. So I decided to run my own contest:

The first $1000 prize goes to the person or team that writes the coolest open-source app, demo, or program using the Kinect. The second prize goes to the person or team that does the most to make it easy to write programs that use the Kinect on Linux.

It’s time to announce the prize winners. There’s been so many cool things going on with the Kinect that instead of two winners, I ended up declaring seven $1000 winners.

Open-source Application or Demo

I picked two winners in this category.

People that have made it easier to write programs for the Kinect

A ton of people have made the Kinect more accessible on Linux or helped the Kinect community. I ended up picking five winners.

All of these individuals pushed things forward so others can develop great programs on the Kinect more easily. Congratulations to all the winners, and to everyone doing neat things with their Kinect!


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Why Social Media is a Must in Pharma Marketing

Friday, January 28th, 2011

social media pharmaSocial media marketing presents challenges for every company in defining the appropriate voice for the brand and how to engage. However, some companies are forced to work within much stricter guidelines such as those in heavily regulated industries. Does that mean social media shouldn’t be part of the marketing and communications mix? No.

Companies that are using fear of regulations or lack of guidance as an excuse to sit on the social media sidelines are missing out on important opportunities to enhance their online presence and connect with their customers. Fear should never be the driving factor for a business.

Pharmaceutical marketing is highly regulated by the FDA and the Division of Drug Marketing and Communications (DDMAC). Pharma marketing is extremely competitive and lacking in clear social media boundaries based on current regulatory guidance.

Yet some healthcare and pharma companies are doing good work in the space, finding ways to connect physicians via secure social networks to improve information sharing for example. In absence of definitive social media policy from the FDA, pharmaceutical companies need to work closely with their legal team along with marketing professionals (whether internal or external) with a strong understanding of social media engagement to ensure that the spirit of the laws are being followed despite a gray area until formal social media guidance is released.

Despite many of the logical concerns about discussing health issues in such a public forum, companies working within guidelines that have long applied to Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising and patient communications can operate effectively. In 2010, of 52 warning and notice of violation letters sent from DDMAC to companies only one was issued in the social media space. Clearly if pharmaceutical companies follow existing marketing guidelines the risks aren’t off the charts.

Pharma companies need to think beyond direct product promotion when using social tools. Johnson & Johnson has created an active social presence that utilizes a blog focused on stories of employees, wellness information, and corporate content. The blog contains robust content and is supplemented with YouTube and Facebook pages.  J&J also connects with with community members via communications staffer Marc Monseau who tweets on behalf of the brand in a more personal voice.

Social Media Regulated Industry

Things to consider when working in a highly regulated market - Healthcare

  • Educate everyone involved on the importance of social media for the company – Begin the process by highlighting the need to be present in the social media world. The pharmaceutical industry has been hesitant about social for years. However, consumers will be talking about you whether you are there or not.
  • Stay in close contact with your legal team – Often times marketers and attorneys approach risk-reward scenarios with differing perspectives, working with your counsel is essential in social media marketing. Think creatively on how to advance your brand goals and provide your legal team with multiple campaigns. Find ways to problem solve with your counsel.
  • Stay on label and create options for sharing risk information in multiple formats – Because the channels for sharing have changed, it doesn’t mean that pharmaceutical companies can omit risk information.
  • Create strong internal guidelines for social media objectives – Prior to beginning any social media program, establish controls and expectations of staff that would be involved in public engagement. Much like our social media checklist, create a list of regulatory boundaries and potential scenarios where legal counsel would be notified of consumer concerns. Once approved,  set frequent reviews of the social media program to identify potential pitfalls around key regulations like patient privacy or adverse events.
  • Tell human stories – The importance of health is a universally shared value. Social media is driven by the inherent desire in people to seek connections. Identify compelling stories that highlight benefits of the medication. Success stories like these should be reviewed and submitted in compliance with established DDMAC process but, once approved, can be shared through social channels to demonstrate real impact in the lives of consumers and enhance public goodwill toward the company.

Are there greater risks in highly regulated industries? Absolutely. Yet there ways to work within the rules and use social media in the pharmaceutical industry effectively and for the benefit of the company and patients.


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Algorithm change launched

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I just wanted to give a quick update on one thing I mentioned in my search engine spam post.

My post mentioned that “we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.” That change was approved at our weekly quality launch meeting last Thursday and launched earlier this week.

This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.

Thanks to Jeff Atwood and the team at Stack Overflow for providing feedback to Google about this issue. I mentioned the update over on Hacker News too, because folks on that site had been discussing specific queries too.


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Twitter’s Population Growth: Where is everyone coming from?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

In early December, Twitter posted that in 2010 alone they added more than 100 million new registered accounts and saw 25 billion Tweets. This impressive growth begs the question – where are all of these new users coming from?

Earlier this month, I posted an article about usage in the US with a map that illustrated how states compared to each other in terms of Twitter users per capita. If we compare the 2009 rankings to those of 2010, we see that 9 states made the top 10 both years in a row. The exceptions, however, were Maine (which fell down to the 11th spot in 2010) and Utah which saw a huge jump from 43% below the average to 23% above the average.

Twitter Usage 2009 v. 2010 resized 600

In fact, the top 3 states that saw the largest increase from 2009 to 2010 were Utah, Massachusetts and Oregon. After digging into this, it looks like there are several trends in these states driving more and more people to Twitter.

In Utah, for example, the state government began leveraging Twitter extensively in the summer of 2009 when it launched its new website, Utah.gov. The goal of the redesign was to facilitate communication with the residents of Utah.  One key component was the “aggregation of 27 state blogs and more than 100 Twitter accounts, helping users quickly find and subscribe to content that interests them.”  In addition to this, many of the sports teams for Utah’s universities also caught onto the trend, using it as a way to communicate with fans and even for recruiting.

Massachusetts’s growth could be attributed to the popularity of Twitter among its marketing and advertising businesses and technology companies.  In 2009, the Boston Globe noted three Boston-based Twitter celebrities – Laura Fitton, C.C. Chapman, and Steve Garfield – who collectively have over 120,000 followers.

In 2010, Massachusetts also saw a lot of buzz in the Twittersphere around political campaigns and the 2010 elections.  Boston.com, the online edition of the Boston Globe, created an Election Tweets page specifically for the state’s 2010 elections.

Similarly, in Oregon, the Portland-based newspaper the Oregonian leverages Twitter to update and communicate with its readers.  The Oregonian was actually one of the first news organizations to start using Twitter, back in 2007, when central Oregon was experiencing major flooding.  The newspaper began aggregating tweets from locals residents in order to keep readers up to date.

As we see an increasing number of businesses and organizations jumping onto Twitter, we are bound to see more and more people join in an effort to stay up-to-date and engage with the companies they care about.

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5 Tips for Individuals to Help Companies Get More Out of LinkedIn

Friday, January 28th, 2011

linkedin marketing tipsLinkedIn officially launched on May 5, 2003 with a total of 4,500 members in the first month. Known mostly as a business social network, LinkedIn has been adopted globally with nearly 2 billion people searches in 2010 and over 90 million users in January 2011. To top it off, a forthcoming IPO will raise even more money for expansion.

Yet amongst many business professionals, LinkedIn seems to fight perception that it is strictly a site to visit when you need a job.

With new features added regularly and all of the Fortune 500 represented, LinkedIn is a valuable source of data and connections that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re not a regular LinkedIn user, I encourage you to look beyond the basics and see the opportunities for businesses to showcase their productsadvertise in and out of network, and content sharing/syndication.

Here are 5 tips for individuals to help companies get more out of LinkedIn:

1. Use Your Profile as a Destination In an informal check of LinkedIn search strength, I did a Google search of 20 contacts. In every case, regardless of how visible they are on the web, LinkedIn profiles appeared on the first page with the vast majority appearing in the first five results. Keep your profile current to highlight your experience and expertise at all times. It can serve as a great way to share your history not only with other LinkedIn members but anyone online given the strength of search results.

2. Linking Content via Applications As the site has evolved in the past few years it now offers a number of opportunities to share content from the site directly. Your LinkedIn network should be a strong source of support for your news and updates as your contacts are likely connected to your industry. By utilizing the available tools to link to your blog, twitter feed, or to create polls you can share helpful information with this network that may be passed along further to create new connection opportunities for you or your business.

3. Connect with New Contacts in Groups and Answers LinkedIn Groups are a great way to identify other users with similar interests and needs. In addition to the inherent benefits of learning from others, Groups offer a number of benefits for each user. You are able to view other members contact information and participation in a group or the LinkedIn Answers section allows you to highlight your ideas and insight. By providing useful information to others you will improve your own reputation as an expert resource on select topics. The creation of Open Groups is of benefit in a broader sense as well since discussions can be viewed by anyone on the web and picked up by search engines.

4. Research Potential Most LinkedIn users are familiar and comfortable with the people search capabilities of the site to find potential connections. Don’t forget to utilize other search tools on the site though as there is extensive data available to you. A very simple search of “public relations” provided over 11,000 listings nationally and indicates where I have a direct or indirect connection to that company. LinkedIn Marketing Using the search tools available it’s easy to track current openings, identify key leaders at the organizations, and recent additions or departures. Are these helpful for job seekers? Absolutely, but this information is of tremendous value for a new business discussion or a sales inquiry as well. Perhaps you have a contact from a prior project now on the inside.

5. Recommendations As either an employee or a business, a recommendation can carry a great deal of weight in the eyes of future customers. By essentially collecting success stories in advance you have the ability to create a testimonial page on a highly-trafficked, well-established site that can lead to future opportunities based on your work appearing in searches for specific keywords by others.  These provide concrete examples of a (hopefully) good experience with you in a personal manner. It’s word of mouth promotion in a neighborhood of 90 million professionals. Not a bad target audience for most and one that shouldn’t be missed.

With a rich set of data available to you at no cost (these features are all available without having to go with the premium membership), LinkedIn should be a part of your networking and online marketing mix.

Do you have a great business success or a unique personal story based on your use of LinkedIn? Perhaps an unusual connection that highlights the full reach of tiered networks?


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