Let’s Get Social

Posted on 06 November 2010

Are you sticking your head in the sand about Social Media, hoping it will go away?

Are you a Social Media ostrich?

Are you a Social Media ostrich?

On September 13-14, I attended SES Hong Kong, “The Leading Search & Social Marketing Event” (SES stands for Search Engine Strategies). The conference programme included sessions about search marketing, social media best practices, the business value of social media, blogging for business, search engine optimisation… (I confess I wasn’t interested in the techie stuff; I’m more interested in how to use social media for ethical marketing purposes, and how to craft compelling content for your website, blog, e-newsletter, tweets, Facebook messages…).

Let me share with you a little of what I learned there:

The entertaining keynote speaker on the first day was Avinash Kaushik, author, blogger and “Analytics Evangelist” at Google. He spoke a mile a minute about:

  • how to do faster search;
  • how to gather useful data so you can measure the results of your online presence (for example, which links people click, how many visitors to your site convert to paying customers, etc. – that’s the analytics);
  • how to calculate the economic value of your website;
  • how people behave when they visit your website;
  • the “long tail” (read the book “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson);
  • how to identify the unexpected keywords that people use when they’re searching for a product or service like yours, especially if they don’t know the name of your company, brand, product or service.

One quote of his that I liked was: “The Internet gives you the ability to be wrong FAST, and to fix it.”

Avinash’s concluding point was: “It’s not about you; it’s about THEM (your customers), and creating experiences that are relevant and delightful to them.”

Here’s a short video of Avinash being interviewed at SES Chicago 2010.

At other sessions I attended, some key lessons I learned were:

  • Search marketing is a great opportunity to engage with people who have self-identified as being interested in your category, product or service.
  • To choose the best keywords, think like your customer.
  • Search engine optimisation is all about indexibility, relevance, authority and clickability.
  • Some buzzwords about Social Media: “Connection, Context, Content, Community”; “Connectivity, Conversation, Credibility”; “Monitoring, Management, Motivation”, and “Informing, Inspiring, Inviting”.
  • Facebook is not a viable long-term strategy because you don’t own or control the content, and it’s hard to gather information from your fans.
  • Social Media = a platform for consumers to engage with you long-term, and a way of empowering consumers to look for trusted information.
  • Social Media is about word-of mouth. So do you have a good story? Do you offer something new and interesting that people want to talk about? Do you enable your supporters to be creative? Do you invite people to participate? Do you offer people something of value? Do you remind people to spread the word?
  • Some suggested Social Media strategies: experiment; promote your digital footprint; speak and listen; monitor the wider landscape; learn from your customer; be social.
  • Don’t directly promote your products/services too heavily or pushily in Social Media.
  • Consider this: What are the risks if you don’t get involved in Social Media?
  • Get into video blogging.
  • Your results depend not so much on the channel but rather on the quality of your message and your ability to convert interest into a sale.
  • Don’t ask your PR agency to come up with a “viral” video! (Nobody can control or predict whether a campaign will go viral.)
  • And a word of warning: Social Media isn’t a “silver bullet” – it doesn’t fix broken products/services.

The Lesson: Whether you like it or not, Social Media is here to stay. So even if you’re not participating yet, you can be sure that your customers, your prospective customers and your competitors are talking online about you, your company and your industry.

Action Step: Join the conversation!

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