• Duo Consulting
    Michael Silverman on October 15, 2014

    4 Reasons Drupal Is the Best Social CMS

    It turns out Drupal and Social Media are a match made in heaven. Because of Drupal’s system of modules, integration with external websites can be as easy as installing a module that fits your site’s needs. And once these modules are installed, you will have a central place to manage profile information and plug-in modules, such as follow and share buttons.
  • marin-software
    Brenda Ton on October 25, 2014

    Why Cross-Channel Retargeting Drives 200% More Clicks

    To help enterprise advertisers optimize their growing retargeting programs, Marin Software surveyed 233 digital marketers of leading brands and agencies to produce an 18 page report covering important trends, benchmarks, and best practices for cross-channel retargeting success.
  • What goes into the construction of a tweet? How do you define your social voice? Tips on how to master the 140 characters, in a personal manner.

    Twitter: so much to say, so little space – how can you possibly fit everything into a mere 140 characters? Ah, well that’s the challenge, and the gratification. Constructing a tweet seems simple to some, from an unfamiliar high level. However, for people who specifically choose every single character they share, and want every word to count, it’s more of a purposeful task.

    With that said, there is a thought process, or at least there should be, when constructing a tweet. What point are you trying to make? Are you attempting to stir up a conversation? Supply information? Simply vent? I’ve heard from too many people that they don’t understand Twitter, saying, What’s the point? I have nothing to say. I applaud those people for not tweeting just for the sake of tweeting, telling the world they had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Some people use Twitter just as a listening tool, a place to aggregate their news and other interests. That’s fine.

    There are different types of tweets, as I noted. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that about 50% of my tweets revolve around sports, whether it’s sharing an article, talking about a game, fantasy football related, and/or interacting with others in the sports realm. Makes sense, as sports journalism is not only my background but I’m a sports fanatic by nature. Since entering Corporate America a few years ago, maybe 30% of my tweets provide information about my industry, mostly revolving around social media news, tips, quotes, etc. The remaining 20% is probably divided into equal parts tweeting at brands/companies and leaving room for some random thoughts and of course inspiring wisdom.

    I have a friend in Miami who entered the Twitterverse quite early, as I did. We were both covering the Marlins as sports journalists at the time. To this day we still message each other, in awe, whenever people misuse and/or overuse hashtags. Here are some tips:

    1. If you have more than two hashtags in a tweet, it’s excessive – pending the circumstance, three tops. Also, I go back to my point of constructing a tweet, as we always made an effort to insert the desired hashtag, which is normally the topic of focus, natively into the tweet as part of the conversation.
    2. Another note that should hopefully be common knowledge for avid Twitter-users: if you begin a tweet with “@” only that person and overlapping followers will see that tweet. On the flipside, many people think that adding a “.” before the “@” is simply just lazy.
    3. When I share articles, usually the title is automatically generated via the share widget, along with the link. I like to add my commentary to the post and this always is a battle with characters. Trust me when I say that I spend the extra 30 seconds to manipulate the words in a way where I do not have to use short hand or poor grammar. I cringe when I see people use a number instead of a letter or shorten a three letter word such as “you” to “u” – yes, others actually pay attention to this; I’m certainly not the only one.

    I understand that the rules are indeed bent when it comes to Twitter. They darn-near almost broke when the huge journalism and blogging rush joined the platform around 2010 as people focused on speed and breaking stories rather than facts, correct punctuation and grammar. However, I feel humankind has bounced back to figuring out what is important, and realizing there are ways to get your point across effectively yet correctly. At least, I’d like to hope so.

    It’s easy for SEO specialists and internet marketers to get caught up in analytic data. After all, analytic data is the bread and butter of online marketing. But without a clear way to track conversion rates and returns, it’s all too common for internet marketing campaigns to quickly turn into Frankenstein-like creations.

    It’s easy for SEO specialists and internet marketers to get caught up in analytic data. After all, analytic data is the bread and butter of online marketing. But without a clear way to track conversion rates and returns, it’s all too common for internet marketing campaigns to quickly turn into Frankenstein-like creations. It’s here where some of the most common SEO traps happen, especially during conversion rate optimization. The best strategy looks at the whole picture while also paying attention to the details. There isn’t an all-in-one guide that shows you everything about tracking conversion rates, but there are a plenty of resources out there that combine to form a good plan of attack.

    Simple Mistakes and Small Errors Can Be Costly

    A/B testing is simple. However, you have to remain especially cognizant of what is going on with all pages at all times. It is easy to accidentally post duplicate content when testing which content-based marketing strategy works best and get slammed as a result. Similarly, it’s just as easy to rank the wrong page. When tracking conversion rates, it is absolutely essential not to disrupt other operations. In a very common and ironic occurrence, the act of tracking and optimizing conversion rates can reduce conversion rates.

    Top Mistakes Even Experts Make

    It’s easy to get caught in a trap when optimizing conversion rates. Some of the top mistakes made by experts are surprising and goes to show that even the best aren’t always on their game.

    ·        Failure to recognize lots of duplicate content

    [[{"fid":"191901","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"float: right; height: 250px; width: 325px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    ·        Failure to track the correct pages

    ·        Failure to notice accidentally removing pages

    ·        Failure to choose between more sales and more consistent sales

    ·        Failure to assess budgetary restraints and anticipated ROI

    ·        Failure to account for end user behavior

    ·        Failure to set and follow specific goals throughout the duration of the process

    Take Time Now for Greater Returns Later

    Instead of scrambling to track rates as quickly as possible, take extra time to ensure that nothing will be worse off during the process. Similarly, optimizing conversion rates needs to be a methodical process. In this case, slow and steady does win the race. When determining which keyword strategy works best, it is important to only deviate slightly from something that already works. Think about optimization in terms of updating the user experience, not tearing it down and rebuilding it from scratch. 

    Start With a Linear Progression

    Before tracking conversion rates and ROI, it is important to not interrupt what is already working. Time cannot stall for the sake of big data analysis. Streamline the process, and follow a few basic steps.

    1.      Consider your overall marketing and sales strategies.

    2.      Set a goal of what you want to accomplish.

    3.      Identify metrics that strongly correlate with that goal.

    4.      Conduct A/B testing thoughtfully.

    5.      Be cognizant of duplicate content during the process.

    6.      Rank the correct pages.

    Key Takeaways for Conversion Rate Optimization and SEO

    Conversion rate optimization doesn’t have to happen overnight. This isn’t something that occurs in a flash. Take the time required to develop a sound strategy so that way you can avoid common pitfalls. As noted, it’s important to think about how conversion rate optimization will benefit an entire marketing campaign, not just standalone conversion rates. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

    ·        Set goals and follow them.

    ·        Create a budget and follow it.

    ·        Develop a strategy that will not interfere with site operations.

    ·        Be cognizant about simple and costly errors such as omitting a page or posting duplicate content.

    Remember, it’s not enough to look at the individual components but you must also consider the whole picture for an effective SEO strategy.

     

    For Halloween, we’ve recreated classic horror movie characters and scenes with a social media twist. This is the scariest social media should ever be!

    With all the talk of trolls, hackers and impersonators, it’s no wonder social media seems scary to some. We so often hear about the negative side of social media that there’s now a culture of fear and uncertainty around social for many casual and non-users. Well, we’re here to tell you that social media doesn’t have to be scary.

    In celebration of Halloween, we’ve recreated classic horror movie characters and scenes with a social media twist. This is the scariest social media should ever be! See if you can guess them all, and share your favorites using the hashtag #SocialNotScary:

    birds-final

    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!
    pinhead-final
    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!
    blair-final
    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!
    shining-animation
    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!
    psycho-final
    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!
    ring-animation
    Hootsuite user? Click the image above to Tweet it!

    Share these images with your coworkers, family and friends using the hashtag #SocialNotScary.

     
    Facebook has taken the steps to reinvent chat rooms with a new app called Rooms. Rooms caters to those who wish to have truly anonymous conversations on topics of interest in an unassuming and controlled environment. Rooms is part forum, part chat system and highly anonymous. Read on to learn about Rooms and the potential implications for brands.

    Last week, under the nose of the whole social and tech communities, Facebook turned back the clock and reentered the world of anonymous chat rooms.  Without much press or fanfare, Facebook Creative Labs launched a new app called Rooms, a new twist on the popular social congregating spaces of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  

    Unlike the early chat rooms that employed a technology called IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Rooms acts more as a forum with the feel of anonymous chat. It’s an interesting concept, which topic focused socializers might flock to, ultimately bringing brand engagement and advertising opportunities.

    How It Works

    Users of Rooms do not need a Facebook account, or even an email address to use the platform.  Anyone can come in and create a new Room, essentially a forum on the topic of their choice.  Once inside it works very similar to a rich content forum or newsfeed, enabling additions of text, images or video onto the page.  

    Rooms are based on interest topics, ranging from music to GIF’s and even places to practice Parkour.  This system allows rooms to stay focused and truly build a community around a topic of interest without the clutter of irrelevant noise and spam.

    One of the interesting features, although also a bit cumbersome and confusing, is how one goes about joining a new Room.  The invitation system employs QR codes, scanable through the in-app functionality.  Room creators are able to generate the QR code and disseminate it as they please, through social channels, direct email or even paper printing.  There is a little scavenger hunt element to finding the QR codes online in order to join rooms.

    Privacy

    The privacy component of Rooms directly hits on the trend of hypersensitivity around giving too much personal information online.  As stated before, Rooms does not require any login information, meaning if you choose, no one can track activity back to your Facebook account.  When entering in this stealth manner, the app is not able to pull any interests and demographics about the user.  In addition, users are able to create new and anonymous screen names for each room they enter – this is true anonymous socialization.  

    Potential for Brands

    The simple concept behind Rooms opens the doors (no pun intended) to major opportunities for brands.  While the app is not set up in this manner yet, it is only a matter of time until they look at monetization options.  Here are 3 ways brands could theoretically utilize Rooms.

    1.     General Engagement – With the way brands have moved in the past decade to humanize themselves and come out from the proverbial computer screen, it would be a no-brainer to simply jump into conversations pertaining to the overarching business.  While they would need to be highly careful not to turn the room into an advertising billboard, trying to sell services, it would be a fantastic opportunity to lend expertise, get insights into consumer minds and even pinpoint potential content creation ideas.

    2.     Private Communities – With the room system being one of invitation-only, brands can create rooms around specific topics and invite their closest advocates, social influencers or just build a community around a topic aligning to the overarching business or campaign.

    3.     Influencer Discovery and Engagement – Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, so what better way to discover a topic specific influencer than going into a space dedicated to that interest?  Brands can engage in Rooms looking for topic experts and social influencers who can be potentially used in other avenues, such as brand content creation and eventually building offline relationships.

    Is Rooms a sure fire hit?  Who knows.  But it’s a very interesting take on an old technology, which might ultimately bring the users, the brands and the money.

    If you’re looking for a quick fix to your online marketing challenges, social engagement and community building isn’t going to be the answer. If you’ve been waiting for a fun, ethical, and sustainable way to grow your company’s online presence as well as grow your loyal connections, though, there’s no better way to get started.

    It's no secret that social engagement is one of my favourite topics and something that I feel is not discussed thoroughly enough when people post about the best practices for social: earning loyalty.

    Maybe that's why I was so impressed during a recent session at The Social Shake-Up this September in Atlanta. More than one presenter was talking about building their social via engagement – a theme near and dear to my heart – and how creating relationships and connections just might be more important (and ultimately more profitable) than broadcasting offers.

    As I took a few notes – especially during The Importance of Being Purposeful: How to Maintain Community Engagement, as I couldn't help but recognize the parallels between what I was hearing and my own experiences. Social truly 'works' best when it's about people connecting, rather than as businesses trying to reach an audience. Community building is one more way businesses can demonstrate authenticity and earn loyalty.

    To go a bit deeper, here are a few of the takeaways that felt most relevant and powerful to me:


    Social Engagement Requires Listening and Monitoring and Contributing


    If you want to have meaningful relationships with connections and followers, you need to pay attention to trends on social channels, especially as they pertain to your business and/or industry. If everyone is discussing something and you're ignoring it, you are disconnected at best.

    Another component of social engagement, however, involves keying in on individuals. That means meeting men and women who may become customers in the future, or might know people who can become customers in the future (in my experience, contacts-as-referrers outscore contacts-as-clients handily), and treating them like people instead of marketing targets. In other words, listen to what they have to say, and what they care about, and then respond in kind.


    Focus on Goodwill, Not Sales


    Goodwill is a big topic that can mean a lot of things, but in this context we're just talking about being real and doing the right thing whenever you can. If someone needs a link to the piece of information that's not on your website or related to your marketing materials, send it anyway. Rather than making a prospect complete a form to get info when they are talking with you, send it to them. Give honest answers to questions, and make introductions where you can even if you don't see an immediate personal benefit.

    Doing these things gives others a chance to get the right impression about you and your business. More than that, it paves the way for them to refer others to you later simply because you were helpful. Make being helpful a habit. And even if that weren't the case, you get to go to bed at night knowing that you've done something good for someone else, rather than being another questionable marketer who will do just about anything to make a sale or get a signup.


    Empower Team Members


    As I’ve noted repeatedly in the past, social isn't something you have an online marketing agency 'do' for you. Sure, they can teach you the fundamentals and coach you along, but you still need to be involved in building relationships.

    That doesn't mean you have to do it all on your own, though. When it comes to getting out there and meeting the world, why should your voice be the only one that counts? If you get your whole team in on the act, you don't just get the benefit of more social content and interaction, but also different perspectives.

    You might want to provide a little bit of training and guidance to make sure your employees and partners don't go too far off script, but if you empower them to get creative you might be surprised at what they can accomplish, building on their own loyalty to your company in the process.


    Building Communities (and Loyalty) Takes Time, But It Can Be Fun and is Certainly Worth the Effort


    Engaging people in social media is like slow-roasting a ham vs nuking a bowl of instant noodles. It takes time, care, and even a little bit of passion, but the results aren't something you can rush if you want the relationships to be meaningful.

    If you're looking for a quick fix to your online marketing challenges, social engagement and community building isn't going to be the answer. If you've been watching for a fun, ethical, and sustainable way to grow your company's online presence as well as grow your loyal connections, though, there's no better way to get started.

    I'd like to thank these four leading women for inspiring me to pen this post: Natascha Thomson, Jeanette Gibson, Petra Neiger and Maria Poveromo whose talk at The Social Shake-Up stuck a chord and created a loyal follower in me.