Factors to Track to Measure Your Social Media Campaign’s Effectiveness, Part 2

Earlier this week we discussed the importance of paying close attention to the performance of your social media campaign. If you don’t track the results, you won’t know which factors to maintain and which to put more or less effort into.

Klout was the tool we recommended last time to track your brand’s influence via social media. Today we encourage again getting more analytical, but this time by focusing on your website.

Signing up for Google Analytics is a simple, free way to connect your website with a comprehensive analytics tool that will reveal all you need to know about your website’s performance and the behavioural patterns of your website traffic.

Now, because we are focusing on social media, the following tips will hone in on using Google Analytics to track traffic from social media, rather than website traffic as a whole, but do ensure you are using the tools to track your general website traffic as well – that is always helpful.

Google Analytics now has a tool called Google Analytics Social Report, which tracks visits to your site from your social media channels (it can link to more than 400 various channels).

This tool can reveal:

  • visits via social referrals
  • conversions
  • social visitors flow – this helps you get an idea of which social media channels are producing the most traffic
  • social value-at-a-glance – gives you an idea of how social traffic helps drive conversions

For more on Google’s Social Report, check out this article by Social Media Examiner.

Factors to Track to Measure Your Social Media Campaign’s Effectiveness, Part 1

When you invest time and money into launching a social media campaign, there is no point in letting it fall by the wayside by not bothering to follow up on tracking its results. Then you have only done half the work, and you may continue to just filter money into Google AdWords, or your blog writer, or your Facebook ads, and maybe they are not the parts of your campaign bringing in any money. It could be that actually it’s all of the things you’re doing that are not costing money that are actually producing results – and then you could find you save a large amount of money!

There are a few ways you can track the performance of your campaign, and we will discuss these in today’s and Friday’s blog posts.

Firstly, consider signing up for Klout.

Klout is an easy-to-use tool that gives you an overview of what avenues of social media are bringing in your audience, but if you want you can also use the tool to look at statistics in much greater depth too, making it ideal for both the novice and experienced social media managers.

The site gives scores to each site based on its influence as measured across a variety of social media channels. It starts at 10 and goes up to 100. Consider Justin Bieber as an example – he has a Klout score of 100, as something Tweeted or Facebooked by him influences a large number of consumers.

Klout also tracks scores such as True Reach, Amplification and Network Impact. Here is what each means:

  • True Reach: the number of people you influence (the number of your followers, on a simple basis, but also the people they share your posts with)
  • Amplification: how much these people are influenced (does your tweet make them run out and buy something – a la Bieber – or just consider something for a potential future opportunity as, say, a tweet by a real estate agent might be taken by someone not currently looking at buying/selling)
  • Network Impact: the influence your followers have (if a fan shares Bieber’s post, are all their friends – also Bieber fans – seeing it too and spreading the word and buying power, or is the person just a lone ranger who keeps the post to him/herself? Are important figures in your business industry seeing your posts or just individual consumers?)

Consider looking into bringing Klout into your analytics as a way to truly measure the impact of your social media efforts.

Have You Activated a Google Plus Local Profile Yet?

The Google search algorithms are complex and changing all the time.  What we do know is that search is becoming more personalized.  Results are partially compiled based on a user’s search history, social connections, whether they are logged in to a Google account or not, and their location.  Since location is a key component, users no longer need to type in their location when looking for a local business.  A simple search for “pizza” will yield results for pizza places within your general area.  And what shows up at the top of the search engine results page?  Google+ Local information.  By simply hovering over the Google listing that appears, a Google search user can find an overview of the establishment, hours, a price range, ratings, and recommended transit to get to the location.  If searchers are just looking for a phone number or a menu, they don’t even need to navigate to the actual business website since Google provides them with information and links right there on the SERP.

Of course, this is only the case if your business has created and activated a Google+ Local profile.  Previously known as Google Places, Google has now integrated the Places information into the Google+ architecture to create Google+ Local.  In addition to being accessed through Google Search and Maps, business information can now be found by clicking the new Local tab within Google+.

It’s important for all businesses, not just local businesses executing a local SEO campaign, to claim their Google+ Local listing to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date.  For some reason, so many businesses have yet to claim and activate their listing.  This is a huge mistake.  There are so many benefits to having an accurate and active listing.

The first benefit is a more prominent ranking on a search engine results page.  Unless it’s for a branded search, it’s extremely difficult to get your website listed on the first page of a Google search result, especially in a competitive niche.  The first items that Google lists on the page for a local search are Google+ Local profile information.  If you haven’t created a Google+ Local profile, you are missing out on getting important information about your business on the first page of a search result.

An accurate and active Google+ Local listing can also help SEO efforts.  A Google+ Local listing includes a link back to your website, which establishes a connection and trust between your site and Google.  For a local business, the website should be submitted to all local business directories, and since Google is the King of Search this is perhaps the most important one.  It improves visibility in the search engine and helps generate traffic to your website.

A Google+ Local listing can also help generate mobile traffic to your site.  More and more people are searching using a smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device every day.  A large percentage of these searches are for local information.  A website that has a Google+ Local listing activated and is mobile friendly will help generate traffic from the mobile users that want information quickly and are likely to click on a Google+ Local listing before scrolling through lots of pages.

Setting up a Google+ Local listing isn’t just part of a local SEO strategy, all businesses should take advantage of this free opportunity to improve search engine visibility and get a link from a trusted source.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time to enter as much information as possible about your business and verify that it is correct.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service SEO firm.  Brick Marketing offers SEO seminars across the country.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

What to Decide Before Implementing a Social Media Campaign

What businesses need to understand is that social media, like any other marketing tactic, requires careful thought and planning.  Just because you’ve been using Facebook for personal use for years doesn’t mean that you automatically know how to leverage the medium for business purposes.  Social media may be a less formal way to market a business, but it needs to be taken just as seriously.  Due to the pressure to get involved in social media, many businesses have jumped in and taken a “we’ll learn as we go” approach.  What this results in is lots of wasted time and missed opportunities.  Social media activity (or lack thereof) reflects back on your business and brand.  If it’s obvious that you don’t know what you are doing or can’t get your act together, that’s bad.  Before implementing a social media campaign, be sure to decide on the following:

The best networks for your niche

It’s best practice to be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Those are the most popular social sites and are likely to be where customers will be looking to connect with you.  However, there are so many more social networks beyond the Big 4.  Depending on your industry, there may be niche social groups to get involved in.  It’s important to consider how much time you will realistically be able to spend on social networking activities.  You need to choose the best networks and maintain an active presence on them rather than selecting too many networks and spreading yourself too thin.

Who will manage it

While every department of a business should be integrated into a social media strategy, it’s important to select one person or one team to ultimately be responsible for implementation. For a small business, the owner may be able to handle it.  For a larger business, it’s a more complex decision.  Will there be a dedicated Social Media Specialist?  Will it be handled by the marketing team or by customer service?  Or will it be outsourced to a social media management company? These decisions are largely based on how social media will be used.

Who the target audience is

Most people today are active on at least one social network so there is a misconception that the target audience for your social media is “everyone”.  The truth is, not “everyone” is going to choose to follow you in social media.  It’s important to devise a strategy that will attract a certain group of people.  Who do you want to engage with?  Potential customers or clients? Others in the industry? Professionals in related industries? All of the above?

What kinds of content will be shared

Businesses take different approaches to social media based on their target audience.  It can be used as an outlet to share informational content, promotions, company updates and to engage in a conversation with followers.  A good social media strategy includes a bit of each of these components to keep it interesting.

Frequency of posts

The key to success in social media is maintaining active profiles.  There is no reason to follow, or continue to follow, an account that never posts anything.  While some businesses may choose to post multiple times a day, once a day or a few times a week may be plenty for a smaller business.  It’s important to find the right balance that is appropriate to the needs of your followers.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO company that offers full day SEO seminars.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

Importance of All Forms of Social Media in Relation to Internet Marketing

We have discussed the impact that individual social media channels have on your website’s search rank, thanks to information detailed in this article by Search Engine Watch.

Now it is time to look at the final two points that can have an effect on your website’s ranking in Google and other popular search engines – and these two points encompass buzz that your website gets across all forms of social media.

Firstly, let’s look at Positive vs Negative Brand Mentions. Search Engine Watch recommends that site owners track these mentions using a tool such as Radian6. However you choose to track these mentions, you – obviously – want to ensure that your brand has far more positive than negative mentions. This isn’t always easy – people are far more inclined to write a review or make a comment on a negative experience than they are a positive one. That is unfortunately the nature of consumer behaviour. However, you can encourage positive mentions by politely requesting feedback or testimonials from customers, perhaps even offering them an incentive to do so. If they go to write a testimonial and were happy with their experience, you should be able to cancel out many negative reviews after some time.

If you have a large number of negative mentions online due to faults of previous management or a genuine mistake that you are still paying for, consider using the services of an Internet reputation company. These companies will work hard to get your name out there in a positive way, slowly burying the negative links so that they have less and less prevalence in search engine results.

Lastly, Search Engine Watch recommends looking at the Number of Social Mentions your website has across all forms of media. The main reasoning for this is that there are specific campaigns a company can run to try and boost its presence on a social site like Facebook or Twitter, but that may not accurately represent that your company deserves this reputation – it could simply be the result of running a competition, for example. So instead try and diversify your online reputation among a variety of sites – this will help Google know that your content really does deserve to be featured.

For previous articles in this series, visit the links below:

Have You Activated a Google+ Local Profile Yet?

The Google search algorithms are complex and changing all the time.  What we do know is that search is becoming more personalized.  Results are partially compiled based on a user’s search history, social connections, whether they are logged in to a Google account or not, and their location.  Since location is a key component, users no longer need to type in their location when looking for a local business.  A simple search for “pizza” will yield results for pizza places within your general area.  And what shows up at the top of the search engine results page?  Google+ Local information.  By simply hovering over the Google listing that appears, a Google search user can find an overview of the establishment, hours, a price range, ratings, and recommended transit to get to the location.  If searchers are just looking for a phone number or a menu, they don’t even need to navigate to the actual business website since Google provides them with information and links right there on the SERP.

Of course, this is only the case if your business has created and activated a Google+ Local profile.  Previously known as Google Places, Google has now integrated the Places information into the Google+ architecture to create Google+ Local.  In addition to being accessed through Google Search and Maps, business information can now be found by clicking the new Local tab within Google+.

It’s important for all businesses, not just local businesses executing a local SEO campaign, to claim their Google+ Local listing to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date.  For some reason, so many businesses have yet to claim and activate their listing.  This is a huge mistake.  There are so many benefits to having an accurate and active listing.

The first benefit is a more prominent ranking on a search engine results page.  Unless it’s for a branded search, it’s extremely difficult to get your website listed on the first page of a Google search result, especially in a competitive niche.  The first items that Google lists on the page for a local search are Google+ Local profile information.  If you haven’t created a Google+ Local profile, you are missing out on getting important information about your business on the first page of a search result.

An accurate and active Google+ Local listing can also help SEO efforts.  A Google+ Local listing includes a link back to your website, which establishes a connection and trust between your site and Google.  For a local business, the website should be submitted to all local business directories, and since Google is the King of Search this is perhaps the most important one.  It improves visibility in the search engine and helps generate traffic to your website.

A Google+ Local listing can also help generate mobile traffic to your site.  More and more people are searching using a smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device every day.  A large percentage of these searches are for local information.  A website that has a Google+ Local listing activated and is mobile friendly will help generate traffic from the mobile users that want information quickly and are likely to click on a Google+ Local listing before scrolling through lots of pages.

Setting up a Google+ Local listing isn’t just part of a local SEO strategy, all businesses should take advantage of this free opportunity to improve search engine visibility and get a link from a trusted source.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time to enter as much information as possible about your business and verify that it is correct.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service SEO firm.  Brick Marketing offers SEO seminars across the country.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit http://www.brickmarketing.com.

Importance of YouTube in Relation to Internet Marketing

While we have discussed, in previous posts, the importance of Twitter and Facebook as factors to study when looking at the effectiveness of your social media campaign, the biggest one to look at – according to the number of factors attributed by the author of this article at Search Engine Watch – is YouTube.

The article discusses the 13 points you should look at when deciding how effective your social media campaign has been on your search rank. It devotes the first four points to Twitter, the next two to Facebook, then the next five to YouTube. Indeed, there are a lot of aspects to YouTube that the average Internet user doesn’t realize…many untapped opportunities for quality Internet marketing lie in this video sharing site.

The points, as listed by the article’s author, are:

  1. Number of Views
  2. User Comments
  3. References from Independent Profiles
  4. Title of Video
  5. Percentage of Likes vs Dislikes

So let’s break these down, one by one.

1. Number of Views

The more times a video is viewed, the more value is attributed to your site. How do you get your site into the factor? Always include a link to your site in the video description. This one sounds obvious – videos go viral because of how many views they get – but that’s because it is obvious, and it works!

2. User Comments

Many fall short with this one on YouTube. Although it is an extremely widely used form of social media, most people use it to post their video and disappear. Engaging others is a big part of what will make your YouTube channel that much more effective. Watch other videos, comment and then your profile will get extra views because of it. In this way, it’s similar to blogging. The more blogs you comment on, the more someone sees a link to your blog and clicks on it, thus the higher in the search ranks it rises. It is the same idea with YouTube.

3. References from Independent Profiles

This is harder to achieve but it’s what really helps a YouTube account to boom. This is when another YouTube user links to you or – even better – creates a video response to your video, or a parody. As Search Engine Watch says, “The prime example remains the Cadbury’s Gorilla, but there are lots of interesting mini-campaigns trying to leverage the above.” If you have some time and energy to put into booming on social media – this is where you could try directing that to really see your YouTube profile explode.

4. Title of Video

In the same way that you title your webpages appropriately (ie with search engine keywords in mind), do the same for the titles of your videos. This is, after all, the information that is used to populate YouTube’s search engine to help people find your video, and the info that gets plugged into the URL. So use those words wisely – while still, of course, keeping your title appropriate and relevant to the video’s content – not the landing zone for keyword dumping.

5. Percentage of Likes vs Dislikes

This is self-explanatory also, but this will play into a factor we will discuss in the final post in this breakdown, which is negative vs positive brand mentions. Unlike Facebook, YouTube has a dislike button as well as a like button. Therefore, people don’t just click away if they are disappointed in a video – nor do they have to be so disappointed that they want to take the time to sit down and write a comment about it. They can simply click a dislike button. You want to focus on likes here, so try to avoid posting polarizing content – unless, of course, your hope is that the controversy of the video is what will drive your campaign.

Next time we will wrap this series up with a look at aspects of social media that affect search rank from all forms of media, in a good summary of the impact of this form of online marketing.

Importance of Facebook in Relation to Internet Marketing

Last week we discussed the importance of Twitter in relation to search engine rank and online marketing. This week, it’s Facebook’s turn.

Social media in general has a huge impact on search rank, as previously discussed in previous blog posts this month (in case you hadn’t seen a pattern already, we are focusing on social media for September’s blog posts!).

This article by Search Engine Watch details the 13 elements of social media you should be tracking in order to really work out which elements of your social media campaign are affecting your search rank. It helps to narrow your focus on certain metrics so you can most effectively track the progress of your marketing strategies and tailor them as necessary.

While the author’s first four points focused on Twitter (which we covered in last week’s post), the next two look at Facebook. The two elements the author says you should be concerned with, when it comes to Facebook usage, are:

  1. Number of fans
  2. Number of comments

While elements such as Facebook shares and ‘likes’ are focused on by many social media experts, it seems that fans and comments are the ones that deserve your attention. The reason for this, the author explains, is that if people are ‘liking’ numerous posts on your Facebook page but commenting on few of them, it is a sign of a marketer trying to fool the system.

Even if your page genuinely is getting organic ‘likes’ from fans, and you’re not trying to pull one over on Google, this is still a sign of something that you need to work on. If posts are just driving people to ‘like’ them and not to comment then you need to reevaluate what kind of posts you’re putting up. You want to encourage discussion and involvement through your social media strategies, so post more leading questions, invite commentary or opinions. People love to share opinions, especially on Facebook, so if you ask the right questions you should have ample discussion on your page.

This is, of course, dependent on you having a large group of fans to provide the feedback and discussion you need. Which was the author’s first point of focus – the number of fans you have. Akin to Twitter followers, you need to garner these fans in a natural and organic way (companies are no longer allowed to require that people ‘like’ their page, comment on a post or engage with them on Facebook in order to enter a competition, which was how a number of companies used to gain large followings on Facebook – you can see Facebook’s official rules on that issue here). Advertising that you have a Facebook page, and printing a QR code on marketing materials will allow people to quickly be directed to the page once they have scanned the code with their smartphones, simplifying the process for customers.

According to Search Engine Watch, a large number of fans will add value to your website in a search engine’s eyes.

Check back on Friday for the importance of YouTube on your Internet marketing strategies.

Importance of Twitter in Relation to Internet Marketing

An article on Search Engine Watch focuses on the top 13 social media ranking factors for SEO. These are centered around Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, but a couple of points touch on dealing with other social media also.

The point of the article is to advise you on which areas of your social media campaigns to focus on tracking in order to see the efficacy of a social media campaign and its effect on search engine rank.

For Twitter, the article recommends focusing on number of retweets and number of followers – both apparently obvious. But it also recommends looking at the relevance and quality of your followers. How do you determine the relevance and quality of a Twitter account? Look at:

1. What industry is the follower in?

If they are in the same industry as you, or one that is complementary, you can consider them a relevant follower. If your company is in retail and the Twitter follower is not a professional but rather a potential consumer, often their Twitter bio will give some information regarding their hobbies and interests. If they are a healthy living advocate, for example, and you are a sporting goods or nutrition product retailer, they are still a relevant follower as their interests align with what your company is selling, and therefore they are not just a potential consumer but also a potential brand evangelist.

2. How many followers does the follower have?

This isn’t the only figure to look at to determine the quality of the follower, but it is a telling one. If they have a lot of followers, then their tweets will be more widely seen than someone who has under 50 followers, for example. However you can also look at quality by looking at the amount of activity in their Twitter feed. Are they active on Twitter? Is most of what they are saying of interest to a wide variety of Twitter readers, or do they mainly use up their feed communicating back and forth with their best friend?

When you have analyzed these two factors you will soon be able to whittle your followers list down to the ones that are most likely to prove useful in spreading the word about your company/product – and that might reduce a list of thousands of Twitter followers to only a few.

You can attract more of the right kinds of followers by searching people out on Twitter who you want to have as followers, people with large follower lists, who tweet relevant content and work in industries that align with yours. Then follow them (sometimes that’s all that’s needed to get a follow), but also tweet them and engage in conversation with them. They may not reply at first but if you continue tweeting them (when it’s relevant!) they may eventually retweet you or reply, and start to take an interest in what you do, or at the very least, this activity will share you with their followers list, providing you with more exposure.

In our next post we will look at Search Engine Watch’s recommendations for tracking performance on Facebook.

Social Media and Its Impact on Search Rank

Social media has become such a predominant force in impacting a website’s search rank that it has been predicted that by 2013 it will overtake SEO in its ability to affect a website’s ranking in search engines.

One of the ways – if not the main way – that social media benefits search rank is through backlinks.

Backlinks have long been loved by Google as a way of detecting quality, popular content in an organic way, which helps Google to know it’s promoting the best content and helping that show up as the first results for a relevant search.

According to an article on Mashable.com, Google now considers Facebook posts, tweets, retweets, comments, bookmarks, shares, likes etc. to be the main factors in determining a site’s rank in its algorithm. And, narrowing the field even further, research conducted in April 2011 revealed that Facebook likes, comments and shares have the largest impact on search engine performance (over Twitter, Google Buzz and other social media forms). More recent research (performed in May 2012), however, suggested that Google+ is now beating Facebook.

All that this plethora of research proves is that social media is a vital part of any website’s attempts to improve its search rank, and that – if you can – it really helps to do it ALL. If not all, then as much as you can – have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube – all of them help.

Sharing links to your site’s content through these forums increases the chance of something going ‘viral’ – that buzz word that everyone in Internet marketing is craving nowadays. But even if it doesn’t go viral, the impact is still measurable.

In fact, a study of Twitter’s impact on search rank revealed that search engine rank improves significantly with just 50 tweets of a link, then increases only marginally until 5,000 tweets. URLs that are shared more than 7,500 times on Twitter almost always rank in the top 5 results of search engines.

So whether you are able to garner just 50-60 tweets or thousands, you will see a marked improvement in your search rank immediately.

With this impact, you can’t afford to not be a part of this. When you submit a press release with 24-7PressRelease that is the SEO and Media Exposure package or the Mass Media Visibility package, you get your story linked in a tweet sent from our Twitter account, which has more than 1300 followers. Share it on your own Twitter account and encourage retweets, and you can quickly see that impact unfold in front of you.