Talking Twitter with Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs)

While at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, and talk about the company Twitter account that she runs (@MarketingProfs). In a previous blog post about B2B companies on Twitter, I specifically mentioned this account as being a personal account, so it was not included in the list of company accounts. After Ann replied in the comments, we decided that it would be instructive to discuss her thoughts on setting up the Twitter account, and how she uses it. This shows the evolution of social profiles, and how sometimes you are more successful by doing what feels right for your brand.

If you are managing a company Twitter account, do you use the company logo or your own picture?

How to Change Your Google Ranking Through B2B Social Media

Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo spoke at MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum on Your Social Presence and Its Impact on SEO. Although the title is long and SEO friendly the gist of this session taught companies how to control their brand through social media when someone Googles your company. If you haven’t Googled your company yet, you might want to start there before you read this blog post.

Janet wasted no time by pointing out, “go and get your profile on every medium for your brand before someone else or your competitor does.” Yes this is a hassle, but in the long run it is going to save you a lot of time and money when someone squats on your brand profile or a competitor takes it. Once you have done that you need to make sure that the profile available for your brand is separate from your personal profile, which I agree is very important in a B2B company.

One term she brought up that I have never heard of before was QDF, Query Deserves Freshness. This means that blog posts can outrank traditional websites when content is fresh regarding “hot” topics. She recommends using Google Insights to search on keywords, brand names and competitors. When you see a spike in traffic on a certain keywords, you should immediately write a blog post on that topic. Along with using QDF, companies need to learn how to identify their inbound links, to address the issue of a blogger covering their company and not providing a link back. A few tools she recommends using are Trackur and Radian6. I would like to add one free tool to her list that I find very useful, Addictomatic.

Other topics she covered that will help SEO rankings are; social media sharing, social ranking signals, and increasing your social signal circle. I’m not going to delve into social sharing because pretty much everyone knows what it is, how to do it, and how it helps your ranking. What Janet means by social ranking signals is the idea that a company’s twitter stature will help influence how a page ranks in web search. To do this go to SEO MOZ, type in your twitter profile url, and check your page rank. If it’s low you might need to build out your profile with more keywords, use a url, and start tweeting more. The last suggestion Janet made is to increase your social circle by following prospects, get fans for your brand on your Facebook page and try to increase your social sharing presence.

In conclusion, Janet recommened to create a corporate blog (hosted on your website), get all of your brand’s social profiles, put as much content up there as you can, and make sure you interlink everything. How are you using social media to improve your Google results?

Why Facebook Should be an Essential Ingredient in Your Marketing Strategy

The following is a summary of the session Why Facebook Should be an Essential Ingredient in Your Marketing Strategy at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum:

Aaron Strout (AS), VP, Powered

Kyle Flaherty (KF), Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint Systems
Adam Brown (AB), Director of Social Media, Dell
Frank Eliason (FE), Senior Vice President of Social Media, Citi
Ekaterina Walter (EW), Social Media Center of Excellence Strategist, Intel

EW: Why Facebook? 70% of Facebook is international outside of US and translated in more than 100 languages. Facebook is your home page for the social web. Since most people don’t go back to a company’s website, Facebook can serve that purpose. Developers, for example, don’t hang out on Facebook. Some things to think about when approaching Facebook. What are your objectives? Do you have the resources to support the presence? What is voice and what story do you want to tell? Who do you want to connect with?

Considerations the following when creating content on Facebook: Use short, skimmable content. Don’t use all 420 characters. Include call to action. Make sure you create engaging content (likes, comments) so it will show up in the newsfeed of people who like your page.

AS: 4 Golden Rules of Facebook
Do organize your Facebook presence around conversation
Do give your Facebook audience something to do
Don’t overestimate your audience’s attention span
Don’t miss easy Amplification opportunities

AB: The most liked comment on the Coke Facebook page ever was about the number of bubbles in a bottle of Coke. Think quirky content to drive engagement. Early Coke Facebook Page created by fans, which grew to 250,000 fans. Coke contacted originators and told them they could keep running the page, now 20 million fans.

KF: What can a cybersecurity firm do on Facebook? Only need 500 fans and 3 conversions to pay off. 2 tips for success: Link Facebook Page to Google Analytics. Integrate other content, for example embed a livestream on Facebook Page.

FE: It is imperative for brands to set up Facebook pages to prevent others from setting up pages using their names and customer domain name. Facebook is not about pushing out marketing messages. Citigroup uses Friday posts to share fun, unrelated content. Those are the updates that get the most engagement. Use analytics to determine engaged fans of the page to update content based on the audience.
Biggest challenge is internal, especially in regulated industries. Sometimes you need to make internal compromises. Must review your learning to make changes based on what works. You must understand where your brand stands, and be honest about it. Companies need to build trust on Facebook, as it represents peoples’ living room.

AB: Dell has a heritage in social media because Michael Dell gets it. Must accept that you are an invited guest on social profiles. Need resources to respond to customer services. Many Facebook pages were created for brands, divisions, etc. within Dell. They have been collapsing pages and making new tabs on other pages. Sometimes Facebook helps in moving fans, but sometimes not. Storytelling is what is required to drive content. Dell has incorporated the like button on with great success. There are also sales increases when you can take content from Facebook of people talking about your products and put it on your website.

EW: Note: less than 4% of Facebook Pages have decent number of fans and real engagement. The best brands on Facebook humanize their brand by having their own unique voice. Use of tabs is important.
Good Examples of Facebook Pages: Starbucks, Skittles, Coke, Red Bull

AS: Make sure Facebook Page follows a logical flow and don’t make a crazy landing page that confuses viewers.

KF: Uncle Billy’s, a local restaurant in Austin, ties in Groupon and Foursquare on their Facebook wall to show who checks in.

AB: Facebook gives small companies the same soapbox as large companies. Adidas is an example of a global brand that makes it local by geography and language. This customized conversation is what is important. A Facebook wall is a narrowcast medium.

FE: Nike is another example of a good Facebook page. When working with internal partners, like legal, try to understand their questions. In many instances, they view social media as advertising, which changes their approach to it.

EW: Facebook wants the most engaged content to show up in the newsfeed. Per post comments and likes, along with overall like profile of the page is part of the newsfeed algorithm. If posts don’t engage, delete the post and re-post it in a different way. Make sure posts have a calls to action. Newsfeed optimization is the new SEO. Use photos and video hosted on Facebook. When hosted video is viewed by someone that does not like your page, they see a like button for the page.

KF: Sunday River is a ski resort, which is a seasonal location. There Facebook page is a challenge, but they even maintain content throughout the summer.

FE: Fan count does not show engagement. The metrics we track are: Spread-Where did message go? Engagement-Did people like and comment on the post? Net Promoter Score-The customer affinity for a brand and how is connects back to customer data that the company has for people.

AB: Net Promoter Score is as important as the stock ticker on Dell’s intranet. There are 22,000 conversations about Dell online per day. Social commerce is the next big thing within the Facebook world.

FE: Concerns over privacy and trust with Facebook is going to grow in the coming year. People are also concerned about the amount of personal information Facebook holds.

KF: https (secure sign in) is going to change Facebook security.

Final Tweetable Thoughts from the panelists
AB: Note to self: buy SEO firm and convert to NFO (newsfeed optimization).
EW: The ROI of Facebook is about humanizing your brand.
FE: No matter the platform, know your customer.
KF: This isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t take someone special to do it.