social media

Your employees are your next big social media opportunity

According to LinkedIn:

  • 2% of employees re-share content that their companies have shared on LinkedIn.
  • This 2% of employees are responsible for 20% of an average company's LinkedIn engagement, such as clicks, likes, comments, and shares.
  • When someone shares 6 pieces of content on LinkedIn, they average 6 new profile views and make 2 new connections, and their employer averages 6 job views, 3 company page views, and 1 new company page follower.

That's a lot of engagement. And it's all the reason why LinkedIn is about to launch Elevate, an app that will help companies to enable their employees to share desired content, such as blog posts, guides, upcoming events and quotes. 

Tech Crunch says that Elevate is

A paid mobile and desktop app that suggests articles to its users — based on algorithms from its news recommendation services Pulse and Newsle, as well as “human curation” — and then lets users schedule and share those links across LinkedIn and Twitter, with the aim to add more networks like Facebook over time.
— http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/12/linkedin-elevate/


The numbers you need to know for Twitter's IPO

Twitter is about to go public, and there are a lot of reports suggesting many different valuations, made especially confusing recently when Twitter raised their previous price range for the stock.

In following Twitter's IPO news so that I can keep my MBA students updated on the progress and what it means in the world of social media, I've put together this graphic highlighting the key facts and figures I've read about this IPO. It will be interesting to see how it goes this week.

Click to Enlarge

8 Great Social Media Crisis Management Examples


Today in my social media marketing class for UMSL, I spoke about several crisis management examples involving social media. They are:

  1. What was intended to be a promotion for the company quickly became a PR nightmare when McDonalds' new feature, the “McStory” (#McDStories) opened them up for bad publicity. 
  2. A Nestle employee becomes overly defensive in an online argument causing many people to abandon the company altogether.
  3. After hours of very unusual tweets from @BurgerKing, followers began to notice that something was off. Fortunately, the tweets were humorous but could have been devastating had they been offensive. 
  4. Abercrombie jokingly asked “Jersey Shore” cast member Mike Sorrentino to refrain from wearing their clothing as a marketing scheme. Unfortunately, the actor did not find this joke humorous and sued the company for $4 million.
  5. Lowe’s pulled advertisements from the show “All-American Muslim” after a conservative Christian group complained. This caused a major backlash as thousands of Americans accused the company of bigotry. 
  6. A video of a Federal Express delivery man throwing – and breaking – a computer monitor went viral almost instantly at the worst possible time: the holiday season. 
  7. Associated Press hacked tweet causes stocks to plunge
  8. A Red Cross intern mistakenly tweeted from the company’s official page rather than his personal twitter account. 

Embrace Social Media to Enhance Your Networking Skills - Getting Started Guide


This afternoon, I am so excited to be presenting to KPMG Network of Women (KNOW) networking event in Saint Louis, MO! The title of the talk is "Embracing social media to enhance your networking skills and capabilities."

In addition to my presentation, I'll be providing a handout that includes my favorite quick tips for getting started on Twitter & LinkedIn, as well as some really helpful suggestions for networking on these channels.

I uploaded it to my SlideShare channel, and here is the guide for you to learn from, share and enjoy. I hope it helps for any woman just getting started in social media. The guide should appear below in this blog post. If you do not see it, click here.

If you attended the event, and you'd like to get in touch with me, my contact information is on the second page!


Digital and Social Media Marketing Manager Position - Saint Louis, MO

At Perficient, we have an immediate opening on our marketing team for a rockstar Digital and Social Media Marketing Manager.

We're a fast-growing company, and we have our corporate office at Maryville Centre, 141 and Highway 40 in Town & Country (Saint Louis), MO. Our marketing team is over ten people, but from my experience working here, I can tell you that this role will interface with no less than a few hundred people across the country who blog on our 9 active technology blogs, and the successful candidate will collaborate with key stakeholders in leadership roles as well. This manager will both execute on the crafting and posting of social media messages daily, but he or she will also lead our digital and social strategy for online video, social networks, blog content, website content, email marketing, and much more.

This is an awesome opportunity for a great company. I hope you will consider this role or share it with a great candidate today! View Job Description

Forbes reports: 78% Of Salespeople Using Social Media Outsell Their Peers


Great article on social selling by @MarkFidelman


Key Takeaways
  • The most interesting finding was that in 2012, 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell out performed those who weren’t using social media.
  • When it came to exceeding sales quota (exceeding quota by more than 10%), social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. 
  • Over half of the respondents (54%) who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. 
  • Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media 
  • More than 10% of the respondents said; “Yes, It directly contributes to my closes.” 
  • 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media. That’s decent ROI.
  • The top social selling sites were, in order, Linkedin, Twitter,Facebook , Blogging, Google +, other.


“Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google Plus, a blog, etc. are no longer nice to haves, they are salesperson must haves.”

Why Executives Can't Afford to Ignore Social Media


I recently spoke to a room of local Saint Louis area executives and business owners at a luncheon for the United Way of Saint Louis' de Tocqueville Society members. Membership in the Tocqueville Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000.00 annually to a member United Way. 

The topic was "Social Media for Executives," and based on my research, I decided to use an analogy to help these business leaders understand why now is the time - they cannot afford to ignore social media. I also added some figures showing that social media engagement in business can help drive results to the bottom line, and some tips for getting started. Below is an outline I produced for my presentation.


"The world has changed, and consumers, employees, and stakeholders now expect to engage with companies and their brands through social media," says Matteo Tonello, managing director of corporate leadership at The Conference Board. 


My goal today is to help you understand:


  1. Why your organization should be putting effort into social media, 
  2. Or...Why you as a person, as a professional, might want to take a step further into social media, beyond what you do today. 

Let’s start by taking a new look at something you’ve always done.

You are walking into a professional event. It's a Thursday evening, and you are by yourself as you get out of your car and check in at the registration table.

It could be a large charity ball, a banquet, an awards ceremony, or a meeting of the minds - a local networking group you enjoy.

Your mindset is focused on mingling -- for the next hour or two, you know you are about to intentionally allow the line between personal and professional to blur so that you can establish a rapport with the folks you're about to meet or re-acquaint yourself with.

You enter the room, and you notice a lot of small groups of 2 and 3 and 4 people each. There is a lot of lively conversation, some laughs burst out here and there, and a lot of hand-shaking.

You recognize a few faces, and you begin to look around the room to see who else you may know. You notice one or two folks you immediately want to avoid, for one very good reason or another...

And you certainly notice a few folks who are always fun to talk to: 
  • The guy who always has a new and interesting story to tell you 
  • The guy with the really funny stories you just can't get enough of
  • The woman who is always coming up with new and creative ideas, just a vibrant personality, she inspires you and always tells you things about your own industry that you didn't even know. She's on the cutting edge of things.
  • The co-worker who feels familiar, but you just can't get enough time with him in the office and you need to see how his team is doing on the latest project.
  • That woman who just took the CEO job at a local competitor, and you've been dying to introduce yourself - you see a few more powerful business leaders who are always making the news, and the ones you truly appreciate spending time talking to. 

This is just like the user base of any social media site.

Just like you have to walk into that room and make some decisions about where to cut your path.... you've got to cut through the noise and make the connections that count.

You'll be polite to everyone, but you also have to make the best use of your time at this event, because time is a precious commodity - especially for you.

Over the course of the next hour, you will move around the room, jumping in and out of conversations, sizing up the connections you make with each individual, making mental notes of names, job titles, and companies - and most importantly, occasionally making a special new connection that holds some future potential - new business, new relationships to solve complex problems, new firms you may want to hire to help you with particular projects, you name it....

This is just like engagement on social media sites.

Executives know that going to a cocktail party once a year won't be productive.

If walking into that crowded, noisy room of strangers and navigating the turbulent waters of a crowd of busy professionals felt like too much effort, you likely wouldn't just say "forget about it. I don't get it. I give up."

Building relationships takes time. People need to see your face, hear your voice, more than once to know you're serious, to recognize you as an expert, as a mover and shaker.

They need time to open up and get to know you. And fostering connections in order to move a relationship toward the closing of a deal or the comfort level of working together on something may be better the second or third or 15th time around.

If executives successfully work the room at cocktail parties and networking events, everybody remembers them. If you successfully represent your professional persona online, connect with like-minded individuals and stay connected with them, you are doing the same thing online.

I don't think anyone here would disagree that once you are a well-connected professional within your social circles, and you're someone everyone enjoys engaging with in person, others are more open to doing business and more confident in making referrals.

You can use social media to demonstrate thought leadership. Demonstrating your expertise, and fostering connections online (just like in the real world) generates interest, and fosters trust in the relationship. Ultimately, this means that social media:
  • generates leads and referrals, 
  • it helps to increase and shape brand awareness. 
Driving these new, incremental relationships, can lead to new revenue opportunities

Social media is a cocktail party. It's where you go -- voluntarily -- to 
  • meet new people, 
  • to converse, 
  • to learn new things, 
  • to build relationships, 
  • and to network with one goal in mind: mutual business benefit. 

And by the way, if you're like me, you'll say "Wow, this is fun."

It presents itself as the new conversation starter for connecting with utter strangers who might one day become your customers, your business partners, your employees, or your friends.


Challenges Executives Face with Social Media:

  1. RISK: Demands for quick, unscripted updates that can quickly go viral—poses risks for top managers and the companies they represent 
  2. TIME: they are too busy running a company 
  3. FEAR: fearful of sharing too much versus not sharing enough – not knowing what to say 
  4. RESULTS: the business case for using the site can seem unclear, with no direct correlation between Twitter followers and sales. 

Why you should do it anyway:


  1. Add a personal touch to your leadership style 
  2. Leaders can get help generating content from their teams
  3. It can be a personal toolbox for improving your practice of leadership.
    Source: Forbes, Better Leadership Through Social Media
  4. Companies that embrace digital technology are more profitable, generate more revenue and achieve higher market valuations than their competitors.

Here's how you can get started:


  1. Get Organized: Follow experts and news sources, organize them into lists, and use search to read about current events 
  2. Give it Time: Log on frequently for immediate and highly curated industry news & perspectives, and to learn how other experts engage 
  3. Know Your Own Employees: Seek out your socially savvy employees; Give them expert training, and encourage positive social content sharing 
  4. Free Market Research: Monitor brand mentions, competitors, and key industry keywords and trends to see how individuals across social channels reacts to each 
  5. Protect Yourself and Your Brand: Develop and share a social media policy internally that keeps social activity legal, compliant with regulations, and respectful/professional 




St. Louis Social Media and PR Experts to Present at PRSA Tech Day

This Friday, I'll be speaking with a few awesome Saint Louis social media colleagues of mine at the Public Relations Society of America's Saint Louis Chapter "Tech Day." It's in the afternoon. Here's an overview of what I'll be speaking about. Hope you can join me!



Influencer Marketing: Finding and Targeting Online Influencers to Increase Market Awareness
Erin Moloney will explain how she has learned, over the past several years, to leverage social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as third party tools, to find and engage with highly influential professionals and members of the mdeia.

She will talk about how you can efficiently foster a professional relationship and rapport with key influencers, how to engage with them over time, and ultimately how you can best leverage these relationships to enhance your company's visibility and get the word out about your key messaging and announcements.

Erin will talk through the following and provide examples:
  • Some great social media tools (both free and paid) available right now for finding influencers
  • Examples of how to alter your understanding of keyword searching to really find influential professionals
  • How to effectively reach out and engage, establishing a meaningful rapport and relationship
  • Working your way toward a the right time to ask for a mention or a feature story


PRSA St. Louis Tech Day 2012


When:
Friday, November 9, 2012, 1 to 5 p.m. -- Opening speaker and program to begin at 1:15 p.m.

Where:
Mercy Conference Center
14528 South Outer Forty Road
Chesterfield, Missouri 63017

Cost:
PRSA members: $55
Non-members: $75
Students with I.D. $40

Register

Looking for a Financial Services Marketing Manager in Saint Louis


Our marketing team at Perficient has an opening for a Financial Services Marketing Manager here in Saint Louis, MO.

This position would work directly with me on a lot of great projects including social media marketing, advertising, website, event marketing, messaging, collateral, and the chance to work for a dynamic, fast-growing, Saint Louis-based national consulting firm!

Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with key stakeholders in developing and growing an integrated vertical marketing strategy to include messaging, marketing tactics, and collateral;
  • Target marketing messages and strategies to the needs of IT and business professionals within the financial services industry; understanding the key challenges faced by companies within the industry (security, regulation, consolidation) and focusing on how the company's solutions meet those needs
  • Drive social media and website content strategy; Promote content generation from key subject matter experts within financial services, maintain an active blog and twitter profile by publishing SME thought leadership content and industry news
  • Facilitate the creation of white paper and webinar content from SMEs in the financial services vertical, driving attendance and awareness via social and online channels
  • Drive internal financial services industry knowledge and solution awareness (sales enablement) for sales and delivery teams; Work with national sales organization to identify, pursue, and develop key projects within financial services
  • Develop campaigns to leverage additional industry marketing opportunities, including: email marketing campaigns, internal business development campaigns, trade show planning and promotions
  • Measure marketing effectiveness through ongoing web analytics reports and relevant campaign metrics
  • Collaborate with broader marketing organization to leverage available resources on behalf of financial services stakeholders

This is a full time position with Perficient. At Perficient, we offer a full competitive base salary, bonuses twice a year, a full benefits package including medical, dental and vision, a 401(k) with matching contributions, 4 weeks’ vacation and 10 paid holidays per year.

Apply Online!


Senior Technology Decision-Makers are More Social Online Than Their Teams


Forrester published a very enlightening report today called "Tech Marketers Are Missing The Social Mark For Senior Decision-Makers." What's unique about the findings in this study is that Forrester found that senior level decision-makers, such as vice presidents and directors, making technology buying decisions, are actually more active on social media than those who report to them. 

Here are some of my favorite key findings from the report:
  • "Senior-level decision-makers are significantly more willing than lower seniority colleagues to use social channels at work."
  • "Fifty-nine percent of directors and above use social media sites for work at least once a week, and only 30% of their staff do also."
  • "About half of senior management — vice presidents and directors — use LinkedIn at least weekly, compared to just 30% of individual workers."
  • "Senior decision-makers are more interested in sources that have longer form writing." (Blog content over Twitter, for instance)

You can download the report here.

Blogging Basics for Fund Raising & Non-Profits

Tonight I am participating in a social media roundtables networking event being hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Young Professionals here in Saint Louis. I am hosting a table on "Blogging"

Here are some of my favorite blogs about fund raising and non-profit marketing:
Beth Kantor's Blog for Non-Profits 
The Agitator
The Fundraising Coach
GettingAttention.org
Katya's Non-Profit Marketing Blog
Nonprofit Marketing Guide


Here are some of the best non-profit blogs, from my experience:
Feeding America
American Red Cross
The Salvation Army
Holland Bloorview Childrens Rehabilitation Hospital
Operation Blessing
World Vision
Refugees International

I also produced a one-page Blogging Basics guide to hand out at tonight's eveng. It includes:
  • Stats on why blogging is an effective medium for businesses and organizations
  • Style and Tone best practices
  • What to include in a social media policy for your team
  • Blogging "Musts"
  • How to motivate bloggers
  • Great content ideas
You can also take a look at my presentation on Social Media for Non-Profits:


Join Me for Social Media 101, June 7th at Webster University

I am looking forward to joining my colleagues and some of Saint Louis' social media "best" Chris Reimer (@RizzoTees), Nick Gilham (@NickGilham), Matt Ridings (@techguerilla) and Patrick Powers (@PatrickJPowers) on June 7th when we conduct a Business Boot Camp called Social Media 101 at Webster University.

It's only 5 hours and less than a few hundred dollars, and attendees will see us present on what has worked for companies in social media, both locally and nationally, small and large, and they will get to pick our brains and network with us to stay on top of this rapidly changing space. More Info / Register Here
This special half-day seminar is designed for businesses (large and small), entrepreneurs and nonprofits completely new to social media, as well as those who don’t feel they are up-to-date with the latest online has to offer.
Social Media 101:  Business Boot Camp is sponsored by Webster University’s Office of Corporate Partnerships which engages corporate partners in concert with Webster’s five colleges/schools, faculty, staff, students and extended campuses by connecting business and industry partners to these Webster constituencies. 

This is the first time I've seen a true "bootcamp" around social media here in Saint Louis, and Webster University has really lined up a great team of presenters for this workshop.

More Info / Register Here

Read More about My Presentation



Let's Talk About Social Media Marketing in Saint Louis

Yesterday, I was invited to speak about social media marketing on 550 KTRS as part of the All About Business radio show. I enjoyed the segment, in which I was asked to comment on what it means to be a social media expert and explain the Social Media Club of Saint Louis. I think it went pretty well, but I will warn you that I have a case of laryngitis. ;) Here's the recording of the 11 minute portion of the show in which I was interviewed.

How I Track Twitter Traffic for My Company


Until recently, it had been very difficult, and near impossible, to accurately report on traffic coming from Twitter posts to your website or blog.

Google Analytics has made changes recently that make it easier. According to a recent post in BtoB Magazine, "Rebooting Twitter Analytics":
The issue has to do with the way Twitter referrals were tracked through popular third-party applications such as TweetDeck and HootSuite. When a user clicked on a link embedded in one of these applications, the referral to your website wasn't recorded as a Twitter referral. Instead, Google recognized it as a “direct referral,” thus hiding some of the Twitter-related traffic under the direct referral column on your analytics report. 
“Now, whenever you click on a tweet, Twitter routes the URL through the t.co shortener,” said Tom Critchlow, VP-operations for Distilled NYC, an SEO and online marketing company. “So it shows up in analytics as a Twitter referral.” 
However, it's not that simple.

Here's what I've discovered. If we follow the advice of this article, then in our Google Analytics, we should be able to simply go to the "Social" reporting category in the left nav and click on "Sources" to see how much traffic we get from Twitter. I did this, and for the time period I am looking at, this report shows me that my company's blogs got 588 visits from Twitter in that time period.


Alternatively, you can try using "Advanced Segments" in Google Analytics to create a segment of your traffic (for reporting) that only shows traffic from Twitter. I set this up using the "Include: Source" filter, and then started typing "twi..." and it auto-suggests three different referring URLs that are part of Twitter: mobile.twitter.com; twitter.com and twitter. See screen shot:


So, that suggests to me that it would be in my best interest to include all three of these as part of this segment I am setting up. So I do just that, and I am sure to include "t.co" as well, per Critchlow's comment in the quote above.

My advanced segment setting ends up looking like this:


Save the segment as "Twitter Referred Visits" or your title of choice. Then, run a standard report on number of visitors in the same time frame as I ran earlier for Google's "Social" report that had returned a figure of 588 visits.

I get a total of 1,651 visits! That's three times what Google's social report told me was coming from Twitter.

I feel more comfortable relying upon my own advanced filter to show me a more accurate view of just how much traffic is coming to my site from Twitter. Why? Because I set it up myself, and I'm including what I personally know to be URLs that Twitter owns and uses to refer traffic.

The BtoB Magazine article ends with a quote that helps us keep a frame of reference around even attempting to track all inbound referrals accurately to begin with:
“It's a misconception that inbound traffic over the Internet is 100% trackable,” he [Chad Pollitt, director of inbound marketing for Kuno Creative] said. “It's not; it's just more trackable than the older print methods.”

How are you reporting on Twitter referrals to your company's web properties? If you're using Google's social reports or any web analytics tool's built-in social reporting, you may be missing the mark and leaving out a large portion of traffic actually coming from tweets. I recommend building reports on your own so that you have more control. Besides, I know our social media strategy involves a heavy Twitter component, so I want to make sure I'm giving that time investment in Twitter the most accurate data I can find to justify that it's working. 

I'd be curious to know if anyone else is seeing this kind of discrepancy and if you've set up your analytics in any different way to report on Twitter traffic.



3 Types of Metrics that Demonstrate Social Media Marketing Success

Recently I have been thinking a lot about how we can demonstrate positive business impact from social media or content marketing initiatives. I report on social media marketing metrics weekly to my direct manager, and I often think about them in three major groups:

  1. Fans, Followers and Subscribers: People who have said they want to follow our brand. This gives you a sense of  Awareness or Brand Visibility as well as how it is impacting the brand's online reputation in its space.
  2. Clicks, Traffic: People who have visited your blog or site as a result of finding you online via social channels. 
  3. Leads/Sales: Actual interest in doing business with your company. I value leads coming from general inquiry forms higher than leads coming to us via incentive offers such as a white paper or webinar. 
Technically you could add a fourth category to this and actually quantify sales that started as a social media based lead. That requires adequate tracking in your CRM or analytics system, and is much easier for something like an e-commerce site selling products than it would be for a B-to-B firm. 

I also thoroughly enjoyed a recently published article by Jon Miller of Marketo called "5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success." In his post, Miller outlines the following metric types and gives detail to them:
  1. Month over month growth in organic website traffic, leads, and opportunities. 
  2. Social engagement, not just reach. 
  3. Lead generation by content, channel, and initiative. 
  4. Percent of leads with an inbound original source.
  5. Forecasted conversion through the funnel.
Very similar to my line of thinking but he's talking more generally about inbound marketing and not just social media. You can read his full post here

IBM Study Unveils Top Inhibitors to Adopting Social


Sandy Carter (@sandy_carter), VP Social Business Evangelism at IBM, recently did a video interview in which she talked about the reasons why companies are hesitant to really get engaged with social media and use either internally within a hosted community or allow their employees to engage online - to post work-related communications via social networks.

IBM conducted a study of over 2,000 companies and asked them about the top inhibitors to adopting social media. Here are the top response areas. I wasn't surprised at any of these, but I'm glad that IBM's study groups the reasons into buckets so that we, as social media marketers, can help tackle the fears that companies face as we approach social media strategies unique to each company's needs.
  1. Security - Someone might break into my private community and something bad will happen
  2. Adoption - How will people use it? Will they come? Will they like it?
  3. Culture - Is our company culture ready to listen to employees or clients? Are we ready to respond and react in this way?
  4. Compliance - Regulated industries such as finance are hesitant to let anyone tweet/post about investments.
Sandy's high-level understanding of social media for business is impressive, and she's extremely articulate about it. I had the opportunity to have dinner with her at an IBM conference earlier this year and enjoyed meeting her and connecting with her.

How J-School Made Me a Better Marketer

I am one of those Mizzou J-school grads who got out of news reporting as soon as possible after J-306 my junior year and jumped right into marketing. However, when I look back, one of the most influential factors in setting me on my thoroughly enjoyable career path of interactive marketing has been the HTML editing class I stumbled into as part of an Online Journalism elective course my junior year. I "geeked out" so much in this class that I actually ended up becoming a teaching assistant for the class my senior year, which means that I spent hours per day building websites and helping other people understand Dreamweaver, CSS and web site code. 

Fast forward a decade later and you have the recipe for a social media marketer. I'll always remember one of the first interviews after graduation in which the hiring manager looked at my writing and editing abilities, website building skills and marketing passion, and instantly pinned me as an online marketer. Soon after I was informed what "SEO" and "PPC" meant, I found myself working for a software and online services company where I edited websites, purchased online ads and advised website owners every day on how to convert their site's visitors into customers. I realized there were more than a few things I had learned in J-school that continue to lend themselves well to success in an online marketing and social media marketing career. Here are just a few of them:
The Inverted Pyramid Method of
News Story Writing

Always be thinking about what your target audience wants or needs. J-school taught me how to find the most important facts about a story and present them in the most compelling way to the reader. My professors taught me about the inverted pyramid, the method of "placing of the most important information first within a text". It essentially forces you to be concerned primarily with your audience's needs and wants. Answer the question: "Why should I care?" This concept translates so well outside of just story writing, especially in today's "ADD age" of Internet prevalence and vast access to information, where, for example, the most newsworthy info is the tweet and the headline to the story, the important details are the body of the article, and the background info are the outbound links.
    • As it relates to online marketing: You have a visitor on your site: What are they looking for? Make it really easy for them to find it. Then explain it in simple terms, and make it easy for them to buy it. Don't have enough visitors yet on your site? Then think like they do: Where are they looking for the thing that your company offers (Google, for example)? Go get yourself in front of them and make it easy for them to choose your product or service over your competition. Think of (and talk about) your company and your products in terms of unique selling propositions, not just features and benefits. What does the customer want? Convince and convert.
    • As it relates to social media: Anyone and everyone you want to connect with is going to ask themselves, "What's in it for me?" Why should I be-friend you or follow your Twitter stream, especially if you represent a company? Don't serve me press releases and company promotions all the time. Be human and foster a relationship with me online by offering me useful, valuable information and entertaining, interesting bits of information and commentary. Be concise with your message, which you're going to have to be anyway because in many cases, you only have 140 characters with which to do it.
Be extremely efficient with your time and efforts. It must have been my first week of working for the local newspaper in Columbia, Missouri, aptly named "The Columbia Missourian" that I felt I was working 12-hour days (on top of 12 additional credit hours of school and a part-time job to pay the bills) for an end product that was not an adequate translation of my blood, sweat and tears. Essentially, in J-school, part of your education is a course in which you are officially a reporter for this paper as an unpaid part-time job. This method of learning the ropes of being a true reporter by being thrown into the fire is called "The Missouri Method." 

While I understood that we were being given a rare opportunity for real bylines before graduation, I also felt that the number of eyes that made it to my page-8 article that had taken me 15 hours of interviews and 6 revisions to complete just simply didn't translate. The return on investment, from my perspective, was negative. It was a very personal decision of mine to get out of reporting and editing as soon as possible, and it was the right one for me. But that experience alone taught me that I personally would only be satisfied in my career if I could find ways to make a big splash with everything I do, with the most efficient expense in time and energy. This isn't about being lazy. It's a rather simple equation: The less it takes to make a quick win, the more time you have to spend on the next one, and the sooner you can start working on it. 
    Steinbruegge getting loud
    with an air horn
    • As an online marketer, not only do I feel that my megaphone has become much larger, but I also need to see that the end result is that opportunity to make a tangible impact - on revenue, sales, money! With SEO and paid advertising, I can reach new audiences all over the world, and with a compelling message and product, I can drive the bottom line for a business. Oh, and don't forget that, Voila! Online marketing gives you web analytics and conversion tracking! Is there anything more magical than being able to directly attribute your blood, sweat and tears into actual, quantifiable results? (See image to the right for another example of a great Journalism-grad-turned-online-marketer known for frequently "getting loud" and making a big splash. Proof that it comes with the territory.)

    • As a social media marketer, I have never felt more visible and more connected to an international network of experts, professionals, entertainers, social mavens, connectors, mentors, influencers, brand advocates, customers, co-workers, prospects...you name it! Twitter gives me a pretty big "megaphone" to reach whomever I desire in a valuable way. The end result of my time investment in social media creates such a compelling and valuable end result, serving both my employer and myself in unique ways. I learn new things every single day, I drive brand visibility and sales opportunities, I get to help shape the public's perception of the company, I am inspired, I get breaking news before the news organizations can give it to me, I have new friends I never would have met otherwise...the list goes on.

      More importantly, leveraging social media for marketing purposes requires one to be efficient with how they spend their time. Tweeting all night long just because you can't sleep doesn't automatically make you a social media marketer, even if it has brought you 200 new followers in a day. There are now so many social networks, millions of people on each of them, and now more and more companies, messages, products all clamoring for those consumers' attention. You have to be selective, specific, and targeted - both with the personal and the professional messages you choose to publish and with the individuals you aim to connect with. The more efficient and focused you can be with your time investment in social media, the more successful you will be. Isn't that a fun challenge? 
There is certainly a piece of all of this that can be attributed to innate characteristics and how I've evolved to think about things. I may not call myself a journalist today, but the Missouri Method, its rigorous work ethic, high expecations and standards, a focus on the audience's needs, and the entire curriculum around distilling information into a concise, targeted message -- each of these things groomed me throughout my Journalism school experience -- and each of them has made me a better online and social media marketer today.  

Social Media Marketing for Conversion at "Conversion Conference 2011"

I am super psyched to be presenting once again at Conversion Conference West, 2011 in San Francisco. This conference starts on Monday, March 14th (agenda) and goes 2 days. I will be on a panel at 4:00 on Tuesday, March 15th (agenda):

Panel Discussion: Social Media Micro-conversions (S20)
David Szetela, Clix Marketing
Erin Eschen, Perficient
Justin Rondeau, TemplateZone
Ole Bahlmann, SoundCloud Ltd

Having a Facebook fan page and a Twitter profile are not enough. This panel of social media experts will teach you how effective conversation tactics can be measured by micro-conversions. Learn how to leverage the concept of the Viral Loop to develop leads that turn into new customers. Get the latest information on building and managing campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp and how to elevate your social media efforts from basic brand building to sales & lead conversion.

I have often spoken of social media marketing as bringing, among other things, two very distinct opportunities to a business:
  1. Building brand awareness, brand equity, reputation and reach -- all part of the same bucket of building your brand, as most people call it. Social media gives you an additional medium for messaging who you are and what you can do for your target market. It's a medium for finding and connecting with prospects, customers and advocates and building conversation and interest in your brand, your products and what you're all about.
  2. Driving leads and sales. There is a big difference between A) someone who now knows your brand name or company, how you are positioned in your marketplace and what you sell (#1 above) and B) someone who is a hand-raiser - someone who says, "I not only know what you do and that you compete with X company, and that you sell Y products, but hey -- I'm interested in talking with you more about your products and seeing if I may want to buy them."
I believe that both #1 and #2 can be built via social media marketing investments. And getting more hand-raisers should lead to more leads and ultimately more sales in the long run.

Many social media strategists and also skeptics alike are publicly voicing doubt over social media's ability to convert. But I believe there's evidence to the contrary. And that's what I'll be speaking about. Join me at Conversion Conference West 2011 in beautiful San Francisco by the Bay!

Tim Ash of SiteTuners is the inspiring and fearless leader of this conference, and I'm excited to see that Aaron Kahlow of Online Marketing Summit series will also be speaking.
Lastly, the online advertising and e-commmerce guru with one of my favorite accents, Rob Snell of Gun Dog Supply and author of Starting a Yahoo Business For Dummies will also be presenting on Day 2.

Last year, I spoke about conversion in social media when the conference was held in San Jose.

How does the Internet see you? Mapping your digital history





Ever "Google yourself?" Aaron Zinman of MIT created a tool that analyzes all of the content surrounding your full name on the Internet and then tells you what "personas" you fit into. He makes the point on his site that "Digital histories are as important, if not more important, than oral histories." Wow, that's a pretty bold statement, but one that I'm starting to agree with more and more over time.

If you're not familiar with the concept of "personas" in marketing and user experience, here's a definition from Wikipedia:
Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of the users in order to help to guide decisions about a product, such as features, interactions, and visual design.
Here's my persona profile generated by the tool. I have to say I agree mostly with the assessment.



You can get a lot more information on the MIT Personas Project here.

I imagine this tool works best on unique names, like mine. I think there's an Erin Eschen in Florida, but this one picked up on my content primarily. If your name is "John Smith," you're probably not going to get anything out of it. Additionally, if you're not one to put much out there publicly online, it isn't likely to give you much back.