Month: November 2011

Online Tools to Help Measure the Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing

You have a business, and you’ve been focusing a lot of effort into social media marketing. You have a Facebook, a Twitter, a YouTube, and more. You’re trying to cultivate as many “likes” and followers as possible. You’re striving to give your consumers online content that they use and enjoy, while promoting your brand and your online presence. By doing all this, you hope to attract customers and expand your business’s reach. But how do you know if it’s working? There are numerous ways to measure the impact your social media marketing has, including by just seeing if your profits have gone up or if your number of followers has risen. But there’s more to it than that, and understand the impact will help you to make it even bigger. There are a number of online tools you can use that will help you measure online engagement and the effectiveness of your social media marketing.

Twitalyzer will help you evaluate your Twitter account so that you can improve your reach and effectiveness of you Twitter account for your business. Subscriptions range from $4.99 per month to $99.99 per month, but you can test it out with a free 7-day trial. Some things Twitalyzer will do for you is calculate how many people you truly reach with your Twitter, as well as demographics of who that audience is and where they’re located. It uses thirty different metrics to assess your account, and processes it twice a day.

SocialMention will track your brand or company for free and let you know every time that it is mentioned on over 80 different social networking sites. You can download a widget that will keep mentions scrolling on your screen. It will also analyze whether or not your mentions are generally positive or negative, estimate how far your mentions are reaching and with what strength, and identify people that are particularly passionate about you.

TweetEffect is a totally free program that will help you analyze your tweets. Simply enter your Twitter username, and TweetEffect will analyze your last 200 tweets. It will help you determine the effect your tweets are having on your followers. It will identify tweets that probably made you lose followers, and you can take that information and do with it what you will. It’s a great tool to help you evaluate the quality of your tweets without spending any money.

The Facebook Grader by Hubspot will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your Facebook page by giving you a ranking based on things like the number of “likes” you have, the influence of your network, and how complete your page is.

Wildfire will help you monitor your social media marketing by measuring the performance and growth of your social media pages. It will compare you to your competitors for some invaluable insight into how you are really doing. It will also recognize important trends that will help you with your targeting, and alert you to any activity that is relevant to your social media presence. You will be able to track your audience and learn about who you’re reaching with your marketing.

One important consideration which is not metrics-based but could make or break your social media strategy is crisis management None of the tools above have any value whatsoever if your team is not ready to engage at a human level with your customers.


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Disney and YouTube Make a Video Deal

LOS ANGELES — Two powerful media companies, the Walt Disney Company and YouTube, are betting that a new partnership will help them surmount separate but equally worrisome hurdles as they each strive for greater Web dominance.

The deal, set to be announced on Monday, is small on its surface: Disney Interactive Media and YouTube, a division of Google, will spend a combined $10 million to $15 million on original video series; those shorts will be produced by Disney and distributed on a co-branded channel on Disney.com and YouTube. The channel will also include amateur video culled from the torrent uploaded to YouTube daily.

But the alliance is striking because of what it tacitly acknowledges about each company’s weaknesses.

Disney, currently working on yet another overhaul of its Web site, is conceding that its own brand is not a powerful enough draw among children looking for video online; YouTube is viewed as being cooler.

So in a reversal of a go-it-alone Web strategy, Disney will go fishing for youngsters on YouTube in addition to making YouTube a prominent part of its own site — something that the company hopes will coax children to stay longer.

“It’s imperative to go where our audience is,” said James A. Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive. He added that the idea is to “bring Disney’s legacy of storytelling to a new generation of families and Disney enthusiasts on the platforms they prefer.”

Disney Interactive has been losing money — over $300 million in the last four quarters — and Mr. Pitaro, part of a new leadership team at the division, is under pressure to create Web videos that can be monetized quickly. Disney.com’s traffic has also been dropping at an alarming rate. Unique visitors totaled 12.7 million in September, down from 17.9 million in June, according to the measurement company comScore. Seasonality does affect traffic to some degree.

YouTube hopes to gain something from the Disney brand as well, namely credibility among parents, many of whom aren’t thrilled at setting their younger children loose on a site where the videos can be ragged and provocative and the comments even more so. The company wants to compete with cable television for ad dollars by adding more professional videos.

Teaming with a Hollywood heavyweight significantly advances that goal. Studios have been reticent to provide Google with free Web material.

“It’s an acknowledgment that we want to work with the best brands and, yes, we expect this partnership to attract new advertisers,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head for content partnerships.

Disney is an important ally for YouTube, which walks a careful line when it comes to attracting children; the site’s Terms of Service require users to be at least 13 years old to watch videos and register for an account, though younger children routinely access the site. YouTube also needs Disney because it remains locked in a legal battle with Viacom, which owns the other major player in this arena, Nickelodeon, and keeps its videos (aside from some promotional material) off YouTube.

The Disney-YouTube partnership follows YouTube’s announcement late last month that it planned to create dozens of channels featuring comedians, sports stars, musicians and other entertainers. It is also offering cash advances to prospective producers that totaled more than $100 million, according to people with knowledge of the plan but who were not authorized to speak publicly. The investments in the channels reflect Google’s belief that the Internet is the third phase of the television business, after network TV (with a few channels) and cable TV (with hundreds).

Mr. Kyncl emphasized that YouTube intended to remain a neutral distributor and that its alliance with Disney should not be construed as an effort to move into the production business. Under the terms of the deal, Disney will produce the Web series, the first of which will be based on its popular puzzle app “Where’s My Water?” which features a grinning alligator named Swampy. The goal is to have eight original series in production at any given time, Mr. Pitaro said.

Disney will sell the advertising inventory and split part of the revenue with YouTube. Aside from producing the new shorts, Disney will also select amateur video to include on the channel. (Disney said it does not expect to hire any additional staff to handle these duties, relying instead on existing resources.) Video from Disney television shows will also be featured on the channel, although the company must be careful here to avoid angering cable partners by giving too much away at no charge.

Mr. Pitaro, who joined Disney last October after a stint running Yahoo’s media properties, pressed for the deal. He said the redesign of Disney.com — a site criticized as slow, poorly organized and too promotional — should be completed by fall 2012. The YouTube partnership, he said, “is a very nice first step. It shows that we’re not thinking small.”

Claire Cain Miller contributed reporting.

5 Ways to Make your Social Media Audience Fall in Love With You

Are you allowing your social media audience to fall in love with your brand?

If you ever waited for that special someone to fall “head over heels” in love with you, then you understand how difficult it can be to turn a stranger into a lover and then into a lifelong partner.

Your fans and followers will go through these same stages of a relationship…

1. Initial Attraction

First appearances are everything, right? There’s no sense in meeting your potential love interest in worn-out jeans and a ripped T-shirt. This is the time to put your best foot forward.

Your social media first impression is just as important. You must “wow” your audience and make a lasting impression they won’t forget.

How do you make a great first impression?

  • Twitter profile pics should be either a professional pic if you are branding yourself, or a logo for your business. No default egg-like images please.
  • Spend a little time on your Twitter profile. Include your website information and let it display some of your brand’s personality.
  • Facebook Page profile pics and welcome pages should also follow suit.

Similar to how you may obsess over wearing just the right clothes and fashioning your hair perfectly when meeting a potential love interest for the first time, take the same amount of time to ensure your graphics look like they were professionally done.

If you are short on cash, you can find some inexpensive options for Facebook welcome pages in this article: The Facebook Plan

You can also use the website Fiverr. It is made up of people willing to do just about anything for $5. Zeerk is a similar site but the costs extend up to $25.

These sites can be great resources for inexpensive graphic work. Just remember to sort the providers by rating and choose those who received rave reviews.

2. Making a Connection

Now that first impressions are a success, the next step is to connect by communicating effectively.

Listen and interact! Any woman will tell you that the key to her heart is a man who will take the time to LISTEN to her. She wants to feel like you honor what she has to say and her words are valuable.

In the art of communication, listening is just as important as spreading valuable content. If your love interest is spewing out great information, even if you pause and allow your date to talk, if you are not truly listening, you will respond with information that is sub-par.

Never assume you know what your audience wants to hear. Listen first, then respond.

Quality content + Information your audience wants (discovered by listening) = Great Communication.

How do you LISTEN to your audience?

  • Monitor their conversations
  • Put yourself in their minds. What would they want? What are their problems? What solutions can you provide for them?
  • Take polls and request feedback in exchange for prizes and gifts
  • Subscribe to Google Alerts for an industry keyword that describes your business so you can monitor the web communication.
  • Use Twitter search and input your brand name, your competitors’ names, and any keyphrases your customers may use so you can discover what people are talking about.

3. The Dating Stage

The next stage of a relationship involves the courtship and dating. At this point you must show your potential partner that you are someone who can be trusted. It’s a time where false pretenses are shattered and your partner can see the “real” you.

When running a business online, and even as your business grows, it can become harder to show authenticity. But this should not deter you. You will never earn the trust of your fans and followers unless you are authentic.

A lack of authenticity only lasts for so long. When relationships hit a certain mark (usually 6-12 months), either you are “real” with your mate or the relationship will not last. People cannot trust others unless they feel they are interacting with the “real” person. If you display something other than who you are, it comes across as fake, which is actually a lie.

How can you be authentic in social media?

  • Develop your unique voice. What makes your business great? What is your brand’s personality?
  • Talk like a real person. Avoid professional and boring “5 dollar words” (unless that is authentically you).

If you think you need to talk exactly like someone else to succeed in social media, you have already failed. Emulate, but never imitate.

4. Marriage

You tied the knot! You are committed to each other for a lifetime. Getting married is a joyous occasion, but in order to be successful in marriage, you must know how to resolve conflicts. Amidst screaming children and in-law madness, we often say or do things we regret later.

If you messed up and did something to make your husband or wife angry or hurt, what would you do after?

In a marriage or in any relationship, it’s important to remember to fess up to your mistakes. The same holds true in social media.

Businesses are bound to screw up from time to time. Everyone is fallible. The important thing to remember is to handle the situation properly and not hide it under the rug. Respond swiftly to any mistakes and show people that you care about their experience with your business. In most cases, showing your vulnerable side and acting with sincerity will be a great boost to your overall brand reputation.

5. Make it Forever

What is the secret to longevity in a relationship? Keep things exciting and create events that will always make your partner smile!

Keep your fans and followers entertained and excited to interact with you. Make them want to visit your profiles and spend time there.

How can you add a little excitement?

  • Add the element of surprise – Similar to how your spouse would love to be surprised with a dozen roses, surprise your fans and followers with a free report or the chance to win a product or services.
  • Think outside of the box and draw people in. For example, if you sell womens shoes, branch out into other elements of the fashion industry and surprise your audience with some different, yet related content. This creates an unexpected twist which can help to “rekindle the flame”.
  • Inject some comedy into your campaigns – There is nothing wrong with making people laugh as long as it remains professional. According to Social Media Examiner, the New York City Department of Health started the “NYC Condom Campaign” and searched for people on Twitter using keyphrases such as “going out partying” and “looking to hook up”. The Department of Health would surprise these tweeters by responding with funny tweets like “Pick me up, I’ll keep you covered”.

Would I ever run a campaign similar to the Department of Health? Never! But, it does give you food for thought and can help you to think outside of the box to keep your audience surprised and happy.

It’s All About Relationships.

Whether you are simply courting your audience or going for longevity, one principle always remains true. If you focus on “relationship” first and keep the needs of your audience as a top priority, you will experience the true meaning of social media and your business will reap the rewards.

By Jenna Scaglione