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PubCon: Social Media – The Big Sexy Buzz

Posted on Nov 12th, 2008
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    Social Media: The Big Sexy BuzzYou may or may not be using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, or Digg in your business. The overarching theme from this panel at PubCon was… why not, what do you have to lose?

    Social media gurus, including Warren Whitlock, Co-Author of The Twitter Revolution, Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing for Fuel Interactive, Guillaume Bouchard, CEO of NVI, and Kent Schoen, Facebook Product Manager, joined forces at this session to discuss the Big sexy buzz around social media and provide some food for thought to convince skeptics that social media can be a successful marketing channel.

    Warren Whitlock kicked off the session discussing twitter habits.

    There are two stages of Twitter:
    1.    Denial: Why would anyone care what I ate for breakfast?
    2.    Reluctant Acceptance: I have a Twitter account but haven’t seen any traffic

    The Twitter Revolution really is about making meaningful connections.  Let people know what you are up to, because contrary to some beliefs, people do care.

    Warren explained that in today’s online world, we are all publishers. If you have a MySpace page, a Facebook account, or use Twitter, you publish content for other users.

    Many people have asked the question, “how do I get more people to my website?” Warren’s advice: publish more content and tweet more. Give users more advice, resources, and content and they will find your website and make a connection with your brand.

    The most important thing to know about Twitter is that there are no rules.

    You can use Twitter however you want, but know that people are not going to follow you if you spam them, and only post promotional links. Be authentic in your approach and you will make a connection.

    Next up, Brian Cartern discussed the benefits of the big Trifecta.

    What is the Trifecta?

    The Trifecta is a combination of blogging, bookmarking and Twittering. The key is to incorporate optimization into each corner of the Trifecta.

    Optimization = Getting the results you want faster

    Brian gave us his 5 step process to optimize anything:
    1.    Identify your goal
    2.    Establish a measurement
    3.    Where you at?
    4.    Plan Route to Goal
    5.    Let results guide progress

    In social media, if you want to succeed, you need a brand that is more powerful than your target markets. In social media, you need a powerful goal.

    Why does the trifecta work?
    –    Blog is a place for you to establish your authority
    –    Bookmarking is social proof
    –    Twitter gets you attention

    Guillaume Bouchard talked mainly to social news and the benefits of sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, and stated that the main principle of social news sites it to catalyze natural link growth.

    The realistic role of social news:
    –    Produce link worthy  content
    –    Taking luck out of the equation

    The Social platforms: Digg and StumbleUpon make up 90% of social traffic.

    –    Onsite voting
    –    Tough to succeed
    –    Can get buried
    –    Large traffic spike
    –    Success: home page

    –    Toolbar voting
    –    Not as tough to succeed
    –    Can get thumbed-down
    –    Lower total, more gradual spike
    –    Success: recommendation surge

    Make it or break social media strategy involves:
    –    Content
    –    Platform
    –    Submitter
    –    Category
    –    Vote (solicitation)

    Content Development:
    Approval = perception of quality and enjoyment / time taken to enjoy

    Give quality:
    –    They like to laugh, but avoid failed attempts at humor
    –    They appreciate hard work, but avoid build-content-quick-schemes
    –    They like learning
    –    They tend to follow their communities (dis)approval
    –    They do not like spam, or SEO & marketing, for that matter

    Save Time:
    –    They don’t want too much text
    –    They want to be able to skim and get the basic idea
    –    They don’t like having to click unnecessarily
    –    They resent when your server can’t handle their visitorship
    –    They like being able to vote right now

    Platform of Trust:
    Both Digg staff and users value trust. Unfortunately, trust isn’t easy to earn.

    The numbers
    –    Trusted domains account for +90% of home pages
    –    Of non-trusted domains, 30% are images, 10% are videos
    –    ~100-125 stories hit the home page every day

    The Trusted Submitter:
    –    Domains are trusted, but so are people
    –    Trusted submitters are less likely to be buried
    –    Receive immediate fried votes
    –    More than 30% of sites on the home page are from top submitters

    Category Selection:
    –    Different categories have different voting requirements
    –    Digg has a proportional home page breakdown for each category

    Soliciting Votes:
    –    Look for exchange opportunities
    –    Leverage instant messaging
    –    In-site communication services
    –    Vote on lots of stories

    Ken Shone, product manager for Facebook, wrapped up the session sharing some Facebook statistics with the group.

    Facebook Users:
    –    120 million active users
    –    15 million mobile users
    –    1billion profile details
    –    20 million daily status updates
    –    100 million daily pokes
    –    20 million daily wall posts

    Social media is influential. A survey conducted asked users when they were considering purchasing a product or service, what was the most trusted and valued source of information. Over 70% said word of mouth.

    With massive amounts of content online, communities and friends have become the filter to help determine an individual’s media preferences and is used to identify what content is worth their time.

    Measurement and analytics with Facebook:

    Passive measurement
    –    Lexicon measures social interactions and demographics on Facebook
    –    Identify the trend in conversation
    –    Ad tools can help you understand who is out there (geographic and demographics)

    Active measurement
    –    Discover who’s engaging with your business and how

    Demographic data may confirm your suspicions or lead you in a new direction. Make informed decisions based on how people interact with your content.

    If your company has not adopted social media as part of its marketing mix, what are some of the common objections or road blocks you have run into?

    Be sure to check back for more TopRank Pubcon coverage and visit the Pubcon photos on Flickr.