Social media for customer service [Infographic]
21Jan13

Social media is ubiquitous now and for many organisations it has become an essential and effective marketing tool. But social media can also be highly effective as a customer service tool, something that relatively few organisations realise or utilise.

I have found from interactions with larger organisations that if you can fix an issue that a customer is having via social media you’ll find it’s one of the best marketing channels you’ve ever worked in. Leave them hanging, and you’ll find out the opposite is true.

This Infographic from ClickSoftware highlights compelling stats, for example, customers who engage with companies via social media spend 20%-40% more with those companies. So, how do you use social media when interacting with corporate brands or with your own customers?

Don’t listen to the “experts”. 5 reasons why SEO is more important than ever
3Sep12

The web is a place for new and shiny things, for fads and sexy new start-ups. Like many of us, web “experts” have short attention spans and tend to jump from one fad to the next. Over the last few years I have heard a consistent refrain that Search is dead or dying and being replace by something new or better.

In 2012 the discussion around search have been even more vigorous following Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Some have even claimed this will kill the SEO industry.

WRONG.

SEO is more important than ever, it just needs to be addressed differently.The only people suffering are the SEO’s who cling to old-fashioned strategies that are no longer effective.

Lets look at the facts:

  • Here in Australia, Google continues to enjoy approximately 94% share of all search traffic according to Stat Counter.
  • Crucially, being found on page 1 of Google is still the best way to drive qualified traffic to your website.
  • The higher your Google search ranking , the more likely you will receive a click through to your site, as this graphic from Search Engine Watch displays.

A lot of the “search is dead” hysteria has been due to Google’s apparent punishment or discounting of unnatural link-building. This has long been the main tactic of many SEO’s and is how they measure and charge for their services. So while it might mean the death of SEO for for practitioners, the fact that Google is placing less emphasis on link-building is a good thing for consumers. It mean that results are steadily becoming more relevant. Smart SEO’s know this and are addressing it.

What is also becoming apparent is that social media is becoming a significant factor in search results. Most experts now agree that Google and Bing are paying attention to the amount of social activity around posts and pages on your website, even if Google is paying an unnatural amount of attention to its own network. The smart marketers are making sure they have a holistic approach to search and social to achieve the best results.

As Neil Perkin says in his recent analysis of the industry:

“….whilst SEO may not be dying, it is certainly changing and changing fast. As the link between so-called ‘earned media’ and search engine results gets stronger and as the data sources that form results become more numerous and more complex, the requirement is increasingly for SEO to be integrated into everything that the brand does. That means not only the quality of your content, but how you produce it and what you do with it. The skills of a good SEO person have always been about increasing visibility of content and getting it in front of people who are prospective buyers/customers/consumers. And that skill will surely be in more demand than ever.”

SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Its changing rapidly but as long as so many consumers are logging on to research and purchase SEO will remain an important and necessary task. Honestly, we’re only at the beginning of the online shopping revolution. The numbers will grow exponentially in the next 5 years.

The question now is whether your SEO strategy reflects the current state of the search industry. If it doesn’t then its likely your results will be far from optimal.

 

Infographic: Best Times to Tweet or Post on Facebook
6Aug12

Most of us now know that effective use of social media can be highly beneficial for business, but have you ever wondered when is the best to post your message to reach and engage with the most people? Fortunately Bit.ly have done the research on this and have the answers courtesy of this nice infographic by Raka Creative. They’ve worked out the best times to Tweet for click-throughs and the best times to post on Facebook for click-throughs. How does this compare with your experiences?

 

IOC out of touch with Olympic social media laws
29Jul12

Olympics social media

Image via techi.com

The Olympics is considered to be the greatest sporting event in the world as well as the oldest international sports extravaganza. Leading up to the London Olympics 2012, Beijing as the host of 2008 had ushered in an era of glitzy grandeur to the event which made the games a big hit all over the world. When every continent comes together for the Olympics with the urge to create a historic event every four years, you would expect the Olympics to sync well with times. Sadly, the upcoming London Olympics 2012 has just been plagued with a controversial statute.

The IOC, International Olympic Committee, has set aside a few very strict social media laws for this year. As per the social media laws stipulated for 2012 Olympics, every post, tweet or blog, in short any online content being circulated through social media or social networks, must be in a first person narrative. Which implies that every piece of  information posted online should be in a diary type format necessitating the fact that the poster, tweeter or blogger is giving a firsthand account and speaking for himself or herself.

If these social media laws were not enough, the IOC further states that no videos can be shared from the Olympic village and if athletes were to post any photos or any sort of content about their peers or other competing athletes then they would have to seek permission from the concerned athlete or athletes prior to doing so. What the social media laws for this year Olympics imply is that there would be a sort of social media ban on athletes and everyone involved in the event. This is a form of censorship being imposed and the social media laws basically amount to a social media ban.

What the IOC had in contemplation while announcing these social media laws is not well ascertained at this stage but the sporting community and also a huge section of the online community are not very happy with these social media laws. Putting a social media ban would not only limit the exposure of the Olympics but telling the athletes what they can do, share and what they cannot is simply something that would not go down well with most sportspeople, not to mention the hundreds of millions of social network users.

The IOC is certainly out of touch with the social media phenomenon to have come up with these laws which are nothing short of a social media ban.

Take your mark, get set…..Tweet! The social media Olympics
24Jul12

Usain Bolt. Image via telegraph.co.uk

When the Olympics start in London on Friday, 27 July they will be forever known as the social media Olympics. At the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008 any news from there may have found its way onto the Internet via blog posts and the occasional video being posted and re-posted on YouTube.

Since then the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest has changed the media landscape dramatically and this time around the impact of social media on the Olympics will be huge. In the past people may have sent text messages, e-mails or commented on forums and chat rooms about the most interesting aspects of the Olympics. Can you imagine the volume of traffic that will be going through all the social media sites as soon as an event has taken place?

As soon as Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line there will be thousands if not millions of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. People will be posting on Facebook to get interaction from their friends about the race. Twitter will be buzzing with all sorts of comments, jokes and anecdotes about what just took place. Pinterest will be awash with folk pinning a whole variety of photos that have been lifted from news sites all around the world.

What kind of impact do you think that the social media Olympics will have on newspapers? By the time a journalist has written their piece, the editor has chosen the relevant photos and the rest of the newspaper printed and delivered, there will be very little in the newspaper that has not already been seen, discussed and dissected by the vast majority of the civilised world. The impact of social media on the Olympics could render newspaper coverage superfluous.

Many people will be watching the Olympics not on TV but on iPads and various other mobile devices. Every single bit of news that comes out of the Olympics will spread through the social media like wildfire. It is going to be very difficult for the media to compete against the more popular social media sites. It will be interesting to see the increase in the volume of traffic that is generated by the social media Olympics.

A lot of the athletes themselves will be posting comments on Facebook and Twitter and it is here that most people will go, rather than tune into TV to see any interviews. People now expect news to be delivered immediately and are impatient. If you want to see results, comments, quotes or photos of any of the events it is most likely you will go to one of the social media sites for instant gratification.

2012 will be the first true social media Olympics. The data that emerges over the next few weeks will be telling. Take your mark, get set…..Tweet!

Which are the best social media sites for SEO? [Infographic]
18Jun12

How Social Media Activity Impacts Organic Search Rankings

Can social media activity impact organic search rankings? We often hear that it can but this recent study set out to prove it with a simple test. Tasty Placement in Austin, Texas ran the study then designed this nice infographic to hep make sense of the current relationships between social media activity and search engine optimisation.

Note: US data only.

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The 10 main reasons people unfollow you on Twitter [Infographic]
4Jun12

Ever wondered why your Twitter follower count goes up and down? Want to get a feel for what works and what annoys people on Twitter?

Then you might find this infographic useful. Its the 10 main reasons people unfollow you on Twitter and it was created by fellow Age of Conversation author Douglas Karr and his team at DK New Media.

Thanks to Douglas for sharing it.

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Meet The Social Traveler & help him help small charities
16May12

Bjorn Troch is The Social Traveler

Bjorn Troch is The Social Traveler

Last year I met a Belgian guy who made me insanely jealous. He was traveling the world indefinitely using social media to connect, find places, set his itinerary and generally have a great time.

Along the way he was tackling crazy challenges suggested by the online community he has fostered. Right now he is riding alone on a tandem bike from Kuala Lumpur all the way to Hong Kong. He’s trying to do the ride of more than 5000 km in 3 months.

His name is Bjorn Troch and he calls himself The Social Traveler.

Turns out Bjorn is a really nice guy, which probably explains why his adventure is still progressing smoothly after a few years of non-stop country hopping.
Beyond having a great time and making us office workers jealous, Bjorn is also trying to make a difference to the communities he visits along the way by helping small local charities in each area.

And that’s where you can help. I have chipped in to sponsor a few kilometers of Bjorn’s travels knowing he will help small charities along the way….and I encourage you to do the same. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in some of these communities so help Bjorn help other and then follow his adventures from the comfort of your laptop.

Here is Bjorn’s full story….

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4 years and 34000 tweets later….
28Mar12

by [me]

I joined Twitter 4 years ago today. At first it was mainly to help co-promote the launch of the Age of Conversation. Like many business owners I was skeptical about this new messaging system and didn’t use it much to begin with.

I remember going to a PubCamp in Sydney hosted by Jed White (who later became a good friend) and being somewhat bemused by a team of people from Happener led by Markus Hafner (who later became a friend) all furiously tweeting from their laptops while speakers did their presentations. It all seemed a bit silly.

But inevitably I began using Twitter more and more. I remember Gavin Heaton (who has become a good friend) telling Gordon and me that it won’t be until you have at least 50 followers and are following at least that many that we’ll see the value in Twitter.

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Must read report: Outlook for Australian Social Business 2012
6Mar12

by [me]

When it comes to social media in Australia there are plenty who talk the talk but only a handful who really know their stuff.

Gavin Heaton is one of the few who have respected experience and knowledge in this field. His long-running and very popular blog Servant of Chaos, his collaborative Age of Conversation books and his mentoring of numerous social marketers is testimony to Gavin’s standing in the online community.

Gavin has just released The Outloook for Australian Social Business 2012 as an e-book. It contains a tons of excellent information that every modern marketer should know.

I highly recommend visiting the website and downloading the report.