11 Nov 2008

Is Social Media & Search a Love Story or a War Story?

After a very short five minute break we’re ready to go again.

Lawrence Coburn is moderating with speakers Liana Evans, David Wallace, Chris Winfield and Bill Hartzer. My adrenaline is pumping, so let’s go!

David Wallace is up first.

The Excuses for Avoiding Social Media:

1. Lack of Control: Within social media environments, companies are afraid that their customers will talk about them or even worse…to them.

2. No One to Monitor: Having social media profiles is like having little Web sites that need constant monitoring.

3. No Money: Unless you are going to do a customized theme or develop a widget, it costs nothing to set up and get involved in social media.

4. Corporate Red Tape: When every decision a company makes has to go through multiple processes, it takes too long to get things through

5. Blogging Excuses: “We cannot afford to install a blog” – There are free platforms and templates out there you can use. “We have no one to write for us” — You can hire out and outsource the job. “We have nothing to say” — Do you have product descriptions or sales literature? Then you have something to say.  You can write product reviews, opinionated posts, cover news, etc.

The Benefits of Social Media

1. Branding Opportunities: Protect your brand.

2. Build Link Popularity: Link back to your original Web site within the social media sites you set up. Once you get these various social media profiles indexed, they will count as inbound links to your main site.

3. Attracting traffic: Dependng on the industry you are in, social media and networking sites can send quality traffic to your site. Examples: The entertainment industry and Myspace or YouTube and Will It Blend.

4. Interaction With the Public: Talk to your public.

5. Networking Opportunities: Trying to be the lone ranger of your industry is not always the most productive way of running your business.

6. Control the SERPs for your Brand and Product Names: Utilize your own Web site and social media profiles to control the first three pages of search results for your brand and product names.

Final Thoughts:

  • Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from protecting your brand and taking advantage of everything social media can bring.
  • If you have a Web site, you should have a blog.

Up next is Chris Winfield.

Google: The leading search engine in the world.

Digg: The leading social news Web site in he world.

62.9 percent of US searchers are done on Google. Digg has 27 million unique visitors a month.

Goals:

  • Google: You choose your keywords. You optimize the site. You get links. Rank number one.
  • Digg: You create viral content. You submit it to Digg. Goal: Promote it to the Digg home page. Timeframe: 24 hours.

Algorithms

  • Google: Looks at on page factors, the age and history of the domain. Inbound links
  • Digg: Looking at the submitter. Is it a power user or a new user? Voting patterns — how unnatural is it? Buries — how many people are burying it? History of the domain.

Traffic

  • Google: Depends on the terms that you are ranking well for. Sustained traffic.
  • Digg: Typically between 10,000-50,00 visitors in a 24 hour period. The first few hours will usually have the most visitors aka The Digg Effect. Depends on the topic. Tech news is more popular than football. Heh, bet you didn’t think you’d hear that in high school.

Advantages: Bloggers

  • Google: You’re going to get sustained traffic in Google. New people who are interested in something you have written about.
  • Digg: You’re going to get your content out to thousands and thousands of people who don’t know anything about you. It’s a good way to get a following.  Build up RSS and email subscriptions.

Advantages: Commercial Sites

  • Google: Just-in-time marketing
  • Digg: Get thousands of new people exposed to your brand. They don’t want your content there. They know you’re just trying to get links. Great way to “get them in the door” and then lead them throughout your site.

Advantages: Large Media Properties

  • Google: Hundreds of thousands of pages = hundreds of thousands of opportunities for visitors
  • Digg: Traffic = page views = ad impressions. Great for first mover advantage if you can be the one to break a story.

Digg: The Great Influencer

It’s a great way to get your content in front of people.

You just made the Digg home page. Lots of bloggers are going to be linking to and talking about you.  Then other people see it and submit it to Reddit and StumbleUpon. Then other people start sending it to each other via IM and LiveJournal-type sites.

The most important thing is that it creates touchpoints. You want to create as many different places as possible for people to consume you’re content.

It’s really important to use a multi-pronged approach. You have to be doing everything. View social media sites as complementary, not replacements for one another. Don’t forget to go niche. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

Liana Evans is up next. Hi, Li!

Li talks about the rise of social media. When advertising first started, it was the advertisers who controlled everything. You’d see a commercial over and over again to try and engrain it into your head. As the rise of the Internet came, blogs and social media started to take hold. This scares advertisers and big companies.

What social media isn’t: It’s not a quick fix, it’s not a substitue for sound SEO practices. It’s not a silver bullet. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.  You can’t hold it in your hands. There are a lot of places people hang out and you need to know where they are.

How do you know if social media really works: You need to stop and decide what you classify as success. What are you measuring?  Companies haven’t decided what their goals are yet. Is it the number of video views? Blog subscribers? You need to define these goals before you start in social media.

As we go forward, the search engines are going to look less at links and more about what people are saying about your brand. Web sites are elitist. Social media allows people to voice their opinions all over.

Case Study: Barack Obama

1. He understod his audience — the young voters, African Americans, blue collar voters etc.

2. He held the conversation on hisown site and let people build their own communities.

3. He had YouTube: There are more than 19 million channel views to the Barack Obama channel. There are more than 1800 videos. He had a LinkedIn profile with groups and discussions. He was in Facebook.

Summary:

  • Know your audience
  • Define your success goals
  • Start a conversation
  • Don’t try to control the conversation
  • Encourage sharing
  • Be social

Bill Hartzer is up next.

Old Style SEO was: Create content on site. On page Optimization. Links = all directories, reciprocal links, link exchanges. Buy links = advertise. Write articles = article directories. Create link bait articles, content. The problem was getting link bait noticed.

New Social Media SEO: Create content on site. On-page optimization. Links = authority directories. Unique articles on industry blogs. Link bait on own site. Use social media to “get noticed”. Success in social media = getting noticed in search.

Keys to succsesful social media: particpate, vote and comment, add friends, put your site in your profile, social media has niches, submit to appropriate niche sites and use social media to get market share of links.

Getting Market Share of Links

How do you get market share of links? Watch industry news and looks for news-worthy content. React quickly. Quickly submit to social media for links. Go back and edit, update as necessary.

RSS Feed Promotion: Take advantage of all RSS feeds — the ones for your own site, for your social media submissions and the RSS feeds that link t oyou. Remember that a link to you is more powerful if the page that links is on has more links. Promote the people who link to you.

Five minutes til the next session. [runs]