Links worth a click #17

Some informed viewing for you this week.

First up, Coca Cola’s approach to social media in video form. Sure it’s big budget, but there are smart lessons in here. Love how they’ve used the word liquid which is a creative way of linking their strategy to their products. How could you do something similar?

Second, a video showing how Google search continues to evolve to the personal needs of the user.

Finally, the latest user data from Linkedin (for January 2012) shows how the platform continues to add users around the world. Some interesting intelligence for presentations.


 

Links worth a click #15

A week with some great online content, tips and tricks.

PowerPoint as content: PowerPoint gets a hard press, in and out of meetings. But, used correctly, it can be turned into social media gold. Have a quick read of this blog post and see what ideas it sparks for you and your customers.

Business blogging: Here’s a piece for those amongst you managing or considering blogs, a list of ten great things to include in your thinking.

Some useful advice next on designing paid search (pay per click) campaigns that deliver.

Apparently, it’s no longer six degrees of separation when it comes to human relationships. According to Facebook, its 800m users give you access to anyone in the world (if they are on Facebook) in only 4 hops.

Using video? You should be. And it should be optimised. Here are some tips on how to optimise online video, with a natural focus on YouTube.

More next week. Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping weekend!

Tips on marketing, innovation and being remarkable

Two great takeaways in this slide set I spotted during this week’s review of the latest uploads to Slideshare, in addition to the great embedded YouTube video functionality half way through.


1. Work on your elevator pitch. Conventional wisdom says you have 30-60 seconds to get across what you do. Maybe if you work in Canary Wharf. The rest of us probably have 10 seconds max.

2. Slides 21+ – first doesn’t win and remarkable beats first every time.

Kudos to Charlie Wollborg

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My Twitter Week (w/e 13 March 2011)

Here’s some links worth a click from the last seven days:

Right off the bat, MarketingProfs reported on how YouTube topped Facebook & Twitter in User Satisfaction. Despite 7 in 10 users of Facebook returning to the site within 7 days, it seems more people share more content on YouTube.

Mark Shaeffer penned the excellent Six ideas to get your company blog out of the fog. In it he dissects the blog, looks at the data and comments on design, structure, content and promotion. A must read if you produce any kind of online content.

Over on Utalkmarketing, I stumbled on a post examining why marketers shouldn’t let email marketing drop off the radar. This backs nicely into stats I recall from last year about how social media can help create an audience but opt in email allows you to provide personalised content. There is still a place for email in the modern marketing mix.

The very readable SocialMediaB2B blog posted an interesting piece looking at how to make social media interesting more digestible and relevant for clients and managers with 6 Ways to Format B2B Social Media Reports.

Staying on the social media front, it always seems to be a challenge to locate good case studies. Here are five of the latest that involve social media from a PR perspective from Mashable.

The last one this week provided more proof Facebook isn’t everything with Econsultancy’s Top 50 brands in social.

More next week.

My Twitter week (w/e 6 March 2011)

A belated post (everthing seems to be belated at the moment with two boys and a marathon to consider!)

Monday was Oscar’s fall out day, where The Social Network missed out on the biggies. It was fascinating watching the breakfast shows falling over themselves to get a minute with the celebrities attending the post Oscar’s parties. Quite why people like Jamie Oliver and Katie Price were there remains beyond me.

In the Twittersphere, Econsultancy were remarking on another brand penalised for dodgy SEO practice, this time JC Penney. Be warned, like TV licence vans, they get you eventually. New rules on product placement on British TV were unveiled, paving the way for fries with everything.

Tuesday came with news that The ASA is now including online campaigns, websites and email marketing within its policing claims remit.

Wednesday, I headed to Technology for Marketing and Advertising at Earls Court. If you missed my write-ups, head over the BDB Blog or click here and then here. There was still time (and wifi) to pick up the ‘official’ launch of Seth Godin’s new output from his publishing Domino Project, a new book called Poke the Box.

Thursday saw Charlie Sheen‘s Guinness Book of Records entry following his tigerblood enfused Twitter antics hit the mass media.

On Friday, a genius Royal Wedding cash-in was unveiled in the form of two stories centred on new Mr Men character Little Miss Princess. The ever inspiring @oneforty posted a blog on 8 Ways to Use Social Media to Track Your Competition.

What have you been reading and sharing in the last seven days?

My Twitter Week (21-27 Feb 2011)

A round up of what I’ve been reading, clicking and sharing over the last seven days. There were a number of really good reads this week, please take a minute to check over them, there will be something for you!

In a week where the top Twitter trends were understandably dominated by the spread of democratisation in the Middle East and the earthquake in New Zealand, good marketing was initially hard to find.

1. CONTENT It was Tuesday before a great blog post surfaced, where on the Savvy b2b Marketing blog, the girls were looking at how to overcome the four main challenges in b2b content marketing. If you’re lazy, the four challenges are using content, producing content, delivering consistently engaging material and best practice dissemination of content.

2. BLOGGING From there, it was interesting to get Mark Schaefer’s take on how to make your company blog connect like a personal blog which is a real problem for many businesses right now trying to dip their toe in the digital social media space.

3. BUSINESS In business news, it was interesting to read that recession busting Asda outlined plans to share a £27m bonus windfall with staff. And not an Ocado van in sight!

4. SOCIAL MEDIA Back on the internet marketing front, Social Media Examiner published a very impressive read reviewing the 22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring. I particularly liked the look of CinchCast (audio recording on the go), Screenr (screen capture software) & Onlywire (blog aggregation).

5. WEB TV Meanwhile, YouTube was moving further into the realm of online TV channel with the news that fans could soon be tuning in to NBA basketball & NHL ice hockey games live on YouTube.

6. PUBLISHING The always insightful Harvard Business Blog had Joshua Gans musing on the present and future of digital publishing and the changing relationship with ‘content complementors’.

7. B2B SOCIAL MEDIA The Excellent MarketingProfs posted on How to Create a B2B Facebook Community, again an enduring discussion topic at marketing conferences around the world right now.

8. BLOGGING Hubspot published a useful rundown of the top 100 marketing blogs. Disappointed not to be in there, but it may be one for the future. At the time of writing I just got picked up by the NYTimes (item 7), so fame can’t be far away!

9. LINCHPIN Finally, the doyen of modern blogging and business thinking. Seth Godin returns to his latest work to ask ‘Are you a linchpin?’ Here’s the blueprint.

What have you been reading, and what do you think to any of these?

10 top recession marketing tips

Recession marketing, bootstrapping, call it what you will. These are difficult times as business buyers shop around for the best suppliers offering the best all-round deals.

The Marketing Assassin blog was spawned in the recession and was a response to the excess and confused marketing that blights our profession.

Most companies don’t have seven [six, even five] figure marketing budgets and can’t count on award winning agencies, so they have to be targeted and smart.

Here is a quick fire list of ten things you should be doing to ensure you give your business the best chance of success, whilst at the same time restricting cost.

1. Apply a metrics-based approach to every marketing project. If an activity doesn’t fit with a business objective, stop it immediately. This is especially relevant to costly advertising plans and trade shows.

2. Cancel magazine and news subscriptions and set up Google Reader RSS feeds and Google Alerts. If articles get placed, buy print quality PDFs and reprints for marketing purposes, it will be cheaper in the long run.

3. Tap into freelancers rather than bulking up on staff. The recession has created a huge and experienced community of talented but displaced creative individuals that can be brought in on short term projects. Use them as required in stead of taking on additional headcount cost.

4. Move any new employees and kit to the ‘cloud’. Consider using free Google docs rather than costly MS Office.

5. Visit your most profitable customers and tell them how much you value them. Create reasons to talk to them and see them more. Present some insight, fresh ideas, act as a connector by facilitating introductions to other clients.

6. Engage / re-engage customers via email. Send an opt in email suggesting you will contact them quarterly and showcase latest work, ideas, industry trends and insight. Remind them what you excel at, and advise them of any changes, improvements and news. A simple html email designed and delivered through a service like Dotmailer will suffice.

7. When you cut back or cancel your advertising plan (point 1), use measurement  as an excuse and adopt a PR based approach instead. PR has longer legs and supports leadership and credibility objectives – essential in the b2b sale.

8. Use existing content. Give lots of presentations? Repackage and host on Slideshare. Add a audio commentary and captions and post to YouTube. Recreate PR as blog posts and white papers. Produce best practice presentations for use as webinars. In essence adopt free to use social media techniques, but the right ones for your business.

9. Use Linkedin. A global network of 80m (stats vary) business people means your future customers, suppliers, freelancers and recruits are all there. Use search filters available for free from the home page.

10. Feed all news, blog content to your website home page to bolster SEO, to your Linkedin company profile page and to a Facebook business page. If you don’t have one of these, set one up, if for no other reason than SEO. (More on Facebook for business in upcoming posts, bookmark the blog now).

Most businesses are working on reduced budgets in 2011 yet have to deliver more just to stand still. Give yourself the best chance by being focused on critical objectives, removing unnecessary cost and stimulating demand in your products and services.

Images: Michael G Holmes, Craven Publishing

Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection

Top Tweets of the Week (we 7 Jan 2011)

Monday 3 Jan: I liked Seth’s blog called ‘Maybe next year’ because it was about ignoring the little voice in your head and all the doom merchants. Read this and get off your backside: Seth’s Blog: ‘Maybe next year’ http://bit.ly/esxKRN via @ThisIsSethsBlog

Tuesday 4 Jan: I signed up to the WordPress Postaday initiative for 2011 this week. They have set up  cool daily blog full of blogging inspiration to help avoid blogger avoid writers block. Check it out here http://ow.ly/3y59D

Wednesday 5 Jan:  I retweeted this from @BtoBSocialMedia on How to Create Your Own YouTube Channel in 10 Minutes because video as we know brings websites, blogs, interaction and engagement to life http://bit.ly/aMbb65

Thursday 6 Jan: Thought this link provided a useful guide to Twitter newbies and a refresher to those who have been active for a while, via @PublicityGuru: 50 Ways to FAIL On Twitter http://bit.ly/fJfIT0

Fridy 7 Jan: I love a good white paper and the guys at @KomoriAmerica have put together a cracker on good social media, especially useful for those operating in b2b marketing http://bit.ly/eJHnZp

Best b2b social media tools: video

Video hosting online has been greatly simplified thanks to sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Companies and brands can now be brought to life with engaging moving content in a way not even possible five years ago.

And with emerging digital tools including email, Twitter, Linkedin and blogs, finding an audience that will view, like and in turn share your content is easier as well.

Hence the explosion in online video. It is estimated that 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every second of the day and that billions of videos are watched every day.

Why use it for b2b?

YouTube is now a search engine in its own right. Video search is accounting for more and more of online search, with some commentators putting the figure as high as 50%. This makes profiles on sites like YouTube and Vimeo an essential part of your digital strategy. Call it social media optimization – where you use social media and file sharing sites to post content and boost your search engine optimization.

Consider using video if you have a compelling story to tell and the written word just doesn’t cut it. Or, if you need to deliver key messages in a more informative, engaging format. Or, if you actively want content to go viral.

The added attraction of online hosted video is that if it hits any of these buttons, the available options to browsers are huge – from embedding it another web page to tweeting, emailing and posting links all over the Internet.

But, don’t look to video if it is a one-off project, if you don’t like being in front of the camera, or if you don’t want to risk the video’s popularity running away with itself.

How to get started?

This isn’t a post about the mechanics of creating a video. For that, I recommend you visit the excellent Social Media Examiner site and this video blogging post in particular. That will set you off down the path with the right equipment, shooting and editing, together with some guidance and further reading on uploading and sharing elements.

Instead, this post concentrates on the why, how to get started and the sorts of content that you might consider as a b2b marketer.

As a starting point, register accounts with both YouTube and Vimeo. Aim to reserve the same profile names as other online and social media platforms as this makes it much easier to integrate and for people to remember you. Once this is done, you will own those profile names.

The challenge is then to either repackage and reformat what you have, or create new content. On the repackaging side, consider existing video material, animations and presentations that are already available within your business. Could these be edited, captioned and set to music or a commentary and uploaded as new content? Are there opportunites to refocus existing blog articles, press articles, conference presentations into bite-size ‘how to’ videos?

Some ways you could effectively use video to build interest in what you do include

–       Hosting conference presentations

–       Trade show highlights (whether it involves you, customers or the media)

–       Providing customer testimonials

–       Delivering relevant industry and expert interviews

–       Introducing key staff with video profiles

–       Video blogging

–       Video ‘how to’ guides

–       Product demonstrations

–       Corporate video

I’ve deliberately relegated ‘the usual stuff’ to the bottom of the list, which isn’t exclusive. Above all, have some fun. If your video is contrived, it will look contrived.

An example

It’s consumer but kitchen blenders are perhaps one of the dullest appliances in the home. But, not if it’s a Blendtec. Sales have increased 500% as a result of their innovative ‘will it blend’ site and promotional videos which have seen anything from phones to ipods and golf balls to shovels tested in their blenders.

Blendtec’s YouTube account hosts 103 short videos, has 344,000 followers  and has been viewed over 6 million time on YouTube – with many millions more on aggregation!

Summary

Like all other content, approach video from the perspective that it will endure, it could go viral and it will represent your business in an exciting way.

Stylistically, try to avoid talking heads by mixing establishing shots with head shots and audio. Think about the two minute videos on the regional TV news. If there is lots of content, split it across several uploads.

And remember, you’re not making a Hollywood blockbuster. The best viral video is rough around the edges.

What examples of great video content have you created or found online?

Top image www.viralblog.com