Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

Is Google+ Worth Marketers’ Time?

Google+ logoGoogle+ seems to have a lot of minuses. For a social networking site, it’s quite a lonely place, according to a new study that paints a bleak picture of user engagement.

According to RJMetrics, the 170 million Google+ population would rather spend their time elsewhere – probably Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

After analyzing info from the public timelines of 40,000 randomly selected users, RJMetrics found that 30 percent of first-time Google+ public posters don’t publish on the network again. Even after making five public posts, there is a 15 percent chance users will abandon their efforts. What’s more, when there is a publicly-viewable post, the lag time is about 12 days between each post, with very little response or re-sharing.

So, it appears that for many, Google+ is about as interesting as watching your socks dry. Even the new social lingo –such as “hangouts” (video chat with up to nine people), “circles” (give and get updates) and “+1” buttons (public stamp of approval) –hasn’t really caught on, and now some are claiming Google+ is only growing because Google is forcing membership when using its other products.

What’s a marketer to do?

Well, before you abandon the Google+ ship for smoother sailing on seemingly more productive social media waters, know that the key to success on Google+ may be for you to start thinking about it in a new way. Google+ is its own unique category of social networks, and as such, you simply can’t think of Google+ only in terms of customer engagement; you have to consider SEO, as well.

To help better explain my take, here are the three main pluses –and the three main minuses –I find with Google+: Continue reading

Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

Study: Only One in Ten Businesses Measures Social Media ROI

Measure tapeIn previous posts, I’ve puzzled over the reluctance of certain industries and professions (for example, health care organizations and law firms) to embrace social media as part of their marketing and customer service strategies.  But, here’s something I find even stranger: Businesses that ramp up their social media use without a plan measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

A study of 250 companies in the UK exposed disturbing discrepancies between time and resources devoted to social media and how well or thoroughly these businesses analyzed its impact.  Upon surveying the marketing decision-makers at these organizations, researchers at EPiServer discovered a staggering 90 percent had no substantive way of collecting or analyzing the return on investment from their social media marketing forays.

In addition, more than half of these same marketing leaders admitted to having devoted larger slices of their campaigns to social media over the past year, and nearly 30 percent stated they implemented an additional social media channel during that same time frame.  Moreover, one in five respondents predicted that they will invest even more resources on social media marketing over the coming 12 months—with no substantive evidence as to whether their current online campaigns had been effective.

When asked how they gauged the overall benefits their companies received as a result of their social media presence, the UK marketers provided some less than convincing testimonials: Continue reading

Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Seven Tips to Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation

LinkedIn logo on penLinkedIn bills itself as the world’s largest professional network with more than 150 million members, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. With that kind of reach, LinkedIn is a B2B marketers dream. But what’s the best way to take advantage of all this social media platform has to offer? How can you use LinkedIn to put qualified leads into your pipeline?

Here are a few fundamental steps to make LinkedIn work for your B2B company:

Make sure your profile page/company page is up-to-date. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised to see how many marketers make the mistake of using the “fix it and forget it” approach. When customers and prospects visit your company’s LinkedIn page, they should learn what is happening at your organization now –not what was happening months ago.  Start with cleaning-up personnel mentions; obviously, your company page should only list current employees.  Next, you’ll also want to update descriptions of the services you offer, recent awards, recognitions, etc. The same goes for recommendations; keep those as current as possible, too. All the links included in your profile are clickable, so use this page to drive traffic to the company website, key articles, etc. Once you’ve finished this basic housekeeping, set a calendar reminder to repeat the process in a few months. By scheduling periodic revisions, you’ll maintain a profile that’s accurate and fresh.

Stimulate engagement with the content you publish.  Your company’s profile page is only the first level of engagement on LinkedIn. In order to start building meaningful relationships with prospects, you’ll have to start participating in LinkedIn Groups. Use LinkedIn’s new Group Search to help you find the topics you care most about. Join a few groups and start visiting them regularly. Once you’re comfortable with the format and a few of the contributors, begin adding to the conversations. Post compelling content. Respond to threads initiated by others. Start establishing a reputation as your company’s helpful specialist, the “go-to” person in your particular field. Just remember: You’re there to build relationships –not to sell. Don’t just talk about what your company has to offer. Be engaging and help solve problems.

Establish yourself as an expert. One of the easiest ways to develop credibility is to start answering LinkedIn questions. Continue reading