Moderated by Anne Kennedy from Beyond Ink, who introduces the topic and panelists. She asks how many are actually using social media tools, and a fair amount of the nicely filled room raises their hands.
First speaker is Todd Parsons from BuzzLogic. BuzzLogic is an on-demand platform for social media marketing. They help identify influencers leading conversations on certain topics, and can also engage them. Blogging is hardly dead…65 Million Americans read blogs. Of them 60% are going to a blog explicitly to get an opinion. 65% of “online power shopper” always read user generated content (UGC) like reviews and spend an average of 10 minutes engaging with the UGC before they buy. 3.5 billion brand-related conversations are occurring per day. He gives an example of the linking behavior and dialogue that was fueled online by people talking about the recent news that the Toyota Prius could not pass the state of Georgia emissions testing.
Linking “gets a bit of a bad rap these days.” He feels this is wrong. He distinguishes between editorial and acquired links. Acquired links are engineered by marketers to gain search engine exposure. Editorial links are the organic result of producing great content, but harder to control. These types of links are rooted in trust. He states that search engines are getting much smarter at sniffing out manipulation. He talks about SE’s targeting bloggers associated with Pay per Post and devaluing their outbound links.
Social media tools (voting, comments, reviews, rankings) make it easier to foster SEO through authentic means., New technologies make is possible to locate important linking hubs. He was going to go into another case study but ran out of time.
Next up is Adam Lavelle from iCrossing. he says he has 5 minutes and 35 slides so bear with him. He goes through some illustrative slides that show how we are social animals that create connections. Content is the fuel that we sue to connect to each other. We have great devices to capture content, incredible software to shape it, and more ways to share and distribute it than ever before. What makes it social is out personal networks. LinkedIn, buddy lists, contact lists in Outlook, etc.
What does this mean for clients? Within three years 70% of the content online will be UGC. He quotes Clive Thompson who claims that Google is a reputation management system rather than a search engine. He shows the search “using post it notes” and how UCG has come to the top. Listen and be useful – this is all you need to do. Many opportunities exist to leverage social media ( a cool slide depicting these).
He shows a tool that they developed at iCrossing which maps links and sites that talk about 3M. This is a map that shows a clear ownership of the conversation about 3M by the actual brand. But if you look at the buzz/links/weight of the content around Post-It notes, 3M does not own that. Shows examples of other sites that are really dominating the talk about that brand, and ironically YouTube is near the top since so many people with time on their hands have uploaded videos of post-it note art. He then goes over another case study about Symantec, which indicates success in tracking this kind of information. He actually got through all 35 slides in 5 minutes!
Next up is Jennifer Laycock, from Search Engine Guide. She will be getting more specific and give examples from one social networking platform – Flickr. “Flickr – Say it with a Picture.” Why use it?> What you need to ask is why it will impact positively. She shows an example of some plain text content and how it get’s more interesting through the addition of a picture. Walt Disney said that pictures are the universally most understood medium. (something like that). She then shows a Yahoo! image search with a ton of Flickr results in the top page.
Another benefit of Flickr is the community. these people are very engaged since they actually add pictures to the site instead of just engaging in conversation. Shows a group example “Edible Gardening” and leads to the link at the bottom “Discuss.” She shows a person that came to the specific topical forum to get information.. Two ways to “play:” one is that you can be the person that has the knowledge to appear as an expert, but you can also encourage brand evangelists to speak. Another benefit of Flickr is links, both direct and indirect. She shows an example of the profile “Bento Yum” and how she drives traffic to the Bento Yum blog from there . Use the 80/20 rule, and don’t always use the site to build links.
Recommends that if you are going to use Flickr in this manner, you should learn about: tagging and adding notes, finding and joining communities, geo-tagging images, subs cribbing to RSS feeds, using Flickr widgets, creative Commons Licenses. these are all ways to get on other people’s radars.
Tamera Kremer from Wildfire Strategic Marketing. She will discuss Del.icio.us and how to leverage it. Del.icio.us is one of the most popular social bookmarking tools out there, and you can use it to share as well as vote on topics’ popularity (folksonomy). The ability to tag the articles: can be tagged as an individually relevant, or group them by “wishlist.” you can browse other users tags by keyword, and you can share your links with other users in your network. What really gets interesting and gets to the whole folksonomy is that you can add comments/descriptions.
She goes through a brief case study for a B2B client. It did not take off right away…was slow growth. The problem was that many people didn’t understand how to use it effectively, so they developed a “quick start guide” for the client’s employees, who would be helping with creating content to support this tactic. once developed, the participation increased tenfold. They learned that you have to limit the number of keywords, which made the tag cloud grow too large, this caused them to develop their own set of keywords for AIMS Canada. You cannot always have every member of the organization keep up with the latest stories and information around a particular subject, and Del.icio.us helps to keep this kind of information combined in one area.
last speaker is Steven Marder from Eurekster, who will introduce the product “Swicki.” He discusses the trends in the space, leading from Search and Media 1.0 to Social Media and Search 2.0 (algo + humans (publishers and users). Social media is about participation, and an opportunity to allow your users to build your brand for you. Looking at acquiring or retaining users through the online channel, you have to consider how to leverage what you already have. This is about providing a tool or application, for example, to help build interest. (I hope to get a copy of his deck and include it in a follow up, since he has lots of interesting content but due to time limitations has to speed through them)
A Swicki (Social Media Widget) can be about anything related to the site and brand. The syndication opportunity is dramatic, and this further reinforces the brand and provides something useful. He shows a couple screenshot of select client example3s. over 100k of the Swickis have been built to date, and the other feature (custom search portals) have been created by over 25000 people. Anne Kennedy tells the audience that one of the best things about Swicki is that is absolutely free, and “it can make you money even.”
Anne asks the panel what the biggest issues they see with this area. Jennifer says that one problem is people that go into this with a plan to market, and this won’t work. If you are going to get involved, you have to determine how long the project will last and what the goals are. Tamera agrees and says that people have become pretty adept at quickly picking out the spammers. The problem is when you have sucky product and are not being authentic or useful, according to Adam. You have to make it fit into your framework…there is a lot to do behind the scenes and not just “going out and posting ona forum.” Todd concurs, saying that the investment of time required is significant for it to work well, if proper prior planning is performed. He stresses the importance of the authenticity as well. Steven adds that you can be overly strategic in the communications, but at the base it is respect for the customer. Anne says it is like Aretha said :r.e.s.p.e.c.t. (laughs).
“Hugg” is a site like Digg but focused on “green” stuff (environmental causes) that Jennifer shows as an example of a relevant community.
***Note this is “live” unedited blog coverage of SES Chicago 2007. Some typos, grammatical errors, or incomplete thoughts may exist.