Archive for ROI

Blood from a stone III – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of Reputation Management

Posted in social media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2009 by mediapirate

This blog entry has been a long time coming so I do apologize. I had some personal issues that I needed to address and that involved me moving back to Canada and getting established which takes a lot more time than I ever wanted to invest. A hard transition but much needed and worth it.

So onto the task at hand. Your online reputation. It really comes down to the fact that there is a conversation online regardless of whether or not you are a participant. People talk about everything and sometimes they will talk about you. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. It’s the latter that I will be discussing today.

If there are negative comments about you and your brand they do need to be dealt with. Most people these days Google companies or services prior to purchasing. What you don’t know about yourself online could be hurting your bottom line. Social media will give you the opportunity to change this by becoming part of the conversation and if you use it correctly it actually gives you some control of your online reputation.

Here are some simple steps for you to maximize control of your reputation online:

Step 1 – Join in the conversation
Get yourself on the tools that you are being talked about on. This will at least put you on the same page as your targets.

Step 2 – Search out negative press
Search for the people that are talking about you and follow them. This will allow you to watch the conversation unfold and see what the issues are. Also, make sure that you do Google searches for negative press and make a note of contact information of each of the unsatisfied parties.

Step 3 – Research the situation
Prior to responding determine what the real issues are and where the real fault lies. Was it your companies fault? Was it one of your staff that over promised? Was the product at fault? Or is it the end client that is simply over-reacting.

Step 4 – Come up with a strategy

Don’t wade into the middle of a hostile conversation unarmed. Have a solution ready to present. In fact, have multiple solutions ready. The unhappy party may just want to be acknowledged and talked to. That can actually diffuse most situations but be prepared with a secondary strategy should the situation escalate.

Step 5 – Communicate
Just the act of communication is a positive step online for your company because it immediately shows that you care. Go over the entire situation with the end client. This will make sure that you are both on the same page. It will also allow the end user to reflect and realize if they maybe over-reacted. Make sure that your main goal is listening. You aren’t the one with the problem, the client is.

Step 6 – Attitude

No matter what the other party says or does, understand that you are working for a company and this is not personal. Maintain a level of professionalism and continue attempting to resolve the situation. The public will see this and even if you can’t come to an understanding it at least shows that you cared enough for this client that you made this very personal effort.

Step 7 – Document
Record all occurrences of communication between you and the end client. This can build up a great social media case study for you to showcase on a blog. It can also be a necessary component if it ever comes down to a legal battle. This information is invaluable to your organization because it is honest feedback and may allow for these type of situations to be minimized in the future.

Step 8 – Transparency
Above all remain transparent. If you lie or try to manipulate the situation you could be providing the ammunition that an unhappy client needs to damage your brand even more. It’s all about connecting with your community on a human level. Say that you’re sorry, help your client and move forward in a positive manner. We all just want to be acknowledged and these days there aren’t many accountable companies. Become one and you may have just found the key to stand out in your industry.

There are many more elements in a solid reputation management campaign but by starting with these few basic steps you will be well on your way. The end result of a properly maintained reputation management campaign is to address negative press and convert it to a positive case study by developing brand advocates. Doing this also assists in the build of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign and increases your overall brand equity. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

Blood from a stone II – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Posted in Media, social media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by mediapirate

Another way that social media can truly impact your bottom line is in terms of your SEO. To be honest, these days it’s pretty difficult and considerably more costly to manage an effective SEO campaign without utilizing social media. Social media’s power to drive SEO is actually quite incredible, and properly utilized it can assist you in minimizing your overall PPC (Pay Per Click) maximizing your organic search while building overall traffic and reach.

Social media allows you to build an incredibly strong organic search structure built on a foundation of community development. So how can social media strengthen your SEO campaign while saving you money?

Brand Engagement
Building a community around your brand is one of the best things that you can do in terms of strong SEO. By developing and nurturing a community you increase your chances for discussion and the potential of brand advocacy. This means the potential for independent reviews increasing the inbound links and dynamic content (discussed in the next points) while reaching an audience that you possibly never had access to before. The conversion of even one brand advocate can be of significant value in terms of raising your search engine ranking. Your online community build is simply the key to top rankings in the long term.

Inbound linking
As any SEO professional will tell you, inbound links (Coming from professional and related sites, i.e. good neighbors) are a great way to boost your overall search rankings. Social media can yet again help you in this regard. By linking back to your own sites from your profile and getting your social media audience to broadcast these links within their stream you not only gain immediate traffic but you develop a very strong foundation of inbound links. Granted, the nofollow tags on sites such as Flickr and Twitter can minimize the overall link value but I believe the value is still passed at a lower value. So while nofollow makes it possible to debate the link value these links do get put into Google and Yahoo’s backlink checker and nofollow still allows spiders to cache and index them. An additional way to build a strong backlink structure is by publishing RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from your social media sites and submitting them to aggregators such as Ping-O-Matic and Technorati.

Dynamic Content
Social media portals such as blogs and microblogs allow you the potential to provide dynamic, ever changing, keyword dense content for the search engines to index. Providing relevant and keyword dense content to the search engines on a regular basis is a great way to make it to the top of SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). The more independent portals that house this content and link back to your website the better. Just make sure you have the resources to manage and update these portals.

Traffic Generation
At the mere click of a button (Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.) you have the potential to send thousands of interested potential clients to your site or blog. If you’ve written some great content there are really good odds that by the next day you will have a decent stream of targeted traffic as well new inbound links. You really can’t pay for that sort of immediate response. A subscriber based service such as Twitter or Plurk can also be used to drive effective and targeted traffic but careful attention must be paid to avoid spamming your followers. RSS feeds are particularly useful as they are subscriber based and the XML code is very indexable by search engines.

So while SEO may not directly convert to a specific dollar figure it does bring the traffic to your door and opens up the opportunity. Social media just allows you to target your audience more precisely, engage them immediately, allow them to help you do the work of building your online brand and gauge how your money is working for you. Can you really say that about your PPC campaign?

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I would love to hear from you.

Join me next time for: Blood from a stone III – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of Online Reputation Management

Curing Brand Schizophrenia

Posted in Articles, Media with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2008 by mediapirate

and keeping your business on the same page

Like most small business owners you deal with multiple tasks throughout the day, not the least of which is how to present a positive marketing image for your company. The question is, how do you present your company in multiple mediums effectively and consistently while maintaining the other aspects of your company?

For years businesses have hired separate companies each specializing in their own medium of communication; print, web, marketing, public relations, video and audio. These specialists may be the ideal solution for a company with internal brand management but what about the small business? Not every organization has the resources necessary to support the cost of independent services or the time required to manage multiple companies to achieve a cohesive package.

The answer is integrated services! Integrated services means that one company (Your chosen Integrated Media Provider) contains the knowledge to bring all of your media resources together maximizing the power of your marketing and the price you pay for it.

A common thread

The power of a consistent campaign is not unknown, but if you are like many small companies there is no one dedicated to ensure the sanctity of your brand. This can mean varied colors between web and print, skewed logos, inconsistent brand message and many other variables. It also usually means that the relationship between mixed media has not been successfully exploited.

A website is a powerful entity. However, if the relationship between it and the other media such as public relations, print, video, audio, etc. is not properly integrated there is wasted possibility for success. For example a PR event is great but it would be ideal if the PR event could be updated into the website which in turn would feed this information via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) directly to existing subscribers.

Depending on the business, this type of thinking can translate into increased confidence in the company, jump start sales of a new product, and many other possibilities. Granted, this is only a very simple scenario involving only two of the many mediums. So imagine the possibilities of fully integrated services.

Divide and conquer

So the question is, how can one company know everything about everything? And the honest truth is that one company can’t.

In today’s market one of the most effective ways to ensure consistency of brand and mission is through successful strategic partnerships. These partnerships maintained by your IMP (Integrated Media Provider) ensure that each individual aspect of your company’s media is being driven by the greatest depth of knowledge.

By counting on the quality control, account management and ROI awareness from a recognized IMP and its chosen vendors, you can experience an environment devoid of project pipeline delays, explaining and re-explaining your brand and the constant search for the most effective vendor for each media solution. In turn your mediums are thoughtfully planned out to feed off of one another and like a drop into water, generating a reach that is continually expanding and delivering you a calculated ROI.

This relationship between the IMP and their vendors also works to serve the end client in terms of cost as well.As each IMP maintains multiple vendors specializing in many medium, your project will be internally bid out to ensure the most cost effective resolution is reached within a group of proven and trusted partners. This internal competition for the work ensures that prices always remain at a fair market value.

A needle in a haystack

What do you look for in an IMP? Well, for starters, the experience and qualifications of the team core. These are the people responsible for the outcome of your project, so in order to pull off a true integrated media plan they will need a foundation in everything that their outside vendors offer. These elements include PR, media relations, creative direction, print media, web interactivity, video/audio production, new technologies (eg. wikis, podcasts, subsites, wireless technology, etc.) and the understanding of the limitations within each of these markets.

This might sound like a lot. However, in order to utilize the momentum from one medium to feed another, a foundation in all of these areas is crucial in integrated media. The easiest way to find this out is through online research, business to business networking or if all else fails, just ask to see some portfolio examples.

Consistently diverse

Understand this is not the only way, just the most effective way! For the small business owner this option can end up saving invaluable time in your busy schedule, save you money, and ensure that you end up with a consistent campaign generating the greatest amount of exposure. So in closing, one company can’t know everything about everything but then again, no one knows this better than your local Integrated Media Provider.

4 Questions to ask a potential Integrated Media Provider

What is your in-house knowledge?
How many vendors do you utilize and how long have you been with them?
How have you integrated campaigns previously? Who were the clients? And to what effect?
What is my potential ROI and what steps do you take to ensure this?