Highlights of Social Media Success Summit 2011 – Days 1 & 2 with Owyang, Solis, Smith & Garfield

May 8th, 201118 Comments

SMSS11 Days 1 & 2 with Owyang, Solis, Smith & Garfield

Days 1 & 2 of SMSS11 with Owyang, Solis, Smith & Garfield

Jeremiah Owyang – Keynote: The Future of Social Media: A Forecast Based on Research
Brian Solis – Finding and Engaging Your Target Audience With Social Media
Mari Smith – Facebook News Feed Optimization: How to Dramatically Increase Your Visibility and Engagement
Steve Garfield – How to Create On-the-Fly Videos to Enhance Your Social Media Content

These four social media leaders kicked off the first four of 21 hour-long webinars throughout May that make up Social Media Examiner‘s Social Media Success Summit 2011. Jeremiah and Brian’s talks were big-picture, strategic overviews that set the stage for the summit as a whole, while Mari Smith and Steve Garfield’s presentations were chock-full of actionable tips you can begin using today.

Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis

Both Jeremiah and Brian laid important groundwork by outlining high-level industry challenges such as measuring ROI, achieving scalability, providing consistent value and continually re-earning relevance.  Both emphasized that customer feedback is only going to get louder in the near future. In response, individuals who are today’s social media champions will soon face a choice between being part of a reactive social media helpdesk OR a proactive, scalable group whose mission is to change their business for the better.

Hub and spoke configuration

Owyang's hub and spoke model for scalable social media

Jeremiah said organizations must achieve scalability and can do so by several means, such as:

  • Creating “Centers of Excellence” rather than a cadre of community managers. These centers act as a nucleus or hub in an effective hub-and-spoke model if they 1) put governing policies in place, 2) create a triage process to handle problems and 3) launch an education program for the rest of the business. Intel, Ebay and Adobe are examples of companies with such centers.
  • Scaling with peer-to-peer communities or customer advocacy programs, where you let the crowd do the work for you. BestBuy, Sephora, Walmart’s “mommy bloggers” and Ford’s “Fiesta agents” are examples.
  • Using social media management systems to help you manage the workflow. Examples are CoTweet, Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Objective Marketer, Expion, Seesmic, Awareness, Spredfast and others that Owyang lists in his blog post.
  • Creating a measurement strategy. Measuring engagement data (number of fans, followers, clicks and RTs) is fine for community managers, but high-level execs want measures of revenue, reputation and customer satisfaction.

Jeremiah’s impressive published research can be found here.

Engage or Die by Brian SolisWhile Jeremiah focused on how organizations can be more effective with their social media efforts, Brian looked more closely at the audience.  His highlights:

  • #1 reason people use social networks is to connect with friends and family, not to engage with your brand.   People don’t want you to interrupt them, but they do want discounts and special offers, resolutions of any issues they have, and the convenience of buying within the network (such as facebook e-commerce).
  • There will soon be a great “unfollow” movement. To minimize this, don’t post too often, for starters.  In fact, posting too often is the #1 reason people unlike your brand on Facebook, according to an ExactTarget and CoTweet study.  Instead, consistently deliver tangible value.
  • To deliver value, start by listening and doing research.  Gather intelligence – the who, what, why, when, where, how and extent. Then take these insights and think like a customer.
  • Find out who your influencers are using tools such as Klout, PeerIndex, Technorati, Google blog search, InfluencerTracker, mBLAST mPACT. Note that there’s a difference between influencers and advocates.
  • When you give value, make it shareable!

Final thought:  Both Jeremiah and Brian made another recommendation that resulted in several followup questions.  They said, in effect, to avoid linking away from your website to social websites.  (“Don’t throw your website to Mark Zuckerberg.”)  Jeremiah mentioned a few tools to bring the social conversation back to your website, such as Disqus and Tweetmeme for small companies, and Echo for larger (media) companies.  Mari agreed with them in her subsequent talk and mentioned Wibiya and the Facebook Like box as other helpful tools.  [I think people were confused by this advice because now,  just about every website does link to its corresponding Facebook, Twitter, YouTube account, etc.  It'd be helpful to know of some example websites that would pass muster with Brian, Jeremiah, or Mari and/or to hear more about the tools they or others recommend to effect this change.  Please do feel free to comment on this, or better yet, post links to website examples and the corresponding tools used to bring the conversation back there.]

Mari Smith – Facebook News Feed Optimization: How to Dramatically Increase Your Visibility and Engagement

Mari Smith's Top Facebook Marketing Resources via StorifyThe Ninja-trick-wielding, ever-turquoise-clad Mari Smith presented key recommendations to help you get your posts seen in your fans’ news feeds.  This is known as News Feed Optimization (NFO).

NFO is crucial because 88% of your fans never return to your fan page once they’ve clicked “Like” – instead, they see and interact with you in their own news feed.  And because Facebook has 677 million users who share 30 billion pieces of content every month, many marketers are saying “NFO is the new SEO“.

Facebook uses a proprietary, secret EdgeRank algorithm to determine which posts show up as “Top News” in each person’s news feed.  The EdgeRank of a post is different for each user and is based on three variables:

  1. Affinity or the relationship between the user and poster,
  2. Weight or importance of the post, which considers the type of content (photo, video, status update, etc) and the user’s and others’ interaction with the content (tags, likes, comments), and finally
  3. Timeliness, not only of the original post but of subsequent interactions.

Mari explained several key tips to increase your posts’ EdgeRank, thus increasing the likelihood that your fans will actually see and be able to interact with you in their news feed.  Her recommendations are based on data sources such as SocialBakers, BuddyMedia, BrandGlue as well as her years of experience as a leader in Facebook marketing:

  1. Shorten your posts. According to BuddyMedia, posts of 80 characters or less in length have 27% higher engagement rates.
  2. Use long URLs rather than link shorteners.  Again, according to BuddyMedia, engagement rates are 3 times higher for posts that used a full-length URL, most likely because people trust it more.
  3. Post photos and videos, but vary these with status updates, links, apps and questions.  Photos tend to get more impressions, likes and comments.
  4. Post in high traffic windows, such as between 9 a.m – 3 p.m. CST, but do experiment and find your own sweet spot.
  5. Consider posting on Fridays, because Facebook’s Happiness Index is 10% higher.
  6. Find your posting frequency “sweet spot”.  Mari posts 2-3 times per day and spaces these out by several hours.  Dan Zarella recommends that big brands post once every other day.  (Recall from Jeremiah above that posting too often was the #1 reason people unlike your page, so be sure to monitor your insights for unsubscribes.)
  7. Post manually within Facebook if at all possible, versus using auto-post features available in many third party apps such as NetworkedBlogs, Hootsuite, SocialOomph and Twitter. Not only does Facebook give these auto-posts slightly lower EdgeRank scores, but Facebook also collapses/aggregates 3P posts  under a single link such as “See 5 more posts from NetworkedBlogs” in the news feed.  NickyKriel just wrote a nice blog post on 3 Great Reasons to Post Manually on Facebook that gives more detail on this.
  8. Build your page’s culture.  Provide valuable content so you’ll be known as the source to get answers and solutions for your area of expertise.
  9. Make sure community managers employ a consistent, friendly engagement policy, such as replying within 2 hours, replying to every post, using first names, stripping out spam, and encouraging “neighborhood watch”.

Mari noted that once your Facebook business page has 500-1000 fans, it reaches a tipping point where it begins to get real traction.  Until then, use the tips outlined in her 21 Creative Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fanbase.  Once your page does gain critical mass, get creative to raise its visibility even more.  For example,

  • Mari sometimes has “Fan Page Friday“, where she allows people to post links to their blog, fan page, website, @tags, photos, etc.
  • Social Media Examiner has “Expert Friday” where they have a subject matter expert available for 1 hour to answer live Q&A on their fan page.
  • Set up “Office Hours” where you are live on your page.  (Consider promoting this on your profile image or photo strip.)  You can do live video or live chat using tools such as Vpype, Livestream, JustinTV, Ustream and Linqto.  (See more on Livestream and Ustream in Steve’s talk below.)

Finally, track and test everything you do daily and over time so you’ll uncover what works best for you and your fans.

Steve Garfield – How to Create On-the-Fly Videos to Enhance Your Social Media Content

Steve GarfieldSteve Garfield, videoblogging pioneer and author of Get Seen, promised numerous tips for putting videos online, and he did not disappoint.

He emphasized that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started.  In fact, begin with the camera you have, like your webcam or your smartphone.  The iPhone4, Droid X and Nokia N8 all record great quality HD video.  Even the new iMac has an HD webcam.  Here are many of the tips that Steve mentioned during his talk:

  1. Good alternatives to the Flip are the Sony Bloggie, Kodak Playsport, Kodak Playfull and Nokia N8.  Although Cisco has discontinued the Flip, there is still demand for standalone pocket HD videocameras.  One reason is that only 25% of people have smartphones with HD video. Plus, you might prefer using a pocket HD videocam if you want to conserve your smartphone battery, or if you’d like to give cameras to your team to use. 
  2. Both YouTube and Facebook have options to either record from a webcam or to upload your already recorded video.  When recording from a webcam, do check the quality because it varies depending on your computer and your connection.
  3. Use Livestream or Ustream to stream live.  Both are free as web interface versions, and they also have paid fuller-featured versions available as a desktop app.  Steve now uses the desktop apps exclusively because of the improved connection and video quality, as well as the enhanced features.  The Ustream ProducerPro desktop version even has the ability to have multiple cameras without an additional hardware solution such as TriCaster.
  4. You can also do live streaming from a smartphone.  (Only 7% of the audience had ever tried this.) Steve sees this “happenstance broadcasting” as a big opportunity and encouraged people to try it. You’re not encumbered by a laptop or huge camera – you just walk around with your smartphone. Use Qik (just acquired by Skype) or Ustream Broadcaster on your smartphone to do this. For better quality, try to get on wifi instead of using your phone’s cell service.
  5. The latest iMovie version makes video editing and direct sharing very simple. You can save directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and CNN iReport.  Apple just announced it’s working on a new version of Final Cut Pro, which combines current Final Cut Pro features and iMovie features. PC people seem to like Adobe Premiere.
  6. CNN iReport, a user-generated section of CNN.com, presents another big opportunity.  You share your video on CNN’s iReport page and it appears live.  If CNN producers like it, they pass it on to CNN.com.  If those producers like it, they then pass it on to CNN television.
  7. Use Wetoku to record side-by-side remote interviews. You sign in and get an invite code, which you email to your interviewee.  She clicks on it and then pops up on the other side of the screen. When the interview is over, you save it and put the embed code anywhere you want.
  8. To make videos with a completely different look and feel, consider using Stupeflix for remixed video themes, or Xtranormal or Goanimate for editable animated videos.

Lots of tips from Steve – pick one and give it a try!

Final note:  Once again, Mike Stelzner has put together a fantastic lineup of speakers and the summit is running like clockwork. (This is the third Social Media Examiner summit I’ve attended.) I appreciate the pdfs, recordings, LinkedIn group and other supporting resources.  Jessamin (sp?) keeps things on track and is a pleasure to listen to.  Lots of twitter folks are sending out helpful tweets and some are using storify to compile them in a meaningful way. (What would we do without hashtags??) If history repeats itself, Mari Smith’s tweets in particular will be enormously helpful with links to additional resources to complement various presentations. Looking forward to the next 17 sessions.

Lots of info presented in these first 4 sessions.  What new idea or tool will you run with?

-Suzanne Doughty
Cedar Sage Marketing