Fox News Google GOP Debate Takes Social Media to the Next Level

I was blown away by the precision with which the Fox News Google Debate was run on September 22, 2011.

This debate to me was the ultimate in conversational marketing. Fox News and Google utilizing a wide variety of social media assets to engage the audience before, during and after the debate …
isn’t this the goal of social media?

In April 2011, I blogged and tweeted about Social Media Marketing Prerequisites. I instructed that “building a successful social media marketing campaign is really about creating and sharing quality content – images, text, videos, comments, FAQ, tweets, newsfeeds, answers across the social web. Then, driving engagement and interaction with your followers across the social web.”

Engagement and Interaction with Viewers Across Broadcast and Social Networks

I was more engaged in this debate than any other I’ve watched. I applaud the fact that with all of the moving parts – live online polling, Google search analysis, YouTube streams, live Tweets, Tag Cloud analysis, and more – it was smooth and engaging.

Prior to the debate, more than 20,000 questions and 100,000 votes had been submitted via text or video to YouTube. This enabled us, the viewing public to weigh in and vote on questions we wanted asked.

Also prior to the debate, Fox News and Google used public data and Google search trends to help provide context to the questions and unveil the hottest topics people are talking about. The Fox correspondents shared these trends on air throughout the debate.

I particularly enjoyed how each new debate topic opened with a visual of a Tag Cloud or graph generated via Google analytics. At the opening of the Foreign Policy portion of the debate, viewers, the audience, and candidates alike virtually saw the word Israel stand out as the most important topic on the minds of the American people.

During the debate, new poll questions were presented to viewers every three minutes; then analyzed both online and some on air by Fox correspondents – talk about real time.

Also during the debate, viewers were able to offer their reaction to the debate. Some of those comments were shared at the debate. This gave at-home viewers privy to the reactions of many people, rather than just the reactions of the live audience.

No matter your political preference, you have to agree that Social Media is taking our decisions, reactions and interest to a new level.

I didn’t miss the buzzer either!

Lead Generation via LinkedIn

Most people use LinkedIn to simply connect with friends, colleagues, or former coworkers.

If this is all you do with LinkedIn, there’s a chance that you’re not taking full advantage of the network’s lead-generating potential.

LinkedIn is an amazing lead generation tool, you just have to know how to maximize it’s potential …

Nurture Your LinkedIn Network.

When was the last time you truly connected with the people in your first-degree network on LinkedIn?

Many of these people may have hundreds of connections to your potential customers

Other than sending or accepting a connection invitation, use the opportunity to build relationships and remind them of your talents.

Use Advanced People Search in LinkedIn.

This tool makes it relatively easy to build a preliminary prospect list using a combination of keywords, industry descriptions and job titles to find key decision makers at target companies.

If you find potential leads in extended networks, you can ask one of your contacts to make an introduction—but only if you’ve laid ample relational groundwork.

Participate in Group Discussions in LinkedIn.

When you answer questions and provide insights, you gain the trust of others—and become a natural resource when it’s time to explore purchase options.

Leads won’t fall into your lap at LinkedIn—but they’re there if you’re willing to do the work.

Social Media Tools for Small Business

Social media sites are exploding with users. As a savvy businessperson, you can focus your efforts and concentrate on creating interactions that will help turn the social media noise into solid relationships.

For a business without a lot of time or large marketing budget, social media is a great place for a targeted interaction to become a viable lead.

It can often seem daunting to cut through the social media clutter; however with these simple strategies, you’ll be well on your way to social media marketing success.

Narrow Your Target

For small businesses, it’s important to connect with people in your geographic area to ensures that you are interacting with viable leads.

Be Proactive

There are so many tools out there whose sole mission is to make it easier for you to target your exact customer, make use of them.

Join Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, check out lists in PeerIndex.net, and look at a person’s Twitter Grader score.

Give Others Credit

There are so many collaboration opportunities in social media.

Retweeting is a great way to show your followers you have your finger on the pulse of your industry, plus it’s a great way to get the attention of the person whose content you are pushing.

You can start a lot of great strategic partnerships with a simple Retweet.

The Keys to Social Media Success

The key to success with social media is to outline a strategy that considers the amount of time you can realistically dedicate each day to your online marketing efforts.

Plan Ahead

  • Map out a weekly schedule that outlines the specific days and times you will spend on social media.
  • Figure out what’s realistic and what makes sense for your company and go from there.

Use Time-Saving Tools

  • Take advantage of the various social media tools that are designed specifically to save you time. For example:
  1. TweetDeck, HootSuite, Seesmic that allow you to send updates to several social networking assets at one time
  2. Cotweet, that allows you to schedule posts in advance and updates even if your not online

Make sure your ROI Expectations are Reasonable

  • Rather than expecting to see a surge in sales, you should hope to see people interacting with your brand.
  • The goal of social media marketing is to create a network of meaningful relationships – it’s not a numbers game.

Be visible and engage in conversations and over time, these activities will give you credibility; which in turn leads to building your brand and your sales.

Creating Social Media Policies and Guidelines for Your Organization

Networks like Twitter and Facebook bring up many issues for organizations related to confidentiality, privacy policies, reduced productivity and the blur between personal and professional usage. This is why creating Social Media Policies and Guidelines for your organization is so important.

Your social media strategy should be a “line item” in your overall marketing strategy. Think of it as an additional marketing and communications channel. But, don’t dive into until you figure out how it fits into your corporate strategy and corporate culture. One key component of this – as with all of your other marketing activities – is to create policies and guidelines to support its growth and adoption.

When preparing this blog post, I did some additional research to see what others in the industry are doing from a Social Media Policy perspective. I found this incredibly informative video in which the SAS Social Media Manager, Dave Thomas discusses his company’s journey.

In this video, Thomas discusses:

  • How to get started?
  • Why to have a social media policy?
  • Who should write the policy?
  • What makes a robust social media policy?

Creating Social Media Policies and Guidelines
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We’ve been asked by several clients to help them develop an overall social media strategy and also guidance on social media policies. Over the next couple of weeks we will delve more into this topic.

I think this video is a great primer on why it is so important and where to begin. SAS is ranked among Forbes Top 50 Companies to Work For and is also a Fortune 100 company … taking a page out of their playbook is a strategic move for organizations of any size.

How to Fight Back Against Facebook Malicious Spammers and Hackers

I am republishing this story written by a fellow marketer, Rebecca Ryan because it is important information for anyone venturing into Social Media and especially Facebook.

Cyber scammers, spammers and malicious hackers have devious ways to spread their mal-ware and infect global computer users via mass emails containing the latest news or tweets with dubious links.  Another ploy is to hack Facebook accounts offering web-links that divert unwitting subscribers to a web-page offering more information such as videos, pictures or something considered news worthy, trending or by falling back on more classic tactics that work on your ego or fears.  They pounce on every opportunity to trick Internet users.

Yesterday a record number of Facebook users were  infected with viruses and mal-ware as users searched and clicked on “Osama’s Death Pictures” or “Osama’s Death Videos”.  I received 3 requests to click before noon but my first thought was how morbid it was. What has this world come to? As the links kept posting on my Facebook Wall, especially from random people,  I knew it was most likely a vicious mal-ware attack.

What can you do when you keep getting these posts and what if you get infected?

First, always be cautious whenever you click on a link, join a group that has a download or sends you to a page outside of Facebook’s interface.  Mal-ware is commonly disguised with subjects like, “Look who’s viewed your Facebook”, “Top viewers” and “Look what I found”.   Other possibilities are holiday themed, deceptively clever newsworthy links such as about Japan’s devastation, the Royal Wedding and now the currently trending Osama’s Death Pictures.  I expect this weekend will have dubious Mother’s Day links.  Those types of enticing links are more often then not instruments to infect and spread malicious viruses to you and all your friends.

For Facebook members, your first line of defense is to assess if the posts seem genuine, meant for you or suspicious.  If suspicious, don’t click on the post! Click on the sender’s profile to check if there is unnatural activity on their Wall  such as  sending out the same posts to several of their Facebook friends.  Next, post a comment to the Sender’s Wall explaining that you believe their account has been compromised. Finally, return to your Wall and immediately delete the post before your Facebook “friends” click on it.

Steps to Avoid Downloading Cyber-Scumware

What can you do to protect yourself, your friends or if you end up with a compromised Facebook account?

  • Check the sender
  • Don’t click on unsolicited links on your Wall, in a chat window or download anything from people that rarely post to you, or the link seems random or unnatural or if link goes to an unknown website.
  • Ask the sender, especially via chat, if they meant to send you the link. If you get no response deem it mal-ware until they do respond.
  • If you’re sent to a web page outside of Facebook don’t click on any pop-ups. I recommend that you get familiar with the keystrokes required to close the window. You can test this by opening a new window and hold down both the ALT & F4.

Did you know?

Just an hour before the news on Osama bin Laden broke, there were roughly 2.5 million page views per second on Facebook pages and Akamai said from 10:45 pm to 2:20 am EST there was an average of 3,000 messages per second on Twitter.

Cyber scammers, spammers and malicious hackers look for the best opportunities to unleash their devious junk to spread their mal-ware to the largest amount of people before being caught, blocked or before anti-virus software has issued updates to prevent future infiltrations.

Bad intention spammers and hackers rely on newsworthy trends as opportunities to lure 100’s of thousands of innocent Internet users. They’ll seek media frenzy as a platform to unleash malicious viruses.  We should expect them to become more clever and we need to be prepared in the event of an infected.

5 Steps To Try if Your Facebook Account has been Compromised

  • Immediately reset your password. Generate a unique and complex password with numbers and upper and lower case letters.  Avoid using the same password for any other sites or you have already put your account at risk.
  • Verify all email addresses associated with your Facebook account on the “Contact Email” section at https://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php
  • From your Facebook page go to the “Account Settings” page, complete a unique security question and click on the link next to “Account Security” at the bottom of the page. Select the option to receive notifications for logins from new devices and whenever you log in with a new device or location such as home computer, phone or work. I recommend that you have it also text you when a new location has been added.
  • If you downloaded a malicious file, or suspect you have been infected by malware, go to Facebook Roadblock, you will regain control of your Facebook account and remove the mal-ware  from your computer.
  • Facebook also started “Two Factor Authentication”, a new feature to help prevent unauthorized access to your account. If you turn this new feature on, it will ask you to enter a code anytime you try to log into Facebook from a new device. This additional security helps confirm that it’s really you trying to log in. But looks very annoying

For more useful information go to http://www.facebook.com/safety and select “Tools & Resources”

Social Media Marketing Prerequisites

This is a superb article written by Lee Traupel of Linked Media Group where he explains everything you need to know  to optimise your site for social media marketing. Word of advice, don’t attempt this if you do not have the know-how. Rather make the investment and work with people that have the capability and experience to assist you in achieving your social media marketing goals.

Don’t even think about a social media marketing campaign unless your Web Site is working flawlessly, Search Engine Optimization components are addressed and Content Development and Curation strategy is in place.

1. Your web site must have these features and functions working to ensure your engagement with the social community will drive meaningful ROI:

  • Site Navigation must be flawless – visitors must be able to navigate through your web site easily.
  • Multiple call to action and response elements must be in place: Newsletter Sign Up, Contact Us Page,  Phone Numbers are prominently displayed and Blog subscription direct and via RSS Feed are functioning.
  • Images should be optimized to ensure load times (time it takes a page to load) are at their best.
  • Domain Name should be registered out 3-5 five years at a minimum to drive SEO results and brand valuation.
  • Sociables (links to social platforms) are prominently placed at top and bottom of all pages and “likes” and ReTweet buttons are set up and working.

2. These Baseline Search Engine Attributes must be in place:

  • All Pages and Images have unique Title Tags, Descriptions and Keywords – the latter have minimal impact for Google but good to include.
  • Quality backlinks have been developed for the site over a 90-120 day period or campaign.
  • An XML Google Site Map has been setup properly and you have connected your web site with your Google Analytics Account.
  • Location has been created via a Google Business Listing.
  • A Keyword strategy has been developed for your web site content

3. Your content development and curation strategy is set. Building a successful social media marketing campaign is really about creating and sharing quality content; i.e. Images, Text, Videos, Comments, FAQ, Blog posts, Newsletter, Tweets, Newsfeeds, Answers across the social web. Then, driving engagement and interaction with your followers across the social web.

  • Blog is set preferably via WordPress, optimized for search engines with plugins, individual page titles, images optimized, with Categories in place, is linked to from the Home/Index page and is updated 3-5 times per week.
  • You have content development and curation strategy in place to broadcast and share across the social web; i.e.schedule in place, content is rotated for maximum exposure, in-bound flow of news sources created (Google Alerts, RSS Feeds, Newsletter Subscriptions).
  • Your team understands the importance of cross promoting content across the social web – for example a Blog post should be referenced via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and second tier sites like Posterous.
  • Flickr Pro account has been created, images are uploaded and optimized properly and shared across the social web.
  • YouTube Account has been created, optimized and cross referenced via all social identities and platforms.

These three areas of digital strategy, Web Site, SEO Setup and Content are all critical components to your overall marketing strategy and must be in-place prior to starting a social media marketing campaign. Or, you’ll waste time and resources building and engaging with social consumers/followers!!

Did you find this article interesting? If so, please comment and share with your network.

Developing a Content Strategy to Engage Your Facebook Followers

Expanding your number of “likes” on Facebook requires a content strategy that suits your community and is in sync with your social media roadmap and overall communications strategy.

While Facebook is more personal and immediate than other communication mediums—and requires daily attention—it is an ideal way to augment your overall strategy.

Here are a few key elements to consider:

Content: Provide opportunities for your network to create their own content by creating conversational content that users can easily share through their own Facebook profiles. You’re likely to get much more traction from the long tail of your supporters sharing content than from your own Fan page.

Tone: Alignment with your existing brand tone and messaging is very important. Facebook is a personal venue, so a more personal tone is key, but your brand page is still your brand. A lot of brands make the mistake of being overly informal in an attempt to fit the culture of social media – if this is a wide departure from the normal tone of your content, the communications will seem forced.

Authority: Build a reputation for yourself and your brand that demonstrates your expertise. By understanding the pain points of those your company wishes to connect with, the better you’ll be able to provide the resources needed to make better decisions and improve their business.

Format: Your expertise comes in several forms and formats: text, photos, and video specifically. Guess where the most interaction comes from? Video! If you have the ability to create interesting – not self-serving – video, go for it.

Connection: Gain an understanding of how you are going to speak to the community and what you want them to do. Your goal is to build and maintain connections with customers, the media, suppliers, influencers and colleagues.

Participation: Will building a network of 1,000 friends on Facebook have an impact on your business without clear goals around what you want those friends to do? There’s an implied connection between quantity of network and marketing effectiveness, but with social media it’s more about quality, not quantity.

Time & Resources: It’s a marathon, not a sprint … don’t spread yourself too thin. We devote a great deal of time to all our communications efforts, including our Facebook strategy. It’s okay to start small, but you have to be committed and consistent to make it work.