Search Engine Marketing
A key feature of ALERT & ALERT-TV+ is a way to set up monitoring for your social media channels and general online presence. This is an essential part of any social media strategy. Monitoring not just your own social media channels but also your competitor’s social media channels can pay dividends.
Let’s take a look at two recent case studies to illustrate the point.
Case #1: Samsung – Monitoring and Responding to Its Facebook Fans
In August, electronics giant Samsung showed how monitoring and responding to its social media followers can result in great publicity.
It all began in May 2012 when Facebook user, Shane Barrett posted a picture to the official Samsung Facebook Page. The picture of a crudely drawn dragon was accompanied by a message asking Samsung for a new Galaxy S III smartphone to replace his older model. In return for the phone Shane said that Samsung could keep the picture he had drawn.
Samsung responded, thanking Shane for his picture and query but declining his request for a new phone. Instead, Samsung’s online community manager drew a Kangaroo on a unicycle and sent it back to Shane in response! Shane posted the conversation on the popular social news website Reddit. The post of the conversation quickly became one of the most popular on Reddit and the story went viral.
At this point, Samsung could have sat back and enjoyed the free publicity it had earned. Samsung did not, instead choosing to send Shane a brand new Galaxy S III smartphone with a custom case featuring the dragon he had drawn on his original Facebook post (see below). After receiving the phone, Shane posted a picture of it on Reddit and once again the story and picture went viral earning even more publicity for Samsung.
This token of Samsung’s appreciation for a customer resulted in lots of positive online sentiment for the brand and millions of views of the Reddit posts. By monitoring and responding to its Facebook fans, Samsung gained loads of publicity for the low cost of a new phone.
Case #2: Low Cost Holidays Moves in on Another Travel Firm’s Turf
In November 2011, UK based travel agency Thomas Cook received an interesting request posted to its Facebook Page. The request came from a man who shared the company’s name, Thomas Cook. In his request Thomas asked for a free holiday, posting “Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed for as long as I can remember. I think it’s only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays.” Thomas Cook politely declined and instead directed Mr. Cook to its website where he could book his own holiday.
One of Thomas Cook’s (the travel agency) competitors, Low Cost Holidays was monitoring this conversation. After reading of Mr. Cook’s plight and of Thomas Cook’s reluctance to offer him a free holiday, Low Cost Holidays intervened and offered him one instead saying, “Here at lowcostholidays.com we completely sympathize with your suffering and if your name was “lowcostholidays.com” we would certainly have accepted your request to be sent away on a weekend in Paris. … So how about we send you on that weekend in Paris? In fact why not make it a week for you and a friend?”
After his free holiday Mr. Cook posted a picture of himself in front of the Eiffel tower along with screenshots of the Facebook exchanges he had between Thomas Cook and Low Cost Holidays to Reddit. The posting quickly shot to the number 1 most read slot on Reddit and has garnered thousands of views and comments since. By monitoring its competitors social media channels and reacting in a humorous way, Low Cost Holidays has received lots of positive online sentiment and has been featured across news websites such as Fox News and The Daily Mail.
Despite posting a message to Facebook stating how happy the company was for Mr. Cook and his free holiday, Thomas Cook (the travel agency) received criticism online for its lack of sense of humor when Mr.Cook initially approached for the holiday. Mr. Cooks Reddit post has received over 2,000 comments and has been viewed in excess of 50,000 times, add this to the publication of the story in major news outlets you’ll see that Low Cost Holidays has gained lots of publicity for the relatively low cost of a holiday for two to Paris.
What other great examples have you seen of companies monitoring and responding to their online followers?
If you haven’t claimed your foursquare profile yet, you might want to get on that asap! If the fact that the site’s database has 1.5 billion check-ins logged into the system isn’t enough of a an incentive, then perhaps knowing that foursquare has gone “search” online with their newest feature Explore with the website garnering 1 million unique visitors per day already could entice you.
By claiming your foursquare profile you can personalize it to suit your business and take advantage of integrating this platform into your social media (geo-location) strategy. In addition to checking-in, claiming badges and mayorships, now users can search for locations, deals, and places on their desktop using the Explore feature. Some people don’t like having a Foursquare account on their mobile phones and “checking-in” all the time, but would like to use this feature to see where their friends are checking-in and what they recommend. Foursquare Explore allows you to go online and search without having to use the platform as a check-in tool. It is useful for the end user to go through the 15 million tips that are gathered on the site already when deciding on where to go and what to eat… or drink!
Here are five tips to include in your strategy in order to ensure increased visits from Foursquare Explore to your company’s profile page:
- Regularly monitor your foursquare account. Review check-ins, comments, and tips to see what users are saying.
- Use QR codes to encourage check-ins, tips, and submissions.
- Promote Foursquare ads to encourage check-ins.
- Include sentiments and adjectives in your foursquare ad strategy (i.e. romantic, Friday, sweet, summer, wine list, etc…)
- Use keywords when posting deals on your foursquare account to help with search queries.
There is an ongoing conversation about the impact of the Google +1 button on search engine results. With Google’s +1 button push and integration in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, it is inevitable that the +1 button will influence Google’s search engine algorithm, and ultimately a website’s rank in search engine results.
The level of impact, however, is still unknown and will likely change overtime as Google tweaks the formula.
Here are three possible scenarios illustrating how the +1 button will influence search results.
+1 Clicks Reign Supreme
The first scenario is the simplest, where the more +1 clicks a page receives, the higher it will rank in search engine results. This scenario, although the easiest to conceptualize, is the most unlikely because it will be too easy for spammers to “game” the system. There are already people selling +1 clicks.
+1 Limited to Your Network
The second scenario involves social integration and personalized search results, where the more +1 clicks a page receives from people in your network, the higher it ranks in your search results. This means the absolute number of +1 clicks for the page do not matter, but only the clicks from your network. This scenario is much more likely as more users begin to use the Google+ network. This scenario also makes it difficult to “game” the system.
The most likely scenario is Google will develop a formula that will involve multiple factors that include the first two scenarios. Other factors that may determine the impact of the Google +1 button in search results include:
- the number of +1 clicks over time (a continuous number of clicks over time is better than a single spike)
- the most recent +1 click (more recent the better)
- the number of +1 clicks by users in your city (the more clicks by users in your area the better)
How do you think the Google +1 button will impact search results?
The cost and measurement of advertising has changed over the years. Traditional advertising was all about eyeballs and the cost of it was based on how many people were “expected” to see the ad. I emphasize “expected” because traditional media channels were not able to track exactly how many people saw an ad.
Now, with the online medium, advertisement pricing and measurement are beginning to reflect the changing environment of consumer behaviour. People are no longer passively consuming information, they are reacting and taking action on information they see online.
Advertising goals are not just about eyeballs anymore. They are about a higher level of interaction, a stronger conversion measure, a profitable action.
It was a giant step when the cost per click model for online advertisement pricing was introduced. Advertisers were only charged when users clicked on an ad.
The next step forward is the pricing models being adopted by social media platforms. These pricing models make a closer connection between the cost of the ad and the goal of the advertiser.
For example, as of May 25, 2011, YouTube “will change the billing terms of all Promoted Videos campaigns from a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis to a Cost Per View (CPV) basis”. This means the promoted video ads will only cost the advertiser money if someone views the video.
Furthermore, the launch of Twitter’s Promoted Products also include unique pricing models. Promoted Tweets, for example, are charged on a cost per engagement (CPE) basis where advertisers only pay when users retweet, reply to, click or “favorite” a promoted tweet. On the other hand, Promoted Accounts are charged on a cost per follower (CPF) basis, which means advertisers are only charged when a user follows their account.
These pricing models help advertisers more accurately measure the return on investment. Gone are the days where advertisers are only looking for eyeballs. Measure everything you do to determine the best course of action.
Photo Credit: Nesster
Google Insights is a great tool for market research. It can be used to identify the popularity of search terms (keywords) used on Google and any trends for specific search terms.
On the Google Insights website, you can select one of three ways to search: by search terms, by locations or by time ranges. You can then select filtering options to narrow down your search results. Below are two scenarios to help illustrate why you might use Google Insights for market research.
You own a specialty mittens shop in Vancouver, British Columbia and you plan to launch your online marketing plan. However, you aren’t quite sure when to start advertising. If you start advertising too early in the year, you risk wasting your budget because no one is looking for mittens yet. If you advertise too late, you risk missing out on potential customers. What do you do?
A quick search on Google Insights by Search Terms reveals Google searches for mittens begin to pick up in September. This may provide more insight on when you should start your online marketing strategy.
You are planning to create a new recreational website targeting people living in British Columbia, Canada. However, you don’t know what recreational activities British Columbian are most interested in. What do you do?
A quick search on Google insights by Locations reveals the top searches in the recreation category, in BC are:
With this information, you might decide to focus on creating a niche website for bicycle enthusiasts or a website for fishing enthusiasts.
Once again, Google offers valuable information. You just need to know where to look.