Social Media Marketing Return on Investment?

I’ve been using Social Media Marketing techniques for a few years now to help brand my small Design company. I can say my brand has definetly increased but I’m now wondering if this increased brand visibility is translating into sales, which is of course the desired and perhaps often forgotten goal. Is my return on time investment worth it?

I’ve only relatively recently got into the habit of asking enquirers where they found me but I can honestly only account for a very small handful of direct sales from my precence and activity on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, The IIA, etc..

I realize that there are other conversion factors ranging from; my market (whether there still is one or not!?), increased competition,  my website usability and ability to convert enquiries but should all of my efforts to brand myself as a professional, accessible and affordable design service provider not account for a little more return?

Off the top of my head I’d say I probably spend a few hours each day reading posts and engaging on Facebook and Twitter especially. I even check these sites first before email these days! I do get lots of great, free info but inevitably I get drawn into entertaining but ultimitately non business related conversations with people I barely know or people who are never ikely to be clients. Result? Time I could and should be spending actually working or maybe learning something new is possibly wasted.

I think these are things I and lots of other social media marketing exponents are going to have to think hard about and try to accurately measure in the near future as the initial social media furore passes.

Leon

Web Site V’s Facebook Page

The question of whether or not businesses still need a full website or not has come up a lot at the Business Networking and Social Media events I’ve been to recently including yesterday’s Open Coffee Sligo. I’ve not given it much thought until now but here’s my honest opinion as both a Facebook Page and Website owner myself and regardless of the fact that I’m a web designer!

For a start, it has to be mentioned that no website can ever be as well trafficked as the likes of Facebook so it makes sense to be where everybody is. I used to always say this about eBay to people who wanted to sell online, ie – go where the people are buying then try drag them back to your own site.

I’ve heard it said that your own site could never match the technology on Facebook etc but I disagree. Even a freely avaible and simple system like wordpress can emulate live blogging, commenting, video/photo sharing and social functions through the likes of Buddypress and various other plugins and templates. There’s also plugins to show Facebook Like buttons and Badges on your site and to export your site news or blog directly to Facebook and Twitter automatically so good connections can be made between Facebook and your own web precence.

I find a lot of my recent clients are aware of the fact that their own sites can be made communicate with Social Media sites and they specifically request this functionality when enquiring. I’ve not had any drop their sites or go with a Facebook page only yet.

Another important consideration is that while Facebook may be king of the hill at the minute, that may not always be the case. Who is to say in 3 years time that it won’t be shut down (possibly over privacy issues!?) or introduce fees or just succomb to a new site on the block. What happens to all your data and customer interaction in this case?

Also, with your own site you will always have full control over the likes of design, content and privacy, choosing exactly how you want it to work for you. As of now, there are no easy ways to capture specific customer data or sell products from Facebook but this is easy to do on your own site through forms and carts, etc..

The old online branding advice of avoiding the usage of freely available email addresses like @eircom.net or @yahoo.ie in favour of a professional business address like @your-company.com also applies in that people may think less of you for only bothering to have a freely available Facebook page rather than a professional custom web presence.

In short I think the way forward is to connect people’s sites with their business precence on the social media portals and not just decide on one or the other. At this point, as a web designer, I’m not too worried.

Leon.

Use your own Short URL’s for maximum Branding Effect!

URL shorteners are used a lot these days, mostly on the likes of Twitter and Facebook to make sometimes ridiculously long urls short and sweet. I, like a lot of social media contributors, have my business blog setup to auto post to both Twitter and Facebook and Twitter in particular with it’s 140 character limit really requires some compression when you are linking back to a blog post.

I’ve been using Dlvr.it for a while to take my Blog’s RSS feed and articles and distribute them out to other social media sites and they’ve recently introduced the ability to brand their short links with your own custom domain so that instead of people on Twitter seeing a link to your blog post like “dlvr.it/12345” they will see (in my case) “rvb.ie/12345” (rvb stands for Reverb Studios!).

All you need to do to set this up and running is purchase a new domain name and add a DNS record pointing to the Dlvr.it site, then login to Dlvr.it and add the new custom short url to your RSS sources. Here’s some simple instructions on how to do it:

http://support.dlvr.it/entries/171525-how-do-i-set-up-a-custom-short-domain

My Perfect Twitter Client Please

Twitter is running on my PC all day (and on the iPhone when I’m away) and I dip in and out constantly but my head is wrecked trying to find a Twitter app that has all I need. Lots come close but all let me down in one crucial area. I’ve tried the following:

  • Website – No alerts. Feature light.
  • Hootsuite – No notifications for replies, dm’s only. Slightly slow as it runs in a browser. No visual marking of read/unread tweets. No sync with iPhone.
  • Twhirl – Buggy. Keeps showing tweets as unread on startup. No Reply all. No iPhone app.
  • Echofon – Almost featureless Firefox plugin.
  • Tweetdeck – Too large a footprint on the PC and hard to read.
  • Twitteriffic – No PC client.
  • Tweetie – No PC client.
  • Seesmic – No iPhone client. No Multiple accounts. No lasting highlighting of unread tweets.
  • TwitBird – No PC client.

Here’s a list of specs I’d like to see:

  • NB Proper syncing between Desktop and iPhone versions of the same client. I really need stuff I’ve already read on the PC to be marked read on the iPhone app and vice versa.
  • Ease of use and visually minimalist.
  • Fast.
  • Highlight unread and Reply tweets.
  • Scroll to first unread tweet.
  • Control over notifications, ie – audio & visual push alerts.
  • Preview Short url’s.
  • Multiple accounts.
  • Select account to tweet from on each new tweet.
  • Show quick profile, stats and follow/unfollow links.
  • Quick links to Reply, DM users.
  • Favorite following.
  • Auto shortlinking.
  • Tweet audio, video and photos.
  • Tweet and link stats.
  • Text compression.
  • Sync with Outlook address book.
  • Filtering – see replies, dm’s only.
  • Auto suggest Twitter handles and Hashtags when composing.
  • Advanced search for tweets and Profiles.
  • Geotagging.
  • Send to Facebook, Linked, etc..on each new tweet.
  • Schedule tweets.
  • iPhone Autosave on exit.
  • Conversation Threads

Please correct anything I may have got wrong above or point me to my ideal Twitter client!

Leon.

Linkedin and Facebook Twitter Integration

Social Media Marketing is big news these days but the one big turn off is the amount of sites you need to use regularly to be effective. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Your Blog and a pile more all need to be updated on a regular basis if you are to spread your business gospel. Continue reading Linkedin and Facebook Twitter Integration

Social Media Marketing Comedy

Are there any people out there who might be considered knowledgeable in matters of SEO, Internet Marketing or Social Media/Social Networking and often find themselves getting laughed at when they try to explain Facebook, Linkedin, Blogging and especially Twitter to others!? I am one such person and I’ve witnessed others on the receiving end of this too.

I can maybe understand people laughing at Twitter with all it’s funny acronyms – Tweet, Twitterer, Twits, etc..but I’ve been trying to figure out why people’s eyes glaze over when you start talking about this stuff in general and why they think you’re joking when you say this is probably the most important thing you can do to promote your Website/Business at the minute.

My best guess is that the amount of information you often need to convey about how to use each service/site and exactly what it all means and what it can do for people is just overwhelming to the listener and they can’t fathom where to begin or where they’ll find the time to do it all.

So they laugh out loud in frustration!

If you are one such person who doesn’t get it and who laughs at us poor nerds thinking we know it all, then please don’t and here’s a simple definition of what we’re all talking about  when we mention “Social Media Marketing”:

Social Media Marketing means making friends online through various different websites with the ultimate aim of letting as many people as possible know about your product or service.

Nothing funny about that!?

Twitter Pervasiveness

I was at Bizcamp in Dublin last Saturday and was interested in the fact that almost anyone I talked with mentioned Twitter in some shape or form. My co-passengers on the journey to and from the event Tweeted our travel progress and the one talk I went to that was specifically related to Twitter was full and was given by a girl (Claire Boyles) obviously very enthusiastic about it!  The day served as confirmation for me if I needed any that Twitter is now the biggest thing since bread slicing.

I was only in the door and filling out my name tag when I noticed others putting their Twitter username on their badges so I done it myself and shortly afterwards I got recognised by someone who is following me! I spent most of the day looking at people’s name tags to see if I knew them from Twitter and anyone I did know and managed to get to talk to, the ice was broken simply by having Twitter in common.

I also got recognised a few more times which is always a nice ego trip and of course once conversation starts it could lead anywhere so the value of Twitter is obvious. Other people without Twitter name tags kinda got ignored (sorry!) but this only serves to enforce the fact that if you’re in business you need to be on Twitter and part of the “stream”.

@reverbstudios