Maxys Personalising the Web

Maxys - Personalising the Web, looking at digital media communication and internet video for business sales and marketing.
Tag » online social media

This is a Digital Media Strategy Beginners Article.

Local Search Results

One of the biggest failures of the web to date has been the generally poor results you get from a local search - particularly here in Australia where only around 30% of small businesses have a website.  The poor performance is understandable when it's only logical that if your business doesn't have a website, then it's hard for Google to know you exist and for people to link to your site.  

Coffee Shop Dolls PointThere have been many attempts over the years to address this gap, from the old, once dominant, Yellow Pages type paper advertising directories (which have finally migrated to online directories); Government and commercial initiatives like Google and MYOB (leading Australian Small Business accounting software); consumer comparison and ranking website portals; through to customer generated content - forums, bloggers; Facebook Places; Fourquare; Twitter; new Google+ and my new favourite service www.quora.com (founded last year by the ex CTO of Facebook).

From a business owners perspective it's a Catch 22 situation - if your immediate sales are not generated from the web then why as business do you need to invest the time, energy and money to develop new skills; keep information up to date; maintain the website; and also communicate through these online channels - "I sell coffee I'm not some computer nerd!" they cry.   

The answer to that question is very simple - depending on what report you're reading then 50-90% of new customers will search online before purchasing - Online Retailing's SOBO "Search Online Buy Offline". 

If you're not actively marketing and communicating online then there's a very high probability your competitors are or will be.

Opportunity and Competition Drives Innovation  

Ten months ago, I wrote about a new coffee shop which opened in the local neighbourhood "Foodies Deli Cafe" which brought a refreshing new competitor to the local coffee drinking marketplace - back then as a test I asked how long would it be before they commented on my blog post.

Today, that moment arrived, Matt - one of the owners told me they'd launched a website a couple of months ago; that it wasn't ranking in Google and if I could take a quick look (contra coffee).

Sensing a potential mutual win relationship (and also content for my blog) once back in the office the first thing I did was a test search in Google

Foodies Deli Cafe: burgers worth scrapping over

www.smh.com.au/entertainment/.../foodies-deli-cafe-20110401-1cnou.html
2 Apr 2011 – Rate Foodies Deli Cafe with 0.5 a star Rate Foodies Deli Cafe with 1 star Rate Foodies Deli Cafe with 1.5 stars Rate Foodies Deli Cafe with ...

Foodies Deli Cafe

www.smh.com.au/entertainment/.../foodies-deli-cafe-20110401-1cnot.html
2 Apr 2011 – Rate Foodies Deli Cafe with 0.5 a star Rate Foodies Deli Cafe ...

Foodies Deli, Cafe, Dolls Point Part I « Eat My Shots!

eatmyshots.com/?p=204 - Cached
4 Nov 2010 – Foodies Deli, Cafe, Dolls Point 

 

As Matt said the website http://www.foodiesdelicafe.com.au/ doesn't rank at all, so we take a look at source code.  If you right-click on your website from your browser there is usually a "source code" option - it's gobbly gook stuff Google sees.  Without going into finer details the website is not search engine optimised (SEO) and in its current form I doubt it will never rank in the top three search results.  Yes, the web developers didn't mention that!

As mentioned there are many elements which influence search engine ranking but the most important is the "Search Engine Term" your potential customers will use.

The Future of SearchSearch Engine Term and Inbound Links

The key point to note is that most people will NOT search for the name of the coffee shop, they will search for "coffee shop Dolls Point" or "coffee shop Sans Souci" or maybe "best coffee shop in St George area".  The most important element to SEO is the title of any external websites inbound link to your site.  

The higher the Pagerank of the external website "referring" the more influence that will have on your page ranking and your subsequent search results listing. For example, A Sydney Morning Herald food guide review will have a greater link importance than my website blog (except when it is published in my Istrategy blog post).

Example - The top three results "Best Coffee Shop Sydney City" includes one of my favourites Vivo Cafe - Vivo has a SEO website plus Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare accounts - all roads lead to a destination. 

Social Media is the New Search 

We are increasingly using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube etc and applications like Trip Advisor to ask friends or other web users for their feedback.  On top of the social media layer, services like Google+; Linkedin Q&A (think corporate Facebook) and the previously mentioned http://www.quora.com/ are facilitating question and answer and developing expert status.

Google is already indexing this high quality content (except where it has very recently been precluded - ie Twitter real time results and public Facebook Status) and you are beginning to see this data influence rankings. 

Social Media Pureplay

Another local coffee shop I must mention is social media marketing pure play Montgomery St Cafe, headed up by the highly talented Internet Chef and Electrolux brand ambassador Bridget Davis and Twitterati Iconic88.  They did an exceptional job at building awareness prior to opening through Facebook status updates, #mostreet and regular Youtube videos.  

Increasing Competition

Last week another new local coffee shop opened - "Kiss the Barista" at Georges River 16ft Sailing Club; and another around the corner couple of weeks. 

There are now three new coffee shops that have opened within a short (less than 500m) distance within the last 10 months making a total six.

As you can see even at the local coffee shop level it's a highly competitive online marketing but you know the most important thing?  The customer experience they then share.

How do you rank on Google and what are your customers saying about you on social media?

The Disruptive yet Logical Convergent Media Landscape

We live in incredible times, just a few years ago it used to be said that Google flattens everything it touches - the disruptive but yet logical nature of search engines disintermediated ineffecient links in any information or supply chain, from a media perspective - 

 

  • Newspapers and magazines have had to develop new business models to survive (from sacking staff, subscription models, adding value services and video content partners); 
  • The music industry has also been changed forever by i-tunes; 
  • The television industry is embracing Twitter to interact; 
  • Social media conversations can make or break a new film 
  • Celebrities can have more followers than the population of some countries (Justin Bieber has over 10m Twitter followers - Australia has a total population of 24m people) and 
  • Gamers are now mainstream (more revenue than Hollywood).

 

What we've seen over the last ten years is a continual convergence of media, communications, entertainment and technology layers - from the first PC's with their multimedia capabilities (hardware - note: innovation driven by gamers); then computing and communications (Internet connectivity and VoIP); through increasing mobility (mobile broadband) combined with a parallel evolution from text based email to social media and real time mass niche social video conversation.

Media-wise we've progressed from the old village community hall to the flyer to the printing press through to interactive Internet television - and back again to the digitally connected virtual village!  

But now that the fragmenting social media tide has spread across the communications landscape, that we're all "involved", what's after Social Media 101? What's beyond more Facebook "likes" and Twitter "Followers" and what does that mean for businesses - brands - advertisers - consumers?

Social Media Maturity - Television Convergence and Interactive Story Creation

The television and film industries have a long history of creating creating compelling content ie story telling but they are also being challenged by the digital revolution - the old business models from advertising through production to distribution are being flattened.  Every business today with a bit of creativity and talent, a video camera or smarthphone; an edit package and an Internet connection is now their own media channel - but do they have the reach and influence?  

Many are looking for that viral video which will skyrocket their brand success like a Justin Beiber Youtube video clip.

Creating Frameworks


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLIVEvideo Viral Video Director Chisholm Van Schwiser

CLIVEvideo.com - leading Website Presenter and Internet Video Production company announces controversial Viral Video Director Chisholm Van Schwizer joins CLIVE to produce a new, community driven, social video branded web series.

Sydney, NSW June 16, 2011 To target corporate Digital Video Advertising, controversial Viral Video Director Chisholm Van Schwizer has joined Internet Video Production company http://www.clivevideo.com to produce a new, community driven, social video branded web series.

Chisholm was the creative director behind controversial adult entertainment industry documentary “It Won’t Suck Itself” and the corporate funded “Brad & Burt’s 2005 Surf Trip”.   “Internet video combined with social media has come along way in the last ten years and so have advertisers - with this show we want to create integrated social video marketing experiences for brands that people can participate in” said Chisholm

With US television upfronts (where networks sell their commercial inventory to advertisers) currently under way CLIVEvideo.com is targeting the increasing amount of television advertising budgets being allocated towards Internet Digital Video Advertising.  “Advertisers can no longer rely on owning the media space and pushing a message down a customers throat, they have to create compelling content that resonates and influences their target audience” said Sales Manager Ernie Cash “you need to create sports-team like passion for brands that customers love and want to share”

Internet video is set to skyrocket, there is an estimated 48 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute, online video consumption is forecast to increase 45% year over year and Digital Video Advertising is predicted to increase 22% over the next 12 months. 

CLIVEvideo Online User Behaviour Analyst Professor James Goodfellow , said “According to the IAB 'An Inside Look at Demand Side Perceptions of Digital Video Advertising' report, integrated video is set to explode”   Key findings were

  • Advertisers are finding that their audiences respond better to DVA, with consumers showing a higher engagement rate with online video. 
  • DVA is more trackable and targetable and DVA production is less expensive, making it more cost efficient. 
  • Marketers will migrate TV ad dollars to digital video based on the belief it will deliver better ROI; 
  • agencies and television decision makers will shift ad dollars in an attempt to follow their target audiences. 
  • Among the different available DVA formats (pre-roll, in-banner, expandable banner, mobile video, rich media overlay and post-roll), agencies primarily use pre-roll while marketers are not committed to any specific format.  Most respondents believe the appropriate length is 15 seconds. 
  •  A majority of marketers and a majority of agencies believe they should each be responsible for deciding whether to use DVA and how much budget to allocate to it. 

CLIVEvideo.com CEO Franklyn Un Curruthers said "we're all very excited to have Chisholm on board, he’s been involved in many of the most successful Internet viral video hits ever produced so we knew we had the right man for our clients and this new project".

To see CLIVE in action visit http://www.clivevideo.com

 


Collaborative Creation

The next phase is to involve fans and brands in a near real time collaborative creation process. 

Also, more mobility, geo location data and contextual advertising.

Basil began his career in Bloody Big Corporation a long time ago and has worked his way to the head of Corporate Communications - it hasn't been easy street, over the years he's had to put out his share of corporate fires, manage a revolving door of stars, executive egos and even schmooze the most obnoxious, closed minded journalist. 

It hasn't all been party - those long extended lunches, gifts and overseas corporate funded conventions to exotic destinations - it's all part of a carefully constructed game that oils the wheels of message control, and Basil, is the master of wheel and spin, (I mean storytelling) - the hardened old man of media influence.

BUT, like the stiff old vinyl LP and CD "the times they are a changin" 

If you can read this someone has stolen my i-phone

"Today, this Facebook and Twitter thing, this social media stuff has changed the game - the ability to control the media and message is just no longer possible" says an i-phone wielding Basil (subtle product placement #1) "Nowadays I have to keep a constant live streaming Twitter search of our key stakeholders and brands - when my new i-phone (#2) rings at 3AM in the morning I quickly check Twitter to see what's trending before I answer the call, Twitter is where stories break and if you don't know what's being said about you - you can look the fool and nobody likes to be made a fool"

In my role, says Basil "It's very important to always be connected - if it wasn't for #Telstra's unequalled mobile network coverage around the country I'd be lost (a not so subtle unsolicited customer advocacy product placement)." 

Yes, the role of Corporate Communications is still to manage the brand and influence discussion but today it's in real time, online and open for all to see.  Yes, PR and transparency is a bit of an oxymoron agrees Basil.  Today, you need to be more subtle to influence behaviour.

Today every person with a smart phone (Cisco [CSCO] predicts that by 2015 the number of Internet-connected devices, such as laptops or smartphones, will outnumber people two to one world-wide), every user is their own reporter and media channel; they update Facebook and Tweet to their followers - within minutes a message, a photo, a video can ripple across the world. 

Basil warn his clients of three things

  1. "What happens anywhere appears in Facebook" 
  2. Ring me before your lawyer - I've got more online Klout! (Klout profiles and measures online Twitter influence)
  3. People aren't stupid and are highly connected - you can't buy loyalty - you have to earn trust, customer attention and advocacy.

Basil states that some of the statistics can be bewildering to the Internet strategy newbie. 

  • Netcraft reports there are 215,675,903 websites with domain names and content on them in 2009, compared to just 18,000 websites in August 1995 and that the web has been growing 10 fold each year.
  • Locally, the average Australian Internet user spends 17.6 hours per week online; Television 13.4 hours; with 49% watching television and use the Internet at the same time.  These figures are roughly inline with US and Europe.
  • Online Social Networking represents 21.9% of that time - (Comscore Australians Online 2011)
  • Facebook has over 600m people worldwide - that makes it the 3rd biggest country in the world.
  • Twitter, according to calculations from leading blogger Jeff Bullas - has around 225m people and is growing at around 400,000 users per day.
  • The average tweets per week - 1B (over 20% being brand related - I think I heard that at the I-strategy conference).  People may are already talking about you.  
  • That there are 3 billion photos uploaded to Facebook every month.  
  • and there are 37 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute - most of it crap.

But amongst all the noise and clutter, we all now have information to make better decisions - search will only get better and more relevant.  

Potential customers are already asking and getting referrals from friends, blogs and through social media - AND buying online - without ever walking into your shop or contacting you directly.  

This re-emphasises that the first few seconds of your website is critical to conversion (see CLIVE).

The web is now mainstream and the web user, you, I,  the customer, us, are in control.

Implementing a Social Media Control Centre

When a recent security incident at Big Bloody Corp spread like wildfire on Twitter they saw their share price drop 10 points wiping out billions of dollars of shareholder value. When CEO Franklyn Un and the BBC board realised that their brand equity and price was being impacted by social media conversations they instantly moved responsibility from Cheryl in Reception, to the Ivory Castle Corporate Communications Agency - you can't have some chatty inexperienced Y-Generation talking to the public.  

Within six months social media returned back in-house.

At first we outsourced to an Agency but they didn't know our business well enough, were too slow to respond to customers and we realised social media/ conversations with our customers were far too important an element to outsource.  As a result we brought social media back so that the degree of separation between customer and us was minimalised.  

What took us the most time to realise is that customers hated the politically correct measured corporate tone of our tweets and loved chatty, real, responsive Cheryl and her team - that people buy from people.

We now understand that our attitude to change and customer engagement is critical to our long term success.  

That as an organisation we needed to decorporatise and rehumanise the corporation, that if we are going to engage in these highly influential social media channels then we must become more social - more human - tell stories and have fun.  That means putting people with strong communications skills and corporate intelligence at the front line - it means peeling off the corporate layers and letting the natural person shine through - to humanise our brands.  It means getting all our executives and staff digitally aware.  It means making our website more customer focused, friendly and inviting.    

Bella the Great Dane eyes off a pork chop

Awareness

In today's consumer driven online social media landscape we seek permission to engage customers online.

Question is - how to you know if you can't interrupt the flow?

Word of mouth?  Advertising?  SEO?

Permission

Most people aren't mind readers so it's important to communicate your desires and goals.

Negotiation

A transactions need not be adversarial - in fact parties may seek collaborative benefits - with effort you can always find common ground solutions.

For example -

"GIVE ME THE CHOP and I'll

  1. Look after the house;
  2. Won't raid the garbage bin at 1AM tonight and
  3. You can keep your left arm :-)

Love Bella the Great Dane"

Conclusion

The days of the everything free on the web are disappearing.  Internet users are going to have to get increasingly use to more interruptive forms of advertising or subscription models if they want high quality content.

Advertisers will need to not only create relevant and entertaining content but also incorporate social media tools and online customer engagement policies.

Awareness - Permission - Negotiation - Conclusion.