Category Archives: Social Media

Google Analytics Off-Site Social Data Hub Activities

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Google Analytics has recently added new features, but unfortunatly many of these social measurement and inbound traffic (referring source) tools are hidden. This is a shame given how much useful data Google Analytics captures about users arriving from social media channels.

Take for instance the ability to see that [person's username] bookmarked your post on bookmarking site delicious, Diigo, or Read It Later. Maybe you would like to know who linked to your post via a comment on Livefyre, Disqus, or Blogger? That and more is possible due to Google Social Data Hub partners.

“The social data hub is a free platform that social networks and other social platforms can use to integrate their activity streams— like +1, votes, and comments — with Google Analytics.”

The short video below walks you through finding hidden social media referring traffic sources using Google Analytics.

Was this helpful? What other tools have you used to measure inbound traffic and referrers? Leave a comment or chat us up @cirrusabs.

The Power of Lists on Twitter

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Twitter-List-Hand-Card

I remember getting started on Twitter. There was the newness and excitement in making new connections and finding new groups of people to communicate with. Soon enough there were 300 people posting all the time on different topics. This was easy enough to keep up on. Then the 300 became 600, which became 1200, which became way too much to view in one stream on Twitter. That is where Twitter lists will help you conquer the overload faced with growing social media accounts. Continue reading

Dangers of Relying on Twitter Search for Initiating Contact

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Done correctly, there is inherently nothing wrong with using a Twitter search to initiate conversation on Twitter. If you are looking to reach out to new people on Twitter, a search or a tool using a search on Twitter is a great way to find people. This can also go incredibly wrong if not used correctly.

Twitter searches can be done through a number of tools or directly through Twitter on their Search Page. Here are a few tips for what to do and what to avoid when using a Twitter search to initiate conversation. Continue reading

Capitalizing on a Social Media Storm ala NASCAR Driver Brad Keselowski

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Keselowski tweets during the Daytona 500

Social Media folks are buzzing about how NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski won over 100,000 new Twitter followers during last night’s simply unbelievable Daytona 500. Unfortunately, it was not due to him winning the race. What most are not talking about is the perfect social media storm that lead to it and what your business can learn from it. I know, it sounds like typical spin to win social media buzz, but stay with me on this one.

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Search Plus Your World is Search + Social

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Cirrus has always put an emphasis on educating our clients. Before we even started doing online marketing webinars and seminars, we dedicated a significant amount of project time to empowering clients with tips and advice to improve their online marketing, including search engine optimization and what has now become known as social media.

For the past several years we have been repeatedly harping on how social media is going to be ever more important to search engine optimization, visibility and clicks. Yesterday Google sent the clearest signal yet. The time for action is now. Actually the time for a social media strategy was years ago for many businesses, but let’s not quibble over nuance.

Yesterday Google released ‘Search Plus Your World‘, which melds Google’s new social network Google+’s search inline with Google’s normal search properties. And while some social has been appearing in SERPs (search engine result pages) for years, this level of prominence is so pronounced to actually draw fire from competing social networks like twitter.

To help understand how this impacts you or your companies visibility in search, consider that a searcher may see different search results if for example:

  • They are using incognito or other browser privacy mode.
  • Not logged into Google, cleared data, history and/or cookies.
  • Logged in and has not cleared the aforementioned data.
  • Logged in and socially active on other networks such as Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, et al.
  • Logged in and have a Google+ account, unless they use the button to hide personal results.
  • Have opted out of personalized search altogether.

Google Search Personalized Search Settings

In short, there are instances where your more socially active competition may show up in Google search results, and you will not.

Late last year, one week after the launch of Google+ Pages for brands and businesses, we ran a Google+ webinar and seminar where we asked our clients to wait for Google to fix ownership and notification issues before jumping in. Google fixed those issues in late December and we changed our stance to go, go, go. We are now urging those of you who still have not, to jump in. Need more proof? This has changed visibility of brands on Google.

Not sure how to get started? Let us help you with your social media strategy.

Prepping for A New Business Year, Month, Week, Day…

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It’s week two’s Monday morning as I write this, and preparations are no doubt being made to ensure that 2012 is a banner year for your business. The question is, are you focusing on the important parts of your business or simply resetting to repeat last year’s, month’s, week’s, or yesterday’s plans? What about your marketing? Are you keeping stats? Do you know which plays added points to the scoreboard?

Are you opening your business up to the wrong checklist?Far too often in business we either clamor for the old, familiar marketing methods that are well past their viability, or we waste time and money trying every new marketing trick that comes along. Without analyzing, tracking, or at the very least asking customers, what marketing piece moved them to action, we are left to attribute it to where we believe it came from without regard to truth or evidence.  Lacking stats, you allow the new marketing wiz kid to talk you into dropping everything for social media. Lacking stats, you may believe the agency of record when they tell you to keep doing more of the same. Does this sound like an optimal way to operate your business? Do you leave expenses, consumables, and wages up to such flippant record keeping?

My challenge to you is to start thinking of your marketing like the other critical components of your business. When you open the business each Monday morning, make sure marketing is on the checklist.

Let us help you review your marketing strategy checklist.

Lessons Learned in Online Marketing: Change is a Constant

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After celebrating one year at Cirrus ABS, Derek Pillie refelects on online marketing lessons learned

Online marketing is subject to constant change. It reminds me of a phrase I learned not long after moving to Indiana. “If you don’t like the weather, stand right where you are – it’s sure to change in five minutes.” Well if there’s anything more subject to change than Hoosier weather, it’s the wild world of online marketing.

Let’s take it one step at a time, first the landscape. Not long after coming on board, Google unloaded a major change in the algorithm it uses to display search engine results. At the time I felt fortunate that I wasn’t going to have to learn how these ranking factors work all over again six months later – then Google pushed another update… six months later! It was then I realized these changes are something I’m just going to have to get used to.

Think about it… in the last year we’ve seen the introduction of Google+, huge changes in how Facebook displays user profiles, and my Twitter profile design has changed twice! To some degree these changes were responses to each other, in an effort to stay ahead of their competition.

In addition to these relatively “old” social media platforms, the tools we use on these platforms are ever changing. While you may develop a loyalty to a particular brand of tools (Can I get a “heck yeah” team Hootsuite?), the capabilities of these tools change to adapt to the ripples caused by changes with the social media platforms. These changes also create opportunities for new tools to be introduced.

Ultimately the online marketing landscape is very fluid and entrepreneurial. That being said, it’s not a lawless frontier that operates without rules or structure. If that were the case it’d be impossible for anyone to find long-term success using online marketing. So how do you navigate a path to success when change is swirling all around you?

It’s important to remember that technology is a tool, not a strategy. When you are trying to determine how to achieve your online marketing objectives, make sure they are conceived based on strategy, not the tools at your disposal. You could start a Facebook page because it’s free and you have a Facebook account and there’s lots of people using Facebook. However, if there’s no use case for your customers to interact with your brand on Facebook, the effort you put into building and maintaining that page might have been better spent purchasing a license for an inexpensive e-mail mailing service and writing a monthly e-mail to a list of subscribers.

The basic rules of marketing still apply, which is why no matter how much things change when it comes to online marketing I will still be able to have an impact because I know to stay focused on client objectives, understand what they are trying to communicate and learn with whom they are trying to interact. These are the elements you build a strategy around – once the strategy is set we can figure out what tools we need to use to make it work and add value!

Lessons Learned in Online Marketing: Driving More Value

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After celebrating one year at Cirrus ABS, Derek Pillie refelects on online marketing lessons learned

Online marketing is a fast-moving, fast-paced field that is constantly changing and evolving. That may be a big reason why it’s hard for me to believe I’ve been working exclusively in this field for just over a year. I thought this would be a good opportunity to collect some thoughts I’ve gathered over the last 12 months.

The first lesson I’d like to focus on is the value proposition. Prior to joining Cirrus ABS I worked in the public sector. Unfortunately there is a highly visible example of how irresponsible government employees behave in the news right now, but responsible public sector works are always trying to figure out how to stretch their resources to provide the most value. When business increases in the private sector, it’s usually accompanied by more income and you can use that influx of cash to address resource shortfalls – this doesn’t happen in the public sector.

Just because you have additional resources to throw at a challenge, it doesn’t mean that’s going to be the most productive use of that money. From a marketing standpoint in the public sector we focused on how we could make the most use out of any activity because our greatest commodity was time. The more efficient we could be with time, the more flexibility we had to address resource allocation issues. This is a valid lesson that can be applied to online marketing in the private sector as well.

Many times when I discuss online marketing with others in the community the focus is on using a particular tool (i.e. “Is Facebook important?”, “Do my customers really use Twitter?”, “Do I need a Google+ page?”), rather than on what they’re trying to accomplish, like increasing sales from their current customers, bringing more new customers to their establishment, or introducing new products and services.

Once you focus on a goal, you can start developing a strategy to achieve the goal. It may include some or all of the channels mentioned above. It may use completely different channels you’ve never heard of. It’s very easy to spend lots of money on social media and see no results from your effort.

Anyone can accomplish anything when it comes to online marketing, it’s really just a matter of how much time do you want to spend maintaining the solution  and how much money are you willing to spend supporting it. At first there may be some guesswork involved at where those lines intersect, but over time proper data analysis will reveal the value and how much effort and money is necessary to achieve your goal.

Over the last year working with Cirrus ABS partners and potential partners, it’s clear to me these lessons from the public sector are even more critical in the private sector, especially given the current economy. Working through how to develop a strategy to achieve business goals is far more critical than embracing the latest fad. Learn more about how we approach online marketing consulting and let me know if we can help you out!

Why is Quality Web Content Good For SEO? (infographic)

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The Web is driven by content. What you put out there on your website, on your Facebook wall, or or in your Twitter stream, is what users AND search engines use to evaluate you. Since its inception, Google has rewarded quality content and done it’s best to punish poor quality content.  If you’re a Cirrus ABS customer or if you’ve attended any of our webinars or seminars, you’ve heard us preach “content, content, content” and since Google’s Panda algorithm first rolled out in February, we couldn’t be more adamant – you must produce quality Web content if you want to win on the Web. Continue reading

Struggling with Social Media ROI & Value

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Social Media ROI Is Not A Unicorn

Social media ROI was the topic of a recent Twitter chat I participated in, and to say it was entertaining would be an understatement. The subject of measuring social media always seems to stir up controversy as part of the group proclaims social media ROI doesn’t exist, can’t be measured, and is as mystical as a unicorn, while the other camp retorts with, does so and can too. In the heat of the debate few ever stop to consider the value of social media, which is different from ROI.

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