Monthly Archives: April 2011

Twitter Experimenting With New Text Ads

Twitter has started serving third-party text ads on its webpage, in the right-hand column, below the “trends” section.

Previously, Twitter has used this space to display links to its own services and Twitter-related third-party tools and services, but now it’s showing pure ads that take you to sites such as ABC News or

Interestingly enough — as noted by Labnol — Twitter does not use the “nofollow” tag or disclose the fact that these are ads at all, except by defining them under the CSS class “promo,” which is visible only if you look at the HTML code.

Twitter has been experimenting with several different ad formats and possible revenue streams in the past year or so, adding ads to the individual user streams in November and letting select customers advertise through Promoted Tweets, Trends or Products. The text ads on the homepage probably aren’t as important for Twitter as other ad formats, but the company is methodically trying every possible advertising avenue to figure out what works best.


Devloping a B2B Social Media Benchmarking Plan


While the importance of setting up a social media plan makes sense for the majority of B2B organizations, establishing benchmarks for evaluating performance is less understood. While metrics like follower counts, network size, and social mentions lack a clear tie to business results, the immediate expectation of direct lead generation might be too aggressive.

Still, the 2011 MarketingSherpa report on social media reveals “more senior marketing executives are expecting either quantifiable ROI or outcomes that contribute directly to ROI.”

Marketing Sherpa Chart: CMO Priorities on Driving Social Marketing ROI

Benchmarking social media performance is becoming more critical for sustained involvement, even for organizations in the trial phases of a social media campaign.

Here are some of the ways to develop performance measurements for social media initiatives that tie into the search engine marketing (SEM) needs of your clients, as well as suggestions on establishing metrics aligned to your Internet marketing objectives.

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Great Tools to Automate Link Building

Source: Jeremy Bencken

Are you a human link builder? If so, ask yourself this: “if a robot link builder existed, what would I still be able to do that it could not?”

Analyze a complex backlink profile and distinguish quality links from spammy ones? Check. Write a funny personal email that gets someone’s attention in the right way? Check. Decide when a phone call might be the best outreach method? Check.

And what could the robot do faster and better than you?

Find every link to a site? Check. Automatically search through SERPs and connect each result to external data? Check. Automatically search for contact information on three different pages and score how closely it matched a person’s name? Check. Automatically pre-populate data fields in a CRM? Check.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “build on your strengths,” the lesson for link building is this: that we need to automate as much of the routine, “robot work” as possible, and spend more time doing what we’re best at: being sentient human link builders.

In this post, we’ll look at tools that can help link builders shift their workload to computers as much as humanly possible.

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Tips to Increase Your EdgeRank and Exposure

Source:  Jim Lodico

Regrettably, most Facebook users don’t know much about edge rank.

Users that have an idea are not really sure how to increase edge rank and exposure.

Let me start off by saying that Edge rank has nothing to do with U2’s Edge.

Wonder why you can have 548 friends on Facebook, yet only 15-20 show up in your news feed? It’s not that those other friends have stopped using Facebook; chances are they’re still there. It’s just that they aren’t showing up in your news feed.

If you haven’t noticed, there are now two settings on your Facebook news feed: “Most Recent,” which shows most of the content published by your Facebook friends in chronological order and “Top News,” which filters content based on EdgeRank.

Friends and fan pages with a high EdgeRank are more likely to show in your “Top News” stream. Users with a low EdgeRank may not even show in your “Most Recent” news feed.

For businesses or others looking to market, promote or just interact through Facebook, the implications of this change are huge. “Top News” is the default setting, so unless a friend or fan changes their default, it’s quite possible that they will never see your updates. No matter how good the content, no matter how well you manage your Facebook page, EdgeRank might be holding you back.

EdgeRank Defined

Facebook looks at everything published as “objects.” These can be status updates, links, photos, video or anything else that can be shared on Facebook. Every object receives a ranking (EdgeRank), which determines if it will show in your personal newsfeed. Objects with a high EdgeRank appear in your “Top News” feed. Objects with a low EdgeRank will not. According to a study conducted last fall by The Daily Beast, objects with a really low EdgeRank may not even show in your “Most Recent” news feed.

An object’s EdgeRank is based on three factors: affinity or the relationship between the creator and user, interaction with the object (likes, comments, etc.) and timeliness. Add the three factors together using a formula that only Facebook truly knows and you’ve got an object’s EdgeRank.

Unlike Google’s PageRank, which stays the same from user to user, every object is scored based on the individual Facebook user who may (or may not) view the object in their news feed.

Let’s take a closer look at the three factors that determine EdgeRank.


An object’s affinity score is based on the interactions you have with the friend or fan who published the object. Friends or fans with whom you regularly interact receive a higher affinity score. Each time you visit a fan page, click the “Like” button, comment on a user’s status or look at a picture, you increase the affinity score with that user.

As The Daily Beast study points out, this affinity score only works one way. I can’t increase my affinity score in another user’s feed by constantly clicking on their “Like” buttons or looking at their pictures. Although doing so will increase the likelihood that you’ll see their updates, your objects won’t do better in their news feed until they return the favor.

Level of Interaction

Different types of interactions are weighted differently on Facebook. Activities that require higher levels of user engagement get a higher score than those that don’t. For example, leaving a comment on a photo takes more effort on the user’s part than clicking the “Like” button. Objects that receive higher levels of interaction are more likely to show in a user’s newsfeed.

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The PR Pro’s Guide to Blogging

Lots of companies benefit from having a blog. For some, it’s a friendly, accessible way to say hi to devoted fans, curious onlookers and likely a few haters and skeptics. For others, it’s simply the way they communicate important messages. The role of public relations professionals in this chatty puzzle is to help companies build, shape and fine-tune their public voice. In fact, many PR campaigns aren’t complete without a blog strategy. But building a client blog from the ground up can be daunting. So where do you begin?

Start, With Help

When it comes to picking out a blog platform, there are certainly plenty to choose from, but Jeff Davis, who runs the content services team at San Francisco-based PR firm LaunchSquad, generally points clients towards WordPress, a mostly-free, open-source platform. Davis also makes another point: When you’re just starting out, don’t go DIY. “If you’re building something strategic for a client, even if it’s small scale, hire a WordPress developer to handle set up, find the right plugins and design a nice UI. It can be fairly inexpensive and is critical to building a blog that will work the way you need it to quickly and effectively.”

With a bit of help, WordPress’ initial set up process is simple and fast, and yet it offers a huge range of customization and configuration options. And with thousands of plugins, there is one that will satisfy any need that you can think of, often for free. For those who are coordinating blogs for multiple clients, WordPress also offers admin features for easy management across the board.

Optimize, But Not Too Much

According to Rich Brooks, President and “Chief Blogging Officer” at Flyte New Media, your SEO practices should have a very simple goal: rank high in search results for the things that your client’s customers are looking for. He recommends starting with a keyword analysis service like Raventools, WordTracker or Google Adwords’ keyword tool.

You want to pick one keyword topic per post, mentioning it once in the post title and once in the body of the post. Be sure to link important words to past posts as well, but keep it to one or two internal links at most. Beyond that, make sure you’ve got the WordPress SEO plugin installed and place the rest of your focus on working with your client to create engaging content.

Make It Worth Sharing

The company and product news that grace the vast majority of corporate blogs can certainly be both useful and good, but it’s just a tiny snippet of what is possible and inspiring. Arik Hanson, principal at ACH Communications, recommends considering content that is less about your client’s product, and more about the “culture that surrounds” your client’s product.

Hubspot, a company that offers inbound Internet marketing software, is a prime example. Its blog offers up creatively packaged, practical information that appeals to its very own target audience. Readers will find witty, educational posts, videos, guest contributions and even cartoons that cover everything from SEO and lead generation to Charles Darwin and cupcakes.

As you work together with your client to determine the content and focus of the blog, you should ask two key questions:

  • Who is going to read it?
  • What kinds of topics and issues do they care the most about?

There are tons of ways to develop an ongoing flow of engaging blog content, especially if your client is willing to talk about something other than the company. Don’t be afraid to pull in experts for Q&As, give spots to guest authors, respond to news and timely topics, share the spotlight with partners and customers and provide educational how-tos. And of course, we all love lists.

Think Like a Media Property

Davis says that there are times when a company blog can fill a pretty significant informational void. In 2009, Boston-based PR agency March Communications launched a blog for client TuneUp, which makes PC utilities for consumers. After conducting some market research, the company learned that when faced with PC problems, many people turned to forums and blogs to end up finding unverified and even potentially harmful solutions. The goal of the TuneUp blog was to become a reliable source of information for PC users who want to improve performance. The team brought on an external, experienced editor-in-chief to ensure editorial quality, and it placed the majority of the blog’s focus on helping users solve real problems. Since launch, more than 170,000 people have visited the TuneUp company blog to find answers to their PC questions and concerns.

Build Your Own Newswire

Traditionally, when a company has news to share, the official statement comes in the form of a press release. However, a carefully-written, information-rich blog post can play a similar role. Andrew Sinkov, VP of marketing at Evernote, explains that “your blog can be your own newswire.” A pre-published draft of a blog post, shared with reporters under embargo, is a legitimate source for news. Last month, Evernote used a blog post as the “news announcement” for the launch of its redesigned web app, with an embargo set for the time the post was to be published. Instead of having the information live on a wire somewhere, the Evernote blog is the ultimate source for Evernote news. The announcement post has since been viewed over 17,000 times.

The benefit of incorporating blog posts into your news announcement strategy is that it’s an opportunity to share the news in the client’s voice. “You write a blog post like it’s coming from you. You’re telling a story, you’re talking to someone. If you’re excited about something, that personal excitement comes through,” says Sinkov. This doesn’t mean that blog posts should replace press releases, it simply means that they should not be overlooked. So if you’ve got a press announcement and a blog post all drafted up and set for a big launch, make sure the reporters who cover your news get to see them both.

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Leads via LinkedIn Groups Most Likely to Convert

Nearly one in four visitors (24%) to B2B websites referred by LinkedIn are enterprise visitors—those arriving at sites via corporate IP addresses—according to a report by LeadFormix. Among such visitors, or leads, those referred by LinkedIn “groups” are the most likely to complete a form-fill, or convert.

Below, other findings from the LeadFormix report titled “Why Should You Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation?”
Enterprise Visitors by LinkedIn Source

More than one-half of enterprise visitors arrive at websites from individual profile pages (35.7%) or company profile pages (16.3%), whereas 16.4% arrive via “groups” and 3.6% via LinkedIn ads.



To analyze which sections within LinkedIn drive form-fills, numbers of completed form-fills are broken out by the sources of their visits.

LinkedIn “groups” accounts for the biggest percentage of form-fills overall, roughly 57.0%, followed by individual profiles (11.5%) and company profiles (9.2%).

Visitors arriving via “groups,” however, are the most likely to complete form-fills (38%), likely the result of the nature of those groups (i.e., people with similar professional interests) fitting a certain profile or target audience.

LinkedIn ads also drive conversion: 21.0% of website visitors arriving via LinkedIn ads complete form-fills.

First-Time Visitors

Nearly one-half (45%) of all leads to websites arriving from LinkedIn are first-time visitors. That level is higher for those arriving via “groups” (63.2%) and “answers” (70.0%), but lower among those motivated by jobs information (24.52%).

Which Web Pages Lead Visits

Leads referred to B2B websites from LinkedIn are most frequently visit the “careers” pages and “contact us” pages of a website.

Visiting a “homepage” ranks third, followed by the “about us” and “management” pages.

Time Spent on Referred Websites

On average, leads from LinkedIn spend roughly 2.2 minutes visiting websites. Visitors arriving via LinkedIn “news,” however, browse sites relatively quickly (1.82 minutes), whereas those who come from LinkedIn ads or “answers” spend more time on websites, 3.43 minutes and 3.23 minutes, respectively.

About the data: Findings are based on LinkedIn visitor data collected from the websites of 289 B2B clients of LeadFormix in February 2011.
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Facebook’s new Deals

Facebook’s new Deals featurewill launch Tuesday in five U.S. cities. Here’s a first glimpse of how those offers will look and function.

First, users who opt into Deals will get to see opportunities specific to their locations. Those offers will arrive via email or, in some cases, will appear in the user’s news feed on Facebook.

To be clear, these aren’t like the checkin-based deals for mobile users that Facebook launched for its nascent Places platform; while the initial mobile Deals product competed with Foursquare, the new product competes more with Groupon.

Each deal will have its own Facebook landing page, as shown in the gallery below. Users can “Like” a deal, share it via several channels on the site or opt to buy it right away. When purchasing the deal, users can pay with credit card or Facebook Credits.

It’s unknown whether Facebook will make more money from Credits purchases than from traditional ones. “We’re not disclosing details about revenue splits, but paying with Credits will work the same way as paying with a credit card,” said a Facebook representative via email. “It’s simply another way for people to pay for Deals. We think this just makes things easier for people using Facebook.”

Check out the gallery below for a walkthrough of signing up for, finding, buying and sharing the new Facebook Deals.

How Facebook Can Help Your Career

People do business with those they know, like and trust. This is a great quote, and one that’s guided many in growing their business through social media.

Many people use Facebook only as a way to connect with friends and family, and not as a way to further their career. If you’re one of them, time to change your thinking. According to Social Media Today, 42% of the US population has a Facebook account. More than likely, your boss and company’s top executives, your clients and potential clients are all on there.

Facebook has brought a whole new meaning to the term “the good old boys club”—and the great thing is, you don’t have to be a guy to join this one! The appropriate use of Facebook may depend some on your job and your industry, but it’s a great way to connect to clients and co-workers alike.

Read more and get tips to get started:

8 Ways to Successfully Sell with Social

I saw this catchy video and wanted to pass it along. 

Fortunately, social media offers an amazing source of business opportunities. If you approach it the right way, you can build many relationships that could be crucial to your business growth and success

Twitter staying in San Francisco

Twitter’s headquarters will officially remain in San Francisco after it secured a deal with the city over a tax break. 

“Twitter is staying in San Francisco and has signed a lease to move our headquarters to Market Square, a historic building in San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood that is being managed by our new partner and landlord, Shorenstein Properties,” Twitter’s head of communication Sean Garrett announced on the company’s blog.

For the last few months, the City of San Francisco and Twitter have been at odds over the city’s 1.5% payroll tax. San Francisco is the only city that has a business tax based on how much the company pays workers (including stock options), rather than simply taxing the company’s income. The result is that Twitter would have to pay millions more to the city — a charge it could avoid by moving a few miles south or east.

For the last few months, the City of San Francisco and Twitter have been at odds over the city’s 1.5% payroll tax. San Francisco is the only city that has a business tax based on how much the company pays workers (including stock options), rather than simply taxing the company’s income. The result is that Twitter would have to pay millions more to the city — a charge it could avoid by moving a few miles south or east.

We don’t yet have a timeline for our relocation, but we expect we will move into our new space in mid-2012. We can’t wait.

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