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Social Media & PR Strategies 2012 Blog

Google SEO Guide

I actually had read through this guide prior to taking this class, since SEO is an important point of contention for the field in which my internship does business. What I appreciate about Google is that it is focused on creating better search based on rather simple and intuitive principles. They are trying to move away from the old Internet days of hiding keywords way at the bottom of the page, using a font color that is the same as the background.

With this guide, Google is attempting to standardize website formats to a certain degree so that the ability to access pertinent information can be made easier through its engine. I think it is an important effort and, until Google has serious competition, a model that website owners would do well to follow as closely as possible so that they can be found when they ought to be. As a former webmaster, I can also appreciate how following Google’s SEO best practices actually helps to streamline the process of maintaining a website.

  • Write easy-to-read text
  • Use accurate and plain filenames and directories (i.e. james-yearbook.gif instead of dc00000123.gif)
  • Use accurate anchor tags

Ultimately, websites are about the user, and the content should reflect that. As the web becomes more inclusive, so too should the format and content of your website. This, I believe, is the ideal which Google is working toward with its SEO best practices.

 

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Review: Facebook Best Practices, Short & Sweet

These articles interested me most in how they crystallize the usage of their respective platforms. While there are a multitude of benefits to be gained from creatively using Twitter and Facebook in a way that others are not, sometimes it is helpful to just look at a guidebook of how things are commonly done and just diving right in. I think, particularly in the future, it will become more and more key for communications professionals like myself (who grew up with Twitter and Facebook and therefore are very familiar with them) to have a kind of quick & dirty explanation of emerging social media tools – since it is really the fundamental processes and philosophies of engaging that are important, and not necessarily the tools themselves.

In other words, Sun Tzu could probably have been a master of tank warfare as well as intergalactic space battles, right? Technology may change daily, but fundamental realities and insights do not (at least not nearly as often).

That Facebook “Liked by Friends” ads are TWICE as effective as traditional word-of-mouth marketing is astounding. This is something I certainly need to show the boss because

a) he is very wrapped up in how many likes he has

b) it is a pretty legit stat and can help increase awareness of (and feedback regarding) all my other branding/advertising efforts

I also appreciate that there are tips given on how, specifically, to use the different tools on Facebook – including a multitude of case studies along the margin of the document.

Short & Sweet is interesting, on the other hand, because Twitter is a much more open-ended technology. There are no business-specific tools mentioned in this article, but more like a kind of etiquette and strategy for using Twitter in a professional way. And professional does NOT mean “constantly try to advertise and sell to everyone on Twitter.”

Having used Twitter pretty extensively in the past, in a non-professional role, I am familiar with the layout and how to use everything mentioned in this article. Luckily, I have also been “tweeted to” by professional organizations that have used Twitter in a charming way, and also by orgs that use it in a robotic, “this is just another way to obviously try and sell you some shit,” way. So I also have an emotional investment in using Twitter correctly, because I know how much of a turn-off (or simply irrelevant) it can be to use Twitter in such a heavy-handed way.

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Volkswagen’s Fun Theory

Based on the four basic goals I believe Volkswagen was definitely trying to entertain with this campaign. I believe they did themselves a great service by keeping up with their image of thought-provoking and sensible attitudes. Volkswagen seems to have a knack for staying “hip” no matter the era, and doing things unconventionally. The results (in terms of views) speak for themselves: Volkswagen gained exposure for their company without explicitly trying to sell their car.

I wonder how much more the intersect between entertaining commercials and label-laden programming will become blurred. I swear I find commercials to be more entertaining than TV shows nowadays.

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My Client

So, the client I am wanting to use for this semester project is In & Out Moving (don’t laugh). See the log in with Facebook button? My idea (although not my idea to use that specific graphic). Facebook “Like” button, also my idea.

Essentially, without going into very great detail, I have been tasked with developing an entire integrated marketing communication plan for the company. So far I have basically focused on very broad strokes, which I think is the most important thing at this stage, so that the company as a whole can make a fundamental shift in the way it will approach doing business. I have already developed an ad campaign of sorts that should be ready to launch by this week. I will keep everyone updated and, with the blessings of Captain Jean-Luc Maguigad, we will see my progress, struggles, and triumphs, UNCENSORED & ONLINE.

CLIENT OBJECTIVE

My client’s objective is to increase sales, increase online presence, and, abstractly, simply to take advantage of this giant thing called social media marketing. If possible and advisable, cash flow may be freed from traditional marketing methods and funneled into social media marketing.

MY APPROACH

My approach is pretty simple: be engaging, be relevant, be problem-solver. I want to compile a list of their current customers to create a profile of what their demographics currently look like. I want to create a two-way dialogue with their employees, since they are at the front lines of communicating the quality of the business through the work that they do. That being said, I think it is important to legitimize and reward the employee experience so that the quality of work, though very good, becomes truly noteworthy. I also am interested in expanding their consumer base to different demographics to coincide with the relocation of their headquarters from the North Side to the Pilsen area. This would not require a total re-branding, per se, but simply a more firm molding from the current semi-amorphous state.

TIMELINE

This is difficult for me to say. Honestly, this is an ongoing project that could take an upwards of six months to achieve. Since the client objective is rather vague, filling in the details could result in a mountain of activities that I am basically expected to achieve on my own.

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“30 Ideas” response

I consider myself a highly analytical person, but I have been somewhat humbled by the truth: I perceive more than I calculate. I suppose this has saved me from having to consciously think out and rationalize every single aspect of a given system or method (I am more apt to successfully imitate/absorb the inner and outer workings; maybe I get lucky), but it has oftentimes made me miss key components.

So far, my experience with social media and implementing it in a business context has been successful (if haphazard), but I appreciate the advice given about finding the specific value of any given customer. Add up the amount of actual business attributed to said customer, subtract the cost (telephone calls, etc.), and you have a rough idea of net gain.

I can also appreciate the fact that not everyone has this X-Men superpower of preternatural perception and so I also appreciate the idea of indoctrinating every employee who will ever touch a keyboard with the company’s social media policy.

I would even go one step further. Whenever I describe the impact of social media on a business, I give my own little experience with a GrubHub employee on Twitter.

One day, I tweeted something like, “GrubHub is taking all my fucking money.”

Five minutes later, a GrubHub rep tweeted me back saying, “Resistance is futile.”

I thought it was funny, so I told a couple of other people about it. It endeared me to the company. He didn’t attempt to sell me anything (I was already buying), he didn’t address some type of issue that I had. He simply maintained a cool image for his company and wasn’t even afraid to respond to an explicit tweet that I sent without thinking.

Furthermore, without even trying, he inculcated a very specific idea in my mind about what social media interaction could be between a company and its publics. It was like my own little case study, in which I was the guinea pig, and I have never forgotten it.

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Response to Social Media Mktg. Report 2011

I find it interesting that the smaller the business, generally, the larger the gains with using social media. It is heartening to me that this guerrilla marketing tactic of sorts has become a legitimately useful and perhaps even indispensable aspect of any integrated marketing plan.

One thing that I have gleaned from learning about Public Relations in general is a kind of “shoot-from-the-hip” attitude. This is not to say that there is no careful planning involved, but rather that the personalities of those who I have met that are engaged in this field tend to be much more charismatic and improvised than sober and rote. I believe that is why, in my own experience, codifying the benefits of using social media on a quantitative level is less convincing (and far more boring) than explaining the multifaceted advantages in a qualitative manner.

I could say, “I will get you 500 more Twitter followers and 3,000 more ‘likes’ on your Facebook page by next month with this new ad campaign,” and perhaps that’s what real number-crunching types want to hear.

But I would much rather say, “This new ad campaign is going to really get people talking about you; they are going to tell their friends, send them links, link to it on Facebook, their blogs, and their Twitter accounts. They might not even care what your company does, but by keeping them entertained they are going to remember you and, when they need your service, you are who they will come to.”

My favorite part of this report is the fact that my own undertakings at my current internship very closely mirror the trends that are displayed. I am obsessed with what works, instead of what’s cool, but it’s cool to see that what I’m doing is also what works.

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