The Relevancy Bell Curve… Google, Brands and Blogging

20 10 2008

“We don’t actually want you to be successful”  said Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The company’s algorithms are trying to find the most relevant search results, after all, not the sites that best game the system. “The fundamental way to increase your rank is to increase your relevance,” he added.  

In this extract, from AdAge.com we hear more confirmation that SEO, Public Relations and Marketing are in fusion mode to become Social Media Marketing and PR 2.0… I feel quite good about this…

Here what we think here at Extanz:

The tools are ready: Brands and businesses in general can now own the distribution of their content and directly connect with their constituents and customers via social networks and RSS connectivity. This is the ultimate form of business relevancy as regular people (or businesses) are connecting via the internet to businesses they believe are trustworthy. Google is looking for trust, are you?

You own distribution: Business blogging, and blogging in general, is the mothership of relevancy. A business should (not increase) but shift resources from traditional marketing to blogging. You may also need to reshuffle who is in charge of blogging (hint)…. Comcast’s success with Twitter was started by people in customer service, not in corporate marketing. The spirit of blogging resides in creating real connections with customers. Help your customer, make them smarter, educate them. Traditional marketing minds want to push information. Blogging is about pulling your customer’s interest towards the higher purpose of your business. Together we rise.

The Digital Footprint: What the heck is that? The other day, I followed someone on twitter someone called Pixelbender (this makes me laugh as it expresses the gap between our understanding of reality and how the virtual world is reframing what’s really real) 🙂 – Back to the digital footprint… I see it on every network, from the LinkedIn super networker who has 10,000 + connections (Not me, but I’m working on it) or to Obama who has 100,000 + followers on twitter (first page result for Barack Obama) – the more connected your business is (and you are yourself), the more relevant you become in the eyes of the search engines. Your business digital footprint is like putting a series of billboards along social network highways. The earlier you get on board, the more you’ll lead in terms of being relevant in your industry.

Stay or become relevant through social media!

Stay or become relevant through social media!

The Business Social Graph: To our example last week, just put Barack Obama in Google, or check where Twitter is lined up… like on the first page – that is relevancy based on how much a person or a business is connected. Except that once again, the internet tends to create sprouts (remember the Bell Curve?) – The first cool brand on the block will be able to build higher and faster connectivity with customers and prospects because of the viral mechanism that the internet offers. How do you stay on top? By staying relevant and feeding EXCELLENT and USEFUL content to you constituencies!

– Lastly, not everyone is an early adopter… but you can build your brand journey step by step and we can help – and by the way, we know how to make you successful and relevant

Cheers

Yann





I read your twit, therefore I [and you] exist.

8 10 2008

Earlier this year, we wrote about whether to twit or not to twit and what that decision meant. As Twitter and the whole concept of nano 🙂 blogging has started to take off, more questions have been raised about the particular ‘social media order’ to which all these kinds of activities, like blogging, vlogging,  twitting etc belong.

TweetDeck helps you manage your tweet stream

TweetDeck helps you manage your twitter streams

An acquaintance passed comment to us recently that ‘blogging is the mothership’. This is indeed, an interesting way of putting it. In our own practice, often we use twits to connect others to a larger blog post (cos let’s face it, 140 characters does not provide much of a summary!). In this respect, we can think that Twitter is to blogging what a headline is to a newspaper article or what a title is to an essay. The twit, as it were, acts as an attention getter, an opening statement, an entree to another conversation.

But twitting is also an indicator of passionate users, an indicator of how connected and committed they are to different topics, communities, groups and others. Yann was at a marketing dinner lately and people were making comments about twitter like “I signed up for twitter and nothing happened. Then in the space of 3-4 hours, multiple people were following me arrgghhhhh!!” But this is the beauty of Twitter. In the real world, we exchange business cards to start a business relationship. Twitter does the same by following people. Someone follows you, you follow them back. It’s built on reciprocity. There’s nothing creepy about it. Ok, well maybe something a little creepy… Or should we say creeping…..it’s about rankings, people…

For example, Yann (not that he can vote) recently started following Barack Obama (just for kicks) and he followed right back! Barack Obama has 92,000 people following him and he follows 96,000 people. You just can’t do that with a blog where it is less fluid. Now, here is the gravy, on the first page of google organic when you search for Barack Obama, the 6th ranked URL link is Twitter, above CNN and everything else. The first and second are his own sites, the 3rd is Wikipedia, the 4th is ggoogle news, 5th is his .gov official senator site and then Reuters and then Twitter.  Get it?! Twits matter in the eyes of Google! The social media sphere is increasingly more important than traditional media. Note to self. Our friend Steve Outing recently had a quick post on the same subject.  So perhaps those analogies between twits, blogs, headlines and newspapers are not doing us justice after all…..

Finally, information is coming of age – Twitter, micro-blogging, blogging, and social media is giving

total power to the reader. I read your twit, therefore I [& you] exist. Brand managers, this should matter to you. If not, your competition will reach out to your customer and their digital footprint will be larger and faster than yours. You have a chance to own the distribution of the message, if you take it.

Next up….coming to a blog (and several twits too) near you – digital footprints (or is that feetprint) and the social graph (the mighty XFN)……

Thanks Vu Bui for the cool pic!

Kirsti





Social Media Marketing: The Basics

11 09 2008

Social Media Marketing… it doesn’t bite …really… it’s as respectful as you are… now rock on!

But before you start out, here are some basic ideas:

Content is KING: the best content in your industry is worth gold.
Numbers count: everyone understands that the more connected you are, the more relevant you are.
Distribution: you OWN distribution of your content, there is no barrier between readers/prospects and your company – There is no editor in chief privileging your competitor story.
It’s about being Human: We are gregarious by DNA. We like social contact and we’d rather buy stuff cos our friends told so and it is fixin’ our basic and not so basic needs.
‘It’s business, (stupid)’: If you doubt it, just look at the valuation of those puppies…. The so called Social Graph will soon have more power than any other sales force.
Authenticity rules: Be true to your brand and your customer or you’ll go to hell.

The Basics

The Basics by http://www.Extanz.com

If you want to experiment yourself, you need a blog.  No blog – you don’t exist, seriously.

Now meet the mighty graph which explains the basics of what I call an RSS Architecture….. if you like it, say so, bookmark it (funky button at the bottom of that blog). If you don’t, tell me how you would modify it.  Now we’re being social!

So what are the basic steps?
– Connect your customer-friend-ecosystem to your company brand online.
– Feed them / publish excellent content that will make them happy to have read or seen you (youtube,flickr…).
– Allow for 2 way conversation with them and respond (to what matters, not everything).

Oh YEAH! This is applicable to the following:

– A brand
– A business — small or large (larger can’t move very fast so they struggle a bit with that)
– A [true] customer centric company
– A product launch
– A message as part of your overall marketing strategy
– An individual (brand)
– Selling a house
– A political campaign 🙂
– A non profit fundraising endeavor
– A product development team

….and too many others to list…..

It is NOT applicable to:
– Spammers
– Arrogant brands
– People afraid to lose control of the message (you’re lost anyway).

Now stop thinking that Social Networking is just for kiddos who are bored…. it’s you, me and everyone else thinking stuff, buying stuff, reading stuff.

TOGETHER WE RISE. 🙂

Yann

If you like it click on the ‘add this’ button below (you’ll need a account at Stumbleupon, Digg or Delicious – this is just another marketing tactic you need to do)

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Towards PR 2.0 = RSS Marketing + A Conversational Mindset

11 08 2008

These days we get asked more and more: “is what you do PR?”

We tend to say, “hmm not really – but kind of” …the answer seems to depend on whether we are talking with someone who can actually understand the “let your audience participate with you” part and considers that PR or not. Most marketing and PR folks out there are just plain afraid of what could be said and so, find it hard to “let the audience participate”.

Today, most business blogs are just newsletters that “Corporate Communication” is putting out there to ‘check’ another thing to do. Most of the time, PR firms are good at pushing such press releases and trying to get traditional media to write about their stuff.

What we do is vastly different. We are here to focus less on the company’s cool product (traditional PR will take care of this) and more on the audience’s points of pleasure and pain points. To do so, we identify your constituencies (blogosphere, constituency presence on social networks, connectivity between networks). Then we connect the dots between all these “locales” and start reaching out for fans, friends of fans etc, bringing them valuable content that only friends would want to send to each other.

When thinking through the comparison between PR and social media, consider the following…

1. Connectivity: THANK YOU RSS – Does your PR firm really understand RSS? Not just what it stands for?

Since 2005 and RSS 2.0 standardization, we’ve seen an explosion of possiblities in terms of feeding data from one place to the other. You can actually now stream your business blog across facebook, plaxo… Yes, it’ll take a bit of plumbing but once you’ve established those connections, you can start spreading the word…:) The following examples are what could be considered “immature” demonstrations of RSS potential – note the complete lack of feeds to the FB page – Isn’t it time to challenge what your PR firm is doing for you?

no activity...

no activity...

Virality is a function of “moving data”, in this case it’s about how fast User Generated Content is moving from one friend to the other – The faster the data point (pictures, blogs, facebook greenpatch @#$%…) moves, the more virally the information spreads. Most traditional PR methods are stuck in old distribution models –they can not virally replicate information and rely on traditional readership bases (which are also less virulent) than web2.0 readership. Obviously Canon and Jamba Juice (there are 100s of examples like that) just don’t understand what Social Media Marketing or RSS Marketing is… [hint: talk to us] 🙂

2. Do you really see marketing as an investment center? [not a cost-center] – Are you ready for PR 2.0?

  • Do you have a “let’s give it a shot” mentality? Are you ready to engage with customers commenting on your blogs? Can you handle them giving you a thumbs up or down on your facebook page? If you are not, you are falling behind the biggest social movement since the creation of internet – learn from it before you competition does.
  • How about starting a relevant blog?
    • How to use features of your product
    • How your customers use your products
    • Relevant industry news
    • Great insights about how you manufacture your products, your operations
    • DON’T WRITE ABOUT “how great you are” or “how great your company did at the last employee event”… that’s good internal communication!
  • How about building a facebook page that actually has some activity? Feed your blog there using RSS! (unlike our friends at Canon or Jamba Juice…)
  • Start tweeting about the unknown stuff happening with your company that will make your readers say: ‘whao, that’s cool, I didn’t know that’. It doesn’t need to be top secret magic news. Most brand afficionados just want to relate to your brand and be able to share something cool about your brand with their friends…
  • Start using flickr, youtube, slideshare as your backend media platform – the more connectivity the better!

3. Do you know about “Saturation Points” and “Information Immunity”?

Malcom Gladwell talked about it early on…. information immunity is definitely a problem that traditional channels of communication face. Phone, faxes, email, text, RSS feed… they all reach saturation point… except that now, your audience has to the power to choose what information they receive or not. They can decide to read, comment, and more importantly “pass it along” virally via their networks. Your customer is moving on, they choose what to read from sources they rely on. Don’t you already feel that you are member of enough networks? That you can’t take any new ones? So do they!

An interesting study recently came out on the ‘new patterns of influences‘ led by a team of five SNCR Research Fellows: “New influencers are beginning to tear at the fabric of traditional marketing and communications, giving rise to a new approach characterized by conversation and community,” said Gillin. “PR and marketing communications professionals are responding with a mixture of excitement, fear, and fascination. They’re alarmed at the prospect of ceding control of their messages to a community of unknowns. Yet at the same time they’re excited about this new opportunity to speak directly with their constituents.

Are you ready for ‘conversational marketing’? Your customer should be the best advocate of your product or services. they should be your fans on facebook and you should give them a reason to be a fan of yours on such social networks….

4. So what to do now?

– Re-think your public relations goals.

– Start a relevant blog and start connecting it to your social networks.

– Be ready to open conversation up to your constituents.

It’s time to talk!!

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