Home > Tagged 'social networks'

Branded search, presenting results of an experiment

Last Friday I had pleasure of presenting at one of Calgary’s social media regular gatherings organized by McQ Design and called Social Media Breakfasts Calgary (#SMBYYC). Check Social Media Breakfast to learn more about the initiative. I absolutely loved the venue, the audience and atmosphere, and I’ll definitely recommend you checking these events out in the future.

My presentation was spread between the following 3 topics: branded search marketing, social networks and online reputation management. My goal was to outline the importance of branded search as well as give some practical advice on how to perform well in branded search. Here it is in a nutshell. BTW, the presentation is now on my online marketing presentations page.

What is branded search?

It’s an activity of searching for specific company / brand names using major search engines. When does it happen?

  • “heard something about your product and want to know what it’s all about”
  • “know what it is, I’m ready to buy, just need to buy it”

Why is branded search important?

Because branded search activity happens very late in the conversion funnel, and, as a result, leads to much higher conversion rates. Let’s take a look at an example: standard decision making process:

  1. we come up with a problem
  2. search for alternatives
  3. evaluate alternatives
  4. make the decision
  5. evaluate the decision

As consumers we do general search for general key terms at step 2. We do branded search at step 4. I hope you get the point. Let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

Taking branded search for granted

As many other things in life, we take branded search for granted. We say “why do we need to pay attention for branded search if we’re already #1 in Google for our company name?”. It’s true, especially if your company name is karamba123. However, there are other listings on the 1st page of Google and what are those?

  • Are they relevant to your business?
  • Do they describe your business positively?
  • Can you control those listings?

Do social network profiles help your branded search presence?

Most of the social networks we’re using today do not pass Google Juice or authority to your site. However, some do, and when this happens, your site can greatly benefit from a link from one of these social network profiles. Moreover, bigger social networks rank very well for branded search. So, having a profile with the right social networks can not only add some Google Juice but also improve your branded search presence.

My little search experiment

  • My goal was to answer the question: what are the top social media properties that rank well for branded search terms?
  • My methodology was as simple and included 3 steps:
    1. Choose local people with strong social media presence
    2. Perform Google searches for each person (brands in this case) and tabulate the results
    3. Go through the lists of properties and identify the common
  • My results were the following 9 social networks that are well worth maintaining for the sake of controlling your 1st page Google rankings.
    1. Twitter
    2. Linkedin
    3. Facebook
    4. youtube
    5. Slideshare
    6. Meetup
    7. Friendfeed
    8. Business Exchange
    9. Flickr

The reason there’s only 9 is two-fold: 1) because the 10th is hopefully your site, 2) I lost one in data manipulations and could not find it for the presentation.

What are the lessons?

There were three simple lessons I wanted to share. And my hope is that these will help you improve your branded search presence.

  1. Choose the right social networks to manage. Some of them are worth it, some of them aren’t. Please don’t leave your social network if it’s not part of the 9. If you have a community of people that you enjoy, by all means, please stay, make conversations, help people, share some value.
  2. Cover the 1st page of Google with your brand properties. Treat Google’s first page as the first point of contact with your brand. Let the people connect to your Facebook page right from Google’s result page. This will make their life so much simpler.
  3. Have control over the listings on the first page. Make sure your snippet titles and descriptions are in line with your brand / product. Ideally, you should be able to control, in most of the cases you don’t though. Do you want me to clarify this point? Just ask me in the comments.

Bonus link: at the end of the presentation I shared a bonus link to a page where SEOmoz team recommends a list of SEO friendly social networks. There’s a short list of 25 and there’s a long one of over 100. I’m not saying that you should have a profile in all of those. Choose which ones work for you and those that host your community of interest.

Next steps

And, of course, the next steps. These are the things you need to do to get started on improving your branded search presence.

  1. Search your brand, company name, product name using Google or Bing. Is your brand on the first page? What are the listings that surround it?
  2. Review your social profile inventory. What are the networks that you currently participate in? Are they on the first page?
  3. Create profiles with SEO friendly social networks (if you haven’t done so already). Use my list of 9, as well as SEOmoz’s lists of 25 and the one that’s over a 100.
  4. Make sure your control titles and description of the listings. If your Facebook page Google listing describing your business, product properly?

The presentation is available now. Take a look, follow the notes, do the next steps and, please ask questions in the comments. Let’s collectively find a better way of doing things!

Special thanks for making this happen go to: Chett (for introducing me to such a great event), Jane Waye (for organizing such a great event), Alex Poda (for emcee-ing the event), Aaron Krootje (for THE wake up call), AlexKGT (for being there). If you were at the event, please feel free to leave a comment or as questions. If you missed it, I look forward to seeing you at the future events!

Protect your brand online with knowem.com

Scanning through Twitter yesterday I bumped into a link to a new service called knowem.com. It allows people to protect their online brands by offering to register social networks profiles on over 380 networks.

The tool checks your brand presence on a variety of social networks. The lists are arranged by category of social networks like Photo, Video, Business, Blogging, etc. See a complete list of Social Networks. The service offers a number of plans including personal and corporate. You can register each profile yourself or you can pay and your brand profile will be registered for you.

Advantages of using the tool:

  • Once you register those profiles, your brand name is preserved across major social networks.
  • If the name is already taken, you can see who owns the name.
  • It’s a good tool to keep track of your social network profiles.
  • You can export your social networks lists to a CSV file to share with a client.

Disadvantages or things that are missing:

  • Lack of proper list management interface where I can track social networks I own.
  • As the product is still new, there’s a few bugs.

If you know of any other similar tools or have a comment on this one, please leave in the comments to this post.

January 18, 2010

Julien Smith in Calgary, Trust Agents notes

Just came from another great event by Third Tuesday Calgary this time hosting Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents (Chris Brogan and Julien Smith). Those who missed it, missed a lot. Below are the notes for those who attended, let’s compare!

  • Hype vs. channel: hype dies, channel is forever
  • Controlling future is about controlling a channel
  • Channels used to be one-way, now it’s both ways
  • A channel starts from a network
  • Channel: a tube you use to communicate with members of your network (my understanding, I may be wrong).
  • Channel examples: Twitter, YouTube Channel, Facebook Fan Page
  • Channel example (specific): ShitMyDadSays
  • $50,000 / year example: great example, also referenced in Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check: on average $50,000 / year is enough to live in North America. Anything beyond that should not (hypothetically) make you happier.
  • Social Networks and happiness. The closer you are to the centre of your network, the happier you are.
  • Over time networks dissipate, so one should build tribes continuously.
  • Laughter takes walls away; at work and at home. Laugh.
  • Social capital = puzzle piece of the game
  • Facilitate the exchange of social capital
  • Reliability is huge. Be consistent with your content.
  • Create content that’s visible and indexable.
  • Insiders vs. outsiders of a social neighbourhood.
  • Insider language. Example: Sprite commercial ;)
  • Differentiation: Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Pattern breaking. Example: Cirque Du Soleil
  • Do something different.
  • What can be measured can be sold.
  • Book reference: Connected by Nicholas A. Christakis.
  • Be the lead goose.

For those who could not attend, you can catch Julien on his Canadian tour. More about the tour and the author:

November 23, 2009

Weekend reading list on social media

It’s been a great weekend! Along with a few personal celebrations and meetings I also had a chance read a few periodicals. I prepared a list of articles on topics such as leadership, business, social media, etc. in case you may be interested.

Eight Ways to Ruin Your Social-Media Strategy

So you’ve set up a company fan page on Facebook and you’re letting your employees fire off messages to the world via Twitter — or you’re at least thinking about it. Well, congratulations! You’re part of the social-media revolution, which can offer unparalleled access to word-of-mouth buzz among those you most want to reach: your customers, current and future.
Read more at BNET.com

Rich Vs. Poor Is Not The Right Debate

I have received numerous comments from readers on my recent column, Capitalism’s Fundamental Flaw. A wide range of ideas and explanations of our current plight were offered, including one comment that pointed out that as long as there is a government and it regulates, we are not practicing free-market capitalism.
Read the entire story at at Forbes.com

The 10 Questions You Should Never Stop Asking

In the early 1990s, I was brought in as an interim president/CEO of two regional monthly magazines. Both are now out of business. It was a trying time–and also one of the great learning experiences of my life.
Read the entire story at at Forbes.com

How Entrepreneurs Identify New Opportunities

A key question that all would-be entrepreneurs face is finding the business opportunity that is right for them. Should the new start-up focus on introducing a new product or service based on an unmet need? Should the venture select an existing product or service from one market and offer it in another where it may not be available? Or should the firm bank on a tried and tested formula that has worked elsewhere, such as a franchise operation?
Read the entire story at at Forbes.com

How Hierarchies Do Harm

As a coach he has been a revolutionary in his way of building winning organizations, by developing what he calls the “leaderful team,” in which every player is prepared, technically and psychologically, to step up to lead–or to step back to support, as needed. The idea is to maximize the potential contribution of every team member in a way never before attempted in sport.
Read the entire story at at Forbes.com

Where Your Customers Are: How Facebook, Twitter and Others Break Down by Age

Facebook, the largest social media network, recently reached 300 million users worldwide — roughly the population of the United States. So do your homework before you approach your customers online. Here’s how users on the top social media sites broke down by age in August 2009.
See graphs at BNET.com

Remembering how to forget in the Web 2.0 era

Amid ongoing debates over the hazards of excessive digital exposure through such Web 2.0 social networking platforms as Facebook and Twitter, a new book by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger extols the virtues of forgetfulness.
Read more at Reuters UK Blogs

How Linkedin.com helped me

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me questions about linkedin.com and how I benefited by using it so far. I have been meaning to respond to her questions but didn’t have a chance to do it. Now, I realized that this information may be useful for other people too, hence I’m sharing it here.

Below is an overview of a few useful features on linkedin.com that I’ve benefited by since I first started using it.

  1. One place for your resume
  2. To connect with colleagues, past and present
  3. To discover new connections
  4. To join groups of similar interests
  5. To help people solve problems
  6. To stay up to date with your network
  7. To recommend and get recommended
  8. To look for jobs and apply for jobs
  9. Search visibility and personal branding

Facts from Guy Kawasaki on the subject:

  • People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.
  • The average number for Harvard Business School grads is fifty-eight, so you could skip the MBA, work at Google, and probably get most of the connections you need. Later, you can hire Harvard MBAs to prepare your income taxes.
  • All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.
  • The average number of LinkedIn connections for people who work at Google is forty-seven.