Social Media Success Summit 2010 continued yesterday, May 11, 2010. Like the first two days, Day 3 was packed full of information on how to get the most out of your social media initiatives and picked up right where Day 2 left off.
Three sessions were held:
- Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn
- How Big Businesses are Leveraging Social Media
- 3 Reasons You Need a YouTube Strategy
I feel fortunate to have attended all three sessions in their entirety. What follows is a summary and a listing of the major takeaways from each session. Strap yourself in and come along for the ride.
Session 1: Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn: The Business Social Network
Presenter: Lewis Howes
Lewis Howes is a former arena football player turned author, speaker and entrepreneur. Due to an injury he spent 6 months living on his sister’s couch. After a mentor invited him to join LinkedIn, he ended up spending 6-8 hours per day every day learning the ins and outs of LinkedIn.
Some LinkedIn Stats
- There are 65 million business professionals on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn has the world’s largest audience of influential, affluent professionals, with an average annual household income of $109,000 per year.
- 1 person joins LinkedIn every second of every day.
- 45% of LinkedIn’s members are actual business decision makers. Nearly one in two are able to make a decision without getting an approval from a higher-up. This is a considerably higher ratio of decision makers than found on Facebook or Twitter.
- LinkedIn recommendations carry considerable weight. The best way to get a recommendation is to give one first.
The presentation focused on getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn apps.
Main Session Takeaways:
- To rank well in a LinkedIn search, you need to choose one or two keywords to target and then optimize your LinkedIn profile for those targeted keywords.
- Your profile also needs to be interesting and easy to read. Think of your profile as a speech with your headline being the opening introduction. Talk about who you are, who you help and how you help those individuals.
- Join as many LinkedIn groups as possible within your niche. (LinkedIn’s current limit is 50). The larger the group the better.
- Creating your own LinkedIn group is an excellent way to stay in touch with your contacts as you can craft a Welcome message that acts as an autoresponder with a call to action each time someone joins the group. As the group owner, you can also send a message once a week to the entire group in which you can share links, create additional calls to action, etc. Subgroups are great for items of regional interest, such as local events.
- Some LinkedIn apps to consider are the WordPress app, which adds your 3 latest blog posts to your LinkedIn profile; the Amazon app (Reading List by Amazon) is great for authors as it allows you to link directly to your books on Amazon from your LinkedIn profile; the SlideShare app allows you to place a video, such as a Welcome video, on your profile; the Twitter app feeds your tweets into your LinkedIn profile.
- The LinkedIn Events tool can be an amazing promotional tool for your events.
- You can have only one LinkedIn profile and you can add a Company page; You can’t create a Company profile, only a Company page. Users can now follow companies.
- LinkedIn’s biggest strength is its ability to export your contacts (as a CSV or VCF file, to Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo Mail, etc.). Neither Facebook nor Twitter allow you to export fan or follower contact data.
Session 2: How Big Businesses Are Leveraging the Power of Social Media
Panel: John Bernier (Best Buy), Marla Erwin (Whole Foods), Sarah Molinari (Home Depot)
This session was a panel discussion with social media representatives from Best Buy, Whole Foods and Home Depot. Each panelist gave a brief overview presentation of their company’s experience with social media. After the initial presentations the floor was opened up to a Q&A discussion.
Whole Foods is active on Twitter (@WholeFoods), Facebook, YouTube and flickr. They use a global account on each of these outlets, which is used primarily for customer service and occasional promotional content. They also have additional topical accounts on Twitter for recipes (@WholeRecipes), cheese (@WFMCheese), and wine/beer (@WFMWineGuys).
In addition, Whole Foods has approximately 215 fan pages on Facebook from their local stores; Several metro-area Twitter accounts that cover metropolitan areas like New York and many local Twitter accounts focused on the local stores.
Whole Foods also has global accounts on YouTube and flickr. They have a single, global YouTube account, which they use primarily to showcase the videos from their website in order to take advantage of YouTube’s sharing and user interaction tools. Their flickr presence originally started as a way to feature their resident store artists, who prepare the sandwich boards at each store. Now their flickr focus is more on photos of store events and community events in which they are involved.
Whole Foods corporate publishes a monthly Social Media Support Guide in order to provide cohesive guidelines to those who oversee local and sub accounts. Whole Foods is now looking into emerging geolocation services, including FourSquare and Gowalla.
Best Buy maintains a social media presence on Twitter (@BestBuy and @TwelpForce), Facebook and a number of YouTube channels. Facebook Fan pages include a central corporate presence and local store pages. Their YouTube channels feature their own videos, videos generated by merchant and vendor partners and user-generated content.
Best Buy’s main social media focus seems to be on their TwelpForce Twitter account as it is an important outlet for customer service. They use Twitter as a tool to talk with and not TO customers: they don’t use TwelpForce to promote their products to their followers. Instead, the intent of TwelpForce is to answer and and all questions about technology and products, respond to complaints and provide near real-time tech support.
They also use TwelpForce for buyer updates and sending out tweets about free concerts and other events. Their pledge behind TwelpForce is to “Help customers know all that we know, as fast as we know it”.
Some 2,600 Best Buy employees participate in responding to daily tweets; some employees (power users) are much more active than others.
Home Depot got off to an informal start in social media and had the benefit of early executive-level buy in. Their social media team gathers with their cross-functional peers monthly to discuss progress and strategy. It also distributes a weekly executive dashboard.
Home Depot’s use of social media is centered around customer service and providing a means for personalized outreach, giving customers a point of contact with a real person.
Early on in their involvement with YouTube and Twitter they pulled from existing resources to participate. Now they have a trained team of agents for social interaction and social media has a company-wide focus.
Home Depot monitors social sites that matter to them, like Yelp, GetSatisfaction and Planet Feedback. In this way, social media acts as a feedback loop to the business, much as more traditional outlets, like snail mail, phone calls, etc. have been used in the past.
Home Depot started its Twitter presence in early 2008 to resolve customer issues and discuss timely matters. They maintain a handful of Twitter accounts, including @homedepotdeals, @homedepotfdn, @homedepot racing. One of the most common ways they are using Twitter now is for weather events like hurricanes – with real time tips and store info.
Home Depot launched its Facebook presence in June of 2009 and originally started picking up fans through word of mouth before trying Facebook ads a year later. Home Depot’s Facebook dialog consists primarily of consumers and associates talking about their communities, stores and homes.
Home Depot uses YouTube for syndication of How-To videos they already had on their site. They also used it to publish a video response to a shareholders meeting. They find that YouTube has been helping create awareness around the videos they have to offer.
Home Depot believes their level of current involvement in social media is just the tip of the iceberg for them. They are actively engaging in blogs and forums and are piloting an informal network for their store associates.
Main Session Takeaways:
- You can promote your social media accounts on your website, blog, in print materials and in ads. Whole Foods also promotes their local social media presence on storefront signs and on store sandwich boards.
- All three agreed that social media is not a campaign for them: it’s a permanent, on-going initiative and that’s the way it needs to be in order to be successful.
- There was also agreement that promoting your social media outlets by using one or more landing pages on your website is a great idea as it provides a place for customers to find verified locations for Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc. It also provides a place to create an awareness of all of the social media outlets available from a central location.
- Focus where the dialog is already happening; use your existing content and knowledge assets in your social media activities.
- You can’t control everything that’s being said about your or your brand on social media, but you should monitor what’s going on; Take feedback seriously.
- Social media is about listening to the conversation: Not butting in where you’re not wanted or constantly promoting yourself.
- Make mistakes early and take risks and then figure out what people want from you.
Session 3: 3 Reasons You Need a YouTube Marketing Strategy (and Tips to Help You Generate Results)
Presenter: Greg Jarboe
Greg Jarboe specializes in video production and SEO.
Some YouTube and Online Video Stats
- 86% of U.S. Internet users view online video content at least once a month, whereas 80% of users visit a social networking site at least once a month.
- 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In fact, more video content is uploaded to YouTube in 24 days than ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC have broadcast in the past 24 years.
- Of 72 online video sites tracked, YouTube enjoys over 84% of the market share.
- Contrary to popular belief, the average video on YouTube gets only 100 views in its first month.
- Short viewer attention spans meant that your video will start losing viewers within the first 10 seconds: most viewers don’t watch beyond 60 seconds.
Main Session Takeaways:
- If you want to engage customers on YouTube, you’ll need to develop an effective YouTube strategy in order to avoid the pitfalls, seize opportunities and not allow your YouTube activities to hog all of your time.
- The primary way to get more views of your video on YouTube is to optimize your videos for YouTube search. In this regard, keyword research is important, just as it is in content marketing and SEO for your blog or website. However, you’ll want to use YouTube’s own Keyword Suggestion Tool as the keywords used for video search can vary quite a bit from those used in a Google search.
- YouTube has its own search algorithm, which is different from Google, Bing and Yahoo search.
- Because of the short attention span of viewers, it’s important to front load your important content in your video.
- YouTube’s blog – Creator’s Corner – provides ideas for creating more compelling video content. YouTube’s Insights (available under My Account) includes a section called “Hot Spots” that shows where people were watching and where they decided to bail out.
- Posting new videos on a consistent basis can help you build your subscriber base, much like blogging does when posts are published on a consistent schedule.
- Allow your videos to be embedded elsewhere: don’t shut that off. You can also embed your videos into your Facebook page. Views on a blog or on a Facebook page where your video is embedded count as views on YouTube and can get your videos higher rankings in YouTube search. In most cases, embedded views can almost double the audience you can get from YouTube alone.
- Publishing videos on YouTube first, and then embedding them in your blog is better than just embedding them within a post on your blog. Make it a habit.
- Promote your videos: mention them on your website. You can also place and promote videos on certain wire services, like PR Web.
- YouTube videos, for the most part, are limited to 10 minutes. If you have a longer video, you could consider a service like Vimeo, but know that Vimeo doesn’t have nearly the audience that YouTube does.
Did you attend any of these sessions at the Social Media Success Summit 2010? If so, what were your takeaways. If not, what are your thoughts on using LinkedIn for marketing and developing a YouTube or other social media marketing strategy? What are your thoughts on how Whole Foods, Best Buy and Home Depot are using social media?