Category Archives: technology

Geolocation Services for B2B

Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla CollageWith the introduction of Facebook Places, geolocation-based services are about to hit the mainstream. Rather than focus on the news or consumer uses, I want to look at the potential of such services for business-to-business customer marketing.

MarketingSherpa recently wrote about an iPhone app developed by Morrison & Foerster LLP (subscription required shortly). This app allows you to browse bios, get directions to a local office, get news and even play a game. I suspect that one of the main objectives for the company’s “MoFo2Go” is to increase customer loyalty and referrals.

Now imagine if you take this type of app to the next level, enabling customers and employees to proactively share their geographic locations with one another. You’ve created a mobile community where customers and prospects can search, find and connect with others located near them.

And if they are able to preview information, such as company title or industry, they can reach out to your subject matter experts to resolve an issue or get feedback on the company and products. Almost anytime, anywhere.

The potential benefits of such services are:

  • Customer retention: Provides an alternative channel for customers to resolve issues, leading to happier customers
  • Customer referrals: With happy customers, they will be open to sharing the app to their colleagues and industry peers
  • Customer engagement: With the potential for real-time feedback and support, you are increasing engagement not only with your company brand but also with evangelists within your company

Conclusions

While the potential for geolocation-based services is just being uncovered, I anticipate that early adopters like Morrison & Foerster will demonstrate that the risk is worth it to increase customer retention, loyalty and ultimately engagement.

What other ways can geolocation be used?

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Using Social Media: Part 6 – Measurement

Copyright 2007 by noblelgnoble

Copyright 2007 by noblelgnoble

 

This is the sixth post in a 6 part series on how I using social media. In this sixth installment, I discuss measurement.

 

 

Measure What Counts

There has been discussion about how to measure social media and can it truly impact your bottom line. The same could be said of public relations. In the end, it’s measuring what counts for your business.

 

Personally, I think it’s important to determine your baseline measurements to gauge the effectiveness of your strategies over time. Consider keeping it simple, selecting 3-4 points to track. As you gather more information, you can better refine and expand your measurement criteria. Here are some basic points to measure:

 

Tweetburner

Tweetburner

  • Subscribers, Followers, Fans: One way to track the success of your programs is by the steady growth of subscribers to your blog, followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. Feedburner is a nice way to track subscribers to your blog or any RSS feed that you create for corporate updates, such as press releases, newsletters, etc.

  • Audience Reach: The key aspect of social media is tracking “word of mouth” or the reach of your content to your key audiences.

    • Twitter – Tweetburner allows you to create a short URL for Twitter and then tracks who has retweeted the link or clicked on it. You can keep your stats private or public. While this is a great tool, I’ve found that people will create their own short URLs for the content, so you may want to actively search on your Twitter ID for possible retweet. I then add up the number of subscribers for these individuals to get a “number” regarding reach.

    • Online Reputation: Another way to determine reach is to track who is talking about you online. I wrote a bit about this in my second post – Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds. The added component is determining the reach of these online outlets. While ad equivalence can be used too, I’m not a fan of this method as I point out in my next bullet point.

  • Incoming Leads, Inquiries: There are a couple of free tools such as Quantcast and Google Analytics that provide good detail about your incoming traffic. The key is to closely track the referring sources for the incoming leads and the conversion rates. For example, Twitter is quickly becoming a driver of traffic to my blog or answering a question on LinkedIn can lead to an inquiry about your services.

  • Increased Links: Before you start your programs, take a quick snapshot of sites that link to your website. While a basic stat, this can have huge SEO implications for your site, which in turn, increases your visibility on search engines. Check to see if your efforts increase this basic stat.

  • Conversation Index: Steve Boyd discusses the Conversation Index as a way to determine which blogs are successful. Basically, successful blogs are those have a more comments than posts. I would think that the same value can be applied to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The more that people interact with your company and messages, one can assume the more engaged they are with you.

 

Conclusion

No matter what you do, measurement has to be an integral part of your program. Identifying the key data points relevant to your business, you can better justify these programs to your executive management. And who can argue with a program that has a low cost per lead and high conversion rate for sales?

 

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (updated link)

Using Social Media: Part 4 – Linking Strategies

Using Social Media: Part 5 – Blogger Relations

 

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Using social media by @csalomonlee: post 6 of 6 on measurement: http://twurl.nl/zi26zx


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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

Party Like It’s 1999: Web 2.0 Exuberance?

Fireworks Lately I’ve been feeling a case of deja vu. Industry Standard is being resurrected. The umpteenth company being funded for video sharing, online video, social networking – select the focus and someone’s funding it. Here are the Top 7 Signs of the Web 2.0 Exuberance – the replay of the dot.com days?:

1. Though the valuations may be lower, it’s eery how most start-up seem to have business plans based on – advertising.

2. And if the business plan isn’t based on advertising, then the hope is … acquisition. Previously the company of choice was Microsoft, now the likely dream company is Google or maybe even Cisco.

3. High flying IPOs anyone? VMware, Compellent are just the beginning. Maybe this time, these companies have actual revenues and strong business numbers backing them. Question is, will the next ones be as financially sound?

4. During the dot.com boom and bust days, I saved money on alcohol and food with all the launch parties, cocktail events and other networking events. Now we have the LinkedIn lunch events, Ignite by O’Reilly  (by the way I’ll be at the Ignite SF event on Oct. 16) and others.

5. If the answer to “What does your company do?” is Web 2.0, social networking or video, then you might be part of the Web 2.0 Exuberance. This is the new catch phrase whereas the previous hot answer was “my company is taking a brick & mortar model (remember that phrase?) to the Internet.” 5.a Your hipness factor is based on where you’re working. If you’re not doing Web 2.0 or social networking, forgetaboutit.

6. High flying companies going belly up. Not yet but TechCrunch is doing a good job with their dead pool. Takes me back to the days of f*cked company

7. VCs are hot again. Need I say more?

Give me your take. Are there other signs of the past?

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PR and Blogging Outreach: Practical Tips

WebMarketCentral BlogIn my first guest post on Tom Pick’s WebMarketCentral Blog I looked at the macro issues of PR and blogging. That post primarily focused on the macro issues impacting the quality of outreach – both traditional media and blogging.

Since that original post, your can read my follow up guest post that highlights my 8 Tips About Blogging Outreach. To me, good blogger relationships is one part doing your research, one part old school PR and one part transparency. Some additional resources on this topic include:

  1. Erik Sebellin-Ross’ Tech for PR: Erik has included a page on Social Media Basics and his tips for blogging.
  2. The Friendly Ghost’s post on Ghost Blogging: when the chips are down the balloon goes up and the lights go on. Discusses if ghost-writing a blog is advisable
  3. Lifehacker’s guide to weblog comments. Great points about the do’s and don’ts of blog commenting.
  4. Micro Persuasion: Steve Rubel started a lively conversation with his post on The Future of PR is Participation: Not Pitching  Can PR go beyond pitching and understand how to leverage social media?
  5. B.L. Ochman included her MaketingSherpa article on How to Pitch Me – and Other Bloggers – with PR on her blog
  6. Lee Odden’s Online Marketing Blog discusses How NOT to pitch a blogger
  7. Update: Sept. 4, 6:25 pm PST: In the August 27 PR Week, Renee Blodgett of Blodgett Communications was quoted, “Most start ups know to use blogs to clarify information about their brand and to correct inaccuracies. The PR industry should not be intimidated by ths medium that is really an extension of basic PR strategy.” Um – maybe they just need to now how to reach out to bloggers…
  8. Update: Sept. 5, 6:01 pm PST: Paul Stamatiou includes his Checklist for Public Relations People. How many more people are going to include spell the name correctly I wonder?
  9. Update: Sept. 10, 1:32 pm PST: Jeremiah Owyang of “Web Strategy by Jeremiah” provides his throught on this topic in his post on “How PR professionals should pitch bloggers.” Jeremiah states, “Always remember that I’m thinking of my readers first, so if the content is not going to help them, I’m not going to point to it –think backwards.”As I read all of these articles, it’s amazing that there are common threads throughout. Let’s see if my fellow colleagues can truly heed the advice that these handful of bloggers provide.
  10. Update: Sept. 12, 9:59 am PST: Wow, the postings just keep on coming. This one is from Rohit Bhargava of Influential Marketing Blog. This posting is from the Ogilvy Digital team and is “[their] first stab at creating something transparent that could rebuild some credibility in the eyes of bloggers who have had to hear too many clueless pitches from inexperienced PR and marketing folks.” Check out The Ogilvy Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics (Beta Version). And why is everything a beta now?

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Measuring PR: The Quick and Easy Way

PR Measurement - Excel DocI was reading an article in PR News on what success looks like based on one’s client and goals. This article got me thinking about the types of measurement that is near and dear to my heart.

I know there is discussion about using formulas to determine the value of PR based on advertising values or other methods to determine share of voice. Granted, I think this is worthwhile for a larger corporation. But as a start-up company, doing more detailed analysis is overkill.  

Frankly, CEOs just want the basics and my time – like yours – is valuable. I don’t recommend including articles resulting from news release distribution. I don’t do an analysis of voice or messages as the volume is manageable. And if I were to provide this report on a regular basis, I need a quick and easy way to input and maintain this information (see excel sheet below).  Overall, I provide three key statistics: total number of articles, features vs. mentions and circulation numbers.

1) Total Number of Articles: This provides an easy base for measurement. I can compare the volume from a month-to-month basis, and eventually, year-over year.

Media Coverage

2)      Features vs. Mentions: I do believe it’s important to separate when an article focuses on an announcement versus a mention. This provides a sense of how well you’re placing articles about your news, reports and case studies. As this program develops and more reporters become familiar with your company, I would expect the number of mentions to increase.

PR Measurement - Mentions vs. Features

  3)      Circulation Numbers: I recommend using BPA audited circulation numbers where available. Otherwise, I’ll recommend taking the average number of site visitors or subscriber base number listed in the media kit. To me, this is the easiest number to use regarding the possible reach of an article. Again, it’s not about accurately determining the value of PR, it’s providing a baseline for your executive.

Circulation Numbers

 4)      Tracking PR to Marketing: In a previous post on my friend’s blog, I had mentioned other ways to track PR. Though this may not be a regular component of your reporting, consider providing the number of clicks or conversions resulting from PR placements when available.   

In the end of the day, getting positive media coverage is more important to me then spending too much time on measuring and justifying PR. If you have to resort to spending hours creating weekly status reports and complicated measurements to convince me of your value, then you’ve missed the point! 

I would love to hear any other quick and easy ways to measure PR.

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Tracking RSS Feeds

RSS Feed IconMany companies have RSS feeds for company updates, as this provides people another way to stay up-to-date on your company news and press releases without having to come to the website every other day. Though it’s important to syndicate/distribute news via RSS, you also have to track RSS feeds this as well.

 

Why? Because if you’re successful in having people subscribe to the feeds, theoretically the site traffic numbers may decrease. From a marketing perspective, if you experience a dip in traffic, you  need to demonstrate that subscriptions to your feeds were increasing. Furthermore, this provides you feedback on what content resonates with your audience.

Researching this intriguing question, here is what I found out – some are more laborous than others:

 

 

 

  1. Check the server logs: If a request is made, then this is logged on the server. However, RSS feeds are not representative of a person requesting the information , but rather how you set up the feeds to refresh the information. So this may skew the information even if you didn’t look at your feed for weeks.
  2. Request an email: You can request an email to track the RSS feed. Though you can track who is subscribing, I believe that anonymity is key for incorporating RSS feeds.  
  3. Give each subscriber an unique identifier: There are different ways to track unique users but I recommend reading posts on  Ask Leo and ongoing  as they provide in-depth information on the various ways. Much better than I can.
  4. Use an RSS Aggregator: In the end, I like the idea of using FeedBurner to track RSS feeds. It provides a convenient way to view all of your feeds, site numbers and additional options for optimizing your feeds for SEO.

 

I’m still learning about FeedBurner and will provide a follow-up post on how to best set up the RSS feed. Please leave me a comment if you have any advice/tips & tricks for optimizing RSS feeds.

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Tracking Links – URL Redirects

Redirect ImageOne of the difficulties of PR is knowing the impact that press releases, articles and even emails have on initiatives. URL redirects can be used to help track traffic going to a particular webpage. An URL redirect enables you to go to the same page with various URLs.

For example, a client can see that traffic originating from “pr.companyname.com” was for general PR activities, while traffic for “launch.companyname.com” could have been for an upcoming launch.

These URLs can be provided to journalists, embedded in a press release, or included on blog postings, enabling you to measure traffic to your client’s website. Just keep in mind that people may go directly to a website as a result of media and banner advertising (DoubleClick Touchpoints IV report). At least this method gives you another tangible way to measure the impact of your PR efforts.

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