Marketing Juice: Digital + Social Strategy

John Peterson
Twitter = @JackPeterson

Over 14 years of Hi-Tech industry experience. Digital Marketing & OPS Director (current). I hold a B.A. in Economics & Marketing from UC-San Diego, and UC-Santa Cruz, respectively. I have worked with a long list of companies that include: Apple, AMD, ARCintuition, CNET, Dell, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nvidia, Samsung, Seagate, Sony, Toshiba, VIA, ZDnet.

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.
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HTML 5 is a MUST for multi-platform website development going forward.

A short, brief list of digital PR tips & essentials.

-PR blog posts and press releases views happen mostly on Mondays and Wednesdays. First thing in morning.
-Tuesdays are a bad day to issue a PR or a good story on your company’s blog….people tend to work and stay focus on Tuesdays.
-Fridays are bad. Fridays see very little traffic to content. Everyone is out to lunch on Fridays or gets in late to work.
-If you do send out a press release (wire), post it on your company blog as well = more traction.
-Ideal blog post length is between 1,000-2,000 words.
-Make your PR or story post link-worthy. Do not forget a great image (hi-res) or visual to your digital content like an Infographic.
-All Press Releases and PR campaign’s must contain complementary digital assets in order to get links. Links are symptomatic of good PR.
-Twitter is a PR wet dream. Use Twitter for media relations. Busy reporters & reviewers do not answer their phones and receive countless e-mails, but they do pay attention to Twitter! Twitter is a great way to link a press release or a quality company blog post. It adds traction and traffic (value-add). Twitter can also be used to Pitch. Before any
pitch has been made on Twitter to @journalist follow them for a few months. Get to know them. If you like what they are doing and reporting, retweet them or give them props! Share their stuff and links to their articles. If @journalist needs info or asks for help, reach out immediately and make it your priority. Help them out, and they will help you out. It goes both ways. Let the reporter know you’ve been driving traffic to their story. Keep the pitch respectful and short. Example: @journalist Do you accept story pitches? @journalist I just sent you an email, take a look when you get a chance. Its a good fit for your outlet.
-Facebook. Yes, @journalist use Facebook as well. @journalist will use Facebook on their own or through their publication page. Share their stories + interact with their readers. Interact with them and become visible by liking and commenting on their posts. Establish a professional relationship.
-Build a journalist / reporter list for your niche. Need to build a good list of Press for your particular product or service? Start with research. A good shortcut is to use JustReachOut. JustReachOut is a website dedicated to finding reporters who have written about your particular product or service. Just add your company’s product category in the search box, and the engine will bring up reporters interested and have written about your industry. Connect with them and reach out.

Lastly, Monitor your analytics for referral traffic. Figure out what works, and what doesn’t.

If your producing great content, why not make it more shareable. This helps create and drive traffic, conversions, and ultimately SEO.

For LinkedIn, make sure your source code complies with “Open Graph Protocol (OGP)” and certain image requirements specific to LinkedIn.

Below are the og: tags that must exist and their correct format:

    <meta property=”og:title” content=”Title of the article”/>
    <meta property=”og:image” content=”http://media.example.com/ 1234567.jpg”/>
    <meta property=”og:description” content=”Description that will show in the preview”/>
    <meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.example.com/URL of the article” />

Here are the image requirements specific to the LinkedIn sharing module:

    Max file size: 1 MB
    Minimum image dimensions: 80 x 150 pixels
    Recommended aspect ratio: 4:1 or 1:4

For Facebook, add Facebook Like Buttons to your Content. Embed Facebook Sharing in Text and Images. Debug Your Website for Facebook Graph. You can run a quick audit with the Facebook Debugger. Always beware of the Open Graph Protocol requirements on Facebook.
 
For Pinterest, choose Eye-Catching Images.  Once an image draws someone into your post, they’ll want to know more about what your post covers. Create an attention grabbing description. Also, make sure you add a website widget and Pin It buttons your website. A great resource on how to add these buttons (and even build it yourself) to many popular platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc., can be found here. Make it easy for people to collect things from your site.
 
For Twitter, add a Twitter icon on all your website content (this also goes for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkeIn, etc). To increase Retweets and shareability, use Twitter cards. You’ve probably seen these cards before if you follow any news organizations like the New York Times. There are currently 8 types of Twitter cards. Two are specific to sharing apps. Integrate the card code into your site either via plugins or custom code.

There are three high-level steps to this process:

    1. Add the code to your site
    2. Validate (test) it using Twitter’s validation tool
    3. Get approved to use Twitter cards for your account
    
Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for each type of card you’d like to use for your site. You can either use card code PlugIns or build it yourself to use for your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers. A good tutorial on adding Twitter cards can be found here.

If your website publishes a lot of content like “articles” or “reviews” or long-form journalism, its imperative to add a Instapaper widget to let your readers SAVE interesting articles, videos, cooking recipes, song lyrics, or whatever else you create. Instapaper syncs your website articles and videos/content so that your visitors can save on all their your devices - iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle. Visitors can read anything they save, anywhere and anytime you want, even offline. Instapaper is the only app that supports advanced kerning and ligatures for a better reading experience.

  • Cumulative pins.
  • Pin growth.
  • The number of visitors and visits to your website from Pinterest (referral traffic).
  • Most Repinned content.

Goal: driving your Pinterest traffic to your website or “brick and mortar” store.

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Whether your a big or small company, a celebrity or some kind of a famous personality with a large amount external exposure, chances are you may have to deal with some kind of social media crisis sooner or later. A crisis can occur at random (insensitive tweet), or it can occur with a product misstep or even a social media account hacked. In this digital world, speed of these harmful conversations can implode on you or your company in mere seconds.

While there is no once size fits all approach, the below basic social media action plan will help you quickly identify the crisis (issue) and resolve it before it goes viral and turns into disaster.

The first stage of social media crisis planning is to identify the problem or issue in real-time before it gets out of control and goes viral. There are many tools out there that can help you keep tabs and monitor the majority of social media platforms. Most of these social tracking tools depend on keywords important to you or your company. Keywords such as “Company” or “product name” “name of person” “events” “competitors” “social media accounts” etc.

A short list below:

  • Social Mention. A great social real-time listening tool for your brand. It measures your influence within four key categories: passion, sentiment, strength, and reach.
  • Google Alerts. Track your brand mentions across web and news sites.
  • Mention.net. Track your brand across blogs, news sites and forums.
  • Talkwalker. Track your brand across across mostly blogs.
  • Twazzup. Real-time monitoring and analytics for Twitter.
  • HowSociable. Measure and track what your competition is doing in Social Media.
  • Spredfast. A great Social relationship platform to monitor your brand as well as tailor and engage in the right audience.
  • Sprout Social. Great tool for monitoring and measuring your brands.
  • Radian6. A salesforce product. It allows you to quickly and efficiently track, monitor, and react to comments, questions, and complaints as they happen on most all social media platforms.

Here are five basic steps to include in your social media crisis plan:

1. Act quickly. Speeds kills, but speed also resolves! Explain the issue or problem FIRST and what your going to do to address it ASAP before it takes hold on Social Media. Be very transparent. You need to do this before it destroys your brand or major lawsuit.
2. Take charge. Step up and take charge of the issue and move fast (even if its at 2am).
3. Be transparent. If its bad and your company screwed up. Take ownership. Own up to the problem or issue!
4. Engage. Engage all the nay-sayers. Engage all the Social Media Trolls and critics.
5. Spread the word. Post your PR response on your website, company blog, social media pages and media releases.

Bottom line: Don’t wait until the threat to your company’s reputation becomes visible. Identify the crisis and get out in front of it before it takes hold.

Retail Groceries still have not figured it out yet. Amazon Fresh is trying to figure it out. Grocery stores are still experimenting (e-carts) where you order online and pick it up at the store. Online sales are still a blip. There are still issues to deal with like minimum orders, membership fees, delivery charges, delivery timing, etc. Remember Webvan? That was a decade ago and the industry is still trying to figure it out. Its ripe for disruption again…..Unlike 10 years ago, the mobile smartphone has matured and ready to help with the new online grocery models!

Category power, Company power, Unmatchable offerings. Google comes to mind. Google Search that is.

Efficiency is the fuel of tomorrow.

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Pinterest:  Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that I use to generate ideas.
Tumblr: Another tool/platform I use to generate ideas as well as share them.
Scoop.it: publish content in an efficient and impacting way using big data semantic technology that helps them quickly find relevant content.
CurationSoft: Curate Content from Google Blogs, News and Books, Google Plus, Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Wikipedia, any RSS Feed. Works on all platforms.
iFlow: tool that allows users to discover, create, curate and follow real-time contextual streams on any topic across the web into content “drops” that they can then edit, copy and share.
ContentGems: helps content creation team members find, curate, and share engaging content so they can build their company’s thought leadership and increase qualified website traffic.
SocialFlow: SocialFlow monitors real-time conversations on social media to help brands deliver relevant messages to the right audience at the right time, recommends high-engagement tweets and posts to promote, and identifies timely, underused keywords for brands to take advantage of.
HubSpot: A very advanced tool. From blogging, social media, and SEO tools to technology that can segment leads and tell you which traffic sources are generating the most leads.
Percolat: All-encompassing tool for publishing content to social media, with features that suggest content ideas, manage the content creation process, and track key analytics. Percolat focuses on the visual aspect of content. 

Instagram can help brands (and small business) reach audiences through captivating imagery and video. There are over 150 million active users with a typical user between 18-32, with household income north of $75,000. 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. For many small businesses, Instagram can also drive sales. A basic list of “must haves” follow:

  • High Quality pictures. Use your smartphone or a good DSLR camera.
  • Consistency in Posts & Content (this also holds true on all digital and social platforms). It also helps with SEO (search engines) and your overall content marketing strategy.
  • Hashtags. To further promote and extend the reach of your posts, add Hashtags (helps people searching for those terms in the search box so they can find you).


As far as Instagram metrics. The number of followers doesn’t truly reflect the real engagement with posted pics. The number of likes and comments on pictures is a way more meaningful measure of engagement. Focus on what your community wants. Go with the flow. Instagram is a natural, impromptu medium when compared to a typical marketing campaign tool. Above all, make it work with the mobile nature of the platform.