Last week, I spent two days at the Inbound Marketing Summit , an event focused exclusively on online marketing and social media. Chaired by Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Paul Gillin, and Justin Levy -- some of the best known thought leaders on social media -- the event was a rapid fire series of 20 to 30 minute presentations. Made my brain hurt, but in a good way! There was so much information presented at this event that I am still trying to digest it and put it in some context to help Cisco partners market more effectively. Here is a small sample of the things that resonated most with me:The Value of Social Media:“Every marketer is now a publisher. Every publisher is now a marketer. Every consumer is now both. To succeed, companies must leverage digital media to start and join conversations.” (John Battelle, Federated Media Publishing)For those of you that think that engaging in social media is a risky endeavor, consider this: “Social media didn’t invent criticism, it was happening anyway and people ask, what’s the value of social media? So, what’s the value of taking someone out to play golf? It’s about building relationships” (Amber Naslund, Radian6). Think about that for a minute. Criticism is going to happen. Social media allows you to address any criticism directly and potentially turn a negative perception into a positive one; to develop a relationship with a potential customer. That’s incredibly powerful.The Importance of Content:“Stop being a data driven marketer. Data doesn’t convert customers. Data is only important if you have something to measure. Content is marketing. If you’re an online marketer, you’re in the content business” (Robert Rose, CrownPeak)To be content marketer, focus on these three things:
- The importance of free range, organic content -- Providing value added content is not only a lead generation engine. It drives awareness and builds your brand. It allows you to establish expertise and build trust with your target audiences.
- Web content now lives beyond your web site -- It’s about delivering content when and where it is needed. Content management processes should enable you to manage content anywhere anytime in any format. (web site, landing pages, microsites, social media, mobile). Content management should aggregate content for you too.
- Use data to gain insight and optimize content. Have the capability to measure everything…and then don’t. Measure who is visiting and why. What content is resonating. Do some A/B testing to validate and optimize the content accordingly..
How to Measure Social Media:“Marketing is only as good as your measurement. If you cannot prove that something is producing sales you shouldn’t be doing it.” (Tim Ferris, author “The 4 Hour Work Week”)Charlene Li, co-author of “Groundswell” and founder of The Altimeter Group had this advice on measuring social media:
- Tie social media to your business strategy and goals. Determine what you will do and what you won’t do.
- Your goals determine your metrics. Use the same metrics as your corporate goals.
- Focus on relationships, not technologies. What kind of relationships do you want? Transactional or loyal customers? Measure the ROI of relationships.
From an online marketing perspective, Jay Krall of Cision had this to say:“Don’t just focus on the traditional web metrics of unique visitors per month, email subscribers, RSS subscribers, unique monthly sessions etc. Add in metrics around inbound links to your sites, number of comments on your blog, number of unique individuals commenting, citations on social bookmarking and news sharing sites.” Makes complete sense if what you are trying to measure is the engagement and strength of relationships. Does any of this resonate with you?For additional perspectives on the Inbound Marketing Summit view the ION Digital blog post by Mark Ivey .