Twitter continues to assert its importance and as a result, it receives a great deal of attention from SEO agencies, social media experts across the board, and us here at WebiMax. All social platforms are evolving and responding to what customers want, but Facebook and Twitter seem to trying to stay ahead of the curve constantly pushing their offerings and what can be done on their platforms. Case in point – Twitter’s new partnership with Pepsi whereby the social platform is the medium for connecting customers to Pepsi’s “Live for Now” global music campaign.

This is a great move for both parties. For Pepsi, it is functional, great for branding as a hip music supporter, and delivers compelling content to their customers. For Twitter, it is a perfect use of their technology and gets them working with a big name player like Pepsi and also exemplifies the relevance of their platform, and surely will give a bump to the number of users on the platform. For Twitter, the glowing endorsement and assertion of the platform as the “quintessential ‘now-time’ media” by Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo.’s Global Beverage Group is a huge positive and barometer of its place in social and internet activity

The “Live for Now” campaign brings music to Twitter users through multiple means. First, a short-form video series being made available every Wednesday over a 52 week period will profile music, artists, and news that is trending that particular week on Twitter. Users will also be able to access free music downloads from Amazon.com’s MP3 Store each week by following @pepsi and using #PepsiMusicNOW as a hashtag in their individual tweets. Additionally, a Pepsi pop-up concert series will occur in the US during the summer and fall months. The concerts will have big name artists and will be announced on twitter streamed on Pepsi’s profile page live.

Takeaway
Companies large and small can learn from this partnership. They do not necessarily need to partner with such a large player to make a difference, but can use Twitter in much the same way as the “Live for Now” campaign will. They can schedule compelling content, using various media…video, photos, music, and written content. It is up to the companies themselves and the quality SEO vendors and social media experts that they work with to determine exactly the content and frequency of the posts. If partnerships are possible though, do them, if not for anything else other than the fact that the follower bases will be joined increasing exposure and cross-over follower acquisition.

Social media has tremendous potential to brands, we know this. But gaining increased exposure for a brand through purposeful engagement with their audience is a skill requiring a number of elements, among them a viable strategy, and is worth a closer look through the actions of a large social player, the NBA. The league has a powerful social media presence as it is with 260 million Facebook likes and Twitter followers spread around all the player, team, and league accounts – and they have significantly ramped it up for this year’s playoffs and their efforts provide a great global example.

Tumblr & Pinterest
As reported in a piece on Mashable, the NBA has launched Tumblr and Pinterest accounts and are running a campaignthrough their Twitter presence. Marketers for the league are looking at these two additional platforms to take advantage of their visual focus and ease-of-use for photo-sharing. Specifically for the tumblr account, NBA marketers will be displaying pictures depicting classic moments in NBA playoff history profiling famous match-ups and moments.

For Pinterest, they have two goals. First, they will promote retro and throwback team clothing linking it to their e-commerce store to drive more business in that regard. Pinterest is ideal for showing off product visual being able to create boards and pin interesting looks and combinations of the clothing. Secondly, they want to profile interesting “characters” that are in the NBA, looking at quirky styling, haircuts, and other elements.

Twitter Campaign
With the global reach of the NBA brand, marketers for the league are looking to engage fans from around the globe in their “Hoops Around the World” campaign. This effort spurs fans to document the places that they both play and watch basketball. They are pushing fans to tweet photos of where they shoot hoops locally capturing the actual baskets and where they watch their NBA games – mentioning @NBA and #hoops. According to Mashable, the NBA will retweet the ones they like the best and compile a world map of all photos before the culmination of the season with The Finals. If the NBA really wanted to push it they could engage fans on the social platforms of local markets, but I’m sure their reasoning in part is that they wanted to keep it unified.

Takeaway
Businesses can use this as an example per individual company characteristics and goals. WebiMax and other strong internet marketing and SEO companies help businesses to outline their marketing goals and strategy for social media campaigns and one of the primary factors with the new platforms in Tumblr and Pinterest is whether or not your company has visual relevance. Most all companies do, but it is a matter of how businesses can post images that relate to them and their operations in an interesting way to engage with them. The subject matter of the photos all must be interesting whether images taken by the company or shots of charts and infographics, facility or office pictures, and even pictures of relevant happenings in the industry.

For information on leveraging social media especially with an international audience, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com or @ryanwbudd.

As we all know by now, social media empowers us all to become reporters of our own.  Oftentimes we discuss the news and major announcements, and even stimulate buzz for a particular product and brand.  President Barack Obama has grabbed the media’s attention after officially announcing his support for same-sex marriage on ABC’s Good Morning America.

While the media has gone in to a frenzy to report on this major evolution in his presidency, millions of other reporters surfaced on Twitter- that’s right, us.  Perhaps one of the most intriguing considerations is the fact that there is now an official “Retweeting President Obama” counter that states the amount of times the President has been retweeted on this topic.

Leave it to social media to cultivate a statement and generate its own buzz.  In fact, Twitter reported that there were greater than 7,300 tweets per minute immediately after the President tweeted “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Twitter published the follow analytical graph showing the explosive growth in tweets per minute (TPM) that emerged shortly following the announcement.  Image is courtesy of Twitter, Inc.


The President knows exactly what he is doing by moving the conversation to Twitter.  Back in 2008, the President successfully leveraged social media while on the campaign trail.  The fact of the matter is social media now provides everyone a platform to stimulate buzz and snowball information amongst our contacts.  This move is a strategic decision by the President and it seems to be working in his favor.

As my fellow writers and I have recommended time and time ago, it’s a good practice for companies to use social media to supplement their other organic SEO activity. Due to the ever-increasing number of users found on networks such as Facebook and Twitter, many start-up or entrepreneur company owners are sharing their own original content effortlessly with the masses. Businesses that remain active with social media sites consistently see better traffic to their online properties than those companies that don’t retweet or post status updates. It’s an exciting time for small and medium-sized businesses to be sure, but many companies are finding that their success is somewhat limited and they don’t know why.
 

Although everyone touts the potential of a fully-engaged social media audience, there is also a general acknowledgement that knowing when to post a link can greatly determine the reach of one’s content. Obviously status updates about trending topics are most successful when people are not away from social media while celebrating a holiday or major event. In addition to paying attention to major events, getting a gauge on when social network users are likely online during the course of a given day is an important skill for any business owner or campaign manager to have. While developing a sense for user activity levels can be tricky, a new report released by Bit.ly can help give budding social media companies some help.

Traditional Social Media Posts Hit their Stride Early
Recent statistics from the popular link-abridging website show that popular social networks Facebook and Twitter actually see the most link activity during the earlier parts of the day. According to the site’s latest blog post, the two social media sites see their link click-through rates peak in activity starting in the morning and topping off sometime before 4 PM EST. In particular, Twitter link activity is at its highest levels between noon and 3 PM EST on weekdays, while Facebook does well during a similar timespan. Both networks see greatly diminished CTRs starting Friday and going through the weekend.

Image-Based Social Networks do well in the Evening
The Bit.ly report also states that image-centric social media site Tumblr sees the most users during the evening. From the end of the work day to around 10 PM EST, the CTRs for those links generated by Bit.ly often see their highest levels. According to the blog, Monday and Tuesday nights actually see strong activity. Friday nights are also great nights for posting on Tumblr, with heightened activity a result of the oncoming weekend.

Using these Reports Wisely
The statistics reported by Bit.ly provide more guidelines that anything else. SMB owners and social media campaign managers should always remember that the industry they work in and major events should be the prime indicators of when links should be distributed on social sites. On the average day though, the aforementioned timetables for posting should give those users who are unsure when to post their links a little extra direction.

For additional information about efficient link-sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter, I invite readers to contact me at jwersits@webimax.com. I am more than happy to reply to any inquiries they may have.

Here we are at last, loyal readers: the final installment in my three-part coverage of the best social networks for social media marketing. Some of you may have been following my blog posts for the past couple days, but more than a few of you may be jumping in only now. In my previous discussions, I went over the importance of location-focused social websites as well as those with the best potential for growth. Now it’s time that we take a look at the overall best social networks for business owners in 2012.

While my top picks for social media campaigns aren’t particularly surprising, it’s important that we take the time to look at the two candidates closely. Most social media optimization methods are quite effective when employed on these sites, what I consider to be, the best social networks around today. At the same time, a small business owner should always play to his or her company’s strengths. Remember that not all SEO techniques are applicable to every business and that building a strong follower base should precede all other goals. With those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at our lucky winners.

Facebook: The King of the Castle
Of course, we all knew Facebook would be in my final picks. The site’s continuing popularity and massive market share make it an excellent choice for pretty much every business around today. Although its 845 million-strong user base is a goldmine for potential customers and business-focused social media activity, getting ahold of those followers can be a bit of a challenge. Unless your company has enough brand recognition or renown to grab users’ attention at a glance, you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle for any noticeable follower base.

As a result, it’s necessary that many companies take a more personal approach to their Facebook campaigning. Yes, those 800 million users may eventually subscribe to your business’ news feed, but not without the proper motivation or the right level of engagement. For small and medium-sized businesses, this means constant interaction with current followers as well as ongoing advertisements or contests to draw in new ones.

Recent surveys have shown that the average Facebook user has around 250 friends and interacts with countless companies, organizations and interest groups. In order to remain relevant, business owners need to remain engaged with users. A few techniques for Facebook interaction include:

  • Post links to trending and relevant news story. Actively involve your staff with the comments that may result from said link.
  • Contests for iPads and other desired consumer goods are an excellent way to gain followers. At the same time, you’ll want to reward interested users with excellent content and engagement otherwise they’re likely to un-follow you once the contest ends.
  • Become involved with other businesses or interest groups. Getting other high profile accounts to share your content helps gather those users who may have overlooked you.

Twitter: Content Delivery at 140 Characters a Second
If there is one thing Twitter is, it’s prolific. A social network that has always had positive growth trends and a user base addicted to trending topics, Twitter is on the pulse of social media sharing. Although the site lacks the visual panache of a Facebook or Google+ interface, the sheer potential a company has to generate traffic for itself cannot be overstated. With great content and the right hashtags, any business can establish a respectable following.

While there’s no perfect approach to operating on Twitter that guarantees absolute success, there are several practices that can help build up an account’s following. Social media campaigners may want to try the following:

  • Use websites such as bitly to shrink down links so they can be included in tweets.
  • Pay attention to trending keywords when creating tweets. If a popular term is relevant to a link or your business, attach that to your message.
  • Retweet popular profiles and people in your industry. Should they reply to you, it will show up in their newsfeed and that will lead more users directly to you.

For additional recommendations on business operations for any of the social networks I’ve covered in the last few days, please feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached at jwersits@webimax.com

Again, this title is tongue-in-cheek, as there is certainly no one size fits all plan, as the implementation of one would achieve only mediocre results, miss out on great potential, and potentially damage a brand’s image in certain markets. There are strategy points that can be catered to each market, though, and one underlying guiding principle – understand each local context, what is popular, what the trends are, what the web behaviors are, and what characterizes their online activity to name a few elements ,and analyze how your business can operate in that market. With this post, we are continuing the subject and now addressing social media in Europe.

Social Media Use
Social media has fully arrived in Europe and it is being used to an extraordinary degree. ComScore data shows that Spain leads the region in terms of social engagement as 98.2% of the total population accesses some source of social media, 97.9% in the UK, and 94-96% for Turkey, Portugal, Ireland, and Poland. The rest of the countries’ percentages range from 89.1% to 93.6%, with Russia at 86.6%.

The differences are not so great between markets; however, knowing which markets experience the highest percentages tells you where not only are people using the platforms, but where there is a buzz surrounding its use. These markets, such as Spain, the UK, Turkey, Portugal, Ireland, and Poland, there exists an x-factor because its use is so high that utilizing platforms there could be that much more beneficial than using platforms in other markets.  Also, half of all of Europeans that have a social media account follow a company, so businesses need to reach out to establish these connections, an then act on them.

Which Social Sites?
So which platforms should businesses use? Facebook , Vkontakte, and Odnoklassniki are the top three sites. The second and third are primarily serving Eastern Europe and Russia. Twitter is the fourth leading site and other relevant local sites are Badoo covering several countries, Skyrock in France, Tuenti in Spain, and both Hyves and StudiVZ in Holland and Germany.  Businesses need to set up accounts and learn how each platform is used to engage with their local audiences on the sites they actually are on.

Businesses should do this sooner rather than later as well to get a presence, learn the platforms and tease out how best to use them. Analysts are now predicting that the bigger platforms who have “made-it” will continue to get bigger, and the smaller ones will only decrease in use. As a result, the best long-term approach is for companies to concentrate on the larger sites and learn to use them well.

In sum
There is no one plan, but there are strategy points for each market and an underlying principle for catering to each market. Businesses should evaluate which market best fits their products and demographic target audiences, need for their products, cultural and language implications, operational considerations including costs, among other important factors. If the business relies on search engine results, paid search, and coordinated internet marketing and SEO, then they need to evaluate the above numbers and see not only how big the audience is but also how much they are online and how they can engage with them through social – all important considerations.

For more information about getting online across European markets or how SEO, paid search, and social media can improve your online visibility, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.