To kick off the crowded session, Liana Evans at KeyRelevance outlined examples of video sharing, using HSN as an example. She shared videos syndication on MySpace and YouTube and the resulting visibility in organic searches. Evans also reminded the audience that YouTube isn’t the only game in town (although it is the 800 pound gorilla). In terms of what matters in video sharing, ratings, votes, comments and optimization are all important. Lastly, she touched on social ratings and reviews, and how valuable R&R can be for search visibility, brand perception/insights and conversion. Evans reminded us that it’s not about the bad review, it’s how you handle it (similarly good reviews offer opportunities). She used Yelp and TripAdvisor as examples of the power of restaurant and hotel reviews. In terms of measurement, Evans recommends monitoring SERPs and Web analytics for referral traffic. Next up, Jennifer Laycock with Search Engine Guide discussed Twitter and Flickr because she feels SEM professionals are ignoring the opportunity. According to Laycock, Flickr is an extremely powerful tool for communication (Walt Disney understood this very well). Technorati and Yahoo! use the Flickr database for images searches. The greatest benefit for Flickr is in optimizing for the long tail term and engaging niche communities (i.e. edible gardening) that include discussions associated with the images. Additionally, Flickr provides link and tag optimization opportunities as well as on-image comments and image descriptions. Laycock offered up additional benefits, including emailing pics from your camera phone, join or create topics, publish directly from Flickr to your blog and RSS feeds. She recommends a pro account ($25/yr) for image-centric businesses and subscribing to image comment email notifications. Moving over to Twitter, Laycock describes it as a microblog with a streamlined networking component (with direct messages) as well as the eavesdropping component (aka following). Of course Twitter is also a valuable news source (KPBS provides updates via Twitter). The third element of Twitter benefits is the “power of the reTweet” which is basically when someone rebroadcasts a Twitter to their network or blog post and drives direct traffic to an embedded link. It’s also an excellent real-time feedback mechanism. Next up, Tamera Kremer with Wildfire Strategic Marketing covered social bookmarking, with a focus on Delicious. Delicious currently has 4M users and 100M pages bookmarked. According to Kremer, Delicious is a powerful tool for keeping a pulse on brand reactions. Using Dell as an example, you can find out why users are bookmarking Dell’s site and identify potential issues. It’s also a powerful tool for keyword benchmark research via the tag cloud. Kremer recommends setting up a Delicious RSS alert and just spending time familiarizing yourself with the platform. The final presenter, William Flaiz with Avenue A | Razorfish took a high-level approach to sharing how the social media tools are used by the agency. For starters, AA|RF experienced a 1000 percent increase in traffic from social media sites, with translated in to 50,000 incremental site visits. Of course AA|RF also uses social media for reputation management. Flaiz touched briefly on Wikipedia, basically warning the audience to very careful and respectful of its policies. For one entertainment client, they’ve used Wikipedia exclusively to drive traffic for DVD releases (as product sites are all Flash) and it’s now a top 5 traffic referral. From an SEO perspective, AA|RF recommends Flickr as the best overall image sharing site. Flaiz specifically mentioned a hotel client saw a 10 percent lift from traffic to bookings. He also mentioned photobucket is large, but not search friendly. He also recommends developing company-specific sites and groups on social networking sites. Specifically, AA|RF used Facebook (as well as other sites like Xing) for online reputation management. Additionally, Flaiz recommends developing a blog, as well as relationship with A list bloggers to generate awareness and manage brand reputation. As an example, he used an insurance company’s experience with how they managed claims during a natural disaster (I wonder which one?) and how blog comments helped clarify issues and restrictions surrounding claims management. Lastly, Flaiz suggested utilizing Squidoo to create visibility in search results. The bottom line is that all panelists in the sessions highly encourage the audience to “be social” and get engaged in these social media communities for awareness, brand management and direct traffic.
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