Business Insider Social Media Analytics – Move Over SEO

Part 1


Nicholas Carlson, Deputy Editor, Business Insider (moderator)

Dina Freeman, Social Media Director, BabyCenter

Jim Bankoff, CEO of SB Nation

Chris Copeland, CEO of GroupM Search, Americas

Social media presents an opportunity for brands to focus on content curation and customer retention.  While both SEO and social both drive traffic to sites, only the latter drives engagement.  Search still drives more traffic than social sharing in terms of referrals, but Bankoff believes that customers trust a link more when it is suggested by a friend instead of an algorithm.


Traditionally, brands have sought to bring customers to their branded web site as an end destination.  Copeland believes that brands must now ask whether that is the only strategy, or whether brands should change their strategy to engage customers where they already are (be it a social network, a review site, etc.)  Brand discussions happen across the web, Bankoff explained, and brands must aim to engage customers wherever these discussions are taking place.


Freeman shared the story of BabyCenter’s “Sharegate” crisis, when they enabled sharing on previously isolated discussion threads on their site.  After hearing customer complaints, they realized that they had to ask what content should be sharable across social media, and what content creates deeper engagement when it can’t be taken beyond an internal network.


Brands make a couple of mistakes, Copeland notes.  Consumers do not always want to build a relationship with a brand (they make follow a brand on social media sites only to seek out deals), and they don’t always want to spend time on a brand’s website.  If a brand won’t engage with customers where they can’t control the conversation, they can come across as inauthentic.  Bankoff believes that brands need to create messages that are appropriate to a specific channel instead of one-size-fits all content.  For example, content that encourages discussion on a social channel and content that provides dry product information may not be the same thing.


Search and social aren’t exclusive to one another.  Facebook and Twitter content, for example, provides additional sites that can be found through search, and these channels can be used to promote pages that were previously promoted only through SEO and the like.




Part 2


Nicholas Carlson, Deputy Editor, Business Insider (moderator)

David Kidder, CEO of Clickable

Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media

Bill Lederer, CEO of Kantar Video

What constitutes successful strategies and metrics in social media differs across industries and companies.  Kidder explains that Clickable views optimizing for Facebook is the new SEO.  While you once had to focus across a wide swath of blogs and communities to plan for and measure social strategies, you can now hit some 90% of the audience just by looking at sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, according to Lazerow.


Agencies and developers continue to look for a single metric that measures overall success, like ratings in other forms of media.  Lederer explained how a number of factors contribute to such a metric in social, but notes that factors change from company to company.  Lazerow stressed the importance of flexibility, especially when it comes to new players in the social space.  Kidder also recognizes how changing APIs creates new challenges, not only technically, but also in how you own your content on someone else’s channel.  Lazerow thinks that publishers are overusing the Like button and using social in a silo, rather than deciding the most effective way to create a tie-in to social channels.  If you determine what is important to customers in the social space and you can own that, Kidder explained, you can create revolutionary improvements rather than incremental evolutionary improvements.

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