Advanced Social Media Marketing? Go Back to Basics First!


Advanced Social Media Marketing? Back to Basics First!

by Massimo Burgio

I keep reading about companies and brands “investing” in very expensive internet marketing and social media “executive reports“, where the only things they get is aggregated data that doesn’t reflect at all their business, their market and, most of all, the level of resources, professionalities and skills these companies will have to actually deploy in such fields.

At a recent meeting a potential client asked me: “Do you know that on Instagram there are 58 pictures uploads per second, 5 million pictures per month“? I looked at him and, with my best “consultant’s smile” I said “Sure!” – but at the same time I was thinking “And what do you care, when your website is not even optimized for search engines, your social media presence is risible, and the Instagram users are not your target audience?“.


Q:Did you know that on Instagram there are 58 pictures uploads per second, 5 million pictures per month“?

A: “What do you care, when your website is not even optimized for search engines and your social media presence is risible“?

gsi-logo-oldiesThis section of the site used to be very active as a blog, but we stopped blogging at the beginning of 2013. This article is from December 2012, but we think that its insight can still provide value, so we included it in our new site, in this “ex-blog” section that we now see mostly as a “online marketing resources” page, a sort of oldies but goldies.

We hope you liked the article, feel free to share it. Sorry if some references are dated; we “remastered” our blog posts to fit the new GSI site design, and we included a few updates while republishing the content, while deciding to leave the articles mainly untouched, as they also represent some sort of “family photo album” for us.

Thank you for reading our blog, and for following GSI.
Massimo Burgio

Other classic things I hear at meetings are the need for a “viral campaign“, the desire to “develop an iPad application” or even to implement an “e-enterprise model” – and this is when, respectively, their company websites are not even SEO-friendly, their target audience is not tablet-ready, or their internal resources still cannot get the difference between a browser and a widget (yes, this still happens in 2013). It’s about time to stop this hype, and to go back to basics!

I don’t need to write a long article about it, as I’ve always been advocating the need for a rational approach to internet marketing, and a strategic approach to search and social media marketing.

Let me just drop a memo: before engaging in internet marketing activities, specially if expecting quality results and some form of return on the investment of money, time, resources and reputation, companies need to refocus on the following basics:

  • a solid internet marketing strategy;
  • clearly defined internet marketing goals, supported by achievable KPIs;
  • a skilled and constantly trained internet marketing team;
  • a website optimized for search engines, performance and conversion, social media ready, and of course responsive, for best visualization and interaction across all platforms, including mobile and tablet;
  • a solid social presence across several social media networks and platforms;
  • content, editorial and engagement plans, consistent with strategy, goals and target audience;
  • a social media / internet marketing policy for employees;
  • constantly monitored analytics, and an actionable analysis of data.

Does your organization have all the above basics in place? If not, don’t waste your time, money and resources trying to achieve a level of internet marketing you are not ready for. Just take a step by step approach, and you’ll eventually get there. But, first of all, remember to go back to basics! The key to a successful re-engineering of the entire internet marketing and social media marketing set-up are two major interventions, and both gets filed under “training”:

  • strategic training for top management and A and B level executives, that will allow to re-focus, re-plan, re-structure and re-organize the internal resources and the whole company focus;
  • operational training for all employees, specially for those whose whose activities have an internet marketing impact, so they can learn the basics, and also the advanced topics of social media marketing.

To learn more about the importance of internet marketing and social media marketing training, check out my relatively new blog article about training – while the article has been published more than one year ago, the content and the Slideshare presentations included are still very valid to today’s internet marketing training needs. Or you can just get in touch with us, and we’ll figure out together what are your organization’s training needs.

Is it Weird, Different or Inspiring? A few Lessons from TED Talks

ted_logoI love TED Talks, the series of inspirational keynotes that bring together the smartest people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence, TED). Started in 1984, the project now got to a much larger scope, inviting to deliver a keynote the most influential, inspiring and ingenious people of our society, people with a vision, with courage and with a little more than something to say – they say things that can change the world, or at least your way of thinking.


TED is much more than TED Talks. There are two TED Conferences in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, a TED Global conference in Oxford (UK) each summer, the TED Talks video site, a TEDx program for TED events worldwide (one of the most famous is TED Talks India) and an annual TED Prize award. TED spreads out also into the Open Translation and Open TV Projects, equally cutting edge initiatives.


Video SEO Optimization (and a Speaker Award) at International Search Summit Berlin

Earlier this month I had the pleasure and the honor to be invited at the International Search Summit (ISS) in Berlin. I already spoke at ISS in the past (ISS London 2009), as the series of conferences hits some of the major cities in Northern Europe, including Oslo in the Scandinavian region.

international-search-summit-localization-world-berlinISS is a series of conferences organized by WebCertain focused on a specific vertical in search: multi-country, multi-language search marketing. This is also the reason why the ISS Berlin show is included in the much larger Localization World Conference, another international show with a global coverage, focusing on everything local global business.

For ISS Berlin I got back to a search topic after speaking a lot about social media strategies in the latest month: video SEO optimization. Well, the topic is borderline, as the online video optimization lays is somewhere between SEO and the “new” social media optimization techniques, so I could have bridged search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Just to get straight to the point, here is my presentation on video SEO optimization for ISS Berlin, posted on Slideshare as usual and embedded here below.

Just to give a brief summary of the presentation, I started with the now classic SEO Detox Clinic, my idea of 12-step program for hard core SEOs who want to step into SMO (social media optimization). I thought it was very appropriated since the focus of the presentation, and it is always a slide well received by the SEOs in the audience.

The presentation continued with a definition of video SEO, actually the only solid one around, provided by the video search engine Blinkx: “Simply put, video SEO is the art and science of ensuring that your video content attracts as much traffic as possible“. As simple as that. But not so simple…

I contextualized the topic of video SEO talking about the how video are important in the new social web, touching base on social media enablers, that include Google’s blended search results as well as RSS, mash-ups and social networks. I took the opportunity to introduce the Conversation Prism designed by Brian Solis and Jess3 Thomas, the one in the great infographic below, which I love to call “social media mandala“.


After talking a bit about videos on SERPs (including the now classic eye-tracking study by Enquiro) and the new video search features at Google, I introduced a research by German search engine marketing agency SEOlytics that showed the change in video penetration in German search engine results (Google only, as it’s the predominant search engine in Germany) from January 2009 to January 2010. The presence of videos on SERPs grew over the last year from 4.53% to 17.58%, and the presence of organic search results among the “blended” Google results “shrinked” from 82.74% to 39.62%. Very interesting (see presentation above for detailed charts).

After all, video is better than porn is an always popular line when I speak it out at conferences, specially when it is associated with the image in the slide below, where Google Insight for Search shows that the volume of searches for “youtube“, “video” or “videos” is bigger then the volume of searches for terms like “sex” or “porn“. This is an analysis that stands also for a comparison of those terms, that once were “kings of the web“, with other search terms such as “facebook” or “social networks“.


The presentation then moved on to analyze the opportunities and the strategies for video optimization, with tips for optimizing both “hosted” and “posted” videos, meaning both videos published on a company website, or published on third parties sites, such as video sharing sites as YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Yahoo! Video, MySpace Video and more.

I shared a list of 10 video SEO tips for hosted videos – nothing new, for those already engaging in SEO:

1 – Content is king, make it relevant and interesting
2 – Title: make it catchy and keyword-rich
3 – Video formats: make different formats available (file type, size)
4 – Use optimized tags and video thumbnails
5 – Video length: internet-wise timing
6 – Keyword-rich localized descriptions / transcriptions
7 – Include URLs at the beginning of description
8 – Share it: allow rating, responses, embed, download, share/send to friends
9 – Distribute it: adopt RSS/ MRSS feeds, video sitemaps and social bookmarking
10 – Localize your videos: replicate content in multiple languages or replicate videos with subtitles + create local video sites

Followed by 10 video upload SEO tips for posted videos:

1 – Make sure video tags are relevant to the video content
2 – Be generous with tags, and adopt keywords variations
3 – Match video title and description with top tags / keywords
4 – Have one common tag for all your videos (related videos)
5 – Don’t use natural language and conjunctions in video title
6 – Choose clear, appealing, creative and HD thumbnails
7 – Use one video channel per language, and optimize it
8 – Try to make it to the “Most view” or “Most discussed” tabs
9 – Generate more views by changing Title and Headline
10 – Try the new features: inclusions and annotations

The ISS Berlin presentation concluded with more advice about the use of some of my favorite video upload tools, such as Tubemogul or TrafficGeyser, who allow maximum distribution with little effort, and with a quick view both at video long tail, video analytics, and how to create video RSS, MRSS and video XML sitemaps.

My final advice at ISS Berlin was to always hear a word on the topic from Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz, and I introduced one of the “SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday” educational search videos featuring Randy giving always good SEO advice. I embed here below the suggested video SEO optimization podcast, but I strongly suggest to browse the entire series of the SEOmoz videos on Vimeo, you’ll find plenty of SEO good tips!

Beside of my presentation, other speakers delivered very interesting presentations, such as those by Andy Atkins-Krüger on Top 10 Tips for International SEO, Isabella Ballanti on SEO Localisation, Dixon Jones on Identifying and exploiting local links, Sébastien Monnier on Achieving European Search Success and Thomas Bindl on PPC Techniques for long tail optimization. Unfortunately I missed most of the presentations as I have been working a lot that day on urgent projects, but of course I managed to have a look at the presentation and to keep the conversation going with some of the speakers also during the networking moments!

ISS Berlin has been a great experience for me, also thanks to the great organization support provided by Gemma Birch of ISS, and also because – you won’t believe it since I travel so much – this has been my first time ever in Berlin, and I really enjoyed it!

Also, did I mention that I have been awarded a ISS Medallion Speaker Award for getting (ex-equo with my friend Dixon Jones) the most votes from the audience as best speaker? This put me in the International Search Summit Hall of Fame, in good company with other great speakers such as Dixon Jones and online PR legend Greg Jarboe? =)

From Reykjavik: Social Media What? How to Design a Social Media Strategy

rejkyavik-internet-marketing-conference-logoI came back last week from the amazing experience of discovering Iceland, where I spent a week to participate to the Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference 2010 (RIMC 2010) organized by my good friend the “Viking of search marketing” and now also a fellow Director at the new SEMPO Board of Directors Kristjan Mar Hauksson, who has been the perfect host for the Icelandic event.

Even if I find challenging and honored when I get invited to speak or moderate panels at great conferences at big venues, (like SES London 2010 the week before), I still love the atmosphere, mood and networking of smaller conferences like RIMC 2010. When there are less than 300-400 people in the room I feel free to walk among the audience with a microphone (or two) in my hand, make eye contact with the attendees and shoot the occasional question to the audience, even during my presentation and not just for Q&A. (more…)