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Inbound Industry Report: December 11, 2011

Top marketing news, articles and tips from the first week of December 2011.

Search Engine Marketing

In An SEO Playbook for 2012,Tom Schmitz (@tomschmitz) shares some practical tactics to improve search engine rankings, each falling into one of the following three categories:

  • Use straightforward, easy-to-follow code.
  • Simplify navigation to provide a logical, linear path for visitors.
  • Increase your online engagement, focusing on peers (read: competitors) rather than buyers.

For more on search from this week, check out:

Social Media ROI

Explaining Social Media ROI Again. And Again. And… Again is Olivier Blanchard’s (@thebrandbuilder) response to those who say the bottom-line business value of investments in social media is irrelevant, or impossible to track.

Blanchard is obviously passionate about the topic (he wrote a book called Social Media ROI), and this comes across in his somewhat heated article. But, he offers some excellent guidance on how to understand, explain and measure the ROI of social media activity for business.

Key takeaway: It’s not wrong or impractical to ask about the ROI of social media. Business leaders need to know why they should invest in this area over another, and what benefits they can expect. The problem is that the question is too broad. To properly address it, you need to ask the right question: “What is the ROI of [insert activity here] in social media?” For example: “What was the ROI of shifting 40% of our digital budget from traditional web to social media in 2011?” In other words, “don’t think of ROI as being medium-specific. Think of it as activity-specific."

For more on the topic, check out (and bookmark!) this excellent 2009 presentation from Blanchard, The Basics of Social Media ROI.

Social Media Platform Updates

Twitter, Facebook and Google+ all announced or launched some fairly major platform updates and enhancements. 

Twitter rolled out a complete site redesign aimed to make it more user friendly for new tweeters, and to offer better functionality and organization for all. It added a way for users tograb the code from individual tweets and embed them on any webpage. And, Twitter launched new brand pages that provide additional customization, extended taglines and tweet promotion to highlight a company’s most popular, relevant or important content. (See a list of sample brand pages in a post from Twitter.) 

For a complete overview of all new Twitter updates, see The New Twitter: Everything You Need to Know by Peter Pachal (@petepachal).

Facebook will launch subscribe buttons for websites, which will allow visitors to subscribe to individuals' public profile updates direct from his or her website, offering similar functionality to Twitter follow buttons. 

In addition, the long-awaited Facebook Timeline has started to roll out to the public. For details on this complete profile revamp, including a step-by-step slideshow that explains the information included in Timeline, how to fill it out, and how to set privacy restrictions, see Facebook Timeline: The Complete Guide by Christine Erickson (@christerickson).

Google+ added Gmail integration features, making it easier for users to find, connect and organize contacts across Google, and to share photos directly from Gmail. The platform also announced plans to roll out facial recognition features for enhanced photo tagging. 

What were your top marketing stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

Laurel Miltner is the assistant vice president at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Laurel on Twitter: @laurelmackenzie.

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