HOW the Wineries & Restaurants Can Optimize Apple’s Siri

IN Q4 2011, Apple sold 37 million iPhones with many of the record sales coming from the iPhone 4s with voice searching Siri. Since Siri’s introduction on the iPhone in September, local businesses have been trying to unravel what search results Siri delivers and why.

With 37 million new Siri-enabled phones on the streets, that means 37 million more people asking Siri where to eat or where to go taste wine. And this is just the beginning. Apple won’t disclose how many more devices will have Siri enabled, but it’s sure to a significant number.

Any restaurant, winery or wine tasting room will want to be found by those millions of Siri searchers, but how?

Google Search is not the information source Siri taps into, but Google maps do factor in. Because many mobile searches happen on the go, it’s important to be positioned for localized ranking.

Yelp has long been rumored to be the prime source for Siri search results. This recent experiment by Gregg Stewart supports the theory behind the importance of Yelp:

On January 4, 2012, the voice query for “client name in Troy, MI” results displayed three listings forclient name with no reviews. A second voice query for “client keyword in Troy, MI” provided a result set with 25 businesses and no appearance of client in the search results. The first position was occupied by a business with one review with no stars.

On January 4, 2012, we inserted a four-star Yelp review for a specific client listing as a means to observe, and prove/disprove two elements:

  1. Yelp reviews were a primary optimization key for listings in Siri.
  2. Determine the listings update timing cycle of Yelp reviews into Siri.

Please note – we do not condone creating non-authentic reviews; the review that was inserted was from a customer of the client, used with their permission. If you would like more information for tips on increasing the volume of authentic ratings and reviews for your business/brand, please read “3 Tips To Leverage Ratings and Reviews.”

Each morning at 8:00 a.m. EST, we conducted the same two voice queries: “client name in Troy, MI” and “client keyword in Troy, MI.”

Results

On January 24, 2012, the voice query for “client name in Troy, MI” resulted in three listings for clientwith the first inclusion of the review posted in Yelp on January 4, 2012 (21 days). The second voice query for “client keyword in Troy, MI” provided a result set with 25 businesses and client in the first position of search results.

Conclusion

Yelp reviews directly affect position on Apple’s iPhone 4S results. In terms of update cycle, it would appear that the Siri database is updated on a 30-day cycle. Additionally, the incremental review citation for the client location improved position ranking on Google Maps from positions third, fifth, and seventh to second, fourth, and sixth.

Based on improved SERP position, we recommended that the client undertake a comprehensive program to authentically increase ratings and reviews with specific emphasis on Yelp. This program encourages recent customers to post content for discrete locations as a tactic to improve SERP position and provide content that displays point-of-difference attributes, which increase selection rates for potential customers of our client.

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If Yelp wasn’t a focus for winery tasting rooms or restaurants, it should be now. And if Yelp is a focus, it might be time to focus on it even more. The numbers suggest local businesses Yelp reviews are more important than ever.

Who’s Using Google+ INFOGRAPHIC

What Motivates Us: Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose

Back in 2008 I read a book by Daniel Pink called, A Whole New Mind. The premise of the book looked into the reasons for left brain and right brain people succeeding in the workplace. Generally, the idea is that left brain types have found more success running and working for companies because of the inherent analytical nature of “bean counters” who are in charge of many companies. Up until recently, right brain types have struggled in companies led by bean counters.

The book goes on to make the case that all this is changing. Anything that can be outsourced or done more cheaply will be. Things like accounting, computer work, analytics, bean counting, etc. can almost be automated or outsourced overseas. Pink goes on to say the right brain people will succeed in the future because story telling and creatively solving problems will become a valuable skill. For me, the timing of this book happened right as social media was starting to make its way into our day to day lives.

Social Media was going to become a major factor in business culture and would prove Daniel Pink right.

 

After A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink wrote Drive: The Surprising Truth to What Motivates Us. Again, Pink makes a valid argument that supports social media as part of business culture. It’s almost like these two books are one book split into two. It is true that right brain creative problem solving and story telling are becoming valuable skills. And to get the best out of those right brain employees (and all employees) it’s necessary for business leaders to understand what motivates today’s work force.

This animation shows what Daniel Pink is saying in the book, Drive:

Marketing Chart: Agencies Rate Effectiveness of Social Media Tactics

From Marketing Sherpa’s chart of the week, agencies rate the effectiveness of their clients’ social media tactics. The timing of this chart couldn’t be better as Google today merged Google Search with Google+. Improving search rankings continues to be one of the more important strategies in social media. Agencies are at the intersection of their clients’ marketing objectives and all the new social tools.

Pay special attention to the last line for advertising. Only 12% of respondents thought advertising on social sites was ‘Very Effective’. And out of all the categories, advertising had the highest number of agencies saying it was ‘Not Effective’. It’s a little eye opening to see advertising as the least effective tactic for social media whereas building one-to-one relationships and moderating the company’s social sites were at the time. It just reinforces what we’ve been hearing over and over about social media. Successful social brands engage with their community and have 2-way dialoge. Brands still doing the old fashioned one-way broadcast tactic are still doing the traditional advertising thing, and it’s probably not working very well.

We’ve found Facebook ads to be almost useless. We’ve seen very few successful case studies for Facebook ads for small to medium sized brands. Larger companies with funds for running a campaign across multiple channels are seeing the best results for Facebook ads. I say Facebook ads are near useless today because of Google+ brand pages. There we see a more direct correlation between a brand page, Ad Words and Search results.

Social Media Crystal Ball 2012

photo provided by UTC.edu

2012 should be a pivotal year for social media and human history. We’re reaching the peak of the bell curve and social media is getting closer to mass adoption. More human beings are starting to embrace the social web globally. This year started off with the promise of sCRM or better social CRM for brands, especially smaller brands. We’re not there yet but better software is being created every day.

In 2011 we also saw the birth of Google+, Google’s social layer not social network. The year is ending with a bang as we witness major redesigns on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Timeline. Amidst the slew of redesigns, we also witnessed a ripple in the social fabric with version 2.0 of Path. Up until now, mobile had one kind of “feel” when it came to social apps. The user stream has always been a critical part of, “what did my friends just do and where?” With Path 2.0 we have seen the next level of UX design with an emphasis on mobile. Path 2.0 raises the bar for what users want from a mobile experience. Apple took a different tack with the mobile experience with the addition of SIRI. Now you don’t have to even type anything on your phone, you can just say it.

Technology continues to evolve rapidly in every facet of our lives. ATM’s rolled out 30 years ago, but now you can just take a photo of a check with your phone to deposit it. And smart appliances will be one of the fastest growing segments of technology. Imagine telling Siri to start preheating your oven to 350 degrees as you drive home.

Here’s the Bakas Media prognostications for social media in 2012:

+ The Social Media Revolt - Brian Solis raised this point with his new book, The End of Business As Usual. Over the past 3 years businesses have reluctantly adopted social media because they had to. But many businesses immediately focused on fluffing their followers and fans rather than focusing on quality interactions. Through various gimmicks like contests or promotions many brands built a faux following but still haven’t committed to true engagement. Did you know 90% of people who Like a brand on Facebook never go back to the page after liking it?

We’ll likely see a push back from consumers who may start unliking and unfollowing brands who provide no value to them.

+ Political Impact Takes on Different Feel From 2008 - President Obama harnessed the power of social media in 2008 and used it to win the election. In 2012 Obama will surely build upon his significant social footprint while the Republicans bicker over who’ll be their candidate. Once the Republicans get their candidate, Obama will have already created momentum with his massive email database, Facebook engagement and Twitter following. But unlike 2008, consumers and voters have more history to draw from. They are more savvy to the fact that Barrack wasn’t the one talking to them over the past 4 years on Twitter.

Social Media will still be a factor of course for data and polling, but it won’t have the same magic as four years ago. Back then Obama had clarity of message. His campaign wasn’t fighting for attention on social sites like he will this time around. Now, there’s many more brands also working to get the same mind share. Ultimately, the conversations leading up to the presidential election will mirror most political conversations that are too black and white. You either support this candidate or that candidate, and you can’t wait to tweet all sorts of venomous things about the other party.

This time around, social media may have its biggest impact tapping the important young voters and different racial groups. We’ve seen how social media impacted governments around the world, but here at home things can get too hot which becomes a turn off.

+ Mobile Commerce Will Emerge - Major shifts in human behavior, especially as they relate to technology take time to develop. Mobile commerce will be significant and it’ll be huge which is why it’ll take a while to happen. The groundswell for mobile commerce has been building for a couple of years but a few key factors have held it back.

First, the phones available on the market aren’t equipped to handle seamless mobile transactions. That’s where Square saw an opportunity and created a little adaptor to plug into iPhone headphone jacks. Second, privacy hasn’t been perfected. According the Forrester, consumers’ #1 fear of mobile commerce is that their private information could be compromised. Third, data has yet to be standardized. Our true forecast for mobile commerce to really reach mass adoption is 2014, but in 2012 it will emerge with a big foot forward.

+ The Convergence of Media - If you’ve watched any television this fall you may have noticed NBC, FOX and ABC are starting to put the hash tag to the show on the screen while you’re watching. While I watched The Biggest Loser and X-Factor this season, I noticed the faint tiny hash tag text in the lower right hand corner of my television. During the show people can go on Twitter and join in a conversation about the show using the hash tag. And X-Factor leveraged Twitter for voting throughout the season. Unfortunately, these ideas fell short because the television networks and shows still don’t get the concept of responding to people and having 2-way conversations. In 2012 I see an improvement in community management from shows on TV.

So there you have it. These are just my predictions for the coming year. At the end of 2011 I said Nimble would become a major player but that didn’t happen so who’s to say if any of the above visions will happen. What do you think?

The Secret of Twitter

Twitter has a secret feature that’s right under your nose. Well, okay it’s not a “secret” per se because many people understand it, but even more people don’t how it works. The feature that you might not fully understand is that your tweets are invisible to everyone except the person you @ reply to. When you start a tweet with “@username ” only you and that person will see the tweet. And any mutual followers you both have. The rest of the world won’t see the tweets. Conversely, if you put any character in front of the “@username” it makes the tweet visible to all your followers. That’s why you sometimes see a period in front of tweets so all your followers can see your response to someone:

But why would Twitter take the time to create a feature that makes your tweets not appear in the Twitter stream to everyone but one person? Because that’s what Twitter wants you to do. They designed the system so you could @ reply people one to one without junking up the Twitter stream of your followers. In other words, that’s the point of Twitter. The entire site was designed for one to one communication—lots and lots of @ replies. So why are so many people and brands still doing the broadcast thing like they think followers are sitting on the edge of their seats?

When I give talks or work with a client the first thing I do is look at their stream to see how many @ replies there are. Ideally I want to see a stream full of @ replies from the brand with an occasional promotional message. Domaine Select does a great job of this:

Newbies to Twitter often ask something like, “why would anybody want to see a tweet that I just ordered coffee?” You’re right, why? I tell people that you could sign up to Twitter today and have no followers and still be highly effective on Twitter. You can use Twitter search to find people talking about a subject you’re interested in and start @ replying to them. As a brand gets more active on Twitter they start seeing more incoming tweets that of course should be @ replied to. If you have a Twitter account go take a look at your stream right now. Is it full of @ replies or promotional stuff? Get in the habit of just @ replying all day every day so your stream looks like the @DSWE stream. Twitter built their system specifically for you to do this.

This article reads like it was written in 2009 because it sounds so basic. But still at the end of 2011 I still see so many brands that aren’t doing this.

Take the idea of one to one conversation a step further and apply it to all social media sites. On Facebook or Google+ it’s responding to every person you can. On YouTube it’s commenting or replying to people on video pages. This one to one conversation is the entire point of social media.

 

The ultimate success is when a company’s CEO does this. A truly social business is one where transparency and 1:1 communication happens from top to bottom. Our client wine.com’s CEO Rich Bergsund runs a technology company and @ replies people on Twitter. This will become an expectation rather than an option as we move into the future and businesses become more social.

Why Getting Followed Back Isn’t as Important as Which List You’re On

One of the questions I get frequently is who I follow back and why.  From 2008  to early 2010 I would follow most people who followed me, but what began to happen is I started to lose touch with people I was following.  My stream was flowing with tweets from 30,000+ people and I couldn’t keep up.

So I changed my approach to Twitter and broke my single Following stream up into Twitter lists. Thanks to apps like Tweetdeck, I found it easier to see what people were saying once I took that one stream and broke it up into multiple streams.  Twitter lists are one of the most powerful features on Twitter.  I’m always constantly adding people to lists based on interest.  I have a list for people I’ve met in real life and another list for wine friends.  There’s another list for quality content and another just for sommeliers.  Not only are my lists valuable, but I also follow other people’s curated lists:

 

Each list can be imported into Tweetdeck into its own column making it easier to see what people are saying.  In this screen shot of my Tweetdeck you can see I have lists imported “Quality Twitter Content”, “Tweeps I’ve Met” and “Sommelier’s” Twitter lists in their own columns:

With this approach I’m able to see everybody and give more attention, which is ultimately what this is about.  If I just follow someone back and they show up in my main stream there’s a low probability they’ll be seen.  So when people ask me why I haven’t followed back, I usually answer it’s more important to see which list or lists they’re on.  The benefit of following is the ability to DM.  DM’s are a valuable way to communicate one to one, so now I follow others back so we have that ability.

If you don’t use Tweetdeck, Seesmic or Hootsuite I’d suggest looking into using them to sort information and streams.  Twitter is going to continue to be an important part of our culture as a form of communication.  The tools you use to help manage the communication in your life will determine how powerful Twitter can be in your life or business.

WHY Wineries Might Prefer Google+ Brand Pages Over Facebook’s Pages

In case you didn’t hear, Google+ rolled out brand pages last week. This is one of the biggest developments to happen in social media in a long time. But what does it mean for businesses using Facebook?

Facebook is like a gated community in some ways. They’ve never given Google access to the community which was okay because with 800 million users, Facebook didn’t need Google. But now that may be an achilles heel for Facebook. Google search is the starting point for so many things that relate to business. Google search practically is the internet. Just about anything and everything goes through Google search. Now that Google+ brand pages are live, brands have more direct access to Google search and more importantly, SEO.

According to TechCrunch, the biggest brands on Facebook with over 100,000 fans are seeing healthy traffic to their brand pages, but the mid-sized and smaller brands are seeing a smaller CTR rate. For brands and wineries with over 1,000 fans the average CTR of 1 click per 424 fans nets out to .00236 clicks per fan.

chart provided by TechCrunch

The Novelty Has Worn Off

Facebook brand pages seem like a good idea. But 90% of the time fans never go back to a Facebook page after liking it. Crafty landing pages, contests or other gimmicks used to boost a brand’s fan page following don’t replace the core reason the page exists—to have two-way conversation with fans. Upper management from the companies behind the brands tend to focus on the number of fans rather than the quality of the interactions. I believe we’re going to see a pushback from consumers in 2012 where people will start unliking brand pages they aren’t getting anything from.

If a winery or a brand has invested time building up their Facebook page and it doesn’t directly affect Google search outside the FB ecosystem, is the Facebook page still valuable?

 

In my opinion, not entirely. Now that brands can have their own Google+ brand page I see much more value for brands to invest time into these new pages. Brands can set up their Google+ pages by going here.

 

Why Google+ Brand Pages Over Facebook Brand Pages?

This article is targeted at brands who don’t have over 100,000 fans on Facebook. Based on the data above, your Facebook page isn’t providing much value anyway. Sure, there are exceptions. If you’re reading this and you think your Facebook brand page is working and fans are engaged, then you are probably doing something right. Google has said they didn’t set out to create a new social network, but rather create a social “layer” to their services. Google+ tools can be found here.

The key benefits for investing time in a Google+ brand page over a Facebook brand page are:

1. Google Direct Connect - now in Google search you can put a “+” in front of a brand name to go directly to their page. See the video here or try typing +Pepsi in Google search. Once your page is live, adding a short bit of code to your site will enable it.

2. The +1 Button - Not much unlike the Facebook “Like” button, but the +1 is 4x more valuable. That simple little button will have a direct impact on SEO going forward. The +1 has infiltrated the internet, and every time it gets clicked it adds more social mojo to search engine optimization.

3. Google’s Other Services - Most wineries have a Google Place page, Google Analytics, YouTube or any combination of offerings from the web giant. They all tie together — not perfectly yet — but soon. Mobile commerce is particularly interesting as Google maps is a key component to most location-based apps. Did you know the #2 search portal in the world is YouTube? Not only is Google search a major factor, but the integrations with YouTube ensure the two biggest search portals in the world are feeding the G+ ecosystem.

4. Google’s Acquisitions - Is Google going to buy Twitter some day? Who knows, but it is possible. We’re only a few months into the existence of Google+ but adoption is growing. This conversation is going to evolve as the site does.

photo provided by Google

At the end of the day, wineries only have so much time to dedicate to online marketing efforts. I’m not suggesting Facebook pages completely go away, but rather dedicate more time to Google+ brand pages. If we were looking at a pie chart showing how much time to spend on each social site, I’d like to see even sized pie pieces for Twitter, email, G+ and Facebook…for now. The investment of time into G+ will pay dividends from now on or as long as Google search exists.

Return on Attention: Defining the new ROI

 

This post was originally posted March 1, 2011 but that blog has been taken down.

The ROI question has got to be the number one question asked.
“If I’m going to adopt new media, what is the return on investment?”

What IS the ROI of anything, especially new media? What’s the ROI of a 2 over 2 direct mail piece? What’s the ROI of in-store POS? How about a magazine ad—what’s the return on running an ad?

We know reach is one factor to pay attention to.  When a business runs an ad in print, they’re paying for the reach of the publication.  If there’s 50,000 subscribers, we don’t know if all 50,000 are going to see the ad, or even act upon it.  But we know a percentage of them will.  The quality of the publication and quality of the actual ad determine if the ad captures attention and/or influences behavior.  The key word there is attention.  Did the ad capture attention?

Online marketing (including social media marketing) combines things we already know about reach, impressions and attention.  In an increasingly fast paced digital world, social media marketing has a great deal to do with how much attention we can capture.  Whether it’s in email, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or on a blog, we’re creating content and messages to stand out from the overload of information, even if just for a few seconds.  Attention is fast becoming the new currency in new media.

 

“Attention is fast becoming the new currency in new media.”

 

What a brand does with attention ultimately answers the question about return.  But because the “return” in new media is affected by a new variable called time, the ROI takes on a form we haven’t seen before.  Time is now a multiplier because of Curation.  In layman’s terms, marketing messages before new media had a short lifespan.  Now, digital content (emails, YouTube vids, FB posts) live forever.  We’re curating our online lives into indexed, searchable content.  That means over time, marketing messages will still be relevant.  With that in mind, I’ve come up with this formula to explain ROA:

 

ROA = time(impressions + reach + influence)

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Take the marketing dollars you put into new media, divide by the dollars you get back.  The result is a metric that’s both measurable and can be improved.  The higher the number, the better your return.

That means a YouTube video created in 2011 could lead to sales in 2016.  That’s a huge paradigm shift in how brands communicate with customers people.  It’s up the brand to decide what to do with that attention—Engage or Lose out.