Social Media Marketing at Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2009

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On Monday, August 10th the Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch kicked off their 11th annual Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, California. The three-day conference opened and closed with two training days on Monday and Friday. There were over 70 sessions, covering a wide spectrum of Internet marketing industry including Pay-Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, duplicate content, social media, link building, and video optimization to name a few. This massive conference also included a two-day expo floor with over a hundred companies.

Networking the Expo Hall
I had the privilege to attend Day 1 on Tuesday, August 11. The day opened with keynote speech by Clay Shirky, adjunct professor at New York University and author of Here Comes Everybody. From there, the knowledge-hungry group of marketers flooded into the Exposition Hall, where Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask booths were on the front line. Through the hall, sales reps and HR recruiters waited patiently to offer their pitches and pass out their advertising toys. Findoloy, a smaller search engine, was giving away free massages all day. Other booths were the Online Marketing Institute, Bruce Clay Inc., iProspect, Facebook and Webmaster Radio.

Turning Social Media Into ROI
One of the more interesting classes I attended was entitled “Turning the Social Web Into Real ROI” with Sean Heywood, Claudia Virgilio and Rogelio (Ro) Choy on the a panel of speakers and mediator Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization at Facebook. The emphasis of the class was to monetize social media as a potential sales force. For instance, Facebook gets more inbound links than Google, which means that having a Facebook fan page can be just as productive as a website. If you are ignoring social media, then you are missing out on the biggest Internet marketing opportunity and tool available to you and your online business.

Tackling Statistics
One of the unfortunate aspects of Facebook and other social media sites is that they are still difficult to measure despite the high return on investment they offer. Still you can keep track of click-throughs from specified actions on fan pages and profiles. Facebook ads can also help you to measure statistics. Regardless of difficult measurement, social media offers a great ROI for web success if done correctly.

Understanding the Social Media Investment
Although you may want to see measurements, sometimes companies must invest in what works and not how it works. Think of a television commercial or an ad in a newspaper. What is your ROI for these? Companies spend millions of dollars without a solid knowledge of who sees the ad. But they still invest because it works. Social media works in the same respect but is much cheaper and can almost guarantee exposure to targeted markets.

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