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What is your company's Web and social media strategy? One expert shares his thoughts...

Avinash Kaushik, described as an influential and respected voice who puts a common sense framework around the chaotic world of web analytics, recently spoke to the Dental Trade Alliance gathering in Napa, Calif., on "Reinventing your digital existence." Following are some of his comments he shared with the audience...

There are three things I am very interested in. The first is influence. How do you get customers to buy? You used to buy influence by buying ads in newspapers. However, in nine years, $44 billion in ad revenue has gone away from newspapers because of the Web.

These are the numbers from a recent survey on consumer time spent by media...
TV .. 40 percent
Print .. 6 percent (yet 29 percent of ad budget is still spent on print)
Web ... 22 percent
Radio ... 9 percent
Mobile ... 23 percent

What is your plan to find people and influence them?

The second is experience. What kind of experiences do we create? Unless you are giving your customers an excellent experience, why do you exist? Your Web site has to build confidence in the brand, not just look pretty. Never sacrifice functionality for sexiness. People are being introduced to your brand every day on the Web ... what do you want them to see?

The third is value. If you can find people and deliver a great experience, the customer should be happy and your company should be successful.

Life can't be about data. If you're not sure what problems you're solving, no amount of data can save you or your company.

Impressions are a very stupid metric. If you only measure visits to your Web sites, you're only interested in one-night stands. People will always come to your Web site, but what happens once they get there? What do they learn? That's what you need to learn from your customers.

Web sites should track their abandonment rate. How often does someone start to fill out a form, then leave the site? How often does someone put things in their virtual shopping cart but never check out? You have to find out why people are leaving before they finish the process.

Visitor loyalty measures how many times that one person came back to a site in the span of a month. If someone comes to your site once, did you impress that person enough to come back? If you have content, don't measure on page views but rather on visitor loyalty. If you can't get people to come back more than once a week, are you really successful?

Another interesting metric is "share of search." That means how many people searched for a term and how many of those people then came to your Web site.

If you're doing surveys to measure what people like about your site, ask them three questions ...

1. Why are you here? You will be astonished at their answers. Listen to what they say.

2. Were you able to complete your task?

3. If not, why not?

These questions have nothing to do with Web metrics, but have everything to do with focusing on your customer. It's not my opinion or your opinion about your Web site, it's your customer's opinion.

How well are you doing getting people to your site? Did people find what they needed when they got there? Were we able to make money from it? Those are three important analytic questions.

When you're looking at how people are coming to your site, think of everything in three buckets ... owned (search engines), earned (heard about you from other people), and paid (advertising). If people are only coming to your site because of paid advertising, something is wrong.

Why don't we all have great Web sites or mobile apps? Because we're obsessing about a small percentage of the people who engage with us. We have to focus on everyone who comes to our Web site and all of the possible successes that they could have by coming onto your site. We have to be able to provide a positive experience for everyone who comes to a Web site.

Don't limit your success on what your Web site can be. Think about expanding your Web site with testimonials, sample requests, and sign-ups for e-mail lists. Don't just look in terms of sales from Web sites. It is more than that when you are engaging your customer.

What is your near-term success goals for your Web site business? For most, that is only orders. Then identify the other things on your Web site that can generate business from your Web site. If you only focus on orders, you are limiting your Web site and your business. You must also have medium-term and long-term success goals for your Web site as well. You have to have a Now, Next, and Long strategy for your company.

Our ability to influence people by just shouting at them with an ad is going to be taken over by other people's abilities to influence each other through social media. What is your strategy? For most, it's only to have "more likes" or all of the social media buttons on their Web site. That's not enough.

On Twitter, do your followers care about your obsession with yourself? Are you giving them any relevant information? On Facebook, why are you selling your product? No one is going on Facebook to buy a product.

I don't understand why people have social media icons on their Web sites when they suck at it. If you don't know what you're doing, don't confirm that to your customers.

At the very minimum, every company should have a great YouTube channel. Show the customer what your brand does and how your products can help them. Don't have your CEO talking. Show what your products can do.

Four things to measure on social media
Conversation rate (number of audience comments or replies per post and number of audience comments per social contribution).
Amplification rate (less than 10 percent on social media actually listen to what you say. Check the number of retweets, shares, and forwards per social contribution).
Applause rate (number of positive clicks (likes, favorites, and +1s) per social contribution).
Economic value (value per visitor in terms of time spent on social media).

Don't always listen to the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person's Opinion). They typically control the social media experience and they typically don't know what they're doing. It has to be about the user experience on your Web site, not the HiPPO.

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Tags: Facebook, Twitter, marketing, media, social

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