Social Networking Panel at Search Marketing Expo

I’m live at the Search Marketing Expo in New York City. The first panel this morning is about “Effectively Leveraging Social Networking.” The panelists are Danny Sullivan, Dave McClure, Helen M. Overland and Cindy Krum. First up is Dave McClure of 500 hats.

9:06 am – Dave has taken a brief poll of the audience to see how frequently they use Facebook. Following the poll, he is showing his Facebook profile to the audience as well as the news feed. Dave is discussing the theoretical news feed optimization through tagging items and status updates. Dave is illustrating the sharing of an image and how it is posted into the feed as a result. Via tagging “super nodes” in your network, there is a greater likelihood that the information will end up being displayed in your newsfeed.

9:20 am – Question from the crowd: Can you create and organization in Facebook similarly to the way you do in MySpace? Dave: You can create a network or a group within Facebook. Dave is also giving a brief overview of sponsored groups. Ultimately, the response is that you cannot create company profiles.

9:24 am – Up next is Helen M. Overland from “Non-linear creations.” Helen’s topic is marketing on LinkedIn. Helen is giving an overview of her company as well as LinkedIn. Helen is emphasizing the fact that you can reach just about anybody in the professional sphere through LinkedIn. Personally, I think you can do this through Facebook as well, but Helen is here to discuss LinkedIn. According to Helen, LinkedIn can be used for increasing visibility & branding, generate direct sales and generate traffic & support SEO.

9:28 am – If you want to increase the visibility of your brand you can display your expertise in the “answers” section of LinkedIn. (There is already a number of applications that have been developed to provide a similar service on Facebook but many of those have been considered spammy.) Helen is displaying an example of Brack Obama asking a question on LinkedIn. If you are looking to increase sales via LinkedIn you can find a way to get in touch with those people. Helen also suggests that you get recommendations to further your brand exposure. Since answer pages are indexed on LinkedIn, you can use these to link back to your blog or company website. After using these links to drive traffic to her site, Helen witnessed LinkedIn users spending more time on her site.

9:33 am – Last up is Cindy Krum from Blue Moon Works to discuss MySpace. Cindy is covering starting off by displaying profile that have been used well to promote. The first company she is using as an example is Flying Dog Brewery that is using MySpace to drive sales to their brewery. As a side note, it would be interesting to see a case study on how a company is leveraging Facebook to generate revenue for their brand. Cindy is now highlighting how Flying Dog displays all of their beers on their MySpace profile. Flying Dog has also placed a number of photo albums on their MySpace profile. The company has also added events. Cindy is highlighting the SEO impact of a MySpace profile and how Flying Dog’s MySpace profile shows up forth in their Google results.

9:42 am – The next profile up is for the True dating site. True has created a fortune cookie widget, somewhat similar to the Facebook fortune cookie application. True has leveraged a number of other widgets including a “Create a date” widget, a “Date-o-Rama” widget and a “Heart Beats” widget. Cindy is now covering the downsides of MySpace. The first example is of Westwood College. After creating their profile for the client, people started adding them. The initial people that friended them didn’t have the most professional users. As a result, Blue Moon and Westwood College were forced into determining who to approve for friends. One of the users that became extremely active on the page ended up switching their photo to be them in S & M gear.

9:53 am – The next client is Auto Europe that wanted a widget that would work across multiple social networks. One problem that they faced is that most links in MySpace don’t work. Links that do work include: links to pages within MySpace, links within blog posts, links within news articles and links within events. When building a widget in MySpace make sure that you use flash version 9 & action script version 3. Links in Flash files just don’t work. Cindy is highlighting that not all developers can develop widgets. That’s it!

Overall, this panel was a general overview of social networking. Most of my readers are probably thoroughly knowledgable on this topic so nothing new was revealed unfortunately. The panel was definitely great for those that are trying to understand further the benefits of social networking and techniques for utilizing 3 of the most popular social networks on the web (Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace).