45 Ways to Improve Your Digital Strategy in 2013, Part One

online marketing, online marketing ROI, Social Media Marketing, social media optimization

January 3, 2013 by

The Online Marketing Institute's Annual List of Top Digital Strategists Share Their Best Advice for Driving ROI in the New Year.

2013 presents exciting growth and opportunity in digital, as marketers continue to shift their offline budget to more quantifiable, online channels. According to a report released by ZenithOptimedia, Internet advertising is forecasted to grow by 14.6% in 2013, while traditional media will only grow by 1.7%, and digital advertising is predicted to make up about a quarter of all media spending by 2015. It's clear that now is the time to learn how to weave online channels together to create a 2013 digital strategy built to deliver an optimal brand experience.

To help marketers discover new opportunities for driving ROI, the Online Marketing Institute identified the top 40 digital strategists, and asked them for their best advice for 2013. They were selected because they are:

  1. Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies
  2. Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  3. Driving game-changing results for their clients and organization

Look for top marketing advice contributed by industry leaders like  Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, Ekaterina Walter, social innovator at Intel and author of Think Like Zuck, and Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.


In the first installment of this three-part series,  digital strategists well-versed in the area of social media marketing share their best practices, predictions for the future of social, evaluation of industry trends and share the know-how to deliver thought provoking insight that will lay the groundwork for you to build an effective, holistic digital marketing strategy in 2013.

1. Develop an Integrated Digital Communications Strategy

“In one word – integration. Social media has exploded and there are multiple ways to connect and engage with customers. You must identify your key channels. Focus your efforts on those and have an integrated communication strategy for both your social media and traditional vehicles. For example, if you are trying to start a conversation on a particular topic, then have that topic exist in all your key channels. You will need to mold the conversation for the medium (don’t just copy and paste). If you want the song to stick, every channel has to play the same tune.”

 – LaSandra Brill, Cisco

LaSandra Brill is a change agent, social media enthusiast and marketing visionary who was named ‘2012: 25 Women Who Rock Social Media’ by Top Rank Marketing Blog. As Senior Manager of Global Social Media Marketing, LaSandra Brill shapes Cisco’s marketing strategy to include a mix of innovative digital, mobile and social media techniques. At Cisco she is known for building and executing the social media strategy of one of the top five product launches in company history and for driving social innovation across Cisco. Learn more marketing how-to by enrolling in her OMI class: Social Intelligence Drives Social CRM.

2. Embrace the Four “B”s of Crisis Management

“No matter how well intentioned your presence on social media, eventually you will make a mistake. Whether it is a simple misstep or a colossal blunder, smart leaders are adopting the four “B”s to address their social crisis communication, “Be Humbled, Be Real, Be Honest, and Be Direct.” You must own the issue head on, let folks know where to go for questions or next steps, let them know you have learned from the issue and are taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. This will diffuse most issues and allow your folks to get back to successfully engaging in your social channels again.”

– Todd Wilms, SAP

Todd Wilms is founding member of the SAP Social Media Audience Team, helping SAP's 47 solutions and 20 industries reach their appropriate audiences through social media marketing. The team is responsible for developing the strategy, helping to execute the program, and then developing repeatable processes to help other teams be more successful. A 20 year marketer, he has held executive product and marketing leadership roles with some of the world's best known brands like eBay/PayPal, Citrix, PeopleSoft, and agency George P. Johnson. He is an avid writer and blogs on Forbes, his team blog socialb2p.com, and The Social Media Examiner. Learn more tips from Todd by enrolling in his OMI elearning class: Social Media Marketing Landscape: Competitive Strategies for 2013, available on-demand with subscription.

3. Don’t Use Social for Purely Promotional

• Members commit to a social site, not because of the site, but because of the commitment to one another - tap into that.
• Marketers need to think like publishers! Start with the audience, then deliver smart, useful content and build your marketing strategy around these pillars.
• Social media and digital must be built into day one of the event plan; they are too often an afterthought and become promotional, which then forces them to lose impact.

– Scott Vaughan, UBM Tech

Scott Vaughan, Chief Marketing Officer for UBM Tech, is a 20-year passionate practitioner and student of marketing and the technology market.  As a sought-after thought leader, his experience spans B2B marketing and sales strategy, revenue and demand generation, database analytics, media, and content, product, event and digital marketing. His views and observations on all things marketing, technology and business can be found on CreateYourNextCustomer.com.

4. Keep it “Light, Bright and Polite”

Light: Keep it short. On social media, that means work hard to keep your messaging under 100 characters. Most adults are consumed in their lives, thus you have a very narrow window to grab their attention.

Bright: Make sure what you’re posting is something helpful to your readers, and perhaps, so valuable that they will forward it on to their friends (without you having to say, “Share this with your friends” or “Spread the word”). This means it will shine on its own and be shared without asking.

Polite: This means you and/or your brand would be proud of the message if it were to be posted on a billboard the next day for thousands of people to see. Your tweets should outlast the week, month and year. Keep them polite so you’re proud of them if they end up on a billboard for your parents to see or your boss finds your posts in the future.

– Josh Ochs, Media Leaders

Josh OchsJosh Ochs is the Author of “Light, Bright And Polite,” and the founder of MediaLeaders: The Marketing Team that Advises 36+ Brands On Social Media.

With background in marketing at Disney and a love for all things technology, Josh Ochs combines both to advise businesses on how to use social media to find new customers, nurture existing relationships and tie each campaign back to the bottom line. As the grassroots founder of MediaLeaders, the team that manages Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn for over 36 brands, Josh is leading the industry with innovative and creative campaigns that blend traditional sales methods with new technology. Josh outlines many of his counter-intuitive techniques in his latest book: “Light, Bright and Polite” which shares many of his tips with businesses of all types. Connect with Josh on LinkedIn.

5. They “Google It” but They Can Also “YouTube It”

"Being findable on the Internet means optimizing with your customers’ keywords. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are search engines. They Google it now on social media sites. Are you ready?"

– Heather Lutze, The Findability Group

Ready to learn more great tips? Watch Heather’s class: Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap to Social & Mobile Marketing

Heather LutzeHeather Lutze is the widely acclaimed speaker, trainer, and consultant who literally wrote the book on search engine marketing. Two books, in fact—The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing and the brand new Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media & Mobile Marketing. Her writing and in-demand keynotes are delivered with the same witty, “no-geek-speak” style that has managed to demystify internet marketing for countless business owners. Breaking free of corporate “cubicle” jobs over ten years ago with nothing more than a dream of entrepreneurship and a computer in the basement, Heather built her business into a multimillion dollar company—The Findability Group.

6. Don’t Focus on Conversation

“The biggest myth in social media marketing right now is that EVERY effort has to involve a conversation. If a customer is trying to book a flight, for example, they probably don't want a conversation. They want to get something done. The best thing many social media teams can do is to evaluate when their customers really want to "engage" and when the best possible thing they can do is to just make it easier to get things done.”

                                                                                                                – Rohit Bhargava, Influential Marketing Group

Rohit Bhargava

Rohit Bhargava is Founder of the Influential Marketing Group and an expert in helping to bring more humanity back to business.  He is the bestselling author of two books (including the recent global marketing best seller LIKEONOMICS), a non-boring keynote speaker and also Professor of Global Marketing at Georgetown University.

Ready to learn more on social media marketing? Enroll in the Online Marketing Institute's elearning center today and gain access to many classes focused on social media topics influencing the future of online marketing.

7. Utilize Social Scoring Tools

“Small and mid-sized market will be revolutionized by social customer acquisition at scale. Specifically, new social profiling and scoring tools will allows marketers to analyze and apply custom segmentation logic to their social databases to meet specific customer acquisition and conversion goals. As a result companies will see a tangible social marketing ROI – increase in sales and customer retention.”

– Mike Lewis, Awareness, Inc.

Mike LewisMike Lewis is an International speaker, author of “Stand Out Social Marketing”, active blogger and Twitter personality. He is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Awareness, Inc, a social media marketing software provider.  Mike helps companies like Sony Pictures, Major League Baseball,  American Cancer Society, FOX Broadcasting, and many others, realize the benefits of social media marketing and how to align social technology with practical business benefits.

 8. Tailor Social Media Messaging to Target Demographics Properly

"Social media provides a wealth of demographic targeting information. Whether you’re adverting on social media or using social logins, make sure you’re harnessing that data to target the most relevant messages and offers to the right audiences."

– Janet Miller, Search Mojo

Janet Miller Search Mojo
Janet Driscoll Miller brings over ten years of search engine marketing experience to Search Mojo and is considered a leading expert in her field. Janet has spoken at search engine conferences including SMX Advanced, Search Engine Strategies and Pubcon, has published articles in B2B Magazine, Visibility Magazine and others, and contributes to several blogs, including Search Marketing SageMarketing Pilgrim and Search Engine Journal.


9. Identify Business Goals for the Pinterest Platform, It's here to stay...

Pinterest keeps evolving. In November 2012, they started to allow businesses to create their own profile. Not only can this help a business owner showcase their products and services, but it can also be beneficial in highlighting events, top customers and much more. Pinterest remains a great platform for creating content but also allows you to share your boards to your Facebook and Twitter, resulting in a cross partnerships between the two social spaces.

James Hickey is a top leader in the Internet Marketing industry. He provides his clients and students with a proven Internet Marketing business model for Retail Businesses. He is an expert in all aspects of Internet Marketing , including Google Adwords, Video Marketing, Blogging, Article Marketing and Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Mobile Application Download Strategy and much more. He also has a personal Social Media Following of over 150,000+ connections.


10. New Generations Want To Create Together As A Team

"50% of population is under 30 years old. These are digital natives who grew up in a global village with technology being an essential part of their lives. They connect and communicate differently than other generations. As marketers we need to understand that building relationships with this generation of consumers will take a different approach. We have to market with them, not to them. They are entrepreneurial generation; we need to help them succeed. They create together, so we have to facilitate togetherness and deliver tailored experiences that enable great memories."

- Ekaterina Walter, Intel

More Facebook tips are shared in Ekaterina Walter’s OMI e-learning course: Tips and Tricks of Successful Facebook Growth, available on-demand with subscription.

Ekaterina Walter is a social innovator at Intel. A recognized business and marketing thought leader, she is a speaker and a regular contributor to Mashable, Fast Company, Huffington Post, and other leading-edge print and online publications. She is an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Connect with her on Twitter: @Ekaterina


The Online Marketing Institute is committed to bringing forth the insight of industry leaders. Look for the full list of courses from these top digital educators on the online learning center's class topics page.

Read our next installment on B2B marketing and how to use data to drive results: Read Part-Two Now

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