Rebecca Kelley is a blogger and writer with expertise in SEO and social media. She has held positions at SEOmoz (as a copywriter and SEO consultant) and 10e20 (as Director of Social Media) and is currently involved with a new marketing startup. Follow her on Twitter .
Can you tell me a little about your current role?
I recently transitioned from consulting to an in-house marketing position for a startup that’s working on a few different projects. I can’t disclose a whole lot more until we launch our first endeavor later this spring, but essentially my role is the Director of Marketing and Community Relations. I’m very excited to apply the skill set I’ve built from years of consulting towards these new projects.
What factors make a piece of content good linkbait?
If it’s mainly text-based, the writing needs to be very strong, whether it’s an incredible study, a really funny anecdote, breaking news, etc. Even if the piece is primarily text, some sort of visual is typically essential (corresponding images, graphs, charts, bullet points, headers, numbered lists). Internet users tend to have short attention spans, so you really need to hook them in as quickly as possible. This is why visuals tend to do very well – compelling infographics, funny pictures, crazy videos, etc.
What's the low-hanging fruit in social media optimization (SMO) for a business just beginning to establish a social presence?
I would try and lock down as many branded accounts as possible. Even if you don’t plan on using your Twitter account, reserve it just in case so someone else won’t snatch it up. KnowEm  is a great resource for reserving user names. Another thing to do is to just start paying attention to what people are saying about you. Start monitoring your brand via Google, Facebook and Twitter to start – are there negative reviews or complaints? Unofficial fan pages? You need to have all of this on your radar. Even if you haven’t built a social presence yet, this information-gathering process is crucial so you know how to come out of the gates with your social media marketing  strategy.
Assuming your job wasn't on the line, what would you say to a manager who banned social apps like Twitter and Facebook in the workplace? How can savvy employees make a business case for social media marketing?
Not only is it good for morale and to break up the day for employees, it’s good for gathering information and problem solving. I’d argue that social networking can help solve problems in the workplace. You can reach out to your colleagues with questions you have and get feedback on products and services. Plus, you’re not only working on your personal brand, you’re also presenting an opportunity for your employer to extend their brand to a wider audience. I think as long as the employer outlines what’s appropriate and what his expectations are regarding social networking at work, it should be allowed.
Any tips for gaining followers and authority on Twitter? What factors determine whether or not you follow someone on Twitter?
Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t fill out the basic information like a bio and URL. If there’s no bio, I pretty much won’t follow the person. A bio and URL gives you an idea of who the person is and why you might want to follow him/her. I also look to see how much the person interacts with his followers. I don’t really like following a feed comprised solely of links or tips unless they’re incredibly valuable (e.g., weather reports, breaking news). If it’s someone’s personal brand or personal account, I want to see some back and forth between that person and his/her followers. It shows me that this person likes to engage with people instead of blasting one-way information.
Have you met old-school marketers who think your job is BS?
Not really marketers per se, but I’ve seen forums and threads where users roll their eyes at “social media marketers” and “SEO” and think it’s just one huge shady business. It's not. You can measure social media ROI . While there are definitely some snake oil salesmen/spammers in the industry, there are a lot of really knowledgeable marketers in the space, and I think that Internet marketing  and its various facets are an essential part of marketing one’s business nowadays.
What's the best part of your job?
Right now I’m just really excited to work on these different projects and build a site from the ground up. I also have some unbelievably talented and successful mentors who I’m fortunate to work with, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from them.