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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

How People Often Miss The Mark With Social Media

Many times when the topic of social media comes up in discussions with business owners, I often hear them say that they want to be able to build social media contacts outside of their friends and family. In fact, when I speak on the topic of Facebook Marketing, the biggest question I hear is “how do we build fans?” My response is to start with those you know because those are generally your best sources of referrals anyhow. Often people are resistant to come across as a marketer or as self serving to those they know personally, and other times people simply don’t want their friends and family to know about their business for whatever reason.

Today, I guess the message became a bit clearer during a brainstorming session with a colleague. People are often so concerned with finding ways to connect with strangers (people they don’t know on Facebook or other sites), that they lose site of the massive potential to grow their business through those they know by leveraging social media.

I guess there are those situations where someone may have a side business and they don’t want their co-workers or clients to know about it, and I guess I understand that. What people need to keep in mind however is that SOCIAL media is about relationships. Relationships are not formed by ads, but by interaction with people. I am not saying ads don’t work, but I am saying that relationships build more solid business connections than ads do, especially in a social arena such as a social media community.

When I think of my personal successes in connecting with business opportunities via social media, most of them have been through relationships with those I know and have connected with because I am pretty open with those that know me about what I do.

Social media can be a great platform for educating your friends and family. They may know what you do, but they don’t know what you know. If you have had a viewpoint that says you want to connect with those you don’t know as opposed to those you do know, I strongly encourage you to consider allowing your friends and family into your social media world. You might be surprised at what it does for your business.

How Twitter Helped Me Get a Website Restored

Over the weekend, I noticed that one of my websites was offline. It’s not a mission critical site which is why it was not monitored more closely (in case you are wondering), but it is a site that generates income and one that I was getting ready to upgrade.

I noticed that the web stats had dropped to zero for the past few days and I knew there was a problem. I tried to visit the site and it was down so I called the web hosting provider (I will be nice and not out them… but you can certainly see my Twitter history if you know how to find it) :-) Anyhow, I was told that it was a known issue and being worked on and therefore I could not have a support ticket, but that I was welcome to call back and endure another 5+ minute hold time if I wanted an update. Let’s just say, it was less than stellar customer service.

Knowing the power of Social Media, I Tweeted about the issue and named the company in the Tweet, so they would see the message. After not getting a response, I followed up with another Tweet saying that I was surprised that they did not monitor Twitter, given how large of a company they were. Within a few minutes, I was contacted via Twitter asking for my ticket number. I told them the issue and that I was told a ticket could be created… at which time they created a support ticket and told me the issue would be resolved that day.

The next day the issue still persisted and I replied to the support ticket asking for an update because they did not meet the time frame they had said they would. I then Tweeted that I was still frustrated that after 4 days of a website outage (which is simply unacceptable), I still did not have a status. I am sure you can guess what happened next. I got a Twitter message saying that someone would call me to try to resolve the issue, and of course I got a phone call. No one could tell me what magically happened, but they were able to get my site back up within minutes of that call. They said they did a work around to get mine up but that the others on my shared server were still offline. I guess I am surprised that no one else had a problem with their website being down for days.

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t underestimate the power of Social Media. As you might imagine, a few web hosting competitors and affiliates saw my posts and contacted me via Twitter with hosting offers. I went to respond to one to thank them, but they failed to follow me (on Twitter) which means, I could not communicate with them. Well, at least they were on the right track…

What is the Cost of NOT Doing Online Marketing

If done correctly, online marketing (SEO, Paid Search, Social Media, etc) is an investment in your business. Many people seem to get lost by focusing on the cost of engaging a professional to manage their online marketing campaign. I often ask people who tell me online marketing is too expensive if they plan on staying in business, and if so, how they plan on getting customers. The responses range from laughter to “we get plenty of referral business.” My goal is not to provide shock value, but a reality check because many business owners still don’t know where their next customer is coming from and often don’t see that they are on the quick road to going out of business.

I was recently talking to several local plastic surgeons about online marketing due to an opening that my company has for online marketing services. Among the many questions I asked was “do you realize how many people are searching for you every day?” Few know that answer, and for a plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, I can tell you there are over 1,000 DAILY searches just in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area. The next question is “of the 35,000+ monthly searches for your business Doctor, how many are finding your practice?” This question (regardless of industry) is often met with silence. In a face to face meeting, you can see the wheels turning thinking “that’s why my competitors are doing so well.”

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post about keyword research and finding your online marketing potential. I encourage you to find out how many people are search for you and not finding you, so you are fully aware of how many missed opportunities you have every day that you put off your online marketing campaign.

If you have a (non online) business development strategy that is working for you, then I commend you. I have never said that online marketing is the magic bullet to fix a business, but I have to say it is very often the low hanging fruit – especially for those businesses that rank on page 2 (62% of searchers never click past page 1).

Let me know how I can help you implement an effective and affordable online marketing program.

Have a great day!

Fueled Friday – Using Multiple Online Marketing Strategies

Today, I want to discuss the various types on online marketing strategies that you can use as an intro to the upcoming blog posts on the mechanics of each.

For many, the term online marketing brings to mind a host of different thoughts. Some immediately think of search engine optimization, others may think of paid search, and yet others may think of email marketing, blogging, or social media strategies. The fact remains, that they are all components of online marketing, and frankly should all be employed at some level. Some strategies will come more naturally to you, and others will seem to give you better results. Over the next several posts, I will cover each, but today, I will leave you with a simple list of online marketing strategies to consider. To get a head start on this series of posts, I recommend doing a search on this blog to see what you can find on the topic as well as a Google search to learn more about whichever segment of online marketing you are seeking to learn more about.

Here is my list of the various online marketing strategies that you can employ. If you feel something is missing, let me know my leaving a comment below:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This involves architecting your website to obtain natural rankings in the search engines. It is the most effective form of online marketing, and takes the most time to see results.

Paid Search / Pay Per Click (PPC) Search: This involves paying for each visitor that comes to your website. The upside is that you will see results immediately; the down side is that you can lose lots of money if you do this wrong.

– Blogging: You will learn several reasons why blogging is a highly effective form on online marketing. It is one of my favorite and I cannot wait to share more on this. You can also implement blogging without spending a penny, which make it a great option for those with limited budgets.

Email Marketing: There are two aspect of email marketing that I will share. The first is the most effective and involves emailing your clients and prospect. The second and less recommended form of email marketing it purchasing email lists (NOT spam lists) and marketing to cold prospects.

Viral Marketing: This is a form of marketing where you share valuable information for free (from your website) and allow others to share it for free. It is a great way to get the word out about your product, service, or business.

Social Media Marketing: Everyone is talking about Social Media these days, and it’s a great way to build a following for your brand and reach lots of prospects in a short period of time. Sadly, most don’t really understand how to implement it effectively.

Text / Mobile Marketing: As the name implies, this is a method of reaching people via cell phones and smart devices. It is a growing field that you should not ignore.

Affiliate Marketing: This is a powerful way to empower others to send you business. Of course, you will pay them for their successful referrals, but it essentially puts a commissioned sales force to work for you.

Online Press / Media Relations: This is an area that many businesses neglect and it can produce amazing results.

Online Advertising: This is closely related to PPC, yet it deserves its own category. I would recommend this only as a last resort or a supplement to a multi-channel online marketing program.

Local Search Marketing: Reaching your local audience is critical if you are a local business, but even if you are a national business you don’t want to neglect customers in your own backyard.

Well, I am sure that gives you lots to consider. Please take the time to do some research on any of these that are not familiar with you. This way, when we reach this part in the series, it won’t be totally new to you and you will be able to ask some great questions to help you implement or optimize a specific strategy.

I am off to Louisville, KY today where I hear it will be cold, so keep sending me warm thoughts. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Social Media is Now More Critical with Google’s New Real Time Search Feature

Yesterday Google announced that it will be featuring more “real time” search results which includes content from blogs and social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Just for fun, I have provided a link to the Yahoo News story on this. :-)

As if we didn’t already know that being involved in social media was important to a business, this latest move by Google further emphasizes this. So what does this mean for those that are actively trying to generate business online? First of all, don’t by any means abandon what you are doing. Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search are still the foundation of a solid online marketing campaign, so you want to make sure you are continuing to make strides there. But, if you have not ventured out into the world of social media, you might want to take a look at it now. Here are some suggestions:

1. If you don’t have a blog, start one. Ideally, your blog should be a part of your website (i.e yoursite.com/blog) as opposed to a separate stand along blog, so your domain can capitalize on the inbound links to the blog.

2. If you don’t have a Facebook Fan page, start one. It does not cost anything to set it up, and it’s really not that difficult. Here is a link to the first of a “how to” series I wrote on creating a Facebook page.

3. If you aren’t on Twitter, join. Early on, I was not a big fan of Twitter but as I have seen more value from it, I am encouraging people to join. Here is the key to being successful on Twitter; you have to learn how it works and stay active, otherwise you will deem it a waste of time. A great feature to learn on Twitter, is the “local search” feature where you can do a search based on your region. I actually used this just yesterday and found a partner prospect for my company.

As we go into 2010, I hope this gives you some insights into how you can improve your online positioning by staying ahead of your competition. If you need help implementing any online strategy, don’t hesitate to contact me.


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