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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’

Has Facebook Lost It’s Appeal to Businesses?

The last several weeks have given us plenty of changes on Facebook. Most reacted with disappointment, and a few embraced the new changes. Others kept reminding people they were getting what they were paying for (because it’s free). Some even talked about jumping ship for Google+, which for the record is NOTHING LIKE FACEBOOK :-)

I was disappointed for two reasons. First, I originally joined Facebook to stay in touch with people. This was before business pages and I found that this was not as east of a task and that I no longer felt in touch as much as I had. Granted, I don’t spend all day going through old news feeds because I am quite busy, but there was clearly a difference in the volume of data I could see.

As a marketer, I was very disappointed in that my business page notifications seemed to be of less importance to anyone, especially because they weren’t there to get my updates anyway. They, like me, had joined Facebook to connect with people so they weren’t going to complain that they could not see my business page updates.

Some took the position that Facebook was doing this to make businesses have to pay for Facebook ads to get the visibility they were seeking. And if you have not at least tested Facebook ads, I do recommend it, but I would be disappointed if the underlying ploy was to get us to buy ads.

In the end, I regard Facebook as a great means of branding and connecting, but I would say it’s lost a bit of favor with me. Don’t hear what I am not saying; I didn’t say it doesn’t have value, but when the core of a websites users is frustrated with changes, does not know how they work, and really not willing to fight to stay current, you have to be cautious how much emphasis you give it in your overall marketing equation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Have a great day!

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.

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!

How Come StumbleUpon Isn’t Working for ME?

I have been asked this question on more than one occasion, and in true “Old School” fashion, rather than answering everyone individually, I like to take the opportunity to create a blog post to answer the question.

First, lets talk about your goals. If your goal is to just promote your website on website, then you have failed to understand the purpose of Social Networking. Social networking is the equivalent to offline networking; with the exception that it can be done from your computer. Your goal “should” be to meet people in your industry and people that share your common interests in en effort to mutually benefit one another.

So How Does One Get Started?
It’s pretty simple actually. Build a profile – a REAL profile. There has been lots of talk in the blogosphere lately about people who use fake pictures on their profiles. That’s no different than meeting someone in the real world and giving them a fake name – it’s bogus and it doesn’t fly online either. Would you introduce yourself as a “Trump”, “Bush” or “Rockefeller” in real life, just so people would think you are important? If your answer is yes, I will have my wife call you – she is a THERAPIST. The right is answer is NO, it’s not acceptable behavior. The same goes online. If you aren’t willing to divulge who you are online, then Social Networking isn’t for you.

Secondly, reach out and make some friends. You can search by topic, but the best way I have found is by viewing peoples Stumble Upon profile as listed on their blog, or viewing the profiles of those who like the same articles as I do on Stumble Upon.

What if it Doesn’t Work?
My guess is that you are guilty of one of the following:

1. You are primarily promoting your own website. That’s the equivalent to going to a party and just handing people your business card and walking away without showing interest in them or what they do. You will get the same reponse online – not much.

2. You are a “waver”. You may just thumb up other people’s websites and never review them. That’s the guy or gal who goes to a party and just waves at every body without ever talking to them. No one gets to know them, and therefore no one ever refers anyone to them.

3. You are networked with the wrong people. If you have friended people that are interested in nothing you are interested in, they won’t care about your website or anything you send them. If they haven’t logged in for a month or so, they don’t know you exist. That’s like being friends with the guy that never shows up at a party. People start to think you have imaginary friends. Or if you see a “silhouette” where they once had a picture, they could be under investigation for allegedly breaking one of Stumble Upon’s rules/

4. Your profile seems like it’s a fraud.
I have had people “friend” me and when I look at their profile it look like a knock out of a woman, and then the description says it’s a guy. Well, cross dressers aren’t on my list of related or interested topics, but that’s not even what it’s about. It’s a lame attempt for someone to try and lure me into becoming an “Stumble Upon Friend” by using sex. Sorry – it doesn’t work. Perhaps if I were single, or just trying to find parties it might work, but for me, Stumble Upon is about building professional relationships, sharing quality content, and finding new and interesting sites, blogs, and news stories.

5. You aren’t making the transition away from Stumble Upon. Social Networking is like online dating; if all you do is chat online, you’ll never go out with anyone. Make it clear what you are looking for from those you are networked with – ask for the order. Send someone an offline email (what – give a stranger my email address?). If they are strangers, then you haven’t built an online relationship with them. Even better, set up a phone call with someone to talk about business.

I hope that helps. Feedback and comments are welcomed.

Successful Social Media Marketing Without a Website or Blog

I recently had a chat with a colleague about promoting a client using social media. Initially I thought it would be a great opportunity but when I found out what industry this person served (not your everyday market) I had to put my thinking cap on to think of out of the box ways to use Social Media to help promote this site. The real kicker came in when I found out that there wasn’t a website (or blog) to work with, which made me have to think even harder.

Never wanting to give up and always seeking to be creative we just started to “think out loud”. The idea of promoting other sites that this guys stuff was sold on came up, but I wasn’t so excited about that. Then I thought “what is the simplest way to create content exclusively for this person without having to employ lots of monitoring (i.e. friend requests, comment management, etc)?” Here is what I came up with:

1. Create a Squidoo Lense. While some may argue the ads are distracting, Squidoo has certainly been an effective medium for many to build a home on the web. A big advantage is that the Squidoo network is pretty solidly trusted by search engines and is gaining consumer popularity. Secondly, they don’t seem to have the blog-spam issues that many blogs suffer from and while there is a certain amount of interaction desired, it seems less cumbersome than with a blog.

2. Get Blog Reviews. I don’t mean paid blog reviews either, but I believe every good online marketer should have industry bloggers that they can turn to when they want an unbiased product review. If you serve a niche market exclusively, you might be able to pull it off yourself, but it would run the risk of bias or concern from other clients, so anonymity, might be in order here.

3. Create a Single Page Website. I always encourage people to have some sort of online real estate. Websites can be costly to build, especially if you want them to look decent and have lots of bells and whistles, but at a minimum, I would recommend putting a simple “about me/us” page with either a logo or a picture if it is promoting an individual.

4. Leveraging Social Bookmarking Sites. Do you remember #4? Now you have “something” to work with in terms of Social Media sites. You might have thought that was the purpose of the Squidoo page, but some people frown on promoting Social Media Sites or other Social Media Sites. I personally don’t think it is 100% taboo, but I understand the caution behind it given that if people can abuse a method of online promotion, they often do.

5. Leverage Social Media Networks. Do some research to find niche social media sites that would welcome content or reviews for the site, product, or service you are promoting. Next, add a Facebook profile (if you or your client doesn’t already have one) and build a Facebook page making both the profile and the page public. Lastly, consider doing a MySpace page and starting a MySpace group for your niche. Keep in mind that success on MySpace is often combined with lots of “maintenance” such as seeking friends to add, seeking groups to join, and monitoring friend requests and comments.

6. Use Public Relations (PR). The way media relations are handled is very different than before blogging and Social Media were such a big item. I would find a way to create news about an upcoming launch or product/service offering and leverage your press contacts (which should include trusted industry bloggers) and seek to not only get your press release picked up, but have a goal of being interviewed on noted industry blogs and mainstream media venues.

7. Hold a Contest. Let bloggers, colleagues, friends, and media contacts know about it and someone (if not many) will pick it up and run with it.

8. Go Viral. Closely related to promoting a contest would be promoting some sort of “freebie” – perhaps an ebook, a download, an MP3, a even a coupon for a deep discount. Anything that would get people excited enough to visit your website and most of all tell others about the giveaway.

Having a website and a blog are clearly the top ways to leverage social media because you get plenty of opportunities to provide much desired content to those you network with, which ultimately is pushed out to those that they network with. Once you have made your headway with the initial 8 steps mentioned, I would take the time to build out the single page website, maybe adding some articles to it and then try and push for a blog. A no-comment blog is better than no blog at all if keeping maintenance and monitoring down is truly an issue. Hopefully the success will be able to wake up the client enough to want to invest time in building community by opening comments and interacting with their audience (read – prospective clients).


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