Are You “Eating Your Own Dog Food”? The biggest key to succesfully leverage social media

So often we see companies that want to “leverage social media” but aren’t actively engaged in digital communities. It’s an easy mistake. you get busy. Digital relationships become less important to manage than the ones with customers who call or walk into your business.

But this transactional view of digital media is the marketing equivalent of a startup that doesn’t eat it’s own dogfood. Credibility suffers when visibility declines.

Activity in the Right Communities Produces Measureable Value

Key is understanding which communities are valuable and tracking a way to connect from digital community to realized revenue. It’s the stuff that most agencies don’t want to dig into because it requires *gasp* accountability to the metrics.

we see this as the biggest change in the digital marketing realm. we know if it’s really working. more visits are real. increased inbound calls are real, foot traffic is real, ticket sales are real, product sales are real.

If you aren’t getting these from the digital environment maybe its time to rethink your dogfood.

Why Your Facebook Page Is About To Lose Likes

Don’t Panic..

Facebook is releasing a really logical much overdue change that may improve your engagement stats.

Facebook is updating page likes counts to remove likes from deceased and permanently inactive facebook accounts.

As of writing this article every facebook page shows every like ever earned. But what happens when some of those likes are from deactivated accounts? or memorialized users who have passed away?

Facebook has decided to remove their likes. this means going forward your like numbers will be a little more fluid as humanity changes. the like number is becoming more ephemeral. more of a barometer for who likes you right now. not who ever liked you at any time in history.

If you have a relatively new facebook page and only a few dozen followers you may not notice a change at all. If you have Thousands, or MIllions of fans collected over the last several years this “small” change could swing your like numbers somewhat significantly.

This is a really good time to explain to your team why reach, engagement and growth rate are for more important than total likes. If you have likes a s part of your social media success metrics or not many team members may benefit from this feedback now. Infact this correction in like numbers may increase your engagement rates.

 

 

Facebook News Feed to Deprioritize Brand Posts That Look Like Ads

Facebook announced today that it will begin limiting the number of “promotional Page posts” in the News Feed starting in January. That means you’ll see fewer posts from brands asking you to buy products or enter promotions and sweepstakes. The great part here is Facebook (theoretically) is listening to the users with this change. though it may be pressure from stakeholders to increase ad sales by squeezing brands access to consumers (hard to say). either way they released a blog post today saying the following:

We asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.

In order to build a better experience for users Facebook is now automatically deciding if your brand post “looks like an ad” and will show it to fewer of your fans in their news feeds. The subtle messaging here (if you want to run a cheap advertisement, pay for a cheap advertisement) Pair this with the rules around promoted posts not being more than 20% text in any image and you’ve got Facebook really trying to bring the experience back to be social interaction between people not a never ending barrage of “buy my stuff” posts and Clickbait.

Top 3 things Facebook Users said make posts feel too promotional:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Examples of these types of Page posts:
tiger-therapy-fauxpostBunny-Puzzle-Clickbait

What you can do to keep your posts visible:

Make sure your brand is posting real content. Post photos, videos, links and updates that add value for your fans without asking them to “Buy right now” put your fans getting value before you getting sales and the fans will help you get more sales. Even if it’s only because they will actually see your content compared to your competitors whose self  promotional posts will find diminishing returns for the next few months.

Read the fill blog post here: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/update-to-facebook-news-feed

Roguebotic Partners with Proper on Cause Marketing Lab

In the last 45 days Proper has turned a vacant retail space into a collaborative creative lab and gallery space. Hosted a limited edition Screen printed poster show as a fund raiser to help recoup the cost of the build out in the space.  Hosted a Record store pop up shop with Satellite Records to build awareness for the WIDR/ Vine Neighborhood Association block party, Worked with D&W to donate bread to the hungry in Kalamazoo and worked with Urban Modern Hair to Provide free back to school haircuts to kids living in the local homeless shelter.

Roguebotic’s strategic partnership with the non profit Proper is to produce a discussion centered around social awareness. We believe that we live in a society where we are all so busy that we need a bit of a reminder to think about the larger picture; about our individual impact on our community. Did you do something proper today? That’s what we encourage you to ask.

Proper is an awareness campaign with a subtle cultural message, DO Something Proper. Our culture doesn’t need another cause clamoring for your attention we need encouragement to do something with the time and resources we have. Waiting for the world to change doesn’t make the world better. We have to take action and change it ourselves.

Big Brands Take Top level Domains To TUMBLR

We met with an old friend and Tumblr brand strategist inside Tumblr’s NYC HQ last week and talked about what’s happening with brands on TUMBLR.

We were shocked to hear that 5 global brands have already moved top level domains to Tumblr.  That’s right global brands are dumping their websites in favor of a micro blogging platform.

 

1. Coorslight.com

Coorslight.com now powered by Tumblr

2. AmstelLight.com

Amstellight.com now hosted on Tumblr

3. Skittles.com

Skittles brings the Rainbow to Tumblr (unicorns optional)

4. Ruffles.com

Ruffles moves to Tumblr with the #roughlife campaign

5. Ivory.com

Ivory Soap move there top level domain to Tumblr

Let’s look at why:

Infrastructure

Tumblr has a world class hosting infrastructureBacked By Yahoo and With a cadre of developers dedicated to improving Tumblrs awesome every day. End to end software, server and connectivity all in one house with paired software and hardware improvements) this is what makes great web properties run really well. and what most dedicated servers are supposed to be before they fall well short of the mark of excellence. How do we know Tumblr will be good at this? Remember GEOcities. Yeah so do we. In 1999 GeoCities was acquired by Yahoo!; at that time it was the third-most visited Web site on the World Wide Web. There were at least 38 million user-built pages on GeoCities before it was shut down in 2009 (Good job Yahoo). But TUMBLR has revenue, a feat Geocities was too before it’s time to get big brands into.

Baked in Virality

Every piece if content is super easy to engage with, share, and reblog. Instead of betting big on a Facebook page where you are waiting to get .1% of Facebook’s total traffic to your page and then even less to click through to your website. The whole branded web experience lives in a native environment with 199.1 visitors per month.

Built for Mobile

The Tumblr experience strips all of the fluff out of web browsing and puts as little as possible between the user and the content. Window dressing is nice but todays web user is on a mobile device, driving, Swilling a half-caf soy latte, and trying to get the 3 year old in the back seat to daycare and get to work on time. It fast. It only takes a thumb to manipulate, Youtube videos play in place, Instagram photos show in place, and stuff can be automatically shared from Tumblr to Facebook. TUMBLR is built for the dual screening multi tasking over caffeinated, ADD stricken american consumers. As a result 50% of active Tumblr users are on mobile.

Content Comes First

Conversation on Tumblr are ONLY around shared content. No content no interaction. No annoying posts like “my cat rolled over” that still keep the mass market at arms length from Twitter. Nor the deluge of auto-selected Cyberdyne curated Hal 9000 controlled content from fbook. (sorry Mr. Z.) and unlike GPlus people actually use it because it’s built for people not software.

Advertising Opportunities

Tumblr is not a DIY mass market ad platform yet ( and we hope they don’t race to the bottom to become one) Tumblr has real advertising for real scale companies. The little guys can get by on producing awesome content and leveraging virality. Tumblr’s leadership is treating the channel with some respect and making sure the brands getting first page promoted Status and mass outreach are capped with reasonable enough minimums that the users feeds aren’t overrun by advertising and promoted clickbait. They’ve even partnered with agencies to build strategies hand in hand with their advertisers.

It’s Time To Test Now!

Our visit made us rethink our relationship with the social web. Committing to go all-in on Tumblr is letting a handful of early adopting brands turn every post into an easy to find, easy to interact with and easier to share trackable nugget of content marketing gold with the full hereditary nature of Viral shares plain to see and analyze. No more digging through wonky analytics to find influencers, it’s all super transparent to you and your followers and the influencers.

We are starting to believe that If you have a consumer facing brand a custom Tumblr site and a strong Content strategy may be a bigger winner than most any other CMS on the market. Stay tuned for some tests as we look at how Tumblr performs in moving feet not just mouse clicks.

 

Why the ALS #IceBucketChallenge is Winning

Many people are experiencing some annoyance and fatigue from the ALS ice bucket challenge taking over their news feed on social media. The reality is awareness of a need produces discomfort and discomfort produces action.

This silly idea with little budget and little production involved has caused enough annoyance to shift complacency. The Ice bucket challenge is a testament to the power of social media to get the world to notice the needs of a few who are in mortal peril. This is why we believe in social media as the modern engine for discovery of ideas and opportunities.

 If the ice bucket challenge videos are becoming the internet equivalent of a rock in your shoe then they are working.

Complacency is the enemy here. Anthony Carbajal made this awesome vide about why this is so important. Watch the whole thing. it’s worth it.

In his video Anthony comments that only 30,000 people in the U.S. have ALS and he is one of them. He is fully aware that there is little hope because there is no cure and no conclusive treatment for ALS. The afflicted population is not a large enough problem to be economically viable for drug companies to solve. With the high costs of research, testing, and trials for FDA approval. all 30,000 of these people are sentenced to a slow and painful deterioration and eventually death.

This isn’t because drug companies are bad.

Small populations like the ALS market are a hard problem for profit industry to solve. that’s why Non Profits like ALS TDI exist. If regular people band together to give to the research to help find a drug the research can be done outside of the for profit world and can hopefully move towards a cure of this rare and deadly disease.

In 1999, James Allen Heywood realized that a gap exists in the preclinical development of therapeutics for ALS and founded the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) as an independent research center with a singular focus: develop effective therapeutics that slow and stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, ALS TDI becomes the world’s first nonprofit biotechnology company.

The ALS ice bucket challenge is a simple way that this research organization has reached and mobilized thousands of new donors and generated more capital to drive medical research that has no requirement to produce a direct profit for the financial backers. The Social campaign is groundbreaking in its simplicity and virality and the organization is groundbreaking in its method of addressing the problem.

Roguebotic will not be making a video. We think Anthony’s video is more effective than any we could make. We will be making a donation to ALS TDI to support this great work.

 Read more about the ALS TDI here: www.ALS.net

 

Making Ideas Happen

The Video above is from the 99% conference and produced by Matias Corea of Behance.

I believe that the optimism, enthusiasm, and drive to produce outlined in the quotes in this motion graphics display sums up not just the raison d’etre of most creatives and creators, but also intersects with the mind of the entrepreneur. This video finds the heart of the Doer and the Maker, the change agent and the commentator.

The volume of great creators brought together in quotes that give permission for new creations demonstrate the wonder of our time.

Are you heeding these accomplished folks words? What are you creating?

I also love that the design gets out of the way of the messaging and the story. I think we get so caught up in trying to make things beautiful sometimes that we forget that great content is beautiful. Very often it is our job as designers and communicators not to “make things beautiful” but to make room for their inherent beauty to come through. I think Matis did a good job of that here.

99% Conference 2012: Motion Graphics from 99U on Vimeo.

Step By Step Social Customer Discovery via Facebook for less than $50

 

The first step to launching/ marketing  a new business, product, or service is to make sure there is a product/ market fit.

The lean startup methodology says identify customers BEFORE you deploy resources to build a product or service

You must ID product market fit before any other work happens otherwise you risk wasting resources building the wrong thing. Instead of spending countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars building a product that no one wants you can test small and determine if your product solves a problem people want solved. Most products or services can save thousands in development by learning what customers want instead of guessing.

Lets say we are going to launch a new line of trendy kids clothing patterns for toddlers that moms can download and sew called KidCouture

Here is what you need

A description of your customer

Who will buy this? it’s not the toddlers. It’s probably moms, and not just any moms but moms who like to sew and make clothes for their kids. Not just any clothes though, trendy clothes. Now that we know who we are serving we need to figure out why they will buy from us.

A clear value proposition

This must be a one sentence or phrase description of what you will deliver to your prospective customer. This is the center of your business model.

The narrower the focus the better. Even if your product will do lots more figure out the shortest way to describe the core benefit of what you will do.

For our clothing patterns we think that moms will want these patterns because they are trendy, easy to make, and cheaper than fashion brands. So we will want to test Three functional Benefits

  • Easy to make
  • Value for money
  • Design conscious

Remember we are testing here so we can see if we have a fit with the market. we don’t want to test just one idea we want to test a couple ideas and see which one connects.

Our first 3 value test value props are:

  1. KidCouture downloadable DIY clothing patterns you can easily make for your toddler.
  2. Clothe your kid for less without looking homespun KidCouture downloadable patterns you can sew.
  3. Have the best dressed baby on the block download designer patterns you can sew for your toddler from KidCouture

Remember we are looking to see if people want this so all we need now is a way to test if they will respond to one of these value propositions.

 

Describe how you plan to deliver on the value proposition

The value proposition gets the potential customer to come to our test page. From there we want to see if we can get signups for our mailing list. We need to give them just a little more info to support the value prop, then get out of the way and let them respond.

We can test a description like:

KidCouture takes top designs from brands like Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Alexander McQueen and shrinks them to toddler proportions then provides you with a pattern and some ideas for colors and materials to bring the designer look to your DIY Kid clothes.

All of our patterns are easy to follow and will have your kid looking fierce in no time.

Ask for an email address

You are looking for early adopters here so they are people who like to be first and like to know what others don’t. play on that. you will revise once you have some established market to go after the middle of the bell curve but right now we only need to talk to the early adopters because they are who will try us out anyway.

Try:

Get on the insider list to receive our first sample patterns the minute they are available signup with your email below.

Promote the Page

Your value propositions will be your ad text. since we want moms we are going to Facebook first. Where we can target

123,260 people
who live in the United States
between the ages of 25 and 45
inclusive who are female
who like #Sewing, #Fashion, diy fashion make clothing 3 or making clothes
who are in the category Parents (child: 0-3yrs)

We can reach these moms on facebook for less than $0.75 per thousand impressions. To get a good sample we want to get at least 50k impressions so a budget of $37.50 is enough for our first test

Track Your Results

There are three key metrics we want to find from this campaign.

  • how many ad views does it take to get a click to the landing page
  • how many landing page views does it take to get an email signup
  • Are there enough customers in this market assuming a 2 to 5% conversion rate from your email signups?

This quick test should take just a few days to run and give you information that you can continue to build from to make better decisions about product market fit.

If the numbers support moving forward you can go into product development. If the numbers do not support going forward go back and re-test with market parameters, or with different value propositions until you have enough results to decide to move forward, or pivot your concept.

A Chat with Scott Stratten About Getting Results from Twitter in 2012

Scott Stratten was cool enough to have a brief conversation with the author today about Getting the most out of Twitter. There are a couple of gems in his simple advice that remind us to keep social interaction in focus on social media.

Who Is This Scott Stratten Guy?

Scott is on the list of most influential Twitter users in the world #3 on Dun and Bradstreet’s List: the Most Influential Small Business People on Twitter . He Runs the Firm Unmarketing and wrote the Bestselling book of the same name. He is also a mean Karaoke singer, a dad, and an all around nice guy.

Amazing that one of the top twitter personalities in the world spends most of his time on twitter responding to @ messages. even though he has plenty to tweet about in self promotion, between speaking gigs, book tour events, the new version of his book coming out soon and general musings see what he has to say below it may inspire you to think differently about your social media involvement.

It Started with this tweet from Soctt:
unmarketing: The most I’ve gotten out of social media is when I focused on one platform (Twitter in 09).

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia: Will focus get similar results now? RT @unmarketing: The most I’ve gotten out of social media is when I focused on 1 platform (Twitter 09)

 

unmarketingunmarketing@IronShirtMedia somewhat, don’t think it will ever be the same though

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia@unmarketing I agree I think over population and signal to noise ratio has changed things, A LOT

 

unmarketingunmarketing@IronShirtMedia yes, but we control a lot of the noise we receive by who we follow.

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia@unmarketing great point. I’m curious on your end what encourages you to follow vs drop somone? as it relates to signal vs noise?

 

unmarketingunmarketing@IronShirtMedia I rarely drop someone and don’t read most who I follow. I made the mistake of auto-following back first 30k that followed me

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia@unmarketing ouch. I imagine that means lists play a huge part in actually managing your twitter activity then?

 

unmarketingunmarketing@IronShirtMedia I have one list of about 120 people, but 95% of my time is spent on @ mentions. Gotta keep up 🙂

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia@unmarketing if you could give one tip to any twitter user about how to get more out of it what would that be?

 

unmarketingunmarketing@IronShirtMedia Twitter is a conversation, not a dictation.

 

IronShirtMediaIronShirtMedia@unmarketing thanks scott.

5 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Occupy Wall Street Movement

via cnn.com

Build A Memorable Brand

Occupy wall street works so well because saying it once paints a vivid mental picture and then add the images of the real event, the massive activity on social networks and the consistency of the press coverage and a short period has built a simple protest into one of the first ever a “branded protests” where the activists have unified under one brand idea.

How well does your brand create an immediate mental picture? Does that picture connect directly to the most important part of your brand story and promise to your customers?

Leverage Existing Memes

we are the 99% was an ongoing meme that the occupy wall st folks adopted in order to rapidly spread the message by leveraging common knowledge to make their key point. the 99% always sound powerful and as a result in this case the un-represented 99 are speaking out to take back the power they should wield based on numbers.

Taking  a twist on what people already know is a great way to deepen their relationship with your brand, product, or service. particularly if you hit a deep emotional reality. connecting Americans to the idea that they are part of the group protesting whether they like it or not incites a response at an emotional level and it encourages deeper reflection. What common knowledge or popular content memes can you leverage to drive emotional response?

Be Disruptive

All of this great branding and messaging made no impact untill the people actually started showing up on wall street and then in cities all over the country disrupting the normal flow of day-to-day life and forcing an audience.

We can’t all take to the streets with signs and banners, or pitchforks and torches for that matter but we can look for opportunities to reach large groups with a disruptive message.

Create Community

empowering people who wanted to “make a difference” but didn’t have a clear direction on how to get involved with the occupy movement and providing them with signs, social media content and more allowed the community to stretch beyond the expected liberal borders into a larger group of political idealists.

Does your message have an active hashtag? get on it. getting people talking in an open forum but using your hashtag on twitter is a key part of getting the 99% to carry your message forward.

How will your marketing strategy be inclusive of the social media realm? What tools can you provide for your supporters to re-tweet, like, share on Facebook and Twitter etc. this is the new face of marketing and missing these engagements is a direct path to un-realized potential customers.

Have A Clear Desired Outcome

this is the part the 99% have yet to do right. as marketers it is our job to know exactly why we are doing a marketing activity and offer a direct and easy response process for the people we are reaching to take action in a way that is in line with our desired outcome.

getting lots of attention and press and awareness is great but you must have a clear call to action right behind that awareness otherwise you are missing a big opportunity for revenue.

Are you a Mobro? What Mustaches Can Teach Us About Leveraging Twitter #Hashtags

Imagine you sell men’s grooming products. You want to boost sales before the holiday but don’t have a sizeable footprint in the market and want to reach more men who require grooming.

Sounds daunting but challenges like this are overcome every single day. The trick is to find a niche community of web users who are already engaged around a topic and join in the fray.

This month you should be active in the #movember hashtag that stands for Mustache November and has 6.9Million page results on Google for “movember” related content. Get involved in that content stream and you could be the coolest purveyor of mustache wax on twitter and facebook.

Being the coolest also means being valuable to the #mo-growers that are raising awareness for prostate cancer. The strategy must be fully fleshed out. Not just “tweet on the #movember hashtag”

Do not just spam the hashtag

Spend the time and build real content and real relationships. You will get more traction out of answering some questions and being a genuine human than you will link spamming the hashtag. Your first posts in a hashtag are building context for your links to your own content later. But when you link make it stuff that is actually helpful to the other members of the hash tag.

Develop Specific Content for the theme of the hashtag

  • Instructional video on how to properly wax your mustache.
  • Info graphic that shows a variety of different mustache shapes and how to trim them.
  • A Flickr photo set of the top 10 manliest mustache wearers of the modern age.
  • Build a facebook and twitter sharing tool that will allow guys to tweet abouth their support of #movember linking to a photo of the style of mustache they are growing.

Develop a Sales Strategy in Parallel with the hashtag activity

Run a promotion that a percentage of sales of mustache grooming gear from your co purchase in November will go to fund prostate cancer research via #movember
Allow users to tweet or facebook post after purchase that they just bought mustache grooming products and that $X.XX of their purchase is going to support prostate cancer #movember.

This is a full on strategy for leveraging a hashtag. Don’t think the hashtag you are looking at is worth that much effort? Then pick a better hash tag or watch your competitors lambaste you in mustache wearing victory!

Clueless Marketers, Back to Basics, and Awesome Business Cards.

How to Spot a Clueless Marketer

The kind folks over at HubSpot have been good enough to tell you how to tell the difference between a marketer that can actually help you and one that,will just drain your budget.
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27944/How-to-Spot-a-Clueless-Marketer.aspx via @HubSpot

Back to Basics:
What Is A QR Code And How Does It Work?

Speaking of the clueless, here in the midwest QR codes are still a growing trend. Many companies and marketers are asking what they are and how they work. Heres a great primer.
http://www.youthedesigner.com/2011/09/29/what-is-a-qr-code-and-how-does-it-work/

 

55 Brilliant Letterpress Business Cards

Low tech is high fashion at the moment. In the world of vista print full color cards are no longer the way to stand out. These oldschool hand produced letterpress cards are “the new black” in business card design.
http://www.youthedesigner.com/2011/09/24/55-brilliant-letterpress-business-cards/

1 In 4 Small Biz Hate Social Media, Love Facebook

Finally business owners are starting to differentiate between the buzz words. Social Media is a concept, not a tool set. Nany small businesses are realizing that being social is hard work but facebook is pretty easy and the returns are easy to track….for now.
http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-small-business-3-2011-10

Facebook Sharing, Privacy and Places Update puts Foursquare and Google+ in Facebook’s Sights

Over the last week or so since Facebook announced closing down Facebook places for check-ins many have thought Facebook was letting go of the location based check-in feature and foursquare wouldn’t have to worry about the competition.

Facebook vs Foursquare

Facebook has made it easier, integrated check-ins into the main features of Facebook. All a user has to do is click the location icon on their status update and choose a location or type the name of one from a list.

Facebook Vs. Google +

Many heralded the circles function on G+ and the ability to share only with certain groups part of why Google + could be a Facebook Killer. Just a month and change after G+ launches and now Facebook allows you to share posts only with certain people or groups.

The low down on the new Facebook sharing, location, and privacy updates:

How does sharing my location work?

Sharing your location lets you tell family and friends where you are as you’re posting. There are two main ways to do this.

  1. Tell people you’re at a specific place
    To include a specific place when you post, like a restaurant or event, click the icon and type in the name of the place or event. To say you’re there with others, click the icon and type in their names. As always, you can control who sees this post by choosing an audience before you publish it.Others can add you to where they are, too. When friends tag you somewhere, that post shows up on your profile. If you want to review posts you’re tagged in before they go on your profile, you can turn on Profile Review
  2. Include your general location
    Instead of a specific place, you can choose to include the city or area you’re in. This will appear next to the timestamp of your post. We’ll suggest where you’re nearby. If we’re off or you don’t want to say what city you’re near, you can remove it by clicking the “x” that appears when you hover over the location tag.You can also fill in your current city yourself. If you add your general location, it’ll stay on for future posts until you shut it off. So, the next time you post, your general location will be added to that post. Once removed, it’ll stay off until you add it back to your post.

Who Can See Things I Share?

If you don’t remember who you shared with or changed your mind about who to share with, you can check the audience inline, right next to the post. Just review the icon that shows you which audience you picked: Public (Maximum audience for adults)

Friends of Friends (Maximum audience for minors)

Friends (+ friends of anyone tagged)

Only me

Custom (Includes specific groups, friend lists or people you’ve specified to include or exclude)  <—( lookout G+ this one is aimed at you)

The audience selector is next to each post you make; it’s not on a separate settings page. The tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again unless you change it.

You can go back and change the audience for any post you made by clicking the menu to pull down your options.

Parting Thoughts:

Shutting down places was not Facebook withdrawing from geo-location but upping the ante and going full on with the integration to the main interface. This makes every business having their Facebook place page set up even more important than ever!
Second Facebook just used social media for one of it’s best features, they listened to all of the chatter about how much people like circles on Google+ and figured out a way to build the features people want into the Facebook experience. If this feature sees rapid adoption among Facebook users Google+ may wind up being about as cool as Google wave.

How To Stand Out in a Sea of Web Content

The Great Wave by Aurore Colson

You’ve heard it said that content is king but with the 30 billion shares per month on Facebook, 200 million tweets per day on twitter and more than 48 hours of video posted to you tube each minute. How will your content for your business actually get noticed in that massive deluge of information?

The Answer: Passion

The beauty of the web for users is the ability to find exactly what we want when we want it. And most importantly to stay connected to subjects we are passionate about. People are passionate about sports, about decorating, about cooking, about wine, about celebrity gossip, about humanitarian efforts in Japan. As marketers it is our job to find topics of passion around which business owners and customers will connect in a meaningful way.

People Don’t Care About Things. They Care About Experiences with Things.

That is what our blogs, our videos, and our social shares have to center on if we want them to be meaningful. Engage readers, viewers, friends and tweeps in experiences, conversations, and topics they care about and make the things we sell a part of that larger experience.

Sell hotdogs? Instead of blogging about hotdogs try blogging about baseball (according to the national hot dog and sausage council major league ballparks were predicted to serve almost 22 million hotdogs per season! ). Discuss the fine points of the difference between a Dodger dog, a Chicago dog or a hot dog at Fenway or Yankee stadium.

Talk to Your Customers

People become passionate because of the experiences they have had. Find real stories that connect customers to you and to each other and build communication around the topics of those stories. Being the connection point between customers with shared passion will make your brand part of the glue in their relationships with each other.

A Motorcycle event promoter redesigned all their promotional content for a Memorial Day motorcycle show around honoring fallen U.S. troops. Fans responded with social shares, comments, and huge event response because they wanted to honor those they were close to. Sure they were Bikers and they wanted to go to a bike show, but the social traction gained by connecting to that larger issue massively improved the pre and post-show sharing. Following the event the tagline “Because They Died We Still Ride” continued to circulate the web.

What Passion Points Can You Tap into with Your Customers?

What passion points are consistent between your leadership, staff, and customers? Leverage some of those things as the center of your Facebook content.

The Single Worst Question in the Web Business: What does a website cost?

What does a website cost

this question is one of the hardest questions for web designers/ developers and customers to address. On the custom side we all want to know what kind of budget should i prepare for a project, and how much time, money, and energy will it take on my part to get it done.

That is a fair request.

However on the inverse side no two customers come to a web designer at the same stage in their ideation process, and idea development can be costly for both parties.

Imagine going to a restaurant and saying: “I want food. How much will food cost?”

Depending on weather or not you want one course or 5 and if you will have cocktails or not, and how many people are in your party “food” could cost any where from $6 to $6000.

This is effectively the question that we web marketing folks get when a customer says “what does a website cost” there needs to be a lot more discourse about how developed your idea is, and what kinds of pieces and parts are included. If you are talking about a mission critical website that will run your entire business model that requires 24×7 monitoring and has to provide service for millions of users per hour, well that costs quite a bit more than a brochure ware website that includes three points about your company, a poem, and some stock photography.

I would warn that the later does you no good in differentiating you from your competitors. In many instances I have seen companies in a competing market with the SAME stock photography on their websites as their competitors. They got websites, they were probably inexpensive, and they probably function meaning they pull up when someone types in the address. But why would you willingly spend a single dollar on that kind of result?

Your website is the professional face of your company, and until you are in touch with the goals of your website project you can’t really address the cost of the website.

What is developing a loyal following of customers that believe in your brand as the best solution in market and send you a steady stream of referrals worth?

If you ask a web designer to elevate your brand to a status position above your competitors, that is a more specific request but even then the developer will need to know what you are up against. If your competitor has three points and a poem you can reach status quickly, but if your competitor has a website that does client services, and online billing/ e-commerce, and transforms into a private jet to fly customers to a secure meeting location in the cayman islands, well that’s a bit more intense.

The bottom line is web design/ development costs are subjective.

The best place to start is with Goals for your web project. Tangible revenue or cost management based goals. Then you can talk intelligently about what a realistic budget is and you and your web team can partner to find the best solution.

Any web designer/ developer that isn’t willing to work with you on those kinds of terms, probably isn’t able to help you define a solution that actually improves your business. And if it won’t be a real business improvement, why are you willing to authorize the expenditure anyway?

Four Words That Will Whip Your Marketing Into The Best Shape Ever!

America’s biggest problem in marketing is the exact same problem we have with our waistlines. Too many marketers, marketing departments, corporate entities, and brands have a plain lack of discipline.

Being attractive takes work, in physical reality drive thrus, ice cream, and sleeping late are all nice indulgences but being in shape physically takes discipline. So does whipping your marketing into shape. A haphazard email strategy, or a binge and purge style inconsistency in marketing is the quickest way to unpredictable and unsustainable results.

We seem to have an “I’ll go to the gym when I need to lose weight” mentality.

Snap the hell out of it people. You can’t wait for a problem to appear to start looking for a solution. Want to build a better blog? Want to run a tighter web marketing program? Want to lose 10 pounds the solution is the same.

Do Something Every Day.

Don’t expect miracles, and don’t stop at the first signs of success, or lack thereof.

Rockstars don’t stop practicing because they put out a good record. You shouldn’t stop marketing just because your product or service suddenly got some good press or surpassed your quarterly goals. (you do have goals don’t you?).

What are you doing today to get closer to a goal? If your answer is You aren’t sure, or you don’t know, or nothing…Then I guess we already know you have the same problem as everyone else. Congratulations you suck too. Now drag yourself out of the muck and DO SOMETHING!!!!

Lessons from a 5 Year Old Drummer Who Owns Youtube Marketing

5 year old Drummer Jonah Rocks has used social media to build a huge fan base, sell T-shirts, gain sponsors and share stage space with some of the biggest names in rock and roll including KISS, Bryan Adams, and more.

Check out this video to see this kids amazing talent and read below to see the key takeaways you should gain from his success.

Leverage Related Content Filters

Key to Jonah’s success was taking some of the hardest drum songs in rock and roll and playing them on camera and posting on youtube where peopel would find them by mistake. By positioning his content in a stream people were already browsing for he gets thousands of views just form youtube’s related content filter. Notice his cover of Chop Suey by System of a Down with over 600,000 youtube views!

Be Sensational With Content Titles

Every Jonah Rocks video has a title like “Rush – Tom Sawyer, 5 Year Old Drummer, Jonah Rocks” it’s super clear aout the content it says exactly why it’s out of the ordinary and any Drum aficionado knows that anything by Rush is super challenging and would love to see a 5 year old tackle a song that gives most long time pro drummers nightmares of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Build a massive Volume of Content

There are videos posted month after month of this kid for a span of two plus years and it wasn’t until he had over a years worth of content that he got an invite to a KISS concert and got to play on stage during sound check. His consistent posting built a repository of content that proves his viability to the industry and has leveraged him into opportunities that otherwise would take over a dozen years in the traditional channels.

Lead with Personality and FUN

Part of the allure is watching a 5 year old with a mo-hawk showboat playing one handed while he rocks out and headbangs away just like the big guys do. his stage presence on video is part of what makes his videos worth watching end to end. The levelof fun he is having is infectious and that is why video is so awesome of a medium for him. you need to find how to make your personality and your passion for your content infectious because that is the real secret sauce that separates one great piece of online content from the rest of the schlock out there that no one reads or comments on or share.

Good luck and don’t forget if you’re going to go at this online marketing thing GO BIG!

Your Calls to Action Suck! How to fix the 5 mistakes that are killing your conversion rate.

Why is Vince Shlomi selling more on lat e night TV than your website is selling to qualified customers?If Vince Shlomi can sell the  Slapchop and the ShamWow on late night cable with crappy high pressure smamry sales techniques why isn’t your website converting more of the viewers who actually make an effort to see it into customers?

It’s because unlike Vince you don’t know how to excite people correctly and ask them to take action! Business websites regularly accept a 2 to 5% conversion rate as a “good” average conversion.

WAKE UP PEOPLE. If only 5% of the people who visit your website are interested in what you offer you need to change something. The problem is not that the numbers of interested parties are low. Here is a news flash if people aren’t interested in you and what you offer they will not visit your website. They may not be ready to buy yet but a visit is an indication of interest in a topic you cover. That means it is your job to inspire them to become a customer while they are viewing your website. And in most cases I have found the failure point is the call to action.

The 5 mistakes in your Current Calls to action:

1. No Call to Action at All

The most common mistake I’ve seen in a 12 years working with small businesses on their web marketing is expecting that a little button in the corner that says contact is enough to entice people to contact you. (this is why 2% conversion rates happen) very few of your potential customers want what you have from you so badly that they will contact you to get it. You MUST include a call to action of some kind on EVERY page in your website. Think of each call to action as one of the steps in your driving directions from Google maps. They aren’t all about the destination but they are all moving you one stage closer to the end goal.

Example:

Read, Learn, or See xxxx Click Here (this is a basic call to action that can fit on any page in your website because it links to further info (this is the smallest action you will ask someone to take. Including this alone will boost your page views by up to 100%

2. Not offering value for value

Customer information is currency. That is why facebook advertising is growing like crazy as is their corporate valuation. Every call to action that asks a customer to fill out a form, or sign up for a mailing list, or even share your information should tell them specifically what value they will get in return for doing so. In fact don’t even ask them to give you information just tell them what they are going to get and let them click on the link.

Example:
Download Our Free E-mail marketing toolkit. Download Now

3. Not Specific Enough

Odds are you do more than one specific thing for different types of customers. You probably even have pages that talk about different services or different ideas on your website. That means you need different offer for each page type. If you nutritional supplements for energy, immune system boosting, and increased focus, you need three different sets of calls to action. And you need to target your page content so if you are talking about increased energy your call to action should include something about increased energy. If you are talking about immune system health your call to action should include immune system info. Only using one call to action will immediately inform the visitors interested in your other benefits that you are not offering them anything at this time.

Example:
Immune System Page: Get a free sample of our Immune System boosting Supplement Click Here
Energy Page: Try Energy Booster for Free Click Here
Increased Focus: Test your focus with our free online assessment Start Now

4. Poor Page Placement

Calls to action should have on visible spot on every screen worth of scrolling. If I am reading your two screen long article on how to combat the signs of aging at any point in the reading process it has to be easy for me to click on a call to action and take the next step. DO NOT make me scroll to the bottom, or back to the top to find your call to action, I will just leave your site instead! Always make sure you have a call to action above the fold. (I prefer half way down the screen on the right hand side) most people are right handed and as such their mouse pointer hovers to the right as they read your content putting your fist call to action there will increase results.

Add another link to your most related call to action inside the body copy of your article as link text AND as a graphic. Last, include a call to action at the end of the page close to the bottom. If I have read your whole article please reward me with an easy next step don’t force me to go scrolling around hunting for it. You will lose me if you do.

Example: Clcik to View Larger - Conversion content structure call to action placement

Placing a click-able call to action in each screen worth of content makes it easier for your visitors to take action when they are ready without having to hunt for the button.

best conversion come from having one obviousl clickable call to action in each “screen” worth of content.

 

 

5. No Variety

If I visit 5 pages in your website and see the same 5 calls to action you are missing the boat! I haven’t clicked on the call to action you offered me because that particular one didn’t appeal to me.

This is where split testing or A/B testing can be valuable. Run two versions of each call to action, link to separate conversion pages that are no different except for the description of what the user will get. You will be amazed at how quickly your overall conversion rates improve but odds are you will eventually find multiple calls to action are equally good performers.

Variety is the biggest key to seeing 30% plus conversion rates. If each call to action connects with 5% of your visitors then you don’t need “better” calls to action, you need more of them that are equally good because not all of your visitors are the same and this is one of the most important realities of web marketing.

Example:
Both of these calls to action would appear on different pages in a site related to supplements increased focus:
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Increasing your conversion rates is not rocket science; it’s about understanding the dynamics of people and communication. Remember the keys that people need to be lead, it has to be easy, they have to get big value for anything they give you, and they are not all motivated by the same offers.

Go re-visit your website and look for the mistakes above. How many of them are you making? Got additional insights on calls to action and conversion rates? Please comment below and share them below.

Top 10 Most Viewed Internet Marketing Blog Posts of 2010

I’ve scoured over the site stats to let you all know what you thought was the most important content I’ve provided this year. Here are the results. in 2010 the 10 most viewed articles I’ve written are listed below.

The content ranges from Facebook, to Foursquare, to wordpress plugins but the big buzz in 2010 you can probably guess TWITTER. If you missed some of these articles please give ’em a read your peers liked them so you might to.

Please comment and let me know if you would like to see any followups to these in 2011 or add any updated insights since some of these were published quite some time ago in internet years.

Number 10: Social Media Offers Intimacy of Classic Mom and Pop Local Businesses

Number 9: Marketers Say Email is Delivering Better than Social Networking

Number 8: How Discoverable are You on Social Media?

Number 7: Philanthopy + Social Media + Leverage = Awesome!!!

Number 6: How 1 Tweet Generated National News Coverage for a Small Company in Less Than 24 Hours

Number 5: List of Active FourSquare Badges

Number 4: Shrek Gets Social!! Shrek’s 5 Rules for Winning Big with Social Media

Number 3: 100 Facebook Marketing Techniques You Can Use Right Now

Number 2: Top 10 WordPress Plugins to Turbo Charge Your Internet Marketing Efforts

Number 1: 20 Twitter Bios that demand Attention

How to Add an Email Subscription Box to Your Facebook Page.

Give your fans a way to sign up for your emails directly from Facebook.  It’s easy, and an effective way to grow your email list naturally.

Facebook –> Email

In the last 10 years I have been in this industry despite Spam, inbox overload, and everything else E-mail has remained the number one performing component of internet marketing campaigns for most of my clients.

E-Mail still Kicks Butt! there I said it. 34% open rate 15% Click through rate (those are the averages I see in email campaigns for my clients across 6 different indisutries)! I love social media but even facebook isn’t that powerfull….yet…but it is the best gateway to e-mail list growth there is.

Now with Facebook being as important (possibly more so for small brands) as your website many people are asking me if they can include an email subscription box on their Facebook page.

You can and I’m gonna show you how!

First, you’ll need a couple of things:

Once you’ve added the Static FBML Application to your Facebook page, click to edit the page, and scroll down to the part where it shows the FBML box(it’s on the left near the bottom). Click to edit that box.

You should see a box pop up that lets you set a title and enter FBML. The FBML box is actually where you paste your HTML form code into.

Once you’ve done that, hit “Save Changes”. Now go back into the edit menu and select the option “Application Settings”. Your widget will show up as a tab on your Facebook page Make sure to give it a good name that people will want to click on.

Is Submitting Products to Google Merchant Center Good for SEO?

Keith, a user on inbound.org the new inbound marketing discussion forum built by hubspot asked this question and it inspired me a bit.

Google Base, now Google Merchant Center, lets users post products that can be searched for in Google. Would it make sense to add products from my company to Google Merchant Center to help with our SEO efforts? Would the links we post in our product ads be considered high authority links since they are from Google?

Your thoughts?

Regards,

Keith

My answer is a resounding Yes!

take a look at the screencap beow from google SERP for the keyword Engravable Clocks

Is Submitting products go Google Merchant Center Good for SEO?

Smack Dab at the top of the SERP’s gaining massive attention is a feed from Google Merchant Center.

With a sample keyword: “Engravable Clocks” there are 2900 monthly searches, 26,500 results for this Google search, there are only 11,000 product results. Plus the product results show only 20 sites they are pulling results from. the lesson being in the top 3 products gets you a free spot on the first page of the SERPS and if you have low competition in the products feed this is huge opportunity for visibility.

Add the impact of Google instant and the fact that the photo from the first result is visible in the SERP and that could net you a much bigger share of the traffic than if you weren’t using Google Merchant Center.