Social media is not a hobby, it is big business and you need to charge accordingly.

Social media is not a hobby, it is big business and you need to charge accordingly.

In social media circles there is an understanding that a positive attitude and helpful attitude to share is mandatory.  Unfortunately, compassion and kindness does not always pay the bills and you need to be a little less giving and a lot more receiving when it comes to managing your business.

seo-social media profits I took a huge risk recently asking a question that resulted in twenty new connections and some potential leads.  That one question put me back on the social media map and at the same time offered me some valuable insight.

The question was, “Do you find yourself often charge less than what you are worth just to get business?”

The question confirmed what I had long suspected ~ many freelance and other social media business owners are selling themselves short and losing their businesses as a result of it.

Here are some things to think about in order to improve your chances at success in this business:

  1.  If you own a business or are a freelancer, people assume that you know what you’re doing. Stop selling yourself short and get paid what you’re worth.
  2. Stop proving yourself, start promoting yourself instead.
  3. Stop worrying about colleagues who are charging cheaper rates because the clients they are getting are not the clients you want.  These type of clients care little about what  services they are getting and in return they are getting what they paid for.
  4. What is the point of owning your own business, if you work based on someone else’s schedule, demands or expectations?

You started a business or freelance social media job because it was something you wanted to do and you were passionate about helping others, that is great and admirable, but when is it going to start to benefit you? If your not eating and taking care of your own needs, you are not going to be very good at it.

How is your business profitable and what makes it useful enough for people to want to pay for it?  When you can answer this question, you have begun to succeed.

A job is meant to pay you, a hobby is something that entertains you and you need to understand the difference between them.  Social media is not a hobby, its big business and you while you need to be “sociable,” and positive you also need to be confident, aggressive and profitable when it comes to charging clients.  This is often the most difficult thing for a business owner to do.

The best way to accomplish this is through research but I do not need to tell you that, your a marketer and you should already know that.  Now go and do it!

Is your career or business built on passion or profit?

Is your career or business built on passion or profit?

There is a moment in every business or individual’s career that is considered to be a major turnaround point, commonly referred to as an “A-Ha” moment.

Have you had your “A-Ha” moment?  If so, what should you do about it?

 

Mine happened during a recent GooglePlus training session. The host of the session could or would not answer (I am not really certain which) any of the questions that I asked him.  To be honest, in some ways I truly doubted that he would or could.

It was then that I finally realized, the only thing that was stopping me from furthering my own career, was me.

He answered the only question that I really needed to ask. If I am miles ahead of him in knowledge and experience and he is leading this session, why am I still following?

My  “A-Ha” moment was a welcome boost of confidence and sometimes that is all anyone really needs.

Helen Keller Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence

The same can be said about marketing and managing your business.

A turn around point takes a business from a negative and unprofitable state into a more positive and sales driven one, unfortunately, it usually happens after a disappointing down swing or loss of profits. It is considered to be the proverbial difference between the success or failure of the business because it is during this period when business owners start to give up, lose faith or begin to sell themselves short in order to regain loss.

Businesses that are able to turn things around during this time usually emerge as industry leaders.

How your company adapts during this time is often what will decide its fate.

Business Planning with Plan-Too

Business success literally happens in three stages:

  • Investing a great deal of time and money.

The risk factor is very high at this point because everything is unstable and you are still developing the model for your business.  You may change direction several times before you find what works best for your business and your marketing.

You need to ask yourself – how useful and different is my business from everyone else?

If you cannot answer the 5 W’s, your business is probably not ready to move forward.

When you have finally developed your model, created your plan of action and gained some clients and valuable experience, you will move on to the next phase.  For some this may take years and if you do not have the money, time or patience to wait it out, chances are you will not be successful.

  • Turning your business into a profitable one.

The turnaround point is what usually sets profit in motion, however it can happen at any time.  This phase is determined mostly by a realization that either you’re heading in the right direction with your business and you need to continue to do so, or you need to make a huge change in the way you’re doing things.

It is here where most businesses fail.  Confidence plays a huge role in this part, do you have what it takes to be a leader and take your business further?

  • Securing your business so growth can begin.

When you finally have all of your plans in motion and are moving in a positive direction in terms of finances, you can begin to secure your future and create growth.

You cannot run before you learn to walk otherwise you will fall flat on your face when you run out of breath.  The same can be applied to your business, if you’re not making a profit and you try to grow too quickly, you will run out of money.

You need to be making a reasonable profit before you can begin to expand. This is a catch 22 phase because often the only way to make a profit is to grow.  Learning how to create a balance is what will help you to succeed during this time.

seo-socialmedia-job_text_mouse_pc_800_clraRemember, marketers do not view Key Performance Indicators (KPI) results as either negative or positive and you shouldn’t either. They use the information gained from a variety of different analysis to modify strategies in order to achieve results and it can take a very long time.

The fact is, no matter how much time or money you invest in your business or career, if there is no desire or passion to succeed you will fail.  A positive attitude goes a long way to achieving success and sometimes this is the only way to move forward and ride the waves towards business and career success.

How successful are you going to be?

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Does your social media manager have any real social skills?

Does your social media manager have any real social skills?

You would be surprised to learn that quite often a marketing campaign that goes completely awry or is considered controversial, sexist or discriminatory is the fault of inexperienced social media marketers.  This happens when someone considers themselves an expert in social media marketing simply because they know how to post content on social platforms.

It takes a great deal more to understand the social media industry than simply “working the platforms.” It begins with a knowledge of social and economic demographics, leadership, marketing and communications and ends with a solid technological skill set.

Does your social media expert posses at least a degree in humanities, social work, education, recreation or marketing?  If not, you better reconsider who you are hiring.

In my opinion, individuals who possess degrees in these particular fields make better social media managers because they usually have a great deal of experience dealing with diverse groups.

Let us take for example the recent controversy surrounding one of my not so favourite brands. In a tweet, American Apparel offered a 20% discount for residents in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy in case they were “bored” by the storm to encourage them to shop online. The social sphere quickly took to Twitter and other social networks to criticize the ad that suggested it was more important to shop than to worry about the effects of the storm.

It was quite distasteful, as are many of the brand’s borderline pornographic advertising campaigns.

My brand is based on socially responsible advertising. I have always stood by that. I am sure the CEO of American Apparel stands by his, therefore I hope you will understand that I refuse to show these ads to you as I do not wish to promote them.

I can honestly tell you that I would have intervened long before this tweet was sent to discourage management from sending it. I would have argued that this tweet is insensitive to some people. Perhaps my suggestion would have been vetoed, but my job as a marketer is to at least try to make others understand what the potential damage to the brand could be.  Futhermore, I have a right as a marketer not to want to associate with this type of advertising.  I try to choose my clients as carefully as they choose me.

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Many tweets and posts are sent out on a daily basis that are insensitive, negative or age inappropriate and no one seems to blink an eye.  It does not make them acceptable or professional on any level. The above image is funny, it does not target any specific group but it does make a slight assumption. How would you perceive it?

Why is this all happening?

1.  Consistent hiring of individuals in the industry who do not have little understanding of human behaviour.

2. Brands who target only one type of consumer. As an example; some brands only target younger populations but forget about the older generations who are not as liberal, but who are also viewing the material.  Brands need to learn to consider the entire population.

3. Marketers who do not care enough about their own brand to take a stand, they only care about making money at all costs.  Your brand is valuable and it must be treated as such.

4. Competition. There is so much competition to produce media that the Internet is flooded with tons of it. Small companies cannot keep up with the constant demand, therefore clients are having to seek out enterprise marketing.

5. Limited Choices. Smaller companies are having to join with enterprise marketing companies to survive. Their marketing ethics and direction may not necessarily be the same. Creativity is reduced at this level and replaced with boxed or automated processes.

Contrary to what many people think, Social Marketing is based on reaching specific targets or buyers, however, it does not mean that you need to reach them by offending others.

An expert marketer should be able to create campaigns that not only reach their targets but that also tap into un-targeted market groups because these are obtained freely and could potentially be more valuable.

The only real way to win at social media is to avoid any and all posts that could be construed as racist, negative or socially unacceptable.

Social media is not only about understanding the social sphere, it is also about understanding the people in it.

I was compelled to write this post after an article appeared on my timeline from CTV news in Canada talking about a mother who posted a photo of her daughter on her blog. Her child has Down syndrome and is extremely beautiful, the image is both captivating and heart-warming.

The original image was “borrowed,” sold and used by an image bank for profit. Genoma, a genetics laboratory used the image that it thought was legally obtained in a poster that advertised prenatal genetic screening.

There are three major issues with this article, (1) this ad is very distasteful on the part of Genoma because it clearly “suggests” that this is not the kind of child you would want to have (2) it is illegal on the part of the unnamed image bank to sell images that do not belong to them and (3) Genoma’s social marketing team did not do its due diligence in creating this ad by making sure the image was not copyrighted and that it did not offend anyone.

Imagine how horrifying it must have been for this mother to see an advertisement of her daughter used in such a negative fashion?

Social advocates and parents of individuals with down syndrome would have easily seen this advertisement was highly offensive and suggested it be changed.

Does your social media manager have any real social skills?  For your brand’s sake, you better make sure they do before your marketing team ends up creating an ad like this one that was considered socially acceptable – about a hundred years ago!

1920 Home Appliance Advert: Universal Appliances, New Britain CT

all images courtesy of photodropper by flickr creative commons

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There is more than one social button?  Click here to find out more!

There is more than one social button? Click here to find out more!

A simple thing like social buttons might not seem that complex, but the truth is many websites owners don’t realize there are actually two types of social buttons; sharing and following. Because this feature is not being implemented correctly, they are failing to meet all of their marketing objectives. While these buttons look similar, each has a different purpose and function in the context of inbound marketing and social media.

Let’s begin by defining each of these more clearly.


Sharing Buttons

Seo-SocialMedia sharing buttonsSharing buttons are best described as the feature that allows people to share posts, images or videos with their own networks.  Sharing buttons can be added to pages, posts and videos. The buttons encourage users to share media from the brand’s website and other pages. A sharing button should be visible on the homepage, widgets, landing pages and blog page of every website.

The purpose for this button is to SHARE a brand’s message on the users own profile and platform.  It allows customers to become brand ambassadors, to endorse their favourite products or services and share information with their networks.

Follow Buttons

FACEBOOK-GREENFollow buttons lead the user to the brands social media platforms where they can like them, FOLLOW them, join in the brand’s conversations or engage directly with the brand.  While they can still share things on behalf of the brand, they are encouraged to become part of its network.

The purpose for this button is to reach people and grow a brand’s customer base. The hope is that a customer finds the brand interesting enough to want to learn more about them, follow them, begin to trust them and eventually buy from them.

It is not a complicated concept, but it is a long process that involves a great deal of engaging with customers. Being successful at marketing begins with making sure that you have both types of social buttons on your pages, posts and media.

Think about it this way – if you cannot get your customers to follow you, at the very least you can get them to share your media and if you cannot get them to share your media at least they may follow you. In either case, you are reaching them in some way.  Failing to have one button or the other limits this by half.  Of course there is always the option of using sh

If you want to make an even bigger impact, call to actions buttons are the best buttons you can have.  That’s a post for another day!

Social Media Strategies that Boost SEO

Social Media Strategies that Boost SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM) are two firmly interwoven and inseparable digital strategies. SEO and SMM focus on establishing a brand’s desired identity and this attracts visitors naturally. Unfortunately, it is still unclear to many e-marketers how SMM actually impacts traffic and ranking. Here are some SMM strategies that correlates with the growth of SEO.

Via reliablesoft.net

1) Optimizing posts for increased searches

SEO is responsible for the content, but social media channels open a way for the users to find it. Even Rand Fishkin of Moz strongly believes that Facebook likes, comments and shares affect the kind of content that performs well in a Google search. Google favors popular social network platforms as is evident by the fact that they are on the top results of its pages. Just make sure that your posts have an identifiable anchor like an image, infographic or video.

2) Obtaining external inbound links for increased authority

Once content is published on the social platforms, these platforms act as a broadcast channel which encourage external websites to link to your published content. This is the reason why creating unique, informative and relevant content cannot be emphasized enough. Volumes of diverse external links is a surefire sign of authority, at least in Google’ eyes. For more visibility, brand-relevant hashtags can be used.

3) Growing followers and connections for increased interactions

Interactions lead to conversions. However, thousands of purchased links will never look favorable for your content and thus, will not do your brand any favors. Also, Google wants to know if your social proofs are bought and manipulated since Google is seeking to base your relevance on the quality of your followers. Building followership organically is a must to prove your worthiness. With this in mind, you should present your brand to your social audience in a consistent manner. Engage your followers in an interactive way.

4) Optimizing posts for increased awareness locally

Social channels present themselves as the perfect venue to interact with your local audience. This is particularly advantageous for brands that target residents. Aside from organizing events of your own and becoming active on participating in other events, interacting with other local brands and firms while on social media is also a must. Whatever you do, the goal is to reinforce participation while encouraging your followers to do the same. The more engaged your brand is in your community, the more your brand will be visible in local searches.

These are the basics of SMM. However, they point to giving your users – the target audience – a much better experience  when they check their social profiles. Evidently, understanding how the social media strategies impact your SEO can lead to the creation and distribution of more targeted campaigns. The strategies also widen the channels that lead your target market to your brand. After all, this is the goal of both SMM and SEO, right?

About the Author : Jeric is a Filipino blogger currently working at Optimind Technology Solutions, a digital marketing agency in the Philippines that provides different services including SEO, web design, mobile app development and much more.

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Does your marketing need a fresh start?

Does your marketing need a fresh start?

Is your brand in need of a web marketing makeover?  Is it time to rethink how you are currently doing things?

If so, inbound marketing is the best way to get on track to reaching your goals.

The goal of inbound marketing is to combine the basic principles of marketing with content management, SEO, social media, email and other lead generation strategies in order to create an attractive and viable solution for your ideal “buyer.”  This buyer is established by analysing the things that interest them. Once these “personas” have been established, the goal is to create attractive media that will encourage them to want to learn more about your products and services and eventually lead them to click through your website’s landing pages.

ADD FOR SEOIf these landing pages convert property,  hopefully, it will lead to sales.

Inbound marketing is not a quick and easy process, the goal is to build long-term repeat customers and create a positive brand presence.

Inbound Marketing Consultants like myself help guide you on the right path by looking at your entire marketing process including website, application development, mobile presence and content management.

Where do you begin?

Inbound Marketing is a long process and has a lot of different aspects, but it begins by creating realistic goals and understanding your buyers and what their needs are.

Understanding web marketing principles is crucial to success:

  1. You cannot cut corners when it comes to effective branding, social media, and web marketing.
  2. Promises of overnight success are false, they won’t work – they never have.
  3. SEO, Inbound Marketing, and Social Media work together – you cannot  really have one without the other!
  4. You need to set a realistic budget for your own company and find the company that can offer you the most within that budget.
  5. Engaging with your customers is paramount to building an effective brand.
  6. All things being equal, content is no less or more important than design, everything matters!
  7. Choose a company that understands both human and computer behavior.

Remember, web technology companies are not necessarily the best choice for offering you marketing because they often do not have the “social skills” needed to properly understand marketing to humans.  They may be offering advice but are not always qualified to do so and this could spell disaster for the brand. If your web development team does offers marketing, insist that they have a qualified consultant on hand to answer your questions and guide you on the right track.

Someone with a degree in recreation, marketing or humanities knows how people think, someone with a degree in computing knows how a computer thinks.  Think about it!   ~ Madeline Foster, Inbound Marketing consultant

Does your marketing need a fresh start?

  • Seo-socialmedia.net QuestionsThere are 1  billion online users every day on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, do you actively engage with them?
  • There are 4 billion mobile users that talk and text information to one another each day are you talking about them?
  • More people access mobile applications than searching or surfing the web, does your company have a real-time application of its own?
  • Is your website responsive?
  • Does your website have selling landing pages, opt-ins or call to actions?
  • Do you have an email marketing strategy?
  • Are you connected to at least 10 social media platforms?
  • Do you use call to actions on your blogs?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you are definitely in need of a marketing makeover.  Thankfully, we can help!

For a free evaluation and analysis of what we can do for your brand, please fill out the form below:

 

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6 reasons to use WordPress for you blog

6 reasons to use WordPress for you blog

With the simple introduction of a content management system or blog, you can take your inbound marketing to a whole new level.  This one small technique makes a huge difference because it is a cost-effective means in which to add some content and SEO elements into a static website, share tons of different types of media, target buyers and spread your brand’s message over a global marketplace with nothing more than a post.

It can be used as both the main landing page for your customers and followers or as a doorway page to your main website. A blog adds dynamic and fresh content to keep your website relevant and up to date.

The content in the blog posts can always be reused, re-targeted and recycled making it even more valuable.

WordPress Stickers Everywhere

The fact is you do not need to use WordPress for your blog. There are a number of other blogging platforms, however, it is our preferred method because:

  1. It is the most flexible, cheapest and easiest method in which to create a fully functioning content management system, simple blog or website.

  2. All of your employees can use it and your business can easily manage it on their own. You should only need someone to update plugins, add new designs and fix any errors (which happen very infrequently) otherwise there is no need to have full-time support.

  3. It was designed to be highly responsive, which means your website can be viewed on a variety of different browsers in a number of screen resolution sizes and formats.

  4. You can do a complete overhaul of your current website or install a blog in a few hours with a simple theme.

  5. It is easy to maintain and very stable.

  6. There are a number of valuable add-ons, plugins, and tools that can provide just about any functionality that your company wants to have including e-commerce, crowdfunding and social media.

Why should you use WordPress?

It is a cheap, stable and simple fix that will improve your brand’s online presence and is one of the best solutions for start-up businesses who are simply want to test the waters.  It is better to try a small cheaper website and see if there is any interest in your product or service before you go spending thousands of dollars on a fully functioning website that fails.

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The Myths behind the Penguin Penalty

The Myths behind the Penguin Penalty

Penguin is an algorithm, it is not a penalty.

It is important to understand that there is a difference between triggering an algorithm and suffering the effects of a manual penalty.Google Analytics Hacks

There has been a lot of misunderstanding and confusion as far as Penguin is concerned, and this has trickled down to the solutions that are normally offered to people who have been hit by the algorithm when it comes to recovery from the same. The aim of this write-up is to dispel some of the mystery surrounding the Penguin algorithm.

  1. Manual link removal is a must post-hit

The official position from Google is that sites should try as much as possible to remove unnatural links before disavowing the remaining ones. Where you have control over spammy links pointing to your site, get rid of them by all means. You only disavow the links which you have no control.

The rationale for link removal is one: to reduce the percentage of bad links that are pointing to your site. The real truth, however, is that you can only remove between 5-10% of these problematic links, which means that the effort you want to direct towards manual links removal would be better directed at building natural links, which increases the percentage of good links over bad links.

  1. Link audits and submission of disavow files are mandatory

Seo-socialmedia.net - Question markThis is the most effective way to avoid getting hit by Penguin, but it isn’t necessary. A point to note is that Penguin is more about maintaining a certain ratio of good to bad/spammy links – and this is according to official communication from Google. Matt Mueller has been on record saying that the Penguin algorithm can lift its sanctions from a site provided the number is maintained above 50%, even without submission of a disavow file. Gradually, of course.

  1. You have to get a penalty notice for a Penguin hit

If you have been hit by Penguin, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive a notice on your Webmaster Tools dashboard to that effect. Only manual penalties work that way. However, the restoration process for manual links is quite similar to what you’d do after a penguin hit. Where you’re unsure of your position, you can employ the Google penalty checker tool or contact SEO services, London for assistance.

  1. You must send a reconsider request anon

Sometime back, it was possible for a webmaster of any site to submit a request to Google for reconsideration any time. The result was a wave of requests directed at Google from Webmasters who had noticed the slightest “demotion.” Google revised this and now only allows requests from those subjected to a manual penalty.

  1. You can never recover from Penguin once hit

concept of seoRecovery from Penguin is possible, certainly. However, it will require noteworthy investment of time and effort in order to attract credible natural links. Another myth is that the ‘invisible disavow attribute’ can only apply once a link has been placed in the disavow file and the site has been crawled again. This isn’t true, otherwise it would take very long to complete a single disavow file. Lastly, from time to time, Penguin has been run as a standalone algorithm, it doesn’t always follow the schedule of regular algorithms.

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Is too much social media helping or hurting your brand?

Is too much social media helping or hurting your brand?

Many people would argue that the more often your brand is seen and heard on social media platforms, the more popular your brand is. It certainly is the selling point and perhaps “mantra” for all social media marketers, but while that might be partially true, it is not entirely factual.

Just how important do you think having your brand on a website like “Plurk” or “Craigslist” really is?

Do not misunderstand, platforms, directories and blogs are a great resource and they may even get you a backlink or two, but the question is, “Does the set-up and maintenance of hundreds of social media platforms outweigh the traffic and social buzz that your brand will receive in return?” How much traffic do you really think you will get from a post in Craigslist?

planet as symbol of social networkingMany businesses are falling for a “must have” ideology and it is only hurting their marketing.

They are being advised that they must have accounts on hundreds of social media platforms, directories and blogging sites just to be seen and heard. This is simply false – you can gain sufficient social “buzz” around your brand from being part of only one or two sites and social platforms. It’s not the number of platforms that you choose, but rather how you choose them and what you use them for that really matters.

If the platform offers little or no relevancy to your business or has users that do not fit your buyers personas, they are literally a waste of valuable time and money that could otherwise be spent on income generating advertising.

Knowing what is best for your own brand is the first step to success.

When is too much social media, simply too much?

Seo-socialmedia businesswoman drawing a sketch of the mechanismI think when your company begins to lose sight of its initial marketing goals, has no idea who is it’s main buyer persona is anymore and finds itself running all over the place trying to play catch up is a sure sign that it is time to take a step back and re-think your brand’s inbound marketing social strategy. It is true, new platforms are created on a daily basis, but it does not mean your company has to participate in any of them.

Ask any social media expert what is the biggest challenge of the job and most of them will likely reply “keeping up” with what is trending. Even if they are vigilant about keeping up to date with the latest news, the social climate changes so quickly that it sometimes becomes overwhelming.

If your brand is spending most of its efforts on trying to keep up with every social media platform it’s overall marketing will begin to suffer.

How do you create a happy medium? Limit your brand to a few social media platforms – own them!

Don’t misunderstand, your brand needs to have a multitude of social media engagements in order for it to be “seen and heard” and to create a variety of traffic towards your site, however, the focus should not be on setting up a hundred useless accounts, but rather on setting up a few relevant ones and using them efficiently to target your ideal customer.

Having too much social media to take care of is like the old adage “Jack of all trades – master of none.” It is far better to put your social media eggs into a few “baskets” than to have them cracking up all over the Internet.

Social media, the more you know, the more you grow is our motto and fosters a belief that while we are inbound marketing experts and we know a great deal about brands and social media, we are always open to learning and growing.  We learn through experience, sharing and through a commitment to our customers needs. In doing so, we have come to realize that our most successful clients are the ones who understand what their own needs are and set realistic goals to achieve them. We simply guide them along the way.

Speaking of growing, there is nothing wrong with adding new and exciting social media platforms to your business, just remember not to lose sight of the fact that you don’t have to.

Make sure you are not sacrificing the ones you already have, they should just be icing on the cake, not the (egg?) on your face!

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Do inbound marketers need to have a sense of social responsibility when creating content?

I suppose because my background is in Community Recreation and the fact that I deal with a great number of small business and non-profit organizations, I am always thinking that social media marketing should be more focused on the social impact that it can have on society rather than its marketing value. At the very least, I do think there should be some social responsibility on the part of the brand and marketer when creating content labeled “social media.”

Social media, in my opinion, has fallen victim to an “over-flooding” of controversial and morally questionable content that will eventually negate its real value if marketers don’t start to be more vigilant.

There is always a bad apple in the bunch, if left inside the barrel, it starts to rot the entire contents.  If you simply remove it, the other apples stay fresh, longer.

It was not long ago that articles were being copied, rehashed and spun to the point of ridiculousness just to improve a brand’s ranking. Everyone knows how that turned out. The duplication became so bad, it sprung Google into action to create an algorithm to combat the damaging effects of it.

If you can believe it, there are still “marketers” using these bad practices and unsuspecting brands are paying a huge price for it with their brand’s integrity.

Twitter is slowly becoming victim to spam and it is not a secret that people have moved on to other social media platforms in order to avoid it.

  • Why does this abuse keep happening?

Some people believe everything that they read and even more-so when they think it comes from a so-called expert or “guru”  This has been both a good and bad thing for marketing. It created a need for higher quality, expert and relevant content, but it has also been used for making people believe that someone is an expert, when in fact they aren’t. It is really hard to spot the difference if the marketing team is successful.

On most social media platforms, you will see posts appear over and over again in your timeline. The content might have been written years ago and is no longer valid or accurate, however, people still comment on it.  For those people, the content is fresh, real and accurate if they never saw it before and fail to validate or check the information.  This is the “social” impact that content can and does have on society. It can literally keep misinformation alive. Isn’t that reason enough for a brand to want to be socially responsible when it comes to providing information?  What happens if the information leads to a huge number of deaths or some catastrophic event?

When the content posted is morally unconstitutional or abusive, it simply get replayed over and over again, re-abusing. The brand who first associated itself with this content is now part of the controversy and they can never escape the negative impact of it.  Social Media is both a curse and a dream come true for inbound marketing.  A dream if the impact is desirable, not so much if the impact negatively affects the brand or the community.

Social media, inbound marketing, and SEO methods change like the wind, it is even hard for the experts to stay on top of trends and keep content fresh and relevant.  When you throw bad apples into the barrel, it can really create havoc and this is the main reason why it keeps happening.

What can we do to prevent bad marketing practices to continue? Step up and stop the bad apples from spoiling it for everyone!

Educate yourself, your brand, and your marketing team. Insist they create socially responsible content and be diligent when you see things on the Internet that you consider offensive or inappropriate.  You have a voice, both as an individual and as a brand, use it to create social impact, not only for marketing.

Do inbound marketers need to have a sense of social responsibility when creating content?  They do, if they care about the future of social media and inbound marketing!

Inbound Marketing and SEO is about logic, patience and a new way of thinking.

Inbound Marketing and SEO is about logic, patience and a new way of thinking.

Everything you do to fine tune your Inbound Marketing matters and has an effect on your brand’s reputation and there are some things you should know before signing on the dotted line.

  • Have you heard the word “backlinks” a million times from your SEO company?
  • Read countless posts and articles on the subject of  SEO Techniques ?
  • Heard about automation software and mystical places that sell crafty ways to obtain quick and free ranking, fans and followers?
  • Spent countless hours and tons of money creating a variety of on-site and off-site page techniques?
  • Considered stepping into the realm of the dark side just to get an edge on your competitors?
  • Paying for tons of content and commenting but never see it?

Sound familiar?

download (1)By now, you are probably pulling your hair out of your head because you cannot understand why your spending so much time, energy and money on this thing called inbound marketing and/or SEO and yet you are seeing no major difference.

This is what I refer to as the online marketing black train.

No one quite knows where it goes, or what it is called, but everyone jumps on it without knowing where it will lead. The only real place this train seems to be headed is into “The land of duplicate and low quality content” because in order to process that much content you would need to do some serious article writing, spinning or have a huge budget like McDonald Corp.

So just how does a small business compete with the big fish without Google gobbling you up?

The simple fact is, although back-links do matter, they are not the end all and be all solution. This is a major misconception that many people have.

It is the thinking that needs to be modified and not really the techniques.

To be honest, I am not certain if this misconception is the result of the misinformation that exists on the web today or simply because brands have been brainwashed by marketing schemes.

In either case, there are effective techniques that deliver better results and you do not hgoogle-seo-socialmedia-fishave to be a marketing guru to implement them, simple logic and patience is all you need.

What if I told you that you can still get to page one of the search engines without having a gazillion backlinks?  Would you believe me?  Many people would not, they have been conditioned to believe it is not possible.

I recently worked on a client’s website who only had 9 backlinks, all of them major competitive keywords ranking at 1, 3, 5, 10 and 19 respectively, a great presence on the Internet, excellent branding, relevant and updated content with tons of videos, images and interaction. Her topic? Nuts and Bolts.

Her daily traffic of new users reaches well over 5000.  Your marketing should be answering the question how a small nuts and bolts distributor in the middle of know where is doing so well and not how Coca-Cola does.  You can never be coke, but you can be nutty bolts!  Perspective matters.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • How many new daily users does your brand have?  Do you even know?
  • Where do these users come from?
  • What devices are they using and what are they clicking on?
  • Do you know what these metrics mean for your brand and website?
  • How transparent is your marketing?
  • How many leads are you’re capturing?
  • How much is your engagements actually costing you?  Is it more than your product?
  • How relevant is your content and blog to your industry?
  • Is your website cutting it?

Not liking the answers?  It is time to rethink things!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. – Albert Einstein.

Simple relevant content, some due diligence, a great website and brand presence has made the difference for this client and it can for you too, if you simply look for the right solutions.

When it comes to the formulas and figures, marketing experts cannot even agree, so why do numbers matter? They don’t.

The Inbound Methodology for building  an authority website, goes something like this:

  • Your website needs a variety of fresh SEO optimized relevant content – at least once a day. One high-quality blog and a few article submissions on other relevant websites is all it takes.
  • If you have older blogs, retarget them.  Change the date, retarget and rewrite them with some fresh new eyes, new words and a new attitude.
  • You need to have a number of social profiles – FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus and other social platforms to post this content too.
  • Get your brand’s name out there.
  • Spend at least 90 minutes per day just letting people know you’re out there and engage with them.  Even if you have someone working for you, it is best to do this yourself from time to time.
  • Optimize your website for on page SEO.
  • Show yourself as an authority on the subject, make your website relevant to the topic that it covers.
  • Creating interesting content that helps your buyer’s along the journey from simply getting to know you to becoming a believer in you.
  • Remove 401 pages, never use duplicate content and use up to date keywords.
  • Things change with the language and new trends, always be on top of that.

services file contains service informationWhen it comes to how much content to post my personal belief is that the numbers do not matter, so much as the thinking behind the content.

Marketing is about logic, if one thing does not work for your site, try another formula until you come up with one that works for you.  I hear many experts say, “It takes months to get to the point where Google recognizes your website.” That may be so, but who says you cannot help it along the way?  There are many secrets to behold in the magical world of SEO, but it does not mean that the people holding the key should be the only ones who have access to the front door.

Look for good reviews on topics and do tons of research before buying into the next “instant solution.” They never work!

Visit forums and groups that experts hang out in and use your common sense and logic when hiring an expert. Remember you get what you pay for and not everyone who is providing services is doing it to build long time customers, some are just doing it for a quick buck and they do not care about how that affects the future of your brand.

Keep reading my blogs. I promise you that I will do what is necessary to find the answers and solutions to make your website the best it can, but do not ever expect me to offer quick fixes or magical solutions, those are the guys that go out of business every day and change strategies every few months.  I have been here for over 7 years providing the very same pure old fashioned smart inbound marketing, hard work and know how.

 Any questions?

Need consulting or assistance with content, social media, mobile, webdesign or inbound marketing?  You have come to the right place!

Consulting @50.00 minimum 2 hours. Contact me directly, Madeline –  info@seo-socialmedia.net. or on skype fostermad45

Marketing morons are taking spam commenting too far.

Marketing morons are taking spam commenting too far.

Social media Moron Less than one year ago I might have considered teaching an inbound marketing class about SEO and social media and it likely would have included an entire segment on the value of commenting on posts and content as a means to “get your brand’s name” out there and hopefully obtain a link as an added bonus.

I must admit, I am having a hard time seeing the value in this anymore.

Marketing “morons” have ruined a good thing.

Most of the commenting currently being done on social media is via some aggressive spam program that simply distributes the same comment over and over based on a pre-programmed keyword. These “marketing morons” schedule the comments without having any idea if it even makes sense or is relevant to the original post.

Do they not realize the damage they are doing to marketing itself?

hey do, most simply do not care and some cannot afford to care because they have to get backlinks any way they can in order to appease clients who consistently measure it’s success based on the number rather than quality of authority backlinks.  It is an uneducated and harmful way to gain authority, however it is often difficult to convince a client to do things the right way because it can take a great deal of time, money and patience. In this instance, you really only have two choices, do what the customer asks or refuse to work with them. This may not always be a financial decision a marketer can make.

HOW DOES SPAM COMMENTING EFFECT MARKETING?

SPAMThe continued use of this method is creating an unreliable reviewing system and this is hurting the very people who are spam commenting. Despite their continued efforts to gain authority, they are in fact diminishing it. The marketing industry relies heavily on comments and reviews as a means for measuring success, analyzing trends and creating buyer personas.  If this data is false, the results are corrupt and a true buyer persona cannot be created.

Comment by all means, just make sure you do it properly by using the correct methodology.

  • Write the comment yourself, do not post using spam software

  •  Comment with relevance to the topic discussed in the post

  • Place only one link per comment

  • Be friendly, share links, like posts and be engaging

  • Use hashtags and tagging

  • Be courtesy and fair, if someone likes your posts, like theirs back<

  • When reviewing a product be honest.  If you did not like it say so, explain why. If you liked it, explain why.

Remember just because you had an undesirable experience with a brand or product, it does not mean that everyone else will, accept that.  Commenting when done properly and with the respect it deserves will improve customer satisfaction, create reliable marketing and build trust between customers and brands and in the end everyone wins.  Don’t be a marketing moron, be a marketing ambassador!

8 ways to keep Your Printing costs low

8 ways to keep Your Printing costs low

If you’re running a marketing business, one of the costs you will have to incur is the cost of printing. Yes, even digital marketers need to print once in awhile. Your printing costs will be quite high especially if you print frequently. These tips should help you manage the costs associated with printing:

  1. Ensure your printer understands your expectations

I Love Internet :: Social Media Week Milano :: Il Festival della reteTalking to your printer allows you to lay your expectations on the table. This helps the printer to understand the direction to take in terms of designing and delivery timelines.

Consulting the printer will guide you in choosing colours, deciding on the file formats and the right design tool to use.

You’ll also get an idea of the cost of printing and the best method suited for the project. Once both you and the printer are on the same page, you can both proceed without a hitch.

  1. Design in-house

Printers charge a huge amount of money for design work. You can cut savings by doing the designing yourself.

  1. Don’t print copies you will not use

Print only what you need. You should first establish the intended number of recipients of your printed material and then print only that number.

To print a brochure, for instance, you pay for an entire sheet, which in turn yields several brochures. You do not pay for individual brochures. So, if you print one more brochure than you actually need, you’ll pay for an entire sheet.

  1. Avoid the last minute rush

Rushing to design and print at the last minute will make you more prone to waste and chances are your design will not be as good as it can be and in marketing this can be the difference between success and failure of a campaign. Mistakes are more likely to happen when you work under pressure. The printer will also charge you extra for the job.  Take your time and give yourself ample time to complete the project.

  1. Proofread prior to printing

Brad Paisley Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good oneImagine having to print a book and have the final copy turn up with typos. Mistakes such as typing errors and badly punctuated sentences are avoidable and can be easily checked with spell checker. You can also get somebody to proofread your work prior to printing.  Proper grammar is essential to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

  1. Get the right Printer for you

With the majority of people today sharing their opinions and experiences on social media, you are bound to find some comments that will either vouch or disqualify a printer.

Most people will bring out their best qualities to get your business, but after you put down a deposit for your work, things could take a turn for the worse.

Determine if the printer is best suited for the job. You might be looking for a printer who can do hard cover book printing, but your printer may not be good in that area.

  1. Communicate frequently with your printer.

Insist on having a look at the work during various stages of the job. It’s better to nag than to realize when it’s too late that you’re not going to get what you ordered.

  1. Always look out for discounts

A printer might offer discounts on certain volumes. If the material you are printing will be relevant in the future, it is fine to print many units and save money.


WritingAbout the author

Jenny Richards has been working in the publishing industry for over a decade. She also owns a business that specializes in hardcover book printing. She has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by businesses and individuals in their dealings with business machines such as printers. Visit her website to read more of her insightful posts.

photos by: br1dotcom & , ,
6 Essential Features of a Good SEO Company

6 Essential Features of a Good SEO Company

Online business is a truly competitive world where numerous companies are vying for customer attention. It is essential to hire the services of a reliable and competent digital media company. A good SEO company has comprehensive knowledge about the functionality of Internet marketing. They understand and realize that an online business can succeed if they are able to get relevant traffic and if the traffic can be converted to leads and thereafter, sales.

Among various other features, a good digital media company can help you get higher search engine rankings as is up to date with latest tools, technologies, and trends in search engine marketing (SEO).

custom_a_to_b_long_way_15647 (2)1. Accredited,  Connected, Educated and Associated

These are the four essential traits that you should look for in a good online marketing company. The company should have accreditation with the local BBU (Better Business Bureau). It should be associated as a member of it’s local Trade or Chamber of Commerce or any other well-known business association. The company should boast of a fully qualified, educated and skilled staff that is well-trained and conversant with the ways of online marketing. A well-connected SEO company will have online resources and offer top level online page ranking (PR) for your company to ensure your business gets the desired exposure.

2. Up to Date with cutting-edge Techniques

The online marketing scenario is constantly changing and SEO techniques are expanding. Good SEO companies constantly update themselves. They keep abresEO-SOCIAL Media - custom_a_to_b_long_way_15647 (2)ast of all cutting-edge techniques and they apply these innovative and modern optimization techniques to suit client specifications and requirements. They are interested and learn about each and every aspect of SEO and not simply on-page SEO. A competent company knows that it is not enough to run keyword campaigns in the current marketplace. An inexperienced and incompetent company would not succeed in generating precise keywords and hence, there would be no marked improvement in the rankings. However, a truly efficient company would be able to identify and generate accurate keywords and infuse them on a relevant website in order to get positive results. Smart engines are getting smarter and as a result, good SEO companies are having to adopt smarter techniques.

3. Real Emphasis on Content

sEO-SOCIAL Media - custom_a_to_b_long_way_15647 (2) (5)The primary focus of a good company should be on content. Content can make or break the companies SEO strategy. A competent company will have a brilliant content team who would understand the nuances of online marketing. Your web pages would be rewritten- your ongoing strategy for blogging should be crafted and media-rich content showcased including, video, photos, and info-graphics.

4. Plans and Strategies

A competent SEO firm will treat each client individually and will offer customized solutions. The firm will devote its time and energy to learning about the specific goals and needs of the client so that it can provide personalized plans and effective strategies. A thorough knowledge of the client’s objectives would help the SEO team to formulate an effective strategy. After evaluating your competitor’s strategy, the SEO experts should bolster your strategy and formulate a more effective one.

5. Open about Findings from Google AnalyticssEO-SOCIAL Media - custom_a_to_b_long_way_15647 (2)(6)

An honest and reliable SEO firm would not hide the results from your analytics, but rather share them with you, at the very least on a monthly basis. The firm would generally share a monthly analytics report with the client to discuss how the web marketing plan is working so that you are able to locate weak spots and address those issues so that they can be rectified for higher rankings.

6. Ethics Top Priority

A professional SEO firm would never resort to unethical business techniques or policies. They would not ever think of employing black hat techniques. They would definitely not be using invisible text, spamming or doorway pages for improving search engine results. They would stick to white hat techniques and rely on their efficiency, knowledge and competence to help you get higher SEO rankings.

Inbound Marketing is a S.O.B. of a problem.

Inbound Marketing is a S.O.B. of a problem.

Frustrated with your marketing?  

You are not alone, I often need to remind myself that it can be a S.O.B of a problem. Once I laugh about that, I can generally start focusing on what needs to be done in order to fix it.

Seo-socialmedia.net letters

1. Set Realistic Marketing Goals

It seems that one of the hardest concepts for people to grasp in marketing is how to set realistic and measurable goals.

Clients often say to me, “I want more sales, can you get me leads?”  If the answer to the question was easy, there would be no need for marketing at all, people could simply go out and buy leads, measure conversion and know exactly how many sales each day or year it would generate.  As I am sure you are already aware, it doesn’t quite work that way. You need to consider a number of factors when dealing with people.  Do they, will they and can they afford to buy your products and services, etc?

Marketing is about analysing the buyers, the market and then creating strategies based on those metrics in order to measure success. Not all of these metrics can be quantified because sales are not the only metrics that are important to the brand.  

How do you know that you have been successful, if you have no idea where you’re going?

If you were planning a road trip across the country to Florida, a different route would be needed to take depending on where you started from. Your starting and ending point will determine the road or highway that you will take, the time in which you will need to get there and how much it will cost.  

If an individual travels from Montreal, the itinerary will look a lot different than someone who is travelling from Georgia.  

Consequently, each of these individuals could have the very same family situation, interests, be the same gender, speak the same language and have the same annual income. The only thing different between them is the distance and cost it will be to get to Florida.  

Do you think each of them will have the same measurable and realistic marketing goals? 

  • They both want to get to Florida  – this goal can be achieved by both of them easily.

  • They both want to get to Florida before Monday – this goal can be achieved by both of them, if one leaves earlier than the other one.

  • They both want to get to Florida before Monday for a cost of less than 150.00 – this goal be achieved by both of them, if one leaves earlier than the other and does not eat at restaurants or pit stops along the way.

Goals like the one depicted in the first statement are easy to reach, but they do not clearly define the plan of action that one must take in order to achieve it, and they are harder to measure.  Marketing goals are similar.

1. If the goal of the brand is to increase sales and leads, this is easily achieved with a small amount of effort.  Success is hard to measure because any increase would result in a positive score.

2, However, if the goal is to increase sales by 50% within a three month period, this is a bit more definitive. It is also hard to achieve, but easier to measure as the value will be positive or negative.

The marketing plan in the second scenario would look a lot different.  

Many business owners fail to understand what their own needs are and therefore any measure of success seems good to them, when clearly this is not the case.

Creating realistic, definitive measurable goals is the most important part of inbound marketing success.

Seo-socialmedia.net letters 2. Organize your marketing

Using an Inbound Marketing or CRM management system like HubSpot or Marketo is the best way to keep your marketing organized and makes everything easy to track, but this type of system can be very expensive and is sometimes cumbersome. There is so much information that business owners and marketers often get lost in it.

You can easily create your own similar DIY system by creating a number of customized Excel sheets and templates. It might take a while to create the first set, but once created, they can easily be modified to use over and over again. Create a folder for each campaign and client and place the templates in there, edit them for each new campaign or client.

Each marketing folder should contain (at minimum):

  • A template for setting and measuring goals. 

  • Keyword analysis and similar SEO information. 

  • A buyer person template.

  • Google (or other) analysis for measuring metrics each month. This will include things like traffic, engagements and social media buzz.

  • A detailed Social Media Marketing plan or schedule.

  • A detailed content management plan or schedule.

  • Client information and resources such as the images you are going to use for posting.

Seo-socialmedia.net letters

 3. Be flexible with your marketing

Inbound marketing is really a S.O.B and things will go wrong.  Don’t sweat it – fix it.  You need to be flexible in your attitude and planning to allow room for errors and adjustments. If your plans are too rigid or based on unrealistic and specific expectations that cannot easily be changed, you will likely fail.

You must remember, you are dealing with individuals and metrics that are hard to measure, don’t be fooled into thinking you are above that, be flexible in knowing that you aren’t. You cannot always predict what a person will do or how they react, you can only try.  

Need help organizing your marketing and getting on track?  We can help get you there.  Call today for a free assessment of your current situation. 1-877-246-6785

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