All posts tagged Social Media

Become a Human Trafficker on LinkedIn!

epic-fail

I decided to check out LinkedIn’s new “skill” feature to see what it was all about. To quote the skills page itself, the purpose is to:

Discover the skills you need to succeed. Learn what you need to know from the thousands of hot, up-and-coming skills we’re tracking.

I thought it sounded like it had some potential to help my LinkedIn presence so I decided to do some investigating. LinkedIn skills lets you add all of your ‘skills’ that you have to offer other users, ideally making you more findable.

I experimented with some keywords to see what LinkedIn would autosuggest for keywords related to things I do, and check out what I got for traffic:

human trafficking linked in Become a Human Trafficker on LinkedIn!

Human Trafficking? Really? Definitely adding that to my skill-repertoire.

Is there some sort of legitimate merit to having human trafficking as a skill option? I really hope there’s just something I don’t know…

SEO is Not Dead

SEO is not dead

I keep hearing how “SEO is dead” which is an interesting observation to me. It’s always from the same group of people that usually tout themselves as something along the lines of “social media experts” or “social media strategists”. They seem to believe that because social media exists, SEO and search is dying…how they’ve collectively come to that conclusion is beyond me.

My first question is, how can social media ever replace search? I can’t seem to grasp the idea of going to twitter or facebook to find banana bread recipes, a local dentist, or anything really. Why would any of these sites even try to step into the ring with Google? It wouldn’t end well for them. There will always be search, social media is not equivalent to search and never will be. Social media is great and has it’s place, but there is no logical way for it to replace search. Yeah, aspects of social media can influence aspects of search, but that in no way shape or form kills SEO.

To say that SEO is dead is to say that search is dead, as long as there is search there will be SEO. The means of optimization and strategy for raising position in the search engines might change but optimization will still be alive and well. I think most of the…well…lets just call them misinformed “social media experts” are referring to current methods of search engine optimization. Sure, link building, PageRank sculpting, keyword density, and all of the buzz words of SEO might mean nothing in the future, but something WILL invariably replace it.

Lets (hypothetically) say that everything we know about SEO goes out the window. In this fantasy land the search engines decide to use social media and create different metrics based on how users interact with a website to decide where it falls in the search engine results page. This could be a number of different things like: the click-through rate of the website whenever it’s posted, the number of likes it receives, the amount of people that tweet it, and anything else a search engine would deem a quality metric. Even in this scenario an opportunity would still exist for webmasters and search engine optimizers to either try to game the system or ethically gain social approval and increase interaction to OPTIMIZE their rankings.

Lets say that if your website has the most number of likes in your niche, it would show up for keywords that are most often mentioned on your fan page in the Google search results. As soon as that ranking metric is discovered there is instantly an ability to optimize. That’s exactly how search engine ranking factors have come to be known, through testing and discovery. This scenario would follow the exact same SEO process used today.

As long as people are searching for what they need when they need it and businesses can make any kind of money from ranking well in the search engines, optimizers will have no lack of work in the near future.

What it comes down to is that search engines use computers to grade, prioritize, and rank websites. As long as there is an algorithm calculating rankings there will always be some form of optimization. Until the day when Google employs the entire human race to sort through every website on the internet, optimization will still exist.

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Matt Cutts:

0 SEO is Not Dead

SEO is still alive and kickin’ and will be into the foreseeable future.

How the Halo: Reach Beta Used Suspense to Build Hype

haloreachbeta

It’s not often big video game releases or demos/betas use crafty marketing. Halo: Reach is an upcoming video game title by AAA game studio Bungie. Bungie recently released an online beta version of Halo: Reach for people to test and try out. The Halo: Reach Beta was released on Monday and Bungie used a marketing tactic very commonly used for internet marketing product launches. The mechanism Bungie used that I’m referring to is suspense; which is one of the most underutilized and most effective methods of promoting any new product. When “gurus” release internet marketing products they on occasion won’t give a firm time/date when the product will launch, just a general idea. This builds suspense, people talk about it more, and once the product launches the flood gates open and more people buy into it because of all the chatter and hype.

The Halo: Reach beta did something very similar to this. They publicly announced the beta would become available on Monday and claimed that there were too many parties involved to give a firm time. I find that extremely difficult to believe when they have always been able to give firm times and dates when releasing things like map packs and other game downloads. What did this end up doing for them? People tweeted about it all day, people blogged about it, posted about it on forums and just made a huge commotion because people wanted to know when it was going to come out. Once the beta went live so many people logged into the game at the same time the servers crashed for close to 2 hours. This just goes to show that this tactic worked even better than they expected. If they had said it will be available at 2:00 PM it wouldn’t have received anywhere near as much attention in the blogging and social spheres.

I must say I’m impressed someone at Bungie thought of this, it’s great to know there are marketers (or marketing-minded people) inside of bigger companies that really know how to change things up.

Why Most Businesses That Fail Have A Preventable Death

Why Businesses Fail

I understand why some businesses are scared of diversifying their marketing and promotional efforts in rough times, but they really need to reconsider. Too many businesses – both local/small and even chains are holding on tight to traditional advertising channels like newspapers, yellow pages, and commercials. It’s time for them to put on their big boy pants and make some changes.

The internet isn’t going anywhere, we all know that. What most don’t know is how effective – cost and performance wise the internet really is. The traditional advertising channels I mentioned are two things that bother me: expensive and difficult to track. People (as a whole) aren’t looking at the newspaper or yellow pages when they need a plumber, or a roofer, or a massage therapist. They look to the internet – and search engines. It’s almost CRIMINAL how much it costs for an ad in the yellow pages, a full page ad will run you in the thousands of dollars per month with all kinds of cute little hidden fees.  You know what you get for all that money? Maybe a few clients, but will you ever know if they came from yellow pages? Probably not. There are some ways to track clients coming from your ad, but in reality – little to no companies do this because it’s difficult.

Now let me tell you how advertising on the internet works. Everything you do – every campaign, every customer, every click is all 100% trackable. You can find out AMAZING information about your demographic you might have never even known. With internet marketing, you can find out who is interested in you, WHY, and what makes them buy (or not buy). It gets even better, the very popular cost-per-click advertising model only charges you when the ad is CLICKED on, not when its seen or loads on a page. You can’t do this with things like print advertisements and commercials easily, if at all.

So it must cost way more than yellow pages or a newspaper ad right? Wrong. Let’s say you have a marketing budget of $2,000 a month, probably at least what you’re spending on untrackable traditional ads. You can stop throwing away your money and hire a well informed internet marketer or search engine optimizer to give your company an amazing web presence and bring you MORE customers for LESS money, or you can even do it for yourself if you invest the time to learn.

Here’s the big difference you might not understand yet: you’re being found when someone is LOOKING for you, not when they happen to flip a page or turn on the TV. It really is incredible that there is so much raw opportunity available that is much more affordable and trackable. With internet marketing you’re also opening up opportunities for long term relationships and 2 way interaction. If you put an ad in the newspaper you can’t decide “I’m going to follow up with all of those that read my ad and see if I can generate more business.” With the power of the internet, you can build a list of subscribers that at some point LOOKED for you – and see if they’re ready for your services or product again. Having this kind of long term interaction is extremely powerful, and this is just the tip of the possibilities.

I might sound harsh, but it’s time to evolve or die. Nobody is going to wait around while you decide if you think this is or isn’t right for you. Consumers are demanding more and more for their money and time – it’s your job to be there when they NEED you.

I’m working on a case study to show how much more cost effective using the internet is as opposed to the traditional channels discussed, if this post didn’t convince you and show you the power here the case study will!

The Future of Advertising and Social Media/Networking

yp

The amount of opportunity for businesses (big and small) and marketers alike has never been greater. Social media and social networking are ushering in a new era of advertising that is allowing for a business of any size to pay only for performance with highly trackable analytical data. Not only is the “pay for performance” model an amazing one but new tools and technology are being introduced rapidly to keep increasing profits while minimizing overhead such as geotargetting.

To put this into perspective lets use an example of a dentist office that is hurting in the current economy and wants to start advertising. A Yellow Pages advertisement is one of the “traditional” sources I hear a lot of businesses turning to when they’re looking to extend their reach. This is a huge mistake in general for a few reasons.

1.) Yellow Page advertisements are insanely expensive from a price per viewer perspective.

2.) It is very difficult (if not impossible) to track the efficiency and ROI of the advertisement.

3.) When a prospective client/patient looks up your business in the yellow pages it shows ALL of your competition around you, potentially eliminating you on the spot.

Now, lets talk about advertising on Facebook. With this type of advertising you can pay based on two different aspects: views or clicks. Either route you choose to go will almost ALWAYS be much more cost effective than a Yellow Pages advertisement. I highly recommend starting off with CPC (Cost Per Click) until your ad has a good CTR (Click Through Rate) because you’ll need to do some testing and tweaking to get it as low as possible.

Still not convinced? Let me give you an example scenario to really show you the huge gap in price and effectiveness.

An advertisement in Yellow Pages can vary quite a bit depending on size and city – some costing upwards of $90,000 for a full page. I’m going to use an average approximation of $4,000 for a 1/4 page size advertisement in a city of 20,000 people and 12,000 Yellow Pages subscribers . For $4,000, you get one advertisement on the same page as 3 of your direct competitors.

In a perfect world, every single subscriber will see your advertisement and respond to it. In the real world, you’ll be lucky if half even acknowledges your advertisement. Lets assume you get lucky and half of the subscribers see your advertisement, the cost is then $0.66 per view. Here is the first problem, your advertisement being viewed is the very tip of the sales funnel. In my experience, a 10% viewer -> action rate is excellent so we’ll go with that. That means that out of the 6,000 people that see your advertisement, 600 will call or take  interest. The rate of action -> new patient is even lower.  We’ll say that out of the 600 people that took action, 40 became new patients. That makes the overall cost per lead $100.

The scenario above is what you would most likely experience AT BEST.

Now let’s talk about advertising on Facebook. When you advertise on Facebook you have the option of ONLY paying when someone takes that action step. Even if your advertisement displays to 20,000 people and nobody clicks it you won’t be charged a penny. This already creates a more ideal scenario and will put them deeper into your sales funnel from first contact. There are many other great reasons why Facebook is a better solution for advertising including:

1.) Cost efficiency and extremely low overhead. You only pay for that action step instead of viewers and you don’t have to commit $4,000 up front, you can set a budget as low as $20/day.

2.) The odds of other competition displaying along your advertisement is low.

3.) You can control your demographic. Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to choose a wide variety of factors to show your advertisement to including (but not limited to): Age, Sex, Location, Marital Status, and Interests.

4.) You can track which advertisements are working and which are not decreasing the cost/lead dramatically.

For this type of campaign, my CPC generally hovers around $0.30. Let’s use the same conversion rate for action (clicks) -> new patient of 6%. This means for every 100 people that take interest and click your advertisement it will cost you $30 and you will have an average cost/lead of $5.

Sorry to be long winded, but this is extremely crucial to the future of cost effective advertising. I’ll release some case studies and concrete data/numbers eventually on here instead of using hypothetical ones so keep on the look out!