Czerwiec 2010


    The Art Of Social Media Recruiting

    Active recruiting means you’re looking for the right person for a job.  Any one actively looking to fill seats knows that you can’t throw all your efforts into one location because your prospects may not be at that location.  You need multiple sources.  If you want to find the most diverse crowd to pick from and find those gems than you have to start picking through the far corners of the web, including social media.
    Demographics might change across various platforms and channels but you can count on some solid elements that exist through all of the social networks
    Recruiting centers around finding the right person at the right time.  When you start thinking about what it takes to find the right person you realize that one source often isn’t enough – multiple sources and outlets are required.  If you want the best candidates you have to dig into diverse mediums, and that includes social media.  If you’re digging into social media for recruiting, there are some key things to hit on so you can make the most of your time spent there.
    Be Approachable
    Your profiles for networking should be organized so that you are both transparent and approachable – this way people can discern the most about who you are.  That includes get a bio, an avatar and current contact information.  These are vital to establishing good connections with people.
    Organize Your Time
    Engagement is a major factor in recruiting within social media.  That means you have to stay involved.  That requires a lot of time on your part.  Save yourself some time by looking at what competitors are doing and glean the methods that work best.  Make the most of your time spend within social media so you get a decent return on your investment.
    Be Genuine
    If you want to see the truth in someone and understand how they work then you first have to present the real you and be truthful in your own right.  People have a tendency of knowing when someone they are taking to is being fake, vague or evasive in providing info.  When you’re working in social media, it’s about these real relationships not the tools.  Since you’re here for recruiting, it’s best to be honest up front.  Be authentic and be yourself.  When you’re authentic, people will recognize it and respond in kind.
    Focus on Substance
    If you’re turning to social media for recruiting, then focus on substance and try not to simplify it to the march of resume gathering.  Engage prospects and look at how they interact with you and with others.  Are they actively engaging their community or do they linker like a creepy lurker?  Stick to people who have no fear of active engagement.
    All of these tips come together to make the time you spend with social media recruiting an active time that brings in a lot of leads.  This can make social networks great tools for managing recruitment but of course, only if you manage them properly.


    Subconscious Marketing on Twitter

    A good question to ask yourself when you’re looking at social media integration, especially Twitter, is to ask yourself why you’re using it.

    • Do you want to make money?
    • Do you need valuable intel?
    • Want feedback?
    • Need blogging ideas?
    • Want to make your content go viral?
    • Trying to sell something?

    If you’re trying to push any kind of product through Twitter to an audience, that’s all well and good – as long as you’re doing it in a way that isn’t a hard-sell, hard-ball marketing trick.  You want to do it in a way that generates subconscious interest so that people naturally feel motivated to buy from you.
    Consider the image you want to portray before you launch a campaign.  This image is important because your messages will be structured around this concept or image.
    Imagine if you’re trying to take over and dominate a niche like Weight Loss.  You would need to have a motivational message that reeks of empathy, positive reinforcement, encouragement, and of course your profile pic shouldn’t be a photo of someone that needs to lose weight.
    The image you would portray would need to be one of an ambassador for healthy living and proper diet if you’re peddling weight loss products.  The content and posts you’re sharing should be helpful and provide a lot of valuable (free) knowledge on the subject matter.  People respond to this type of person because you’re connecting with those individuals and appealing to their subconscious needs.
    Every piece of content you want to share should be with purpose.  Consider before posting – “Does this match my image”.  It’s pointless to share content that doesn’t further your goals within social media with your prospects.  That’s like working within the weight loss market and posting tweets about ice cream.  It will likely do more harm than good.
    Unfortunately people tend to remember the bad posts more than they remember the good, conversational pieces that we frequently share.  That’s why it’s important to stay on task, on track and socialize in a way that improves your image and works toward connecting and engaging prospects in a positive way.
    While you’re developing the content that you’ll be sharing, remember that each piece of content should have a hook that keeps people engaged.  Regardless of how often you post about that content and other events, always try to mix in these 4 elements in your strategy:
    1)      Make sure you reply to people that talk to you
    2)      Make some personal tweets so people can feel more attached to you
    3)      Direct people to other parts of your sales funnel where they can get additional information and more content such as your blog or other social media profiles
    4)      Share interested content you find on other sites such as YouTube that people might enjoy.  You don’t always need to share your own content.  Share the content of others to show that you’re not self-centered.
    You should constantly be working to build up the image that you’re a thought leader and that you can be trusted.   Subconsciously, people will begin to see your credibility and value and over time a rapport will be established that will continue to grow.
    Avoid the hard sells, the calls to action, the spam, the self-centered link sharing.  Promote the people, promote the message, promote anything relevant that will elevate you in the eyes of your followers.  This will help develop the trust you need for further engagement and conversions.


    Blogs Are Changing The Web – Here’s Proof

    What was once a silly little platform for airing general thoughts and feelings has turned into a massive behemoth… for airing thoughts and feelings.  Of course it goes beyond that now.  Blogs are changing the face of not only publishing but marketing as well.
    The problem with the web as it used to be was that it was loaded with static pages that were drab, dull and boring.  For the longest time, web sites were seen as an untouchable entity to many companies.  If they had one, they dare not tamper with it.  It was like the engine to an expensive automobile.
    “Just call the mechanic” It was left to the IT guys.  You couldn’t (or shouldn’t) make a change unless contacting another department and that  might take a day or two to get things done.
    Then comes the blog.  The all powerful dynamic machine that allowed for rapid published of content through an easy interface.  WordPress is at the forefront of the blogging movement, with over 9 million downloads.  It is the most popular, the most customizable blogging platform on the web.  The ease of use combined with simple customization and open source platform have taken WordPress out of the world of blogging and into the world of content management.
    It’s not just for Blogs anymore – Now it can completely power a website.
    There’s no doubt that the blog has changed the way we view and use the web.  Here are just a few ways that’s happening.
    They’re Open To Everyone
    Every person with access to the internet can host a blog and publish to it.  They can voice their opinion in any form they choose and their message can be wide spread – potentially global.  The ease of sharing has made it extremely easy for a middle class Joe to write a post about problems with Nestle, or Nascar antics, and have that post go viral across the web in a few short hours.
    There are journalists who are paid ridiculous salaries that can’t get their content to explode in such a manner.
    The blog has given a voice to millions of people, and amplified the voices of those who were already outspoken.  It’s a powerful tool for having an opinion heard from a consumer standpoint, and marketers can use it with equal potency for reaching into new markets.
    No More Web Designers
    One of the greatest things about the web is having a website where traffic can find you.  Unfortunately it used to be extremely difficult to get a nice site up unless you knew HTML in and out with some knowledge of PHP or ASP, with some CGI and CSS and PERL…yeah.  Fun, right?
    Blogs have made it so simple for anyone to manage a website.  The customization has helped designers create themes and templates for WordPress (and other systems) that look and act just like a typical website.  In truth, they are.  They contain all the design elements and navigation of standard corporate or niche websites with the simplicity of a dashboard on the backend for easy updates and customization.
    Blogs have transformed into complete content management systems that have allowed users to build intricate, beautiful websites with little to no experience in PHP, HTML, etc.  While those certainly help, they’re not needed.
    Do we still need web designers?  Of course, but gone are the days of having to hand off a simple update to a web admin and wait for changes.  Users can now manage their sites easily with a simple web interface.
    Changing The Way We Share
    It used to be that if you liked a site you had to manually copy the link and send it to friends via email or instant message – it was basically a world of copy and paste.  Blogs mix wonderfully with other social media networks and make it extremely easy to share content with plugins for social bookmarking and other social sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
    The most popular is the sexy bookmarks application, lending a nice design to simple sharing.  A newer plugin that’s becoming popular is the Wibiya bar that springs up from the bottom of the window and offers translation, sharing and other customizable buttons.
    The simplicity in sharing has opened the floodgates for viral content to spread quickly and has strapped a rocket to the ass-end of many content marketing campaigns.
    Overall, the blog is a great opportunity for small businesses to start engaging and interacting with consumers.  As costs in hosting, design and domain registration come down this has become an affordable option for many to start marketing more heavily online while creating professional designs that are easily managed directly by the business owners.


    Get The Most Out Marketing & Networking On Facebook

    A frequent concern is how people can leverage Facebook for social media marketing.  It’s often seen as a kids site and nothing more than a simple social network.  If that’s the case, then how come so many businesses are finding success there?
    Many companies and individuals that want to leverage social media are holding back because they fear that Facebook just takes too much time – a limited resource for many of us.  It’s true that it can suck you in and force you to waste a lot of time but it doesn’t have to work out this way.  You just need  to be a little aggressive with your time management, especially if you use Facebook to network for both business and personal reason.
    Social media can be ridiculously addictive, but that’s no reason to completely avoid the system.  Just because something takes up a lot of time doesn’t mean it should be avoided.  If that were the case, men wouldn’t spend any time around women.  Avoid Facebook all together and you’re completely missing out on opportunities to network and socialize with people that are important to your business.
    Consider the time it normally takes you to network with people in other situations.  Conferences, at the office, out and about while running errands.  All of these things are interruptions in your normal routine that require you stop what you are doing and pay attention to that individual or group until the conversation has run its course – sometimes that can be a long time.
    Facebook works so well because it is managed at your convenience and allows multitasking.  You can engage people while doing other things that normally fit into your routine.  Granted Facebook won’t completely replace your in-person networking, but it can supplement it.
    Sorry, you still need to go to conferences.
    If you’re still struggling with how you can utilize Facebook and what you can do to make the whole thing a lot easier just follow these tips to help you organize your time and experience a little better.

    • Turn off email notifications in your account settings.  This can be a huge distraction if your email notifier goes off constantly while you’re trying to work.  You should have small blocks of time setup in the day to check Facebook, not repeatedly every time you get an email.
    • Ignore/black all pointless applications and games – you don’t need them, they will waste your time as you try to find relevant updates
    • Make regular updates to your status
    • Don’t travel to the individual pages of people you follow, just skim the news feed on your home page for the most recent updates and interact from there
    • Check your own wall to look for comments and use a set block each day to respond to peoples comments.  Doing this throughout the day wastes time.  Have a set block of “comment/respond” time.
    • If you have a blog, use an automated service like NetworkedBlogs to announce your new posts for you.  That way you don’t have to manually log into Facebook and make manual update about your newest posts.

    The best thing you can do is to block out time each day for checking and updating your social media networking sites.  Think of it as “network social hour”.  People laugh at the recommendation but I’ve suggested that some people even set a timer on their watch to limit themselves.  It works.
    Some of us need that reminder to keep our head in the work game and remember that play comes later.  It might take you some time to get acclimated to Facebook if you’re new so spend time getting to know the system.  Facebook is a wonderful way to network and build leads with social media marketing and you’ll actually find that the less you use it the more successful you are overall.


    Make LinkedIn Answers Part of your B2B Lead Generation Strategy

    If you want to use social media to build leads and generate some powerful credibility then you should turn to LinkedIn Answers.  This is particularly true if you work within a B2B medium, because no other networks offers the same focus on business.
    That’s what LinkedIn is after all.  A network of business professionals.
    It doesn’t take a massive amount of time each day, and you can simplify the entire process using the RSS feed from LinkedIn.  With a tight strategy to it, you can spend about 15-20 minutes each day and form some solid networking.
    First and foremost:
    Find the categories where you have the most expertise, where you feel you can contribute the most.  Each of those categories has a standard icon for the RSS feed.  Subscribe to those feeds so that you receive them via email (or your favorite feed reader that you utilize).
    Repeat the process for each of the categories where you want to engage people.
    When you begin receiving feed updates, you can keep them organized in folders (within email or your feed reader) and check it before you get your day started in the morning.  I’ve met some folks that prefer to do it in the evening hours but you’ll get the greatest benefit from answers in the morning – give people plenty of time to respond to your comments.
    Don’t try to answer all the questions, but select or cherry-pick the ones that provide the most value and give you the most shine.  After all, you’re trying to build leads and credibility.  If you answer everything you’ll waste far too much time and you’ll just be “one of those guys” that answers everything – no one likes a know-it-all.  Stick to a few here and there.
    Your traction is going to vary.  For some people this will work very well, for others hardly at all.  At the very least, offering up your opinions and intelligent answers builds credibility and will help you meet interesting people within your field.  Those people may not be perfect leads but they may generate leads through word of mouth.
    If someone else has answered a questions, don’t be afraid to proactively follow up with the question or add to it if it’s applicable to the situation and you feel like you can add something.  People appreciate all the information that is given, especially when it’s given freely.
    There are many who question the B2B power of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.  While there is certainly potential within those channels to connect with other businesses, there is greater chance of success within LinkedIn – especially within the Answers section.


    Overcome The Struggles Of Blogging

    Blogging is a powerful tool for engaging prospects.  It has reach, potency, branding power, it can imbue trust and credibility and it’s scalable to virtually any business that gets involved with it.
    With that said, it’s got more obstacles than an urban assault training course that can leave the average joe or business owner completely baffled, frustrated and annoyed with the entire concept.
    Blogging struggles hit all of us, especially when we’re trying to manage a full time gig or multiple businesses online.  There’s always something else to do, emails to answer, calls to make, meetings, conferences, family time – the last thing anyone wants to worry about is stopping.
    And having to shut it all down just to sit and write a post?  Forget it.
    Try not to let blogging struggles bring you down.  You’re not the only one that gets burned out, blogged down (ha.) and bored with the concept.  We all hit our obstacles and have the same struggles.  The important thing is to identify solutions before you start struggling so that when an epic fail is about to fall into your lap you can fix it.
    Lets look at some of the more prominent issues that people face in blogging.
    Establishing A Blogging Schedule
    This is number one on many a list.  It’s the main cause for people to give up, lose focus, lose track and ultimately lose interest.  It can also cause problems with readers if they have a hard to following your blog because they don’t know when you’re going to post.  The solutions are easy.

    • Create an editorial calendar so you know what you want to do on a weekly basis, what you want to write about, what topics, what categories, etc.
    • Take the time to create content in advance and set it up as a delayed publish.  That way your content gets out on the same days every time.
    • Check out aggregating feed content or welcome guest publishing to keep information going on your blog.

    Getting Ideas For Blogging Content
    Often we struggle with what to write about.  We aren’t sure what types of categories to cover and we suffer from the worst kinds of writers block.  This is one of the most frustrating issues for many when they make the time to blog but can’t settle on anything to discuss or they feel like they don’t have anything to say.

    • Check out your competitors and other similar blogs.  Don’t copy them, but try to garner inspiration for a post of your own.  Just because someone already spoke about it doesn’t mean you can’t speak about it with your own spin.
    • Step outside of your cozy box that is your niche.  Consider it “taking a breather” by reading content that doesn’t pertain to your market or your blog topics.  You never know what might trigger a spin on a topic for a new blog post.
    • Just start writing something.  Anything.  Freehand has been responsible for some amazing pieces of work over the course of history, see what it can do for you.

    Finding Your Blogging Voice
    Many bloggers sometimes feel the need to write in a specific style.  Some try to be too journalistic, others too formal or corporate, and some just too silly or off the wall.  While those styles are fitting to the right blog and the right person, if that’s not who you are then don’t do that.
    Blogging is about being yourself and applying your personality to a niche topic or giving personality to a business.  People can tell if your fake.

    • Read blogs with different styles and find someone that thinks like you do.  Analyze how they turn their thoughts (that are similar to yours) into written content.  The closer you identify with what they’re saying the more likely it is that the particular style they use would work for you
    • Style and personality can get lost in longer content where people are trying to sound education and sophisticated.  Don’t be dumb, honestly.  If it doesn’t work for college professors that droned on for hours, what makes you think it would work in a blog post?

    Defining these problems and developing your own solution is part of your content marketing strategy for blogging and can increase the success and enjoyment of starting and maintaining a blog to engage your visitors.
    Not to mention it’ll help maintain your sanity.


    Book Review: SEO Secrets

    Before I say anything, let me say that you can turn in any direction on the internet, put your hand out, and you’d be touching a random eBook about search engine optimization.
    The problem with Search Engine Optimization (SEO )books is that the majority of them are produced by people that either have very little understanding of SEO (if any at all) or they provide just enough information to readers to make them dangerous.  I’m honestly not sure what’s worse:  Wasting money and learning nothing, or wasting money and have people discovering tidbits that can destroy their ranking within the SERPs if used improperly.
    My experience with SEO eBooks and other DIY content has been less than favorable, and I have a thundering bad outlook on much of the content put out in this niche (If I hadn’t made that obvious yet).
    That’s why SEO Secrets by Glenn Murray was a breath of fresh air.
    I’m not new to SEO or SEM by any means, so I can spot a book a mile away that just doesn’t put it all together.  Murray has actually put together a respondent piece that takes care of the pressing questions for anyone trying to wrap their head around DIY Search Engine Optimization.
    SEO Secrets manages to touch on the most important topics throughout it’s content without bogging down in technical information that’s completely irrelevant to a new user.  Taken straight from Murray’s website:
    “SEO Secrets’ is a comprehensive DIY search engine optimization (SEO) guide for small business owners, bloggers and SMB marketers. It details a practical 10-step process that will get you to the top of Google. It’s more than tips & tricks, and more than advice. It’s a comprehensive process you can start implementing NOW.”
    There’s no hard sale behind it, that’s fact.  It’s simply a good book.  What I appreciated the most was the detail Murray placed on optimizing a WordPress setup.  This is a great process for users who are unfamiliar with html and need to get their presences established online fast.  Optimizing a content management system like WordPress can get any business in  touch with users fast.
    Couple that assistance with the information provided on article marketing/link bait and information on keyword research for top rank within a niche market and this book is an excellent formula for DIY SEO Success.
    I think what helped me connect with the contents of this book was the story behind it.  Murray lays out how he struggled on his own to make his business work and had to do some heavy research to discover how to make DIY SEO work for his business.  He learned by doing, and the result is by far one of the keener “best practices” SEO books I’ve read in some time.
    See for yourself, check out SEO Secrets today


    Debunking The Myth: “Social Media Isn’t For A Biz Like Mine”

    It’s always possible that there exist businesses in the world that don’t jive well with the bulk of the population.  For everything that people do and see there seems to be a niche market and it’s quite possible that not every niche market will do well with Social media marketing.
    I’d venture to say that there might even be some companies that should run far and run fast from social media.  Those instances are probably rare but when you consider the sheer number of people within social media and the diverse interests the world over then there’s a greater chance that social media marketing could be beneficial to you and your business.
    It can bolster any number of the following
    Lead Generation – Simple interest created with content marketing through social media can lead readers to submit information via opt-in forms simply because they find you more interested, are appreciative of the shared content, the entertainment provided, etc.
    Brand Building – Being able to interact with a company in social media builds relationships.  It established a solid foundation in the mind of the buyer with your logo and memories of interactions stamped in the concrete of that foundation.
    Brand Management – Things don’t always go out way and we eventually end up with unhappy customers ranting or stating issues within social media.  This offers opportunities to show everyone else how you can step up to the plate and manage issues that arise.
    Competitive Research – How are the other businesses like yours utilizing social media to see outcomes and elevate their business?  You can easily follow their actions and review their engagement within social media just like any other user.  You can look at their conversations and judge which actions, applications, etc get the best results.
    Generate and Build Traffic – Social media  is a hub for sharing and when people start talking about you or some of the content you post it can spread across the web at a rapid pace for no more cost than it took you to produce the content and spend a little time posting and promoting it.  As more people hear about it, more people will travel through the links to find you.
    Customer Support – Businesses are seeing as much as 20-30% drops in call center traffic because users can engage one another online and find the answers quickly especially within social media.  Imagine the kind of appreciation customers would have if you were the one answering their questions online?  Social media as a free consumer support center?  Yup, plenty of businesses do it.
    Reduced Advertising Costs – While social media is not a typical media channel for advertising (doing so is widely considered to be taboo) it is a great way to get the word out about products and services in a pre-sell, informational kind of “advertorial” means.  Simply existing within social media and engaging people in a positive manner will help create word of mouth buzz about your business.
    I would never recommend social media marketing for every single company, and I think it’s silly to say that everyone needs to be involved in social media.  That just creates a rush within many business owners to get involved and “get it done”.  It’s not for everyone, and it’s certainly not for everyone right now.
    The concept of social media, that being relationship building, is key for success in any business.  If you believe that businesses are built on networking and relationships then building and leveraging those relationships becomes your business.  That’s where social media becomes a handy tool for boosting all your marketing and branding efforts.
    Unless your business is built on silence within traditional media channels… I suppose there are some special forces platoons, hired assassins and ninja’s that wouldn’t do well in social media.
    Most businesses are built around people – it makes sense to go where the people are (you can stop singing the song to Cheers now)


    Is Social Media Marketing Too Hot For Some To Handle?

    When we’re “playing around” in social media, we’re not paving roads or connecting consumer driveways to our travel network.  We’re erecting and building entire cities where we want those consumers to move to, stick around and spend their money.
    Social media, from a “do” standpoint, is one of the most labor intensive moves that a business can possibly make.
    Part of the reason that so many companies stumble and struggle within social media is that they rush in, but that alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee failure.  I’ve seen people with little to no experience rush into other projects and ideas and come out gleaming like gold.  With social media, they’re rushing into something that they believe is built on simplicity and easy to manage.  I think many business owners and marketers fail to see the scope and size of what social media is.
    The term “social media marketing” is just far too narrow a scope for what we (and other people involved in marketing online) are actually doing for clients that want to put social media to work for their business.  Social media marketing is a mashup of what our pappy’s called PR along with content marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social networking, social marketing campaigns and pretty much anything else you can stuff into that list that involves developing a handshake between a business and a buyer.
    The scope of work is massive, and there’s no way that anyone can survive if they hit the ground running and try to do it all without understand what it all is and how it relates to them.  I don’t want to get off on a tangent about strategy here because that’s a horse we’ll beat to death in another blog post. But ideally, you want to assess and measure the effectiveness of every channel you’re on before you get involved as well as continue to do so in an effort to improve strategy as you go.
    Understand the labor required behind “doing” social media can really help put things into perspective for a marketer that needs to handle a client project and develop a budget.  One thing that many business owners (and even marketers) don’t understand is that as a social media marketing campaign progresses, success increases.  As success increase, so does engagement and the need for continued work on a greater level.
    It takes more effort to maintain a position as king of the rock than it does to actually climb the hill.
    With that expended effort and increased engagement then there is an increase in expense.  This can cripple a lot of businesses that start off with remotely fair footing but soon realize that the longer they engage the more expensive that engagement becomes.  As an understanding of the scope of work increases, businesses begin to hang by their noose of budgets because they didn’t understand the scope of work and costs involved.
    Just because general involvement in social media is free and the base networks don’t often cost anything it doesn’t mean that the labor, research, outreach and engagement don’t come with a price.
    This is not a realm in which we can leave things to hope.  Hope isn’t a plan, it’s wishful thinking. People starving around the world hope for a plate of food because they have little to no control over their next meal.  Soldiers caught in foreign wars hope for the chance to get home without getting shot because they don’t control their ticket home.  People putting their businesses on the line by stepping into social media have complete control over the where, when, how , why and who.
    Too many businesses enact plans “hoping” that it will go viral and take off.  Leave little to hope, take the time to appropriately research your market and how you will engage those people.  If you clearly understand your involvement, the scope of work and the costs involved then you will find that social media marketing is less of a massive struggle and more of a good stout game of tug-o’-war.


    The Facebook Vs. Google Throwdown Continues

    Where does Facebook stand in comparison to Google?  Is the Social Media Giant that’s boasting nearly 500 million users as of June 2010 ready to pummel the search king?
    To some that might seem like an odd question, because comparing a social media network like Facebook that’s built on connection and sharing to a network like Google that’s build on search with some other useful perks is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
    Is it though?
    Size has a lot to do with that comparison – there are only so many people in the world and if they’re in one place then they’re not in another.  Networks like Facebook have been shoving back against the biggest names online like Google for several months now, and statistics are showing that Google is seeing a dramatic decrease in user traffic while Facebook is showing climbs similar to the first hill of a monster roller coaster.
    In the United Kingdom, we’re seeing growing trends in social media and social networking use that have trumped search engine visits.  Facebook is topping the charts with a wopping 55% of all social site visits.  It’s not surprising at all as the userbase for Facebook continues to grow.  Questions that were once asked within search engines are now being asked among growing friends within social media communities.  Answers are found faster by polling followers than digging through search results.

    Most people still turn to search engines for their core functionality – organization of web content and delivering relevant results based on content – so there is little worry about Facebook dominating as an info source but it does threaten the largest revenue source for the search engines;  Advertising.
    Facebook has seen growing success with the new Like button integration on other websites.  This has allowed advertisers to target people more directly for up to the minute updates based on things they like online.  This makes every target market a living, breathing and growing source within Facebook where advertising is concerned, and business no longer need to rely on manual updates for relevant content to show.  Google missed the buck on that one.
    It will be interesting how Google alters their own services to try to maintain their hold on their advertising profits.
    Do you think search engines are on a decline?


    Keep Social Media Marketing Simple

    I regularly devour social media content be it in books or blogs, articles, etc and a lot of what I see are bits of practical advice on how businesses should participate in social media.  The problem with the content that’s being shared is that while it may seem practical to folks that are involved in social media already (to the point of being academic) it’s can tend to be out of reach for the common business owner.
    How useful is the content if the people you’re targeting don’t always understand it?
    There’s a lot of discussion about social media strategy and social media tips and techniques but the best approach in anything (especially for an individual or new businesses jumping into the mix) is to keep things simple.
    Business owners should find the best area where they’re comfortable with marketing an stick to it.  Just because a social media “strategist” told you that you have to be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and 5 other sites doesn’t mean you have to.  This is a fairly new “beast” anyway, business owners would be surprised at how many “strategists” have been doing this for less than 6 months.
    If you know your customers are in one given place and you network well there, then start participating there.  It’s easy to build up the right kind of reputation and add value to a community when you can focus on one location.  This simplification makes it easy for a new business to manage marketing within social media and by focusing the efforts in a small space of the web there’s a higher chance for better conversion due to proper engagement.
    As a business owner, don’t water down your efforts spreading out across the majority of social media sites.  Do what works and stick to it.  It’s extremely easy to use additional automation tools to branch out later and reach other networks.  Sites like can help you broadcast to multiple networks without having to actively engage people there full time
    Focus breeds success.  Start small and expand to other networks slowly as your marketing efforts pay off.  And they always will with simplicity at the center of your campaign.


    Taking The SEO Plunge

    To some, the thought of diving into search engine optimization (SEO) is a bit like joining a polar bear plunge.  Thrusting your body into a pool of icy water isn’t at all pleasing to the mind, and the body would certainly protest.  Forcing yourself into an SEO situation without knowing much of anything can certainly make the eye begin to twitch and the skin crawl.
    The net is buzzing with talk of SEO and how those SEO techniques apply to small and large business.  Website owners that dream of making money from traffic are doing everything possible to stack the odds in their favor.  For someone that is limited in SEO knowledge, having the forethought and knowledge of where to start is like a 6 year old trying to reinvent cheese.  Like any business related goal, SEO techniques require careful implementation.  Thankfully, it’s not as in depth and difficult to grasp as many think.  Once you understand the basic concepts, and put together a plan of action, SEO techniques suddenly become very simply and doable.
    It’s not rocket science, or even on the same level as chemically engineering cheez-whiz.  Let’s take a look at a simple example to understand the concept of how the search engines work in relation to site indexing.  This will help you grasp the initial concepts of how SEO techniques apply to your site.  We have one man who will represent Google.  Your actual website and the content within is going to be represented by a room full of 50+ people.
    Google approaches the door, opens it and steps into the room.  As he enters the room (your site) a crowd of over 50 people turn and look to him.  They say nothing to greet him, they simply stare.  Each person is wearing a nametag that says “hello my name is” but the remainder of the nametag is blank.  Somewhere, among the crowd of people, someone randomly says “spoon”.  The entire group then breaks out in a chorus of “spoon!” over and over again.  Google leaves quickly lest it suffers a seizure from the assault.
    Google moves on to the next room.  As he enters the room, the mass of people within suddenly form a single file line.  Each person greets Google in turn with a clear but short statement of who they are and what they do.  As Google reaches the end of the line, he has a fantastic picture of the reason why this group of people is gathered here, what they have in common, and how useful they are as a social group.  He finds that his trip here was useful, and he puts this room at the front of his memory.
    You don’t want your site to resemble anything even remotely unfriendly or unwelcome to search engines.  You certainly don’t want the above first example to be the experience a real visitor has to your website.  It’s important to prepare your site not only for the major search engines that will index them, but also for the various forms of traffic and visitors you will be receiving.


    3 Tips For Small Business Lead Generation

    Every upstart and small business is often worrying about leads – mainly because if you have enough leads to sustain you and you’re not worrying about them anymore then you’ve probably moved beyond “small business” status.  There are a number of ways you can push yourself in the right direction to create a magnet like effect for leads, and other times you need to hammer away at the anvil to make your own.
    While these tips aren’t meant to shortcut a tried and true lead generation system, they can certainly jumpstart your efforts.
    Try these out if you find yourself stuck and in need of some new leads:
    Find & Engage
    Point your browser to and start plugging in keywords that are specific to your product or service.  If you can locate conversations that are currently taking place surrounding what you do then you can jump into the conversation or send a direct message via Twitter to offer help.  You can also poll them for feedback on their likes and dislikes within the industry and share information that they would find valuable.  Make a habit of this and people will begin to recognize you as an expert and someone who is willing to reach out to consumers.  You will, without a doubt, bring in new clients with this direct lead generation method.
    Yelp! It up
    The great thing about customer services sites like Yelp is that anyone can view the content that’s being posted in reviews.  These sites encourage people to lay it all on the line;  the good, the bad and the ugly.  For any business, it’s worth their while to troll these waters and eaves drop on customers for lead generation purposes.  Look over what they have to say, examine the feedback.  Make sure you don’t take it personally, even if it’s ugly.  Don’t get drawn into a back and forth but take the time to work with those people who comment regardless of their position.  Keep them happy, make them happy again and show everyone else that’s watching how hard you work to make it so.
    If you want to get something (leads, traffic, business) then you have to give something.  If you create value for other people after you network with them you have a higher chance of connecting on a social and business level.  If you approach users online from a pre-sell standpoint where your intention is to educate first and sell later, then you have a greater chance of completing conversions for the campaigns you’re running.
    The hard sell is a thing of the past and it’s an ineffective lead generation method.  If you try to force a user into a buying process, you’re destined for failure.  If you tried to force a horse in a specific direction without trust you’d more than likely get kicked.  Consider this when you’re working on building leads for your business.  Put hard sale aside and examine what you can give before asking for something.