Archives for June 2014

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Can you keep a secret? It seems that Black Sabbath fans can’t…

sabbath-2-50(Before we go any further, let it be said that I am a big Sabbath fan, and this is more of a post about the capabilities of Social Media than about the band or their fans.)

On Friday 4th July, Black Sabbath will play Hyde Park with their British Summer Time Black Sabbath Time gig.

Tickets cost from around £69 (what happened to the days when I could go and see them for a mere tenner? Am I THAT old?)

However, in a deal with the event organisers, employees of that company could buy tickets for a massively discounted £2.50. Everyone was told, undr pain of death, that the link for the £2.50 tickets was to be kept private and not given to anyone outside of the organisation.

It’s 2014, Social Media is more popular than ever – can you guess what happened next?

Of course, the link was leaked.

Twitter went mad:

 

 

Facebook, Reddit, Google+ and other social networks followed suit. Before long the link had been forwarded thousands of times and thousands of fans were snapping up those £2.50 tickets. And who can blame them? A fiver for a couple to see Sabbath. Faith No More, Soundgarden, Motorhead and more heavy metal legends?

Some wondered whether it was legit, but most people were happy to possibly lose £5 against the chance of a great offer.

How did Hyde Park events react?

To my mind, in the best way they could – they agreed to honour the orders. A post on their Facebook page states:

Hi All, A staff ticket offer was leaked earlier today and some members of the general public were able to purchase reduced price tickets to certain Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park concerts. That offer has now been stopped.

“If you were lucky enough to purchase a ticket from this offer rest assured that your ticket remains valid.”

 What a brilliant response! Had they refused to honour the tickets, social media would have gone into overdrive, slating them and spreading the word.
By agreeing to sell the tickets at the price on the link they’ve gained respect and loyalty, and people are tweeting and posting positive things. Look out for when the tickets actually start arriving – I bet Hyde Park hashtags will be trending in no time.
They’ve turned a possible PR disaster into a PR win – kudos to them!

Where did it go wrong?

Well, let’s face it, in this day and age, a publicly accessible link such as that was not going to stay a secret for long, was it?

It only takes one employee to send the link to a friend, and before long it has snowballed exponentially. From one little tweet, millions of people can be reached through retweets and posts on other social networks.

I’m shocked that Hyde Park didn’t at the very least password protect the link – it wouldn’t have been bomb proof, but it would probably have saved them a few thousand pounds (although let’s not feel too sorry for them, I’m sure they’ll still make millions from merchandise, drinks / food and usual price tickets, plus of course sponsorship so they’re not going to feel this too badly.)

It seems to me that someone or some people just didn’t think – or of course, this could be a very clever PR ploy to gain positive PR 😉

What can we learn from it?

A number of things:

  • If you don’t want it shared, don’t make it publicly accessible – protect it or put it on a company intranet.
  • You can’t control Social Media – once it’s out there you’ve lost control of it.
  • How you react can be the difference between positive and negative feedback – reputation management is key.
  • Your author was offline in meetings that day and missed out on her £2.50 tickets – RATS! 😉

Did you get cheap tickets? Let us know when they arrive in the comments below!

10 ways you could be failing with Google Adwords

If you’re new to Google Adwords, or even if you’ve been around a while, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and miss out on a few tricks that could really help you out and save / make you money.

This great infographic from TechWyse Internet Marketing shows the main 10 ways people fail with Adwords, covering:

  • Broad Geo-targeting
  • Unfocused display network campaigns
  • Uncategorised ad groups
  • Low quality landing page score
  • Unchecked autospend
  • Broad match ads
  • No keywords in ads
  • Huge keyword lists
  • No negative keywords
  • No conversion tracking

I could write pages on the items above, but this infographic puts it far more succinctly 🙂

adwordsfail

How calls to action work on Social Media

A while ago  I wrote about having a call to action in all blog posts, yet it’s still the number one piece of advice I give out to all mentoring clients.

So it was nice to come across this handy infographic from Dan Zarella showing how a decent call to action can affect all aspects of your social media marketing.

See below how:

  • ASKING people to comment on blogs gets you more comments
  • ASKING people to retweet your Tweets gets you more retweets
  • ASKING people to share on Facebook gets you more shares

Comm0n sense really, but so many people forget their call to action and are missing out on valuable eyeballs because of it.

Your challenge today is to use a call to action in every aspect of your social media marketing, and report in the comments below as to how well it worked for you!

social-calls

 

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Simplify your online marketing efforts in 7 easy steps

SIMPLIFYDespite what the snake oil sellers might tell you, there are no miracle shortcuts in internet marketing. It’s an ongoing conversation requiring commitment, effort and perseverance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be gruelling.

Smart planning can pay off, so here are seven tips to get you started.

1) Set up email alerts

Whatever your business, it’s important to track your brand’s internet mentions so that you can respond promptly to opportunities or criticisms, but running internet searches everyday is time consuming, so this is one job it’s wise to automate.

With Google Alerts you can set up multiple key words or phrases to be monitored. Choose the ‘comprehensive’ and ‘as-it-happens’ options and you will alerted immediately whenever Google indexes a web page containing those terms.

2) Subscribe to follow up comments

Commenting on a blog post or forum thread has numerous benefits – you will usually be allowed to hyperlink your name to your website, and if your comment is insightful, it may raise your profile among peers and potential clients. However, if your comment is responded to, you may need to come back to keep the conversation going.

You can’t revisit every post you comment on indefinitely, so always tick the ‘Notify me of follow up comments via e-mail’ checkbox and know automatically if you need to come back.

3) Recycle your blog posts

Go back through your old blog posts and see if they’re still relevant to your current audience. Bloggers often only promote their new content, but this isn’t giving due credit to your older work.

During your conversations online, look out for opportunities to mention an old post in relation to a current event and consider editing and re-publishing some posts to create a more contemporary version of some old material.

4) Share and re-share your pearls of wisdom

Once you have been blogging, tweeting and commenting for a while, you will have amassed a considerable amount of valuable advice. From time to time, review what you’ve written and extract the best pearls of wisdom into a central reference sheet.

When you have a spare moment, search through forums, message boards or LinkedIn Q&As for questions relating to your core topics. Chances are, you’ll already have ready-made advice on file. A word of caution though, while the core points will be the same, it’s important to make sure every answer is tailored to the questions asked– if you just re-paste your points verbatim, it’s essentially spam!

5) Don’t use all your best material at once

Lots of people take a town-crier approach to internet marketing – they just want to be the first and the loudest to get a new piece of information out. While being among the first to link to – or blog about – a new story can win you attention, it often pays to hold back.

Not all material is time sensitive, so if you’re online for an hour and find a dozen really useful articles on a subject, resist the urge to share one every five minutes. Keep a central record of valuable information and share it intelligently over time. That way, you’ll never be lost for things to say, and you’ll have plenty of inspiration for future blog posts.

6) Schedule your tweets

You can’t be on Twitter 24/7, so scheduling posts can be an effective way to make sure you reach different audiences at different times, and don’t miss out when you’re away from your computer.

Tools like Hootsuite and TweetLater enable you to schedule your Twitter posts, but be warned: repeatedly reposting items with identical wording is spam. As a general rule, vary your wording so that your posts aren’t duplicated verbatim, and limit yourself to three tweets, at least four hours apart for any one link.

7) Take a systematic approach and stick to it

People who struggle with interacting online as part of their marketing toolkit generally fall into two groups: those who lose momentum and forget to log in for days, thereby failing to engage people or retain followers, and those who log on with the intention of doing 30 minutes work, only to find they are still chatting several hours later. Either way, the problem is one of planning and efficiency.

The best way to get internet marketing working for you is to do a little bit each day, with some set targets that you write down and stick to. For example, “In addition to blogging once a week, I will log on to Twitter for an hour each day, comment on three blogs, have a couple of chats and post three links, one of which will link to my own site.”

Yes, there’s still a lot of work involved in internet marketing, but if you employ these time saving measures, it’s entirely possible to see a great return without breaking your back.

Need some help? Try my Social Media Marketing Mentoring taster for just£25!

 

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Guaranteed front page Google positions – when is a guarantee not a guarantee?

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one (Photo credit: andrechinn)

The word GUARANTEE is one of the most powerful words used in marketing and sales. The idea generated by the word is that a customer or client will absolutely receive or achieve something as a result of the product or service.

In the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) business, many potential clients are offered such guarantees. The most common guarantee is that the SEO company can provide the client with hitting the ‘Guaranteed Front Page of Google’. Businesses that attain these positions on Google will often take the Lion’s share of business, so of course, all businesses want to grab and keep those positions.

This leads to SEO companies making grandiose claims about how they can help your company to achieve those positions.

However, let’s make something abundantly clear from the start.

No one can guarantee you the Number ONE ranking position on Google.

You should be wary of any SEO company that claims they can provide you with the coveted #1 spot on Google. You should be especially cautious of anyone that contends that they have a relationship with Google or can get priority treatment by Google for your submission to the rankings. No one gets priority.

Google themselves say: “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.”

When you’re offered a guarantee, it usually comes in one of the following guises:

ONE: GUARANTEED Front Page on Google – the offer is usually a way that less than scrupulous companies offer a flat fee for Google AdWords. After huge set up fees, that only gives you Google coverage for a couple of months, you’ll find you could have done it all yourself cheaper. If you need AdWords, use them but don’t fall for a false guarantee.

TWO: Guaranteed Front Page Google Listings – Sounds great, but they don’t specify a search term. Out of the key words and phrases that you want to be front page on Google for, you’ll find you’re guaranteed front page for ‘Blue Widgets with Red Dots in North East Clacton’. No one searches for that, but the guarantee has been fulfilled and you’ll never see your money again.

THREE: Guarantee Front Page Google List Or Your Money Back – Sounds good, but try getting your money back when you don’t see your site on the front page! The company will send you a screenshot proving your site held the front page Google listing but in reality it was for one day and never happened again.

FOUR: Replacement Traffic Guarantee – ‘If we don’t get you a front page Google position, then we’ll buy enough AdWords for you to get the level of traffic you need.’ Sounds tempting but why not just buy AdWords yourself? If their service can’t provide what you need, why would you want them to use Adwords to do it? Even with Google AdWords, no one can guarantee the traffic you will receive. The SEO company needs to make money, but the traffic they’ll send you through AdWords will most likely be less than you could have gotten yourself for less money!

FIVE: Google Front Page Or No Charge – this could very well be tantamount to a scam because this company could well use every black hat (dodgy, underhanded, unacceptable to Google) trick in the book in order to get you to the Front Page. In the end, Google will punish your site, and the damage is done. They will charge huge monthly fees if they do get you listed (albeit briefly) and try to tie you in for as long as possible.

The moral of the tale? Read the small print, make sure you know exactly WHAT is being guaranteed, and above all; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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10 online marketing myths (or: A little marketing knowledge is a dangerous thing)

(This article originally appeared on Mad.co.uk )

It’s very common for a business’s first foray into internet marketing to be a low cost DIY job, but this approach can carry risks.

Here are ten of the most common misconceptions about internet marketing, and what you need to know to ensure you don’t fall foul of a DIY disaster.

“It’s all about traffic”

Having loads of visitors to your site is a great ego boost, but if those visitors disappear again straight away, it’s pointless. The real measure of a site’s success is in the business it generates. Having 20 people visit your

Danger Ahead

Danger Ahead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

site and buy your goods or make an enquiry is clearly better than having 2,000 visitors that do nothing.

Intelligent web marketing is targeted to attract the right visitors, not just any visitors.

“A good website will attract visitors”

If you think you can pour resources into getting the perfect design and words on your new site, and then sit back and watch the visitors stream in, you’re about to be sorely disappointed. Getting a new site off the ground is hard work, no matter how fantastic it looks at the outset. Visitors will not appear out of the blue. You will need to work hard to promote you site, and not just once.

“Search engine marketing is all about meta tags”

If you are striving to appear at the top of search engine results for key related phrases, you might think that meta tags – the bits of code that offer search engines information about your page contents – are the answer. Not so. Seeding these tags with keywords and phrases is now only a small part of the mix. Some search engines consider them, especially the METAdescription and TITLE tag and they can show in results, but Google now ignores METAkeywords tags altogether for the purposes of ranking.

“Once I’m at the top of the search engines, I can stop trying”

There are always X thousand (or even X million) other sites competing for the same key words as yours. Keeping a high listing position means constantly staying on top of things, adding content to your site, posting in places that will give good back links, updating, adding blogs, news, reviewing and tracking. Put simply, it’s not a one off job.

“Hiding extra content on web pages will fool the search engines”

It’s a very bad idea to try to fool the search engines by hiding extra keywords using invisible text or a tiny font. The search engines don’t like it, it’s classed as spamming, and you could end up being penalised with a lower listing, or even have your site banned so that it doesn’t appear in listings at all.

“If I buy lots of links, I can instantly boost my search ranking”

When deciding how ‘important’ a site is, one of the factors search engines take into consideration is the links that point to it from elsewhere on the web. However, Google et al’s algorithms have become much more intelligent, and they no longer just count links, they also assess each site’s authority. If this is low, it will have little or no effect on your listing position.

“A higher Page Rank means a better chance of being found”

Page Rank (PR) is a score of 1-10 that Google assigns to some URLs to indicate their relative importance in comparison to the rest of the internet. It sounds important but in fact what really matters is how your sites fares in Google’s listings compared to those with similar key search terms, and this could bear no relation to your PR.

“All traffic comes from search engines – everything else leads back to that “

There are hundreds of ways to get traffic to your site and they all complement each other. Posting in forums, on Twitter and Facebook, getting people talking about you on blogs and in the online media can all bring in traffic, while also producing good links back to your site, which can in turn help improve your search engine listing.

“I can use a Twitter profile / Facebook to drive masses of traffic to my site”

Just like any other form of web presence, social media profiles take time and effort to build, maintain and attract an audience – and in this case, interaction is more important than ever. Social media can be a great traffic driver, but if you’re only promoting to your own offering, or posting endless links with no engagement, you’re forgetting about the ‘social’ in social media.

“There is a definite formula that works for all internet marketing”

Internet marketing is never simply a matter of carrying out a series of set steps. As with any marketing, to be successful, you need to understand your target market and what interests them, where their conversations are happening, what they are searching for, and so on. This takes time, and for some, means a DIY job isn’t quite as cost effective as it first appears.

Need some help? Check out my Internet Marketing Mentoring service, starting from just £25 a month

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7 Things You Can Do To Make Your Content Social Media Friendly

socmedfpWhen marketing your website online through social media channels you need to do things a certain way. It’s a bit like redecorating your house; you could do it quickly and as cheaply as possible. But will it look good, and will it last?
In this article we’ll cover 7 things you can do to make your website content social media friendly. If you follow all the steps listed below you should stand a great chance of scoring highly with social media sites as well as effective search engine optimisation.

Let’s get started:

1. Include a picture
If you’re going to bookmark your blog or content, but it doesn’t have an associated picture with it, it’s not as attention grabbing. Think about it; when you’re on a social website and you see a picture next to text; you’re drawn to it.

2. Title tag
If you bookmark your content to a social site; your pages title tag is often used as the title. If your website has the title “My Amazing Blog | Updating daily with super cool content” it’s not going to grab the attention of others. Give each page on your website a unique and grabbing title.

3. Social media buttons
They’re so simple to install and most blogs come with them pre-installed! The buttons next to a blog that allow users to instantly add your website to their favourite social media sites are a great way to help your visitors help your online marketing.

4. Allow comments
Many website owners disable commenting on their blog posts. However, it makes your site interactive. It allows your visitors to talk to you personally. Even more so; it adds more unique content to your website. By enabling comments on your website you might get more people returning to check if their comments have been replied to.

5. Controversial comments
If you do enable comments, do you allow the negative ones? Not everyone is going to agree with what you say and debate sparks interest. If people disagree or even get angry over your content, allow others to read. You’ll soon have many comments and conversations going on.

6. Title for tweets
If you’re tweeting your updates; make sure your titles aren’t too long. Twitter has a 140 character limit on its tweets so just keep an eye out for titles that are too long. Sometimes you can still have an effective, attention grabbing title but without the length.

7. Easy to read
With modern communication channels such as Twitter and FaceBook people don’t always have enough time to read a long article. By making some of your content short but sweet you may engage more readers

If you can implement all of the above tips into your website or blog you’ll be well on your way to social media friendly content. You can expect to see more visitors to your website and an increased client database too.

Need more advice? Check out my Social Media Marketing Mentoring from just £25 a month!

 

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