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Anise Smith Marketing

Social Media Professor | Digital Marketing Technologist | Mobile Web | Digital Webinar Developer | Analytics

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The #N00b Guide To Using #SocialMedia To Promote an Event

The #N00b Guide To Using #SocialMedia To Promote an Event
The #N00b Guide To Using #SocialMedia To Promote an Event

Social Media utilized for businesses purposes is relatively new in comparison to traditional marketing strategies. Social media used to promote events and seminars have been compared to word of mouth marketing, which has been around for quite a while. Similar to word of mouth marketing, social media used correctly offers the unique opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of exposure for events and seminars.

One of the most important things about using Social Media effectively is to know your channels, followers and audience. The user demographic on all social media channels is very different, so when sending your message by way of social media it is good to keep this in mind.

Channels that you should incorporate into your marketing strategy:

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

Facebook: Is one of the most powerful social media channels available. It presents you with the opportunity to harness this power to expose your seminars and events to, not only your friends and followers, but the friends and followers of your friends as well.

Seminars and events:

  • Facebook Business Page: If you do not have a Facebook Business Page, you should create one. This presents you with the opportunity to have people “LIKE” your page AND you can now market to them. Facebook page followers usually prefer that you post two to three times per day.
    • Upon creation of your business page, make sure you add content about your business, and or what you do. If the primary focus of your business is seminars and events, make sure you list as much detail as possible about what kinds of events and seminars you conduct.
    • Creation of a Facebook Cover page is very important. This allows people that have liked your page to get an idea of what you do and what your business is all about within a few seconds, just by viewing your cover page. The Facebook cover photo dimensions are 315px x 851px. You can find a cheat sheet of all social media images sizes online. Remember to view the Facebook cover photo terms of usage.
  • Facebook Events: This is a great channel that you can use to create and promote your events.
    • Personal Page Events: If you have people that you are connected to on your personal page, you can utilize this avenue to invite them to your event. If you have never created an event you can find instructions on The Facebook Help Page.
    • Business Page Events: You also have the ability to create events on your business page. You can find instructions for that on the Facebook Fan Page Event Help Page.

 

English: Tweeting bird, derived from the initi...

Twitter: Is a very different platform than Facebook because it lends itself to a more conversational tone and followers are extremely tolerant to more sharing of content. This is especially the case if you provide information that is helpful to them in addition to your self-promotion pieces. Most of the people that are following you on Twitter are following because they are interested in what you are sharing, your events, promotions etc. So, they are very open to 140 character short bursts of information about what you have going on. Just remember to also include useful content, NOT just self-promotion content.

Seminars and events:

  • Just like Facebook, make sure you create a bio for yourself. Add your website or blog URL if you have either.
  • Create a twitter header image; the size should be 1500 x 500. If you have the ability to create multiple graphic headers you should consider using different graphics to promote each of your events. If you chose to go this route make sure you have a basic graphic to use for your header image that will be utilized after your events and perfect for general purposes.
  • Check out the Twitter Help page for more details about customizing your profile.
  • Strategy: At one time people just tweeted, but this, like any other social media activity, has evolved.
    • Scheduling Tweets: It is a good idea to start tweeting about your event/seminar a few days ahead of your event, but it is essential the day before your event. Scheduling these tweets is advisable. Find our more in the Free Social Media Tools section below.
    • Live Tweeting: Is the latest rage now and if you can arrange this and if you think it may be beneficial to your events, it is advisable. Live Tweeting encourages engagement, your followers feel connected to you. Also, most importantly, everyone that is live tweeting with you is ALSO tweeting about your event to ALL of their followers. This is a way to extend the reach of your event, with the help of your followers.

TV has started utilizing live tweeting as an avenue to increase engagement among fans and actors and it has proven to very successful. So live tweeting during events is something to consider. Twitter recently quantified the impact of live tweeting during television events.

 

Vine: Was considered rather silly when it first arrived but later people realized how powerful this platform could be for engagement and social sharing. Vine is an app that allows you to video very small snippets of video and loops them together. They are easily shared and people LOVE them. Twitter owns Vine so it is really easy to share between these two platforms. Tide is a company that has successfully utilized Vine for marketing campaigns.

 

LiveStream: Is a platform that allows you to live stream your event by way of video. This could provide a great avenue to expose your event to people while it is taking place. This platform actually allows you to engage with those that are watching your event as well. This is a very powerful channel that should be added to your arsenal of tools.

 

LinkedIn: Is one of the most power social media platforms utilized primarily for businesses purposes, and they have absolutely NO competition in this space. For business events/seminars it is essential that LinkedIn is utilized.

Seminars and events:

  • Connecting: LinkedIn is a powerful platform in which to connect and network with like-minded professionals. It started out as a platform, which was viewed as an online resume, however they have grown beyond this due to a variety strategic company acquisitions.
  • Company Page: Is an essential part of keeping your network abreast of what you are doing, your events and seminars.
  • Groups: Is an area that should be utilized to present yourself as an authority in your industry. It can also be used to promote your events and seminars.
  • Articles: Pulse is the newest option that is really being aggressively pushed by LinkedIn. This portion of the site allows you to post articles directly to LinkedIn, instead of using an outside blogging platform. This is a very powerful tool because when you have completed your article and it’s posted, everyone in your network will be notified that you just posted a new article for the LinkedIn Pulse .

 

Slideshare: Is a great platform that allows you to post PowerPoint and Keynote presentations to a social format. This allows followers to view, share and embed your presentations to their blogs, websites etc.

  • LinkedIn owns Slideshare so your Slides can also be incorporated into your LinkedIn Profile using the LinkedIn Slideshare app.

 

Seminars and events: If you utilize a PowerPoint for your event or seminar, AFTER you’ve completed your event/seminar, you could post your slides for those that were unable to attend your event.

 

Google: We all know the power of Google, so utilizing some of what Google has to offer is a definite MUST for promoting your seminars and events.

  • Google Plus: Is one of the most powerful, yet underutilized social media platforms. The biggest benefit of using Google plus is that content shared on Google plus is factored into search results and will increase your search rank. Your Google+ Page will allow your personal page, your business page and YouTube channel to work together seamlessly to help you to promote your business, seminar or event.

 

Seminars and events:

  • Get started by creating a personal Google plus page.
  • Just like Facebook and Twitter, you have an area to create a cover page. The dimensions are 1192 x 2120. This space, just like for all of these platforms is very important because it is “prime real estate”, so you can announce different real estate like burnaby condos for sale or other properties. The cover page presents you with the opportunity to showcase your talents, display your unique value proposition, and promote yourself and your events.
  • You can get started using the Google plus Get Started

 

 

  • Google Plus Events: Is a platform that allows you to create an event and invite those that follow you. To find out more about events, check out the Google Plus Events Page.

 

Seminars and events: This event option should be used at least one week before your event, if possible. You can easily post your seminar or event to this platform and share it with your followers. What’s good about inviting people to your event is that the friends of the person attending your event will also be notified about your event. This is a great way to extend the reach of your seminar or event past just the people you are connected to.

  • Google Local: IS an amazing and free way to present your business locally. This page, after created is extremely powerful because it utilizes Google Maps in search results, so your business can be found.

 

Seminars and events: Make sure your contact information is up to date so you will be found in search locally. Start by verifying your business with Google Local.

 

  • YouTube: Is the second most searched platform and one of the most utilized platforms online. People love to watch and share videos, so this platform is a “must “when promoting event/seminars and businesses.

 

Seminars and events: If you have the capabilities to create a short video about your upcoming event, you could share that on your social media channels to create a buzz about your event or seminar. Creating YouTube videos are a lot easier than they use to be, due to smart phones.

 

FREE SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

Social Media is free if you don’t count the amount of time that it takes to fully take advantage of its benefits. If you go by the “time is money” philosophy, social media might not be considered free at all.   The key to utilizing social media to harness the power to promote is taking advantage of ALL of the available tools used to help you work smarter not harder.

Scheduling tools will become your friend and FREE scheduling tools will become your BEST friend. There are a variety of available FREE social media tools to help you manage your time, while giving you the ability to take advantage of all that social media has to offer. You can select to utilize a few or all of them depending on what meet your needs.   I use a combination of Facebook scheduling for Pages, Buffer and Laterbro.com. I use Facebook scheduling for pages to schedule my page posts, Buffer to schedule Google plus and Twitter if I have a small amount to post and Laterbro.com if I need to schedule a large quantity of Twitter posts.

  • Facebook Scheduling for Pages: This was one of the best things ever for people that use Facebook pages to promote their events, seminars and or businesses. To find out more about scheduling posts on your Facebook Page, go the Facebook Help Page.
  • Buffer: Is one of the best social media scheduling platforms available. Buffer offers a free option and an upgraded version, which includes advanced scheduling options and analytics for your posts. The free version allows you to schedule up to 10 posts on 2 different social media platforms.   I like FREE, so I utilize all free options on all platforms.
  • Laterbro.com is a FREE platform that allows you to schedule posts for Twitter or your personal Facebook page. This is great if you have a larger quantity of tweets to schedule.

BLOGS

Blogs are a great way to promote events and seminars at your own pace and timeline. Your blog allows you the freedom to post content about upcoming events weeks ahead of time to build a buzz about the event. These blog posts can additionally be posted to social media channel to further extend the reach of the seminar or event.

A few things that should be considered as additions to your blog:

  • Add a calendar of events, this allows your readers to see current and future events and seminars. They can plan to attend your event in advance.
  • Add as section/page for EVENTS/SEMINARS to your navigation; this allows your blog readers to plan for future events. In this section you could also add a submenu.
    • Include a Past Events section in the submenu of your navigation. You can add pictures, videos and other content from past events.
    • Include a Future Events section in the submenu of your navigation, which allows your readers to see what events are coming soon.

Good Luck!

 

As usual, I welcome comments good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus.  So follow, circle and  reach out!

 

 

 

 

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4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse
4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

There will always be companies that are innovators, adapters and sadly those that are incapable of seeing the future of industry. This is the business equivalent to natural selection, unfortunately.

America was once driven by the production of goods and as we transitioned to a more service oriented country, there was an evolution of sorts.  There were companies that adapted and some that didn’t do so well.  Those companies went the route of the steel mills in Allentown, Pa. The decline of a primarily production oriented world to a more service oriented world took a while to totally decline, but the transition of traditional to digital, that we are living through now is moving at a much faster pace toward its demise.

Two examples of the extreme change and fast transition from a traditional to digital world is the release of the Beyonce album, or I should call it the Beyonce Digital Project because that’s what it was. Some are saying, what’s the big deal and who really cares. WELL, we all must take notice because the release of the Beyonce Digital Project was a game changer in the music industry. This album release will change how marketing is done moving forward and this change will not be limited to just the music industry. At one time artists had to go through a series of procedures and promotions to push a new project. Beyonce’s release flipped the script on the entire industry in a mind-blowing move that totally blind sighted the industry. She used the brand that she built by way of social media, to be her own team of brand ambassadors willing to plop down their hard earned money to grab that digital release. In this bold move, Beyonce went directly to the consumer, cutting out any and everyone in the process by releasing her music directly to iTunes to be downloaded digitally. THIS was HUGE and changed the game more that we could ever imagine.

The second instance that displayed a step in a digital direction was Paramount dealing the deathblow to film, as we once knew it.  Paramount will be the first movie studio to go all-digital with the distribution of their films. THIS IS HUGE! At one time, Paramount would release films in 35 mm format, which costs around $2,000.  Now, due to going digital with the future releases of film, they can release films in digital format at around the $100.00 price point. The kicker here is that although this format is cheaper for the movie distributor, the smaller movie houses will incur the brunt of this move at least initially. These smaller and probably mostly independent movie houses will have to shell out upwards of $70,000 to become digital ready. This again, is a huge demonstration of the “adapt or die” philosophy, which will impact some business in an adverse way.

Both of above examples are an indication that we are at the beginning of a full blow digital revolution.  Organizations should take notice of the changes that are happening before their eyes, some will but many won’t. I’ve actually noticed that some organizations are not embracing digital at all but in fact, they are moving back to their toasty non-digital comfort zone.  All indications point toward a mostly digital world so it’s advantageous to embrace the change sooner rather than later. Progress is never comfortable but is inevitable, ready or not.

Although the changes that are happening within organizations are not as extreme as the two examples that I spoke of previously, companies still must adapt to a world that is moving closer to all digital. Below are four relatively simple things that can save your organization from the #DigitalApocalypse.

Concentrating on Content:

Concentrate On Content
Concentrate On Content

There is an ongoing debate about content; it’s effects on SEO, if it should be called Content Marketing and more.  Who cares about all of the back and forth and the correct phrasing, WHATEVER!  What matters is that without content, moving into 2014, you will most definitely be screwed.

The importance of content is irrefutable, you must have it and it must be GREAT. Content will effect your entire digital marketing plan, your social media strategy, your SEO and more. Content creation has become a $118.4 billion industry. Those numbers alone are an indication of the importance of great content. So prepare to become a publisher, outsource your content marketing or essentially become invisible online.

If you think about the importance of content creation it is very logical, if you produce more quality content it increases the amount of content that is available to be indexed by Google. This is especially important after the Hummingbird changes with Google, which was a game changer for websites, indexing and SEO.

NOW, it is just not enough to grab your local black hat SEO dude that promised to get you to the top of Google and have him buy some back links for you. In fact if you do that, you may not need content for quite a while, because Google may penalize your website or your website could even be banned.

At one time the black hat SEO route, to increase search rank was a method that could get results, if only for a short while.  Even if the results were temporary it would allow your neighborhood black hat SEO dude to run out his 3-month contract while looking like the magical SEO guru. NOW that is not enough, so black hat SEO dude may have to step his game up.  The folks over at Google are pretty darn smart and are hip to those tactics. The days of black hat SEO are seriously numbered if not extinct.

Leaving black hat SEO methods behind in favor of content creation is a great route to go and it’s an above board method of increasing rank with Google without the risk of being penalized. Content creation will allow companies, small and large to compete on a level playing field, for moving up in search ranking with Google. No matter the size of the company, if they produce great content and if they push that content by way of their social media channels THEY will reign supreme in the relevance game with Google.

Content is truly KING for a variety of reasons:

  • Great content allows you to present your company as an authority in your industry, increasing your rank on Google.
  • Content will increase the likelihood that people will link to your website, this solves your back link issue. Hence, increasing your rank with Google.
  • Great content shared on social media was not thought of as important a few years ago, but those days are over. Social Media is extremely important and sharing great content on social media channels allows you to appear “likeable” and this will increase your rank with Google.
  • Great content with effective keywords increases your on page optimization and guess what? It will [let’s say it all together now] increase your rank with Google.

The takeaway about content:

There is NO easy button, no guru to bail you out and no work around. YOU must start to produce great content if you want to become relevant enough with Google to increase your ranking. Google is a business, just in case that has slipped the minds of folks. As a business it is their job to produce the best results for search queries because this allows them to generate ad revenue and to STAY in business. Gaming the system is not the best route to take at this time with Google. So guess what, either make a decision to dedicate yourself to the work needed to create great content that is worthy of being pushed higher in search ranking or your competitors will.  It’s very simple.

Focusing on Mobile

Focusing on Mobile
Focusing on Mobile

Mobile is not going away, primarily because we have evolved beyond talking on the phone that is attached to the wall. Beyond just the telephone aspect of your mobile device, it has essentially become a pocket-sized computer that forward thinking organizations are using for targeting a previously untapped demographic.

At one time it was just enough for organizations to have a website that displayed the brand, company name and address. Then we progressed to having a Facebook page with a company brand and relevant content. NOW it is not optional but imperative that organizations have a mobile presence as well.

With the decline of desktop and laptop sales the increase in buying trends for mobile and tablets are hard to miss. I actually had a conversation with a Director of Marketing at one of the largest organizations in my area that said, “We do not need a mobile presence.” My mind slammed shut with a final, “Conversation Over” as she was obviously living through a #DigitalApocalypse.

The takeaway about mobile:

It doesn’t matter if you decide to go with a responsive design or traditional mobile design. It is, however imperative that your company’s online presence be viewable by mobile and tablet, this is no longer an option.

#DigitalApocalypse is the disastrous phenomenon in which individuals; organizations and entities have selected NOT to embrace our new digital world.

Analytics

Analytics
Analytics

I will be the first person to tell you that I am not really a numbers person, but what I should say is that I am not a numbers person when those numbers have no relevance to my interests.

I took a web Analytics class in grad school, I absolutely loved it and I was immediately HOOKED. This was a tough class for some but for me, the concepts immediately clicked.  I think this is because I saw how beneficial these concepts would be moving forward. When I saw the heat maps and demographics I fell in love, in fact it was love at first sight. Oops I’m so sorry, I’ve digressed terribly.

One thing that I immediately loved about analytics then and what I still love about it now is that it shows the data. You know where your visitors are coming from, you know how long they’ve stayed, you know which pages and content they’ve focused upon.

I can never express the importance of analytics enough; because analytics display your success and bring attention to areas that you may need to focus upon more, in graphic details. If your brain rejects the word analytics think of it in terms of measuring your results, because that’s exactly what analytics are. Analytics measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, your efforts, and your time. They allow you to see what’s happening, what you are doing successfully and what you need to improve upon.

The takeaway about analytics:

You can have the most beautiful, fancy website with all of the bell and whistles imaginable, but if you have no data to analyze the successfulness of your web campaigns, your website is essentially worthless. This applies to traditional websites and mobile websites alike.

Increasing Your Google+ Usage

Increasing Your Google+ Usage
Increasing Your Google+ Usage

There is so much back and forth about Google+, it always has been and probably always will be.  I was a part of the original beta team on Google+, as were most of my digital marketer friends, so of course I have always been a huge advocate of the platform.

Google+ has been improved upon since its original debut!  The layout has improved substantially, Google integration has greatly improved and it has grown its user base.

Although the improvements to the look and feel of Google+ have been spectacular what is more impressive is that content posted on Google+ show up in search results.  This is why I don’t understand the push back about this platform. Why would we NOT want our content to show up in search results, after all that is WHY we are there right, why we are online, why we work so hard to increase our exposure, right? Increased exposure means more business and more sales, which is after all what most web presences are all about.

The takeaway about Google+

If you want more exposure on Google start using Google+, it’s just that simple.

Wrapping up:

Digital Marketing is a game changer on a worldwide level but organizations must have the ability to recognize the change and adapt in mid-stride sometimes, due to the quick nature of the changes. We are living through an exciting time for those involved with digital marketing and those that are willing to embrace the change. Lets all embrace the many changes that I anticipate are ahead and enjoy our brave new digital world.

As usual, I welcome any comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Google+, Facebook or Twitter, so please circle and follow.

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The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation
The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

 

We have moved full force into a world where marketing has become education based, NOT sales driven as it was in the past and this calls for a different route to be taken with marketing based initiatives.

 

Content creation is rapidly moving toward being a huge driving force behind what once was traditional advertising, marketing and sales.  This changes how we think about marketing in general and will require organizations to re-evaluate their marketing strategies.  Based on these changes, the ability to create original, thought provoking and shareable content is not optional anymore it is mandatory.

 

According to Ad Age’s survey, 55% of marketers have increased their content-marketing budgets this year and is expected to do so in 2014 as well. The companies that are forward thinking enough will be a part of this trend, those that are still old school will not and fall that much father behind in creating the digital footprint needed to present themselves as authorities in their field.

 

At one time there were sales collateral produced by companies that were used to promote that company as an authority in their field. Traditional print pieces, brochures and magazine articles were once used to promote organizations but with so many people living in a plugged in world these channels are no longer as effective as they were during the print era. This is the dilemma, so what’s a company to do?

 

It’s time for companies to take the shift in consumable media serious and open their eyes and minds to change. People are just not consuming media utilizing the channels such as print as much as in the past. Media or content is consumed on social media channels and blogs by way of tablets and mobile devices. So it is imperatives that business who want to be viewed as authorities start to take content creation very serious. Businesses MUST start creating content AND publishing that content to the channels that people are utilizing!

 

So let’s take a look at the what, when, why and how of getting started.

 

What

This is the easiest question you can address because the WHAT of content creation is promoting WHAT it is your organization does. Every office has one or two people that are informed about EVERYTHING about the company. These are also usually the people that have been with the company since the company started. This person is a valuable source of information to a content creator! They are your brand ambassadors and they have the ability to provide the WHAT of content creation for your content creator.

 

When

You should create as much content as you or your company can physically manage and post it as much as possible.  If you get a content creator that is on their game they will be able to stretch out a small amount of content into multiple pieces of creative and engaging posts on a blog.  This content can then be posted over a period of time. It would be a great idea to create a publishing calendar so that you can have an organized and consistent flow of content moving through your digital channels at all times.

 

Why

By providing an abundance of content this allows you or your company to become authorities within your industry. If you become an authority in your industry you can increase your exposure, improve Google placement and potentially increase sales. This is just a no-brainer.

At one time the company with the biggest marketing budget was the company that had the most exposure and sales. The same thing applies here except we are dealing with online content, which has essentially replaced a lot of traditional marketing channels as a way to consume media.

 

How

There are so many ways to create content and so many types of content that you can create, written, visual, video or a combination of all. The most important thing is to provide a variety of types of content and use analytics/insights to gauge the effectiveness of the content that you are providing. Some say that visual content does best, some say video but every audience is different. This is why using the data from analytics is imperative because it will allow you to see what kind of content your readers like. This allows you to create and share more of the content that is in demand and less of the content that is less than favorable.

 

To get a better idea of the importance of creating content for your brand, take a look at the infographic below.

 

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Infographic via wishpond 

 

As marketing changes so MUST the willingness of companies to keep up with the trends that will keep them ahead of their competitors and content marketing is one of those trends. We no longer have such a high demand for print, brochures but an increasing demand for blogs, newsletters, website articles, white papers, and special reports. Content creators are key to providing this type of content and it is essential that that content be original, engaging and shareable.

 

So stop reading and get started with creating great content for your brand!

 

As usual, I welcome any and all comments good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, find me, follow me and let’s strike up a conversation about content creation!

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Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD
Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

I grew up in an era that was not technology focused; there were no computers, mobile devices, or Internet when I was in high school. My generation did not even grow up with cable. In fact I remember when cable initially hit the scene, when MTV actually played music and the HUGE campaign “I want My MTV” which was used to push MTV to mainstream. Oh, those were the days. A lot has happened with the growth of technology since my high school years. If you have been able to adapt and embrace this super fast growth of technology, that is fantastic. However, if you have not you could be a little screwed now and a lotta’ screwed later. This, is especially the case if you are trying to run a business based on philosophies and an organizational structure from the 1980’s, MTV Era. The biggest mistake in taking that path is that this audience is dead or on life support.

Think about this, we are reaching an age when we have augmented reality and your business cards can talk. We are moving toward the Semantic Web, closer to an era when ALL of the computers mechanisms in our devices will be able to communicate with each other. Do you seriously THINK that people are in touch with old school methods? NO one is looking backward, or I should say consumers aren’t looking backward. This means that your organization is being left behind,  if you are not forward thinking.

Companies that have not embraced our new social oriented culture and the growing mobile market, are  whistling in the wind. Those companies are targeting a dwindling population. Just visualize it as a numbers game. Think about the target markets that are NOT online and those that are NOT mobile, this number is growing smaller and smaller as more people embrace the digital marketing space. So companies should NOT be gearing  their primary marketing campaigns toward a demographic that is shrinking. It’s really common sense. Companies should be looking to always GROW their audience NOT focus on the shrinking audiences.

Social-Media-Stats-of-2013
Social-Media-Stats-of-2013

In essence, in choosing NOT to adapt to newer technologies companies are choosing to throw in the towel on their businesses whether they realize it or not. Companies MUST go where their audiences are, that’s the only way in which they will continue to grow. In fact Seth Godin wrote a post “What do you think of my brochure? ” 7 YEARS ago, about the total reliance on brochures as a way to reach an audience. That piece was applicable in 2006 and is even more so now.

The Internet is the 2nd most widely utilized channel for news. If people go to the Internet and social media channels for something as valuable and important as news, they will also go there for other information as well. So, every business SHOULD make it a priority to have a strong social media and mobile presence. The old saying, “If we build it, they will come.” definitely applies to a strong digital footprint. On the other hand, if we build it and it’s geared toward a dwindling demographic, they may NOT come. As business owners we should be interested in substantially shifting those odds in our favor by going where our customers are.

Where America Turns To For News  via Gallup.com
Where America Turns To For News via Gallup.com

Ultimately if companies are not tapping a new more social and mobile oriented market with content geared for this demographic, they are taping a dead audience. Take a look at the video below to see exactly HOW much social and mobile is ingrained in who we are, as a culture now.

People are on the go, we now live in a super fast paced world, and people are looking for content that they can access easily and quickly on their mobile device. They DO not want to read a companies long-winded prepackaged full-page ad in whatever magazine that’s lying about in an office or waiting room. They want quick access by way of mobile while they are on the go. So as business owners we must be willing to supply them with this information or they will go to competitors that will.

The take away, while your organization is spewing their prepackaged printed message, other more innovative companies are going where their audiences are and moving past that 1980’s strategy. The time to step it up was a few years ago and companies that have not done so may be living a “STUFF” got real nightmare if they select to continue on this path.

I am not saying that companies should roll over and die, I am trying to subtly nudge those living in a time warp to adapt or die.

As usual, I welcome all comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I welcome dialogue even if we don’t agree, so follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and lets start a conversation.

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#GooglePlus, #SocialSearch And Why You’re SCREWED If You’re Not Taking It Seriously

Google Plus IS Social Search

 

I was a HUGE fan of Google Plus from its initial introduction and I was one of the many people within my social circle that jumped on board immediately.  We were all a part of the original beta testers and were immediately impressed with this platform.  In the earlier stages of Google plus, there were many that were of the “either or” mentality about social media, either they leave Facebook or try Google Plus. Even with so many doubting the importance of Google plus, there were many within my social circles that knew that Google was on to something.  Many, like myself are still of that mindset.

 

I had a discussion over a year ago, with a recreational Facebook user that argued how irrelevant Google Plus was and how it would remain so because HE felt as if Facebook would always rule. As a recreational social media user that shared pictures on Facebook two or three times and would log on every 3 months or so, how could he recognize the importance of a platform beyond his own minimal recreational use.  I won’t even go into why anyone NOT living under a rock in Narnia with centaurs would ever minimize a Google platform. With the exception of a few platforms, Google has been known to turn dust into gold.

English: Google+ wordmark

Although I have always been excited about the possibilities of Google Plus I never thought of it as a platform for casual users. I always thought of Google plus and its extraordinary capabilities for business owners and digital marketers. Honestly I never pictured a person like Mr. Recreational user pounding away and connecting on Google plus. However I did think of digital marketers like myself and other likeminded marketers in my social circles utilizing this as a huge platform to boost their exposure and their clients’ exposure in ways that we have never seen before, even with Facebook.

I am not comparing it to Facebook beyond placing in into the category of Social Media platform.  I’m not minimizing Facebook in anyway, because who could ever minimize a platform that really was a pioneer in the sharing and oversharing world that we live in today. Facebook literally changed HOW we communicate, how much we communicate and even extended into the workplace changing the marketing and advertising fabric of practically EVERY organization in business.  Facebook could NEVER be minimized because they really changed the world and our views of communication and sharing information.

Although Facebook boasts over one billion active users Google plus has the power of the biggest search engine in the world behind it, Google. This is what separates Google plus, as a social media platform, from Facebook. Google is so darn huge that we don’t even use the phrase search engine anymore.  I don’t search, I FREAKIN’ Google. I haven’t searched something since back in the 90’s when those now obscure search engines like; Looksmart, Infoseek and AskJeeves were around. WE ALL FREAKIN’ GOOGLE NOW, we DO NOT search.

Google in all of it’s greatness has been “on to something” since the introduction of Google Plus and they have, in their own Google Greatness kind of way molded this platform into a platform that shouldn’t be ignored.  There have been many subtle changes to Google and Google plus since they pushed the social search platform out to the masses.

Initially Google plus wasn’t much to look at with its small narrow banner and boring look, but the layout has been tweaked a few times to create a much better-looking page. The last few tweaks consisted of the banner change and a full layout change.

There were outward changes to the Google plus platform but most of the changes were behind the scenes with Google and very gradual. These are the changes that will benefit businesses most.

  • The integration of all Google Services
  • Uniform sign on
  • Personalized search results
  • Google places merging into Google Local
  • Blogger ability to be shared easily on Google+ Pages
  • Blogger becoming a much more relevant blogging platform
  • Google+ and team up with Zagat
  • Finally, the push toward social search


In essence there has almost been a full integration of all Google Services with Google Plus at most and at the very least these services greatly compliment Google plus.  Any way you look at it, the integration of these services with Google plus creates an avenue in which shared information meets search. SOCIAL SEARCH.

Social Search is something that Wajam tried but never was able to move forward as successfully as Google will. Also Facebook tried to play the social search game with Bing. We all know how that worked out. Besides there really cool TV commercials, no one really gives a poop about Bing because they are really kinda’ sorta’ irrelevant in the search game. Or I should say in the Google Domination Game.

Google plus is the platform, now that it is merging all of the Google services, will be a pioneer and will dominate Social Search. An avenue where social results will play a role in search results. Oh wait, that’s happening now.

Take a look at the graphic below of an image that I posted to Google plus that displayed in Google search results, for a company that I represent in the digital marketing space.

 

THIS is Social Search, THIS is Google plus
THIS is Social Search, THIS is Google plus

 

THIS is Social Search, THIS is Google plus and THIS is why you are seriously cheating yourself if you do not have your company page on Google Plus.

If you have any comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent you can reach me on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook. Circle Me and Follow me!

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Social Search is Here and So Is Social Search Optimization: ARE YOU READY?

Social Search Optimization
I had a discussion a short while ago about the importance of social media to a business person in this era. My specific conversation revolved around the importance of Facebook for new and established businesses. I cannot stress enough that traditional marketing as we once knew it is over. O-V-E-R. I’m not saying that traditional marketing as it once was does not play a role in our daily lives, only that it has changed.  Think about the last time you picked up a traditional TV guide or magazine. Makes you say wow, right? It is imperative that your marketing plan surpass what was the norm years ago and embrace what is happening NOW.

Social Media has really taken business by storm and grown beyond that even. Social Media Campaigns have totally gone beyond posting/updating your Facebook page and Tweeting your deal of the day. As businesses we must be more strategic than that, we must engage our audience, focus on the social media channels that are good for our brand and monitor our insights to see if the content we are sharing is on target. So, social media campaigns are just that, campaigns and really go beyond just playing on Facebook.

One of the biggest game changers in the creation of effective social media strategies are  the merging of social media and search, I’ve talked about this for a few years now. This really involves utilizing social media channels in search results to increase search rank with Google. A huge player in this game will be Google+ although the naysayers would reject this theory. I have personally noticed an increase of my social media channels integrated in my search results and this has increased my organic search presence.

As an Internet Marketing company I visualize Social Search Optimization as a natural progression to utilizing social media, search and optimizing those channels for the most effective  social media campaigns ever.  It is truly time to take it to the next level, embrace the extreme change of marketing, rock your business and learn more about strategies that give your business an opportunity to compete with and maybe surpass its competitors. A company that is totally rocking this Social Search Optimization space is ThinkBigSites, appropriate name don’t ya’ think?

Are you ready to take your social media strategy to the next level?

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The Three T’s Of The New Workplace Organizational Structure: Technology, Teamwork and Time With [Infographic]

Anise Smith Marketing Teamwork

 

We are truly in new and unchartered lands when it comes to technology.  We are experiencing growth and change at a rate of speed in which I’ve never experiences due to the growth of technology primarily excelerated by the growth of smaller devices like tablets and smart phones. These technologies are now having a profound effect on how we live in our personal and business lives.  Technology in regard to our personal lives is a little bit easier to adapt to; however, technology growth within the workplace is a whole different animal.

 

When planning a new technology strategy, there are so many things that have to be considered. Some of those things are how people will adapt to the introduction of new technology, training staff, how it will effect the budget and more. If a company is a B2B or B2C it can be that more difficult to adapt, change and embrace new technologies on an organizational level.  Of course for some organizations it can be an easier process but for some it can be a challenge. Companies that are involved with technology on a certain level will of course adapt better to change, but those that are totally removed from technology may struggle a bit more than those that work within the technology industry.

 

Although technology has grown at such a fast rate we are all still trying to catch up with all of the changes. I once said that at any given day you can feel like a n00b because of the super quick growth to technology, social media and digital marketing channels.  We are truly in a different work era now due to the the boom of technology and although technology can be used to streamline our processes, save time and make things easier often times that is not the case because we are all still learning to utilize those technologies within our workplace more effectively.

 

The first thing that we must do when planning to implement new technology within our organization,  is to realize that we are indeed in a different workplace era now due to the growth of technology and adapt accordingly.  That, I must say, will probably be the biggest challenge in the new technology focused workplace. We are now a part of a technology boom that is equivalent to the initial introduction of PC into the workplace.  So I cannot promise that the process will be easy and seamless.  We can use the technology that is growing so quickly as an asset to our organizations or allow it to be a burden. A few very basic things to keep in mind are the fundamentals and I call them the Three T’s Of the New Workplace Organizational Structure:

 

Technology:

We must first learn to embrace technology in general as time is not going to roll back to suit you in your need to hold on to the pre-technology days. Then we must discover the technologies that we deem to be appropriate for our business. Not all technology, social media and or digital media channels are appropiate for all businesses.  Exploring new technologies can be as easy or as hard as a company can make it. The first step would be to assign or hire a person that is familiar with a variety of technologies, that have embraced new technologies and can lead your company on the right path. After finding out what technologies and or digital marketing strategies work for your organization, implement a plan to integrate those technologies into your company organizational structure.

The implementation process is what will probably be the hardest challenge, and this is especially the case with older organizational structures.  The key is to have professional guidance and get started sooner rather than later because technology will never wait for you to catch up.

 

Teamwork: 

One of the greatest things about the growth of technology is that it presents organizations with an opportunity to take a look at their organizational structure and tweak it if needed to integrate more of a teamwork structure if it is conducive to the organization as a whole. Technology will almost force people within the organization to work as a team due to the huge effect that technology has on the entire organization. There is no aspect of an organization that will be exempt from the use of technology when its implemented so this will create more of a teamwork atmosphere.  Teamwork is great for employees, the workflow and the bottom line which is good for the entire company. You know what they say, there is no I in team.

 

Time:

As we utilize technology more effectively and implement a more team oriented workplace it can actually minimize the amount of time spent on task and streamline organizational workflow. This is of course contingent upon effective utilization and adaption of technology, increased teamwork and proper training of staff.

We are at a point in the workplace that we are NOT utilizing time effectively which minimizes productivity and maximizes the amount of time spent doing tasks. Consequently our days are longer, our workflow is not as effective as it should be and organizations are not running as smoothly as they could.  Take a look at the Infographic below which will give you an idea of exactly how ineffectively we are managing our time within the workplace.   A few tweaks to organizational structure to implement a teamwork dynamic and implementation of effective technologies could really change this slippery slope that we are on.

 

Bring Back the 40 Hour Work Week Infographic
Source: OnlineMBA.com

 

Ultimately the goal is to utilize technology strategies that are smart for the employees and organization as a unit in order to use time more effectively  while creating a teamwork inspired organizational structure. This is the new workplace organizational structure, embrace it!

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Social Media and Customer Service [Infographic]

Social Media & Customer Service

 

Social Media had become a real force to be reckoned with in the past two years or so and one of the areas that has been directly effected is customer service.  Social Media is a great thing for customers because they now have the opportunity to reach out and connect to companies that they are dealing with. They have the ability, thanks to social media to see the people behind the organizations that they are dealing with.

 

The ability for customers to reach out and learn more about the companies that they are doing business with is a huge thing for the customers but for companies that are not on their A game, not so much. This is primarily one of the reasons that companies must be diligent about creating a positive social media presence for themselves.

 

Take a look at the infographic below to give you an idea of how much social media has changed customer service.

 

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So What The Heck Is Black Hat #SEO [Infographic]

BlackHatSEO

I’ve heard discussions about Black Hat SEO and Red Hat SEO. What’s the difference? Why so confusing?  Does it matter now since SEO has change due to Panda Updates and Google+?

Well, take a look at the infographic below it will shed some light on Black Hat SEO .

Source: seo.com via Anise on Pinterest

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