Social Media

Mike Moran

Will social media listening replace market research?

Advertising Age had an interesting story that was brought to my attention by a colleague, where a Procter & Gamble exec speculates that social media is already changing the world of market research. It's an interesting story, mostly because of who is quoted. When a company with the marketing chops of P&G says something, you've got news. But the news is actually much bigger than what you are reading in Ad Age....

Mike Moran

Money Alone Can't Buy Digital Marketing Success

I've been talking to some small business owners recently who are all complaining that they are getting squeezed out of social media, search marketing, and other forms of Internet marketing by the big guys-big companies with big budgets. At the same time, I've been hearing from frustrated large company marketers that they cannot break through the clutter and that their budgets don't seem to help. This would seem, on the surface, to be a simple question. Either the small companies or the big companies have a point, and the other ones are smoking something. So. who's right?...

Mike Moran

Are you a marketing tactician or strategist?

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Mike Moran

We have nothing to fear except social media itself

Is your company afraid of social media? I don't mean merely uncomfortable or inexperienced. I mean white-knuckle teeth-clenching afraid. I frequently talk to companies that live in deathly fear, and they have their reasons. The question for them is what to do. Do they give into their fears and avoid social media or do they plunge in and overcome their fears? Usually, the right answer is neither. Instead, you need to try to let your rational brain break through the wall of fear and take a first step that doesn't feel so big....

Jayson DeMers

The Definitive Guide to Twitter Etiquette

Here are the Twitter etiquette guidelines that should be followed when marketing using Twitter. Following these guidelines will help attract more followers, build better rapport with your target audience and increase exposure and brand awareness. ...

Mike Moran

The Internet blurs the old organizational lines

Who owns the Internet? Obviously no one actually owns the Internet, but this is a question that I hear every day from big companies, because they want to know which organization within the company should take the lead with all Internet work. Big companies fail in Internet marketing every day because they waste time answering that question instead of just using the Internet. Large firms are trapped in the old thinking that problems get broken into small pieces, assigned to the right organizations, and "solutioned." But the Internet doesn't fit into any of those neat little boxes, and all attempts...

Nick Stamoulis

Using Social Media to Promote Your Local Business

Too often local businesses set up social media accounts and then leave them empty. I'd almost rather a business owner not even have a Facebook page than create one and walk away from it. Social media marketing is a fantastic way to promote your local business, connect with current and potential customers, and drive foot traffic through your doors but you only get out what you put in! Social media is not a set it and forget it platform, so be sure you are actively inviting and encouraging your customers to get involved. Ask questions, post pictures, promote specials--give them...

Jayson DeMers

Top 10 Web Apps to Help You Manage Your Social Media Campaign

A list of powerful social media management tools for managing social campaigns like a pro....

Stoney deGeyter

Five Questions You Need To Ask Before Selecting a Blogging Platform

If you don't have a long-term blogging strategy today, you might have one tomorrow and find out the blogging you did yesterday wasn't on a platform compatible for the future. So think ahead and try to keep up.

Chris Warden

Your Guide to Local SEO 2013

"What is Local SEO? Why is it important? What can it do for my business?" This guide will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Jayson DeMers

How to Build an Online Community Around Your Business

Strong relationships and customer loyalty are essential for laying down a solid foundation for any business. One of the most effective ways to develop relationships and gain loyalty is to build an online community. Here are some of the primary advantages of this strategy and the steps to take to build an online community around your business. ...

Mike Moran

What can social media do for me in a PR crisis?

When that bad story first hits your computer screen, you can be excused for feeling just a little bit panicked. If you're like most companies, you aren't prepared for a PR crisis. You might have some action plan in mothballs, but if it doesn't include social media readiness, you're not prepared for a full-blown 21st century PR imbroglio. If you haven't thought through how social media transforms your PR crisis planning, it's time to do so now....

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Rank Factors: Places Listing and Social Media"

"What is Local SEO? What factors influence my ranking? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Jennifer Cario

Social Media Works Precicely Because Consumers Think it Doesn't

A few days ago, my husband looked up at me from over his laptop and said "Yahoo has a poll asking people if social media influences their buying decisions." After I smiled and chuckled a bit, I asked him what the poll "concluded."...

Jennifer Cario

Pinterest Releases Native Analytics

After more than a year of waiting for delivery, Pinterest has finally delivered on its promise to deliver native analytics to Pinterest users with verified URLs. (And Pinterest marketers rejoiced.) In an announcement posted to the company's blog on March 12th, the Pinterest team shares the details....

Jennifer Cario

Are Your Supposed Social Media Goals Distracting You?

It's 2013. We've been working on this thing called social media for about five or six years now. As marketers and as business owners, we're not only wrapping our heads around the infinite engagement possibilities, we're also finally beginning to possess the tools that allow us to gather real data about the value of our efforts....

Mike Moran

Should I republish content on my blog?

We like to tell ourselves that blogs are this breathtakingly new way of communicating with customers unlike anything we've ever seen before. And, to some extent, that's true. But if you are a veteran of electronic or even paper newsletters, I'll excuse you for not being so bowled over. You've been doing this for years and you know how it's done. One of the things you know is that coming up with fresh content takes work, and one of your secrets is re-publishing content originally published elsewhere. But should you do that on your blog?...

Mike Fleming

Your Biggest Mistake in Measuring Social Media Success

You think social media is a channel that it's not, because you want it to be.  All those people right there for the taking with all their interests laid out for you in their profiles.  All that talk that lets you know what they're thinking.  It seems like the perfect place to make perfect customer matches.  But, it's not.  At least not initially....

Mike Moran

Should I hire a ghost writer for my blog?

Many people feel unsure in their writing abilities and although they want to have a blog they feel ill-equipped to actually write the blog posts. After all, ghost writers put the words together for autobiographies and lots of other published works. Why not a blog, too? It might seem like a good idea, but my advice is to avoid this practice. Instead of getting someone to pretend to be you, there are better ways to get your company's blog off the ground....

Mike Moran

Internet Marketers Must Listen Before They Speak

As marketers, we spend a lot of time thinking about our message, as well we should. Our job is to tell prospective customers how we can help them, so we focus on what we say. The Internet has turned the tables on marketers, however. Time was that marketing messages were conceived by extremely creative people to get attention for products, but now, listening to what customers say and do are just as important as creativity. Old-time marketers have always listened to a few customers in focus groups, so you can think of the Internet is the biggest focus group of...

Dave Cosper

Google+ Local: Competing for Visibility

Google's shift to Google+ Local has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local dashboard with Map Maker serving as the back-end "mapper-driven" verification tool....

Todd Bailey

Using Social Media as a Supplement to Your Search Strategy

The search engine optimization and social media worlds continue to become interconnected. Many online marketing professionals are complimenting their traditional search strategies with more robust social media campaigns to maximize their reach. It looks like at least one major search giant is acknowledging that businesses want to see results from social media efforts....

Mike Moran

Using Google Strategies for Facebook Ads

Everyone has been watching Facebook to see if it can monetize its enormous traffic to become a going business. And the focal point of that monetization effort is advertising, just like Google's. And you've probably read about Facebook ads, or perhaps even tried them yourself. And maybe you've decided that they just don't work. You might be right, but it could also be that you are trying to use Facebook ads the same way you use Google ads, when you ought to be doing something very different....

Stone Reuning

Stop Neglecting LinkedIn as a Resource for Leads

Facebook seems like the star of the social networking show these days, doesn't it? It's where people connect and keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, and from a business perspective there's no doubt it can be a great place to build relationships and gain contacts. With all of the press surrounding Facebook though, it can be easy to forget that another network out there offers its own advantages: LinkedIn....

Stoney deGeyter

Let Community Be King Over Your Content

If content is king, it can be a bully. It's all about itself. However, when you let community be king of your content, you can then focus on building community engagement, which encourages people to read your content. When community comes first, it uses content as a tool rather than a weapon. Tools fix things. Weapons, not so much...

Todd Bailey

Romney Social Media - An Uphill Battle for the Campaign

With the inevitable GOP nod going to Mitt Romney, now that former PA Senator Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race, it is mission critical for Romney to get his Social Media act together.  A conflicting, and sometimes confrontational, social voice as well as the limited social reach he currently maintains are just a few of the inadequacies the campaign needs to address....

Jennifer Cario

Kotex Gets Creative with Pinterest Campaign

Whenever a new social media channel comes out, there's always this period of waiting with baited breath while we see how marketers are going to utilize it. It's almost like the first really big campaign both gives the site legitimacy and helps remind us of the full potential. While we've all been talking about Pinterest for months, a recent campaign from Kotex is winning quite a bit of endorsement as the first totally awesome Pinterest campaign. ...

Todd Bailey

Actively Allow Consumers to Pinpoint Interest in Your Brand

What's the latest craze in online marketing?  It's still before lunch; there's still time.  The question is jocose but tagged with realism; there are tons of ways to 'socialize' on the Web through social media sights, Pinterest (featured in the New York Times) being the latest to pass the social threshold (and the first to reach the 10-million-visitors-a-month club so quickly)....

Jennifer Cario

The Super Simple Guide to Using and Marketing Through Pinterest - Part Two

Now that you've gotten yourself up and running with a Pinterest account, it's time to put it to use to start collecting ideas, links and pictures. Remember, Pinterest is a powerful online filing system that gives you visual access to the things you might wish to use down the road. Back in part one we talked about setting up some topical boards to sort the "pins" you find. Today we're going to talk about how to find those pins....

Jennifer Cario

The Super Simple Guide to Using and Marketing Through Pinterest - Part One

A few months ago, I would have forgiven you if you hadn't heard of Pinterest. It was like a sneaky, lovable cat. The kind that curls up in your lap and gives you the warm fuzzies while you pet it, but that remains quietly invisible to anyone not already in the know. The past month or so though, it's all begun to change. Pinterest has finally reached it's tipping point and the masses are starting to pour into the site to explore what it has to offer. If you are a marketer, a blogger, or a business owner, it's time...

Mike Moran

Editing: Is social media realtime or permanent?

As social media has (somewhat) matured, an interesting culture has grown up around the idea of editing social media content. And for reasons that I don't understand, it isn't one culture--it seems as though every kind of social media has developed its own culture around editing content. It is as if we can't decide whether social media is a realtime force that is stream of consciousness and should never be changed, or it is a permanent record of activity that ought to be updated as it changes, or something in between. Some kinds of social media (Wikipedia) couldn't exist without...

Jennifer Cario

6 Reasons 2012 is the Perfect Time for Social Media

As we roll into 2012 companies are looking at ways to either boost their social media campaigns, or in some cases, launch them for the first time. One of the big questions they have is whether or not they're too late to the game. While I'm not going to lie and say it's the easiest it's ever been to get in the game, I can say more companies will find it easier to get involved today than they ever have before...

Mike Moran

Does your marketing have "readability"?

I don't know a lot about robotics, but I have read a few articles recently about the biggest problem that robot manufacturer have in entering the home. They need the robots to behave differently so that people know how to interact with robots. For example, if a robot needs to open a door, it moves to the door and then must scan the door to locate the doorknob, identify the kind of doorknob, and then begin moving its robotic arm to open the door. Sometimes it takes a little time to do all these things before starting to move its...

Mike Moran

Google+ for Business doesn't have a lot of pluses

Perhaps you saw the announcement of Google+ for Business--it made big news for a day, but there isn't that much to say about it. Honestly, if you understand how Google+ for individuals works, it will take about ten minutes to get up to speed on Google+ for Business, which is rather disappointing, because after months of development, Google added just a few fields for a business name and a photo....

Mike Moran

How deeply do you respond to customers in public?

Recently, I wrote a post that recommended, "Don't be afraid of fake reviews," to help business owners know how to respond to an angry post in social media. To make a long post short, my advice was to always treat angry reviews as legitimate (not assuming it is faked by a competitor, for example), because responding that way is best whether the review is fake or not.  That advice was questioned by one correspondent, who asked, "How deeply do you respond in public?" What he wants to know is how to practically manage a conversation in social media, which is...

Mike Moran

How to protect your trademark online

In the quaint old offline world, things move slowly. If you have a good name for your business or your product, you know exactly what to do. You do a trademark search to make sure that no one else is using the name (at least within your industry), you add a the trademark symbol™ to your name, and if you really want to go the extra mile, you register your trademark so you can use the registered trademark symbol®. It was so simple back then, wasn't it? But it's a brave new online world now, and you have to worry about all...

Mike Moran

Don't be afraid of fake reviews

Last week, I talked about how you really do know what to say in social media. I got lots of nice feedback on that post, but I know that some of you are still skeptical. I know that some of you still believe that old PR maxim to never dignify a scurrilous story with a response. Or that some criticisms are "one-day stories," and answering them just "gives them legs." And some of you are especially adamant about this when it comes to reviews of your business or your products that you just KNOW are fake. And, I am here to...

Mike Moran

You DO know what to say in social media

I talk to folks about social media all the time. One of the things that I notice right away is the fear. Most people are worried that they don't know what to do in social media. They are afraid that they will make a mistake. That they will say the wrong thing. Or, they fear that they don't know what to say at all--even that they have nothing to say. All these fears are real and you might be experiencing some of them yourself, but you don't need to. I'd like to convince you that you really do know what to...

Stoney deGeyter

How to Communicate in Twitterbites For Re/Tweet-Friendly Blog Posts

Soundbites have become essential to anyone wanting to make a point. If it can't be said in nine seconds, you're SOL!

Mike Moran

Why Zagat might be a smarter purchase for Google than Yelp

By now you've heard the news that Google has purchased Zagat Reviews. For those of you who aren't familiar with Zagat, it has a worldwide set of reviews that travelers have relied on for decades to choose the right restaurant.  Google famously flamed out in its bid to buy Yelp in 2009, and has finally added the restaurant reviews it has craved. Not everyone thinks that Zagat was a worthy relacement for Yelp. One wag was quoted in TechCrunch as saying, "If you were losing to Wikipedia would your next move be to buy Encyclopedia Britannica?"...

Stoney deGeyter

Social Media is Sucking the Life Out of My Business!

For many, social media is fun. And it should be. But it's easy to get overwhelmed, throw up your hands and walk away. But this isn't an area where you can concede defeat. While social media can be a pain, and these complaints have legitimacy, you can overcome them. Time, patience and practice make all the difference in the world.

Stoney deGeyter

Making the Case For SEO in a Social Media World

In the last few years social media has jumped to the forefront of online marketing for many small businesses. Some business owners aren't even bothering to market (or in some cases even build) their websites anymore.

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 4a: Crafting the Story p1

When taking your public relations strategy online, there are some similarities to the "traditional" way of doing things, but there are also a lot of differences. Going online opens up a whole new world of opportunities that, if leveraged properly, can make your PR campaign far more successful than the old-school ways of doing things.

Mike Moran

This is not a post about Google+

Google+ is the big news. It is what everyone is talking about. Just Google it, if you don't believe me. Check out the reviews. Hear what the pundits have to say. Try to wangle an invitation. Decide if it is a Facebook killer. You have fun with that. This is not a post about Google+, because I don't care about any of that. This is a post about Google, because what you really need to know is staring you in the face. Everything else is just horse race reporting....

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 2: Goals of Online PR

Content just for the sake of being read is nothing more than a bunch of words on the page. Every piece of content should speak to your potential customers, encourage them to engage, and ultimately lead them to that conversion point.

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 1: Print Vs. Web

There is a big difference between reading things online versus offline. We often want to think that reading is reading is reading. But reading here isn't the same as reading there. The mindset between on- and offline is vast.

Mike Moran

What's keeping Google up at night?

Some of you might read the title of this story and ask, "How could anything be keeping Google up at night? They are literally making billions." And you have a point. But ask yourself something. Can you remember when you were making half what you are making now? Some of us lucky people can remember when we were making one-tenth of what we make now. But do you feel comfortable now? Nothing worries you? Just sailing along, happy with your success? Nope. You might want more or you might be afraid of losing what you have, but you are worried...

Mike Moran

How do you leverage social media for SEO?

You can't look up without reading about another link between social media and search engine optimization. Bing is now integrating Facebook "Like" data into its rankings and Google has just started integrating activity from Twitter, Quora, and FlickR. So the question is starting to be asked, "How do you leverage social media for SEO?"...

Mike Moran

Ignoring social media just stopped working

OK, OK, maybe it stopped working a while ago. Maybe you thought it stopped working when Google debuted Universal Search. Or maybe you thought it stopped working when Bing hooked up with Facebook. But if you were hanging on and saying, "Google doesn't personalize THAT many results," then this wakeup call is for you. If you think nothing matters until Google does it, well, Google did it. Those social results that hung around at the bottom of the page that most people didn't look at? Google is now saying that what your friends think will change the ranking of organic...

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 6-10)

This is the second set of questions from an interview I had given late last year. If you started this series with the introduction, you already know that the answers here differ from the answers given in the interview. One of the reasons I like written interviews is that it gives you a better opportunity to provide a more thorough and thought-filled answer. While these may not be life-changing questions, I hope they are at least thought provoking for the small business owner who doesn't know a lot about SEO.

Mike Moran

Google needs its own social network

I was talking to a veteran SEO consultant the other day about all the things I am seeing about how social media activity affects organic search. After listening for a few minutes, he abruptly stated, "SEO and social are separate. A lot of people say they do both, but it is too complicated to be good at both. I do SEO and that's all I need to do." I agree that it is complicated, maybe too complicated for any single person to do well. But maybe a few consultants need to work together to do the job right, because there...

Stone Reuning

Building Web Content vs. Traditional Advertising - How to Explain to Your Boss or Prospective Client(s)

How can you convince skeptics of the value of building web content over traditional advertising? While the answer may seem obvious to you, many others still cling (...perhaps stubbornly) to advertising - whether it's PPC or traditional. See how you can convince your boss or prospective client of the long-term benefits web content provides....

Mike Moran

Facebook Doesn't Help Me Find Anything

Some of this is generational. I am more comfortable firing up a search query than polling my Twitter followers or Facebook friends. But as social media activity increasingly has an impact on Bing and Google search results, it makes me wonder whether it will become an annoyance for me rather than something truly helpful, which mostly has to do with how I have approached social networks as a quasi-public person in what's turning into a private networking world. The possibly logical assumption that Facebook friends are my actual friends is causing me to wonder whether I have missed the point...

Stone Reuning

Using Twitter to your Maximum Advantage

While you've likely heard about Twitter, you may be experiencing uncertainty as to how you can use this interesting tool to reach new customers online. And while things unfamiliar to us may seem intimidating, Twitter and the type of micro-blogging platform it represents is meant to be fun as well. Continue reading to learn how you can use Twitter to your maximum advantage....

Mike Moran

Do online reviews matter to your existing customers?

This is an easy question, right? I know I thought so. Sure, small businesses (or any size business) must be vigilant about all posted customer reviews, because they are the first impression that a potential new customer gets of your business. But existing customers? They already know you and they have chosen you. Surely your online reviews don't matter to them. Yeah, well, that is what I thought, too, until a friend of mine related a story that taught me otherwise....

Stoney deGeyter

Why You Need To Invest More In Your SEO Campaign NOW.

Online marketing is no Little League game. This is the Big Leagues. Whether it's SEO, PPC, or Social Media, you can't play T-ball when you are trying to compete in the Majors. If you're lucky, holding back on your online marketing investments can prevent you from building up the momentum you need to overcome your competition. If you're not lucky, it's gonna cost you a lot more money to fix it later than to do it right to begin with... right NOW.

Stone Reuning

How you Can Use Static FBML Language to Customize your Facebook Page and Drive More Leads

Easily create your custom Facebook profile by using static FBML language and maximize the value of your social networking efforts. With its ever-increasing number of users and sheer magnitude of its future plans, you can't afford to ignore this dominant social network. Static FBML language is a powerful tool to help you get even more benefits out of being on Facebook....

Mike Moran

Adapting to a Social Media Fast

Some of you might know that I like to take Augusts off. While not completely off the grid (I still clean out my e-mail, although I don't reply much--and I still moderate comments on my blog), I don't write any blog posts (on my blog or here at Search Engine Guide), and I stay off Twitter. I also don't read any blog posts or check out what others are saying on Twitter--it's a social media fast. Each year, it's interesting to find myself picking up a newspaper again. This year, I did something a bit different, because I actually returned...

Eric Brown

Is 2011 The Year of the Social Media Bubble

Several camps are starting to chant that 2011 may well be the year of The Social Media Bubble. I would not proclaim to predict the future by any means, but it sure seems more probable than not. While we have little experience predicting the future, we have had an up close and personal relationship with the real estate bubble. Developing real estate used to be a pretty fun and profitable endeavor, however the past couple of years of operating our boutique apartment rental business in SE Michigan has had more challenges than we ever imagined. But as with all struggles,...

Sage Lewis

Google Places - Do You Know This Place?

If you aren't familiar with Google Places please watch this video. It's growing and could be significantly affecting your business without your knowing....

Sage Lewis

Social Media for Farmers, huh!?

Do you think that social media isn't right for your business. Well, think again after you watch this video on my most recent social media clinic I did for Iowa Women Farmers....

Stone Reuning

Optimize Your Social Media Pages for Top Rankings - 5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now

Though the likes of Facebook and Twitter have taken the marketing world by storm, many of our online experiences though still start through search. With well-known brands and small businesses alike now using social media marketing in earnest, it's worth exploring how to get more from your company social pages, namely helping them rank higher in online searches, alongside your corporate website....

Manoj Jasra

Interview of LinkedIn's Marketing Manager - Andrew Chang

Search Engine Strategies is less then a month away and this year it's taking place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to catch up with Andrew Chang, Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, to get some insight into his session on PPC and SEO best practices--specific to B2B...

Jennifer Laycock

Using Micro Goals to Fine Tune Your Social Media Campaigns

Earlier this week, I explained the concept of micro goals in regards to social media and why it's so important to track such a large collection of seemingly insignificant numbers. I walked you through both the universal micro goals and how to establish campaign specific micro goals. Today, it's time to look at how those numbers can be of value to us over the span of a social media campaign.

Jennifer Laycock

Understanding and Establishing Micro Goals for Your Social Media Campaigns

A few weeks ago I wrote a handful of articles on how to develop a proper social media strategy by developing goals, breaking those goals into supportive goals and matching goals to appropriate tactics. Those three articles outline the foundation that needs to be laid for any good social media plan, but your job doesn't stop there. In fact, if you want to do things properly, your job is just getting started.

Jennifer Laycock

How to Know When Your Site Needs Social Media Before SEO

Every now and then Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter finds himself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting their conversation on hold and giving me a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both social media and search engine optimization to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put search engine optimization on hold and focus on social media

Jennifer Laycock

How to Know When Your Site Needs SEO Before Social Media

Every now and then I find myself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting our conversation on hold and giving my Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both search engine optimization and social media to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put social media on hold and focus on search engine optimization.

Mike Moran

Do you know how to operate in public?

If you are old (like me), then you might be doing certain things the way you always have, without realizing that times have changed. The old ways don't necessarily continue to work. All this was brought to mind when I read a recent story about how State Farm Insurance followed the old procedures, which didn't work out for them when they were handling a case of a dog tragically killed by a car....

Jennifer Laycock

Matching Tactics to Goals Enables a Stronger Social Media Plan

The past few days, I've been talking about the need to establish solid goals around which to build you social media efforts. We've looked at why you need to have goals, we've explored the three categories of goals to help set the foundation for your efforts and we've talked about breaking your primary goals into supportive goals.

Jennifer Laycock

Break Your Goals into Supportive Goals to Make Them Achievable

Here's the thing about goals. They're well intentioned and broad in focus and we wave them around as if we're really proud of these lofty ideas we hope to achieve. But unless we take the time to create a plan of action to reach them, they rarely amount to more than warm-fuzzy inducing line items.

Manoj Jasra

Top Rankings for Facebook Pages

Facebook pages are popping up as quickly as websites and blogs, in fact I am often seeing organizations push users to their Facebook page due to the built-in social interactivity of Facebook pages. With the majority of our online experiences still starting with search, whether it be on Google, Bing or Facebook, there are many factors that will help boost a given Facebook page to the top of the results...

Jennifer Laycock

Understanding the Three Primary Goals of Social Media

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the need to build a social media strategy around specific goals instead of simply launching a presence because "everyone else is doing it." Today, I'm going to map out the three primary goals most social media outreach campaigns fall into. If you're still trying to figure out how and why to get involved in social media outreach, consider these three categories and ask yourself how they might apply to your business....

Jennifer Laycock

Are You Planning Your Social Media Backwards?

When it comes time to put together a social media strategy for your company, there are a few key steps you need to consider before getting started. Unfortunately, most companies bypass these steps and do everything in exactly the wrong order....

Stone Reuning

The Need for Speed: What Does Google's Caffeine Mean to You?

Google's new system for indexing content on the Internet, Caffeine, went live June 8th. It used to be that Google updated its indexes every couple weeks. Now it's darn close to real time. This is good news if you update your content regularly. Since Google now refreshes its index much more frequently, it will be constantly looking for the most relevant results to display for any given search phrase....

Mike Moran

Why you think you have nothing to say

I am constantly talking to business people, with companies large and small, and I often give them the same advice about Internet marketing, and search marketing in particular: Tell what you know so your customers can learn from your expertise. You can put that expertise on Web pages, on a blog, in tweets, in a YouTube video, a podcast—I don't really care how you do it, but do it. Too often, the response is something like, "But I don't have anything to say." I suspect that you do have something to say, but you are just not giving yourself permission...

Mike Moran

Does the Internet show the true colors of your business?

For big companies going online in the '90s, the Internet was a shocker, laying bare all the silos within their organizations, as those units communicated directly to customers, with no homogenizing layer of customer service in between. So, if each of your business units had a different system for processing returns, it was no longer the poor telephone rep who had to deal with the crazy systems, now it was your customers. Over the years, those problems have been worked through, but it is an example of how the Internet reveals the true colors of your business. Small businesses need...

Mike Moran

Foursquare in favor of location-based marketing

I admit it. When Twitter first came out, I didn't get it. I even wrote a blog post called, "I am a Twitter twit." But I am not letting the same thing happen with Foursquare. Foursquare isn't for every business, but if you want people to show up at your location, you ought to check out how Foursquare works. It might work for you....

Mike Moran

A Case Study in Handling Customer Disputes

Anyone reading this site is always on the lookout for the next big idea in search, and you all know that social media is it. My wife Linda knows, too. So, when she recently underwent successful Lasik surgery, she thought it would be far nicer to create a Squidoo lens for her surgeon, promoting his business, than to send a bouquet of flowers. But no good deed goes unpunished, and I wanted to recount a customer service story that only search geeks like us could appreciate....

Sage Lewis

Hitwise Says Facebook Most Popular U.S. Site

Hitwise says Facebook Most Popular U.S. Site. Did you think this day would come? That a social media site would over take the mighty Google in traffic? Hitwise says that day has finally come....

Sage Lewis

Nestle - Not Feeling the Social Media Love

Marketing Pilgrim reported on a sticky social media situation that Nestle is currently facing. They are getting bashed pretty good by some very outspoken people in the social media space. What do you think? Should Nestle keep pushing the issue in the social media space? Or should they tuck their tail and run?...

Sage Lewis

Chadwick Martin Bailey Study On Social Media and Buying

An interesting study by Chadwick Martin Bailey: "Consumers Engaged Via Social Media Are More Likely To Buy, Recommend" - "The study of over 1500 consumers by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower. And an impressive 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of. Considering Facebook's over 400 million users, the opportunity is great for social media marketers."...

Jennifer Laycock

Win a $3500 Online Marketing Scholarship from MarketMotive (and Help a Non-Profit to Boot)

If you're looking to further your education in online marketing or know of a non-profit that could use an educational boost of their own, you're going to be interested in hearing about MarketMotive's spring scholarship contest. The team at MarketMotive is generously allowing each faculty member to award a scholarship to one of their readers.

Stone Reuning

9 Do's and Don'ts For Building a Social Bookmarking Network

Developing a strong presence on social networking and bookmarking sites doesn't involve complex formulas or algorithms. Sure, sites like Digg and Reddit have algorithms, but your best bet is to focus on the two major pillars of success on social bookmarking sites - great content and a network of users to promote it - rather than focusing on racing to the front page....

Sage Lewis

A Roundup of Cool Social Media Monitoring Tools

WebWorkerDaily has a nice article on several very cool social media monitoring tools. If you aren't monitoring the social media space for your brand name and probably your own name, you are leaving yourself open for potential damage....

Mike Moran

"I don't have time for Facebook and Twitter"

Social media is free, but what's the catch? Time. We only have so much time to spend putting our message out there, but we don't want to limit how many people can hear what we have to say. This problem comes up in many ways, but the simplest is the dichotomy between Facebook and Twitter. Many folks decide to spend the bulk of their social time on one or the other, with relatively few people using both. If Google Buzz catches fire, this fragmentation might only increase. What's a marketer to do?...

Sage Lewis

B2B Marketers Making Huge Increases in Social Media Spend

Marketing Pilgrim reports that B2B Marketers will see a 490% Increase in Social Media Spend by 2014. But there are other really interesting stats to be found in this report as well....

Mike Moran

What To Do When Reviewers Lie About You

When my friend called me, there was a little panic in his voice. He owned a successful, customer-friendly small business, and was generally an easygoing person. But he didn't know what to do. A long-time and loyal customer alerted him to a savage review of his business on an Internet Yellow Pages site. And so now he was turning to me to find out what he could do about it....

Manoj Jasra

126 Million Blogs on the Internet

JESS3, a creative agency specializing in data visualization, has put together an amazing video which shows the current state of the Internet. We have highlighted some of the data below, but please also watch the video for yourself (it rivals the Social Media Revolution)....

Jennifer Laycock

Getting Started on Twitter with a Realistic Timeline

While millions of people and tens of thousands of businesses have flocked to Twitter over the past few years, many companies are still standing in the doorway wondering if they should step inside. Their biggest concern? How much time will they spend and how much benefit will they reap.

Sage Lewis

Proof! Facebook Fan Pages Work

Marketing Pilgrim reported on a study dealing with the effectiveness of Facebook fan pages. The study makes a pretty strong case for the power of Facebook....

Mike Moran

Listen to Your Customers to Adjust Your Keywords

You probably use many sources to brainstorm your search keywords, but how do you know if your customers are starting to change the way they search for your products? Have you listened to what your customers are saying? Time was that listening to customers demanded expensive focus groups and surveys, but that time has passed. Nowadays, you can listen to social media conversations and analyze them for any number of purposes, including search keywords....

Jennifer Laycock

New Data on Twitter Usage Can Strengthen Your Twitter Outreach

HubSpot has released their Third Annual State of the Twittersphere report and for those of us who keep tabs on Twitter from both the marketing and social interaction perspective the results are interesting.

Stoney deGeyter

The Death of the Professional, Brought to You by Google

I'd love nothing more to see a backlash over the vast amounts of free crap available online and the sites that provide it. Searchers and internet users would begin to demand quality and search engines wouldn't reward those sites with the greatest amounts of crap over those with smaller amounts of quality content.

Jennifer Laycock

The Upcoming Battle of the Social Media Industry

While I'm a social media strategist for small businesses, my background is in organic search engine optimization. In other words, I come from the "original" snake oil of online marketing. Social media, for all it's hype and loyalists STILL hasn't broken through the mainstream marketing barrier. It's where SEO was half a dozen or more years ago. It's fighting to define itself, to justify itself and to legitimize itself.

Jennifer Laycock

Four (ok twelve) Reasons to Build a Social Media Strategy

Here are four key reasons why your company needs to consider planning and launching a social media campaign this year....

Sage Lewis

Let Social Media Pick Your Pizza

I always believed that Pizzeria Uno was the best pizza. But I wasn't positive until I got confirmation from the people in my social media class. They all confirmed to me that it was indeed the best pizza. Social proof is incredibly powerful. It compels people to try new products and it also validates what existing customers already believed. Get testimonials!...

Eric Brown

Will 2010 be the Year for Engagement

It seems a lot of small and midsized businesses are starting to introduce social media into their marketing arsenal. Perhaps it is because of budget restrictions or they just want some of the profound buzz surrounding the social media craze.But what happens once the Facebook fan page is up, but has few fans, Twitter account is live, but only a handful of followers and a blog with no comments and little interaction? Now what?...

Sage Lewis

Google Wave - I'm not so sure

So I've been playing around with Google Wave. I'm not sure about the whole hoopla. Here's my take....

Jennifer Laycock

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part Three

Today we're going to take a look at how to make use of the Photos and Video applications. These are your chances to really add some content to your Facebook Page. Sure, you can (and probably should) have this content set up on other areas of the web designed for it (Photos could be shared over at Flickr and videos find homes on sites like YouTube), but there is an advantage in housing this content on Facebook.

Jennifer Laycock

Striking Out On My Own All While Staying Put

Regular readers of Search Engine Guide probably noticed I've been less than active as an author and Twitter voice this past year. All of that's about to change. Over the next few months you'll all see me getting back into the swing of things here on Search Engine Guide and hopefully back to my chatty self on Twitter and other social media sites.

Mike Moran

Multiply Marketing Effectiveness Despite Division of Labor

Most people are familiar with the term "division of labor," which describes the specialization that companies adopt to promote efficiency. The assembly line is one of the best examples of the efficiency gains that division of labor provides. In a tiny company, such as a one-person firm, there is no division of labor, but as soon as you start to grow, even a little bit, you start dicing up jobs in the name of efficiency. The problem, from a marketing point of view, is that efficient doesn't equal effective. Division of labor can harm your marketing effectiveness and you must...

Sage Lewis

Bing And Twitter - Getting Together

Bing is all excited about their new partnership with Twitter. But from my perspective, they still have a ways to go....

Jennifer Laycock

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part Two

Tons of companies come in to Facebook, set up their page, throw a few photos and status updates on it and leave. Doing this is akin to building a web site without bothering to optimize it for search engines and create a content strategy.

Mike Moran

Redefining social media

I sat on a panel at SUPERCOMM's Digital Media Forum in Chicago on Friday called, "Redefining Social Media." (Eric Forst of Visible Technologies and Edward Moran of Deloitte & Touche spoke with me, ably moderated by Patty Brown of The Content Strategy Group.) The name of the panel initially threw me, because it feels like anything old enough to be redefined seems a bit passé, which social media most decidedly is not. But I think there is a point to be made about social media and how it is maturing....

Eric Brown

Social Media Myth, It Isn't About the Conversation, It's About the Sale

Forget all the "It's About the Conversation" Social Media hype and babble. If you are using Social Media for your Small Business, or any business, or you are contemplating entering the Social Media space for your business, It is About Selling More Stuff, period. There is NO other reason to do it....

Jennifer Laycock

The Super Simple Guide to Setting Up Your First Company Facebook Page Without Blowing a Gasket - Part One

There's amazing viral potential involved with Facebook pages and it provides companies an easy way to reap the benefits of photos, videos, discussion forums, micro-blogging and pretty much every other form of social media in one neat little package.

Mike Moran

Deciding What to Ignore in Internet Marketing

I'm often asked by small business owners (and folks in larger businesses, too) how they can keep up with all the new things going on in social media, search, and everything else on the Internet. It's hard for them to hear sometimes, but I keep trying to tell them that is the wrong question. What they need to do instead is to simply decide what to ignore....

Mike Moran

Why Don't You Listen to Social Media?

Large companies are very concerned about their reputations, their brand images, the "word on the street," and ten other hackneyed phrases that all add up to the same thing: they are listening to what people say about them. But when I talk to small businesses, I often find that they don't pay as much attention. If you work in a small business, I want you to know that attitude is a mistake....

Sage Lewis

To Retweet or Not To Retweet

Dan Zarella has spent nine months analyzing roughly 5 million tweets and 40 million retweets. The findings show that there is a recipe for tweets that get retweeted. Check out this video to learn how you can become a retweet master. Oh. And PLEASE RETWEET THIS!...

Jennifer Laycock

Friday Fun - The SEO Song

Had an email this morning from Oliver Blake over at The Creare Group pointing me to a video on YouTube that stars Creare Group web designer Michael Angrave. Now normally, I wouldn't bother to click a link to a random video, but since Oliver claimed this video featured "The SEO Song," I thought I'd give it a try.

Mike Moran

Why Blogs Aren't Dead

For the past couple of years, people have been asking if blogging is now dead. Now, as you read this blog post, you might expect that if I took the time to write it, I probably don't agree. And I don't. But the "blogging is dead: crowd does have a point—I just don't think the situation is as extreme as they say....

Eric Brown

Can You Manage 5000 Blogs a Day

There is a product that has launched recently, which is aimed currently at the multifamily, apartment owner/operator space, but may well also extend into additional industries, such as Travel, Hotels, Wine and the like, that is worth taking a look at. I expect that some of the readers and followers of this blog may be skeptical, but I am interested in hearing your feedback....

Mack Collier

Blogging Small Businesses have 55% More Traffic, 97% More Inbound Links

A recent study by Hubspot found that among their small business customers, those that blogged had 55% more traffic and 97% more incoming links than non-blogging small businesses.

Mack Collier

How 'Shareable' Is Your Social Media Content?

One of the great things about social media is how quickly an idea can spread via truly 'social' tools and networks. But even though it's becoming easier every day to share social media content, you still need to create content that people WANT to share.

Paul Jahn

No Social Media for You! 100,000 Fans at a Time

Imagine being a Tennessee Volunteer football fan. There are a lot of them, maybe including yourself. So, you and over 100,000 other fans go to Knoxville on a fall Saturday morning to watch your beloved Volunteers take on Alabama, you take a picture with your cell phone, then a security guard comes up saying "I'll need you to erase that picture and to leave the stadium now".

David Carberry

SES San Jose panel - Small Voices, Big Impact, Social Media for the Little Guy

If you are a small business you have a smaller segment and you need to use proven tools.   If you jump to an upstart social media site that might disappear, it's a waste of time, and you have wasted your time and money.  Don't put time and effort into something that is a flash in the pan....

David Carberry

Search Engine Strategies Kickoff - Keynote Clay Shirky

The Search Engine Strategies convention kicked off in San Jose, and the Opening Keynote was Clay Shirky.  Shirky gives an overview of his book "Here Comes Everybody," and delves into the details of how Media has evolved over the years....

Manoj Jasra

Interview: AOL's Simon Heseltine on Reputation Management

Yesterday I had the opportunity to catch up with Simon Heseltine, Senior Marketing Manager at AOL (working on the Sports and News properties). Simon and I discussed his upcoming panel at SES San Jose on the topic of "Brand, Trademark & Reputation Management" - which is a very hot topic these days....

Mike Moran

Google's YouTube Money Pit

Analysts keep bringing it up. Reporters do, too. How much money is Google losing on YouTube? And can they afford it? The lingering question that affects Internet marketers the most is what happens if Google decides they can't afford it. If you are using YouTube for marketing, should you be worried?...

Sage Lewis

Bruno No Likey Twitter

According to a Search Engine Watch article, Twitter could have cost the movie Bruno $20 Million. Feel the Twitter power baby!...

Sage Lewis

Skylight Opera Theater Gets Schooled

You always think these kind of things won't happen to you. Social media can effect any kind of business: big, small, corporate, artistic. Look what has happened to Skylight Opera Theater. They are getting schooled in the powers of social media... big time!...

Mike Moran

What about the Risk of Social Media?

Recently, a commenter on this blog asked a question that I often hear, "What do you say to corporate people worried about security risks of social media within a company?" It's one of my favorite questions, because it really exposes the way we look at risk, which is all-too-human and, simultaneously, dumb....

Sage Lewis

United Breaks Guitars - Power to the People

United Airlines is learning about the power of consumers and how quickly bad service can turn into a PR embarrassment....

Mack Collier

The One Thing You Should Start Doing TODAY to Grow Your Blog

I consider myself to be a pretty good blogger, and over the past 4 years, my blogging has definitely improved my writing skills. But there had always been one area of blogging where my efforts were failing, and that was holding me back.

Mike Moran

The biggest secret of social media is free

I talk to lots of companies that are afraid to allow their employees to participate in social media. I also talk a lot of companies successfully using social media. What do the successful companies know? It costs nothing and you can do it, too. It has to do with how you treat your employees....

David Carberry

Tips for Social Media Success - A Panel Discussion

The panelists spoke about various topics such as; online tools, social marketing and challenges their clients face. Some good points were made throughout the session however, as most panels go, they were all intertwined and scattered. I have highlighted some of the main items that are beneficial to all businesses either as a refresher or as new information....

Karri Flatla

The 80-20 Rule Applies to Twitter ... So?

Convincing small business folk to get on board with social media is akin to asking a four-year-old to watch paint dry. It's nice to look at, for a few minutes, until boredom sets in and the child asks if he can go outside and play. Outside is where the action is. There's stuff to do. People to see. Places to go....

Mike Moran

In social media, aspire to be reactive

I'm a consultant, and for consultants, nothing beats being proactive, huh? You want to be ahead of the curve, up on the latest, and [insert your favorite cliché here]. But social media is so new, and it changes so fast, that it's really painful to be proactive. It's enormously time consuming to have spent so much time in social media that you are ahead of the curve. You'd have no time for your real business. I am advising you to shoot a lot lower. When it comes to social media, aspire to be reactive....

Diane Aull

No Shortcuts to Social Success

Is social bookmarking a complete waste of time? Or is it more a factor of how some marketers are attempting to use social media?...

Jennifer Laycock

Mixing Business with Pleasure: The Potential Peril of Social Media

One of the questions I hear most often when I'm teaching a social media seminar is how to balance their professional social media presence with their personal one. People ask me if they should blog and Tweet as themselves or as their business. They ask if they should mix business contacts with friends on Facebook and LinkedIn. They want to know if they can talk about their hobbies on their business profiles. Basically, they want to know the pros and cons of mixing business with pleasure in the blurry-lined landscape of social media.

Manoj Jasra

Facebook and Twitter Increase in Total Minutes on Site

Top 10 Social Networking and Blog Sites Ranked by Total Minutes for April 2009 and their Year-over-Year Percent Growth (U.S., Home and Work).  Facebook and Twitter increase dramatically whereas MySpace sees a decrease in total minutes....

Sage Lewis

Internal Social Media Policies of The Wall Street Journal

The Marketing Pilgrim gives us some inside information on the internal social media policies of The Wall Street Journal. This is an incredibly important part of having a business in this day and age. Everyone should develop an internal social media policy....

David Carberry

Chimney Sweep - Crossing The Line

Wow - I am completely shocked how businesses in today's "quick to the web world" can still cross the line. Don't they understand that everyone they do work for has the power to say the good, the bad and the ugly. This is what I would consider an ugly situation....

Sage Lewis

The FTC Takes on Social Media

You can't go around pretending you are someone you are not. Check out what the FTC is cracking down on....

Mike Moran

Marketing to the Smart

Most companies I work with market only to smart people. I mean what do you have against us dunces anyway? I know you'll deny it, but if I look at your Web site, I bet you're as guilty as the rest. If you don't believe me, read on....

Mack Collier

Small Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Blogs

A recent study by eMarketer forcasted the next five years of blog readership, and creation. The findings weren't surprising, as eMarketer expects the number of people that read blogs, and those that blog themselves, to continue to grow dramatically. What this means for your business is that increasingly, your customers are going to be reading blogs, and writing them.

Sage Lewis

Forrester Predicts Huge Growth for Social Media Marketing

Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim reports on a Forrester Research prediction that basically says, "It's great to be a digital marketer!"...

Sage Lewis

Google Profiles

Google Profiles is a spiffy way to aggregate a lot of information about you. Check out this video to see what it's all about and how you get yours setup....

Sage Lewis

Reputation Management - Know what is being said

Marketing Pilgrim provides a good perspective on when to jump on these potentially devastating social media flare ups....

Sage Lewis

Crowdsourcing - Is this the future of media?

Traditional media is tanking. Possibly crowdsourcing is part of the solution for media in the future....

Sage Lewis

Harvard Business Review On Getting Brand Communities Right

There is a great article from Harvard Business Review on how to correctly build communities. They spend a lot of time talking about communities in relation to social media....

Sage Lewis

Top Twitter Age Demographic

There is a surprising comScore report on the top age demographic in Twitter....

Mack Collier

What's the Recipe for Making Your Blog Content More Relevant?

One of the biggest concerns you'll hear from bloggers struggling to write that next post is 'it's all been said before'. And it's true, by now every topic has pretty much been covered and dissected from every angle. But does that mean you can't bring something new to the table?

Scott Allen

Search Engine Strategies New York - Small Voices, Big Impact: Social Media for the Little Guy

Live blogging coverage of the SES NY session: "Small Voices, Big Impact: Social Media for the Little Guy".

Mack Collier

Why Is Your Business Afraid of Negative Blog Posts?

It's enough to make the average business owner break out in a cold sweat; the thought of bloggers ripping them. But while many businesses and companies are fearful of posts that shine a negative light on their business, these instances are in fact a wonderful opportunity.

Sage Lewis

B2B Buyers Are Using Social Media in a Huge Way

Social media isn't just for the consumer oriented companies anymore. New research from Groundswell indicates that social media is taking the B2B world by storm....

Sage Lewis

Social Media - The New Mainstream Media

A report on some new studies put out by comScore and Pew Internet and Marketing Life. Facebook and MySpace are major players in all demographics....

Manoj Jasra

Social Media Year over Year Stats

With so many different applications/websites popping up each day it's certainly interesting to watch the long-term trend to see which ones can continue to succeed month over month. I thought I'd check out some of Compete's stats for some of the most popular applications to see how they faired last year (in terms of visitors)....

Eric Brown

Social Media Or An Electronic Billboard

We are seeing more and more business entering into the euphorically messy space known as Social Media. The first order of business seems to be to put up a facebook page and start a blog. The problem here is this, NO ONE IS PARTICIPATING IN A CONVERSATION. If there are no comments on you blog and nothing on your facebook wall except from posts from you, You have an ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD, Which is NOT Social Media....

Eric Brown

ADVERTISING, A HORRIFIC WASTE OF MONEY

I set off a small firestorm the other evening when I Re-Tweeted the following tweet; "RT @KathySierra: "WONDERING HOW IT IS THAT WE CAN BE HORRIFIED BY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS YET NOT SEE MOST ADVERTISING AS A HORRIFIC WASTE OF MONEY" For those not familiar with Twitter, a RE-Tweet is just that, you re-tweet someone else's tweet. A tweet is a 140 character or less statement you type for anyone who follows you on twitter  to read.  So, I didn't originate the phrase, "Wondering how it is that we can be horrified by financial crisis yet not see most advertising as...

Ross Dunn

Google's Latitude Has Vast Mobile Marketing Potential

Google upgraded its Mobile Maps application this week to enable location-awareness. Called Google Latitude, this upgrade is not ground breaking but it does signal a change for the mobile landscape now that Google has put another foot in that arena. So where could this technology lead with Google at the helm? I put a few ideas together that seem entirely plausible and totally within the realm of Google's current capabilities....

Eric Brown

SOCIAL MEDIA FAIL

If you think your customers aren't talking about you, better rethink your position. You can no longer bury your head in the sand without suffering the consequences. The story reported in the New York Times last week is a classic example of what Not To Do. It outraged folks and drew over eighty comments. Every company, small medium or large should be listening, and taking action. The world is different today, take heed, grasp and embrace this space we call Social Media.

Mack Collier

New Tools Add to Twitter's Networking Potential

Twitter itself is pretty simple, but as the site continues to boom in popularity, 3rd party sites/tools are popping up like kudzu in the South. And many offer a great deal of potential for helping you tap into the networking ability of Twitter.

Mack Collier

Don't Be Blinded By Social Media and Social Networking

EMarketer recently reported about a study on how small businesses would be spending their online marketing dollars in 2009, and the results were interesting at times, and downright scary at others.

Jennifer Laycock

What My Kids Taught Me About Social Media

I was sitting around this afternoon thinking about how we approach so many areas of our lives and how many things I'm having to teach my four year old and two year old on a daily basis. In the spirit of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," I'm offering up the first in a series of posts for online marketing. Leading off is the most obvious comparison to life as a child...social media.

Jennifer Laycock

12 Marketing Minds, One Free eBook

If you're trying to kick off your 2009 marketing plans with some new ideas, you may want to check out a new (free) ebook put together by Valeria Maltoni over at Conversation Agent. The book is a compilation of the thoughts of twelve online marketers from a variety of backgrounds and skips the usual start of the year prediction model in favor of sharing thoughts on tactics and strategy.

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media Reminder: Think Before You Speak...

I ran across several interesting posts yesterday on the social media conversation front. Some of them made me nod my head in agreement, but one of them made me absolutely cringe. Once again, watching someone's mistakes reminds us all of the need to listen to our mothers when it comes to how we interact with social media.

Beth Harte

Social Media...it's about the tools right?

There seems to be a school of thought among marketers and businesses that social media is just about the tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social networks and that's it. It's like saying nail, hammer, wood, and ruler....

Karri Flatla

Twitter as Target Market Research Tool (and the Twitterization of Clayton Makepeace)

Clayton Makepeace recently revived an old copywriting post titled "8 Ways to Spot Dominant Emotions Your Prospects Already Have That Could Drive Your Response Rates Through the Roof." In that post, Makepeace explains uncomplicated yet effective methods for researching your target market. By the end of the post you realize there really is no excuse for leaving out this critical step. While the copywriting techniques outlined are indeed timeless, I'd like to "Twitterize" some of Makepeace's points for the social web....

Eric Brown

Just Call It Marketing

Confused by all of the stuff swirling about surrounding Social Media and how to market your Small Business. Apparently, we can't yet even figure out what to call all this stuff. As Small Business owners and operators, perhaps we can simplify it as just "Marketing"...

Jennifer Laycock

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Six: It's All in the Attitude

Perhaps this lesson comes more from Geppatto than it does from Pinocchio, but since the two are so closely related, I'm going to use it to wrap up the series. See, Geppetto makes a great analogy for small businesses who haven't quite reached their potential. He had skills and abilities, but he hadn't yet enjoyed the fruits of his labor. He worked hard, but he often fell short.

Mack Collier

What Jason Bourne Can Teach You About Social Media

If Jason Bourne did Social Media, the first thing he would do was assess the landscape. He would find out where his targets are, and figure out what they are doing and how they are communicating. Now you might not be able to take out two armed men in 1.4 seconds with your bare hands, but you can still learn something from Jason Bourne when it comes to YOUR social media initiatives.

Mack Collier

How Do You Decide If Social Media is Right For Your Business?

You've heard the hype about social media for years now. Everyone is talking about it, and companies of all sizes are launching blogs and Facebook pages, and joining Twitter. You've heard enough and are ready to take the plunge into the social media waters. But there's one question left to answer; How do you know that social media is right for YOUR business?

Jennifer Laycock

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Four: Listen to Trusted Advice

You don't need to get very far into the story of Pinocchio to realize that little wooden boy didn't have much sense of judgement rattling around in that hollow head of his. Trouble not only followed him, he turned around and became its friend every chance he got. That's why the blue fairy appointed Jiminy Cricket to help Pinocchio make good choices. When it comes to your online marketing plan, you'd be wise to find a Jiminy Cricket of your own.

Mike Moran

Is SEO no longer important?

Should you care about what kind of marketing is hot? I got a question recently from a small business owner on how important readable URLs are for a Web site. The reason he was asking is that his technical adviser told him that "SEO just isn't that important anymore." Is he right? Well, you probably wouldn't expect me to agree with that point of view, and I don't, but there is some truth in the idea that search engine optimization is not the be-all end-all of Internet success that it was a few years ago. And the question of readable...

Mack Collier

Find Your Blog's 'Bigger Idea'

Most companies are pretty boring. Most company blogs are pretty boring. And you guessed it, most companies that blog spend way too much time blogging about themselves. So how do you excite readers? By finding your blog's 'bigger idea'.

Sage Lewis

Twitter's Gone Fishin'. . . For Trouble

Sage sports a new studio for the new year.  He's added a white board, art-work, a drum set (yes, you heard me!) and even a camera man.  2009 promises to be full of great new videos.  This week, we learn that even though traffic was up, online holiday sales were down 3%, but the big story comes out of Canada where we learn about a Twitter address security scam that goes "fishing" for your Twitter information....

Jennifer Laycock

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Lesson Three: Don't be a Social Media Jackass

There's just something about the anonymity of sitting behind a computer screen that makes people do stupid things. Few but the boldest sales person would walk into a class reunion and try to close a sale with the alumni at their table, even fewer would walk up to a stranger's table at a restaurant to start shilling their offerings. Nonetheless this very thing happens every single day in the realm of social media. People walk smack dab into the middle of conversations and start hocking their wares without a second thought....

Paul Jahn

It's Not Just About Twitter... and How I Bought a Kodak Camera.

So, Twitter happens to be huge right now. There are a ton of articles, Blog posts, and even PDF books on how to use it correctly for different industries. I don't think there's one definitive answer on how to use Twitter, although I can safely say it's important to not forget about other social media options. The whole mix is what can build consumer relationships.

Mack Collier

Don't Rush Into Social Media

Social Media continues to be the pretty girl at the ball that everyone wants to go dancin' with. But even IF your business can benefit from using social media, make sure you ease into these waters slowly.

Beth Harte

Are you keeping tabs on brand experience?

There's been a power shift and the first mistake many companies make is believing that they do and can control the brand experience. That's no longer the case. It's the people on the other end of that experience that control it. Today, customers sharing brand experiences happen every day, everywhere without being edited or seeking a company's approval....

David Wallace

Can Twitter Be Useful For Business?

If you have yet to hear about Twitter, I might ask you if you have been living in a cave and for how long. The micro-blogging platform that few knew about a year ago has now gone mainstream with over 6 million users - a number that is growing daily. Even major news outlets such as Fox News, CNN and others are using Twitter on a daily basis to get viewer reaction and create discussion around breaking stories and issues. This leads me to question whether Twitter can be useful for business or is it simply an outlet to waste...

Mack Collier

Keep Your Comments Organized With BackType!

I've said it time and time again, but the best way to grow your blog, is to leave it. And that means leaving a LOT of comments on other blogs! But if you do this, it can be difficult to keep track of all the blog posts that you have commented on. Difficult that is, until BackType came along.

Paul Jahn

Managing by Objectives and Impressions - Redefining the Face of Amendment Campaigns

Last week, I had lunch with Mike Rynchek, President of Spyder Trap Online Marketing. We wound up talking quite a bit about social media and managing-per-objectives and impressions rather than the cost-per-conversions avenue many of us are used to. Mike was gracious enough to be interviewed on how to measure results of different objectives.

Mack Collier

How Do You Decide Who to Follow on Twitter?

In yesterday's post, I looked at some ways that I have used to get more followers on Twitter. Now I wanted to spin it around and look at some of the criteria I have for who I decide to follow on Twitter.

Mack Collier

How Do You Get More Followers On Twitter?

As Twitter just continues to grow in popularity, more people are wanting to know how to expand their Twitter networks, and get more people to follow them. There are several different ways to do this, depending on how you use Twitter. Here's some of the things that have worked for me.

Beth Harte

Facebook: Are they really your friends (or customers)?

Are all those people on Facebook really your friends (or customers)? ...

Mack Collier

Remember, Social Media Are PERSONAL Communication Tools!

Plenty of companies and small businesses are curious now to learn how they can use social media to grow their businesses. Unfortunately, far fewer businesses are willing to invest the time to understand what these tools are, and why people are so excited about using them.

Jennifer Laycock

All Links Are Not Equal: Why Twitter Links Grow Conversation

This morning I found myself in the middle of an interesting chat with Mack Collier on Twitter. It started when I joined in a conversation Mack was having about the metrics he measures when estimating the value of blogs. We kicked around the common ones like traffic, subscribers, links and number of comments. Then Mack made mention of how high his comments jump when he Tweets one of his own posts.

Beth Harte

Twitter for Business: 10 Things to Consider Before You Get Started

Thinking about starting up a Twitter account for your business? Or considering allowing employees to use Twitter? Here are 10 tips to consider before getting started....

Eric Brown

Create Your Own Virtual Lobby

There are all sorts of ways today to connect with, participate and enjoy a conversation with your customer. There have been numerous posts about starting and maintaining a company blog, which is an excellent tool. Another favorable venue is to create a Ning site. It is a very easy application and can create a pretty cool place to have conversation and engage your customers. It is sort of like having your own My Space site, and very easy to update and foster community with your brand. ...

Robert Clough

Make Your Business Image Pop With A Twitter Profile Makeover

Want to be ignored? Be boring. Simple.But, if your business is ignored, you may end up living in a van down by the river. Not Good.So how can we be, um, not boring?  Well, there isn't a one size fits all quick fix, but one step everyone can take is improving how we present our business to the public....

Mack Collier

What Blogs Should You Be Reading?

Whenever I speak to small businesses that are considering launching their own blog, there are always a few people that want to know which blogs I think they should be reading to stay up to date on the ever-changing world of social media. If you are just getting started exploring blogs, here are some of my favorite ones that should help you quickly get up to speed on blogging and social media.

Mack Collier

Everything You Think You Know About Social Media and Measuring ROI is Wrong!

One of the biggest 'criticisms' of social media that companies have, is the difficulty in measuring the return on investment for their efforts. Many believe that widespread business adoption of social media won't happen until a clear benefit to the company's bottom line can be measured. Of course, these people are totally missing the point of what social media is, and why it works.

Beth Harte

Social Networks, Your Way

I have rules about my social networks and I am sure most people who are comfortable utilizing social networks do too. When someone is just starting to get involved in building up their social network it's hard to know or recognize when and where to set boundaries. As well, there seems to be a bit of a challenge when it comes to being completely professional or being yourself.  Luckily, the rule of being "you" is winning out and those folks who think they are being "professional" in sending blog links, promotional introductions, and other spammy items are turning into "professional...

Mack Collier

Need More Blog Posts? Then Start a Series!

At one point or another, every blogger struggles to find new content ideas for their blog. For some of us, ideas for posts come easily, but if you're a blogger that's constantly wracking your brain for the next post idea, launching a blog post series could be your solution!

Beth Harte

Blogs, Vlogs and SEO

Have you decided to take your blog to the next level by including video? Hooray! Video logs (vlogs) can help communicate in a lot of different ways and they also add a "real" voice to your blog posts....

Mack Collier

Your Blog is Reallllllly Boring...

I'm noticing recently that a lot of business/company blogs are very stale and boring. Here's some simple ways you can add flair and personality to your blog.

Jennifer Laycock

The Choice of a Social Media Generation

I've been watching with interest as some of my blogging buddies posted their reactions to the blogger outreach campaign Edelman is running for Pepsi. The crew behind the outreach program picked twenty five social media and marketer influencers and sent them a preview of the new Pepsi cans. They also opened up a room in Friendfeed to foster discussion about the brand changes.

Mack Collier

Social Media Can Be Cheap, But Its Not Free

One of the big reasons why social media can be so appealing to small businesses is because many of these tools/sites are free or very cheap to use. Which is perfect for small businesses that probably have very little in the way of a marketing budget to begin with. But there are still costs to consider when launching a social media strategy.

Jennifer Laycock

LinkedIn Gets even More Useful with the Addition of Apps

If you're anything like me, you like to be able to customize things. You like a little extra juice on top of the standard options. You like to let your personality show through and you like to see a little personality from others. It's one of the reasons I reluctantly joined Facebook, though LinkedIn is the social network I find to be more practical. That's why I was so happy to hear the news about LinkedIn applications.

Mack Collier

Are You Putting Your Best Blog Posts on Display?

I talked to a blogger last week who explained that he had written a blog post last year that still gets traffic referrals. Which is great, but this blogger had his post buried in the archives of his blog. Instead, why not put the spotlight on your best posts?

Karri Flatla

How to Grow Your Twitter Following (Even if You're Not a Marketer)

I'm not ready to talk about how Twitter has benefited me or my business yet--we have a complicated relationship. But I think it goes without saying that a lot of people (or should I say "peeps") would like to grow their Twitter following, and I think I've cracked the code. Whatever your social networking goals are, the following tactics will not only increase the number of people following you, but you will begin to experience that old fashioned thing called "community" right from your desktop....

Mack Collier

You Can't Control the Conversation, But You CAN Change it!

One of the biggest concerns I hear from companies and small businesses about blogging is 'what if someone says something negative about us?' Unfortunately, having a blog won't automatically mean that no one will ever say anything negative about your business.

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media is Not an Excuse to Stay Home

Here's the funny thing about social media. It's all talk. It's a wonderful, amazing, effective way to get to know people...but it's all about the talk and not the action. It's a great starting point, but you really need to "seal the deal" with offline interaction as well. It's a point Mack Collier did a nice job of making over The Viral Garden this past weekend.

Paul Jahn

Using Twitter for Customer Service

In the last year, Twitter has been quite the buzz for online marketers. We use it in different ways. It could be for pimping out events, linking to different blog posts, or just random tweets about our pet peeves, what we're eating tonight, or the status from the latest "your-favorite-team" game. It's been a marketing tool, but it can be a better customer service tool (I'm a big fan of customer service), especially if you have an e-commerce site.

Jennifer Laycock

Dear Miss Social Media Manners...

If you've ever read a Miss Manners column (or stepped foot outside your house) you're well aware of the sheer number of people who simply have no concept of proper etiquette. If you've set foot on a social network like Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, you've probably learned this lesson a second time. While there is no Miss Social Media Manners to turn to with your questions on the best way to interact with folks online, you can rely on good old fashioned common sense to guide you.

Jennifer Laycock

Still Trying to Understand Twitter? Think of Post-it Notes...

Last month at fall SBMU here in Columbus, I was trying to explain Twitter to some folks in my social media session who weren't familiar with it. Since I'm a big fan of analogies, I spent the week before the show trying to come up with a quick and easy way to explain Twitter. The thing that kept popping into my head was the idea of a wall of Post-it notes. If you're still having a hard time understanding Twitter, hear me out for one more explanation.

Jennifer Laycock

Why Social Media Outreach is the Key to Marketing in a Recession

If you aren't already barricaded in your basement with a wing stove, a supply of food and water and a small arsenal, chances are good you're wracking your brain trying to figure out how your small business will weather the economic storm. The talking heads have been telling us the bottom is about to drop out for months and with eleventy billion dollars about to get dumped into a mysterious "bailout" package, the rest of us are picking up our buckets so we can start bailing out ourselves and our businesses.

Mack Collier

Can You Still Afford to Ignore Blogs and Social Media?

So is all this blogging and social media stuff really just a fad? Is it going away? Or will most companies need to invest in the coming years in using these tools to better connect with their customers? Thanks to many recent surveys and studies, the future of social media for businesses is becoming much clearer...

Sage Lewis

Radian6 Shines New Light on Social Media Monitoring

After attending SBMU Columbus, Sage discovers the true value of Radian6, a social media monitoring tool. Radian6 provides a pervasive and in-depth picture of social media conversations happening across the entire web. It allows you to track and do analysis on whatever keywords or phrases you choose, so you can monitor your company, your brands, your products and/or your competitors' brands, products, etc. As a higher end tool, Radian6 is not free nor cheap, but Sage feels that it is absolutely worth the value....

Sage Lewis

A Giant Goody Bag of Internet News

Sage packs this week's In the News video full of Google, Facebook, MySpace, Microsoft and more. You'll have to watch the video for the full scoop, but here's some highlights. According to Coneinc.com Americans not only expect companies to have a social media presence but 60% of Americans already interact with companys on social media websites. Marketing Pilgrim reports that MySpace is still number one with its 67.5% market share to Facebook's 20.56%, even though Facebook showed a 50% growth. Look for great conversation and information about Google AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, dynamic vs. static URLs, audio indexing of videos and...

Manoj Jasra

MySpace Maintains Over 65% Market Share

MySpace.com received 67.54 percent of the market share of U.S. visits in August 2008 among a custom category of 56 of the leading social networking websites according to Hitwise. The market share of U.S.visits to the social networking custom category decreased 2 percent in August 2008 to 6.40 percent of all U.S. visits compared to July 2008. Visits to the category decreased 17 percent year-over-year....

Diane Aull

Social Media Conversations - SBM Unleashed

Social media isn't about marketing, it's about the conversations. Jennifer Laycock's presentation covers practical tactics for engaging your customers in those conversations, and points you to some social sites to consider....

David Wallace

Building a Community - SBM Unleashed

There's no doubt the best endorsements come from happy and loyal customers. So what if there was a way to build a community around your web site? A community that helped keep your content fresh, your ideas flowing and the links 'a coming. Turns out, there is. Of course to build a community, you need to have some personality. In this session, Sage Lewis of SageRock Marketing, will reveal how to leverage your personality and build a happy and loyal community around your web site....

Karri Flatla

Bet You Didn't Know Micro Blogging Could Be This Simple

When I finally did get on the micro blogging bandwagon (and no, I don't count Facebook, not even the "new" one), I put my profile on pretty much all of the Twitter-ish sites I could find. Hey, why not? It's sort of like one of those drinking games where you do a bunch of different shooters in about half an hour, realize most of them just make you want to throw up and go back to your favourite beer the following Saturday....

Mack Collier

10 Steps to Creating the Perfect Small Business Blog

While many small businesses are curious about blogging, few understand the steps necessary to get a solid effort off the ground.  Here's the steps you should consider to create the perfect blog for your small business....

Mack Collier

Putting Your Best Face(s) Forward on Your Blog

So often, we want to focus on writing great content in order to grow our blogs.  But we can sometimes forget why social media works so well; because it connects people....

Sage Lewis

U.S. Dept. of State Loads the Social Media Bases

The government is finally on the social media bandwagon. The U.S. Dept. of State not only has a blog with comments but it also has YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook accounts, plus RSS feeds. Also in the news, Yahoo launches their Buzz.com site, emulating other social bookmarking sites like Digg....

Mack Collier

Social Media is NOT a Silver Bullet

For many businesses, social media can seem to be this mysterious black box that they don't really understand.  But a recent conversation with my friend Tim Jackson reminded me that social media really isn't as mysterious as many companies think....

Simon Heseltine

Is it time for Social Media yet?

In early 2007 the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research ran a study on the adoption and usage of various types of social media by the 2006 Inc. 500 list of companies (the 500 fastest growing private US companies for that year). The numbers were interesting, but not necessarily astounding. However, this year the University went back to do a follow up study with the same questions asked to the same companies

Debra Mastaler

I'll Take Links And 11 Gold Medals Please

Do you do any link building planning?  Planning as in mapping out locations you want to get links from and developing strategies around upcoming events? If you're not, you may want to take a look at what one company has done to capitalize on anticipation.  The goodwill, media attention and inbound links they generated from one small commercial is priceless and worth it's weight in gold....

Jennifer Laycock

Small Business Can Step Back from the Bleeding Edge of Social Media

Yesterday at BarCamp Ohio I sat listening to a conversation among people who were trying to balance the need to be involved in social media outreach with the need to run their businesses. Their frustration was based on the fear that as they finally embraced a social network or site, the masses would move some place new. For a company focused running a business instead of playing in the social media sphere, it's a valid concern.

Craig Sutton

If you're not careful, Twitter could be your next newsreader!

Many people use the Twitter service to meet other interesting people, both with similar likes or just to hear what others have to say. This method of online socialization has become quite commonplace in the online world. However, after following almost 400 people, which for some is but a fraction of the people they are listening to, I had discovered that for the small amount of time I could dedicate to Twitter, this was more information than I knew what to do with....

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media Marketing? Not in Columbus (or Social Media Isn't a Free Pass to a Good Campaign)

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple dozen other Columbus bloggers for a preview of the new Experience Columbus marketing campaign. The campaign was touted as having a heavy social media component and since I'm in the process of promoting Columbus myself with our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, I was excited to see what they had put together. Unfortunately, the night featured quite a few classic social media marketing mistakes.

Jennifer Laycock

Don't Forget to Bring Your Business Cards to the Social Media Party

It's been said the devil is in the details. Unfortunately, I'm not really a details kind of person. I'd like to write it off and say my mental energy goes into creativity; but the truth is, I'm just really forgetful. It's why we have insanely organized people like Rachel and Vickie on staff to keep us organized. That's why yesterday's Columbus Tweetup served as a great reminder of one of the common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to social media.

Sage Lewis

A Slam Dunk On An Overly Dramatic Industry

Sage lays the smack down on the internet marketing industry as he brings to light the immaturity and name-calling surrounding the Edward Lewis "hubbub". Having been at the receiving end of scathing, hateful remarks by Shoemoney and his cohorts, Sage identifies with how it feels to be the underdog. He tells the industry to grow up! -- and stop acting like the immature children of the marketing world. If we want to play hard ball with the big boys of TV and print, then we have to start acting like a mature professional industry....

Mack Collier

Small Business Blogging Case Study: Tinku Gallery

One thing I love about blogging is that it gives a small business the ability to quickly and easily build awareness for itself online. This is exactly what Amrita Chandra is doing to get the word out about her Toronto-based art gallery, Tinku Gallery.

Sage Lewis

Groundswell: The Ultimate Social Media Resource for Businesses?

Social media is all the rage, and it's here to stay, but it's hard for businesses to know what to do with it and how to do it. Sage encourages both believers and skeptics to check out the book Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, citing it as one of the best social media resources from the business perspective. As an aside, our very own Jennifer Laycock is mentioned on page eight!...

Mack Collier

This is Why I Love Plurk (And Why You Should Too)

If you use Twitter, then you might have heard of a new microblogging site called Plurk. Both services are alike in that they are both microblogging sites, in the same way that a Jeep and Ferrari are alike because they both have four wheels. But just as Twitter holds potential for you to grow your business, so does Plurk.

Mack Collier

Blogging Case Study: Newcastle Square Realty

Perhaps the most important area of a business blog, is its content. How you position your blog's content can greatly determine how successful it will be, and this is a lesson that hasn't been lost on Newcastle Square Realty.

Jennifer Laycock

Why the Social Media World NEEDS to Understand SEO

As I find myself drifting further and further from my search engine optimization roots to focus more time and effort on exploring the worlds of social media, blogging and viral marketing, I'm sometimes astonished at the misunderstandings between these two worlds. Search engine marketers look to social media as a vast expanse of link opportunities, almost completely missing the true potential of social media. On the other hand, social media types tend to look at SEO as some type of dirty game of tricks and scams that would tarnish the pure image they hope to build in their social media utopia.

Debra Mastaler

Grab Your Profile Link Before Some Jerk Does

Online, reputation is everything. It drives you professionally, personally and algorithmically. Have a good reputation and your efforts will be rewarded through growth and customer loyalty.  Develop a bad one and you'll spend precious time and resources trying to recover lost market share. While it's impossible to monitor every venue open to public opinion, you can work to protect your reputation by registering your known brand/name with as many social media, forums, and discussion sites as you can, especially the popular ones in your niche....

Mack Collier

How Well Do You Know Your Blog's Traffic?

Can you tell someone how many visitors your blog gets every day? Do you know how many people access your blog via a feed on a daily basis? If so, great, but that's only the surface of understanding your blog's traffic.

Jennifer Laycock

Don't Miss the Post Conference Twitter Networking Effect

I think more people are beginning to understand the value of using Twitter during conferences to keep up with the conversation around the event and for meeting people at the show, but I think a lot of people are still failing to grasp the benefits of tying every day Twitter use to post-show networking. After attending Podcamp Ohio this past weekend, I'm reminded of just how useful Twitter is AFTER the show.

Mack Collier

Five Sites You Can Use To Grow Your Blog

Think all you have to do is create great content, and readers will beat a path to your blogging front door? Think again. One of the best ways to grow your blog, is by participating on other social sites.

Mack Collier

Why is Social Media So Hard For Businesses?

More businesses than ever are exploring the possibility of using social media tools and sites to help grow their business. But many of these efforts aren't very effective, and I think that is due to many businesses simply misunderstanding what social media is, and why it's so important.

Mack Collier

Five Ways Your Small Business Can Use Online Video

Thanks to the lowering cost of technology, it's now possible for any small business owner to create and share videos with current and potential customers online, for less than $200. This also gives small business owners several exciting new options for growing their businesses.

Jennifer Laycock

Why LinkedIn Is One Social Network I Couldn't Work Without

When I teach Social Media classes to small businesses, I can always count on someone in the audience to ask a question that goes a little something like this: "I've got limited time to invest in social media, but there seem to be a million sites out there. How do I know which one is worth my time? If I only have time for one, which one should it be?" Well I generally try to weasel out of that question by telling them I'd use both LinkedIn AND Twitter, the truth is if I had to pick just one, LinkedIn would win, hands down. Let me tell you why.

Sage Lewis

Leave It to Harvard to Legitimize Us

Sage highlights the Harvard Business Review blog, Conversation Starter. The post, "How to Be a Social Media Change Agent" features an interview with Josh Bernoff, author of The Groundswell Effect. The book provides case studies of what people are doing in the business world with social media. As one of the leading business publications in the world, the Harvard Business Review adds legitimacy to social media and internet industries as a whole by its coverage both online and in its print publication....

Mack Collier

Is Your Business Under (Online) Review?

More than ever, sites are popping up that let customers review everything from restaurants to daycares. And while many small businesses cringe at the thought of receiving a bad review, here's a few reasons why even a negative opinion from a customer can be a good thing!

Mack Collier

Social Media Conversations Are Leaky

This weekend I was reminded of how quickly ideas can generate buzz and discussion on social media sites when a blog post I wrote immediately sparked conversation on my blog as well as two other social sites.

Mack Collier

Putting the Cart Before the (Social Media) Horse

I have lost count on how many times I have heard business owners say "I know I need to be blogging/on Facebook/MySpace/Twitter, but what I don't know is how to get started?' When I ask how they KNOW that they need to be using these tools, I am answered with either a blank stare, or a 'well everyone else is using them!'

Sage Lewis

Jennifer Laycock Brings Business Back to the Basics

Sage highlights Jennifer Laycock's article "How Social Media (Didn't) Change Business," in which she uses her grandfather as an example of what business is really all about, and that's PEOPLE. Jennifer's grandfather was an insurance agent who delayed his retirement for a year to personally take care of all his clients' claims after a major tornado struck the area.

Jennifer Laycock

How Social Media (Didn't) Change Business

I'm continually amazed at how people go barreling into social media sites like a bull in a china shop and then wonder why they aren't well received. They hear social media is changing the way people do business and they make the mistake of thinking it's changing it to something "new" instead of simply changing it back to the way things used to be. (Yes, I know Twitter is new, I mean in spirit.)

Jennifer Laycock

Still Confused by Social Media?

While we're starting to see a shift toward more and more people understanding and embracing the idea of social media, there are still quite a few folks out there that simply don't get it. That's not to say they don't understand what it is, it's that they don't understand why it's so important and how it can impact their business.

Mack Collier

I Want a Viral Video!

Don't you? Have you ever heard a client say they wanted a viral video? Have you ever told someone to make you a viral video? There's just one problem; you can't make a viral video.

Mack Collier

Knowing the Rules of the (Social Media) Road

At the first Small Business Marketing Unleashed, one of the case studies I explored was how Stormhoek involved bloggers in the marketing of their wine. Stormhoek now has its sights on Twitter users as marketing partners, and small businesses looking to explore social media should pay attention to their efforts.

Diane Aull

How to Fail at Social Marketing

We've probably all heard the horror stories of people whose articles hit the front page of Digg and their servers crash under the strain of all the traffic this generates for them. Want to ensure this doesn't happen to you? Follow the steps in this handy (tongue in cheek) guide, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll never have the problem of too much web traffic from social media sites....

Jennifer Laycock

Social Networking Holds True Value for Small Business

When you do what I do for a living, it's a constant battle to remind yourself that not everyone lives and breathes online marketing. The true challenge of small business education isn't really in teaching people what they need to know...it's in convincing them they need to know it. That's why I couldn't resist writing a rebuttal to an article over at Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends site by John Mariotti called "Ten Reasons I Won't Use Social Media Sites."

Mack Collier

Does Your Blog Have a Twitter Landing Page?

One of the best bit of social media advice I ever received came from Chris Brogan when he said that when you want to decide if a social media tool is for you, observe how someone that is really good at the tool uses it. Right now Twitter is hotter than Memphis in August, and one of the true power users of Twitterville is Laura Fitton, who is known on Twitter as Pistachio.

Jennifer Laycock

How to Grow a Community by Leaving it Alone

With so much focus on social media and fostering conversation these days, companies both big and small are trying to figure out the best way to grow communities. Looking around at the number of blogs dedicated to the topic, you'd think there was some complex formula you needed to follow to get one going. Of course George Oates from Flickr would tell you you're wrong.

Debra Mastaler

Bee's Do It. NonProfits Do It. Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Link Love

There are parallels between traditional linking and social media promotion. While I agree the two entities are different animals and call for seperate strategies, the bottom line is the same for both... to increase traffic and inbound links. With some people holding SEO to the fire for exploiting social media, I thought it might be interesting to focus on those parallels and look for common ground....

Karri Flatla

My Relationship with Facebook: Can We Talk?

I'm probably going to lose a lot of Friends with this post, but I need to get some stuff off my chest about Facebook. If you're a real Friend, you'll listen without judgment. If not, it was nice Facebooking with you. I hope there are no hard feelings left in my wake....

Mack Collier

So How Do You Find People on Twitter?

One of the benefits to spending time on Twitter is that it's a great way to network. But if you are new to Twitter, it can seem difficult to find people that are in your industry or that share your interests. Here's some tips to help get you started meeting new friends on Twitter!

Mack Collier

Worst Example of a Company Twittering?

The problem that many companies face when they delve into the social media waters is that they really don't understand these new-fangled tools. And that means they are probably going to use them in the wrong ways, and for the wrong reasons.

Karri Flatla

Twittering Our Way Toward Truth on the Social Web

I admit, I've been relatively slow to catch on to Twitter. At first it just seemed like a lot of background noise with no real purpose. Silly almost. Like, um, Facebook. Except with Twitter the discussion becomes more relevant as time goes on, not less. The conversations, even inane ones, retain a degree of rawness and truth, cluttered and disorganized as they may be....

Mack Collier

So How DO You Pitch a Blogger?

One of the highlights for me, as a blogger, during last week's Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston, came when Jennifer Laycock instructed the attendees on the proper way to 'pitch' a blogger. As a blogger that has received hundreds if not thousands of horrible pitches over the last 3 years, it was music to my ears!

Debra Mastaler

Dull, Boring And Cheap Means No Links For You

Have you tried to hire an SEO professional or a link builder and been turned down repeatedly? Is your site not performing to your expectations? Do you like the color beige? If you answered yes to any of these questions read on....

Mack Collier

When you monitor the blogosphere, what do you see?

If you've read my posts here or were able to hear me speak at Small Business Marketing Unleashed in Houston, you know what a believer I am in businesses monitoring the blogosphere. It's a must for businesses to know what bloggers are saying about them, because then they can respond. But how do you know the correct way to respond? It depends on what you find.

Liana Evans

Unleashed: Building A Community Workshop by Sage Lewis

Wondering what it takes to build a community?  How do you get people to follow you?  Sage Lewis of Sage Rock leads up this session that focuses on building up communities through YouTube & Facebook....

Diane Aull

Unleashed: Blogging for Businesss

Mack Collier's presentation on Blogging for Business covered a lot of tips for small businesses thinking of getting started with blogging. It's not just a matter of writing a bunch of posts about your business (in fact, that's not such a good thing to do, as it happens). Read more to find out what you should be doing....

Diane Aull

Unleashed Session: Social Media Conversations

Bummed because you couldn't make it to the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference? Fret no more! Here are the highlights from Jennifer Laycock's Social Media Conversations session for your edification and entertainment. Enjoy!...

Mack Collier

Examples of Great Company Blogs

All week we've talked about the elements that make a great company blog. Now let's conclude the What Makes a Great Company Blog series by looking at some of the best company blogs.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Sidebars

The sidebars of your blog are a great chance for you to not only give readers information they need, but to also shine the spotlight on them! In Part Four of my 'What Makes a Great Company Blog' series, I'll look at how superior blogs utilize their sidebars to attract and grow their audience.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Comments

If great content is the #1 trait of a great company blog, properly handling comments is #1-A. Great content pulls in readers and if you can use that content to encourage comments and then reply to the ones left in a proper manner, you'll convert readers into a community.

Sage Lewis

Video: You Use YouTube? Learn How to Maximize

Jiannis Sotiropoulos from the Pandemic Blog divulges his findings about how to maximize your YouTube results in his article, "Going Viral with YouTube."  Sotiropoulos studied four different videos, three of which were popular and one that wasn't.  Sage highlights five of his major findings, including results like the number of friends you have on YouTube does NOT play a role in promoting it nor does the quantity of videos, but the quality of your video and having lots of friends on other social networking sites does influence the popularity....

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog: Posting Schedule

In Part Two of my Elements of a Great Company Blog series, I'll look at how to create a posting schedule and why it's so important in growing your blog's readership.

Mack Collier

What Makes a Great Company Blog?

As more companies and businesses enter the blogging waters, it's becoming easier to identify the characteristics of an outstanding company blog. Next week at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston, I'll be presenting on the topic of Blogging for Business. Part of my presentation will cover the elements of a great company blog, and I thought it would be a good idea to cover those areas here as well.

Jennifer Laycock

Great Examples of Corporate Twitter Use

I (along with the rest of the marketing world) have been writing more and more about Twitter in the last few months. How to use it, how to leverage it, and why you need to be part of the conversation. While there are now plenty of examples of why Twitter is valuable in terms of networking and driving traffic, David Armano has a great post this week exploring how two companies are using Twitter to interact with customers and to build their brand.

Jennifer Laycock

Spite is Not a Marketing Strategy

Over the past few weeks, I've seen multiple instances of companies using spite and or attacks to try and push themselves ahead of their competitors. I imagine in their minds, painting the competition in a poor light makes their own products and services look that much better. Unfortunately for them, they've missed a key lesson in both life and marketing. If you have to make someone else look bad in order to make yourself look or feel good, you've got a long way to go.

Jennifer Laycock

Five Reasons Twitter is an Essential Social Media Tool

I've been using Twitter for roughly five months now and I'm finding more and more reasons to include it on my must-use list of social media sites. I go to thinking about my little love affair this week when Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends asked fifteen small business owners what their favorite social media site was and why. I was interviewed for the piece, as were Unleashed speakers Matt McGee and Wendy Piersall. The more I thought about it, the more I realized Twitter just might be the best all-around social network for small business owners.

Sage Lewis

Video: Arrington, Comcast, Twitter And The Chicken

Michael Arrington from TechCrunch gets top honors this week with his article "Comcast, Twitter And The Chicken (trust me, I have a point)." After being without cable service for 36 hours, Arrington utilizes Twitter as a way of spreading his discontent and frustration. Within twenty minutes of the first tweet, a Comcast executive contacts Arrington and arranges for the problem to be fixed immediately. Sage points out and encourages everyone, not just major company executives, to utilize Twitter's Tweet Scan as a way of tracking what's being said about them and/or their brand. Not only does the article display the...

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media + Humanity = Embarrassment (But That's Ok!)

On the heels of this morning's article about the need to inject a little humanity into your small business marketing, I ran across a great post by Mike Moran over at Biznology that asks if you can handle a little professional embarrassment. After all, if you're going to inject humanity via social media experimentation, there's a good chance you're going to make a fool of yourself.

Manoj Jasra

Give Me 5 Wishes Facebook Group Genie

In the past I have discussed how to create Successful Facebook groups, however I still find the regular (non sponsored) Facebook groups very limited. Below is my personal wish list for Facebook Groups...

Jennifer Laycock

Sixty Cent Branding: How One Minute of Effort Sparked This Post

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses on the web is how to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yes, a unique domain name or site design can help. Great products and good prices makes a difference as well. But sometimes, it really is the little things that can push you over the top. In fact, for just sixty cents (give or take a nickel), one small business in DeKalb, Illinois cemented it's brand in my "gift shopping" bookmarks and sparked a post on this blog that will reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers.

Debra Mastaler

Use What's In Front Of You To Attract Links

If you have an offline store supporting an online presence or even if you exist only online, it makes sense to expose your URL's and special promotions at every opportunity. Doing so helps to build credibility and natural inbound links.

Jennifer Laycock

Missed the Early Bird Price on Unleashed? No Worries!

No doubt some of you looked at your calendars last week and realized you'd missed the $850 early bird price for our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston. Don't sweat it, we've got you covered. We've spent the last six months building the perfect conference for you. We know how busy you are. Do you think we'd let you miss out on this great show just because you forget to set an alert on your calendar?

Mack Collier

10 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog Traffic

Want more traffic to your blog? Of course you do. But how do you get it? It's a question that many bloggers struggle with, but thankfully there are several fairly easy ways you can start today to grow your blog's traffic.

Mack Collier

Are You Monitoring Twitter?

If you aren't, you should be! With close to one million users (according to TwitDir), businesses are beginning to realize that it's just as important to monitor what Twitter users are saying about them, as it is to monitor the blogosphere.

Mack Collier

Is Your Marketing an Experience?

Last week I attended South by Southwest, and while the festival itself was the main attraction, the events and parties that sprung up every night were examples of great and cheap marketing that many small businesses could learn from.

Jennifer Laycock

Four Social Media Lessons from SXSW's Mark Zuckerberg Interview

If you read technology and marketing blogs or follow Twitter, chances are good you've heard some of the fuss about Sarah Lacy's interview of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at yesterday's South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin. I spent the afternoon watching Twitter users unleash an absolute tirade against Lacy during the interview, which left me wondering what was going on. After having read numerous blog posts, news stories and watching several video clips, I realized what the fuss was all about. As always, there's something to be learned from failure.

Jennifer Laycock

What Do An English Pub and Social Media Have in Common?

Quite a bit! After a trek across the pond and some time spent in a pub in Northeastern England, Site Logic Marketing's Matt Bailey offers up an excellent article this week that draws a poignant analogy between social media marketing and the traditional English Pub.

Jennifer Laycock

Practicing What We Preach: A Social Media Marketing Lesson

We've always been pretty open here at Search Engine Guide about how we do things. Partly because that's just who we are, but mostly because we like the challenge of doing things on a budget (like our readers) and ending up with examples that can help inspire them in their own marketing goals.

Stoney deGeyter

Social Media Marketing is Branding

Think of all the ways that companies use branding to build awareness of themselves or to promote their social awareness and customer service values. A few things come to mind such as greeters at the entrance of your my favorite store, go-green awareness issues, charity drives that "give back" to the community for every purchase made, TV screens playing music videos or news as you wait in line, and the list goes on. None of these things lead directly to conversions but they do lead to higher company awareness and the good old fashioned fuzzy-feelings we get when we...

Sage Lewis

Video: Spinning Sphinn - Sage Gives Us the Skinny

Sage puts a fresh spin on Sphinn, highlighting several stories instead of focusing on just one. Unlike Digg, which is a more general social media site, Sphinn is strictly an Internet marketing site. Sage extols the virtues of using Sphinn to stay savvy on the latest Internet news....

Mack Collier

"Your Company + Sucks" is Your Worst Enemy, or Best Friend

As the dynamic CK points out, "Your Company" + SUCKS is the new Google barometer for how well you are satisfying your customers. And sometimes, it's not very pretty.

Mack Collier

Make Your Blogging Lists and Check Them Twice

Have you taken the time to sit down and put your blog's goals on paper? Do you know why you are blogging and what you want to accomplish from your efforts? Excellent. But don't fool yourself into thinking that all you need is a plan, that's just your starting point.

Mack Collier

Are You Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service?

If you aren't, you should be. Here's a great example of how one of the country's biggest companies is using a very personal touch to provide excellent customer service, and create evangelists for their brand.

Mack Collier

The Art of Creating a Post That Draws Traffic and Links to Your Blog

Most, if not every blogger, wants to write posts that are popular with their readers, and other bloggers. And while there are no foolproof ways to guarantee that others will be interested in what you write, there are several things you can do to greatly improve your chances that others will talk about, and link to your posts.

Jennifer Laycock

Part Five: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

Up until now, the series has mostly focused on how you can use Twitter to directly communicate with other members. I've shared insight into how you can expand your networking skills, use Twitter to meet up with people in person and set links on the viral path with "retweets." While each and every one of those uses adds value to the Twitter service, it was the use of Twitter as a news source for that first caught my interest.

Jennifer Laycock

Part Four: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

By now I'm hoping you've either signed up for Twitter and started playing around to see what you can learn or are at least giving it some thought. Of course if you already have enough friends or never leave your house, I probably haven't convinced you to give it a go yet. I'll aim to change that today by convincing you of the power of Twitter in terms of driving traffic and launching viral buzz.

Jennifer Laycock

The "Middleman" of Social Media is Your Friend

Listen to any commercial from a warehouse style store and they'll tell you all about how you have to "cut out the middleman." The middleman is bad, bad, bad. He mucks things up, he makes them more expensive and he keeps you from getting the absolute best deal on your appliances, mattresses and even your insurance. In the world of social media marketing however, the middleman is your friend. In fact, he or she could become one of your most valuable assets.

Jennifer Laycock

Part Three: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

Ok, so chances are good quite a few of you have Twitter accounts already. At some point, you wondered what the hype was all about, went and signed up and followed a few people. Then you got bored, asked yourself why you were wasting your time on this "crazy Twitter stuff" and left your account for greener pastures. For some of you, it was a good choice. After all, you DO have a business to run. For others...well, maybe you just need a little perspective on when and how Twitter comes in handy.

Jennifer Laycock

Part Two: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

There's no denying that opening up a Twitter account is easy stuff. Five minutes out of your day and you're ready to be up and running. There's also no denying that Twitter is a lonely, lonely place if you don't have any friends. Today, we'll dive into the Twitter "followers/following" system and learn how you can really use Twitter to communicate with people.

Jennifer Laycock

Part One: From Twits to Tweeple, Why I Embraced Twitter and You Should Too

I've spent the last month playing around with Twitter. Now that I've had time to really dive into the service, experiement with it and learn some of the finer details, I figured it's about time I wrote a Seach Engine Guide style guide to the service. This multi-part series will cover everything from how to get an account and get people following you to the finer points of twitter marketing and networking. It's not a service that will be worth the time to everyone, but it's certainly proven itself to have practical application for me.

Mack Collier

How to Write Blog Posts That Will Grow Your Readership, and Your Business

When a business starts blogging, there is usually a huge temptation to use this newly-minted blog as a tool to directly promotion the business and its products and services. Unfortunately, this is the quickest way to guarantee that your blog will be totally useless and irrelevant to visitors. So what should your blog focus on? Providing value to your readers, of course!

Liana Evans

Most Public Relations Firms Are Not Online Marketers

If you are a small business and you are looking to hire an online marketer, be weary of public relations firms that claim "we can do that" or "we'll bundle that with our services".  Public Relations companies that truly understand online marketing are few and far between, and the ones who really do understand it and do a good job at it, are usually swamped and not taking on new clients....

Mack Collier

How I Increased My Blog's Subscriber Count By Over 1000% In Less Than a Year

One of the most common questions I hear from bloggers and businesses that blog, is 'How can I grow my blog's traffic?' This is a valid question, but bloggers shouldn't forget to focus on their blog's subscribers as well. Over the last year, I have seen first-hand what can happen when you focus on growing your blog's subscriber count.

Mack Collier

Are You Hiding on Your Blog?

Whether you are a consultant, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, a blog can be a great tool to promote yourself. But the mistake that many blogs make is placing too much emphasis on promoting what they offer, and not enough focus on the people doing the selling.

Jennifer Laycock

How Advanta is Leveraging Social Media for B2B

How does a big stodgy business with a fairly boring product leverage social media? Easy. They create a new and growing social community of entrepreneurs. Ideablob is that community. Launched byAdvanta, one of the largest providers of business credit cards to small businesses, Ideablob is a great example of how B2B companies are leveraging social media to build a vibrant community of followers all while boosting the Advanta brands to their target audience.

Jennifer Laycock

Social Media Can Be a Great Way to Stretch Your Ad Budget

Word is out that 30 second spots during this year's SuperBowl are going for a cool $3 million. That's unattainable cash for most small businesses. Even still, I have to wonder if it's a worthwhile investment for the companies that CAN afford it. Surely there's a better way to leverage $3 million to deliver a solid return and ongoing return.

Mack Collier

Someone is Probably Blogging About Your Business RIGHT NOW!

Normally the first step a business takes in exploring the blogosphere is to start blogging themselves. But instead of diving in with a new blog, is it better to first understand what bloggers are currently saying about your business?

Jennifer Laycock

Is There Any Real Value to Twitter?

Maki thinks so. He's put together a great post sharing seventeen different uses he's found for Twitter. It's a good post for those of you who have looked at Twitter with (justifiable) skepticism and wondered what it had to offer you. Some of you will find your skepticism confirmed, but others will spot some practical application that makes a little experimenting with Twitter worthwhile. Thus far, I fall into the latter group.

Mack Collier

So Does Blogging Really Work? Here's the Proof.

For a few years now, companies have heard that blogs are great tools to better reach and understand their customers.  But at some point, the rubber needs to meet the road, and actual bottom-line results need to be examined.  So are any companies actually seeing growth coming from their blogging efforts?  You better believe they are!...

Sage Lewis

Video: Get Your Social (Media) Life on Track for 2008

In a world of information and conversation overload, here is some advice on how to focus on quality instead of quantity in regards to your social media endeavors. Sage focuses on learning how to balance reaping the rewards of social media while still being actively social yourself.

Jennifer Laycock

I Said Empower Your Fans, Not Enrage Them!

I've written quite a few articles about companies who have trouble dealing with the way social media has changed conversation. Big, old school companies and organizations who are used to "controlling the message" tend to have a hard time letting go of that control. Unfortunately for them, social media is pushing the conversation forward whether they want it to or not. That's why I was surprised, but really not surprised at the NCAA's new blogging policies.

Jennifer Laycock

Making the Most of Your Social Media Time

On the heels of my own post about the social media time sink, I ran across one by Chris Winfield over at Search Engine Land offering up some advice on the best use of your time when it comes to social media.

Jennifer Laycock

Avoiding Information and Conversation Overload from Social Media

Here's the problem with social media: it takes a lot of time. There are only so many hours in the day and if you're a small business owner, you need to spend most of them working. The challenge for any small business owner when it comes to social media is figuring out how to leverage it without letting it destroy your productivity. That's why it's essential to stop worrying so much about missing something and start focusing more on using what works for you.

Jennifer Laycock

Do You Know if You're Ticking Off Your Best Customers?

Every now and then, your company makes a decision that has a pretty big impact on your customers. Sometimes that impact is positive, sometimes it does a pretty good job of ticking those customers off. How that decision is received can make a big difference in the ongoing success of your business. If you aren't watching the Internet to gauge the reaction to these decisions, you're making a big mistake.

Jennifer Laycock

Small Biz Turns to Social Networks for Referrals

While many small business owners are flocking to social media and social networking sites, others are scratching their heads and wondering why they should waste their time. Those head scratchers might want to take a look at an article out today over at eWeek that explores the trend of small businesses using social networks as sounding boards and referral services.

Jennifer Laycock

Are Your Social Networking Connections Hurting YOUR Reputation?

It's been well over a year since I first wrote about how the social networking frenzy is impacting the personal and professional reputations of Internet users. Since then, we've continued to see stories about how many companies are now running Google searches before hiring applicants. In fact, it's becoming more and more common for companies to decide not to hire someone based on what they've found in a potential hire's online profile.

Jennifer Laycock

Another Boring Product Made Fun With Social Media

Back before the holidays I made two posts about how a church and a bank put a new spin on an old idea and created something with great viral potential. Today, I want offer up another example of how a company that creates a pretty boring product (a blender) put a David Letterman style thinking cap and created a viral video sensation.

Jennifer Laycock

Old Idea + Creative Thinking + New Media = Viral Marketing Potential Part 2

If you read part one of this post, you've already caught a great example of a church getting a little creative with their welcome message and ending up with a great viral video. In part two, we're going to take a look at how a company in Fargo, South Dakota put a twist on the typical "donate a bunch of money at the end of the year" idea to score a viral hit of their own.

Jennifer Laycock

Old Idea + Creative Thinking + New Media = Viral Marketing Potential Part 1

Earlier this week, Debra had a great post about creating viral videos as a way to drive links to your site. Now there's no doubting the power of video (just ask the founders of YouTube) for driving traffic and sparking interest, but I do still hear quite a bit of chatter about how hard it is to create a good viral video. Then I ran across a video this morning that reminded me you just need a sense of humor and a slightly varied take on something you're doing anyway.

Sage Lewis

Video: The Secret Sauce of Social Media

Let's have a reality check about social media and your business. You can't just barge into these communities schlepping your wares and expect everyone to get excited and buy, buy, buy. You need to use the secret sauce if you are going to have success.

Jennifer Laycock

When Social Networks Go Senile

With social media sites coming online at a rate of eleventy billion a minute, it's only a matter of time before we start to see some...well, interesting communities popping up. So what would happen if you not only got a bunch of senior citizens together (and I don't mean the "just turned 60 club," I mean the 80+ club) and built a Facebook type social networking site? And what if those seniors had a great sense of humor?

Debra Mastaler

Building Links By Making Videos

According to a recent survey, people are planning to turn to the Internet for content as a way to keep themselves entertained during the writers strike. If there was ever a time to create a library of videos and publicize the heck out of them as a way to attract more inbound links, it's now!

Jennifer Laycock

Changing What You Want to Get Out of Social Media

Earlier this week I summarized my Hide and Speak article series with a wrap-up post outlining four key lessons on social media marketing. The post tried to get companies to realize social media marketing was an ongoing process that requires time, committment and a passion for your product. What I should have included was the need to see social media marketing as a way to tear down the walls that separate your business from your customers. That wall called "marketing." Thankfully Mack Collier steps up to the plate today with an excellent post on this very topic.

Jennifer Laycock

Is That Picture Worth a Thousand Views?

Barry over at Search Engine Land reports Flickr has launched stats for Flickr Pro account holders. As a Flickr lover, I was pretty pumped to read this news. One of the most frustrating things about using Flickr for someone who lives and breathes marketing was the lack of access to traffic stats. I must not have been the only person who felt this way because Flickr has finally delivered a fairly nice statistics report to their users.

Sage Lewis

Video: Letting Spiders Back Into Bento Yum

What are the lessons to be learned from someone crazy enough to block search engine spider from her site?

Jennifer Laycock

Hide and Speak: Letting the Spiders Back in to Bento Yum

Had an email this week from Kalena Jordan asking me for an update on the Bento Yum "blocking Google" series I started earlier this year. I'd launched the project back in May as a new series about a building a business without the benefit of search traffic. The goal of the series was to rely on word of mouth, blogging and social media to build a successful web site. While the project had serious potential, I only managed to get five or six articles out of it before I had to call it quits. That doesn't mean there weren't valuable lessons learned though.

Jennifer Laycock

Be Nice - You Never Know Who That Email is From

Last week at Search Engine Strategies I finally had the pleasure of meeting up with Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home. Wendy and I have been emailing since last April when she first contacted me to interview me for a feature she was running on her site. As we sat and chatted about some of the things we've worked on together and some things that are coming up, it reminded me of just how important it is to take the time to reply to your emails.

Jennifer Laycock

Santa Claus Isn't the Only One Watching...

Around this time of year millions of children around the world start behaving just a little bit better. Why? Because they have parents who remind them on a regular basis that "Santa Claus is watching..." The not-so-subtle threat is to behave, or risk not getting any Christmas presents. Drew McClellan points out the same holds true for business owners. He uses an example of his own trip to a local Jiffy Lube to remind companies of the need to act as if someone is always watching.

Jennifer Laycock

Are Outdated Policies Squashing Your Brand Evangelists?

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of business professionals at Search Engine Strategies Chicago about Flickr and the ways it can be used to create, build and leverage brand evangelism. Based on conversations I had with audience members after the show, it seems quite a few companies are interested in learning more about how sites like Flickr fit into the conversation taking place online. That's why a post by John Moore of Brand Autopsy has me scratching my head at the short-sightedness displayed by one of the top niche food retailers in the country.

Liana Evans

Craig Newmark of Craig's List at Pubcon - Webmaster World

Craig Newmark was a keynote address at Pubcon on the first day of Pubcon. Learn where he came from and where Craig's List is going in the future.

Jennifer Laycock

The Accidental Lessons of Life in the Search Industry

I missed a great post last week by Matt McGee, so I'm blogging it now. Titled "Eight Things the Search Industry Can Teach Small Businesses," the post offers up several great examples of how to market yourself online from people in the industry who were simply going about their business. From networking to staying visible to finding your niche, it's a great little set of tips and examples worth reading through.

Jennifer Laycock

Are You Integrating Multimedia into Your Site Yet?

The great thing about the Internet in 2007 is the ability to integrate several different types of media into your site. Faster internet connections, cheap bandwidth and free third party multimedia hosting services have made it easy for even the smallest of small businesses to work multi-media into their sites. Since it's well known that different people absorb information in different ways, smart small businesses are looking at the best ways to leverage social media and Web 2.0 technologies to better serve their customers.

Jennifer Laycock

How Do You Value Social Media?

Social media is about the hottest topic there is right now in the online marketing world. Search marketers and traditional marketers are both obsessed with finding ways to drive interest and traffic using this new medium. But how many of them are actually investing in social media marketing and how many are simply offering up half hearted efforts? And how many of them have any idea how to justify their investments?

Liana Evans

What Would Social Media Be If We Didn't Talk To Each Other?

How does social media media work without conversation? It doesn't. So how do you handle navigating the social media "vote for this" waters of friends lists? We are social creatures by habit, long for conversation, so why not strike one up with the folks on your friends list? This article includes tips on not annoying your friends with copious amounts of requests for Diggs, Sphinns and Fetches.

Jennifer Laycock

Designing the Perfect Small Business Marketing Conference (Houston, Texas 2008)

In the last five years, I've attended dozens of marketing conferences, events and seminars. During each of those shows, I've spent time talking to the small business owners who've come to try and learn a little more about how to market their business online. Time and time again, the message I hear is the same. "The information is incredible, but I have no idea where to start!" It was that line that caused Robert and I to sit down several months ago and brainstorm all the things we'd do if we were planning a marketing conference for small business owners. It was Stoney deGeyter who said "so why don't you do it?"

David Wallace

5 Ways Small Business Can Benefit From Social Media/Networking Sites

I recently wrote a piece demonstrating how companies can use social media and networking sites to help control their online reputations. I want to take this a step further and describe some of the benefits social media sites are providing for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs). Some of the most popular sites include Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, and YouTube however, it does not stop there as the list of sites is nearly an endless with new ones coming on board all the time. Even eBay and Netflix have jumped on the social bandwagon, allowing users to create social media profiles...

Jennifer Laycock

You Don't Have to Build Your Own Tools to go Web 2.0

As businesses get more and more obsessed with building community and leveraging Web 2.0 techniques, a lot of small businesses are finding themselves wondering if they can afford to get into the game. What these small businesses often miss is the fact that they don't need to invest a ton of time and money into fancy new technologies. Sometimes, it's about finding what already exists and leveraging it for your brand. That's something I've noticed more and more companies doing with Flickr, my favorite social media site.

Sage Lewis

Video: Sage Lewis Tells Us What's In the News - Monday, November 12

Radiohead moves should open your eyes to possible changes in other industries. Verizon debuts Web 2.0 marketing campaign. AOL acquires Quigo for $300 million. Google at your gas pump. Tapping into social networks.

Sage Lewis

Video: Twitter... When Technology You Snub Finds a Purpose

Jennifer Laycock's blog post, "Twitter CAN be Useful! Who Knew?", reminds us that in today's business world you need to be open to new ideas and new iterations of ideas. What may seem a waste of time at first glance may hold promising potential as a business application.

Manoj Jasra

Google Does it Right with Open Platforms

Google's vision of creating open platforms for both OpenSocial and Android (Open Handset Alliance) is absolutely genius. Not only does it help Google competitively but it also helps create a stronger user experience and a strong support community. Here are some of the major benefits to open platforms such as OpenSocial and Android

Debra Mastaler

A Step by Step Plan on How to Market Your Site on Facebook

If you've heard about Facebook and understand it can help grow your business but aren't sure how to get started, read on. This article is a step-by-step outline on how to market yourself on Facebook.

Jennifer Laycock

Still Intimidated by Online Marketing?

Something I hear now and then from small business owners and small business in-house marketers is that they aren't afraid of marketing. They're just afraid of internet marketing. After all, most people have a general understanding of how things like the yellow pages and newspaper spots work. Even if they don't run good campaigns, they probably can't end up doing a lot of damage. To them, the internet moves at lightening speed and a bad campaign can turn into a true disaster. While these are valid concerns, they shouldn't be enough to scare you off.

Jennifer Laycock

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Twitter

Up until last week, I had never had much use for Twitter. To me, it was just another inane example of people sharing far more than anyone wants to know about them. Then I stumbled across a fantastic use of Twitter and started having second thoughts. I still can't see the sense in letting the world know who is hanging out in your hotel room, but I am thinking there could be some unique applications for it.

Paul Jahn

Entering a Zvents Event

A couple nights ago I posted a random question on Facebook and noticed that Paul O'Brien from Zvents joined the "Local Search Central" group. I haven't had a chance to use Zvents yet, but then thought of a quick trip coming up.

Jennifer Laycock

Twitter CAN be Useful! Who Knew?

I've never been a Twitter fan. I haven't blogged about it or even mentioned it much because quite honestly, I found it to be an incredibly silly concept. (As if blogging hasn't allowed us to share far more about ourselves than anyone ever cared to know already.) I knew there was probably some really great use for Twitter, but I'd yet to see an example of it. Until today.

Manoj Jasra

My Facebook Group is Setup, Now What?

So you were all excited when you first discovered Facebook Groups and noticed that all the cool kids had their own and you quickly jumped on the bandwagon to create one for yourself. You went through the process of creating an enticing title/description, selected the perfect logo and then proceeded to invite all your friends to join...but now what???

Jennifer Laycock

Not Quite a Dozen Social Media Guidelines

While more and more small businesses are experimenting with social media marketing, many remain hesitant about wading into what they see as a public relations minefield. Social media marketing isn't near as scary as it can sound. Like anything else in life where you interact with other people, it simply takes some common sense, decorum and respect for those around you.

Paul Jahn

Houston, We Have Some Social Sites

There's a really good article in the Houston Chronicle labeled Internet Startups Going Social. Normally, mainstream articles like this can be pretty vague, but I thought this one really hit the spot. Plus, I've always liked the Chron.com format.

Sage Lewis

Nearly Twice as Many Consumers Trust Online Reviews over Search Ads

Sage's story of the week is Jennifer Laycock's reporting on the fact that nearly twice as many consumers trust online reviews over search ads. Now, Jennifer isn't suggesting you dump your search ads. Instead you need to compliment them with reviews, refer a friend and product ratings. How do you get them? Ask! Make it easy for your customers to give feedback, point them to review sites and make it easy for them to refer a friend....

Jennifer Laycock

Building Relationships Works for the Media Too!

More than a year ago I started pushing the idea that link building is relationship building. It's since become a cornerstone of my small business marketing advice. After all, small business has almost always been about networking and word of mouth marketing. It only makes sense to carry those concepts over to the web. Unfortunately, many small businesses limit their relationship building to business associates and social networking communities. Duct Tape Marketing's John Jantsch explained over the weekend why relationship building should also extend to the media.

Jennifer Laycock

Green is the New Black (We Said Go Niche, Right?)

With everyone jumping on the bandwagon of niche marketing, finding the topics folks are most interested in BEFORE the rest of the world knows it is key. Matt McGee over at Small Business SEM points out what many social media marketers are already learning. Green (environmentally friendly) is the new black.

Jennifer Laycock

Consumers Consider Online Reviews Far More Trustworthy Than Search Ads

Marketing is a tricky game. Walking the line between selling your product and maintaining the trust and respect of your audience can be tough. That's part of why word of mouth and viral marketing are so attractive. When it comes to common forms of online marketing, it's interesting to note that for the money companies being poured into paid search advertising may be better spent elsewhere.

Jennifer Laycock

Excellent Round-up of Social Bookmarking Lists

Yesterday, I linked to a post by Chris Winfield that offered up some advice on finding the best social bookmarking and social news sites for your small business. In the comments, a reader asked where they could find a list of social media sites. As it turns out, there's a great post over at Cornwall SEO that includes more than a dozen social media lists, ordered by how recently they were updated.

Jennifer Laycock

Finding the Right Social News and Bookmarking Sites

More and more small business owners are beginning to realize sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are not the only (or even best) game in town when it comes to social bookmarking and social news sites. In fact, I've written post after post after post about how overrated Digg is when it comes to marketing options for the average small business owner. That's why I was pleased to see Chris Winfield's social media column at Search Engine Land today.

Jennifer Laycock

Can't Get the (Great) Content Without the Community

Stoney has offered up a few articles here in the past week that aim to remind folks of the importance of community when it comes to building and establishing solid content. He took a lot of heat for the first one from the industry. Mostly, from folks who felt you couldn't have community without content. I've been thinking this concept over for the last week and I've got to say, I agree with Stoney.

Jennifer Laycock

Hide and Speak: Recovering from a Social Media Disaster

The challenge left to me at the end of part six of this series was how to gracefully recover from a social media attack that left Bento Yum (and me) reeling. Standing up and walking back in the door when you feel like you've been tossed out on your rear can be difficult, but it's all part of community life on the Internet.

Kimberly Krause Berg

Adapting to the Influence of a Social Media Internet

I love to study human behavior and the Internet. Social web behavior takes the cake. It's a marketers' never-ending party. Reputation management is something big business can no longer hope to control without also understanding Internet media

Jennifer Laycock

The Value of Social Media is Often in Listening

Companies have been rushing to embrace social media in droves over the last year. While it's great to see companies embracing Web 2.0, I worry sometimes about the number of companies rushing in to talk rather than listen. After all, one of the greatest benefits of social media is having the ability to find out what your customers are talking about. Bill Balderaz points this out today over at The Buzz Saw.

Jennifer Laycock

Social Bookmarking: Skip Digg and Go Niche

Aaron over at AjaxNinja has a great post this week exploring why niche social media sites are better than Digg when it comes to driving traffic and conversions to most web sites. While I've never been much of a Digg fan myself, (it's like news for the angry ADHD techie) I see true value in niche, topical social bookmarking sites. The trick is, finding the audience that best fits your content.

Jennifer Laycock

Make One Blogger Happy and You'll Often Make a LOT of Bloggers Happy

With so many companies trying to figure out how to leverage social media and blogs to their marketing advantage, one key point often gets missed. "Just talk to them!" If more companies would spend half the time reading blog posts and responding to them that they spend obsessing about how to get more people to blog about them, they'd be way ahead of the game. In fact, Mack Collier points to a great example of a big company doing exactly that and taking the time to engage their customer evangelists in conversation.

Manoj Jasra

Leveraging Facebook Groups

Facebook is one of the most powerful social networking services currently available. Its interface and framework allow a person to spread news virally as quick as any social bookmarking service. Facebook Groups, communities of friends with similar interests, are also becoming extremely popular. But, why create a Facebook Group?...

Debra Mastaler

How to Get Your Company Listed on Wikipedia, Part I

With Wikipedia results dominating the search engines, webmasters are interesting in know more about this resource site and the opportunities it may offer. The good people at Marketing Sherpa have put together the first of a two part series on how to get a company listed on Wikipedia, it's a good read for anyone serious about becoming part of this online phenomenon.

Jennifer Laycock

Why You Should Embrace the New Social Media News Release

The Social Media News Release is designed to encourage a new format for the online press release that does a better job of speaking to media, bloggers and consumers by offering up information in a variety of formats.

Jennifer Laycock

Yo Gabba Gabba Fans Storm the Web (or at least my blog)

What's Yo Gabba Gabba you ask? It's a new kids show on Nick Jr. that combines 80's style animation with oddly costumed "monsters," pop media guests and annoyingly catchy songs that will have you waking up at night to the internal sounds of "snacky snack snack snack snack, snacky snack snack SNACK SNACK!" It's apparently also the type of thing that sparks passion on both the "love it" and "hate it" side, as demonstrated by the blog storm generated by a simple post.

Jennifer Laycock

When Social Media Attacks the Wrong Person

It's no secret that the pack mentality that often powers social media success can also turn into an angry mob complete with virtual pitchforks at the drop of a hat. That's great when the mob is helping to bring social injustice to light, but it's a nightmare when the mob attacks the victim. Unfortunately, the murky waters of Internet gossip and the fuzzy ethics that seem to rule online behavior can make it difficult to know who the victim actually is.

Jennifer Laycock

A Successful Viral Campaign Relies on Knowing Your Audience

Last week in San Jose I found myself reminding people over and over that a good social media campaign focused more on reaching your target audience than it did on reaching "a lot of people." Sites like Digg, Facebook and YouTube get a lot of press, but they may not be the best outlet for your company's viral campaign....

Todd Mintz

Social Media Marketing = MLM 2.0

For the first time in many years, I had the privilege (misfortune) to receive (be tormented by) a Multi-Level Marketing presentation (assault). There are many obvious reasons why I have a strong disdain for MLM...probably no different than anyone else´s. Fortunately as time moves on, the rising popularity of social media should greatly reduce the effectiveness of MLM 1.0 as a business process, hopefully causing its practitioners to abandon its use....

Ross Dunn

Do it Yourself Social Media Marketing - A StepForth Whitepaper

A key concept to social marketing is that it is not designed to immediately provide business but instead it provides the visibility your brand needs to ultimately convert fans into buyers....

Liana Evans

When Is The Right Time To Consider Social Media?

Just when is the right time to use Digg, Stumble Upon, or My Space? Do you know your audience well enough to judge if they'd be interested? Let's take a look at when is the right time to engage different aspects of social media.

Stoney deGeyter

Ignorance: The Downside of Social Marketing

The ignorance of the Wikipedia community in regards to SEO is, well, interesting. There is an internal debate as to whether or not Matt Cutts is noteworthy for his own Wikipedia page. Huh? Really?...

Jennifer Laycock

Zipatoni and Sony Slammed for "Flogging"

Wondering what "flogging" is? No, it's not when you take a big old strap and beat yourself senseless with it... (though Sony may be considering the idea right now) it's when you set up a "fake blog" in order to promote a product or service. Internet users are a savvy bunch and they have a way of ferreting out the companies that try to scam them. That's what happened to Sony and the reactions haven't been pretty....

Jim Hedger

Search Marketing and Social Media

The ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is to put products or services in front of as many interested eyeballs as possible. Where the public leads, marketers, by necessity, must follow and if those eyeballs begin to congregate over there as well as over here, many marketers feel the need to move. Online marketers looking for another winning venue are therefore turning to social media spaces as social marketing tools....

Jennifer Laycock

Godin Announces Squidoo

Almost anyone that has been around the web for awhile has heard of About.com and Wikipedia. One relies on hired experts to generate content about a variety of topics while the other one relies on volunteers to do the same. Online marketing guru Seth Godin announced plans for a new site dubbed Squidoo at Web 2.0 last week....