Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Twitter (page 2 of 21)

Bloggers: Social search and the freedom to focus on quality

Social search is changing the game for business owners who blog and create content. Thankfully, it’s changing things in our favour and that’s what today’s post is all about.

Even the best search engine is flawed

Whilst regarded by many as the best search engine available, even Google search is extremely easy to fool and still often rewards frequently updated content, over high quality content. As a result, people like myself who find it easy to write regularly, and those who use super-smart SEO to game Google, often outrank far better writers.

The answer is here… well, almost!

Thankfully, traditional search is becoming less and less relevant, as social search, (recommendations from our social networks), soar. I can either go to Google or Bing and search for what a machine ‘thinks’ is a great article about marketing – or I can see what my friends, the people I know and trust, recommend.

Google themselves really get social search and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe more) on the development of their own social network. Whilst the Google team do not call Google+ a social network, it’s a place where you can network and share ideas with like-minded people. I connect there with almost 20,000 people and it certainly feels like a social network – a darn good one, too! You can join me on Google+ here.

Social recommendations from people you trust

Even if your prospective customers are not asking their networks for recommendations, it has never been easier for them to find what their friends recommend.

With the advent of Facebook’s social graph, you will soon be able to get that information extremely quickly. Twitter search and Google+ search are already there and make it simple to see what your friends recommend. The image below is a screen shot of what I saw, when I did a Google+ search, to see what business books were being recommended by people I know.

I trust this far more than a search result, which could well have been gamed.

social search

 

Freedom to focus on quality

I believe that those who have been put off blogging, because they either lacked the inclination to publish regularly or the time / money to get their SEO ‘right’, should reconsider.

I suggest they change their approach, so that they focus on publishing useful blog posts, when they have something useful to share – then share it on their social networks. If they are writing something of value, their friends will share it with their friends and a subset of THEIR friends will share it…

Ironically, if enough of their friends link to it and share it, it may also do well in search engines. This is especially the case if you use basic SEO (and you should).

For WordPress bloggers, I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. It gives you the freedom to write exclusively for humans, whilst making your work visible by getting the basics right.

Google doesn’t own your voice!

Google is just a company, a huge and influential company, but just a company. Don’t give them too much control over what you have to say. You own your voice – not Google.

  • Tell us who you are and what you know.
  • Tell us how you can help.
  • Answer our most pressing questions.
  • Become a valued online resource.

The search engines may or may not ‘rank’ all that value. However, people will and it’s people who hire you and buy from you. It’s the model I have used here for almost 6 years and it works extremely well.

Social Business: Before you publish, press pause and think

online reputation

I want you to think about the following for a moment:

  • The last tweet you sent.
  • The last blog post you published.
  • The last marketing email you sent.
  • The last blog comment you made.
  • The last Facebook status you wrote.

First impressions count

Each of those actions, could easily be someone’s first exposure to you. If so, it will form their first impression of you. First impressions count, even if they are inaccurate. First impressions count, even if you are having a bad day.

In business, the impact of a bad first impression can be huge. That’s because you often don’t get a second chance.

So, hit pause and think

It always pays to pause for a few moments before you publish anything, especially if you are angry or in a bad frame of mind. Think. Never underestimate the impact of an angry tweet or a caustic blog comment, etc. Once it’s published, it’s out there. It’s in play. It’s carrying your name. It’s carrying your reputation.

Today, prospective clients and customers habitually research us via search engines and our social networking accounts, before contacting us. Thankfully, we have total freedom over what we say and thus, what we think is perfectly acceptable for prospective clients and customers to discover about us.

Our freedom of choice on this speaks volumes about us – and it does so all day, every day.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

Social networking and the never ending race

The race is on. However, this race has no finishing line, is impossible to win and can damage your business.

race

I’m referring to the race for social networking followers, fans or contacts. It’s endless.

The challenge

The more time we put in, the bigger those numbers get. The challenge, is that we don’t have unlimited time to chase those unlimited numbers. As business owners, I believe we need to be more selective how we invest our time. We need to look at the return we want to achieve from our social networking investment, then focus on that definable objective. This gives us the clarity to concentrate on quality over quantity.

The starting point comes when we determine what we regard as quality, based on what we want to achieve. We can then set time aside each day or week, to invest in reaching that goal.

 Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

9 Amazing free resources to help you grow your business and feed your mind

Right now, you have access to an Aladdin’s Cave of freely available marketing, business development and professional development tools. In today’s post, I am going to share just 9 of them with you.

Free marketing and educational resources

Here are my 9 free resources. Remember to add yours at the end:

  1. Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, will give you a blog for free and host it for free, too. Many of the world’s top blogs started off on this free platform and some have stayed with the free version of the service. I started this blog off using the free version of WordPress and today, around 60,000 people get updated when I publish each new post.
  2. The people at TED have made thousands of educational and inspirational videos available to you, for free.
  3. Microsoft offer you Skype for free, so you can easily collaborate with colleagues or clients via speech or video conferencing. So long as they have downloaded Skype, you can now work with people, with no geographic limitations and it won’t cost you a penny.
  4. Twitter, Google+ and Facebook welcome you to use their services for free and Linkedin offers a useful, free version of their service too. Years ago, you paid an organisation to attend physical networking events, and lost a huge chunk of your day travelling to the events, attending the events and getting back from the events. You were lucky if 100 people attended and even luckier if you made regular, meaningful contacts. Now you can network with thousands of people anywhere in the world, for nothing more than the time you’re prepared to invest.
  5. Seth Godin digs deep to come up with something useful to say, via his daily blog posts. These are essential reading.
  6. Christopher Penn and John Wall turn up on an almost weekly basis, to share ideas and opinions on the world of marketing, in their Marketing Over Coffee podcast. I reviewed it here.
  7. You can now give your online and offline marketing photos and images more impact, with free image editing software. I use picmonkey.
  8. It has never been easier to capture ideas than it is today. If you use a smartphone, Evernote provides an extremely useful free version of their service, which allows you to collect ideas, sounds, images, webpages and more – and then work with them.
  9. If you have a website or blog, you need to measure what’s happening on the site and by far the most popular tool for this, is Google Analytics. Google Analytics lets you track everything, from how many visitors your site receives and what your most popular pages are, to what words people use when looking for you on a search engine and what type of devices they use to access your site. This free package offers far too many features to mention here and is extremely useful, especially if you do not already have any analytics software.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Social media smoke blowers: How to stop them hurting your business

I recently wrote a post asking you what your main marketing challenges were, so I could cover them in future posts.

One of the most common questions, was to do with the ocean of information being offered online, by people claiming to be social media experts. Today’s post is all about how to tell those with genuinely useful information, from the fakes.

Social media smoke blowers

It’s extremely easy for someone with little social media skill, to pretend they are a social media expert. All they need is a blog, a photo of them in front of a screen (looking ‘dynamic’ and preferably wearing a headset) and a few social networking tricks.

Here is a selection of what I have personally experienced from some smoke blowers:

  • I was emailed by the author of a book on how to make money on Facebook, who didn’t know what to do as he’d sold fewer than 100 copies. This social media marketing expert had no idea how to market his book, via social media or anything else.
  • I was called by a social media trainer, who is well known on the speaking circuit. He wanted to know if I had any work I could give him. This guy specialises in telling people how to attract high quality sales leads.
  • I was emailed by a blogger, author and speaker, who wanted to know if I could get her a free version of my blog theme. I explained that it only cost $60 and she told me that times were tough. This same person is selling online courses and ebooks on how to grow a successful business. She offered to repay me, with retweets!

So, how do you tell the genuinely informed experts from the rest, when you are new to social media and seeking to use it effectively for your business?

Protecting yourself from smoke blowers

I believe the best way to protect yourself from taking bad advice is to do a little research first, then apply some common sense.

For example:

  • If the only testimonials they offer are from others, with similar Pinocchio business models, be very cautious. (A Pinocchio business is one, with no visible means of support.)
  • Always remember that the rules of business apply online, just as they do offline.
  • Don’t let their numbers fool you. 100,000 Twitter followers means nothing. You can buy followers. You can buy software to build massive follower numbers. You can just randomly follow thousands of people, get a subset to follow you back, unfollow them all – then repeat until you have a huge following. If someone seems to lack credibility or you think they are promising impossible results, don’t let their social numbers fool you into ignoring your instinct!
  • Someone claiming to be a social media author or radio host/personality, still needs to be checked out:
    • Thanks to self publishing, my 7 year old son can claim to be an author.
    • Oh, and thanks to free services like blogtalk radio, he can claim to be a radio ‘personality’ too.
    • In both cases he would be telling the truth, but it would have nothing to do with his ability to help you improve your social media results!
  • If it seems too good to be true, it almost always is (yes, even on the Internet).

Consider the source

Always check the source of information before you act on it. Never let easy to fake social media numbers or lofty titles fool you into taking damaging advice or get you to part with your money. Not every social media expert or social networking ‘superstar’ is a fake. Some offer useful information, which makes commercial sense and offers a logical return on your investment.

Just be extremely careful of those promising amazing results, with no logical business path.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Pete Page

How to get the wrong kind of attention!

I watched recently, as someone on Twitter asked his followers if they would recommend a blog for him to read. He specifically asked people not to send him a link to their own blog.

I asked him afterwards what feedback he received. He said all, except one person, tweeted a link to their own site.

There were 2 things there, which were of interest to me:

  1. I found it interesting that he would need to ask people not to self-promote.
  2. I also found it interesting that these people were prepared to make themselves look so desperate and needy.

What drives business owners to do that?

So, why does this happen? In my experience, business owners pester you when their marketing isn’t compelling enough to attract your attention. In other words, instead of fixing their marketing so that it’s attractive, they push broken marketing at you.

You see it all the time:

  • When no one is subscribing to their newsletter, they subscribe you to it without your consent, then spam you.
  • When no one is visiting their website or blog, they bombard you on social networks with links to themselves.
  • When no one is calling them, they interrupt you with unwanted cold calls.

Commanding attention works better than demanding it

A more effective approach, is to command attention rather than try and demand attention by being a pest. This means developing marketing, which people will embrace and share. It means having the courage to stand out.

Of course, this requires a change in strategy and tactics, but the upside is huge.

You command attention.

You attract interest.

You capture people’s imagination and gain word of mouth referrals.

You generate opportunities.

Most importantly of all, it works.

Join me on the new Jim’s Marketing Blog Twitter account

If you would like to follow (and be followed) by Jim’s Marketing Blog on Twitter, there is a new, dedicated Twitter account for you. It’s here at @ThisIsJimsBlog.

As I receive so much feedback from Twitter regarding this blog, I wanted a dedicated account where I could not only get your feedback but also follow what you are doing too. Unlike my @JimConnolly Twitter account, which covers everything I do and all the sites I write for, @ThisIsJimsBlog focuses only on this blog, the people who read the blog and their conversations about the topics covered here.

To get involved, simply ‘follow’ @ThisIsJimsBlog and say hi. As soon as I see your message, I’ll follow you back.

I look forward to connecting with you and hopefully, getting to know you a little better too.

Defy reality. Own the planet.

The title of today’s post comes from a slogan, which was used to market an Xbox game called SSX. It makes a very bold statement, designed to appeal to the games target market and create an image, which they will find as irresistible as possible.

Image and marketing

Marketers know that if the image they create is compelling enough, it will result in increased sales. Conversely, when the image a brand creates is negative, sales and inquiries drop like a stone. As a result, it’s wise for us to stop and think about what kind of image we are building in the minds of our prospective clients. That’s what this post is all about.

What image are you creating?

Let’s think for a moment about the way you want prospective clients to feel about you and your business. Now, does your marketing support that image or damage it?

For example:

  • Does the contact page on your website give people a physical address and landline phone number, or do you expect people to trust a stranger, who chooses to hide where they are for ‘some’ reason?
  • Do your tweets and Facebook updates support the image you are trying to build or damage it? (there’s no neutral here.)
  • Does your marketing message build an image people can connect with and trust?
  • When prospective clients read the comments you leave on blogs or in forums, how will it impact the way they think about you?
  • Do you claim to offer a professional service, yet operate behind a dated or poorly designed website?

In short: Consider the image you want to build for your business, then bake that image into all of your marketing and business development activities.

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