Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Twitter (page 2 of 21)

Your immediate attention is not required

now

Look at the updates below and consider how many of them need your immediate, urgent (as in drop everything) attention:

  • Geeta just sent a tweet to you.
  • Terry just liked your Instagram photo.
  • Mary just added you on Google+.
  • Jose just left a comment on your blog.
  • Jon has just invited you to like his new Facebook page.
  • Gill just added you to a list.
  • Ali just sent you a text message.
  • Tony just invited you to join him on Linkedin.
  • Maria just commented on your Facebook post.
  • Lee just favourited your tweet.
  • Louis just IM’d you.

Even though these are non critical events (they would have called you), most of us have our devices set up to notify us instantly, whenever they happen.

The endless stream of interruptions controls our focus, breaks our concentration, eats into our precious time and lowers our productivity. (Here are some ideas to improve your productivity.)

Unless you provide an emergency service…

Consider turning off your notifications, until you are ready for them.

Check them when you have a break. Check them when it suits you and your work flow.

Be deliberate, regarding where you invest your time, focus and energy. Don’t surrender them to instant updates. Your immediate attention is seldom, if ever, required.

Getting less traffic from Google? Here’s why it may not matter soon

Less traffic from google, google traffic

If you’re one of many business owners experiencing a drop in search traffic from Google, here are 3 important changes you need to know about.

I’m also going to explain why I believe Google search traffic could be of less importance to your business soon.

The first change: Google changing the rules dramatically and often

For years, business owners have relied heavily on Google to generate online sales or inquiries. They danced the Google dance. They did what Google wanted. They invested heavily in SEO, either financially or by pouring their valuable time into making their site the way Google wanted it.

And it worked. Consistently.

Then something happened!

Google decided to change the rules dramatically and regularly. Suddenly, what worked, no longer worked. What was once within Google’s guidelines, was suddenly outside their guidelines. It’s causing a lot of small business owners a lot of pain, as they fall lower and lower down the rankings.

The best SEO experts are starting to figure out how to work with the new search engine landscape. If you can’t afford the best, it may be some time before the rest of the SEO industry catch up. However, this is not the only reason you may be seeing worse results from Google. It’s not even the most important reason.

Two far bigger changes are happening, which are lowering the value of organic (natural unpaid) search results – even if you manage to rank on the first page.

The second change: Google has made your organic search results less visible

At the same time as Google changed the way it ranks sites, it made those sites that do rank, harder for prospective customers to find.

How?

By burying your organic search results below an increasing number of Google ads. Now, for many valuable search terms, your prospective customers will see a page full of ads from your competitors, BEFORE they see your organic search results. All the results in the screen below are paid ads.

For instance: On my MacBook Pro, I needed to scroll down the screen, past ELEVEN paid ads, to see the first organic search result! (See below)

Less traffic from google, google traffic

So, even if your SEO gets you the number 1 organic slot on the first page of Google’s Search Engine Results, it may provide fewer sales or inquiries than before, because that number 1 organic search position is buried under so many paid ads.

The third change: Google sends less traffic to sites than before

The third change, is that Google search may be becoming less relevant with fewer people using it. Google search traffic could be 30% down on last year, according to a huge study!

This report from buzzfeed looked at Google search traffic to leading sites, including: The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. In total, the sites it tracked have a readership of 300 million. That’s a lot of data. They found that between August 2012 and March 2013, search traffic from Google nosedived an incredible 30%. That’s a huge drop in such a short time.

However, it was expected. Here’s why!

The rise of social search

It seems that people are now increasingly asking their social networks for recommendations and answers. These networks have added a totally new dynamic, to the way we find information online.

Think about it. Which would YOU trust more:

  1. A restaurant recommendation from a trusted friend on a social network, who knows what you like.
  2. A restaurant that appears on Google via a paid ad or simply because they have good SEO.

It’s no contest.

Facebook has invested heavily in Facebook graph search, which was launched in March 2013 and looks set to eat into even more of the Google search user base. Other social networks, including Twitter and Linkedin, have search facilities too, which they are now developing constantly.

Why these changes?

Simple: Google is trying to make as much money as it can. There’s nothing surprising here. It’s a business after all.

Google has a near monopoly on search and is now leveraging that power, to get you to pay them if you want to be found.

Unless… you choose to take control of your Internet marketing away from Google and make SEO and SEM (search engine marketing), just part of your Internet marketing strategy.

Diversify your Internet marketing

This post from 2010 was largely scoffed at, when I suggested people should rely less on Google and use a wider, human focused approach to their online marketing.

Some listened to me. They started building their social networks, created communities around their businesses and stopped writing keyword optimised content for Google – choosing to write for humans instead. As a result, people now talk about their products and services and share their content all over social networks.

That’s an approach I recommend you at least add, to your overall marketing strategy.

In short: Stop relying on Google (or any one tactic) for the majority of your business. Instead, build a community (or tribe). Spread your reach and spread your risk.

You don’t have to ignore SEO, especially if you optimise for search terms, which few competitors buy Google ads for.

Just make sure your online marketing consists of more than keeping Google happy. Too many eggs in one basket is seldom a wise, long term strategy.

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 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.

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.

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.

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