Yes, most of you know my background is Search Engine Optimization, and you can never substitute the powerful long term SEO effects for ROI, but lately my opinion has easily concluded SEO is not enough. Take a look at these screen-shots, then watch my video, you’ll see why…
What are your thoughts? Do you think there is more than SEO today? Leave your thoughts below..
It’s amazing how the landscape of the internet is evolving, especially with regards social media. The way we do business these days has changed, and unless you change your old ways of doing business, you will become extinct.. (Video Below, you must watch!)
Never since the 1800’s has this country seen such a "Social economy" shift, so it’s vital to get involved in social media, that is where people are, your community, your customers are hanging out.
Social media engagement is all about trust, if they know you, trust you, they will buy from you period. Remember "Advocacy" is your $$ ROI. If they like you as person, "they" will tell people about you and your services, thus you should not come across as ’selling’, but be a ‘contributor’.
One last tip…Don’t just ‘Fire’ and throw yourself into social media and barrage people with your services, links, etc..Remember this point: "You never get a second chance at a first impression"
I invite you to watch this video (Afterward, leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the video), as it beautifully explains the change in business practices. It’s about the relationship between an advertiser and a consumer. They’ve agreed to meet in a restaurant. The man’s feeling perfectly happy, until the woman makes a painful announcement: she wants a divorce…..watch what happens.
I have been chewing on this for some time and is partially the reason why I have chosen to attend SOMA, because I want to really understand this, and I have also grown cold to much of the empty advice out there, along with all the spam I get promising me that I can “Use Twitter to make Millions Today!” or “From Facebook to Your Checkbook in 30 minutes!”, (Yuck, I am making myself sick.)
So, I was happy to see this important subject on our agenda in class last week, and we began dissecting this idea, and will further this week.
The session started off with a truism; “What you can measure you can manage, and what you can manage get’s done.” Obviously, we know that. To be effective as a social media consultant, more is needed than just getting 1,000’s of people on your wall, page views, video downloads, popularity rankings, or the number of DM’s you get each day. It’s about measuring personal interactions, what method of user-generated content is working and which isn’t, then adjusting. Online consumer response and market interaction is much more dynamic than the old school ways of SEO, they just don’t work. (BTW: clarification – SEO and social media – not the same thing)
I attended a very education webinar today, put on by Xeequa. I found it to be very helpful. Axel Shultze, CEO, convincingly explained and showed how consumers have become increasingly resistant to traditional forms of advertising . For us as Internet Marketers we have to learn from this as well, that we can’t any longer ‘hope’ that we attract customers with something they are rejecting in the marketplace. (Thanks again Axel for your outstanding efforts in the area! When I grow up I want to be just like you.)
Today, all of us are getting educated through the Internet, actually the “Social Web” (whether people call it that or not), by reading blogs and IM from our mobile devices, checking our social networks, join forums, participate in groups and virtual communities and listen to the opinions and read the reviews of people we trust. An astonishingly increasing number of product or brand decisions are pretty much made before a sales process even starts, almost entirely before someone would enter a physical store or company. We all have done our research well before that time using our Social contacts via the web and what SM tools we have grown to rely on.
One sector that is especially feeling the punch is the hotel, vacation arena. I know this because one of my clients is a hotel, The Islander Inn in Ocean Isle Beach, NC.
With hotel bookings down this year anywhere between 20%-80%, it is critical to attack the internet, and that is exactly what we are doing for them.
What works? What does not work? Well, let me show you a couple of things we have done that is working so far.
User Generated Content:
Clearly in the coming years, you will see consumer decisions influenced by what others have said, via reviews, or user generated comments. All the local search engines have some form of "review" element which has been proven to effect the ranking algorithm, both in local results, and general search results (For a “How to guide” on local search, here is a free whitepaper). Thus, it is important to encourage guests of your hotel to leave a comment. (Hopefully positive) Below is a screenshot of the results for the phrase "hotels ocean isle beach, nc" As you can see, they could pump up their reviews a bit. Perhaps down the road I will give tips on how to get people to review your site.
It’s amazing how fast Twitter has evolved. I used to think of this micro-blogging tool as such a time waster until I actually started benefiting from it. If you carefully choose who you follow, you can keep up on late breaking news, get hot tips in your general field, keep up to date with local twitter (er’s) too.
Something however was missing from my Twitter account that I slowly started seeing other people using, custom twitter backgrounds! I must say that if you are truly going to jump into this revolution, you need a good Twitter theme to brand your business, and make you, or your product stand out. Where do you find custom Twitter backgrounds or themes? Well guess what, my wife graciously volunteered to make mine, but now has turned this into a very nice service. You see she is a graphic designer, and naturally evolved into this new arena. So if you need a Twitter background, take a look at our examples of custom themes. If you are new to Twitter and would like to learn how to use it, here is a great free E-book on how to use twitter.
Well, after much time has elapsed (My fault), I finally have a list of the top internet marketing tactics that some of my friends and colleagues have assembled. These are tips they personally have used, and highly recommend no doubt because of positive results. Before I list these however, let me fill you in on a few of the people that helped with this.
Alex Paen – Real estate agent in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Richard Perry – Web designer in Wilmington, North Carolina
David Wallace – CAD drawing, engineer, architectural drawing pro.
Kevin Dean – Social Media Marketing Pro in Grand Rapids, MI
Nigel Cox – Tech Support Analyst, Internet Marketing Pro.
Dan Guay – SEO Specialist in the US, Canada & UK
Russell Burr – Recruiter for Onward Search, the top SEO placement agency
Jim Kinkade – Sales Manager for Audio Acoustics, Springfield, MO
Tim Moore – Owner of SmoorePhoto.com, Wedding Photographer in Kansas City, MO
As you can see, these come from several backgrounds, but each one gave a fantastic tactic, so here is the list!
Coming out of this topic today at SMX, it was apparent that SMM, or “Social Media Marketing” is shaping the SEO landscape, and should absolutely become a factor in your marketing plan. Getting your content or newsworthy items in the major social media sites will not only create a buzz about your product or site, but can contribute to valuable links, critical to any site owners link building strategy campaign.
It was mentioned today that in the past year, traffic to social media sites have increased 668%!!! Think about that, 668%!!! How then can you morph this into an SEO program? Well, there were several things, but take note of some points that were of interest:
- Subscribe to news/blog feeds in your cyber community, business or field
- Set up a feeburner account
- Use only one IP address when voting on SMM sites
- Take time to jump into Digg, Twitter, Redit, Stumble upon, Technorati, Delicious etc..
- Find out best time to post/vote on Digg (there are sites that have determined this already)
- Load your blog with wordpress plugins
- Create & promote viral content
There is much more on this topic…again, stay tuned!