Category Archives: Blog

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Will Followers Be Content with Content in 2015?

SMB_IMAGE_Content or Filler

As I had my morning coffee browsing others’ posts and cruising articles, I was struck by a sense of content productivity obsession. This is what we have taught ourselves must be done for successful marketing of our businesses.

But is it really true?

  • Yes, Google is constantly on the hunt for fresh content.
  • Yes, social media users are forever curating material to catch followers’ eyes.
  • Yes, business owners scramble daily for improved SEO.

But, are we truly capturing our target audience? Or instead perhaps overwhelming or, worse yet, losing them?

I can’t help but believe that quality will always rank over quantity. And, I am seeing more evidence that those who post less frequently with better and more relevant content to their desired target are winning.

Think. Are you posting content for the sake of content… or are you providing the right content for your efforts to be worthy of your audience’s precious time?

2015 – Let’s be more judicious in our marketing efforts. Agreed?

14 Reasons Social Media Marketing Beats Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing vs Social Media MarketingHe who refuses to learn deserves extinction. Rabbi Hillel

The conversation with those not engaged in Social Media is often limited to their perceptions… I’ve tried to condense the most common misperceptions through these comparisons.

  1. Traditional Marketing tells us how we should feel about product.
    Social Media Marketing tells others how we really do feel about product.
  2. Traditional Marketing interrupts our leisure time by forcing product messages upon us.
    Social Media Marketing leads us to company pages we can invite into our streams to browse at our leisure.
  3. Traditional Marketing deals with the familiar to spread the word generically.
    Social Media Marketing looks for the unfamiliar to spread the word virally.
  4. Traditional Marketing spreads a message to the masses in hopes of attracting a few loyal followers.
    Social Media Marketing spreads a message to a few loyal followers to attract the masses. 
  5. Traditional Marketing tells consumers what they may want.
    Social Media Marketing gives access to what we do want.
  6. Traditional Marketing messages have no direct accountability.
    Social Media Marketing publicizes accountability through viral messaging.
  7. Traditional Marketing uses long-term strategies developed through a fixed schedule of exposure.
    Social Media Marketing follows direct emotion, passion, and curiosities of the moment.
  8. Traditional Marketing messaging is for short-term profit.
    Social Media Marketing messaging is for long-term connection.
  9. Traditional Marketing asks questions and uses research to determine reaction.
    Social Media Marketing answers questions and uses instinct to create reaction.
  10. Traditional Marketing creates artificial messaging based on external research.
    Social Media Marketing spreads authentic messaging from internal reaction.
  11. Traditional Marketing helps products become successful regardless of quality.
    Social Media Marketing helps quality products get discovered and expose poor products.
  12. Traditional Marketing messaging can be stagnant or ineffective by the time they surface.
    Social Media Marketing messaging is ever evolving and always present.
  13. Traditional Marketing follows a predetermined path on a predetermined schedule.
    Social Media Marketing explores a multitude of highways on an ongoing basis.
  14. Traditional Marketing controls response to product via marketing professionals and accountants.
    Social Media Marketing controls product response via actual consumer word of mouth.

Agree? Disagree?

Google Plus – Hot or Not for Small Business?

Google Plus Hot or Not

More frequently, small business owners ask why I am a Google Plus proponent. They ask “…of everyone I ask – no one is on Google+ so why should I bother with it?”

I have previously blogged about this, but it bears repeating. Google Plus is GOLDEN for SMBs!

Don’t take too much stock in articles written by Google+ crapehangers. The majority naysayers are non-participants and/or superficially informed – or just copycat blogging.

If you are a small business owner, it is more important for you to consider the BENEFITS of using Google Plus rather than concern yourself with its popularity.

Get over the social media stereotype

Take note of the lack of pu$h for boo$ting or promoting your po$ts on Google Plus. Why? Because Google Plus wants your content, not your money. By having Google+, Google has a social media platform providing data they can’t get glean from website content.They want pure, unadulterated, and accessible source content.

Google Plus will grow.

Consider the beauty of a platform that showcases and integrates your content so well you WANT to participate. The more you use Google Plus, the more you’ll also want to use many Google apps and tools because of the convenience created by the integration.

As a business, remaining active on Facebook is essential because it is like the old yellow pages. In pre-social media days, your business had to be listed in the yellow pages or you “didn’t exist.”  And as long as Facebook is still the go-to for users looking up a business, you must remain there.

Google Plus and YouTube

Have you noticed how anxious Facebook now is to get you to upload your video shares directly to Facebook? They have promised a 30% higher visibility if you do. They realize that VIDEO is the new mode for social media – especially for business. Who currently OWNS video? YouTube. Who owns YouTube? Google. What is the #2 Search Engine in the world? YouTube. What’s the easiest way to share, repurpose, embed your videos? YouTube.

So, help me with this. You should want to upload directly to Facebook for the chance at a 30% boost in visibility in a follower limited Facebook news feed (which you could pay pennies to boost anyway)? In exchange, it will cost you dearly in search capability. And what about your YouTube Channel and subscribers, not to mention the limitations on repurposing that video!

And Google+ has made it exceptionally easy to repurpose YouTube videos on their platform. The more you use Google, the more content and use information they have to improve their search engine algorithms. Therefore, they want to keep you and make you happy.

Take advantage of this opportunity

  • Claim your business on Google Local Business and complete your Google+ Profile!
  • Add a cover photo reflecting your business personality and logo.
  • Complete your About Page
  • Upload photos of your storefront, your business in action, your products, your events, your staff, etc.,

And hey, while you’re there, why not take a shot at engaging with some of those supposedly non-existent G+ users? ;)

Don’t Fall for Facebook LIKE Scams

Look what I found in a Non-Profit’s Facebook messages! (see image)

BAD NEWS! This is clearly a scam.Warning Signals of Facebook Scam

3 BIG FLAGS!

  1. BAD GRAMMAR is always a big hint! Leaving out articles like “a” are common for foreigners trying to target Americans. Don’t overlook that as a typo.
  2. “NO ADVANCE PAYMENT REQUIRED” Really? Not only are the fees ridiculously low (lower than Facebook fees), but isn’t it just too STRANGE they DON’T NEED your money up front?
  3. NOTICE they didn’t ask for your email address, they want your EMAIL ID with Facebook. That’s why they don’t need your money up front.

If you give them YOUR EMAIL ID, they could have access to your Facebook account. If you are using ads for your small business or non-profit, you have provided Facebook with a payment method. If you provide access to your Facebook account, you are risking your credit card information to scammers!!!

Bottom line, if it looks too good, too easy, it’s not usually legit.

BE CAREFUL.

(Note: I am on the board of this local non-profit and manage their Facebook Page)

“My Staff Doesn’t DO Social Media” is Killing Your Social Media Potential

But my staff doesn't DO Social Media!

When I discuss how important in-house contribution is for social media marketing with (TOO MANY) small business owners, I hear:

“But, my staff doesn’t DO Social Media.”

First of all, statistics tell us that’s not true.

Not only does your staff own a smartphone, but have likely downloaded at least 2(00) social media apps to talk to friends and family, and play games. And during breaks, lunches, WHEN YOU AREN’T LOOKING, and at quitting time, they are ON social media. 

Oh, sure…, they’ll TELL you they aren’t on social media, but what that translates to is THEY ARE AFRAID you will put them in charge of your business page.

SOLUTION

At their next review, explain that in this age of digital marketing, social media marketing contribution is now a job requirement for all new hires. And for existing employees, reviews will include evaluations of their individual contribution to your social media efforts.

GUILT IS A TERRIBLE MOTIVATOR

Yeah, yeah, I know the guilt seeps in… You tell me you are a lousy example of social media business participation so you figure you can’t ask them to do what you don’t do. Wrong!

  • Since when do you know how to do everything your staff knows how to do?

Their contribution is IMAGES, anecdotes, and testimonials

They won’t use their data, add an app, or use their SmartPhone.

Starting on the most basic level, they will take candid photos of your business in action, customer testimonials, anything that reflects your business success. You should also provide a store notebook to jot down anecdotal material for your social media content.

BUY a digital camera for the store or business, and leave it readily accessible to staff.  They can virtually begin contributing to your social media marketing as soon as you brief them on camera use and care.

  • Yes, you need protocols for what is/isn’t appropriate to photograph and how often.
  • Yes, you need to set up a Dropbox, Google Photos (which is cool because of enhancement features), or other cloud account folder for your photos.
  • Yes, you will be responsible for transferring those images from the camera to your computer via the included USB cable to the Dropbox or whatever folder.
  • Yes, you or your trusty admin whom you have given shared access to your cloud folder will then have to share them to your Social Media page(s).

But, other than that, that’s IT! Any and every person on the staff should be allowed to have some fun with the camera catching some on-the-floor moments which can lead to bigger and better participation. YouTube is your next goal.

Just one candid photo per week can mean a boost to your Social Media stats.

Here’s hoping you aim higher.

Fans are more likely to follow

…if they get the feeling they know you and your business. That’s what the photos provide – an inside look.

Now go buy a darn digital camera.

You can get them for less than $200. Or, spend a little more and it will come with wi-fi for easy transfer. It’s a business deduction – a marketing expense!

Now I hope you are saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of all this?”

“What are You Doing?”…Facebook No Longer Cares

Facebook doesn't care what you are up to anymore

We’ve been doing it wrong?

Apparently we didn’t know we were doing Social Media wrong because Facebook has decided we need even more filtering of our news feed.

And all this time we thought Social Media was… hmm, how do you call it? Social???

But according to Facebook’s latest algorithm changes in process… social is supposed to be about what’s popular.

That’s right, the latest changes in Facebook algorithms to bleed out in the near future will pretty much make it close to impossible to hold sincere engagement with others if you want them to actually see your posts.  So Facebook is redefining social to mean fake “engagement based on trending topics” because THEY deem trending topics to be more what EVERYONE wants to see.

“Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them.”

“One way we show timely content higher up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite pages are saying about the stories of the day. “

What this really means is they want to be able to ensure those using ads to promote posts will have better success. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They do have to make money to support Facebook operations, and those doing ad-spends do deserve results. What bothers me is Facebook’s BS’ing process for the users.

High School all over again

Remember the down side of high school years? If you weren’t wearing the latest fashions, listening to the top 40 radio stations, seeing the right movies and tv shows, liking the right members of the opposite sex, and just plain popular, you were pretty much invisible, right? Well guess what? It’s baa-aaaaccckkk – courtesy of Facebook who for years has been asking Facebook page users “what have you been up to?” and Facebook profiles users “what’s on your mind?” But now, they are saying to us that “Nobody Cares” unless it’s trending!

Come on, Facebook, do your stockholders a favor and be up front about being a business and not just an online social hangout.

Hmmmmmmmm. So how does this new algorithm work now?

Ok, so let’s see now. According to the newest tools that assist in competing with these new algorithms (i.e., robots browsing for fake engagement), you are to:

  • Check what’s trending
  • Somehow attach your messaging to be congruent with a trending topic.
  • And better still, pick a quote meme to hang your tag to.

In other words, completely lose your personal or professional identity and follow the pack.

And your rankings will soar!

Hahahaha. Oh, wait a minute, they are serious?!

Facebook says I was wrong now

Geez, I am so sorry that i have been blogging for years about the necessity of sincerity of engagement to be successful in social media. And I am sorry to have led you astray sharing article upon article and discussions of audience barometers based on sincerity of engagement.

And my seminars on how Social Media is NOT just all about Justin Bieber and pop trending topics? All moot.

Oh, Facebook won’t say it out loud, but if they are creating algorithms to search for posts that discuss primarily trending topics means if you don’t include said topics in your posts, well…you’re screwed. Sorry folks, nobody cares what you are doing anymore, unless you are spending all your time on trending topics.

Looks like you doubting Thomases were right. Facebook is for mindless chatter after all.

Google Plus is looking better every day.

Playground old fashioned merry go round

3 Reasons Facebook is for Playground Friends and Google Plus is for Grownups

Playground old fashioned merry go round

I know, I know, the title is an insult of some sort… bear with me.

As I migrate to Google+, and as I learn that my Facebook friends don’t care to follow suit, I am beginning to understand why.

  1. Facebook has been in use for 10 years, Google+ for 3 years. Facebook has a huge learning curve lead over G+. This is a world of busy people and the saturation point of learning yet another app or program is nigh. Ergo, popular reluctance to venture into Google Plus. “Please don’t give me any more homework!”
  2. Google+ requires a Google Account. Although most Facebook users may have acquired a Gmail account and address, they may rarely use it. The majority of my own contact list reveals mostly company email addresses because many log on during their workday. Therefore, the less contact one has with their Google account in general, the less likely one may be to even notice Google Plus. And, Facebook users may assume all their social needs are met on Facebook.
  3. Perhaps the strongest point relates to whether or not one is actively participating in social media for business. If one uses social media exclusively for personal use, there is little interest for another platform. Despite the fact that social media users deserve a better User Experience (UX) than Facebook, such as provided on Google Plus, most users commonly prefer a bird in the hand rather than two in the bush. Therefore, SMB owners who ARE active on Social Media for their small businesses are far more likely to seek the superior benefits of Google+; especially for the SEO benefits of Google Plus.

But, alas, many SMB owners are laggards in social media. And if they do participate, it is mostly via hire. Google Plus asks for genuine content from source. There is only so much effective fluff. Google Pus provides a superior platform for sincere engagement. Facebook falls shy.

Ergo, the analogy – Friends vs Grownups

Business Users desiring a respectful ROI from a social media platform search for maturity in a platform (both personally and professionally). Business growth does not occur randomly. Facebook is a growing disappointment for brand growth potential. Facebook is exponentially squashing organic business post visibility. As a result, a business owner now thinks twice about investing valuable ad dollars for increased visibility on a platform primarily attracting those seeking pedestrian relief rather than thoughtful content. Facebook users generally prefer comic relief from their stressful days, i.e., silly pet pictures and funny videos. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” *

Google Plus, on the other hand, has historically attracted those who seek more from their social media platform. Hobbyists, business owners, IT “geeks,” sports enthusiasts, amateur philosophers, science fans, photographers (G+ has amazing image quality), and more.

This means, a Google Plus audience seeks useful and thought-provoking content, or, valuable information that enhances interests and activities. One does not have to be cute or funny to get attention from G+ users. G+ users are actually embarrassed to comment with only a “great post” comment. On Google Plus, complete sentences and finished thoughts are the rule. Sure, G+ users love humor, too, but it is not required as it often is on Facebook.

So what does this mean for the SMB owner who is considering G+ for business?

Users visit their G+ account less frequently than Facebook users because Google Plus content is more frequently about quality, not quantity. You aren’t expected to post daily or multiple times daily as on Facebook. No one forgets you if you only post once a week or once a month. Scarcity is acceptable – as long as your posts are worth a users’ time. This means if you can keep the topic on interest on Google Plus, there is no need to entertain. Lack of frequency will not discount impact.

So, what is the future of social media platforms?

Personally, I believe Facebook is sounding its own death knell through its recent “Monkey See, Monkey Do” approach for monetization. They are more worried about their stockholders than their users (and in a bass-ackwards way). Google+ will surely surpass expectations as its growth is currently exponential. People tire of sameness and don’t appreciate Facebook’s disregard for personal and business UX.

How else is Monkey See Monkey Do Screwing up Facebook?

  • They see Twitter as a popular go-to news source, so decide to add top news stories in feeds.
  • They see the attractiveness of Google+ YouTube videos auto-play, so they have incorporated same.
  • They see the growth of Instant Video and Messaging and create Facebook Messenger. – Messenger is a lame attempt at best (imho) to duplicate the many uses of G+ Hangouts and HOAs as Android use becomes more dominant. They should have stuck to promoting Instagram.

The familiarity and convenience factor for which users hang on to Facebook is being slowly diluted by Facebook itself.

Stupid.

Yes, Facebook, alienate your brand and personal users by screwing with everything users like about Facebook because you have lost sight of your mission and are scrambling for profits. A shortsighted method for continued success to be sure.

Join Small Business Smart Marketing Talk Google Community and leave your comments.

*http://youtu.be/Oj3VphK9AMk