Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

Privacy Concerns
Facebook’s privacy shuffle is not quite done as founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals that new settings will be coming very soon. Great, just what we need!
Facebook’s integrity may be unraveling as many users are angered by privacy violations, profile bugs, and Zuckerberg’s pompous behavior. A recent source reveals that Zuckerberg called users “dumb f****” when a friend asked why users would trust a stranger with their information.

Profiles Lacking Personality

Privacy is not the only thing that Facebook user profiles are lacking – what about the personality? Remember when you could make your interests “unique”? Maybe you enjoy ‘music to sleep to’ or some other obscure band or activity. Thanks to the site’s new feature, you can’t even add something you’re interested in to your profile unless it already has a presence on Facebook (via Group, Page, Community etc.) On top of that, adding an interest to your profile instantly connects you to other users who like the same thing, whether you like it or not.

Now everyone is stuck with a boring, generic profile layout and you can’t even add an interest that Facebook doesn’t like. Remember when you could add your favorite song to your MySpace profile or change your background layout to match your mood? No, we aren’t talking about the obnoxious animated gifs. What if you just wanted to simply change the background color and font? Not possible with Facebook. Although my MySpace account has been laid to rest many years ago, the new Facebook makes me miss it sometimes. Facebook’s features seem to be getting more problematic and restricting. That’s not to say that MySpace didn’t have privacy issues of their own… but still.

What’s Next?

Thousands have already pleaded to commit social suicide and quit Facebook by May 31st, will you join? I’m also looking forward to Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, which is set to launch September of 2010.

So, a Little Bird Told You About Content Marketing…

Webinar Overview
So, I got to hear Joe Pulizzi of Vertical Measures speak today in a Search Marketing Now webcast. Content marketing and link building can be confusing to people as there are certain things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your customers in mind. As Joe put it, don’t just talk about yourself. After all, people aren’t searching for a marketing pitch! They want answers.
  • Marketers are becoming publishers but many are doing a bad job. Their main problem is they have a difficult time separating self-promotion with their ability to provide useful content.
  • The secret to success is not really a secret at all. Most marketers will tell you the key to success is to be an expert in your niche and to dedicate content to customers.

These tips are a lot easier said than done – especially with the third point. So, what are some ways you can be more innovative with your content marketing? Joe provides a list of ideas to “steal”!

Steal These Ideas

  1. Create as much content as possible relating to your niche
  2. Incorporate a helpful video series
  3. Use Twitter as a channel for providing tips
  4. Develop a web or mobile application that is educational and helps solve problems
  5. Share a series on SlideShare

The Big Idea About Link Building

Don’t mix link building with lead generation!

Here’s a good starting point: find a handful of top blogs in your industry. Read them, stay up to date and comment to build a presence. Like I said before, these things aren’t really secrets. The real secret is how to keep consistent and measure your progress.

What’s Your Link Building Focus?

When it comes to link building do you have a particular focus or do you have a diversified plan? Blogs, directories, paid links, reciprocal links – there are so many options!

Pay Attention to Nofollow Links
Did you know that many popular blogs and even Google Sites apply the nofollow feature to links? This prevents spammers and link abuse. Basically, nofollow links tells the search engine crawlers to not count your link. It doesn’t mean that you should avoid nofollow links all together though. These sites are still a great place to be social and join in on the conversation.

Different Types of Directories
Every directory is not the same! The most popular ones are dmoz and ipl2. Generally speaking (and thanks to Rand Fishkin) there are 3 types of directories that you can submit to:

  1. Specific directories that are categorized by topics or industry. (ThomasNet is the most popular for industrial suppliers.)
  2. Local directories are helpful and you can find them through your local chamber of commerce or other online neighborhood resource.
  3. Generic directories. You’ve probably come across worlds-best-internet-director-1000 or something similar. Again, targeted directories are more preferred than these kinds.

Other Sources for Links

  • Social bookmarking
  • Press releases sites
  • Niche forums or communities
  • Review sites
  • Social media profiles

Blended Search Results Webcast

emarketed blended search

Attended a Search Marketing Now webcast this morning about SEO and blended search results. Chris Sherman of Search Engine Land talked about the evolution of blended search results. It was an eye opening presentation because really, do you really remember a time before blended search results?

First off, blended search (or universal search) means that results are made up of non- web sources and traditional web search results. If you do a simple search of something like “summer vacation”, you’ll get images and videos along with traditional results (as pictured above). Chris shows stats that 35% of users don’t use vertical search. Vertical search only focuses on one thing. For example, Expedia can be considered a type of vertical search as it concentrates on travel. Google results are considered more universal because they contain all different types of results.

The benefits of universal search is that more results show up than in the traditional format. This helps local businesses as up to 10 companies can show up on first page. This was a question asked on the webcast and an important one that you should ask yourself – can your products/services be found through:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • News or press releases
  • Reviews or testimonials
  • Social media or blog content

If not, you’ll know that these areas give you a great opportunity to gain more exposure.
So, do you ever wonder why Yahoo is not as popular as Google? One factor can be that Yahoo only delivers limited universal results. Just something to keep in mind as we can see how universal results influences the giants as well as the little guys. As always, Chris reminds us just how important SEO is and how important it will continue to be for your online business success.

How to Embrace Video Marketing

Need some more reasons to incorporate video marketing into your website? People and search engines love videos and it’s not surprising why. Because of the countless engaging possibilities, videos can be optimized just as well as the content on your site. So, why is everyone talking about video? Videos are easy to share and let’s face it, people with short attention span love videos!

  1. You don’t need a whole production crew. Vlogging (video blogging) is popular and easy. It doesn’t take much more than Windows Movie Maker to throw together a short video.
  2. Focus on keywords. Just as you do with content, use keywords accordingly in video titles, tags and descriptions.
  3. Keep the length in mind. A video should be around 3 minutes long for maximum effectiveness. Remember that your customers on mobile connections may have problems viewing longer videos.
  4. Don’t forget to promote yourself but don’t go overboard. It’s as simple as adding your site URL in the description or sharing your Twitter handle. Include a call to action for those who are looking for more info or those who are just curious.
  5. Be engaging. From product reviews, interviews, or just your opinion on a popular topic, there are a lot of ways you can create video content. Don’t be afraid to get a Q&A started.

Hopefully, these suggestions help with your web video design considerations. Have a YouTube channel or a video blog? Feel free to link us, we’d love to check it out.

Glee and Social Media Advertising

“Gleeks” Love Social Media Advertising
Have you caught an episode of Glee? If not, you’re missing out on what tons of fans (self-proclaimed “Gleeks”) are watching. The show has been on Fox for a year now and has received critical praise from viewers and critics alike. The show basically follows fictional high school characters while incorporating reworked versions of songs like “Hello Goodbye”, “Halo” and “Like a Prayer”. Doesn’t everyone like a good cover song? Each episode boosts Glee’s single, as well as the original song, on the iTunes charts. After the homage episode to Madonna, the material girl saw a 44% increase in her catalog of songs! It doesn’t just stop at TV time though. A look at Glee’s social media advertising shows that they’re very active on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

A Haven for Online Viral Marketing
How can a simple song spark an online viral marketing fire? Let’s face it, people adore classic hits. Whether it’s a guilty pleasure or an old favorite, people are more likely to get attached to things that they’re familiar with. Check out the cast’s version of Journey’s hit. What do you think? These new renditions have inspired fans to record and upload their own versions of the songs. MySpace even held a Glee karaoke contest. But it doesn’t just stop there. Glee is one of the most tweeted about shows ever! As if they needed to gain more momentum, Glee held a contest for their die-hard fans last summer. Fans would register their social media accounts and gain points every time they mentioned Glee. The contest was a success and the fan with the most points won a trip to meet the cast.

Glee
and the Fox Network have done an amazing job at keeping fans happy this past year. Let’s see if they can keep people interested with the upcoming season!

Why You Should Consider Mobile Phone Design Compatibility

In February this year, Jwire released a study that showed that OVER half of public wi-fi connections aren’t made from laptops. This means that more and more people are turning to their cell phones to connect to the internet. If you have a mobile device, you might notice that some websites are formatted differently for a small screen. Proper mobile web design ensures that your website will be seen no matter where your customers choose to access it! After all, nothing is more disappointing for your business or your customers if they get a jumbled mess of a website when they access it from a mobile device.

Of course, we can’t talk about mobile devices and smart phones without mentioning applications. From games, giving gifts, to getting in shape, there’s pretty much a phone app for everything you can imagine! If you’re interested in phone app development for your business, we can definitely help. Think of all the possibilities and visibility that your business will gain as your app prepares for an App Store launch.

Just something to keep in mind as you check out Mashable’s list of some top applications for 2010.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Appealing Ideas from Social Media Guides

Lately, I’ve been inundated with newsletters and downloads about a “definitive” guide to social media. Although these are helpful, there is a lot of repetitive info about getting the process started. They explain what Twitter and Facebook is and the different functions, but what about some realistic tips that is helpful for everyone who aren’t newbies? How do I grow? How can I branch out and attract people? Here are some interesting ideas that I’ve come across. I hope it’s more interesting than generic recommendations out there.

  • Presentation and document sharing. .docstoc is one of many document sharing websites that allow businesses and professionals to spread their know-how. If your content is helpful, others will be willing to link to you as a resource!
  • More commenting. Nowadays, a lot of sites and blogs enable comments by signing into your Twitter or Facebook account. I like this feature because you skip the hassle of filling out info fields. It also gets rid of spammers and others who don’t have relevant comments to share. It’s a good way to increase your brand awareness on high traffic blogs like Social Media Examiner.
  • Photosharing on Flickr. As Rohit’s article discusses, photo sharing can be a great way to engage customers. With the right content, this indirect method is exciting and will tie back to your site/blog/business in the end.

I’m always on the look out for interesting tips, so don’t be afraid to share. Feel free to also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook!

The Key to Keywords Overview

Harry Brooks of Search First Internet Marketing moderated the PR Web webinar this morning with Kye Strance of Vocus. It was an educational overview of beginning the keyword process for PR campaign. These tactics can also be the starting point of your SEO or PPC campaign.

A Keyword Advertising Outline
There are three crucial steps that anyone should start with when organizing a keyword advertising plan for a press release.

  1. What is your goal – PR relation purposes or search engine optimization? You can easily have a mix of both by optimizing your content.
  2. Keyword or key phrase research. There are many free and paid programs but Kye gave these 3 examples. Google’s Keyword Tool, Google’s Wonder Wheel and Marketing Samurai. (Maybe it’s just me but I’m a little wary of downloading free SEO software).
  3. Publicize topic. What message do you want to send? Make sure that the content you release matches with your goal(s).

Organic Optimization for Relevant Key Phrases
Organic optimization is a great way to build a relationship with the key phrases that you want. But where do you begin? Whether you offer a product or service, there are hundreds of words (synonyms and misspellings) that can describe your business. As most keyword experts will stress, you want to hit the words that bring you: high traffic with low competition. This is of course subjective for your industry so don’t be afraid to do some snooping research on your competitors. Keyword research is more than just a technique as it becomes an ~*art*~ form when you add your own special touch.

Social Media + Innovation: When Is It a Business?

This Saturday, we attended the Cal Tech/MIT Enterprise forum about social media and innovation. The stand out speakers had to be Oliver Starr of Clean Green Guy and http://www.cleangreenguy.com and Oded Noy of Social Approach. A nice turn out for a sunny Saturday morning – we even spotted a frog at the Cal Tech lily pond!

Oliver is all about the people and not the numbers. As a long-time successful blogger, Oliver has had a history of providing engaging conversations. We must admit that his’ was the most interesting presentation we’ve seen in awhile! (You can try out this tool for free at Prezi). Some takeaways from his talk:

  • Focus on the individual
  • Expand your method of reaching out. Don’t just comment on the big blogs to self-promote, reply to other commenters and even visit their blogs
  • How can you use Twitter to add a personal touch? Comment, announce interesting events, give info and provide value

Eventually, Oliver would like to see more research about the new data gathered about social media. He predicts that location based social networks will expand and help people in their collaborative efforts. With more efficient tools, Oliver would like to see more spontaneous and integrated social gatherings. He likened it to going to a large venue and identifying the people with your interests. This way, you’ll be able to convene with them to have a more effective conference. Sounds like what we would all want and need, right?

Oded shared a similar point with Oliver as they both stressed the importance of a community of like-minded people. Oded brought us back to the days before technology when people would meet and talk over a campfire. Old school, I know.

  • Before: face to face interactions
  • Next: those with money (corporations) can buy a bigger platform to reach more people
  • Now: the internet has reduced the cost of self-publishing

The biggest question remains – how do you utilize social media to make money? Social media sites are a place for individuals to share in these conversations and seek out areas of their interest. It’s hard to say how and when you can convert this into $$$. All of the speakers on the panel agree that as much as it is cliche to say, “It really depends”, it really does depend on your individual situation. The sure thing is that once your social activity urges consumers to search and find your product/service, that’s when you acquire customers. That’s where business begins.