Facebook, What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Facebook for businessesCompetition is always good for customers, right? Some people believe that all these new Facebook features are an aggressive response to Google +. Whether you think so or not, there’s no doubt that Facebook wants to be the star of the show in the social media world.
On September 30 (or 29th, depending on the source), Facebook will be launching a new Timeline feature. If you can’t wait to see it, Mashable has an easy guide that you can follow to get a sneak preview.

New features are great for consumers, but what about businesses? One thing that I noticed with this new Timeline interface is that the space for paid ads on the right has been greatly reduced. Where will these ads go and how do businesses take advantage of this new layout? You can bet on it – Facebook has a thing or two up its sleeve for small businesses. In fact, Facebook is launching an education program for small businesses. This initial outreach will consist of informative webinars and case studies where owners can learn more about Facebook marketing.

But wait, there’s more! In October, Facebook is sponsoring “road shows” across the country as a part of it’s Small Business Boost. This injection into the small business community will continue into 2012, where some small businesses will be eligible to receive $50 of advertising credit.

Social media is always evolving but the changes are motivating, as it always makes you think about how new changes will effect businesses. What are your thoughts on the new Timeline, small business features and anything else Facebook related?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Google +1 Button: To Do or Not to Do? (Part Deux)

Will you be implementing Google’s +1 button on your site? Although there are many benefits of using a the button, it’s crucial to see the downsides and how it can affect your current site:

Speed is a factor: More social media buttons means more load time. Slower load time and site speed will hurt your rankings, since it is a factor in how Google ranks your site… not to mention that impatient customers may bounce away.
Too many distractions: Adding a Google +1 button can be a distraction from your site content, especially if you already have multiple buttons. This can clutter your site and draw attention in a negative manner and away from your business.
Harm your professional image: Sometimes, when I see a site overloaded with social media buttons, it gives me the impression of being spammy or not very credible. If you focus on a few social media sites and integrate them into a clean design, it will help your site feel and look more reliable.
Right target audience?: First of all, do you even plan to devote time to your Google + profile? For now, business profiles don’t exist so if you have the button but don’t plan on being social on Google +, it may not help your site in the long run to add more clutter. For the most part, I see that many internet marketers are utilizing Google + and +1s. Like LinkedIn, this can be a good method to learn about your industry and network. But for getting retail customers for your small retail business? Maybe not so much…

Do you think Google’s +1 button is right for your business? Remember, it doesn’t hurt to experiment and see what works out. Feel free to let us know why you will or won’t be using this social media button (or any others for that matter!)

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are QR Codes Necessary for Your Business?

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to fall victim to the herd mentality of social media marketing trends. Instead of looking at it in a “I want this” and “I want that” kind of way, it’s more effective to take a step back and look at WHY your business should be partaking in WHAT.

In our previous post about marketing tactics for small businesses, we saw that QR codes were proven to be the least effective out of 6 different techniques and yet 29% of small businesses were using them just because their competitors were.

Here’s an example of what I mean – I recently saw an ad for a medical procedure targeted towards senior citizens. And what was predominately displayed on the front? A QR code. Granted my grandparents do know how to use Skype, I doubt that they or a majority of their peers will make good use of utilizing QR codes.

Before you want the next “big” thing for your business, take the time to think about who will be using it and what benefits they’ll get from doing so. This isn’t to say that QR codes are ineffective but it depends on how you use them. Mashable shows some creative uses for these codes. If you’re a hip new restaurant or creative agency, these uses of QR codes really make sense to me. It’s also more effective because it ties into your business and it isn’t just crudely posted somewhere for the sake of being there.

What are your thoughts on using QR codes to market your business?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Where Does Search Fit Into Social Media?

social searchSocial media marketing and SEO: one should not exist without the other. Your business and customers will benefit the most when these two work in synergy. Effective optimization requires an understanding of how and why social media works to connect you with customers. Content plays a big role on whether you succeed or whether your business is left behind.

From the beginning of your social media campaign, you should also look at it from a keyword advertising point of view. This means using this keywords as you optimize photos, videos, bio information in your profiles, URL names and more. Remember, you are choosing these keywords based on research about your your customers are searching for your products/services. Sound complicated? We’d be glad to discuss our thorough strategy that goes into every SEO campaign with you!

Nowadays, you cannot look at social media without think about SEO and vice versa. While some think that this is a curse, this is a blessing for businesses who are willing to embrace this dynamic channel.

Why does it matter?

A study from last year shows that search AND social results  make an impact on the online buying decision.  the impact of social media Online buyers rely on a healthy mix of search and social media throughout the purchasing process. Take a look at what buyers think as important:

So, if you still think social media isn’t important after all… your business will truly suffer. The benefits of incorporating social and search features onto your website will grow your business because of the increase in online/offline word of mouth recommendations. This will help open up new conversations with potential customers that you would never reach by just using traditional marketing.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Facebook Marketing: Do You Feel Left in the Dark?

If you use Facebook, you’ll know that there are constant updates and policy changes. For businesses, these changes can have a big impact on the way you use Facebook as a platform.

Companies Leave Facebook

Recently, Facebook denied drug companies the option to disable public comments on their Wall. As a result, companies such as Bayer and Purdue Pharma have removed affiliated Pages from Facebook. Public comments can make small businesses feel uneasy but is it best to run and hide? In the case of these pharmaceutical companies, the situation is more complicated than what a local business will normally encounter. The actions depend on the situation and the outcome is a strong reflection of the brand.

Are Fans Ignoring Your Page?

Managing  a Facebook Page takes a  special balance of skills. Patience, creativity and common sense will come in handy, but what happens when customers are ignoring your status updates or not interacting as much? If this is the case, they most likely aren’t interested in your updates.  A customer can like your brand but keep scrolling past updates that they can’t relate to. For example on the Emarketed Facebook Page, we don’t just update about SEO. We like to post about all the different aspects of internet marketing.

Another reason why fans might not be interacting with your Page is that your posts will disappear from their default News Feed if they continuously pass your posts by! I noticed this when certain Pages I Like and Friends’ posts weren’t showing up in my Feed. Here’s how to fix the problem:

Login and as you look at your News Feed click the Most Recent dropdown.
Click Edit Options (at the very bottom) and then in the Show posts from area, click: ‘All of your friends and pages’.
The default option is ‘Show posts from: Friends and pages you interact with most’.

Need Help with Social Media Marketing?

A crucial part of marketing on Facebook is analyzing your improvement and adapt whenever and wherever necessary. We know what it takes to invest time and effort to keep up with all the constant changes. If you’re interested in social media marketing for your small business but don’t know where to start, we are here to help – contact us today!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Mix It Up: Social, Email Marketing and More

marketing mixAccording to a survey by Pitney Bowes, 76% of small businesses believe that their ideal marketing mix should include a combination of both physical and digital communication.

A marketing mix is usually made up of 4 P’s:
Product, price, promotion and place.

The emphasis on this term is mix – meaning that there is no “right” combination of marketing methods. But the frantic nature of a  “mix up” is not always a bad thing. In the business world, it allows you to reach a different/wider range of customers.

Businesses Get Social

The popularity of social media marketing doesn’t mean that it is replacing all traditional forms of marketing but rather, complementing them. After all, small businesses can’t expect to find success by just using one marketing channel. That would be like having a website without SEO or PPC. Or distributing promotions without a website or customer service!

While social media serves as a great starting point for businesses to introduce themselves to customers, a small business cannot expect to succeed by solely relying on this channel. This will mean that you leave other customers behind. You’ll be surprised at the amount of customers who still rely on physical coupons, emails and even Yellow Pages listings!

Co-existing Marketing Channels

58% of small businesses in this survey use multi-channel marketing. While a slight majority of the businesses are optimizing their use of different marketing channels, that number may grow as owners see more options and opportunities available. The survey also suggests that 72% of small businesses would do more for marketing their business if they had the right tools for managing customer communication.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at our FREE whitepapers for a better idea of what you can do to help your business get found by using different marketing strategies.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How Will You Be Using Google Plus?

Facebook vs Google

In the battle of the giants, which one will reign supreme? Like vs Plus is a site where you can show your brand loyalty and cast your vote. After all, you can’t both Like and +1 everything, right?

Even if you’re tired of hearing so much on Google +, it’s important to stay connected so that you can adapt in the fast paced world of social media marketing. Here are some more ways you can use Google +:

– Chris Brogan shows us that we can blog with Google +. This basically consists of sharing a video/picture or some other media content and quickly following up in your own post with comments and links.

– Since business profiles are not allowed yet, you can take this opportunity to be innovative and show a personal side. Creating a personal profile associated with your business will allow you to socialize in a niche community and showcase your expertise.

– In a way, Google Circles reminds me of communities and groups on LinkedIn. Creating and organizing different Circles will allow you to network with different groups of people without worrying about keeping matters separate. (For example: connecting with clients, partners, employees, and friendly competitors… frenemies, anyone?)

– Watch out for Google Sparks. This is a section where you can receive personalized news articles and other information based on your interests. I see where SEOs can use this feature to their advantage by utilizing the right keywords.

Google + is more extensive than other social media platforms right now but it doesn’t necessarily mean that users have the time and knowledge to use them all. Let’s just see where all this potential can take us – after all, we’re talking about something that’s less than 3 weeks old!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Coming Soon: Google + for Businesses

Google sure likes the aspect of exclusivity when it comes to their new products, don’t they? Well, it seems to be working well for their latest project: Google +. Invites for exclusive trial accounts for Google + quickly exceeded “capacity”, as not everyone who was invited was lucky enough to score an account. I guess we’ll just have to wait! And for business accounts, it looks like we’ll have to wait even longer! Information Week reports that business users will have to wait until later this year.

Here are a few tidbits about Google +:

– You can easily organize and share with the different people in your life by placing them in different Circles
– Concerned about privacy? You should know that Google intends to make all Profiles public and searchable.
– Confused about the new vocab? Facebook has Likes and Google + will use Google + 1.
– If you’re interested in group video chat, Google Hangouts will be your new favorite thing!

What do you think about Google + and are you excited about it or do you think it’s just another social platform?
Make sure to check out Social Media Examiner’s in-depth guide to using Google +.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

This Week in Social Media: Twitpics, Hamburgers, & You

Do You Know What Happens to Your Twitpics?

Last week, we discussed Twitter’s photo search. This week, I came across an interesting article about Twitpic’s terms of service. Many people may not know or care all together. Apparently, when you use this service to upload and share your photos, Twitpic has permission (or rather, given itself permission) to pass your photos off to third parties. Many people speculate that Twitpic has added this to its terms in an attempt to make money from photos tweeted by celebrities or photos tweeted of celebrities. Or maybe even breaking news stories? Although it’s slogan is, “Share photos on Twitter”… it should be more like, “Share photos with Twitter”! In other words: before you Twitpic, think carefully!

Everyone Loves Burger Week

No holidays to promote your business? Make one up! This wOinkster burger weekeek is official Burger Week at a local Eagle Rock hotspot. The Oinkster, has made quite a name for itself by taking on signature classics of other famous hamburger joints – such as the Big Mac and Umami Burger. With CBS, LA Weekly, LAist and more picking up on this story, The Oinkster has reached above and beyond in the world of local news and social media. If you check out Twitter search results, there are non-stop tweets as eager fans await another tasty burger of the day.

This is a great promotional campaign because it can be translated well into so many different mediums. Although word spreads quickly through social media, this will also spark word of mouth recommendations. And when it’s over, the buzz still won’t stop. I look forward to people posting blog posts, Yelp reviews and Flickr pictures based on this magical burger experience. Remember, these will all help your business SEO-wise in the long run!

On Display at Your Very Own Museum

Speaking of magic, have you seen Intel’s creative Museum of Me? It has been a top social media news story this week and for good reason. Whether it’s intrigue or just plain fun, social media users love to feel like they are part of something more. Intel’s campaign does a fantastic job of showcasing users’ connections to their social network in a simple way. (Oh yeah, and they also promise not to store your Facebook information). This ad campaign is successful because it reminds users WHY they want to use your product in the first place.

Do you have any favorite social media stories of the week?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Ning for Social Media Marketing

ning social media Of all the popular social media marketing sites, Ning may not be as well known but things look like they’re quickly changing.

Ning is a social networking site with an appealing slogan – “Create your own social network for anything.” If I were to describe it, I would say that it’s a mish-mash of a blog, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and maybe even MySpace, all rolled into one.

Unlike other “free” services like Facebook, Ning has a different (paid) business model. This means that you’re more likely to see corporate and professional pages. Many people don’t like the idea of a paid service but I see that it has many advantages. For one, there’s not diluted with spambots and other bugs. Discussion and engagement seems more natural and enthusiastic.

Maybe that’s why it comes as no surprise that non-profits and other worthy causes have chosen Ning as its primary platform. Check out Martha Stewart’s Dreamers Into Doers and Amanda de Cadenet’s page dedicated to body image and other women’s issues. I see that these sites are strong examples of what Ning excels in. As for businesses, (especially small businesses), I’m not entirely sure the potential is all there yet, especially since it’s a paid service. But that is the point that Ning is trying to make as it’s straying away from being grouped as another Facebook or Twitter wannabe.

Ning has differentiated itself from competitors and in a major way. Revenue is reportedly up a whopping 400% from last year. Let’s see if Ning can continue to keep its thing going on and if it will catch on with more businesses.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.