June, 2013 | Guild Marketing

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Facebook Marketing is an All-or-Nothing Endeavor

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Facebook Marketing is an All-or-Nothing Endeavor
By J.D. Rucker, May 25, 2013
Commitment. It means different things to different people. When it comes to social media marketing and Facebook in particular, it means making the choice to work hard, keep going, and stay disciplined.
Facebook is extremely fickle. Its algorithm relies on momentum, something that dies very quickly after only a few bad posts or skipped days. It’s for this reason that businesses and marketers have to make a choice before diving in. Are they going to take it all the way or is it better to keep it slow and simple?
Both methods work at achieving their respective goals. The majority should consider going for the latter as the effort that goes into going “all the way” must be sustained indefinitely to be successful. There are plenty of strategies that work with each method, but before we get into those, here’s the difference between the two.
Keep in mind, there’s really no in between.
The Easy Road
This isn’t the “stick your head in the sand approach”. Let’s assume that you wouldn’t be reading this article if your goal is to pretend that social media doesn’t exist, that it’s a fad, or that your business cannot benefit from being on it.
The easy road is one that is only targeting interested parties. It isn’t about aggressively going after new fans. It isn’t about using Facebook advertising. It isn’t about playing the algorithm game or going for additional reach for your message. The easy road is only targeting those people who will find your Facebook page through search or through your website. This isn’t about getting into users’ news feeds.
This path takes very little time. While I would never suggest using automation such as RSS feed posts, it’s just a notch above that. With this strategy, the goal is to make sure you’re presenting a strong presence for those who find your page. It means posting text, images, links, and videos on a regular basis. Once a day is plenty but a business on this path can easily get away with a couple of posts a week.
This takes very little time and effort. Use Post Planner, Buffer, Facebook’s native scheduling tool, or any tool with a queue feature and make sure it’s loaded up. That’s it. Put a week’s worth of posts in every week, schedule the replenishing tasks once a week, and let your presence become a good representation of your business for those who proactively seek your page.
There are plenty of advantages to this style. It takes much, much less time. It requires fewer touches of your social accounts. Your posts can be easily scheduled and as long as you’re monitoring via email or alerts for inbound contacts, this method is almost foolproof.
Again, it’s important to remember that you will not be getting into news feeds. Very few people will see your posts, but those who do see them will not be disappointed by seeing and abandoned page or one that is RSS automated.
The Hard Road
The other option is to commit. It’s that simple. If you’re wanting to use Facebook as a true advertising and marketing platform, you will want to be extremely active. You’ll need to learn about and keep up with the algorithm, touch your account daily (possibly multiple times per day depending on your reach), and craft content perfectly.
This is the path that most want to take because it’s aggressive. It is the way to get real exposure through Facebook, to get into news feeds and to get your message in front of as many people as possible. The key point is to understand that social media doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t take weekends off, and it knows when you’ve been away for an extended period of time.
It also requires an investment. Any expert that says Facebook can be effective in an aggressive strategy that does not include a Facebook advertising spend is trying to sell something to a potential client. It cannot be done unless you’re an A-list celebrity or a major brand. Local businesses, smaller brands, and just about any entity that is not a household name within their market cannot achieve maximum success on Facebook without spending on ads. I’d happily debate that with anyone who says something to the contrary.
The hard road requires constant monitoring and interaction. If someone comments on a post, it’s imperative that there’s a very quick response. The next day often won’t cut it. You can get more engagement when people are replied to while they’re still online and the comment is fresh to them. It’s also the quickest way to get your posts to spread quickly. When a long conversation thread can be sustained, those involved will help your post become visible on others’ feeds, they’ll tag people that they want to join the conversation, and suddenly the post has the ability to get real traction.
Most of these things are obvious to those who have been doing it for a while, but one thing that so many are missing is that you can never waste a post. There is too much algorithmic damage that can be done with bad posts. They all have to count – every single one of them. They all need a purpose whether it’s creatively delivering a business-oriented message or just posting high-quality content that can be universally liked to boost your algorithmic authority.
One can still use tools and plan out posts, but it’s important to not let them make you lazy. Just because you’re scheduling posts ahead of time doesn’t mean that you can let it sit dormant or that you can stop paying attention for a little while.
This isn’t intended to scare people. It definitely doesn’t mean that you have to live on Facebook to be successful. It’s just necessary to make the commitment to spend enough time, energy, and money to make your Facebook presence strong and to aggressively pursue greater reach. It’s not a matter of fans. The truth is that fans are a very small part of an aggressive strategy. The hard road takes you down a path where reach is 99% of the goal. The more people you can get to see your message and to communicate with you, the more success you can have.
To reach this success, you have to be willing to go all in. There is no gray area. There’s no middle ground. A halfway aggressive approach is not half as successful as the aggressive approach. It’s barely more successful than taking the safe road, which is why most businesses should opt for that path.
It’s all or nothing. Which is best for you?
 

Guild Marketing, LLC
Loveland, CO 80583
970-302-6203

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Local Search Strategy

11 Ways To Get Your Local Search Strategy To The Next Level
From an article by Vedran Tomic in Search Engine Journal on May 1, 2013.
Ever since Google’s Venice update, local search started growing increasingly more complex.
Today, borders between traditional and local search are completely blurred. Everything is a blend. Simple “10 packs” or “7 packs” are now a thing of the past. Location prominence stopped being all that it takes to win.
Nobody knows how the local ecosystem will change in the future, but we do know that every business with a physical presence needs to find its place in it.
Local search is serious business. Businesses need to reshape their local strategy as local search evolves.
Here are 11 steps you can take to get more out of your local search presence:
1. Broaden Your Horizons
It’s not just Google Maps anymore. Spam doesn’t last. Cheap tricks don’t work. It’s time to market. Think about marketing campaigns that could bring you a step closer to search independence.
Ironically, these type of campaigns (for example, business events) will help your local search visibility in some way. Google wants to show the most popular, talked about business in town.
Be that business offline – as well as online.
2. Organize And Participate In Events
No need for gala dinners here. Organize a free seminar at your office. Promote it by asking your customers to come. Distribute fliers. Get friends to come. Notify all local news outlets. All of them have an event section anyway.
If you do this, you will get a bunch of citations, while actually doing some offline marketing. And
that’s awesome
Tie every bit of your business and marketing operations to the web:

Ask people to review your business in your e-mail signature.
Ask people to like your Facebook business page.
Put your domain on all your vehicles.
Create an online referral program etc.

3. Advertise Offline
Offline advertising offers enormous benefits for your online marketing efforts. Local radio, TV stations or newspapers still have a relatively significant reach. These types of campaigns don’t have to have a dramatic direct impact to be useful.
They can increase your brand awareness. Increased brand awareness further leads to increased search volumes of keywords related to your business name. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on your website traffic, as well as conversions.
4. Measure Everything
You should measure everything. Collecting web data has never been so easy. Google Analytics is completely free and most small and medium sized businesses will never use it to its full potential.
Tracking phone became easy, as well.
Tools like LogMyCalls and CallRaill are fairly easy to install on most websites and will satisfy most small business needs. To be absolutely safe with tracking numbers, make sure that your tracking numbers change in an image format.
Spend a little time to figure out what to measure. Find out which metrics are really important for your business (like number of calls/leads, coupon downloads or reservations). Every local business should do this. Traffic is not cheap.
5. It’s Not Just About Consistency
Local search game in Google Places Plus Local used to be won and lost on the consistency and number of citations. NAP consistency still plays a major role in your local search success, but local blended search is about more than that.
In addition to being consistent and ubiquitous in the local search ecosystem, you need to have a website that is the best it can be in terms of search engine optimization, as well as conversion optimization. In addition to that, you need the following:

a dominant presence in your local blogosphere;
a strong presence in significant (non-Google) local search platforms (like Yelp);
a prominent placement in your industry websites (like Avvo.com for attorneys);
favorable reviews in different platforms (builds credibility and search visibility);
etc.

6. Reputation Management Is Important
A bad reputation will ruin you. It’s that simple. To avoid this, improve on delivery (of whatever your business does) and customer service. One disgruntled customer can inflict serious damage to your bottom line.
The truth is – disgruntled customers can happen to anyone. You should be prepared for that by:

Monitoring the web. Google Alerts will do the trick for free. For some extra functionality and power, you can look into trackur.com.
Fixing what’s wrong. Do everything in your power to make it right. Apologize. Offer refund. Send flowers. Ask for forgiveness. Never enter into a conflict with a customer. That is a suicide mission.
Foster positive mentions. This could be a part of your review management operations.

If you see a positive mention of your products or services, express gratitude. This will help you get more positive mentions which will to some extent neutralize the bad ones if and when they come.
7. Embrace PPC
If you know how much it costs you to acquire a new customer, you should know what’s the maximum amount you can afford to pay for a customer.
Can you get a customer on budget using paid search? If you can, there is no reason why you shouldn’t spend a million dollars a month on PPC.
Right?
In some industries (legal or financial services), PPC can rob you blind in a matter of days.
Here are a few resources that will help you master local paid search.
8. Localize Your Content
If you have a physical location, you should have local content. Sounds simple? Your goal is to drive interest of your local community/region/state, but also to get that sweet, sweet local search traffic.
You can do both by producing and marketing lots of awesome local content.
Answering these few questions will help you localize your content:

Is there any doubt about what your business does and where when someone lands on your website? There shouldn’t be!
Can you produce content that will make your local market talk about you? Sure you can! Very comprehensive historical study of home prices in a town would be something that you could do as a real estate agent. Create content that will also help you establish you or your business as an authority.

9. Perfect Your Mobile Game
Search is turning mobile, local search especially.
Do you have a mobile version of your website?
Does it perform?
Mobile websites are not a luxury – they are a must have. Your conversion rates will thank you.
10. Go Industrial
When time is an issue, tools and data aggregation services can help. Local search tools like Whitespark can not only help you find citations, but also manage the citation building process.
11. Get Educated
Local search is the most volatile segment of search. Changes happen quickly. Google is getting better, but it’s still full of bugs, and bad at communications and customer service.
Implementing these steps will bring you closer to maximizing your local search visibility and increasing profits.
 

Guild Marketing, LLC
Loveland, CO 80583
970-302-6203

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Content is the Pinnacle of Online Marketing

By J.D. Rucker, March 21, 2013
There’s a saying in online marketing that has been around for a while. “Content is king.”
Content has always been important, but it wasn’t until recent updates in Google and Facebook that content took a huge leap from being a portion of search and social marketing to become the actual hub through which search and social marketing flow. Today, marketing starts from content and works its way down versus recent years where content was simply a tool in the marketing strategy.
Google, Facebook, Bing, and Twitter are getting smarter every day. They have more brainpower going into figuring out how to stop spammers than the spammers have dedicated into finding new ways to spam. In other words, any tactic that involves practices that aren’t focused on quality can only bring short term benefit and can eventually lead to doing more harm than good. That’s the way that online marketing is heading and that’s a very good thing for both internet surfers as well as honest businesses and marketing agencies.
The old days of automated link-building tactics and paid social media promos (other than advertising) are long gone. Marketers can only achieve a true impact from quality content. That’s right, the practices that go into proper online marketing today are the type that will last for a long time, perhaps indefinitely.
It’s a bold statement, but if you think about it, that’s exactly where we are. Sure, there will be opportunities to find better channels, new tools, and make adjustment to different styles, but the end game is upon us. Quality content on and off of a website is the cornerstone of search and social marketing today and will continue into the foreseeable future.
 
Guild Marketing, LLC
Loveland, CO 80583
970-302-6203

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